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Journal Entries written by: Robert Gouger

Sunday 3 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

On Thursday, June 30th at four o’clock Harriet & I joined the Africaine at Gravesend which immediately afterwards moved down with the tide. To those who know my wife’s ardent attachment to her family and their unsurpassed love for her, a description of her anguish at parting and state on embarkation would be superfluous – they can imagine it all; … Fortunately the weather was delightful; the light winds that blew gave hardly any perceptible motion to the ship, and were refreshing in the extreme. Sleep aided to restore her, and by Saturday afternoon when the Africaine anchored off Deal for the reception of the Captain & some of the party, she was in good health and spirits.

In the course of the afternoon Capn Duff and his wife came on board. They had been married but on the previous Thursday; a circumstance which had caused a little delay in the departure of the ship from London; with them Mr & Mrs Hallett arrived. On the following morning Mr & Mrs Brown were received on board, and with them the number of passengers was completed…

The vessel being in disorder in consequence of her this day commencing her voyage, prayers were not read; some books were however distributed among the passengers which had been supplied by my friend Mr Binney for the use of the ship during the voyage, afterwards to be given by me to some public religious institution. On conversing with some of the labouring emigrants, I find they are desirous of establishing a school on board for the instruction of some of the party who are unable to read. When the first trials of the passage are over, this will be a subject for attention. Letters were sent home from Deal to numerous members of our families.

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 3 July 1836 ]

Tuesday 4 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

July 4th. Letters were sent from Dungeness to Barkway and Wandsworth Road.

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

Thursday 7 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Thursday 7th. Up to this day from Deal the weather has been rather variable, but today it was nearly a complete calm. Harriet has suffered much from indisposition, partly attributable to the motion of the ship. Bilious to the last degree, nothing has been found to quiet her stomach, or relieve the pain of sickness. […]

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 7 July 1836 ]

Wednesday 13 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

July 13th .

… Our cabin party besides Capn & Mrs Duff, consists of ourselves, Mr, Mrs & Miss Brown, the Emigration agent, his wife and sister; Mr & Mrs Hallett, a merchant & purchaser of land who settles in the colony and who is in partnership with Duff; Mr Everard & his wife; and Mr Skipper, the son of a solicitor of Norwich who is articled to Mr Mann, the Attorney General of the colony. The first mate also dines in the cuddy; thus we have the unfortunate number of thirteen!

We fare sumptuously every day – Hot rolls for breakfast manufactured by our excellent black steward, eggs, rice, two sorts of cold meat, coffee, & every tolerable tea. At twelve luncheon: bread & cheese, the last of two kinds, both good, with admirable bottled porter, Hodgson’s pale ale wine & spirits. We dine at four; soup of an excellent quality, two joints, and poultry. As a sample: today we had pea soup, salt fish & eggs, haunch of mutton, fowls and pork – occasionally plum pudding. Then beer, porter, wine and spirits as the French say à la volonté, which is being interpreted, as much as you please. Tea at eight, and the grog bottles from nine to ten. This precision on my part is for the especial consideration of Household [?]. It is true the ducks & geese are sometimes worthy the appellation of matrons, but certainly everything is better than I found it at Ibbotson’s Hotel. Harriet gives the soups unequivocal praise, and while I am writing she is having for luncheon a basin of chicken broth, which calls forth a laudation at every mouthful.

The intermediate party (i.e. between the cabin and the steerage) consists of eighteen persons; one intends to keep an hotel in the colony, Mr Thomas and his family (he is the proprietor of the colonial newspaper), my clerk Mr Nantes, and four proprietors of land in South Australia. They fare differently to the cabin passengers, having fresh meat but once a week, and on other days salt fish, pork or beef.

The labourers and their families occupy the next compartment in the ship. Their number is about 50; they are all contented, and have reason to be so; in this place Mr Pollard & his wife are, with our servants. And now for a word about these. Pollard has volunteered to take charge of the poultry, the pigs & sheep, and my goats. He takes excessive pride in them & boasts of their condition daily; moreover he milks the goats, and performs upon the pigs and sheep when occasion requires the kindly offices of the butcher…

… I must however say at any risk that Capn Duff’s conduct in every respect merits the warmest encomiums; he appears to be a thorough sailor, decisive and skilful; he pays equal attention to all the passengers, has no favorites apparently, & therefore is a general favorite.

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 13 July 1836 ]

Sunday 17 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Sunday July 17th Harriet’s state of health is still very bad indeed; constant sickness, violent headaches and other symptoms of serious disarrangement of the liver & stomach prevail. She bears up admirably against the disease; though perpetually moaning with pain, she rarely expresses discontent. For the last two days, I also have suffered from headache, and today am unable to attend prayers on deck. Mr Everard again read the service, but in consequence of some remark, passed upon the ommission of the Litany last Sunday, today he read the whole service.

In the afternoon Madeira was seen, and towards evening it became very distinct. The island is very high above the water, and has more the appearance of a mountainous country than I had supposed. The sun shone upon it brilliantly and thus enabled us to see it clearly though not nearer at any time than five miles. – The weather is still remarkably fine and the wind favourable. This morning it blows in nautical language ‘a stiff breeze’, but there is little motion in the ship. We are passing Madeira at the rate of nearly nine knots an hour.

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Monday 18 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Monday July 18th The wind fell in the night and for four hours we were absolutely becalmed. This proved exceedingly trying to my poor patient; for the ship no longer being steadied by the wind, & there being much sea, it was tossed about in a very disagreeable manner. …  Having unfortunately left England without a swinging cot & Capn Duff having heard me strongly expressing regret at this circumstance, with the greatest kindness he offered me the use of his sail makers and carpenter to manufacture one for me. Happening to possess some canvas fitted for the purpose, I accepted his offer, and in the evening placed Harriet in a most commodious cot which the industry of the men, stimulated by some tobacco, completed in the course of the day. During the whole of her illness, every attention has been shown her not only by Capn Duff, but by every passenger in the cabin, all having opened their stores to try to find some little luxury which might possibly be palatable to her.

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 18 July 1836 ]

Tuesday 19 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

July 19th Today Harriet has been much better. She slept well in the cot, and passed the greater part of the day on deck. In the course of the day we spoke the Mount Stuart Elphinstone on her voyage to Calcutta. In the evening Harriet saw for the first time the phosphorescence of the sea: on the breaking of a wave, or on the water being otherwise agitated, sparkles of great brilliance were abundant. The quantity of light emitted by each is probably equal to that of a glowworm; on a dark night I have seen the ship quite illuminated by this means – the phenomenon was first perceived by us in the Bay of Biscay & I am told that when at the Equator the intensity of the light will be much greater. The cause of this extraordinary appearance is said to be animalculae.

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Wednesday 20 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

July 20th … Flocks of flying fish have surrounded the vessel today, & have afforded much amusement. The greatest lengths of flights which I have seen is about 100 yards; the manner of flying closely resembling that of starlings. The flock which took wing close to the ship could not have contained fewer than 50 to 60 fish. The size appears to be about that of a small mackerel.

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 20 July 1836 ]

Saturday 23 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Saturday the 23rd Harriet is now quite well; for the last two or three days she has enjoyed herself both on the deck and at table; she moreover sleeps well. The complaint she thinks was a bilious attack which might have annoyed her nearly as much if she had been on shore,  but she questions if it would not have been shortened if calomel had been more fully administered at the beginning.

Yesterday we entered the torrid zone; the heat however is not at all oppressive to any of the party. The thermometer in my cabin is generally 78o, but the thorough draft which we manage at almost all times to keep up, renders the temperature agreeable.

Some of the passengers in the intermediate cabin last week manifested discontent, and put up on their hatchway an impertinent notice. Excited by Mr Thomas, the agitator of the ship, one complained of the bread, another of the beef, another of the wine;  indeed each had some one complaint to make, but, rather a subject for marvel, no two agreed on the same complaint. On investigation the bread which was declared unfit for use, was the brown bread which I preferred to the best white biscuit provided for the cabin; the salt provisions I had requested Capn Duff to place constantly upon our table and it was partaken of and enjoyed by all our party; the wine was declared by Brown (a good judge) to be excellent, and the same as we drank in the cabin. On my assuring the gentlemen of these facts, the complaint turned on the price paid for their passage and at length it was insinuated that I had chartered the vessel and was making money out of them. My positive denial of having any greater interest in the ship than any passenger on board appeared to satisfy the malcontents, who now said the cook was to blame – he had been insolent, and so on. This the Captain promised to see into, and thus the grievous matter ended. Mr & Mrs Thomas however still preserve dignified silence, though all the rest appear to have forgotten their fancied wrongs.

Seeing that the ill-humour was produced by idleness or ennui it occurred to me that it would be well to get up some general amusement, and I consequently proposed to enrol a body of volunteers to be drilled. Fortunately I found on board a man who had been a soldier in the peninsular war, Mr Wickham, and after a little persuasion he agreed to spend half an hour a day with us for the purpose. On Wednesday last therefore we commenced the platoon exercise; our first party was eight, the next day twelve and at this number our corps appears for the present likely to remain. It is true, sometimes we do not keep very good step in consequence of the motion of the ship, and sometimes a lurch in marching at ordinary time, causes a double quick movement to the rear; but this is all accounted a good joke, and thus the chief end is attained. I am full private in the corps, and four of the intermediate passengers are also enrolled.

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

Sunday 24 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

This morning the sun was vertical, and we are now south of it. Although we shall henceforth be receding from the sun, still if we experience, as is most probable, calms and very light winds about the equator, the heat will be much more oppressive than at present. Today it is 80o in my cabin in the shade & with a thorough draft.

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

Tuesday 26 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Diary: Gouger diary - flying fish

This morning the first mate found on the deck a flying fish which although somewhat injured in the tail afforded to our amateur artists an opportunity of trying their skill. The accompanying sketch I copied from a painting by Brown who among his other qualifications now turns out to be a very good artist. [Here follows a coloured drawing of the fish] The scientific name is Dactylopterus volitans. Some idea may be formed of the height the fish sometimes fly by this fish having been found upon the deck which is above the water about twelve feet. They generally however fly within two feet of the surface.

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 26 July 1836 ]

Thursday 28 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The weather the last two days has been very fine but oppressively hot. In my cabin, kept as cool as possible by the ventilator, windows & door being open, the thermometer has nevertheless ranged between 82o and 84o. The length of the evening again is not very pleasant, it being too dark by seven o’clock to read. The brilliant moon however is a great comfort. Harriet remains in excellent health and spirits. Yesterday a large turtle passed us, and in the morning the ship was absolutely surrounded by large fish, there being according to Capn Duff’s computation not fewer than 100 porpoises & bottle-nosed whales around the vessel at one time, some of which are 20 feet long. The mate struck a whale with the harpoon but having hit it on the head, it is supposed, the weapon was blunted & did not take effect. A nautilus also was seen last week sailing by.

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

Saturday 30 July 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The winds are now, as Capn Duff foretold many days ago, very variable, & last night we experienced rather a severe squall. I was first apprized of it by Harriet’s awakening me in consequence, as she said, of the rain blowing in upon her (though swinging in the cot nine feet from the stern windows) […]

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Monday 1 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Warmly did our hearts respond to those of our friends who on the 1st of this month would celebrate at Barkway the anniversary of Harriet’s birthday. How often did we talk over the events which were probably being enacted at the moment of our speaking! And herein we had an advantage over our Barkway friends for knowing the exact difference of time between our position on the globe and theirs, we were able to fix upon the precise moment for dinner, for the usual course of toasts and expressions of kindness & affection, and, last of all, for the striking of the hour of twelve, when we knew Caroline would in her own inimitable style give the crowning glass to the whole – at the same hour the time having been calculated to the minute, Harriet & I joined in ardently wishing every blessing to be the portion of each around her.

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

Friday 12 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Our little community has been again shaken with intestine commotion. One of our servants (Margaret Clark) got into disgrace about the latter end of last month for lightness of conduct towards the sailors, and a few days afterwards, she put on the appearance of mental derangement; the surgeon and some others however attributed her conduct to the effect of spirituous liquors. In consequence of this report of the surgeon, of complaints having been made of the conduct of other females in the steerage arising from the same cause, and of grog having been given by the steerage passengers to the sailors whereby some of them were rendered unable to do their duty, Captain Duff having the opinion of Mr Brown & me, ordered that no spirits should be served out henceforth to the women and children, but that on arrival in the colony, either the quantity of rum which each individual wd have consumed on the voyage should be distributed, or its value given in money. This order occasioned no doubt dismay among the laboring emigrants, but finding the Captain immovable in his determination the malcontents were obliged to put up with their fate, though in some cases with a very bad grace. In particular, Mr Wickham, the person who we had made our drill sergeant, declared his intention of acquainting the Govt of the Cape of Good Hope with the conduct of the Captain, and of procuring redress by legal means. For a time his anger led him to refuse his own allowance of grog, though this had never been interdicted; he soon became tired of this ‘biting-of-his-nose-to-be-revenged-on-his-face’ system, but he has attempted to punish us by not having […] to drill! I was always averse to allowing laboring emigrants spirits on board ship, and am now more than ever convinced that the practice is most injudicious. Very few indeed ever think of helping the sailors by pulling at a rope or of rendering any other assistance; on the contrary, they are generally to be seen rolling on casks or hencoops, enjoying (a new thing for them) idleness with unusually full meals; thus they become unhealthy, & the allowance of spirits makes them vicious. The women, many of whom have perhaps very seldom tasted rum before, and if so in small quantities, now drinking largely, become quarrelsome and the causes of quarrels among the male emigrants. From these considerations, carried out practically as I have seen in several instances, I am thoroughly convinced that no ship containing a large number of poor persons can be other than an arena for discord while spirits are served out as an article of rations, or can be attainable except, in particular cases, by the authority of the Surgeon.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 12 August 1836 ]

Monday 15 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

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

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Tuesday 16 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

A very curious fish of the class Cephalopoda flewor rather jumped on board today: it is nearly five inches long has two tentaclae about two inches long with which it adheres firmly to any substance offered it, and eight mandibles (for want of a better word) about 1 ½ inches long with which it seizes […]

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 16 August 1836 ]

Thursday 18 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

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

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 18 August 1836 ]

Wednesday 24 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

— Yesterday an attempt was made by Captain Duff to decrease the allowance of water to every passenger throughout the ship with the obvious view of avoiding the necessity of putting in at the Cape; this however was resisted by all, and on Mr Brown representing to the Captain that as ‘Agent for Emigration’ he would consider the decrease of allowance of water as a breach of contract with the Commissioners, and would so prevent the payment of the passage money of the steerage passengers, the Captain countermanded his order and the usual allowance of water was today served out. The quantity allowed is six quarts a day for each adult (children have less in proportion to age) and when it is remembered that this is to suffice for washing, cooking, tea and all other uses, it cannot be said to be extravagant.–

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 24 August 1836 ]

Saturday 27 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Several nautili having passed close to the shipwithin the last two or three days which could have been pulled up almost with a bucket, I contrived a bag net of about 3 feet diameter to be hung from one of the boats on the ship’s side, and weighted so as to sink in the water […]

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 27 August 1836 ]

Thursday 1 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

September 1st The same favorable breeze continues and the ship is running her course delightfully. Yesterday we passed the Martin Vaz rocks, three in number. One is very small, and at the distance at which we were about thirty miles resembled a large boat; another somewhat larger and apparently about 200 feet high; and. the […]

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

Sunday 4 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

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

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

Thursday 8 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

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

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 8 September 1836 ]

Tuesday 13 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

September 13th I have been very unwell for three or four days – splitting headache & rheumatism. Today however being quite recovered, I wrote or rather finished a letter to my Mother. The wind has been still favorable, and we now confidently expect to spend next Sunday at the Cape. The number of persons on […]

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

Saturday 17 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

I have purposely avoided making a memorandum of the conveniences of our cabin until I should have had time to test them practically; it is now more than ten weeks since we came on board, and considering the time sufficient to enable me to ascertain their relative worth, with a view to the guidance of others who may follow my steps, I shall now describe them and the cabin itself. The cabin I occupy is the larboard stern cabin, besides the two stern windows, there is a ventilator on the deck about three feet in diameter which however is divided between mine and the adjacent cabin. Thus I have a sufficiency of air and light for all purposes. But there is an advantage in the possession of a stern cabin far beyond that of ventilation or even abundance of light: viz. the power of abstracting oneself from the company of the rest of the passengers. In our case, the companion ladder is between the stern cabin and the cuddy, so that when the door is shut, it is impossible to hear the never ceasing conversation in which some of the party are sure to be engaged. To be alone is the greatest luxury which we enjoy on board; were I the occupant of a cabin adjacent to the cuddy, I verily believe, that instead of passing my time agreeably, I should be suffering from a brain fever caused by the continual din and noise of my worthy fellow passengers…

In the list of ‘cabin comforts’ a filter stands preeminent. The water on board the Africaine is I should think as good as is generally found in ships; but I, who however am to a great extent a water drinker, should much feel the want of this little machine. Mine was purchased of James in the Poultry, and filters very brightly. By way of protection it is enclosed in the wickerwork.—I have two cabin lamps, and one candlestick: they are all useful. The candle is enclosed in the candlestick, and is forced up to the socket with a spring, and the whole has a universal joint to accommodate itself to the motion of the ship. By this I write andread. The night lanthorn was bought of Miller in Piccadilly, and is convertible into a variety of purposes: it is a dark lanthorn, a hand lanthorn, a chaise lamp, & a night lamp. The other is a nursery lamp upon Davy’s principle, with a kettle and saucepans to fix on the top: this afforded Harriet during her illness at the commencement of the voyage excessive comfort; by its means in about fifteen minutes I have been able to supply her in the course of the night with a cup of tea or arrow root, things which could not have been obtained by any other means… at all events I would recommend a few things to be procured for use in the cabin, amongst which I would name the following articles: — half a dozen bottles of brandy of the best quality in case of sickness; some dried fruits (such as figs, almonds & raisins, prunes) by way of dessert, a luxury which of course the ship does not provide, but which becomes almost a necessary to health if the voyage is undertaken at a time of the year when potatoes will not keep; some of Gamble’s preserved provisions, especially mutton broth and vegetables in the smallest canisters; some of [?Lemsan’s] biscuits in tins; and one each of sago, arrow root, and prepared groats for gruel…

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 17 September 1836 ]

Wednesday 28 September 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wednesday Septr 28th The wind now subsided into a calm, which enabled us to speak with a [tooltip color=”grey” text=”A schooner is a vessel with two masts, the main mast is taller than the forward mast and the largest sail on each mast is a fore and aft sail. “] schooner [/tooltip] on her way to Swan River. Her cargo contained amongst other things spirits of various kinds, equal in quantity to 100 puncheons which the Capt regarded as his most profitable investment. One 100 puncheons to a of 1600 persons! [sic] One puncheon to 16 persons – men, women & children! The cost of this importation would suffice to pay the passage of 100 labourers to the Colony, or thereabouts: a mode of expenditure infinitely more profitable to the Colony, seeing that the main cause of difficulty there, is the want of labourers. Capt Tobin, the commander of this [tooltip color=”grey” text=”A schooner is a vessel with two masts, the main mast is taller than the forward mast and the largest sail on each mast is a fore and aft sail. “] schooner [/tooltip] has resided in the Colony 4 years & says that the chief bane of the Colony is Drunkenness – to this he attributes greater political evils than the scarcity of labour for, he says, “the labourers we have there: from intoxication will scarcely ever perform three days work together”!

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

Friday 14 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Octr 14th The morning of the 12th opened  brightly, but about 11 o’clk it blew so heavily that we were  placed under double-reefed topsails, & the wind increasing the Capt ordered the Carpenter to put in the dead lights at our windows. The wind still increased till 2 o’clk the next morning when it blew – to use the Capts words “a very severe gale”. The sea broke over the ship, with a shock like that of thunder, & when I went on deck about midnight I found the Capt anxious as to the safety of the ship – not so much from the effect of the gale, as from the violence of the sea, which was, to use a hackneyed phrase “running mountains high”. Towards morning the wind abated, & yesterday the good ship “Africaine” was again persueing her course without having sustained any injury beyond the loss of main-top sail, which was torn into shreds. Capt Duff informs me that he never saw the sea higher, or had so severe a gale. This morning we passed the singular little Island of St Paul’s. It had been the Capts intention to stay here for a few hours to procure fish, but the wind was blowing so favourably that the prosecution of the voyage was too tempting for delay.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 14 October 1836 ]

Friday 21 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Octr 21st During the last week the weather has been squally & cold, sometimes 42E on the deck; several times the ship having been under reef-top sails, and our windows furnished with [tooltip color=”grey” text=”A strong shutter or plate fastened over a ship’s porthole or cabin window in stormy weather.”] dead lights[/tooltip]. The distance however these winds have driven us is remarkable; during the last 6 days we have sailed in a direct line to the Colony 1221 miles! a run exceeding any which Capt Duff states he has ever before had.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 21 October 1836 ]

Sunday 30 October 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Octr 30th This morning brought us within sight of land, about noon the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”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.

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 30 October 1836 ]

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!

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 1 November 1836 ]

Wednesday 2 November 1836

[, 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 [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.”] tacking [/tooltip] 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 for: Wednesday 2 November 1836 ]

Thursday 3 November 1836

[, 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 [tooltip color=”grey” text=”To be any distance behind a vessel.”] astern[/tooltip]! 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 [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Harriet”] H. [/tooltip]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 for: Thursday 3 November 1836 ]

Monday 7 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Novr 7th This morning the “Africaine” left Nepean Bay, and in a few hours reached Cape Jarvis; following the direction of Capt Lipson, we sailed slowly along the shore, and anchored in a Bay where we discerned the “Rapid” & on an adjacent hill, some tents. A boat, which put off on our approach brought us Col Light, who piloted the ship into Rapid Bay. Having dined a party of us accompanied Col Light on shore, being desirous of seeing as much as we could of the land now, in case we should have to move onwards with the ship. Now we found that the accounts we had heard at Kangaroo Island of the beauty of the mainland, glowing as they were, were not exaggerated, for it is impossible to imagine a more lovely valley than that which skirts the Bay. The soil produces an abundant crop of the finest grass – it is watered by a rivulet containing a number of fresh water fish, & trees of a very large size are found at a distance of perhaps from 30 to 50 yds asunder. The surface is hilly, but not mountainous, & the splendid description of country extends inland to Cape [Lake?] Alexandrina. Delighted as we were with the spot we determined on the recommendation of Col Light to proceed higher up the gulf, where he discovered there was at all times fresh water, & a fine harbour for shipping of which advantage Rapid Bay is destitute. At Cape Jarvis the Colonel (through the medium of a sealer & his native woman) has contrived to conciliate the  natives, about 30 of whom are now resident in Rapid Bay. From them he has selected a few strong & well disposed men, whom he has clothed, & employed in a variety of work & dignified with the title of “Marines”. They are content with a piece of biscuit as a recompense. They are honest & obliging, & to each the Col has given an English name of which they are remarkably proud. A garden has been made which flourishes well, all seeds being far more advanced than any I had seen at Kangaroo Island.

[ Read the full journal for: Monday 7 November 1836 ]

Tuesday 8 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Novr 8th This morning accompanied by Duff & a large party, I again went ashore. We walked about 2 miles over the hills, where as far as the eye could reach the same rich character of land prevails. The grass is now ready to cut – the hay would be of a very superior kind, & Sydney presents a market, where the price obtained is £10 a ton. Having gathered a [tooltip color=”grey” text=”A small bunch of flowers.”] nosegay [/tooltip] of the most beautiful flowers as a present to H, I went on board; Col Light following almost immediately after, as he was going up the Gulf on another of his exploring expeditions.

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 8 November 1836 ]

Sunday 13 November 1836

[ | , on board the wrote.]

13 November-Employed landing stores, &c.

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

Thursday 17 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Novr 17th We have now been some days at Holdfast Bay, so named by Light in consequence of the excellent holding ground afforded here for shipping; and all hands are employed in erecting tents, building huts, and landing goods & cargo – but an account of my residence here does not fall naturally into this paper, for this is a narrative of my voyage to S. Australia, & not of my residence in it. The landing, & first impressions of South Australia as a place of abode is an epoch worthy of another chapter. I may however add in relation to the ship which brought me here that in consequence of the very high character, I, in unison with others of the passengers have given her, & her Captain, that Col Light has engaged her in the first instance to bring sheep & oxen to the Colony for the use of the Surveying party, & afterwards on a monthly charter to assist him in the Survey, & other public service.

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 17 November 1836 ]

Friday 25 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Novr 25th Though the “Africaine” anchored here on the 9th ult for the purpose of discharging cargo, I have been obliged to neglect my journal in consequence of the many calls upon my time, therefore the accounts which follow may not be given in chronological order. On landing with Col. Light on the 10th we were informed by Mr Field (the 1st officer of the “Rapid”) that a river had been recently discovered running apparently into the Creek, known by the name of “16-miles Creek” – that he had seen it, & said it was of important magnitude. This being the case it became a question whether or not the “Africaine” should at once commence the discharge of her passengers & cargo, or wait the report of the Colonel. With a view to the settlement of this question, Col. Light, accompanied by Capt Duff, Mr Brown, & myself, started the next day upon a walking expedition to the River. At a distance of about 5 miles we came within sight of it; it ran through a low swampy country covered with most luxuriant grass, & skirting a range of beautiful well wooded hills, from the centre of which line rose Mount Lofty. We did not prolong our excursion, as the Col. felt satisfied that the river would be found to run to the Creek…

The next day therefore saw the ship’s boat busily employed in landing passengers & Cargo. The question now was, where to pitch our tent & build our hut. Mr Kingston (the deputy Surveyor-General), with his men were located about a mile from the beach, but I at once determined to go further in search of a place for my temporary abode. I at length determined on a spot shaded by large gum trees, in the middle of a meadow covered with pasture of a richness hardly to be surpassed, and more within the precincts of the Surveyors’ tents. The next day therefore saw the tent struck and erected on the newly chosen site. Mr Brown chose the side of a sand-hill, being allured by the shade of a large tea-tree. The first thing to be done in my case was to transport my packages from the beach to the tent, a distance of little more than a mile (but not of British turnpike road, nor with the aid of waggon & horses)…

Three journeys from the beach to the tent with laden truck were a good day’s work. The heat was sometimes very oppressive, & the mosquitos troublesome; but the flies are afflicting! Nothing can equal their cruel perseverance. They settle upon the face in myriads, & tickle tormentingly but their chief delight is the eye. At length protection was sought by wearing veils & thus accoutred we “wended our weary way”. While these toils were going on, Harriet had the refuge of the ship, to which also I  returned every evening, not however without being obliged to wade breast-high in the sea to reach the boat, which, except at particular times of the tide, could not get over a sand bank about 20 yds from the beach. At length the time arrived when H.’s affectionate impatience to aid me would not be restrained, and on Saturday Nov.19th we left the “Africaine” and took up our residence in the tent. Troops of Mosquitos entertained us with their music, & we, in return, entertained them with a full repast, & in the morning we were well nigh in a fever from their visitation. It is not however from these insects alone that annoyance has been felt, as scarcely a day passes without something turning up to excite surprise if not apprehension. Within 2 yards of the tent, 5 Centipedes of about 5 inches long have been caught – one actually in the tent, & one night I put my hand within an inch of a large scorpion. Enormous ants and very small frogs abound also in our tent, but the first of these is harmless, & the others cause us no disturbance. Were I at the present moment obliged to record an opinion of the climate of S. Australia I should certainly speak in its dispraise. We have had frequent gales of wind, & the changes from heat to cold have been somewhat extraordinary; in one instance, within 12 hours the thermometer ranged between 105E & 50E, both in the shade. It would however be premature to pronounce an opinion, and I endeavour to console myself and others with the assurance that when the clearing of land & cultivation shall have commenced, many of the annoyances will no longer exist. Some of the emigrants brought with them tents, & those generally are insufficient habitations for day or night, in consequence of their being single. My own tent, being double, is in comparison with any in the Colony, a very comfortable residence – the outside being of draped cloth, not one drop of rain has entered. Two of my friends tried to sleep in my tent one rainy night while holding umbrellas over them – so little does a single tent avail. Mine also has a verandah which serves as a store-room, thereby keeping the interior in excellent order & neatness, & a boarded floor which I have laid down is a luxury of much importance. It is however the only one yet in the Colony, though nearly 50 habitations of various kinds have been erected. Those who did not provide tents have built huts, for which every facility exists, there being a little forest of straight poles about a mile off, & plenty of long sedge-grass wherewith to thatch them. Game is in great abundance on the plain; it is almost impossible to walk 200 yds without putting up quails, wild ducks, & other water fowl are to be met with constantly on the river & in the lagoons. White cockatoos, parrots, & parroquets of splendid plumage are to be found on almost every other tree. These, & a peculiar kind of plover are excellent eating. Kangaroos are plentiful – one fine fellow (nearly as large as a jackass) with his mate, bounded by within 20 yds of my tent yesterday while I was carpentering, but had passed out of reach before I could get my rifle – though loaded in the tent. Fish are also numerous, but few have been taken.

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

Sunday 27 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Novr 27th The “Africaine”, “Rapid”, & “Cygnit” left us this morning; the first to Van Dieman’s Land for supplies, the “Rapid” up the Gulf, & the “Cygnit” to Port Lincoln to await the arrival of the Governor.

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

Wednesday 30 November 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Novr 30th I have now seen what I have so heard & read of – a country on fire! Perhaps some imaginations might realise it from the American novels; mine never could. The fire was lighted by order of Mr Kingston that he might with greater readiness survey to the N. & E. The wind blowing strongly the fire rapidly spread in the direction of the wind, being chiefly supported by dry grass of a most luxurious growth, but occasionally lighting upon an old gum-tree; a fallen branch of which acted as conductor to its parent stock. When this happened the fire, which at other times remained of a height nearly equable, burst up in a thick volume, & looked like a blazing town, until its branches fell away with a loud crack. The next day the fire was lighted to the S. and came up to us. I had however had a trench dug about 20 yds around me, which in case of fire, would I hoped effectively stop its march. This precautions have kept me & my enclosure safe, while all beyond is black & desert. One decided advantage has been gained by this conflagration – viz. the destruction of myriads of insects, etc.

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 30 November 1836 ]

Thursday 1 November 1836

[, 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 for: Thursday 1 November 1836 ]

Sunday 11 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Decr 11th Prayers were read to-day in Mr Kingston’s tent by Mr Gilbert, & a sermon was to have been read also, but information arrived that a large ship was sailing into the Bay, & the anxiety was so great that the greater part of the congregation separated and went to the beach, expecting it might be the Governor. It proved, however, to be the “Emma” from Kangaroo Island bringing the Company’s livestock, etc etc I returned to my dinner (consisting of a fine cockatoo, which proved good) and we had hardly finished when 2 gentlemen made their appearance. They proved to be the Capt of the “Emma” & Capt Nelson of the “John Pirie” who brought us letters from England. Our first enquiry was of the fate of the 6 poor fellows, who it will be remembered landed on the Western Shore of Kangaroo Island intending to walk across it by “Capt Sutherland’s Track”. Of these only 4 have been found (Mr Nantes, a clerk in the office of the Colonial Secretary, & 3 labourers). Mr Slater (a surgeon) & Mr Osborne (printer) are it is feared lost. Mr Nantes states that after being out 9 days, Osborne was unable to proceed, & that Slater with his characteristic generosity, said he would stay with him, while the rest of the party pushed on, in the hope of sending relief to the two left behind. Two days after this Nantes & his party were found by a fishing boat, & were conveyed to the settlement, not having tasted food for 4 days, but are now recovering & are in tolerably good health. Parties sent in search of Slater & Osborne say they have the tracks of but one person, & as he appears to walk in circles, or backwards & forwards, they fear he is out of his mind. This doubtless was Slater – Osborne most probably has perished. Search parties were however still out when the “Emma” left, though no hope remains of finding either alive. Thus to Capt Sutherland’s very erroneous account of the Interior of the Island, it is to be feared 2 gallant & educated young men have fallen victims!

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

Wednesday 14 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Decr 14th The last fortnight has been devoted to the building of my hut, which nearly adjoins the tent, & is 12 ft wide by 21 ft long. Only 6 nails were used in its construction; the uprights, crosspieces, beams & joists being all tied together with cordage. The wood was cut in a copse about a mile distant, & the thatch, which consists of a kind of reed 10 ft long with long wide leaves, was drawn by the portable truck before alluded to. I look forward to the hut when finished as being cooler & far more agreeable during the heat of the day than the tent. I have also built a shed for my goats to sleep in; in the upper part of which the fowls have taken up their abode. The latter reward my care by laying eggs plentifully. The Cashmere goats thrive admirably, but my two kids from the Cape have died. We originally supplied ourselves with 5 servants (male & female) before leaving England, but of this Alfred Young is the only one who preserves his loyalty, though assailed by Evil Advisers. I have however been fortunate in securing the services of Coltman & his wife till the site of the chief town shall be fixed upon. We, together with most of our fellow Colonists have suffered from quite a plague of flies and other insects. The inflammation caused by their attacking the eye became so serious as closely resembling the [tooltip color=”grey” text=”An infectious inflammation of the eye. Also called Trachoma or Ophthalmia.”] Egyptian opthalmia[/tooltip]. Fortunately Dr Wright’s arrival reduced our sufferings in this respect. Mr Brown’s selection of a sand-hill for a residence fulfilled my predictions for they have suffered more than many.

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

Friday 16 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Decr 16th The Tam O’Shanter has to-day worked into the Bay, & will discharge her cargo at the harbour 8 miles from us. We now find that no doubt remains as to the fate of Slater & Osborne, the Islanders having given up their search as hopeless. Their loss is much regretted by all who witnessed their quiet, unassuming demeanour on board. We have been fortunate in obtaining other servants from this ship.

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

Sunday 18 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Capt Light arrived here to-day in the “Rapid” from Kangaroo Island. It is impossible for him to speak in more depreciating tones than he does of the land adjacent to Port Lincoln, & of the entrance to the harbour. This being the case he considers the position for the site of the chief town as determined, & has therefore returned to Gulf St Vincent with the full intention of making an accurate survey of the harbor & river 8 miles north of Holdfast Bay. The “Tam O’Shanter” left behind her a considerable quantity of excellent porter. This, with other goods, supplied the first store in the Colony, opened by Mr Thomas. I have not had time for making a garden, but some of my brother Colonists have been disposed thus to work, & have planted potatoes, & a variety of early vegetable seeds, thus in most cases succeed well, & afford the promise of a good crop. We have had good supplies of potatoes from Van Dieman’s Land, & have also eaten a vegetable found by the sea-side which I am told is the “Kelp” from which Manilla is manufactured. The leaves & young shoots, well washed & boiled are excellent eating, somewhat resembling the English Spinach. Another plant (which we have not yet tried) is also said to be palatable & nutritious.

[ Read the full journal for: Sunday 18 December 1836 ]

Tuesday 20 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Being tired of salt meat & hearing constantly of the success of my neighbours in shooting, I determined to sally forth in search of game, & succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations. I brought home after about 4 hours shooting yesterday 17 parrots & to-day after 2 hours walking bagged – no not bagged but suspended to a cord round my neck 12 parrots & parrokeets which proved excellent eating. The plumage of some of these birds is of extraordinary beauty & would have fetched a very high price in England. I never saw such plumage before.

[ Read the full journal for: Tuesday 20 December 1836 ]

Thursday 22 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Out shooting again with similar success. The 2 natives who were brought into the settlement on Decr 1st by Mr Williams remained with him about a week performing a variety of work & conducting themselves in a satisfactory manner, but suddenly left without assigning any reason. They however returned last Sunday bringing with them 4 others. They visited the different huts, receiving from each presents of sugar, biscuits etc. At night they had a “corrobboree” or native dance, but I was not so fortunate to witness this. The custom of these natives appear to differ from those of N. S. Wales, for instance the ceremony of knocking out a front tooth on the attainment of manhood is not enforced here, not one of the natives who have visited us having undergone the operation. Presents of clothes were given them, which they much valued & wore all day, but removed dust & dirt from them at night & (though lying in the open air) folded them up for a pillow!

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 22 December 1836 ]

Tuesday 27 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Sunday last was Christmas Day! What a temperature to regale on plum-pudding! nevertheless we did so! In the morning we attended prayers read by Mr Kingston, with a sermon on “The Birth of Christ”, but the congregation did not exceed 30 persons! Yesterday was oppressively hot: in the hut the thermometer stood at 86E – in the tent, under the inner covering 104E & under the outer covering 116E.

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

Wednesday 28 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

This morning, on going as usual to let out my goats, I saw 2 large Ships entering the Bay, which proved to be the “Buffalo” (bringing the Governor & other officers) & the “Cygnet” from Port Lincoln. Before 8 o’clk a messenger arrived at my tent requiring my attendance on board. I found His Excellency & the whole party in good health & spirits, & full of hope & ardour to commence their Colonial career. After some consultation it was decided that the Governor & emigrants should land here at once, & that in the course of the day, the necessary oaths should be taken & the Governor’s commission read. At 3 o’clk the Marines from the “Buffalo” were drawn up in a line, & the whole of the Colonists assembled in front of my tent. Before however reading the commission in public, I took the necessary oaths of office, & as senior Member of Council present, I administered to the Governor the oaths of office. We then held a Council in my tent for the purpose of agreeing upon a Proclamation requiring all to obey the laws & declaring the Aborigines to have equal rights & an equal claim upon the protection of the Government with the white Colonists. The Commission was then read in public, a [tooltip color=”grey” text=”A rifle salute. In French means “fire of joy”.”] “feu-de-joie” [/tooltip] was fired by the Marines, the white ensign hoisted, & a salute fired by the ships. The Proclamation having been read, the meeting adjourned to Mr Kingston’s tent, where a cold dinner was provided for such as chose to partake of it, & the festivities were kept up unto a late hour. Rapidly as my heart beat on this occasion – an occasion to which, during the years I had devoted to the prosecution of the enterprise, I sometimes dared to anticipate and rejoice in; I was not suffered long to bestow even one thought upon it.

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

Thursday 29 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

The commission had hardly left my tent yesterday when the doctor was called in attendance upon my wife, who this morning at 6 o’clk gave the New Province a son! I say “gave the Province a son” for he is claimed by the Governor as his God-son, as being the first child born in the Colony, after the Establishment of the Government.

[ Read the full journal for: Thursday 29 December 1836 ]

Friday 30 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Wife & child both going on well. —  A meeting of the legislature was held in my tent, at which two acts were passed – one establishing Courts of general & petty sessions, & another fixing the qualification of Jurors. Some Magistrates were also appointed at the meeting.

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 30 December 1836 ]

Saturday 31 December 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

My wife taken seriously ill with symptoms of fever!

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 31 December 1836 ]