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Week 26 - the expanding settlement

[ 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 ]

On Kangaroo Island

The fledgling settlement on Kangaroo Island is now into its third week and it is not a happy place. Samuel Stephens and Captains Morgan and Ross are increasingly anxious about their failure to find an adequate supply of fresh water nearby. Both the Duke of York and the Lady Mary Pelham need to replenish their stocks so that they can leave to start whaling and they are finding it very difficult to control their crew members. The well they have dug at first seems brackish, which causes near panic. When they reach fresh water the well fills very slowly, delaying the work of re-provisioning the ships. Stephens desperately needs a boat to bring casks of fresh water from the River Morgan, but is not prepared to pay the price the first of the established settlers on the Island they meet are asking.  Luckily more of the existing settlers hear of their arrival and come to the beach to introduce themselves.  Stephens meets William Cooper, then two days later George Bates and Nathaniel Thomas. A relieved Stephens is able to reach agreement with William Cooper both for the use of his boat and his general assistance for the foreseeable future. That settled Stephens can turn his mind to other pressing problems – notably controlling his workforce! The crew of the Lady Mary Pelham is mutinous, threatening to desert and refusing to work.  They are constantly drunk, and there is a good deal of pilfering. Moreover they seem to a have found allies amongst the Company’s workers. A nervous Captain Ross arms himself, afraid of an all-out assault. There is a great deal of quarrelling too and Stephens gets heartily sick of listening to all the complaints.

Amid all the strife there is some good news. On 14 August Captain Morgan brings Miss Beare and the Beare children on shore and delivers them to Stephens‘ tent, where they are to sleep.  Mrs Beare is still too ill to care for the children and their aunt seems to have assumed this role. We learn that Stephens is to marry Miss Beare. In the interim he is careful to record in his diary that he intends to ‘mount guard until 2 am’ and then sleep wrapped up in his [tooltip color=”grey” text=”Boat cloaks provided protection against the cold. An example in the collection of Britain’s National Maritime Museum was made in 1836. It was made of navy wool with a plush lining and was gathered at the shoulders into a high standing collar.”] boat cloak [/tooltip], to preserve appropriate decencies no doubt.

Then on 16 August the John Pirie arrives safely, bringing the total of new arrivals to 101. And we learn that Stephens plans to name the new settlement Kingscote. He anticipates a fine future for it – if the water supply problem can be solved.

scene: kangaroo island

Kangaroo Island. Edward Snell, 1849.

At Sea

The Africaine is in the doldrums and has managed to travel only 390 miles south in the past month. The heat is getting on people’s nerves and the animals are suffering too. Robert Gouger has brought several cashmere goats on board, along with a dog and a bird. When a favourite kid dies, he arranges for the others to have the run of the deck, which must have made life interesting for everyone else. He does not mention who cleaned up the mess. It is now obvious that this will not be a quick journey and the captain must consider seriously whether to put in at a port to replenish supplies.  The Gougers hope that he will decide to call at the Cape.  They have a long shopping list ready. But then the winds pick up and it seems they might lose the chance after all.

On the Buffalo meanwhile Young Bingham Hutchinson is in a pensive mood. He turns 30 on 14 August and mourns the passing of his youth. It is an ‘awful and painful reflection’ he writes, ‘being still a bachelor, and likely to continue so for some time.’ This is an interesting comment on popular ideas about maturity, and perhaps on what he thought was the proper time to marry. Evidently none of the unattached young ladies on board has taken his fancy. Or perhaps he is suffering from unrequited love? We will have to wait and see what transpires. George Stevenson, meanwhile, continues to find his employer, the Governor, unimpressive.

The surveyors on the Rapid seem less given to self reflection.  Captain Light’s journal is brief and factual, noting his arrival near Encounter Bay, which he finds ‘exactly as described by Flinders.’ In the end the John Pirie and the Rapid arrive within a few days of each other, at the ‘New-Colony’ of ‘South Australia’ as the Pirie diarist notes. Dr Woodforde, surgeon on the Rapid can’t wait to head off on shore with his gun, and like those before him explores the River Morgan, shooting ‘seafowl’ for the {tooltip} mess {end-text} A fresh serving of food{end-tooltip} that night. By the end of this week there are 128 newly arrived souls on the beach at Nepean Bay. The quiet and secluded life of the tiny community around Henry Wallen, Nat Thomas and their families will never be the same again.

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 ]