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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 ]