weeks passed
weeks to go

Week 39 - settling in at Holdfast Bay

[ 13th of November 1836 to 19th of November 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 39: Time ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 39 - settling in at Holdfast Bay ]

In South Australia

Colonel Light is busy making arrangements to secure food and means of transport for the new settlement at Holdfast Bay.  He contracts with Captain Duff of the Africaine to buy sheep, oxen and carts in Hobart and writes a long letter of explanation to the Commissioners in London to justify his purchases. He is concerned in particular to source enough fresh meat to supply the settlement and combat the ominous signs of a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterised by bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds scurvy he observes in some of those around him. That done to his satisfaction, he prepares to explore ‘the creek’ with George Kingston, before sailing to inspect Port Lincoln.

The passengers from the Africaine meanwhile are settling into their tents on shore.  Mary Thomas leaves the ship with relief and settles her family into two large tents. Although anxious at her strange surroundings, she is delighted with the countryside around her, which she says ‘was certainly beautiful and resembled an English park, with long grass in abundance and fine trees scattered about’. She is very impressed with the beautiful plumage of the native birds and is amused by the magpie’s capacity as a mimic. It can already imitate the rooster’s crow.


Scene: Robert Thomas's tent and rush hut



Robert Thomas’ tent and rush tent, Glenelg. 1836. Image courtesy of SLSA [B2128

At Rapid Bay John Woodforde has time on his hands once again and is able to indulge his passion for shooting and fishing. To judge from his account, parrots and quail are in strong demand, as a ‘change’ from kangaroo. The settlement also has a lesson in the dangers of grass fires in this new land, when a labourer carelessly sets fire to a patch of ground and nearly burns the tents. And on Kangaroo Island William Deacon records the sad news that the two missing young men are now assumed to be dead.

At sea

On the Buffalo the men take time out to shoot some sea birds, including a large albatross. George Stevenson drafts a ‘Proclamation for our landing, with especial reference to Lord Glenelg’s benevolent views towards the Aborigines, & using in fact his Lordship’s own words as I find them in the Instructions.’ His wife is inclined to think that Hindmarsh is an unworthy vehicle for such a piece. ‘Perhaps it is so,’ he writes, ‘but the Proclamation, if not suited to the man, is to the circumstances of the Colony, & expresses, not His Excellency’s views certainly, but those of higher principled & better men’. Men like Stevenson perhaps?

Next week

Light is greatly relieved to discover a safe and commodious harbour, while excursions inland confirm the desirability of settling on the Plains. The Buffalo continues on its way slowly, but the water ration is reduced once more to general complaint.

Find out more:

Vessel/s: | | |
People: | | | | | | | | | |
Place/s: | | |
Topic/s: |
Issues & Themes:

Share this page:

Comments or Questions:

No comments yet.