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Week 23 - Landfall

[ 1836 to 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 45: Proclamation and Celebration ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 43: Kangaroo Island ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 40 - Finally! The harbour is found ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 37: Building a Home ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 36: Family Life ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 35: Pastimes ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 34 - a tempest ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 26: Whose story? ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 25 - The demon drink ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 22: In Good Time ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 20 - infectious disease ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 18 - the port of Rio ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 16: Crossing the Line ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 16 - towards Australia ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 15 - high drama on the John Pirie ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 08: Employment ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 06 : Weathering the Storm ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 05: Ship Shape ]

At last the first two ships, the Duke of York and the Lady Mary Pelham are within sight of land. The Duke of York is the first to arrive, reaching the coast of Kangaroo Island on 26 July and sailing safely into Nepean Bay mid-morning on 27th. A beautiful rainbow greets them on arrival, a sign to the ever-faithful Captain Morgan that God continues to smile on their enterprise. He gives thanks that they have been delivered safely from their travels on the ‘tempestious ocean’. There is some consternation shortly afterwards as they realise that they have sailed into harbour on a flood tide, which promptly recedes leaving them aground.  But luckily the sea is calm and they are able to float free safely.

Of course they are keen to explore the Island and a small party promptly sets off for the shore. Samuel Stephens claims the honour of being the ‘first who ever set foot on the shore as a settler in the Colony of South A.’  Over the next few days they set about exploring and searching for fresh water. They find a river, which Stephens names the Morgan in honour of the captain. It will later be re-named the Cygnet, by which name it is known today. Although the distances are not great, the little party also discovers one of the hazards of Kangaroo Island almost immediately, when the party becomes lost in thick scrub around the river.  It will be late on the next day before they reach the ship in safety, after many anxious hours without food or water. The Duke of York is a very welcome sight. Doubly so, since they find that the Lady Mary Pelham has also arrived in the interim and is anchored alongside. The little settlement seems set to begin in earnest.

The remaining vessels are spaced at intervals over the long sea route. High seas and storms continue to afflict the John Pirie and the poor animals are suffering badly.  There is a fair chance that they will not survive much longer, unless the weather improves.  The Africaine also runs into rough weather, and Captain Duff calls all able bodied men on deck in the middle of the night, to help haul in the sails. The Buffalo meanwhile is still tacking in English waters waiting for favourable conditions to set sail.  The enforced delay does allow for an unusual ceremony on board however, as Governor Hindmarsh exercises his new-found authority to issue licenses enabling three couples to be married before the entire ship’s company. They all troupe to the Governor’s cabin afterwards where they are ‘regaled’ with refreshments, then continue the celebrations on deck with wine, singing and dancing.  It is an optimistic start to their journey south.

map: Kangaroo Island 1831
1831 map of Kangaroo Island by S M Mowle

Journals from passengers at sea:

Week 42: Numeracy Onboard

Over the past eight months we have read many journal entries, diaries and letters describing the experiences, thoughts, ideas and feelings of those onboard the nine ships. We have followed the authors…

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Week 25 – The demon drink

[ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | , on board the | | | | | | | | wrote.]

On land It is one week into the grand experiment of colonisation and things are not going well at Nepean Bay. Samuel Stephens and Captains Morgan and Ross have their hands full, with both the company …

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Week 20 – infectious disease

[ | | | | | | | | | | , on board the | | | | | | wrote.]

The Duke of York is now in the Southern Ocean, making good progress. It is Captain Morgan’s wife’s birthday and he reflects endearingly on his love for her and his happiness in the married state….

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Week 14 – steady progress

[ | | | | | | | | | , on board the | | | | | wrote.]

All six ships are making steady progress, sailing south in the Atlantic. The weather is fine and conditions pleasant, but relations on board the John Pirie and the Cygnet are tense. On the John Pirie …

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Week 13 – tensions reach breaking point

[ | | | | | | | , on board the | | | | | wrote.]

This week we catch up with the Cygnet as it approaches the Equator. A bout of bad weather has seen many of the passengers sick and conditions below deck are foul. Boyle Travers Finniss is impatient with…

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Week 06 – a ‘perfect Hurricane’

[ | | | | , on board the | | | wrote.]

On 26 March the John Pirie seemed to be making progress, as it finally cleared the English Channel and struck out for the Atlantic Ocean. But just west of the Bay of Biscay the weather worsened…

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Next week:

From now on we have two quite different threads to our story – the first following the emigrants who have reached Kangaroo Island and the second following those still on the ocean. The beginning on Kangaroo Island is far from auspicious, with a good deal of quarrelling and a threatened strike amongst the crews of both vessels.  On the Buffalo the Misses Hindmarsh exercise their creative talents, to some discouraging reviews from George Stevenson.

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Chart of Kangaroo Island with features noted by George Sutherland when he explored the region. Created by S.M Mowle.  Published in 1831. Image courtesy of National Library of Australia, F 488

Comments or Questions:

4 Responses to “Week 23 – Landfall”

  1. Diane Cummings August 4, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Greeting all. Week23-landfall includes a statement which may not be correct:
    “Samuel Stephens claims the honour of being the ‘first who ever set foot on the shore as a settler in the Colony of South A.”

    Please see the following Newspaper report which offers a more plausible suggestion – a decision reportedly made by Captain Morgan himself – that the infant daughter of Mrs Beare should be the favoured individual [to be the first to set foot on the virgin soil].
    http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/fh/passengerlists/1836DukeYork SA report.jpg

    I also refer you to Page 6, Column D of The South Australian REGISTER newspaper July 27th 1886 [titled – The Old Salt] for further information.

    “Most of the passengers wished to be the first to land in the new colony, but Captain Morgan settled the dispute very cleverly. He instructed the second mate Robert Russell to have some sailors row the youngest, two and a half year old Elizabeth Beare, daughter of the Company’s Deputy Manager, Thomas Hudson Beare as close as possible to the shore. Then Russell was to carry her through the shallow water and place her feet on the beach while the adults were at dinner. In doing so she was the first white female to set foot on that strand. When this happened the crew began to cheer and the passengers soon realised that a landing had been made without them knowing it.”

    • Margaret August 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      Thanks for this comment Diane. We are aware of these later references and will put an expanded discussion note on the site soon.
      Margaret History SA

    • Allison September 2, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      Hello, again, Diane.

      We have created a more comprehensive disucssion about the first landing – see what you think.

      Allison – History SA

  2. Neil Miller July 31, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    I am a direct descendant of Thomas Hudson Beare, (the second-in-command of the South Australian Company and the first family to arrive in our state ), and have just returned from the Settlement Day celebrations on Kangaroo Island. I am quite surprised that you did not state that 2 year old Elizabeth Beare was the FIRST of the settlers to set foot on KI, not Stephens ? There is a memorial plaque erected by the heritage volunteers on the site of the first landings and it specially states that ” The members of the crew of the Duke of York rowed Elizabeth Beare to the shore and the second mate Robert Russell carried her through the water and placed her on the sandy beach “, thus ensuring her place in our history as the first official settler to set foot on South Australian soil. This fact was heavily publicised during the 27th July 2011, 175th Anniversary Celebrations on the island. Could you please rectify this historical fact in your next edition of your wonderful ” Bound for South Australia ” website. Best regards to Mandy Paul, from Neil Miller.

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