Wednesday 28 December 1836

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

Wednesday Decr 28. 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. News also of the Tam o’Shanter which had arrived
at Nepean Bay more than a month ago and was now at Jones’s harbour. In
going in she got upon a bank, & it is reported has suffered a good deal: that
she was not sea-worthy & has been making six inches an hour since she
left England. It will be necessary to have her surveyed for which purpose
I mean to go to the Harbour to-morrow, as I must now act in behalf of
the under writers of Lloyds. 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 feu de joie 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 . . .

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