Sunday 4 December 1836

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

4 December-After many shifts of wind, sudden gusts, and a great deal of trouble, we came to an anchor at ten a.m. in seven fathoms water, under Grantham’s Island; the Cygnet was seen at anchor in the bight of the Harbour; at eleven Captain Lipson came on board and remained with us about an hour; he spoke most highly of this harbour and the land, and thought there could be no doubt of its being the best situation for the capital. I certainly was much pleased to find we had so many good places in this part of the world, for should this prove the fittest place for the capital, still the eastern shore of Gulf Saint Vincent would always be an extensive corn and grazing country; however, it was determined we should go on shore together and examine it; we had strong gusts of wind with occasional rain all the afternoon. I will now insert a copy of my letter the Commissioners:
Brig Rapid, Port Lincoln,
5 December, 1836.
Gentlemen-I mentioned in my last my intention of sending Mr Pullen with my reports to Nepean Bay, to reach the Africaine before her departure, and on 28 November having landed all I wished at Rapid Bay, I proceeded for Nepean Bay for our surveying boat; Mr Pullen, accompanied by Mr Morphett had, during a gale from the eastward, been drifted beyond Point Marsden and did not reach Nepean Bay until the day after the Africaine had sailed; they had been in great danger, but were providentially restored to us in safety. The necessity of getting fresh provisions increases daily: at Rapid Valley nine labourers out of fifteen are hardly able to do any thing from scorbutic sores on their feet and ankles; another has a finger which I fear must eventually come off having pricked it with a fish bone; one of my boat’s crew on 26 November hurt his fingers between two pigs of ballast, and his hand is now so bad that I much fear he will suffer some months; and out of a small ship’s company there are five with swelled feet and ankles, besides a number at Holdfast Plain suffering from the same cause. These cases will, I hope, convince the Commissioners that I have only acted for the best in sending for fresh stock from Hobart Town.

The Cygnet had been sent here from Gulf Saint Vincent with Captain Lipson, to await the arrival of the Governor, and I was sorry on our arrival yesterday at seeing the Cygnet at anchor alone, for I was full of hopes that by this time the Governor had arrived. It is very odd that every time I write I have to report the bad state of the weather; it has been blowing hard occasionally since 26 November, and now a perfect gale, with thick rainy weather. I am decidedly of opinion that Port Lincoln is no harbour for merchant ships; looking at it as a port for men of war well-manned, plenty of boats, &c. it is very well; it is capacious, and there is excellent holding ground, but the strong gusts of wind shifting all round compass renders the entrance not altogether so safe as the plan of it on paper would indicate. When Captain Lipson came here in the Cygnet, they had fine light easterly breezes all the way; we, however, found that coming into this harbour was more troublesome than anything we have met with since our arrival in South Australia.

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