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Week 39 - settling in at Holdfast Bay

[ 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 ]

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 scurvy   a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterised by bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds 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 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?


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

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.

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