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Title:      Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon (1788)
Author:     George B. Worgan (1757-1838)
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Language:   English
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to a blank page and inserted a description of the French ships at
Botany Bay in the midst of his entry for 22 January.

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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Journal of a First Fleet Surgeon (1788)
Author:     George B. Worgan (1757-1838)

George B. Worgan (1757-1838)
Surgeon of the Sirius

Note: The text follows Worgan's text as it was written. Sometimes
he inserted phrases and extra information, and on one occasion returned
to a blank page and inserted a description of the French ships at
Botany Bay in the midst of his entry for 22 January.

Published by The William Dixon Foundation, 1978.

* * * * *

Sirius, Sydney Cove, Port Jackson--June 12th 1788.

Dear Richard.

I think I hear You saying, "Where the D--ce is Sydney Cove Port Jackson"?
and see You whirling the Letter about to find out the the Name of the
Scribe: Perhaps You have taken up Salmons Gazetteer, if so, pray spare
your Labour, and attend to Me for half an Hour--We sailed from the Cape
of Good Hope on the 12th of November 1787- As that was the last
civilized Country We should touch at, in our Passage to Botany Bay We
provided ourselves with every Article, necessary for the forming a
civilized Colony, Live Stock, consisting of Bulls, Cows, Horses Mares,
Colts, Sheep, Hogs, Goats Fowls and other living Creatures by Pairs. We
likewise, procured a vast Number of Plants, Seeds & other Garden
articles, such, as Orange, Lime, Lemon, Quince Apple, Pear Trees, in a
Word, every Vegetable Production that the Cape afforded. Thus Equipped,
each Ship like another Noah's Ark, away we steered for Botany Bay, and
after a tolerably pleasant Voyage of 10 Weeks & 2 Days Governour
Phillip, had the Satisfaction to see the whole of his little Fleet safe
at Anchor in the said Bay.

As we were sailing in We saw 8 or 10 of the Natives, sitting on the
Rocks on the South Shore, and as the Ships bordered pretty near thereto,
we could hear them hollow, and observe them talking to one another very
earnestly, at the same time pointing towards the Ships; they were of a
black reddish sooty Colour, entirely naked, walked very upright, and
each of them had long Spears and a short Stick in their hands, soon
after the Ships had anchored, the Indians went up into the Wood, lit a
Fire, and sat Around about it, as unconcerned (apparently,) as tho'
nothing had occurred to them. Two Boats from the Sirius, were now Manned
and armed, and the Governor, accompanied by Hunter, and several
other Officers, went towards the Shore, where they had seen the Natives,
who perceiving the Boats making towards the Beach, came out of the Wood,
and walked along, some distance from the Water-side, but immediately on
the Boats landing, they scampered up into the Woods again, with great
Precipitation. On this, the Governor, advised, that we should seem quite
indifferent about them, and this apparent Indifference had a good
Effect, for they very soon appeared in sight of Us, When, the Governor
held up some Beads, Red Cloth & other Bawbles and made signs for them to
advance, but they still were exceedingly shy & timid, and would not be
enticed by our allurements; which the Governor perceiving, He shewed
them his Musket, then laid it on the Ground, advancing singly towards
them, they now seeing that He had nothing in his Hands like a Weapon one
of ye oldest of the Natives gave his Spears to a younger, and approached
to meet the Governor, but not without discovering manifest tokens of
Fear, and distrust, making signs for the things to be laid on the Ground
which, the Governor complying with, He advanced, tooke them up, and went
back to his Companions; Another, came forth and wanted some of the same
kind of Presents, which, were given to Him by the same Method, at
length, after various Methods to impress them with the Belief that We
meant them no harm, they suffered Us to come up to them, and after
making them all presents, which they received with much the same kind of
Pleasure, which Children shew at such Bawbles, just looking at them,
then holding out their Hands for more, some laughing heartily, and
jumping extravagantly; they began to shew a Confidence, and became very
familiar, and curious about our Cloaths, feeling the Coat, Waistcoat,
and even the Shirt and on seeing one of the Gentlemen(Unclear:), pull
off his Hat, they all set up a loud Hoop, one was curious enough to take
hold of a Gentlemans Hair that was cued, and called to his Companions to
look at it, this was the occasion of another loud Hoop, accompanied with
other Emotions of Astonishment. In a Word, they seemed pretty well
divested of their Fears, and became very funny Fellows.

They suffered the Sailors to dress them with different coloured Papers,
and Fools-Caps, which pleased them mightily, the strange contrast these
Decorations made with their black Complexion brought strongly to my
Mind, the Chimney-Sweepers in London on a May-Day.--They were all Men &
Boys in this Tribe.

I should have told You, that the Governor, left the Sirius soon after we
sailed from the Cape of Good Hope; and Embarked on Board the Supply Brig
& Gave up the Command of ye Convoy to Hunter, in order that he
might proceed on before the main Body of the Fleet, but he arrived in
Botany Bay, only two Days before Us. In this Time, He had obtained an
Intercourse or two, with some Natives on the North Shore, but, as the
Means which he took to gain their Confidence, and effect a Parley, were
much the same as those, I have given you an account of, I shall only
mention a few singular Circumstances that occurred in these
Intercourses. The Supply Brig, arrived in ye Bay about 2 oClk in the
Afternoon, of ye 18th January and at 4 oClock, The Governor, attended by
several Officers, went in two armed Boats towards a part of the Shore
where, 6 of the Natives, were, and had been sitting the whole time the
Supply was entering the Bay, looking and pointing at Her with great
Earnestness; When the Boats had approached pretty near this Spot, two of
the Natives got up, and came close to the Waters-Edge, making Motions,
pointing to another part of the Shore and talking very fast & loud,
seemingly, as if the Part to which they pointed, was better landing for
the Boats, they could not however, discern any thing unfriendly, or
threatening in the Signs and Motions which the Natives
made.--Accordingly the Boats coasted along the Shore in a Direction for
the Place, to which, they had been directed, the Natives following on
the Beach. In the mean Time, the Governor, or somebody in his Boat, made
Signs that they wanted Water, this they signified by putting a Hat over
the Side of the Boat and seeming to take up some of the salt Water put
it to his Mouth, the Natives, immediately, understood this Sign and with
great Willingness to Oblige, pointed to the Westward, and walked that
Way, apparently with an Intention to show their Visitors the very Spot.
The Boats steered towards the Place, and soon discovered the Run of
fresh Water, opposite to which, they landed, and tasting it found it to
be very good. The Natives had stopped about 30 Yards from ye Place where
the Boat landed, to whom, the Gentlemen made signs of thanks for their
friendly Information, at the same time offering Presents, and doing
every thing they could think of, to make them lay aside their Fears and
advance towards them, but this point was gained only, by the Methods
that I have mentioned: and when they did venture to come and take the
things out of the Governor's & the other Gentlemen's Hands, it was with
evident Signs of Fear, the Gentlemen now having distributed all their
Presents among them, returned on Board.

Thus, was our first Intercourse obtained, with these Children of
Nature.--About 12 of the Natives appeared the next Morning, on the Shore
opposite to the Supply, they had a Dog with them, (something of the Fox
Species); The Governor and the same Gentlemen that were of his Party
Yesterday went on Shore, and very soon came to a Parley with them, there
were some of their Acquaintances among the Number, and these advanced
first (leaving their Spears with their Companions who remained behind at
a little Distance) as they had done Yesterday); They all of them in a
short time became Confident, Familiar & vastly funny took any thing that
was offered them, holding out their Hands and making Signs for many
things that they saw, laughed when we laughed, jumped extravagantly, and
grunted by way of Music, & Repeated many Words & Phrases after Us. The
Gentlemen having passed about an hour with them, returned on Board, but
could not induce any of the Natives to accompany them there. A Party of
Us made an Excursion up an Arm in the North part of the Bay, where we
had not been long landed before we discovered among the Bushes a Tribe
of the Natives, who at first did not discover such an inoffensive &
friendly Disposition, as those I have spoke of, above; for these rude,
unsociable Fellows, immediately threw a Lance, which fell very near one
of the Sailors, and stuck several Inches in the Ground, we returned the
Compliment by firing a Musket over their Heads, on which I thought they
would have (Unclear:)broken their Necks with running away from Us. about
an hour after, we, in our Ramble, fell in with them again, they stood
still, but seemed ready for another Start. One of Us, now laid down the
Musket and advanced towards them singly, holding out some Bawbles, and
making Signs of Peace; In a little time they began to gain Confidence,
and two of them approached to meet the Gentlemen who held out the
Presents, the Introduction being amicably settled, they all joined Us,
and took the Trinkets we offered them; The same Emotions of Pleasure,
Astonishment, Curiosity & Timidity, appeared in these poor Creatures, as
had been observed in our first Acquaintances--There were some Old and
young Women in this Tribe, whom the Men seemed very jealous & careful
of, keeping them at Distance behind some young Men, who were armed with
Spears, Clubs & Shields, apparently as a Guard to them. We could see
these curious Evites peeping through the Bushes at Us, and we made signs
to the Men, who were still with Us, that We wished to give some Trinkets
to the Women, on which, One of their Husbands, or Relations (as we
supposed) hollowed to them in an authoritative Tone, and one of these
Wood-Nymphs (as naked as Eve before she knew Shame) obeyed (Unclear:)or
obliged and came up to Us; when; we presented her with a Bracelet of
blue Beads for her obliging Acquiescence; She was extremely shy & timid,
suffering Us, very reluctantly, even to touch Her; Indeed, it must be
merely from the Curiosity, to see how they would behave, on an Attempt
to be familiar with them, that one would be induced to touch one of
Them, for they are Ugly to Disgust, in their Countenances and stink of
Fish-Oil & Smoke, most sweetly.--I must not omit mentioning a very
singular Curiosity among the Men here, arising from a Doubt of what Sex
we are, for from our not having, like themselves long Beards, and not
seeing when they open our Shirt-Bosoms (which they do very roughly and
without any Ceremony) the usual distinguishing Characteristics of Women,
they start Back with Amazement, and give a Hum! with a significant look,
implying. What kind of Creatures are these?!--As it was not possible for
Us to satisfy their Inquisitiveness in this Particular, by the simple
Words. Yes or No. We had Recourse to the Evidence of Ocular
Demonstration, which made them laugh, jump & Skip in an extravagant
Manner.--In a Tribe of these funny, curious Fellows, One of them, after
having had His Curiosity gratified by this mode of Conviction, went into
the Wood, and presently came forth again, jumping & laughing with a
Bunch of broad Leaves tied before Him, by Way of a Fig-leaf
Veil.--Before we took our leave of the Tribe that threw the Lance; they
endeavoured to convince Us, that it was not thrown by general Consent,
and one of them severely reprimanded the Man who threw it, and several
of them struck him, but more to shew Us their Disapprobation of what he
had done, than as a Punishment for it.

During our stay at Botany Bay, the Governor. had made himself well
acquainted with the Situation of the Land Nature of the Soil &c. &c.
which he not finding so Eligible, as he could Wish, for the Purpose of
forming a Settlement, He determined, before he fixed on it, to visit an
Inlet on the Coast, about 12 Miles to the Northward of this Bay which,
our great Circumnavigator, Captns Cook, discovered, and named, (in
honour of one of the then Commissioners of the Navy) Port Jackson
accordingly, the Governor, attended by a Number of Officers went in 3
Boats, on this Expedition, and the third day, they returned, gave it as
their Opinion, that Port Jackson was one of the most spacious and safe
Harbours in the known World, and said they had already fixed on a Spot,
on which the Settlement was to be formed. In Consequence of this
Success, the Idea was entirely given up, of establishing a Colony at
Botany Bay, and three days after, the Wind favouring our Designs, the
Fleet sailed for Port Jackson and in the Evening of the Day of our
Departure, We arrived, and anchored in one of the many beautiful Coves
which it Contains, which Cove Sir, the Governor has, (in honour of Lord
Sydney), named Sydney Cove.

Though the Description given by the Gentlemen who first, visited this
Port was truly luxuriant, and wore the air of Exaggeration, Yet they had
by no means done its Beauties and Conveniences Justice, for as an
Harbour, None, that has hitherto been described, equals it in
Spaciousness and Safety. the Land forms a Number of pleasant Coves in
most of which 6 or 7 Ships may lie secured to the Trees on Shore. It
contains likewise a Number of small Islands, which are covered with
Trees and a variety of Herbage all which appears to be Evergreens. The
Whole, (in a Word) exhibits a Variety of Romantic Views, all thrown
together into sweet Confusion by the careless hand of Nature. Well, Dear
Dick, now I have brought you all the Way to Sydney Cove, I must tell you
what we have done, since our arrival in these Seas, & in this Port--what
we are doing, what has happened &c. &c.

On the Evening of our Arrival (26th January 1788) The Governor & a
Number of the Officers assembled on Shore where, they Displayed the
British Flag and each Officer with a Heart, glowing with Loyalty drank
his Majesty's Health and Success to the Colony. The next Day, all the
Artificers & an 100 of the Convicts were landed, carrying with them the
necessary Utensils for clearing the Ground and felling the Trees. By the
Evening, they were able to pitch a Number of Tents and some Officers,
and private Soldiers slept on shore that Evening. In the Interval of
that time and the Date of this Letter, the principal Business has been
the clearing of Land, cutting, Grubbing and burning down Trees, sawing
up Timber & Plank for Building, making Bricks, hewing Stone, Erecting
temporary Store-houses, a Building for an Hospital, another for an
Observatory, Enclosing Farms & Gardens, making temporary Huts, and many
other Conveniences towards the establishing of a Colony.

A small Settlement has been established on an Island, which is about a
Fortnight's sail from this place, and named by Cook Norfolk
Island, the Intention of this Settlement I believe, is on account of the
fine Pine Trees, of wh the Island is full, and to try what the Soil will

We have discovered an Island in these Seas, never before seen by our
Navigators, We have named it, Lord Howe's Island It affords Turtle in
the Summer Season, and the Supply Brig, brought away 18 very fine Ones,
on which, we feasted most luxuriously, it also, abounds with Birds of
the Dove Species, which are so stupid, as to suffer us to take them off
the Bushes with our Hands. As this Island is not above 4 or 5 Days sail
from Port Jackson, we hope, to have Turtle Feasts frequently: if this be
the Case, I suppose We shall have a Ship-load of Aldermen coming out to
New South Wales.

As I mean to annex to this Letter, a kind of Journal of each Day's
Transaction and Occurrences, I shall pass over many things in this
Narrative, and enter immediately on a rough Sketch of the Country of New
South Wales, its Inhabitants &c. &c. as far, at least, as We have been
able to learn. Botany Bay, Port Jackson, and another Inlet (8 Miles to
the Northward of Port Jackson, which Captn: Cook calls Broken Bay,) lie
between the Latitudes of 35 & 40 South. This Part of the Coast (which
is as much as we have been near enough, to judge of) is moderately high
and regular, forming small Ridges, Plains, easy ascents and descents. It
is pretty generally clothed with Trees and Herbage Inland; The Shore is
rocky and bold, forming many bluff Heads, and overhanging Precipices. On
approaching the Land which forms Botany Bay (but I shall speak more
particularly to that which forms Port Jackson) It suggests to the
Imagination Ideas of luxuriant Vegetation and rural Scenery, consisting
of gentle risings & Depressions, beautifully clothed with variety of
Verdures of Evergreens, forming dense Thickets, & lofty Trees appearing
above these again, and now & then a pleasant checquered Glade opens to
your View.--Here, a romantic rocky, craggy Preipice over which, a
little purling stream makes a Cascade There, a soft vivid-green, shady
Lawn attracts your Eye: Such are the prepossessing Appearances which the
Country that forms Port Jackson presents successively to your View as
You sail along it.

Happy were it for the Colony, if these Appearances did not prove so
delusive as upon a nearer Examination they are found to do; For though
We meet with, in many parts, a fine black Soil, luxuriantly covered with
Grass, & the Trees at 30 or 40 Yards distant from each other, so as to
resemble Meadow Land, yet these Spots are frequently interrup: in their
Extent by either a rocky, or a sandy, or a Swampy Surface crowded with
large Trees, and almost impenetrable from Brush-wood which, being the
Case, it will necessarily require much Time and Labour to cultivate any
considerable Space of Land together. To be sure in our Excursions
Inland, which I believe have not exceeded 30 or 40 Miles in any
Direction, we have met with a great Extent of Park-like Country, and the
Trees of a moderate Size & at a moderate distance from each other, the
Soil, apparently, fitted to produce any kind of Grain and clothed with
extra-ordinarily luxuriant Grass, but from its Situation, and the
Quantity of Wood, though in a moderate Quantity in Comparison with that
in other Parts) It is the general Opinion here, that it would be a great
Length of Time, and require a vast Number of Cultivators to render it
fit to produce Grain enough to supply a small Colony. About 50 Miles to
the West, and North West Inland, there appears to be some mountainous
Country and from our having seen Smoke on it, now & then, We are led to
suppose that it is Inhabited. The Governour intends to visit these
Mountains shortly, and I have his permission to accompany Him in this
Excursion, but I don't think, he will go, before he has discharged, and
dispatched all the Ships for England.

Here is no collective Body of fresh Water, that merits the Name of a
River, except, perhaps, after heavy Rains What there is arises from
Springs, and forms Swamps and small Rivulets, it is very good in kind,
and there is a plenty of it, for two or three of these Rivulets empty
themselves into most of the Coves.--In Digging Wells You succeed in some
Parts, after having gone 3 or 4 Feet under the Surface, but this water
it seems, is only from Drains in others, You shall dig a considerable
depth and not meet with any Water. We have discovered a Soil in many
Parts of the Country excellently adapted for making Bricks, and a Brick-
Ground is already prepared, where 8 or 10 Convicts of the Trade are
employed, and they say the Bricks are as good as those made in England.
= Here is plenty of Materials for the Mason & Stone-Cutters to practice
their art on; and they speak very highly of the Quality of the Stone, as
being well-adapted for Buildings. = As a Cement for these Materials,
Nature has provided a whitish Marl, which, the Masons think will answer
tolerably well; if it should not, they have no resource but in burning
Oyster, & Cockle Shells, for no Stone has been yet discovered that will
do for Lime.

Of the Vegetable Productions of this Country, and first, of the Trees,
We have found three kinds that answer tolerably well for Building, the
largest of these is lofty and thick some of Feet in Height before a
Branch springs out, and are from in Circumference.--The Leaves and Twigs
of this Tree have a warm, aromatic Flavour, and there exudes from the
Trunk of them a red astringent Gum: On the Trees being Cut I have seen
this Gum gush out like Blood from an Artery. = The next Tree for
Magnitude is (they think) a Species of the Mahogany. This does not grow
so straight, nor to such a Height or Circumference by far, as the above
Tree. = The third kind bears Leaves like a Fir, is remarkably straight
and runs up free from a Branch to the Height of Feet, & from 3 to in
Circumference, the Wood of it is heavy & hard, and they have discovered
that it makes good Shingle, with which they have already covered a large
Store-house, and find it to answer very well. It is from this Tree, the
Natives strip the Bark for the making of their Canoes, but of the Manner
of doing this, By & By.

Cabbage-Trees abound here, it is a beautiful Tree, growing perfectly
Straight to the Height of 70, 80 or 90 Feet. The Cabbage is at the Top,
enclosed in a Fibrous Network, and about this, large Fan-like leaves
spring out.

The Cabbage eats something like a Nut. the Wood of these Trees, (wh. is
very soft,) is of great Use to Us, for; cut into proper lengths and
split in half, they serve for walling the Huts. = Unfortunately, none of
this Timber cuts into good Beams or good Planks, it being for ye most
part shattery, and full of Cracks; however, the Carpenters think it may
be improved by taking the proper Methods, used for seasoning
Timber.--Here is a dwarfish Tree, bearing a long Rush-like Leaf, the
Trunk of which yields a Quantity of a yellowish Gum, resembling in
Taste, the Storax, the Natives use this Gum as a Glue for sticking the
pointed Bone on their Fish-Gigs, it is something singular, that all, of
this kind of Trees, and many others appear to have been partly burnt,
the Bark of them being like charcoal. Of Fruits Trees we have found a
small Fig, and Berries of unknown, species, One bears a Nut, which after
some preparation, the Natives Eat, but one of the Convicts has been
poisoned by it, in its crude State. As to the Shrubs and Plants and
Herbs of this Country "Tis beyond the Power, of Botanists to number up
their Tribes.--Among the useful we have discovered, Balm, Parsley,
Samphire, Sorrel, & a kind of Spinnage, but, all indifferent in kind a
Shrub bearing a Fruit like a Sloe, and here is a Fruit which tastes
exactly like the Currant when green, but these Fruits are scarce. The
Woods are decorated with a Variety of prettily coloured Flowers, but
there is not above 2 or 3 kinds that have any Fragrance I have seen a
kind of Myrtle in some few Spots.

The Spots of Ground that we have cultivated for Gardens, have brought
forth most of the Seeds that we put in soon after our Arrival here, and
besides the common culinary Plants, Indigo, Coffee, Ginger, Castor Nut
Oranges, Lemons, & Limes, Firs & Oaks, have vegitated from Seed, but
whether from any unfriendly, deleterious Quality of the Soil or the
Season, nothing seems to flourish vigorously long, but they shoot up
suddenly after being put in the Ground, look green & luxuriant for a
little Time, blossom early, fructify slowly & weakly, and ripen before
they come to their proper Size. Indeed, many of the Plants wither long
ere they arrive at these Periods of Growth,--but then this Circumstance
must be considered, they were sown, the very worst Season.

I have, also, enclosed a spot of Ground for a Garden and make the
Cultivation of it one of my Amusements. I put Peas, and broad Beans in,
soon after I arrived, (February) the Peas podded in 3 Months, the Beans
are still (June) in Blossom. and neither of the Plants are above a Foot
high, and out of five Rows of the Peas each 3 Feet in length, I shall
not get above 20 Pods, however my Soil is rather too sandy, and in some
Spots I see Vegetation has a stronger Appearance. If there are any
Plants that flourish better than others, it is thought, that these are
Yam, Pompkin;--and ye Turnips are very sweet, but small. I opened one
of my Potatoe Beds, & found 6 or 7 at each Root; Indian Corn, and
English Wheat, I think promise very fair; But on the whole, it is
evident, that from some Cause or other, tho' most of ye Seeds vegetate,
the Plants degenerate in their Growth exceedingly.

The Plants which we brought here, from the Rio de Janeiro and the Cape
of Good Hope look tolerably promising, for ye most part, but some of
these have perished, and others appear to be withering.--From the short
time we have been here, 'twill be unfair to speak positively on the
Climate or the Soil, a Round of y Seasons will decide this Issue.

Having now given You some Account of what these Wildernesses are formed,
I'll say a Word or two of their Inhabitants, and first of the Human
Species, of which, (though we haved obtained many Intercorses with them)
We have been able to learn but little.--They are of a moderate Height,
few reaching up to 6 Feet, rather slight than Robust their Complexion is
of a reddish, Blackish Soot Colour, filthy & dirty to Disgust; Men Women
and Children go entirely naked, scorning a Veil as big as a Fig-leaf, I
cannot say their Features are very irregular such as they are, their
Lips are rather thick, their Teeth sound, but yellow, dark dingy Eyes,
broad, short Noses with wide Trumpet Nostrils which are plugged up with
dry drippings, their Hair is black and softish, and has more of a
Touselled than a curling appearance That on their Head has the
appearance of a full-bottom'd black scratch Wig put on with the Hind
part before.--The Men walk very upright, the Women stoop forward a
little, are very active & strong, there is something singular in their
Manner of sitting and standing, when they have a Mind to stand in an
easy Posture it is by resting on one Leg, and fixing the Foot of the
other flat on the Inside of the Knee of the Leg on which they are
standing, throwing their right Arm obliquely behind them, and taking
hold of it with their left hand put across their Back. When they sit,
they rest upon their Posteriors and their heels, the Knees sticking up
to their Chin; This Position with the Women, when sitting in their
Canoes makes a convenient Cradle for the Child, which they lay across
their Lap while they are fishing with a Line. In activas they are active
The Generallity of them, Men & Women, have Scars in different parts of
their Body, which in some, seem to have been cut in particular Lines by
way of ornament.--Many of the Women, Old & Young, Married & Unmarried
have had the two first joints of the little Finger of the left Hand cut
off, this Custom being apparently, practised indiscriminately, We do not
know what to conjecture of it.--Almost all the Men have had one of the
Fore-teeth extracted, but from being so universal we are equally at a
Loss as to ye Motive of this Custom, they will sometimes thrust their
Fingers into your Mouth to see if you have parted with this Tooth. the
Governor happens to want this Tooth, at which they appear somewhat
pleased & surprized. We have seen but few with a Bone thrust through the
bottom of the Division of the Nose, they likewise want to know if we
have the hole in that part, a Fellow picked up a Quill one Day, and was
trying whether he could poke it through my Nose, and two or three other
Gentlemen's, who were with Me, then shewing Us that he could not wear it
in his own, & shaking his Head.--Animals Teeth & Bones stuck in the Hair
with Gum is another of their elegant Ornaments. When we have taken hold
of these Decorations to admire them, several good-natured Fellows have
immediately pulled them off, and presented them to Us.

Among two or three Tribes, with which we have had a Parley, there have
appeared 18 or 20 stout young Fellows, seemingly chosen out by way of a
Guard to the Women, who always are observed to be at a distance behind
them, these Men are besmeared with Red and white Clay, and in such Lines
and Circles as to resemble ye Belts, Sashes, & Ornaments of our
Soldiers, they are armed with Spears, Clubs, Wooden Scimitars, &
Shields, & these peculiarities give them the Appearance of Warriors.

Captn. Hunter, in one of his Excursions up the Harbour met with a Tribe
of ye Natives, among whom, were a Number of these Warlike Heroes, and
while One or two of ye Elderly Civilians advanced towards Him, These,
stood at a Distance drawn up in somewhat a regular Disposition, each
having a green Bough in his Hand (an Emblem of Peace among these
People). Captain Hunter had invited them to come and take some Bawbles
which he held out, but he refused to give them to the old Men who had
come up to Him, making Signs, that he wished to give them to the Women,
(whom, he saw a small distance behind the Warriors). the old Fellows
finding he would not give the Presents to them, hollowed to the Women in
a stern Voice, on which, a young, attended by an old Woman (after being
called to 3 or 4 times) came forth, but showed evident signs & Emotions
of Shyness & Timidity in advancing to take the Presents from Cap.n
Hunter's hand. They suffered, (but not without trembling exceedingly,)
the Beads to be tied about their Necks & Wrists, this being done, they
retired back behind the Guard. Notwithstanding this apparent Shyness &
Timidity when in your Reach, Yet, the young Baggages, when at a Distance
from Us, make all the wanton significant signs imaginable.--It does not
appear that these poor Creatures have any fixed Habitation, sometimes
sleeping in a Cavern of a Rock, which they make as warm as an Oven by
lighting a Fire in the middle of it, they will take up their abode here,
for one Night perhaps, then in another the next Night, at other times
(and we believe mostly in ye Summer) they take up their Lodgings for a
Day or two in a miserable Wigwam, which they make of the Bark of a Tree,
(in ye form annexed), these are dispersed about the Woods near the
Water, 2. 3. 4 together some Oyster, Cockle & Muscle Shells lie about
the Entrance of them, but not in any Quantity to Indicate, that they
make these Huts their constant Habitations. We met with some that seemed
entirely deserted, or left for any other Tribe, that might want another
Lodging, indeed, it seems pretty evident, that their Habitations,
whether Caverns, or Wigwams, are common to all, and alternately
inhabited by different Tribes. In the few that we saw, while they had
Lodgers the whole stock of Furniture consisted of a Bundle of Spears, 3
or 4 fishing Lines, Shields & Baskets made of ye Bark of a Tree.

They associate (we have reason to think) in Family Tribes, the Eldest
assuming a Direction & Government over the Rest, each Tribe, according
the number, have 6, 8, or 10 Canoes, in these contemptible Skiffs (which
display very little art or Ingenuity) they paddle, (with two things like
Pudding stirrers) from one Cove to another even up and down the Coast,
keeping as close to the Rocks as possible. The Women make much more Use
of them than the Men do, for they get into them only when they want to
cross from one Cove to the other, which having reached, they land,
leaving the Women in them to fish with a Hook and Line, while they walk
along the Rocks close to the Water, and strike the Fish with their
Spears, and at this, they are very dexterous, seldom missing their Aim,
which indeed is not to be wondered at, for Fish, being their chief
Subsistence and their Hooks & Lines not being very plenty, They are
obliged to practice this art of taking them daily; When they have caught
enough for a Meal, and feel hungry, The Men, call the Women on shore,
and haul up the Canoes for them, They then gather up a few dry Sticks,
light a Fire under a shelving Rock, (if there is one near,) or a Wigwam,
here they sit down and broil their Fish, when it is just warm through,
they take off the Skin & Scales, then eat the Fish, Entrails, Bones and
all, if not very large.--We have observed, that they chew a Fern Root at
the time they are eating the Fish, but this, they spit out, having
chewed it with with 6 or 8 Morsells of Fish. they eat some kind of Fruit
like a Fig, too.--We have given Birds to them which having bearly
plucked, and warmed through they devour refusing no part of it. One or
Two of them have ventured to taste our Salt Beef & Pork, which they
liked so well, that they made signs for more,--The principal Articles on
which the Subsistence of these poor Creatures depend, consist of Fish,
Water and Fire; (Unclear:)

Their Canoes, Spears, Lines & Hooks are necessary for procuring the
first Article--Their Weapons, of Defence consist of a Spear about 14 Foot
long and terminating in a sharp point of Bone or hard Wood (whereas
their fishing Spear has four Prongs tipped with Bone) they have a hooked
Stick for throwing the Spear; a heavy Club, a piece of hard Wood in the
Form of Scimitar, and a Shield made of a broad bit of the Bark of a
Tree, seem to make up the whole of their warlike Instruments.--Their
Canoes are made of the Bark of the Tree, which I have said, somewhat
resembles the Fir in its Growth. The manner of taking the Bark off for
this Purpose is nearly as follows. After having made a circular Incision
through the Bark, beginning 3 or 4 Feet from the Bottom of the Tree,
they, by the help of Notches, climb up as high as they mean the Length
of the Canoe shall be, where, they cut ye Bark through as at the Bottom,
after this is done, they divide it in a straight Line from the top
Incision to the bottom, and they contrive that this longitudinal
Division of y Bark shall run through the middle of the Notches, which
they had cut to climb up by, so that they prove no detriment to the Bark
for the Purpose that it is intended. It being cut through to the Body of
the Tree, they thrust in sticks between it & the Bark, by way of Wedges.
to separate it from the Tree, they then leave them in this Manner 'till
the Bark will strip off without using any Violence that might split it.
having got it off, they pucker up the Ends and tie them with a tough
stringy kind of Bark; & in order to strech it open we suppose that they
place sticks across, and keep them there till the Bark takes the form of
a Canoe.--The Article in which, I think they discover the greatest
Ingenuity is their Hooks & Lines, the Hooks are of a pearly shell,
ground to this shape, (Unclear), the Lines are of a fine Bark nicely
shredded & twisted very close and neatly: I have seen some of the Men
with Net-Bags, made of this line.--There is one of their Arts which we
have not, as yet, been able to come at the Knowledge of. I mean that, of
producing Fire so quickly as they seem to do, a Stone appears to be one
thing necessary for this Purpose, but we cannot find out what else they

As to the Article of Dress I have hinted before they strictly follow the
primitive Simplicity of the Adamites and the Evites and it may be said
of these rude children of Nature, as of them, "they are naked and not
ashamed", and I may add, they are nasty and dirty and not ashamed.

They are wonderfully expert at the art of Mimickry, both in their
Actions and in repeating many of our Phrases, they will say--"Good Bye"
after us, very distinctly, The Sailors teach them to swear. They laugh
when they see us laugh, and they appear to be of a peaceable
Disposition, and have a Generosity about them, in offering You a share
of their Food.--If you meet with any of them, they will readily offer You
Fish, Fire, & Water, they seem to be easily offended, and quick and
fatal in revenging an Injury.

In a Word, to sum up the Qualities Personal & Mental, (those at least we
have been able to discern) They appear to be an Active, Volatile,
Unoffending, Happy, Merry, Funny, Laughing Good-natured, Nasty Dirty,
Race of human Creatures as ever lived in a State of Savageness.

They seemingly enjoy uninterrupted Health, and live to a great Age. We
have seen One or Two deformed in their Backs & Legs. a poor Fellow
showed us a crooked arm w.h he made signs that he broke by falling from
a Rock.--

We have reason to suppose, they burn their dead, and throw the Ashes
into a Heap; for we have met with 2 or 3 of these Heaps resembling in
shape our Graves, One of which we examined and found Pieces of the Human
Bone that were not quite consumed.

Only two of Them have ventured to visit our Settlement to whom the
Governor gave many presents, and did every that he thought might Induce
them to stay, or to come again and brig their Companions; The Objects
which must have been entirely new to them did not excite their Curiosity
or Astonishment so much as one might have expected. They just looked at
them, with a kind of vague Indifference. Of all the Things that have
been given them the Axes (Fishing hooks & Lines, or any spare Instrument
or Food seem to please them most. The Drum was beat before them, which
terrified them exceedingly, they liked the Fife, which pleased them for
2 or 3 Minutes. Indeed Music of any kind does not attract their
attention, long together, they will sometimes jump to it, and make a
grunting Noise by way of keeping Time to the Tune. I have now given You
most of the Particulars relating to the Customs and Manners of this rude
Race of Creatures, that we have been able as yet to learn, which must
necessarily be very little from their Language being such an
inarticulate, unintelligible Jargon.

The other kinds of Inhabitants of these Wildernesses, and first of the
Species of Quadrupeds that We have either shot, taken or seen are Dogs,
Kanguroos, Opossums, the Pole Cat, Rat & Mouse Species.

The Natives have frequently Dogs with them, and the Governor has
procured one of them. In Colour and Shape it resembles the Fox Dog, but
the Tail is not so bushy, it has become very tame and domestic. The
Natives set one of these Dogs at a Man, whom the Governor employs to
shoot Birds and other Animals, and as He found himself in Danger of
being Bit, He shot Him dead on the spot, the Natives were extremely
terrified at this, and took to their Heels with the greatest
Precipitation.--The Animals which Captain Cook describes in his Voyage
to New South Wales under the Name of Kanguroo are very numerous here:
They feed in Herds of 12. 20 and even 50 together, the Animal does not
run, but jumps along on his hind legs, We have shot a great many of them
the largest that we have killed, weighed 139 Pounds; ye Tail 17 Inches
round. the Flesh, when the Animal is young eats something like Veal, as
some think, but for my own part I am puzzled to know what it eats

The Opossum, Pole Cat, & Rat Species are in great plenty, many of each
sort have been caught & shot, they are very destructive to our Eggs &
Poultry, they have snapped the Head off, two or three of our Hens &
Chickens, and then sucked their Blood.--Three or four kinds of flying
Squirrels have been shot. Some of the Convicts reported that they saw a
Tyger one Evening, but we believe it was one pictured by their own
creative Imaginations, You know, to a timorous Man a Bush in the Dark
might be easily mistaken for a Tyger.

Birds are of various kinds here: the first, for Size and Food is the
Emew, this Bird answers the Description given of it by naturalists very
well, 3. 4. 6 of these Birds have been seen in the Woods feeding
together, but they are extremely shy, and run with incredible
Swiftness.--Our Grey-hounds got sight of One but could not come near to
Him in running, however, the Governors Game-procurer by great chance got
a Shot at one of them with a Ball and killed Him. It resembles the
Ostrich in most particulars; The Flesh of it eats like young Beef, and
one of its Side Bones was more than enough for four of our Dinners.
Quails, Pidgeons, Doves Plover, Cockatoos, Beautiful Parrots, Loriquets,
Crows, Hawks, and a variety of other kinds of Land Birds have been shot
by our shooting Parties. Many of these Birds are beautiful in their
Plumage, but There are none that sing half so sweet as our Chaffinch.

Of Water Fowls Ducks, Teal, Heron, Cranes, have been shot, and one Black
Swan has likewise been shot, many of these last Birds have been seen,
but they are extremely shy, as indeed may be said of all the animals
here, which has led us to think that they are harrassed by the Natives.
Our Gentlemen sometimes go out for a whole Day, and are not able to get
a shot at a single Bird.--

I was one Day on a shooting Excursion and fell in with a Tribe of the
Natives, while I was with them, a Crow settled in a Tree that was within
shot, on levelling my Gun at it, one of the Natives run up to Me in a
hurry clapped his Hand over ye Muzzle of the Piece and cried out several
times, Ba Ba Ba Ba! meaning as I conjectured, that I was not to kill
it (for they have seen the Effects of the Gun) I complied with his
Request, and laughed off the Offence I had seemingly given, at which, he
laughed likewise and seemed mightily pleased.--All the Animals, and the
Birds that I mentioned above, (where Beef, Mutton, & Veal are entirely
out of the Question) make no despicable Meat.--Of Reptiles here are
Snakes, Scorpions, Centipedes, Lizards and Guanas, The Insects which
prove troublesome, are Musquitos, Sand Flies, Red and Black Ants: Here
are Spiders of various kinds, Butterflies, and several sorts of Beetles,
and some few Bees have been seen. The Harbours on this Coast are well
stocked with a variety of Fish. And we have never set down to Dinner
without a Dish of one kind or other upon ye Table since our Arrival
here, very often, the Boat is so successful as to catch enough for the
whole Ship's Crew, and two or three times we have been able to supply
the Officers Tables on Shore. but since the approach of the Winter, the
Fish have become scarce, perhaps they go to the Northward as the cool
Weather comes on, and return to the Southward with the Summer. The
different kinds are, John Doreys, Turbots Soals, but these are as rare
as Dolphins in the River Thames, One or two of each, however, have been
taken. Mullet, Bream, Snappers, Jew Fish, Sting Rays, Mackerel are very
common.--Oysters, Cockles & Muscles are to be got for a little Trouble.
one very small Lobster has been caught, and wonderful to tell, it was
red.--Enormously large Sharks are very numerous in the Harbours, and are
very destructive to the other Fish, as well as they are to our Lines &
Hooks. We have taken a great many of them, and have found in the Female
between 30 & 40 young ones.

A Word or Two of the Climate, then I have no more to say of the
Country.--It was in January that we arrived here which in this part of
the Globe is Midsummer, the Weather has been, for the greatest Part of
the time, serene, moderate & pleasant, & warm tho' at times the
Vicissitudes from Serenity to Squalls of Wind, Rain, accompanied with
terrible Thunder & Lightning are sudden, and violent and from a dry
sultry Heat, to a chilly Dampness (occasioned by heavy Night Dews)
considerable. The Thermometer on Shore in the Shade has been up to 85 &
90 at Noon and by Sunset has fallen to 50 or 60, the Fall of 25 or 30
Degrees is common.

The Thunder and Lightning are astonishingly awful here, and by the heavy
Gloom that hangs over the Woods at the Time these Elements are in
Commotion, and from the Nature of the Violence done to many of the
Trees, We have reason to apprehend that much Mischief may be done by
Lightning here. Indeed we have experienced its fatal Effects since we
have been here, for one Night 6 Sheep 1 Lamb, & 2 Pigs that were lying
under a Tree, were all killed and the Tree violently riven. Two or three
other Trees near ye Settlement have been riven in the same Manner by
Lightning since we came here. The prevailing Winds here are S.W & S.E.,
Sea and Land Breezes are pretty regular, in fine Weather. On the whole,
it may be said, we have more of what may be called agreeably warm, Dry,
Clear, Serene Weather than Sultry, Rainy, Foggy, or Boisterous. It is
just (June now the middle of Winter, and the Weather is for ye
most part clear, pleasant & moderately warm, but it is very (Therm cold
44 at times) in the Mornings & Evenings. and I think we have more
frequently a rainy, damp, chilly Day than we used to have a Month ago
but no Snow, nor Frosts, and We have, and shall have all through the
Winter green Trees in abundance to look at, that is more than you can
say in your Winter Master Dick.

Now I'll tell you what we have done with the Convicts, how they are
disposed of, employed, &c. &c.--The Governor had on the Passage made
himself acquainted with the Trade and Occupations of each: Accordingly,
when they were landed, the Men that could be spared from the principal
Business of clearing the Ground were set at their respective
Employments, as occasion required such as the Carpenters, Sawyers,
Shingle makers, Stone Cutters, Masons, Brick Makers Black-Smiths, &c.
these were divided into Parties, and one of the most promising among the
Party, was made an Overseer to the Rest.--

The Provost Martial, Constable, and Patroll, (Offices appointed by the
Governor) were instructed to keep them within certain Limits;

Notwithstanding these Precautions to keep them at their Tasks, they
found means to evade this Vigilance, and straggle into the Woods, they
even had the Impudence to go over to Botany Bay, (wh. is only 8 or 10
Miles by Land from this Port) and offer their Services as Seamen On
Board the French Ships, (by the by, It strikes Me that I have never
mentioned the Circumstances of these Ships arriving at Botany Bay, I
will look back and if I have omitted it in this Narrative, I will tag it
to the Journal which I mean to annex to this) The Officers would have
nothing at all to say to them, and drove them away.--Ten or 14 of Them
would take their Provisions (which is served them once a Week) and
instead of going to Work skulk about the Woods, and return by the Time
of serving Provisions again. These with many other Misdemeanours
committed on their Voyage and since their arrival here, convinced the
Governor that if he tried them any longer with a lenient Government, He
would be making the Just suffer for the Unjust. Therefore the Day, on
which His Commission, and the Laws by which the Colony was to be
governed were read: He told them, that he was sorry to find, He could no
longer govern them by Lenity.

For this Reason, he was determined for the future, every Trespass
however trivial, every Violation of the Laws or Orders should be
severely punished. Thefts, He assured them, would never more be
pardoned, but if detected, they should have every justice done them in
in their Trial, and if found Guilty, the Laws should take their Course:
To the Industrious He promised every Encouragement, but those that would
not Work and were found Idling in the Woods, their Provisions should be
stopped, and they should have corporal Punishment.--It is to be feared,
that among such a Number of Delinquents, there are some innately bad and
incorrigible, who are deterred from pursuing their vicious Inclinations
only from the Fear of Punishment; and who will still be villanous, when
they can be so secretly For, notwithstanding all that the Governor said
to them, there are daily complaints of petty Larcenies, and other
Offences:--Two desperate Villains have been detected in stealing, tried
in the [* see end of para] Criminal Court, found guilty, condemned, and
in order to strike a terror into the Rest, led a few hours after from
the Court House to the Place of Execution and hung up, nevertheless,
they still are hardened and persist in their Crimes, some, by way of
Punishment, have been put on a Rocky Island & kept there a Week or Two
on short Commons, and there is no End to Flogging Them--The greater
part of The Women Convicts are a shocking abandoned set. The Governor
took every Precaution to prevent an indiscriminate Intercourse with
Them & the Men, and as he thought Marriage among them might effect
the good Purpose he meant,

[* Four Courts can be held here, a Civil, Criminal, Martial and Admiralty
they are composed of the Naval and Military Officers, the Judge Advocate
of the Settlement presides at the Civil & Criminal. If 5 out of 7 concur
in Opinion, Sentence of Death may be put in Execution. The Governor can
Commute, Mitigate or Pardon a Sentence.]

They had his Permission to Marry, and 20 or 30 of Them are already
married, but the Misfortune is, one half of them have asked the Governor
if the Chaplain cannot Unmarry, in short, they are a vile pack of
Baggages continually violating all Laws, and disobedient to all Orders.
The Disease, that Scourge of Mankind has made its appearance among them.

* * * * *

Journal (January 20--July 11 1788)

I think I hear You Exclaiming as you cast your Eyes up to this new
starting Place--"What the D--ce not done Gossiping yet!" No dear Dick I
have not near done yet; Prithee my dear good Brother, do but consider
the Distance that separates Us, which, is nearly that, of Antipodes. for
when we We are getting up in the Morning, You have hardly entered into
your first Sleep; when it is the Depth of Winter with Us, you are
enjoying Richmond Hill So that considering our Situation, with Regard to
You, Were I to write as much as would fill up 100 Reams of Paper and
every Word to sett off for your Country as soon as it dropped from my
Pen, and to Scour & Scamper away Helter-Skelter through Southern and
Northern Latitudes, by the Time that the last set off to which, I should
give the Office of whipper-In, The First Word will not have reached one
quarter over the Seas that divides Us, at the time the last is tumbling
out of my Mouth; Moreover, I expect an Advantage in relating these
Matters in a Multiplicity of Words for I shall let fly each with such an
impulsive Velocity against its leader, that by the time the last gives
its Impulse, the whole will have received such an irresistable Velocity,
as to make their Way against the Resistance of Rocks, Seas and contrary
Winds and arrive at your Street-Door with a D (Unclear:)--1 of a
Suscitation; Therefore rally your Patience Brother Dick--and take your
Seat on one side of the Fire, and while I fancy Myself seated on the
other, I will relate You a string of little Transactions, Occurrences,
Excursions & Adventures which I could not introduce in the preceding
Narrative without thrusting them in Head and Shoulders to the utter
Confusion of the whole: and as these Incidents have happened in almost
an unknown Part of the World, I am unwilling to omit them, because I
think they may, possibly, afford You and Your Friends half an hours
Amusement, and a new Topic to Reflect and Comment upon in your social
Meetings--I shall relate them just as they stand in my rough Journal, In
a Word, I mean this, as a minute Detail of the Circumstances, which have
influenced the Opinions which I have given You in the former, respecting
the Country, its Inhabitants &c. &c. I shall perhaps stumble upon
Repetitions, but I will vary as much as possible the Relation of them,
but you must excuse Me stopping to attend to Points, Syllables, The's,
And's, and all such tagging materials, These I will beg You to put in
for Me, before You lend it your Friends, whom, with You, I sincerely
hope the World goes cheerly.

Oh, now I think of it, You are a Musician so

Volti Subito.

* * * * *

January 1788--Sundy 20th.

Between 7 and 8 oClock this Morning the Sirius accompanied by the Lady
Penrhyn, Charlotte, Prince of Wales, Borrowdale, Fishbourn, and Golden
Grove Transports anchored in Botany Bay. We found here the Supply
Tender, the Alexander, Scarborough and Friendship, Transport, which left
us at Sea on 25th of November 1787 to proceed with the utmost Dispatch,
but the Supply Tender (on Board of which, was Governor Phillip) had
arrived no more than 2 Days, and the 3 Transports only one Day before
Us.--Captn. Hunter of the Sirius, waited on the Governor, immediately,
and about 10 oClock they together with several other Officers landed on
the South Shore, there were 8 or 10 of the Natives standing at a little
Distance from the Beach, but, on the Boats landing they ran away into ye

However, the Governor obtained a Parley with them before He returned on
Board.--a Boat was sent to haul the Seine which had been very
successful, having caught as much of Mullet, Bream, Sting-Rays, and
other kinds of Fish as served the Sirius's Crew.

Mond.y 21st

Governor Phillip, Captn. Hunter & several other Officers set out early
this Morning, in 3 Boats, to visit a Harbour about 12 Miles to the
Northward of this Bay, discovered, and named by our great
Circumnavigator, Captn. Cook, Port Jackson.--In the mean while, the
Governor, had ordered, that some of the Artificers and a Number of Men
from the Sirius should be sent to the South Shore to clear the Ground,
and Dig Saw Pits.--Some of the Natives came down to Day both on the
South & North Sides of the Bay, and behaved very funny & friendly, they
expressed a little Anger at seeing us cut down the Trees, but it was
only by jabbering very fast & loud, they did not like the Soldiers, and
made signs for us to take them away, before they would venture to come
near Us. One of them was bold enough to go up to a Soldier and feel his
Gun, and felt the point of the Bayonet, looked very serious, & gave a
significant Hum!

The other Businesses of the Day, were the exploring different Arms of
the Bay, hauling the Seine.

Tues. 22dn

The Artificers and Sirius's Men were employed as Yesterday, felling
Trees, clearing the Ground, Examining the Bay &c.

The Natives came down, in the Morning and the Afternoon, & were very
friendly, jumping & jabbering in a strange Manner.

There was a laughable Circumstance to day, A pot was boiling in which
there was some Fish for the Workmen's Dinners, One of the Natives (who
never had seen or felt hot Water before) very deliberately put his Hand
in to take a Fish out, when, feeling a very smart Sensation, he gave an
amazing Jump squalling out most Hideously, on which, his Companions
seeing us laugh, joined Us very heartily, while the poor Fellow was
skipping about & blowing his Fingers. In the Evening, we happened to

* * * * *

Finding that I had missed this side of Paper, I shall (however irregular
it may come in here) Insert the Account of the two French Ships which
did Us the Honour of a Visit, during our short stay at Botany Bay, they
expected to find a great Progress made, towards the Establishment of the
Colony, and even hoped, that we should be able to afford them some
Refreshments of the vegetable kind. We had seen two large Ships in the
Offing (and a Ship in these Seas is almost as rare a thing as a Man of
War above Westminster Bridge) three Days before we left the Bay, but the
Wind blowing right out, they could not get in, till it favoured them
somewhat, on the Morning that it favour'd our sailing for Port
Jackson.--The Names of the Ships & Commander &c. &c. I have mentioned on
the other side of this leaf.

The Compliments being received & returned, we took our leave of them and
ply'd out of the Bay, where, they were now moored.

The Officers were rather reserved in making us acquainted with the Route
they had taken, and the Discoveries they had made since they arrived in
these Seas, but gave Us to to understand, that they had been very far to
the Northward, that Captn. Cook was extremely correct in the Narrative
of his Voyages, and that He had left them very little to discover or
Describe in this part of the Ocean.

They told Us they had been very unfortunate in their losses of Boats,
Officers, & Seamen.--On the North West Coast of America they lost two
large Boats, in which were 22 of their People, & all drowned. the third
Part of the Number were Officers: Again, at the Navigator's Islands, the
Natives to the Number of a 1000 as they judged, attack'd them, when they
were on shore watering, and with one Volley of Stones, suddenly
discharged at the same Instant; destroyed two of their Boats, killed 14
People, and desperately wounded several others; One Captain & 5
Subalterns were among the Number killed, those that were unhurt, or only
wounded, fired a Volley of Musketry on the Natives as they were
retreating, and saw, as they think, about 30 fall this was all the
Revenge they took--We could not learn on which side the Provocation
began, but the French Officers, feared that their Seamen had given some
Offence, as they had been here for some time and had lived on the most
friendly Terms with the Natives.--These Ships remained at Botany Bay
about 5 Weeks, during which Time No People could show more Attention,
Respect &, Civility, than their Officers did to Us, and We were equally
zealous in showing the like Dispositions towards them. In a Word, there
was a constant Succession of mutual good Offices passing between Us; We
visited each other frequently, sometimes the Parties going by Water, at
other Times by Land (for it is only 8 or 10 Miles over) and the little
Difficulties and Fatigues which ye Voyagers or the Travellers underwent,
were thought amply compensated, if they could attain a social
Intercourse with one another,--Govr. Phillip had expressed his Wishes to
Mr. Perouse to be of any Service to Him in his Power, & Mr. Perouse made
use of this Offer by sending some Dispatches to be forwarded to Europe,
by our Transports.--They hoped to be in Europe themselves in 18 Months.

* * * * *

A very successful haul of Fish in the Seine, which the Natives seeing,
they all, threw up their Arms, and set up a shout of Astonishment,
looking (as we thought) at the Sun We gave them plenty of Fish, which
gratified them exceedingly.

Wed. 23d

Our Transactions were much the same as Yesterday. About 5 oClock in the
Afternoon, the Governor and his Party returned from the Expedition to
Port Jackson, of which they spoke very favourably, as being an excellent
Harbour, and the Land about, far better adapted for the forming of the
Settlement on. Accordingly the Masters of the Transports received Orders
to prepare their Ships for sailing the next Morning.

Th. 24th.

The Wind not favouring our Departure this Morning, the Boats were
employed in getting on Board Grass & Water for the Cattle. At Day-light,
to our great Astonishment, We observed two large Ships in the Offing,
which seemed to be plying to get into this Bay, by Noon, We could, by
the help of our Glasses, discern that they had French Colours flying;
but the Wind blowing strong, right out of the Bay, they could not
possibly get in, and it coming on Misty rainy Weather, we lost Sight of

Fri. 25th

Could see nothing of the French Ships this Morning, the Governor sailed
for Port- Jackson, in the Supply Tender, but the Wind coming on to blow
hard, right into the Bay, the Sirius and Transports could not possibly
get out.

Sat 26th

About 8 oClock this Morning, we, again, discovered the two strange
Ships, which now were standing in for the Bay, with a fine leading
Breeze. On their Arrival, an Officer was sent from the Sirius on board
the Commodore's Ship, which was distinguished by a white Flag at the
Main-Top-Mast Head;--On the Officer's Return, the Commodore's Captain
waited on Captn Hunter to pay his Respects. It seems they are the two
Ships, which the Court of France sent out on Discoveries in August 1785.
The one called the Astrolabe, the other the Boussoule under the Command
of Monsr. Perouse

About 10 oClock the Wind favouring our Departure, the Fleet got under
Sail, (leaving the two french Ships in the Bay) by 8 oClock the same
Evening, we were all safe at anchor in Port Jackson.

They Supply arrived here the Evening before, & Captn. Hunter waited on
the Governor who was on shore, where, he had caused the English Flag to
be displayed. At Sun-set the Governor, the principal Officers of the
Settlement, and many of the private Soldiers, drank His Majesty's Health
& Success to the new Colony.

Sun 27th

Early this Morning a Number of the Artificers and Convicts were sent on
shore with the necessary Implements for clearing the Ground felling
Trees, in Order that the Tents might be pitched for the Battalion The
Governor marked out the Lines for the Encampment, and to prevent the
Convicts straggling into the Woods, he appointed a Provost Martial, a
Constable and a party of ye Soldiers to take all Men up, that were found
out of the Boundaries. The Boats that were sent to haul the Seine were
very successful, they met with some of the Natives, who behaved very
friendly, even helped them to haul the Seine on shore, for which kind
Office they were liberally rewarded with a Portion of the Fish. The
Governor gave strict Orders, that the Natives should not be offended, or
molested on any Account, and advised that wherever, they were met with,
they were to be treated with every mark of Friendship, In case of their
stealing any thing, mild means were to be used to recover it, but upon
no account to fire at them with Ball or Shot.

Mon 28

The Employment to Day has been much the same as Yesterday, and most of
the Tents are pitched. Some few Officers slept on shore.

Captn Hunter, Lt. Bradley, & the Master of the Sirius set out to explore
and take a Plan of the Harbour.

T. 29th

The Governor, having fixed on a convenient Spot for the Cattle they,
were all landed to Day. The Frame of the Governors House was landed, and
the Carpenters employed in putting it up.

February Tu:5th

In the Course of the last Week all the Tents of the Battallion, the
Labaratory, and Hospital, and several of the Civil Officers Tents have
been pitched,--likewise those for ye Men and Women Convicts, the
Governors House got up, a Spot of Ground enclosed, and some culinary
Seeds put in. The Plants that we brought from Rio de Janeiro, and the
Cape of Good Hope all landed and put in the Ground a few Beans, Peas,
small sallad, that were sown on our arrival here, have come up and
appear at present very luxuriant: On the First Day of this Month, We had
a vast deal of heavy Rain. Thunder & Lightning, and the next morning 5
Sheep, 1 Lamb. & 2 Pigs, were found dead, lying under a Tree, which was
riven in a violent Manner by the Lightning: A small Store House is
begun, for the Reception of some of the Provisions--All the Convicts Men
and Women, are landed: Many of the Men, and one Woman are missing.

Sat 9th

Last Thursday the Governor's Commission, and the Commission for
establishg the Laws by which the Colony is to be governed, were read by
the Judge-Advocate of the Settlement. There was some little Ceremony
observed on this Business. Orders had been issued (the preceding Day)
that every Body, on Shore, and from on Board the Ships that could be
spared should attend. Early in the Morning the English Ensigns were
displayed on Board the Ships & on the Shores, about 9 oClock the
Battalion were drawn up on the Spot of Ground that had been cleared for
a Parade, about 10, the Governor, all the Officers of the several
Departments, the Convicts, Men & Women were assembled within a Square
formed by the Military Arrangement; The Judge-Advocate of the Settlement
then proceeding to the Business of reading the several Commissions,
which, being performed, the Battalion fired 3 Volleys of Small-arms, the
Band playing the first part of God save the King, between each Volley.
The Governor then addressed the Convicts in an excellently adapted
Speech, accompanied with many judicious Exhortions As well as I can
remember it was to the following Purport--He began by Observing that
they had now heard the Laws read, by which they were to be governed, and
they might depend upon it, that they should have their full Force: For
He was sorry to find, that there were many among Them not be governed by
Lenity, as he had frequently tried this mode of Government, by having
already, repeatedly forgiven them Crimes, which they had committed in
the Passage out, and since their Arrival here, and they had as
constantly abused his Lenity, by similar Trangressions, all which he
said, He would freely forgive and forget, but for the Future, he assured
them, the Law should take its Course.--He was convinced, he told them,
that there were a Number of good Men among them, who, unfortunately,
from falling into bad Company, from the Influence of bad Women, and in
the rash Moment of Intoxication, had been led to violate the Laws of
their Country, by committing Crimes which in the serious Moments of
Reflection, they thought of with Horrour & Shame, and of which now, they
sincerely repented, and would be glad by a future Conduct to retrieve
their Characters; but sorry was he to add, that he feared there were
some Men & Women among them, so thoroughly abandoned in their
Wickedness, as to have lost every good Principle: Therefore, from
henceforth, he declared, that however it might distress his Feelings,
every Crime, from the smallest to the greatest Magnitude should meet its
Punishment, which the Law inflicted. He observed likewise that many of
them, since they had been disembarked, instead of assisting in the
necessary Work of forming the Settlement, were found skulking in the
Woods, and came to the Camp only at the appointed times for the serving
of their Provisions to them, for the Future, all such Idlers, as were
found beyond the Limits, the Provost Martial, and the Patrol received
Orders to take up and Imprison, & that in Case of their running from the
Patrol, they would be fired at with Ball: Moreover, He assured them,
that those who would not Work, should not Eat, for, the good Men, he
promised, should not be Slaves for the Bad, their daily Labour should be
much easier, on account of the Warmth of the Climate than the Common
Labourer's in England, but That, they should perform, or Starve,--He
gave very good Advice & Encouragement to the Women, telling them, as
well as the Men, & promised that good Behaviour should never go
unrewarded by Him.

They had his Permission to Marry, and proper times would be allowed for
the making up their little Agreements amongst each other, but after a
certain hour in the Evening, any Man seen in the Woman's Camp, the
Sentry would have orders to fire at with Ball, & in all indiscrinate
Intercourse with the Women, the Offenders should be severely punished.

February 1788 Sat 9th.

He concluded by assuring them that it was in their own Power by a steady
Perseverance in a Series of good Conducts to make the Day of their
Transportation to this Place, the happiest Day they had ever seen; but
once more, he would give them his Word, that for the Future, no Crimes
whatever should go unpunished, observing, that not to punish the Bad,
was doing an Injustice to the Good, therefore, Henceforth, The Laws
should take their Course.--

In this Address, I thought the Governor, spoke with a Feeling and a
Concern, that does Honour to his Humanity, and it is really a Pity, he
has the Government of a set of Reprobates who will not suffer him to
indulge himself in a Lenity, which he sincerely wishes to govern them
by.--The Convicts were allowed the Rest of the Day to themselves, and
the Governor, entertained, as many of the Officers as he conveniently
could, at Dinner.

Sat. 9th.

A Party set out yesterday for Botany Bay, by Land, to pay a Visit to the
French Officers, from whom, they met with a very polite and cordial
Reception. They informed our Gentlemen that a Number of the Convicts had
been over, and applied earnestly to be taken on Board; One of Them
promised to pay a Sum of Money for his Passage, on his Arrival in Europe
Others, offered their Services as Seamen, and required no other Reward
than their Provisions for the time of Serving, but the Officers of these
Ships so far from Countenancing them, threatened, that if they were seen
to skulk about there, they would send them Back to Us.--

Our Gentlemen met with a good deal of swampy, Rocky Ground in their
Journey and on the whole it was tedious, but the Civilities and hearty,
friendly Treatment, which they received from the French Officers very
amply recompensed all their Fatigues.

The same Day, Captn Clonard (the French Commodore's Captain) came round
by Water, in a Boat from Botany Bay, to wait upon Govr. Phillip. He
brought with Him, from the Commodore, some Dispatches for Europe which
the Governor, had politely made an Offer to forward by the first of the
Transports that he should Dispatch from this Place for England.--A
Kanguroo was shot to Day, the first that has been procured since our
arrival in the Country--8 or 10 Natives passed not far from the Ship
this Morning, in 5 Canoes, when they got near the Rocks, many of the Men
got out, and by the help of a Spy-Glass, I could see them very busy in
striking the Fish with their Spears, and I saw them take two or three
tolerably large ones in this manner; the Women, remained in the Canoes
employed in fishing with a Hook & Line, the Fish, they caught, appeared
but small, after having caught a good many, they went on shore a little
way up in the Wood, lit a Fire, and sat down round about it, in the
Afternoon, they got into their Canoes, and returned, passing by the Ship
again, they houllowed, jabbered & pointed.

1788 Feby Sat 16th

In Consequence of the Governor giving his Permission for the Convicts to
marry, We had no less than 14 Marriages last Sunday,--and
Notwithstanding, the Admonitions which the Governor gave them on the Day
the Laws were read, We have had no less than 6 or 7 Trials for petty
Larcenies, some were sentenced to be Flogged, and some to be put upon a
barren Island, in the Harbour, there to remain for a Week, to live on
Bread and Water; These Thefts are generally, of Provisions, and a very
aggravating Circumstance in them is, that the Foragers are allowed as
much of Salt Beef, Pork, Peas, Flower, Rice, Bread & as good in Quality,
as any Officer on the Settlement, but still they cannot be
contented.--On Thursday last, the Supply Tender sailed for Norfolk
Island, on Board of Her was a Detachment from the Settlement, consisting
of Lt King (2dn. of ye Sirius), Mr. Cunningham, Master's Mate, & Wm.
Jameison my first Assistant, 2 private Marines, 12 Men and 6 Women,
Convicts, 6 Months Provisions, Implements of Husbandry, Artificers
Tools, Seeds, Sheep, Goats & Fowls. for the Purpose of trying what that
Island may produce.

Wed. 27th.

Nothing material has occurred since the 16th. till to Day, when, three
Convicts, were tried in the Criminal Court for stealing Provisions, they
were Convicted upon the clearest Evidence and sentenced to be hung;
Accordingly, about 6 oClock the same Evening, they were brought to the
fatal Tree, the Battalion under Arms, Provost Marshal, & the Peace
Officers attending, at the Execution, when, John Barrett, the most
notorious of the Criminals, was tied up, and hung the usual time;


The other two, were respited till 6 o'Clock the next Evening, when, being
brought to the place of Execution, the Governor was pleased to send down
a Commutation of their Sentence upon the following Conditions. The One
was to execute the Office of Hangman, as long as He remained in the
Country, the other to suffer Banishment on some adjacent Island. I need
not tell you they readily agreed to these Conditions.--Some one who
should in future perform the disagreeable Task of Hangman, was an
Officer which, considering what a class of Men the major Part of our
Colony consisted, would probably be much wanted; for the Man who had
agreed to execute this Office, failed so much in his Duty, (either from
Timidity or Feeling) in the Execution of Barrett, that, our Sheriff. was
under the disagreeable Necessity of mounting the Ladder Himself, in
order to fix the Halter, so here was an Opportunity of establishing a
Jack Ketch, who, should in all future Executions either Hang or Be

We have made some Discoveries this last Week, One is that the Tree,
which I have said grows something like the Fir, answers very well for
the making of Shingle, Our other Acquisition is the lighting on a Soil,
which is seemingly fitted for making Bricks, and 8 or 10 Convicts of the
Trade are now employed in the Business.

March Sundy. 2dn

The Governor, Lt. Bradley, Master of the Sirius accompanied by some
other Officers set out this Morning, in 3 Boats to look into, and to
explore a Bay, which is about 8 or 10 Miles to the Northward of Port
Jackson discovered and named by Capt. Cook Broken Bay.

Mony. 3d

--A Bird has been shot to Day. which answers the Description given by
Dr. Goldsmith, of the Emew, it resembles the Ostrich its Flesh proved
very good Eating, & Four of Us dined off, from one of the Side-Bones

Sund. 9th

The Governor, and his Party returned this Afternoon from Broken Bay, it
seems that it affords good Shelter for Ships, that the Entrance is bold,
Plenty of Fish to be had, but for Spaciousness & Convenience it is not
to be compared with Port Jackson.--

They met with a vast number of the Natives here, some of wh they thought
they had seen before, at Botany Bay, indeed, it is pretty clear, that
they wander up & down the Coast, going to the Northward in the Winter,
and returning to ye Southward (as we expect to find) in the Summer. The
Natives, were very friendly to them, offered them Fire & Water, were
extremely full of their Fun, laughing, Mimicking & Frisking about. The
Behaviour of one of the Women was rather singular, she took a great
liking to the Governor's Great Coat, and as she could not influence Him
to give it to her, by soft persuasions in her own language, She tried
Jumping, Capering, and various Wanton Anticks would do, but these not
succeeding according to her Wishes, She began to Weep, in a most
lamentable strain, put on languishing Looks, in short practised all the
Siren's Arts, but the Governor considering that this importuning Lady
had done very well, seemingly, without a great Coat, and that it was a
Comfort to him in his present Expedition, which it would be endangering
his health to part with, He was obliged to persist in the Refusal of
what, this Damsel had so whimsically and pathetically supplicated.--In
one part of the Bay, on their Landing rather late in the Evening, when,
it was raining & blowing, an elderly Man came up to them, presented a
lighted Stick, and invited them to a Cavern of a Rock, which was in
Sight, and where he had a cheerful Fire, but as the Governor was for
taking another Route, They could not comply with this Gentlemans
Invitation, at which He seemed not a little displeased; However, This
Man, visited them next Morning, and stay'd with them two or three Days,
and by his Attention had prepossessed the Governor in his Favor, till,
on the third Day, when, this trusty Friend, having taken a wonderful
longing for a Spade, which he saw one of the Boats Crew using, took an
Opportunity of making off with it, but, being seen, was stopped, and
brought to the Governor, who, made signs for Him to go about his
Business, giving him at the same time, a smart stroke with his open
Hand, on which, the Gentleman was very very angry & Run & called his
Comrades, but a Musket being fired over their Heads, they all scampered
away into the Woods like Rabbits into a Burrow, however, the next
Morning, they came down where the Governor had Tented all Night, & were
Friends again.

Another curious Circumstance happened to them, while they were on the
Business of exploring this Bay; They had landed, where there was a great
many of the Natives; and in one of their Huts, the Governor, saw a large
Crawfish, which, He Bartered for, giving the Owners of the Fish a
Hatchet, and distributing Bawbles among many of Them whom, he thought
might have a share of it, The Governor, now took the Fish, and was
walking down towards the Boat with it, when, one of the Natives meeting
Him, snatched it out of his Hand, and ran up with it to the Hut, where
he had bought it, The Governor took no Notice then, but got into the
Boat; soon after, they saw the same Fellow running down to the Boats
hollowing and holding out the Fish, his Comrades, having told him, as
they imagined that they had given something for it, however, the
Governor, & the Gentlemen went on shore again, would not accept of the
Fish but went up to the Huts where he got it, and took back all the
Presents he had given them, this Conduct, was a great matter of Surprise
& Mortification to them.

Sund.y 16

Four Convicts that were sent out a little Distance from the Settlement
to cut Rushes came in to Day, and acquainted the Governor that 10 of the
Natives had attacked them, who, after throwing a few Spears and Stones
at them, retreated; One of the Convicts shewed a small Wound in his
Breast, which, he had received from a Spear a P

Wed 19th

The Supply Tender arrived to Day from Norfolk Island. They told us, it
was with great Difficulty & Hazard, they Landed the Provision and Stores
for the little Colony. The Shore being extremely rocky; and the Surf
beating very high. which, they have Reason to think from the Situation
and Form of the Island is mostly the Case. In their Passage to this
Island, they fell in with an Isle in the Latitude of and Longitude which
had never been before discovered Lt. Ball, named it (in Honour of Lord
Howe,) Lord Howe's Island, on Landing they found a great many Turtle, 18
or 20 of which, they brought away with them, they likewise, met with
several Birds of the Dovekind, which they come so near to, as to knock
down with a short Stick;. Nothing very remarkable of vegetable kind was
found, Trees of the Palm kind were numerous. The chief Acquisition that
we hope may accrue to our Settlement. from the falling in with this
Island, is the Turtle off which, we hope to have many a Feast. Dick.

Tues. 25.--

To Day, the Lady Penrhyn, Charlotte, & Scarborough, being cleared of the
Stores for the Settlement were discharged from Government Service, and
will sail for China, as soon as they can fit for Sea. The East India
Company having, before they left England, engaged them to go their for a
Cargo of Tea; & as the Captains think of arriving in England in 14 or 15
Months, I shall put Letters on Board the Three Ships, for You, Denton,
and all my Friends

We have had some Trials this Month in the Criminal Court but none of the
Delinquents have been capitally convicted.--

The principal Business going on a shore, is the Building an Hospital,
Store houses, Huts for the Officers; Enclosing Ground for Gardens. Many
of the Officers have had 2 Acres of Land allotted to each, but 'tis not
given to them as their Right & Property, because the becoming so,
depends upon Government. at least, this is what I hear,--All the
culinary Plants that have come up, degenerate exceedingly, Peas, Beans,
Cabbage Plants &c do not thrive, & many of them have withered. Yams,
Potatoes (Unclear:)Pumpkins, Turnips, Indian Corn look somewhat
promising. The Governor has appropriated an Island, in the Harbour, to
the Use of the Sirius, on which we have Landed our live Stock, enclosed
a part of it for a Garden, and a put a good many different Seeds in.

The Live Stock of the Settlement, in general Increase and Multiply,

April Sund: 13th

The Governor, & Captain Hunter accompanied by some other Officers, went
on an Excursion down the Harbour, and made a Discovery of an Inlet which
led into an extensive Space of Water forming a fine spacious Harbour,
they likewise fell in with some Water which they had Reason to suppose
was a Lake.

Mond. 21st. Hunter & Lt. Bradley & the Master of the Sirius set out this
Morning to take a Survey of the new Part of the Harbour, which was
discovered on the 13th Inst.--The Governor, accompanied by some of the
Military Officers, the Surgeon of the Settlement, and a a Party of
Marines set out this Morning to penetrate Inland some Miles to the
Westward, Had you seen them, they would have put you in Mind of a Gang
of Travelling Gipsies, for each of them had a Snapsack on his Back, with
8 Days Provision, some had Kettles, & Iron-Pots; In order that they
might find their Way back again, they Notched all the Trees that stood
in the Direction of their Route. On the 28th 28th Instant they returned,
having penetrated about 30 or 40 Miles Inland, they walked over a vast
Extent of fine Meadow Ground, where, the Trees were at a greater
Distance from each other, than they are in the Country round about the
Settlement, The Soil, they found was far superior in Quality; They saw
some very high mountainous Land, which, at some other Opportunity the
Governor means to Visit, and I hope to have his Permission to accompany
Him in that Excursion.


We have had a few Trials, & plenty of Flogging, but I believe the
Devil's in them, and can't be flogged out.

May 5th

The Lady Penrhyn Transport, and Supply sailed to Day the Former for
China, the latter for Lord Howes Island to endeavour to procure us
another Turtle-Feast,--In the Course of this last Week, We have had
another Execution of a very young Lad but an old hardened Offended, who,
on his arrival at the fatal Tree, said, that he was now going to suffer
a Death, which he had long deserved.

Mon 12th

The Charlotte and Scarborough Transports, sailed, to Day for China, and
as it is a matter of Doubt, whether those Ships will not arrive in
England, before any of the Transports, Can, that sail direct for
England, as soon as they can be cleared of their Stores. I have put 2 or
3 Letters on Board them for You & all my Friends, indeed, it is natural
for Us, in such a distant part of the World, to snatch greedily at every
Opportunity to convey our Hopes & Wishes to our Friends.

Tus. 13

I walked out to Day, as far as the Brick Grounds, it is a pleasant Road
through the Wood about a Mile or Two from the Village, for from the
Number of Little Huts & Cots that appear now, just above Ground, it has
a villatick appearance. I see they have made between 20 & 30,000 Bricks,
and they were employed in digging out a Kiln for the Burning of them. I
afterwards walked to the publick Farm, where, I find they have turned up
8 or 10 Acres of Land, and they talk of putting some Corn in the Ground
soon. The Sheep die very fast from some Cause, The Cows & Bulls thrive I
think, as do the Horses. The Hogs don't thrive. The Poultry do not
increase very fast.

Wed. 14th

I have had a most delightful Excursion to Day with Captn Hunter and Lt.
Bradley, We went in a Boat about 12 Miles up the Harbour. For 3 or 4
Miles the Harbour forms a narrow arm, which at high Water, has the
appearance of a River, the sides of this Arm are formed by gentle
Slopes, which are green to the Water's Edge. The Trees are small and
grow almost in regular Rows, so that, together with the Evenness of the
Land for a considerable Extent, it resembles a Beautiful Park. We landed
quite up at the Head of this Branch where a fresh Water River runs into
it, but which, at this time was dry in many places. We walked about two
Miles up the Country in the Direction of this River; the Ground ran in
easy ascents and Descents, the Soil was extremely rich, and produced
luxuriant Grass.

We now and then, in our Walk, met with Clusters of a very delicate
looking Tree, the Trunks of some of Them were 12. 14. 20 Inches round,
covered with a green Bark, the leaves of a peculiarly beautiful Verdure
and growing like the Fern, but more delicate. Having extended our
Excursion as far as we wished, we returned to the Place where we landed
and after regaling Ourselves with a cold Kanguroo Pie and a Plum
Pudding, a Bottle of Wine &c, all which Comforts we brought from the
Ship with Us, We returned on Board.


The Foundation Stone of the Governor's House was laid to Day, An
Inscription engraved on Copper, to the following Purport is to be placed
among the Foundation Stones, viz. The date of the Governor's arrival in
this Cove, and the Date of the laying of the Foundation Stone of His

Mond 19--

They have begun to unlade the Transports, and land the Stores, and it
has this Day been publickly announced that some of the Transports will
sail for England in 6 Weeks, so a scribbling we will go. I shall put a
Letter on Board each Ship for You. Pray don't neglect to forward those
that I intend to Inclose in yours. & Pray Mr. Dick have You had an
Opportunity yet of Sending Me a Packet of News? who is the King? the
Queen? the Ministers? whats the Whim? our whim will soon be, to go
Naked, for You know, "When we are at Rome &c". As for my part I shall be
obliged soon to make a Virtue of Necessity for I have torn almost all my
Cloaths to pieces by going into the Woods; and tho' we do not want for
Taylors, We do, Woolen Drapers. Our Excursions, put me in Mind of your
going a Steeple Hunting, We sometimes, put a Bit of Salt Beef, or Pork,
Bisket, a Bottle of O be joyful, in a Snapsack throw it over our Backs,
take a Hatchet, a Brace of Pistols, and a Musket, and away we go,
scouring the Woods, sometimes East, West, N. S. if Night overtakes us,
we light up a rousing Fire, Cut Boughs & make up a Wig-Wam, open our
Wallets, and eat as hearty of our Fare as You, of your Dainties, then
lie down on a Bed, which tho' not of Roses, yet we sleep as sound as You
do, on down; I enjoy these little Rambles, and I think you would,
however, I think it is hardly worth your while to come and try them.

Fr: 21st

A poor Convict who is on Recovery from a long Sickness, having rambled a
little way into the Woods, to pick some wild Balm for Tea returned this
Evening, having been wounded in his Back by the Natives with a Lance,
part of which was sticking in the Wound, when the Surgeon came to Him,,
He said that another Convict was with Him, whom, they wounded and beat
very much, and then, carried him away. The Man said, they had given no
Offence that he knew of, and that the Lance was thrown suddenly at them.


I accompanied Captn Hunter & Lt. Bradley to Day, upon an Excursion to
the Point of Land, that forms the South Head of the Opening of Port
Jackson, They went for the Purpose of ascertaining the Latitude of it,
which from the Result of many Observations proved to be. We met nothing
very remarkable. We saw two Natives at a Distance in the Woods, but they
would not be sociable. We likewise saw under us, for we were standing
upon a tremendous Precipice from which you looked down into the Sea,
(but not without being Giddy) 5 or 6 Canoes, in which were 8 or 10 of
the Damsels of this Country, jabbering and Fishing. We hollowed to them,
and They, to us, I tied my Hankerchief to a piece of Wood, and threw it
down into the Water, which, presently one of them paddled after, &
taking it up between her Thumb, and Finger as if it was----and after
turning it round two or three times gave it a Toss, with the utmost
Indifference, into the dirtiest Corner of the Canoe, chattering
something at the same time If that is the Way You treat my Favours
Madam, says I Ill keep my Hankerchiefs to----There is something singular
in the Conduct of these Evites, for if ever they deign to come near You,
to take a Present, they appear as coy, shy, and timorous, as a Maid on
her Wedding Night, (at least as I have been told Maids are) but when
they are, as they think out of your Reach, they hollow and chatter to
You, Frisk, Flirt, and play a hundred wanton Pranks, equally as
significant as the Solicitations of a Covent-Garden Strumpet. I cannot
say all the Ladies are so shy and timorous on your approaching them, for
some shew no signs of Fear, but will laugh and Frisk about You like a
Spaniel, and put on the Airs of a Tantalizing Coquet. indeed, if it were
not for the nauseous, greasy, grimy appearance of these naked Damsels,
one might be said Sat to be in a state of Tantalism, whenever they
vouchsafe to permit Us to come near them; but what with stinking
Fish-Oil, with which they seem to besmear their Bodies, & this mixed
with the Soot which is collected on their Skins from continually setting
over the Fires, and then in addition to these sweet Odours, the constant
Appearance of the excrementitious Matters of the Nose which is collected
on the upper pouting Lip, in rich Clusters of dry Bubbles, and is kept
up by fresh Drippings; I say, from all these personal Graces &
Embellishments, every Inclination for an Affair of Gallantry, as well as
every Idea of fond endearing Intercourse, which the Nakedness of these
Damsels might excite one to, is banished. And I can assure You, there is
in some of them a Proportion, a Softness, a roundness, and Plumpness in
their Limbs & Bodies, were they but cleanly, that would excite tender &
amorous Sensations, even in the frigid Breast of a Philosopher.

Would "stop a Druid in his pious Course
Nor could Philosophy resist their Force."

Sund. 25--

The Supply Tender, arrived in this Cove to Day, from Lord Howe's Island,
but O! Woeful News, for our Alderman-like Stomachs. Not a single Turtle!
so, from having had for this ten day's past, liquorish Chops from the
Idea of 4 or 5 Turtle- Feasts on her arrival, we are now all
Chop-fallen; The consolatory Reason that our Turtle-Connoissures assign
for this Disappointment, is, that from the Winter Season being too far
advanced, the Turtle do not go on Shore.--A Soldier brought in a Shirt,
a Jacket, and a Hat to Day which, he said he found near to the Place
where the poor sickly Convict was wounded, on Friday last, and, as the
Jacket & Hat were known to the the very Man's, who was with the Convict
wounded, We have reason to apprehend that the Natives killed him, and
took him away somewhere.

Mond 26th

A Trial came on to Day in the Criminal Court of a Seaman and Marine
belonging to the Sirius, for beating & wounding in a most cruel Manner
another Man, a Seaman of the same Ship. I, being the Surgeon of the
Sirius, and the first of the Faculty who saw the Man, whom they had so
cruelly treated, was obliged to attend the Trial, to give my Opinion,
how far his Life was endangered from his Wounds; They had nothing to Say
in their Defence, therefore, they were sentenced to receive 500 Lashes

Wed 28th

I had an Inclination to Ramble to Day, therefore, as Captn Hunter and
Lieutt. Bradley were going to the Point of Land which forms the North
Head of the Entrance of Port Jackson, in order to ascertain its
Latitude, I took my Gun, and accompanied them, We had to Row 4 or 5
Miles down the Harbour before we landed, We then, had to ascend a steep
Rocky, Hill, thickly covered with Brush- Wood, after walking about 2
Miles, we gained the Summit of the Head Land, from which We had a very
extensive View, several Leagues out at Sea; Now, (says one of Us) if we
could but see a Ship from England steering for Port Jackson, Aye,
replies I, then I should get a Letter from my Brother Dick, and perhaps
a good Cheese. Ay Ay says Captn Hunter, there would be general
Rejoicings in Port Jackson if we could carry them the News of a Ship
from England coming in. While the Gentlemen were Astronomizing, to get
the Latitude, I & my Man Friday were rambling about, to shoot a few

By 12 oClock they had taken the necessary Observations, and returning,
we made a Circuit over to a part of the Hill, where we observed a great
Fire, we found it to be the burning of a Heathy brush-Wood, which we
supposed the Natives had set on Fire for some Purpose, but what, we
could not Conjecture, We observed likewise, Fires of this Nature, in
several other Parts, of the Country, the Wind was blowing very fresh to
Day and perhaps this might favour their Designs, if they had any at all,
in burning this Stuff; indeed, we have remarked, that, whenever the Wind
blows strong, there are a Number of these kinds of Fires about the
Country, I have been induced to impute them to accident, from the
Natives carrying lighted touch-wood about the Country with them; By the
Bye, does not this Circumstance of their being so careful of preserving
Fire as long as they can seem to imply, that the producing of it is a
Work of great Labour to them? for they even carry the lighted Sticks in
the Bottom of their Canoes.

Well, to go on with our Ramble, We got down to the Water-side again,
where we left the Boat, and just as we were thinking of setting down for
our cold Repast, Mr. Bradley discovered one of the Natives in a Cavern
of a Rock, he was lying close down, and there was a little Girl about 4
or 5 years old beside him, they seemed to have been watching Us very
anxiously. We went up to the old Adamite, who seemed to be past sixty.
He did not discover much Fear, but the poor little Girl was exceedingly
frightened at Us and cried and crouched behind the old Man whenever we
looked at it.

We shot some Birds and gave them to the old Gentleman, which, after he
had barely plucked, he put on his little Fire, and when about warm
through, He eat very greedily, Bones, Entrails and all. We let him see
the fatal Effects of the Gun, by showing him a Bird in a Tree and then
shooting it, on seeing the Bird fall dead, he looked at the Gun with
Astonishment, and seemed as afraid of it, as a Woman is, who thinks it
may go off, loaded or unloaded. We have been always cautious in letting
the Natives see that it is necessary to put anything in the Gun to do
Execution with it, and it is a Weapon that keeps them in great Awe, Many
of them will not come near You till you have laid it down, which they
will make signs for You to do.

Frid 30th

A most Shocking Spectacle was brought to the Hospital this Evening: Two
poor Creatures, Convicts, had been sent a few Miles up the Harbour, to
cut Rushes, for thatching the Huts, and this Afternoon a Boat was sent
to bring them down again, when, they found them lying among some Bushes,
and murdered in a most horrid Manner by the Natives, Three Points of
Spears were taken out of one Man, two of which had Transfixed Him in the
Back the Points sticking some Inches out of his Breast a large Piece of
his Skull, including the Eye seemed to have been cut out with an Axe. In
the other Man, no wound was discovered from Spears, but he appeared to
have been struck with some heavy broad Weapon over his Face, as that
Part was black and bloody--The Natives had not stripped them of their
Cloaths, nor had they taken their Tents away, but none of their Tools
could be found. The Governor, means to take a Party of Marines to morrow
Morning, and go to the Place where this Murder was committed, to
endeavour to find out the Cause of these Hostilities: For it is his
Opinion, with many others, that the Natives are not the Aggressors.

Sat. 31st

This Morning the Governor attended by 3 Marine Officers, the Surgeon of
the Settlement, and 10 or 12 Private Marines all armed set out for the
Spot where the above Murder was committed.

This Afternoon, it was rumoured, that some of the Convicts had murdered
two of the Natives, and 3 Convicts were taken on Suspicion, but as no
clear Evidence could be produced to prove the Fact, they were acquitted;
However there appeared some Probability of the Truth of the Report, and
that the Murder of the two abovementioned Convicts was an act of
Revenge, taken by the Natives on some Account, for they were Murdered
the afternoon of the Day, on which it was said the 2 Natives were
killed, it was asked in the Course of the Enquiry, what was done with
the Corpse of the Natives, when, it was supposed that their Companions
towed them off.

June Sund:

This Evening, the Governor, & his Party returned; They met with, between
Two and Three Hundred of the Natives, all, armed, with several Bundles
of Lances, Bludgeons, Wooden Scimitars, Stone-Hatchets & Shields.--The
Governor & the Rest went up within 50 Yards of them, & halted, the
Governor then, having given his Dagger to one of the Gentlemen, and
appearing quite unarmed, advanced singly, on Which, one of the Natives,
gave his Spear & Club to one of his Companions and met the Governor,
soon after the Parley became general, the Rest of the Gentlemen, and
many of the Natives having joined, they could not see any of the Tools
which, they had taken from the Rush-Cutters, among them, neither could
they make out by any Signs the Discovery of the Cause of the Murder, the
whole Intercourse with them was begun, and ended amicably. However,
Their having thus assembled in this formidable Manner, it seems
probable, that they had some Expectation, of our revenging the Death of
the Convicts, and were equally prepared to be hostile, as disposed to be
friendly, according to our Behaviour toward them--

Mon. 2dn

About a Week ago, a fine She Goat belonging to one of Gentlemen, was
found Dead, and some of the Fleshy Parts cut off, and to Day two Men
were taken up on Suspicion of having killed this Goat, and made a Pie of
some part of it, but it appeared that they found the Goat dead, its
Entrails torn out and otherwise mangled as if som Animal had been eating
of it, and as it was at this time perfectly sweet, and one of the Men
was to be married the next Day, they took the Liberty of cutting some of
the Meat off, to make a Pie for the Wedding-Dinner.

Wed. 4th

This being the Anniversary of His Majesty's Birth Day, Governor Phillip
had prepared, for the Celebration of it, with every Mark of Loyalty and
Distinction, he could think of. At Sun-rise the British Flags were
displayed on Board the Ships, and on the Shore. The Sirius, and Supply
fired 21 Guns each; This Ceremony they repeated at 1 oClock, and at
Sun-set. At 12 oClock the Battalion was drawn up before the Governor's
House, where, they fired three Vollies of Musketry, the First part of
God Save the King being played by the Band between each Volley, after
this Ceremony, the Officers of the Battalion, together with the Naval &
Civil Departments, proceeded to the Governor's House, to pay our
Respects to the Governor, who received Us with great Politeness, and
congratulated Us, on being the first of His Majesty's Subjects, who
celebrated this Day in New South Wales: He had previously given a
general Invitation to the Officers to dine with Him; and about 2 oClock
We sat down to a very good Entertainment, considering how far we are
from Leaden-Hall Market, it consited of Mutton. Pork Ducks, Fowls, Fish,
Kanguroo, Sallads, Pies & preserved Fruits, The Potables consisted of
Port, Lisbon, Madeira, Teneriffe and good old English Porter, these went
merrily round in Bumpers. The Toasts after Dinner were, the King, Queen
& Royal Family, the Prince of Wales, Prince William Henry, after this
Toast, the Governor, in a very facetious and judicious Manner, mentioned
the Necessity there was of having a County in order to circumscribe the
Situation of our new Settlement, He would therefore, take this
Opportunity of giving it the Name of Cumberland County, mentioning the
Limits to be Botany Bay to the Southward, Broken Bay to the Northward,
and some high Land (which he would call Landsdown and Carmarthen Hills)
about 40 or 50 miles to the Westward,--He then gave as a Toast, The
County & the Cumberland Family. In the Course of the Afternoon the
Governor had occasion to step into an adjacent Room, when; it was
intimated by some one to pay Him a flattering Compliment, and every
Gentleman standing up & filling his Glass, we all with one Voice gave,
as the Toast, The Governor and the Settlement, We then gave three
Huzza's, as we had done indeed after every loyal Toast, The Band playing
the whole Time.--We had hardly seated ourselves again before the
Governor entered, He said "Gentlemen I heard You, and I thank You
heartily for the Honour you have done Me, and filling his Glass, drank
our Healths, wishing Harmony & Unanimity throughout the Settlement,
promising that nothing should be wanting on his Side to promote
it.--About 5 oClock we broke up, and walked out to visit the Bonfires,
The Fuel of One of Which, a number of Convicts had been two Days
collecting, and to one who had never seen any bigger than Tower Hill
Bonfire on these Occasions, it was really a noble Sight, it was piled up
for several Yards high round a large Tree; Here, the Convicts assembled,
singing and Huzzaing; on the Governor's Approach, they all drew up on
the Opposite Side, and gave three Huzza's, after this Salutation, A
Party of them joined in singing God Save the King.--The Governor stayed
about 20 Minutes, and then, with many of the Officers returned Home,
where there was a cold Repast, for any Body disposed to take Supper,
about 11 oClock all were retired, and I with Hunter and several
other Officers of the Sirius returned on Board.

In Consequence of this being the first Celebration of His Majesty's
Birth Day in New South Wales, Governor Phillip, had been studius to
distinguish it with every Sentiment of Joy, Zeal and Affection in his
Power, accordingly, He had issued his free Pardon, to all the Convicts
that were in Confinement for Trial, or under Sentence of Punishment for
Crimes committed since they came to the Country. Each Convict was
allowed a Pint of Grog, and all Work, was suspended for the Day, Every
Private Soldier drank His Majesty's Health &c Health in a Pint of
Porter, and every Seaman, in an additional allowance of Grog, and all
this, at the Governors own Expence. In a Word every Heart beat with
Loyalty & Joy.--

June 5th

Notwithstanding the Governor's Indulgence Yesterday, it was found that
while many of the Convicts were rejoicing at the Bonfire, there were
others practising their old Custom of Thieving, and many of the
Officer's Tents & Huts had been robbed. One Fellow was detected as he
was making off, For the Officer happened to be in Bed, and jumping out,
seized his Hanger, and knocked the Fellow, down, his Head is cut very
much, but it is to be hoped that he will live to be tried & hung. One
Officer's Chest was broke open, and robbed of 12 Pair of Stockings &
other Articles. Did You ever hear of such a set of Reprobates!

Mon. 9th.

Two of Captain Hunter's Servants having gone on Shore Yesterday Noon, to
take a Walk in the Woods, and not being yet returned, we were
apprehensive that they had missed their Way, or that some Accident had
happened to them, therefore Boats were sent up and down the Harbour
close along the Shore with Directions to the Officers of them, to Fire a
Musket now & then. I having a Mind for a Ramble, offered, with three
other Gentlemen, as a Volunteer to go into the Woods, in search of Them,
therefore arming Ourselves, and equipping our Snapsacks, we went on
Shore, and directing our Course N.W. Inland We walked till 3 oClock in
the Afternoon, hollowing, and firing our Guns every half hour, but not
being able to meet with them, we determined upon staying out all Night,
accordingly We laid down our Bread an Cheese Wallets, make up a Wig-wam
of green Boughs, cut some dry Ferns for a Bed, lit two or three rousing
Fires near our Hut, and set down to Dinner. We sung the Evening away,
and about 9 oClock retired to Rest, taking it by turns to keep watch,
and supply the Fires with Fuel.

About 8 oClock next Morning we set out again to find these poor
Pilgrims, who had neither any defensive Weapon, nor Provision with them.
We now directed our Course (for we had a Compass with Us) S.S.E. & about
11 oClock, we got down to one of the Coves of the Harbour(Unclear:) not
hearing or seeing any thing of Them here, and our Provision nearly out,
We walked along the Shore, hollowing, and Firing, till we got abreast of
the Ship, We then went on Board, when, we were agreeably informed, that
our Fishing Boat, having gone up the Harbour this Morning, they met with
them, and took them on Board they were in the very Cove, that we walked
down to in the Morning. We did not meet with any thing remarkable in
this Excursion. We walked over a vast Extent of rich Land and through
some pleasant Valleys, and the Soil seemed fit for producing any kind of
Grain, but from its Situation, the Quantity of heavy Timber growing upon
it, to render it fit for Cultivation, it would require a vast Number of
People, and Teams of Cattle, & a great Length of Time.


We are just now under great Tribulation about our Bulls and Cows, for
they have been missing for some time & there is One of the Convicts who
committed a Robbery some time ago, for which if taken, he will certainly
be hung, who is supposed to have driven off the Cattle, as they were
missed about the same time that he was, Many Parties have been out in
different directions, some said they thought they saw the Print of the
Cattles Feet, and a Man's near it, however We have Reason to fear they
have strayed so far, that they will never be brought back again, if they
would but turn wild they might still, perhaps, be of Use to the Country,
but we fear that the Natives will kill them, if they fall in with them.

Sun. 29th

No Tidings of our Cows & Bulls yet, but the Man who committed the
Robbery, and was supposed to have driven them off is apprehended, He was
taken near the Brick Ground, almost in a starving Condition, He was
immediately tried for the Theft, as was also the Man who robbed the Tent
on the 4th of June, they both of them pleaded Guilty, and were hung last

The Man who was suspected of having driven the Cattle away, declared, he
had not seen them. Their Loss, if it proves one, will be rather a
Misfortune for our Colony, & as an additional Calamity the Sheep, both
of the Public, & Private Stocks, die very fast.

July 2nd

It has this Evening been announced that two of the Transports will sail
for England on the 10th. Instant, & two more on the 12th.- I shall put
Letters on Board of each, for You, & many of my Friends, so that you
will receive One among them all probably just to tell you where I am,
and that wherever I am, or may be, I shall hope, Wish & Pray for Your, &
Their uninterrupted Health & Happiness. I have written a very long
letter, similar to this to my Friend Mr Mein of Fowey, & I am thinking
to put His & Yours on Board different Ships, so that if his, or Yours
should Miscarry, You or Him can communicate some Accounts of your Infant
Colony. Though, if they neither of them arrive, You will still have a
chance of hearing of it, as I make no doubt, there will be Narratives
Published, & if I can learn, that One Gentleman intends to give it to
the Public, I will recommend You & yr Friends to his in preference to
any other, because from his Genius I am certain it will be the most
Entertaining, Animating, Correct and satisfactory of any that may

July 11th

I am told there will be another Publication by Debrett in Piccadilly,
which gives an impartial Account of the Voyage, and a Description of
this Country. It will be written by a Captain Tench I believe, belonging
to Battalion here. But the other Publication which I referred you too in
my Note on the 2dn. Instant will be written by D. Collins Esqr.--the
Judge-Advocate of our Settlement--This will just serve to Prepare You &
Your Friends for any of the Publications that may come out, it will do,
in short for a Fire-side Chit-Chat with your Friends, while the Printers
are compiling & Composing the others, but it will by no Means do for a
Correct an full Description of the Country, My Situation on Board the
Ship will not admit of my collecting all the Incidents Occurrences,
Remarks &c and if I had Matter, I have neither Genius nor Abilities to
Relate it in a tolerable Manner. I am keeping by me an Account of the
Voyage &c. &c. in a Series of Letters which You shall have the Reading
of when I return Home, They are something fuller & more accurate than

The Ships sail to Morrow Morning therefore, as I find I have no less
than 31 Letters (& 5 of them almost as long as y') to Close, Seal,
Enclose & direct, I must Conclude

Believe Me your very affectionate Brother

G B Worgan

P.S. I have sent you 2 Letters beside this in different Ships


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