Sunday 25 December 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

DECEMBER 25.-This being Christmas Day and Sunday, Divine Service was held for the first time in the rush hut of the principal surveyor, a short distance from our tents. We attended, taking our seats with us, the signal for assembling being the firing of a gun. The congregation numbered twenty-five persons, including the two gentlemen who conducted the service. The thermometer stood at 100 degrees, and most of those assembled were in the open air.

In the afternoon we took a walk round the lagoon, and saw a large iguana basking in the sun. It was about three feet long, in form like a lizard, with a long pointed tail and of a beautiful light brown, in some parts approaching to gold colour. It observed us, but made no attempt to escape, and seemed perfectly harmless. This was the first reptile of any kind we had seen since our landing, but an iguana and some other smaller animals of the kind were brought on board the Africaine. A man told me that he had killed a black snake four feet in length. I also heard of another having been seen, but they did not appear to be numerous.

We kept up the old custom of Christmas as far as having a plum pudding for dinner, likewise a ham and a parrot pie, but one of our neighbours, as we afterwards found, had a large piece of roast beef, though we were not aware at the time that any fresh meat was to be had in the colony, and that, I believe, was partly salted. The fact was, when we landed at Glenelg, one of the passengers of the Africaine took charge of Captain Duff’s cow and calf, and the former, which had been tied to a tree near the lagoon, got over the bank and fell in, being so much injured that it was found expedient to kill her. Thus some of the colonists were supplied with their Christmas beef.

At about 9 o’clock this evening two beautiful meteors, resembling large and brilliant stars, passed our tent within a few feet of the ground. I was standing near the door, and had an opportunity of observing them, notwithstanding the rapidity of their motion, which was in the direction from north to south. They vanished in a few seconds. The thermometer still upwards of 90 degrees, and the evening very close.

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