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Title: The Coming of the British to Australia 1788 to 1829 Author: Ida Lee (Mrs. Charles Bruce Marriott) * A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook * eBook No.: 0900091h.html Language: English Date first posted: January 2009 Date most recently updated: January 2009 Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html
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Monument to Captain Cook at Sydney
Australia has reached an interesting stage in her history. She has completed the first five years of her life as a Commonwealth, a sufficiently long period for her to gain a consciousness of her duties and her destinies as a united nation. The volume of her annals up to the 1st of January, 1901, while she was still composed of separate Colonies, is finished. But it is not closed and done with. On the contrary, its early chapters have acquired a new meaning and value. Australians should look, backwards as well as forwards. They will find in the records of the discovery and settlement of their country guidance and inspiration for the future. They will understand more clearly how their land and people have been moulded and fashioned in their present shape by climate, soil and circumstances. They will also be reminded, should that be necessary, how old and close and intimate are the ties that bind them to the Mother Country.
The narrative of the Old Colony Days, which the author has prepared, will be found fascinating in style, accurate in statement, and fair in judgment. The tale of the first discovery and settlement of Australia is one long romance of pioneering. We share the enthusiasm of the early voyagers, as they trace the outlines of the island continent. We read of the first impressions made on the mind of Dampier and of Cook by the peculiar flora or fauna of the country, and by the not less singular appearance and customs of the aborigines. Then we are introduced to the early Governors, all of them sailors or soldiers. To them Australia owes much, for they laid deep and wide the foundations of the future Commonwealth.
Mrs. Marriott describes the foundation of the early fortunes of some of the older settlements, and the beginnings of Victoria and Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. She has notes on the first churches; the first regiments; the bushrangers and the police of the good old times. She gives a vigorous sketch of the physical features, and of the animal and vegetable life of the country.
To Australians, the volume should be of absorbing interest; to other citizens of the Empire, much pleasure and profit should come by a perusal of it; and, as an educational work for the rising generation, it should be most valuable, as it appears to be specially adapted for a reading-book in schools.
Higginsfield, Cheshire, April 1906.
CONTENTS. PREFACE CHAPTER I. THE DAWN OF AUSTRALIAN COLONISATION. Australia—The country disappointing to its first explorers—Captain Arthur Phillip—The first fleet—Botany Bay—First meeting with the natives—Removal to Port Jackson—Founding of Sydney—Arrival of La Perouse—Phillip's voyage to Broken Bay—The planting of the first grain—Description of the kangaroo—The aborigines—Their character and mode of Life—Attack on the Fly—Opossum hunting—Gathering honey—Native method of fishing—Canoes—Native weapons—Rock Paintings—Native beliefs—Attempted attack on the settlement—Disaster to H.M.S. Guardian—Governor Phillip wounded—Matthew Flinders and George Bass—Captain Vancouver—Tasmania visited—Bass reaches Port Western—Discovery of the Mount Keira coalfield—Flinders and Bass circumnavigate Tasmania CHAPTER II. THE EARLY GOVERNORS. Arthur Phillip—His early career—Appointed by Lord Sydney—Lord Howe's letter—Success of the voyage—Proves to be an excellent ruler—Francis Grose—William Paterson—John Hunter—His previous career—Encourages exploration—His hunt of the wild cattle—Philip Gidley King—His difficulties with the New South Wales Corps—William Bligh—His incompetence as a ruler—Prosecution of Captain Macarthur—The governor deposed and sent out of the colony—George Johnston—Joseph Foveaux—William Paterson again acts as governor—Lachlan Macquarie—His masterful ways and enlightened policy—His attempts to reform the currency—Thomas Makdougall Brisbane—His distinguished career as a soldier—His devotion to astronomy—Founds Parramatta observatory—Encourages immigration—Improves the breed of horses—Difficulties with the currency—William Stewart, acting governor—Ralph Darling—His troubles with the press—Encourages exploration—Attacked by Wentworth—Peter Cunningham's eulogy of Darling CHAPTER III. SYDNEY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. Site of the city—Its narrow streets—Parramatta—The first land grants—The first settlers—Flocks and herds begin to flourish—The printing press first used—Architecture—Storehouses and factories—Péron's description of Sydney—Froude's impressions CHAPTER IV. THE LADY NELSON, BAUDIN'S EXPEDITION, AND THE INVESTIGATOR. The Lady Nelson—Built with centreboards—Her voyage out under James Grant—Traces the north coast for some distance west of Western Port—Ordered to continue his explorations—John Murray appointed to the command—Discovery of Port Phillip—The French expedition—Napoleon's objects—Voyage of the Géographe and Naturaliste—Flinders reaches Australia in the Investigator—Surveys the coast from Cape Leeuwin eastwards—Meeting with the French in Encounter Bay—Arrives at Sydney—Sails to survey the eastern and northern coasts—Returns to Sydney—Wrecked on the voyage home—Returns to Sydney in a boat of his own building—Again starts for England and is imprisoned at Mauritius—The French claims to his discoveries fortunately disproved by prior publication CHAPTER V. CROSSING THE BLUE MOUNTAINS. The mountains described—The many attempts to cross them—Phillip—Tench and Arndell—Dawes—Tench and Dawes—Tench—Paterson—Hacking—Bass— Caley—Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth at last succeed—Evans reaches the Bathurst Plains CHAPTER VI. MAKING THE ROADS, FOUNDING OF BATHURST, FURTHER EXPLORATION. Macquarie's road-making policy—His methods contrasted with the old colonial ways—The Great Western Road—The Great Southern Road—The Great North Road—Macquarie selects the site for the town of Bathurst—Evans ordered to survey the Macquarie River—Oxley's expedition—Discovers the Wellington Valley—His second expedition—His description of a native burial ground—Allan Cunningham north of Bathurst—Oxley explores the Brisbane River—Sturt and Hume discover the Darling River—Sturt explores the Murrumbidgee and reaches Lake Alexandrina—Mitchell's explorations CHAPTER VII. THE NEW SETTLEMENTS. The old parishes—The Cow Pastures—The Hunter River and Newcastle—The Hawkesbury floods—Macquarie's townships—Liverpool—Campbell Town—Goulburn—Parramatta—Bathurst as a centre of exploration—Governor Darling's visit in 1829—Wellington—Western Port—Tasmania—The Tasmanian natives—Mosquito, the native bushranger—Governor Arthur's attempt to localise the natives—Robinson's remarkable scheme succeeds—Hume and Hovell's discoveries—Second attempt to reach Port Phillip by sea—Philip King's voyage to North-Western Australia—Port Essington—Melville Island—Voyages of the Mermaid—A very much ship-wrecked mariner—Western Australia—Norfolk Island CHAPTER VIII. THE PIONEERS AND THE NATIVES OF THE INTERIOR. The early settlers—Their houses and estates—Attack on Campbell's house at Goimbla—A cattle station in the bush—The natives of the Bathurst district—Their primitive beliefs—Their intelligence and character—Disputes with the settlers as to ownership of the land—Cattle stealing—Native method of cooking mutton—The chiefs at Bathurst—The corroboree mourning customs—Native modes of burial—Native songs—Canoes—A commissioner of Crown Lands crosses a river—The natives as hunters CHAPTER IX. THE FIRST REGIMENTS, THE BUSHRANGERS AND THE POLICE. The Marines—The New South Wales Corps—The 73rd—The Royal Veteran Corps—The 46th—The 48th—The Buff's—The 40th—The 57th—Death of Captain Logan—The 39th—Bushrangers—Poaching of cattle—Bush constables—Mounted police—Appointment of Captain Forbes CHAPTER X. THE FIRST CHURCHES. The first chaplain—Richard Johnson—Builds the first church—It is burnt down—Services held in a store—Service held at the Orphan School—Samuel Marsden arrives—Building of St. Philip's—The first church at Parramatta—Henry Fulton—Marsden visits England—William Cowper—Robert Cartwright—Marsden as a farmer—Marsden founds a mission station in New Zealand—St. Philip's at Sydney enlarged—St. Matthew's, Windsor—Christ Church, Newcastle—The first churches at the Castlereagh, at the Hawkesbury, at Campbelltown, at Port Macquarie, at Bathurst—St. James's, Sydney—Archdeaconry of New South Wales formed—Bishop Heber—Thomas Hobbes Scott appointed first archdeacon—Number and character of the churches—Prominent laymen—Captain Wallis—Sir Edward Parry the arctic explorer—His life at Port Stephens—Lady Darling—Roman Catholic churches—Presbyterian churches—Dr. Lang—The Wesleyans CHAPTER XI. AUSTRALIA'S PHYSICAL FEATURES; ITS ANIMAL AND VEGETABLE LIFE. General view of the continent—Traces of volcanic action—Its harbours and inland valleys, due to marine denudation—Snow on the mountains—Bush fires—Grain and the weeds—Gardening—Gardens of Port Jackson—Trees—Grasses—Wildflowers—The horse and its riders—Mustering cattle—Hunting—The dingo—Fruit-bats and their devastations—Birds—Familiar names of unfamiliar species—Conclusion APPENDIX. List of towns and stations and the distance in miles from Sydney INDEX
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 01 Monument to Captain Cook at Sydney 02 William Dampier 03 William Dampier reaches Australia 04 Captain Cook 05 The First Known Pictures of Australia. Wreck of the Dutch Ship Batavia near Geraldton, West Australia, in 1628 06 Captain Cook lands in New South Wales. (From an old print, 1807) 07 Sydney Heads 08 Natives fishing at Port Jackson 09 Sydney Natives climbing Trees 10 Tracing of an Egyptian Missile which was supposed by some old Writers to resemble the Boomerang 11 Natives of Australia smoking out the Opossum 12 Natives fishing with the Fiz-gig 13 Captain Phillip finds the Carvings on the Rocks at Sydney. (From an old print, 1807) 14 Cave Drawing discovered by Sir George Grey in West Australia 15 Cave Drawing discovered by Sir George Grey in West Australia 16 Count de la Pérouse, the French Navigator who reached Botany Bay Six Days after Captain Phillip had anchored there, and afterwards landed in Tasmania 17 Arthur Phillip, Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief of New South Wales 18 Bennilong, one of the Natives who accompanied Governor Phillip to England 19 Captain John Hunter 20 Captain Philip Gidley King 21 Captain William Bligh. (By kind permission of Messrs. H Graves and Co., Ltd.) 22 Major-General Lachlan Macquarie 23 Sir Thomas Brisbane 24 Sir Ralph Darling 25 Sydney Cove. (From an early painting) 26 Sydney. (As Péron saw it) 27 The Lady Nelson. (By kind permission of Messrs. Longmans, Green, and Co.) 28 An Exploring Party with Phillip and Hunter. (From a sketch by Captain Hunter) 29 Australian Natives spearing Parrots in the Blue Mountains 30 Sketch Map of the Country West of the Blue Mountains. (Discovered by G. W. Evans) 31 A Native Chief of Bathurst. (From "Oxley's Explorations") 32 Devices carved by the Natives on the Trees at Wellington 33 Lachlan River at Condobolin 34 The Tank Stream, Sydney 34a A Road through the Forest in Tasmania 35 Captain Cook landing at Adventure Bay, Tasmania. (By R. Caton Woodville) 36 Vlamingh's Plate Giving an Inscription of Hartog's Plate Found by Him on Dirk Hartog Island, and also a Second Inscription of His Own. 37 Natives of Australia on Trial 38 Native Burial Ground near Wellington, N. S. Wales. (From "Oxley's Explorations") 39 Natives spearing the Kangaroo 40 The 3rd Regiment of Buffs in 1823 40a Government Notice re Bushrangers 41 St. Philip's Church, Sydney 42 St. John's Church, Parramatta 43 Windsor Church 44 Holy Trinity Church, Kelso (Old Bathurst) 45 Richmond Church 46 Bishop Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, under which See the Diocese of New South Wales was placed by Royal Charter in 1823 47 St. Leonard's Church 48 Rear-Admiral Sir W. Edward Parry 49 The Scotch Church, Parramatta 50 The Opossum 51 The Vampire 52 The Duck-billed Platypus 53 The Wonga-Wonga Pigeon 54 The Giant Kingfisher 55 The Emu
The colonisation of Australia has been entirely the work of the British, Whatever may have been the nationality of its first discoverer, its subsequent development has been under the British flag alone.
Thevet, the French geographer, as far back as 1550, tells us of the discovery of an Austral Land by an English pilot, but who the pilot was, is not easy to affirm, nor is there as yet positive proof that the Austral Land was Australia. So far as is known the first Englishman to visit the continent was William Dampier who arrived on the north-western coasts in the Cygnet commanded by Swan, the buccaneer, in January, 1688.
Following him after a long interval, in 1770, came Captain James Cook, in H.M.S. Endeavour, who, as has been told so often and with so much detail, after circumnavigating New Zealand, examined the whole of the eastern coast of Australia and gave it the name of New South Wales from a supposed resemblance to the South Wales of Great Britain.
Australia appears, however, to have been disappointing to its first discoverers. Not only was it much smaller than had been imagined by geographers, but it was found wanting in the natural productions necessary for the welfare of Europeans. Compared with the first points of land reached in America, it was barren and unfruitful. The Dutch would not have neglected their discoveries on the west coast had they not believed the descriptions of their seamen, who spoke of the "barren, sandy shores and wild, rocky coasts inhabited by naked black people, malicious and cruel". Besides these rocks and barren sand hills there seems to have been little for the Dutch to describe; the other details in the old journals only tell of mishaps to their ships, and the difficulty of finding fresh water.
Dampier's account is more interesting. In it we obtain glimpses of "the land of indifferent height with many gentle risings neither steep nor high—with white sand near the shore, but further inland red,—producing grass in great tufts, with heath and shrubs about ten feet high having their tops covered with leaves...and bushes of divers sorts with yellow flowers, or blossoms, some blue and some white—most of them with a very fragrant smell"[*]. This description answers to many a spot on the western coast. Yet neither the English nor the Dutch (after 1628) attempted to colonise it.
[* Trigonella suavissima. "Exactly resembling new mown hay in perfume which it gives out even in the freshest state of verdure. When at sea off Cape Leuwin in September, 1827, after a three months' voyage I was sensible of a perfume from the shore" (see Mitchell's East Australia, vol. ii., p. 65).]
William Dampier reaches Australia.
In the log of his first voyage Cook has told us simply and faithfully in sailor language what the eastern coast appeared to him. He saw its long low shores "all white with sand" fringed with foaming surf and farther off the Blue Mountains, part of the Great Dividing Range, which as they roll back from the moving waves, appear a finer sea of richer blue although they here "look out upon the greatest and deepest mass of water on the globe—the Tasman Sea and South Pacific". It was not until twenty-eight years after Cook and Banks had seen and written so favourably upon the newly discovered land that the British Government attempted to make use of their discoveries.
The loss of the American colonies induced the authorities to turn their attention to these distant possessions. The first proposal, made by Mr. Matra, afterwards British consul at Tangiers, to form a settlement as a home for the loyal Americans who, during the War of Independence, had lost their fortunes in supporting the king's cause, was favoured by Lord Sydney. The latter, however, saw its usefulness for another purpose, and suggested it as a suitable region for the reception of criminals condemned to transportation, a class formerly sent to the American plantations.
The First Known Pictures of Australia. Wreck of the Dutch Ship Batavia near Geraldton, West Australia, in 1628.
The French, at this time, were also preparing to form settlements in the Pacific. Owing to their activity, the Sydney scheme was the more readily accepted and, in August, 1786, orders were given to equip an expedition. Captain Arthur Phillip, R. N., was selected by Lord Sydney for the command, and appointed "governor and commander-in-chief of the territory of New South Wales and of his Majesty's ships and vessels on that coast". No time was lost and a fleet left England in 1787, consisting of H.M.S. Sirius,[*] frigate. Captain John Hunter, and H.M.S. Supply, tender, under Lieutenant Ball, with three store ships and six transports carrying the prisoners, making about 1,163 persons. H.M.S. Hyaena bore the vessels company for some little distance, returning to England with despatches from Captain Phillip, while the fleet, touching for supplies at Teneriffe, Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope, directed its course to New South Wales.
[* The Sirius was originally The Berwick and intended for the East India Company. Meeting with an accident by fire she was purchased by the Government and her name changed. She was of about 520 tons burden.]
At Rio plants and seeds, amongst others, of coffee, cotton, banana, orange, lemon, guava, tamarind, prickly pear, pineapple and ipecacuanha were obtained. At the Cape other seeds and fig-trees, sugar-canes, bamboos, Spanish reeds, various grape vines, apple, pear, quince and oak-trees, myrtle shrubs and strawberry plants were placed in the ships, and in the space of a month 500 domestic animals, chiefly cattle and horses, were taken on board.
Captain Cook lands in New South Wales.
(From an old print, 1807.)]
On 25th November when eighty leagues eastward of the Cape, Captain Phillip left the Sirius, and went on board the Supply, taking with him Lieutenants King and Dawes of the Marines, with all the best engineers and artificers, to hurry on and choose a place for the reception of the fleet. The three fastest vessels followed in his wake, while Hunter, in the Sirius, took charge of the remaining transports.
Since Cook coasted the eastern shores no ships had visited that part of Australia. The natives had probably forgotten all about the coming of the white men in the Endeavour until, early one midsummer morning, on 18th January, 1788, the Supply arrived.
The first impressions of the place were disappointing. The green meadows described by Banks were found to be barren swamps and sterile sands, owing doubtless to a drought that had befallen the country; and the bay itself, although extensive, was exposed to the full sweep of easterly winds which blew violently and rolled a heavy sea that broke with tremendous surf against the shore.
Owing to the many shallows the Supply was compelled to anchor a little distance from land. Some forty natives were fishing near the south shore. When they saw the ship they ran along the beach and appeared to be greatly frightened. Dragging their canoes out of the water, the men placed them upon their backs and ran off with them into the bush, while the women saw that none of the little children or any fishing tackle was left behind. A few bolder spirits remained and ventured down to the water's edge, brandishing spears of amazing length, clubs, sticks and wooden pommellers of a vast weight, and in threatening attitudes shouted "Warra, warra," "Warra, warra"—"Begone, begone"—at those in the ship, exactly the same words that Captain Cook had heard the natives use years before when the Endeavour anchored in Botany Bay, words which neither he nor Tupia could understand.
On the north side of the bay only six or seven natives were observed, so it was at this point that, during the day, Captain Phillip with Lieutenants Ball, King and Dawes of the Marines, prepared to land. In consequence of the hostility of the small band of blacks who kept up a continuous attack with stones, the sailors, to avoid a quarrel, rowed along the shore for some little distance until the boat came to a spot where Phillip thought he would find water. The search was unsuccessful, and about sunset the party re-embarked and rowed back to that part of the beach opposite which the Supply had anchored.
More natives, armed with spears and waddies, had gathered there and gazed in wonder at the ship. Phillip beckoned to them and by signs told them that he wanted water; but they still gazed on. Growing impatient Phillip sprang out of the boat, handed his musket to the man nearest him and, without showing the slightest fear, walked towards the black men, offering presents in order to show them his friendly intentions. Seeing at last that the governor frequently waved his hand to his own party to retire, one of the oldest blacks came forward and giving his lance to a younger man advanced alone.
When the natives understood what Phillip wanted they placed their spears and clubs upon the ground and led the governor and his party to a rivulet of fresh water. This party of blacks appeared peaceably inclined, but on Phillip's return to the beach other natives were found gathered who seemed to resent the landing strongly, and to reach the boat it became necessary to fire off a gun, which quickly dispersed them.
On the following day, 19th January, three transports, which the Supply had outsailed, arrived, and reported that the hay for the cattle on board was almost exhausted. A small party was consequently sent to cut grass for the animals and Captain Phillip made a tour of the south of the bay, his visit of the day before having been to the northern side. In this second expedition the governor saw the inhabitants again and advanced alone to meet them. A green branch was used by both parties as a sign of friendship, and the blacks also threw down their lances to show they were amicably disposed. Meanwhile the sailors gave the natives pieces of coloured flannel, red baize, paper cut like stars, and beads, with which they promptly adorned themselves, binding the baize round their heads and causing considerable amusement to their comrades. They showed that they were excellent mimics and could take off the marines to perfection. The sound of the fife delighted them; but when the drum was played they hastily fled into the woods and would not return until it ceased. The headgear of the strangers seemed also to please them, and several hats were stolen from their owners' heads, and whenever an Englishman took off his hat they gave shouts of approval.
The governor displayed great energy in his attempts to conciliate the Australians and to explore the country. With two boats he coasted along the shore for twelve or fourteen miles and found two rivers, one running in a north-easterly direction, the other seeming to trend to the south-west. As he was going up the former stream for some six miles numbers of natives were seen, some fishing in their canoes, others drying the fish on the banks. A few large fish (snapper), were hanging from the trees. The natives ran away as the British approached, and made a curious noise as they hid themselves in the wood. For the first time it was noticed that they possessed dogs covered with long shaggy hair. As the boat returned down the river the blacks reappeared on the banks, running and shouting "Warra, warra" as before. There were some miserable huts to the south-west, and the country beyond appeared to be very mountainous.
"Heavy in clouds came on the day" (20th January) of the arrival of Hunter in the Sirius with the remainder of the fleet. "To us," wrote Captain Tench, "it was a great and important day and I hope will mark the foundation...of an empire."
The stream of fresh water on the north side of the bay which the natives had shown Phillip proved a fairly good one, but the approach was so narrow and covered with undergrowth that it was with difficulty the boat could be forced along. The banks proved soft and spongy and unfit for building operations. Point Sutherland, where the best water was to be had, was unapproachable by the ships. For these and other reasons Phillip determined to find a better and more convenient landing spot. Accompanied by Collins and Hunter, he set out from Botany Bay on 21st January, in three open boats to survey the coast higher up. An opening marked Port Jackson on Cook's chart first attracted notice, and the governor determined to explore it. The weather was mild and clear, and the boats sailed close to the land until they reached the two rocky headlands which guard the entrance. Both the headlands were very steep, the sea breaking on the rocks with great force and sending showers of spray into the air. The wild cries of the natives on the cliffs above were heard as the white men entered the harbour.
Gesticulating and shouting the natives followed the boats for some distance. But the long heavy swell of the ocean subsided and the shouts of the blacks and the deafening roar of the surf grew fainter as the sailors found themselves crossing smooth clear water and beheld in front of them a most beautiful harbour around which were bays and coves with yellow sands and rocky points, many of them covered with soft green foliage to the water's edge. Farther away were hills on which grew tall trees with leaves of faint green like those noticed along the outer coasts. The governor was struck with the loveliness of the scene, and as he had found a safe harbour and both wood and water he decided to make it the site of his settlement. The spot chosen was at the head of the cove near a spring which stole silently through a thick wood, the stillness of which was for the first time broken by the sound of an axe.
The cove was given the name of Sydney in honour of Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney, then Home Secretary in Pitt's government. To him Phillip wrote: "We got into Port Jackson early in the afternoon and had the satisfaction of finding the finest harbour in the world in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security ". He called the stream of fresh water the Tanks, known later as the Tank Stream.
Three days were spent in surveying Port Jackson and many of the aborigines grew well disposed towards the white men, while a chief, who went along with Phillip to inspect the camp where the men were boiling meat for dinner, gave evidence of both intelligence and courage. At another point a party of twenty natives waded into the water to receive the gifts offered them, and showed such manly trustfulness in the British sailors that the governor afterwards gave the spot the name of Manly Cove.
On the evening of the 23rd Phillip returned to Botany Bay and directions were given to prepare to proceed to Port Jackson. On the following morning there appeared in the bay two strange vessels the arrival of which in this far-off land caused great surprise. They were not, as some at first thought, Dutch ships or store ships, but two French men-of-war, the Boussole and Astrolabe under the Count de la Pérouse, then on a voyage of discovery. Phillip recollected that they had left France in 1785, some two years before the English fleet had sailed. La Pérouse knew of the intended settlement at Port Jackson and told Phillip that he had heard of it at Kamchatka and expected to find a town built, and a market established. Visits were exchanged, and the British prepared to move on to Sydney, while the French remained at Botany to overhaul their ships and take in water and provisions before continuing their voyage. They had last left Samoa where at the island of Maouna they had lost De l'Angle, commander of the Astrolabe, with several other officers and seamen and both their long boats in an attack made by natives while searching for water. La Pérouse had sailed thence to Botany Bay guided by Cook's chart, which lay before him on the binnacle, and on his way had anchored off Norfolk Island but had not landed on account of the surf.
During their stay the French were not idle. The officers pitched their tent on shore, set up a small observatory, and put together the frames of two large boats which they had brought from Europe. Their chaplain, Pere Receveur, who had acted as their naturalist, shortly after landing died of wounds received at the hands of the Samoans. They nailed two pieces of board to a tree as a memorial, and when in time these fell off, Phillip replaced them with a plate of copper which, in turn, gave place to the present monument, the expense of which was partly defrayed in 1825 by the French officers in the expedition under De Bougainville.
After a stay of seven days at Botany Bay, Phillip sailed in the Supply to Port Jackson. Captain Hunter followed next day, and the passage taking only a few hours, the convoy entered the harbour on a bright and beautiful evening and anchored in deep water close to the head of Sydney Cove, On the following day, 27th January, the landing was effected.
The first undertaking was to clear the ground and erect houses, the framework of which had been brought from England. Meanwhile the settlers encamped in tents and under the trees "in a country resembling the woody parts of a deer park in England"; and, to begin with, there was a good deal of confusion mingled with amusement at the novel experiences. In one place were "a party cutting down wood, another setting up a forge, a third dragging a load of provisions; here stood an officer pitching his tent, with his troops parading on one side of him and a cook's fire blazing furiously on the other ". On the Sunday after landing divine service was held under the shade of a large tree at which the Rev. Richard Johnson, chaplain to the settlement, officiated.
On 7th February, the judge advocate read before the whole community the proclamation and took possession of the colony of New South Wales in the name of Great Britain and appointed Captain Phillip governor-in-chief with Major Ross as lieutenant-governor; at the same time letters patent were issued for establishing courts of civil and criminal judicature and a vice-admiralty court for the trial of offences committed on the high seas.
Phillip, having seen that his orders were being carried out, started to explore the country along the coast, and, in March, with a long boat and cutter, made an expedition to Broken Bay; but the rain and the difficulty of working among deep mud and sandbanks prevented him from making a detailed survey. The land there appeared to be higher than at Port Jackson; a fine harbour was discovered, and some interviews with the natives took place. On 10th March, amid the regrets of the whole community, the French ships sailed; their course took them to Tasmania and ended in their being wrecked on the coral reef off Vanikoro, north of the New Hebrides, where their remains were found in 1826, their fate having been a mystery for nearly forty years.
One of the first orders Captain Phillip gave, as soon as land enough had been cleared, was to plant the rice, wheat and barley purchased at Rio and the Cape, the first land cultivated being at Farm Cove. The harvest was bad, and none of the larger plants throve or came to maturity. The pasture was so thin and poor that of their forty-four sheep, thirty four died before the ships which had brought out the expedition left Sydney, and the cattle, much reduced during the voyage, did little better. Six of the herd, through the neglect of their keepers, strayed into the bush in June. Five hundred men were sent in pursuit for some fifteen miles, but no trace of the cattle could be found and the general opinion was that the natives had driven them farther up into the country.
All the stock were kept upon the East Ridge of the cove. The natives took a lively interest in their disembarkation and cried out "Kangaroo!" again and again when they saw the sheep. The pigs seemed to thrive better than the other animals, and multiplied exceedingly; twenty-eight were originally landed, but five of these, which were in a pen beneath a large tree, were soon afterwards killed by lightning. Thunderstorms were very frequent in this year (1788) and the effect of the lightning visible on every hill was most startling. During the first six months three earthquakes were felt, the most severe happening on 22nd June, in the forenoon, when the settlement was clouded in sulphurous vapour for some time after the shock.
On 4th June, 1788, that portion of the settlement lying between the northernmost point of Broken. Bay and the southernmost point of Botany Bay, and extending westwards to the Lansdowne and Carmarthen Hills was named the county of Cumberland. At the same time in honour of the king's birthday the usual salutes were fired, and, as there was plenty of timber, bonfires were made in the evening, according to the old English custom, to celebrate the occasion.
From time to time many large birds appeared in the harbour, and brown wedge-tailed eagles from the interior were seen as well as parrots and other bright plumaged birds, but all of them kept well out of danger. Near Sydney, the fish locally known as bream and mackerel were commonly caught, and they formed the chief food supply.
To the British when they first arrived in New South Wales, as to Dampier when he visited the western coast, the most remarkable animal was the kangaroo, quaintly described as "a quadruped as large as a sheep, the neck, head and shoulders small in proportion to the remainder of the body, the tail long and going off to a point...The fore-legs only measure eight inches long and are kept bent close under the breast and seem to be only used for digging in the ground, for the animal never walks but leaps like a frog in an erect posture; the hind legs are near twenty-two inches long and serve to make a seat for the animal which is always discovered in that posture when he is not leaping along. The skin is grey, of a mouse colour, the ears are like those of a hare, and the flesh is like venison only with a brackish taste." The great grey kangaroo, the finest of the group, is probably the one thus described. It feeds upon the native grasses and the leaves of shrubs, possesses an acute sense of hearing, and is wonderfully swift in its spring; the older ones are very wary, and it is seldom that an "old man" kangaroo is taken. The skin, when tanned, is valuable for its elasticity and softness. The rock wallaby is smaller, being only about three feet in length, while the kangaroo rat is about twice the size of an English water mole.
We learn from the earliest records that the Australian aborigines at Sydney Cove varied in height from about five feet four inches to five feet nine inches, but some would measure six feet. The men were of slight build and fairly well made, the women scarcely so tall. Generally speaking they had the projecting brows, broad noses, wide mouths and thick lips which led the colonists to compare them to the negro; but their hair and beards were short and curly, not woolly, their eyes dark hazel, and their skin a deepish brown. They appeared to practise curious ceremonies such as punching out the two front teeth on the right side of the upper jaw of the men, and the amputation of the joints of the' little finger of the left hand of the girls who were appointed to catch fish for the tribe; while scars upon the body seemed to be considered ornamental.
In course of time the colonists became acquainted with the character and mode of life of the Australian natives at Port Jackson. They made no attempt to cultivate the ground, but depended for food wholly on the fruits, roots and animals the country produced. Fishing, indeed, seemed to occupy most of their time, probably because it yielded their chief sustenance, and also because it afforded them sport. They seldom ate food raw unless pressed by hunger; and broiled their meat, fish and vegetables, many of the last being poisonous to white men. The natives appeared to feel the cold acutely, and when not round the fire sheltered themselves in bad weather among the caves and rocks. In winter they slept in round huts constructed of boughs and bark about four feet high and open on one side only.
Many quarrels occurred between the settlers and the blacks, and the white men would, perhaps, have been more severe upon the aborigines for their depredations had not several settlers been convicted in the year 1800 of the murder of a native boy. Before that year Europeans at the Hawkesbury River had their huts burned, their stock stolen, and their cornfields despoiled by members of the tribe. The settlers were compelled to use their firearms and a reward was offered for the head of the chief of this tribe, and was afterwards claimed when his head was brought into Sydney.
Natives Fishing at Port Jackson
In April, 1808, the Fly, a Government vessel, sought refuge at Bateman's Bay from bad weather, and three of her crew were landed to search for water; it was arranged that in case of danger a musket should be fired. The men had left their boat when the seashore became suddenly thronged with natives. The musket was accordingly discharged, and the sailors, reaching the boat, were putting off when they were assailed by a flight of spears. The three unfortunate men fell back dead from their oars. Seizing-the boat the savages went off in it together with several canoes to attack the ship; and they were so numerous that the crew cut the cable of the Fly and made for the open sea.
Once the natives grew familiar with the presence of the Europeans, they gave less trouble in Sydney. Their principal acts of hostility were to expel the white men from the fishing grounds which they justly believed to be their own property. Crops were sometimes set on fire, possibly more through ignorance than malice. A settler at Parramatta once noticed a chief passing too near his haystacks with a lighted firebrand. He called to him and spoke to him about the danger of fire, but the chief calmly replied: "The country is ours, we must have our fire, so you must take care of your corn".
When Cook saw notches in the trees he probably did not know that they were made by the natives when searching for food. This method of hunting is only practised by the Australian aborigines. The opossum, kangaroo rat, flying squirrel and other animals which live in the trunks of hollow trees were obtained in this manner. Most of them, being nocturnal in their habits, sleep during the day, and therefore become an easy prey to the hunter, who can tell by the freshness of the scratches on the stem of the tree when the animal ascended it. What expert climbers the aborigines were may be guessed by the height of the trees, the blue gum, measuring sometimes over sixty feet in one smooth shaft. Unslinging his stone hatchet from his belt the native prepared to climb the tree, cutting notches as he ascended. The first and second notches were cut as he stood on the ground, the first notch being level with the thigh on the left hand, the second opposite the right shoulder; the two cuts were made with the hatchet to form each notch, one slanting, the other horizontal. Into these the big toe of each foot was inserted while the climber, stretching his arm round the tree, made the ascent to the uppermost outlet, where he waited until the rest of his party had set fire to the dried grass or reeds which filled the lower part of the trunk. Then the animal, in its Endeavour to escape from the smoke, rushed up the hollow trunk through, the hole at the top, to be promptly killed by the native watching for him. When cutting the notches the whole weight of the climber rested on the toe, and in moving upwards he held the hatchet between his teeth. The hatchets used before the coming of the white men were of stone, but afterwards iron ones took their place.
Sydney Natives Climbing Trees
Of all the natural produce of the forest there was nothing-the natives liked better than wild honey, and in traversing the woods, their eyes were almost always looking up into the trees in search of it. This almost black honey was the produce of a small stingless bee which made its hive in the hollow trees. It was obtained in much the same fashion as the opossums, but when the bees made their hives in the slender branches the gin (or woman) being the lighter climber usually did the work. She would wind her left arm round the body of the trunk, holding the hatchet between her teeth, and would, if she could reach the hive, place the honeycomb in a sort of calabash slung round her neck, but if not she would lop off the branch, letting it fall at her husband's feet. The natives ate the honey as they found it and made a beverage of the refuse comb called "bull" which possessed intoxicating properties.
Throughout New South Wales the throwing stick and spear served the purposes of the bow and arrow of other nations. The natives at Sydney also carried shields, painted red and white, oval or triangular in shape, made of the outside of hard wood, the bark being left on, making them almost impenetrable. The best known weapon was the boomerang of which there were several kinds, some for throwing at birds or animals, some for war, some so contrived that after circling through the air for several feet they would return to the thrower if they did not strike anything in their course. Some writers have dwelt on the similarity between the boomerang and a missile used by the ancient Egyptians for killing ducks as represented on the walls at Thebes. The annexed illustration of this missile may therefore be of interest as showing that the resemblance, if any, is somewhat distant.
Tracing of an Egyptian Missile which was Supposed by Some Old Writers to Resemble a Boomerang
When only a small child the Australian black learns to notice the faintest tread on the grass, or on the bare soil, from a stone upturned or from the broken dry leaves, to know how many men have passed and how long since. As a child he is taught to catch a native bee at the waterside, to attach to it the soft tiny white feather or thistledown and when he sets it free to follow, running swiftly to find the hive. Hiding' in the grass or reeds he lies waiting patiently for hours for the wood pigeon or brush kangaroo, while the men of the tribe spread themselves in a circle at some distance, hidden by the boughs of the trees, until they can with certainty spear the marsupial, when the boy rushes in to help deal the deathblow. In the rivers where the large fish gleam the black boy learns to swim and dive and sometimes spears a fish, taking his aim from the white boulders in the middle of the stream.
Natives of Australia smoking out the Opossum.
The natives, according to the old reports, caught their fish in several ways; first by the hook and line, in which sport the females also joined, one girl in each family being entrusted with the duty; secondly with a net or seine; and thirdly by means of weirs. The hooks were of pearl oyster-shell, cut or ground to the required shape, and the lines were made from the bark of trees, beaten until it was fibrous, when the finest strings were drawn out and twisted into strands of any length. The best bark for this purpose was that of the currajong tree (Sterculia diversifolia). From the same fibrous bark the nets were constructed, the meshes being knotted like, and sometimes quite as neatly as, those of European fishermen. The natives also fished with the fiz-gig or fish-gig, a jointed spear which could be made any length from three up to fifteen feet, and was armed with two, three or four prongs, each barbed with shell or fish bone.
The canoes of the natives were made of bark in the south, and of hollow tree-trunks in the north; those of bark had the ends securely lashed together with vine trailings and were cemented with yellow resin; they were stretched to the proper width, sometimes having small ribs of wood or thwarts to keep them open. Occasionally they were made large enough to carry four persons, and two small paddles were used in propelling them. These canoes were seldom seen on the fishing grounds without a fire burning, a heap of seaweed or a sheet of wet bark and mud placed at one end of the canoe serving the purpose of a hearthstone.
Hunting the kangaroo was the chief sport of the natives around Port Jackson. The animals were so wild that it was only with great difficulty the hunters were able to approach them. A number of natives would, therefore, surround some well-known haunt, and armed with spears try to drive in the kangaroos which would go springing off, bound after bound, from ten to twenty feet at a time, and by clearing the bushes many were able to escape. If the hunters were fortunate enough to catch them they afforded a sumptuous feast. The brush kangaroo was the species most hunted by the aborigines of the interior, where, the climate being less mild, it was prized not only as food but also for its skin.
The spears were made chiefly from young shoots from the root of the yellow gum, selected with great care; those most easily made were from the reed or stalk of the grass tree. The spears of each tribe were of a special pattern recognisable by other tribes. Some were simply pointed; some were barbed six or seven inches from the point with from half a dozen to a dozen sharp bits of stone, shell, or bone like a fish-gig; others had a star cut out of a fish bone at the end. The natives were expert marksmen and rarely failed to hit their object at fifty or sixty yards. By the aid of the womerah or throwing-stick, which was a short piece of wood twenty-four to thirty inches long with the end a little hooked like the point of a crochet needle to fit into a hollow formed at the base of the spear, great velocity was given to the weapon. The womerah was generally ornamented profusely, back and front, and was held horizontally in the right hand, the stout end of it passing between the first and second fingers while the finger and thumb supported the spear in a line above it. The left hand adjusted the elevation, and the aim was instantaneous, the spear being discharged with a sudden jerk. One of the simplest Australian weapons was the nulla-nulla, in shape like a child's rattle, with a sharp rim round the end of the knob, the wood from which it was made being either myall or myrtle. The leaves of the wild fig were used for polishing the throwing-sticks, the points of lances and other weapons; such leaves biting the wood almost as keenly as the shave grass used by joiners in Europe. Upon many of the rocks around Sydney and at Broken Bay were examples of the artistic efforts of the aborigines. Figures of men, birds, fishes, etc., were cut upon them, but the designs were in general extremely poor and rude, the best, perhaps, being some which showed the natives either dancing or fighting. Governor Phillip mentions in his dispatches one drawing, that of a kangaroo and a figure as if beginning to dance as uncommonly well done, and Bennett mentions the representation of a sperm whale on a rock opposite Dawes Battery at Port Jackson. The figures were cut on the smooth surface of large stones and representations of themselves, canoes, fish and animals were tolerably good drawings. In other places there was only a single hand upon a rock; the "white hand" most often met with was, the natives declared, executed with a mixture of ashes, burnt shells or pipe-clay; the "red hand" showed the hand large and brick-red with the fingers widely extended, the pigment, as an old aboriginal explained, being a mixture of blood and ashes. Mr. Westall, the artist who was with Captain Flinders, saw similar rude drawing representing turtles, kangaroos, etc., and human hands on the north coast near Cape York and the islands close by. Sir George Grey found others in West Australia which are supposed to have been drawn by shipwrecked mariners, as one face is that of a European and a figure is garbed as a priest.
Natives Fishing with the Fiz-gig
Captain Phillip finds the Carvings on the Rocks at Sydney.
(From an old print, 1807.)
The first aborigines seen by the white men knew nothing of the origin of these curious paintings, and said that they were the work of "old people," meaning people of a race extinct before the arrival of Europeans, and perhaps destroyed in early wars or driven out to another country. It is possible that these native artists dipped their hands first in red pigment, then placed them against a rock and left the impression there. "Red hands" were usually found in dry caves or rock shelters among the harbours of Port Jackson and Botany Bay. Various animals such as emus, kangaroos, dingos[*] and opossums, as well as fishes (snapper and sting-ray), weapons of war, sacred circles, dances and deities formed picture stories in these rock shelters. They were drawn as a rule on the fine-grained sandstone which afforded excellent opportunities. These rock shelters were generally far from trees or undergrowth; the carvings were sometimes found upon the tops of cliffs near the sea, and, if in the interior, among the ridges of hills on the higher tablelands. Occasionally, however, the bare smooth ledge of a rock on the mountain side or the stepping-stones in the bed of a river were used by the artist whereon to display his skill.
[* The only domestic animal the people possess is a dog which in their language is called dingo (see Phillip, History of New Holland).]
Cave Drawings Discovered by Sir George Grey in West Australia
In these outdoor pictures it would seem as though the object (in the case of a man or woman) had been traced on its shadow, the stone being punched or pricked with small holes from one to three inches apart along the outline and then a groove cut from hole to hole. In the sandstone drawings, the stone being porous, charcoal and red ochre seemed to have been most frequently used, white pictures being rarer. The outlines were at times drawn in a brown tint and fairly broad, the rest of the figure being filled in with charcoal or red lines on solid black or red colour. It is difficult to arrive at the age of these drawings, the rate of decay differing in different rocks and different localities, but many hundreds of years have undoubtedly elapsed since they were made, and the colouring matter must have possessed some power which time could not destroy; in this respect the rock pictures of America and Australia are alike.
Many of the natives painted their bodies with pipeclay and adorned their hair which was greasy and matted, A curious way of keeping a calendar by the aborigines in the southern portion of New South Wales was to number the days in red pigment upon the body of a man. Beginning with the forefinger of the right hand, the marks were passed up the whole length of the arm and over the head, then along the left arm to the tip of the forefinger of the left hand, and it was the duty of this living calendar to keep the tribe informed of the lapse of days.
The character of the aborigines at Sydney after they came in contact with Europeans was by no means attractive. Their unprepossessing appearance—their indolent habits—their cunning and duplicity gave them a degraded social position from the first; their history was uninteresting, and they had no records which to Europeans seemed worthy of study. It has been asserted that no country yet discovered is without some trace of religion, but apparently the natives of New South Wales are an exception. They worship neither the sun nor the moon, nor the stars, nor could there be found, says an old writer, any object that impelled them to do good or deterred them from committing evil. People, however, learned that they possessed some idea of a future state, from the old belief among them that when a black fellow died, "He," as they expressed it, "tumbled down a black man, but jumped up a white one ". Colonel Collins, our earliest historian, tells how in order to gain more insight into their theories upon religious subjects, he questioned Bennilong, a native who had journeyed to England with Governor Phillip, as to the black fellows' ideas about death, and another existence. Bennilong replied that, "The black fellow came from the clouds and returned to the clouds," but further than this his answers appear to have afforded Collins little satisfaction.
When the natives saw that the white people had taken up a permanent residence in their land, their behaviour changed. They withdrew altogether from the settlement, and seemed to give themselves up to fishing, probably because they had had so many quarrels with the PVench during the stay of La Pérouse. During the following five months they paid only one visit to Sydney, when, according to Captain Tench, in the middle of the night the sentinels on the East Ridge were alarmed by the voices of aborigines near their post, and orders were given to take necessary precautions. When the bells of the ships in the harbour were struck and the sentinels called out "All's Well" the natives observed a dead silence for some minutes, though a moment before they had been talking with earnestness, and soon afterwards quietly departed, having evidently guessed that the settlement was prepared for an attack.
Port Jackson prospered greatly under the wise rule of Phillip. At first no serious attempts at agriculture could be made, and grave disaster through want of provisions more than once threatened. It had been arranged that the settlement should never be left without twelve months' provisions, but H.M.S. Guardian, a forty-four-gun ship commanded by Lieutenant Riou, despatched from England in the autumn of 1789 carrying stores, convicts, "and a complete garden for the colony, prepared under the directions of Sir Joseph Banks," was nearly wrecked after leaving the Cape of Good Hope. Her enterprising commander on Christmas Eve met with an iceberg from which he determined to fill his watercasks, but unfortunately the ship struck one of its submerged promontories and began to leak so heavily as to be in danger of sinking. Next day Riou sent away some of his boats to try and reach Table Bay, but only one of them survived. This was picked up by a French merchantman, the Princess of Brittany, carrying troops, and landed at the Cape on 18th January, 1790. By skilful seamanship Riou brought the almost helpless Guardian within sight of land, and on 21st February two whale boats came out from Table Bay and towed her in. Her preservation was attributed to the casks in the hold pressing down the lower deck, the hatchways of which were caulked down, so that she practically became a raft. With those who remained on board was Mr. Pitt, afterwards Lord Camelford, to whose influence her commander probably owed his promotion, he being "the gallant good Riou" of H.M.S. Amazon, mentioned in Campbell's poem, who was killed at Copenhagen and buried in St. Paul's.
In the meantime the people at Sydney reached the verge of starvation, and only kept themselves alive by shooting and fishing. Vessels were despatched to Batavia for supplies, and the Sirius was sent to the Cape; but the whole of the valuable live stock which had been brought to the colony at so much expense had to be killed to sustain the population. It was not until the 3rd of June that relief came, and the safety of the settlement was assured.
Three months afterwards Captain Phillip was present at a whale feast in the harbour, and whilst Bennilong was presenting to him some other aborigines, the governor was wounded by one of them who imagined he was being taken prisoner. The spear which entered above the collar-bone and came through on the other side was immediately broken by Mr. Waterhouse, and though the affair took place some five miles from Sydney, in two hours Phillip was back in his house where the spear was extracted. In ten days he had completely recovered, and hearing from Bennilong that the man attacked him from fear Phillip forgave his assailant and made a present to the natives as a token of goodwill.
Hunter returned to Sydney in command of the Reliance, landing on 7th September, 1795. With him were Matthew Flinders, midshipman, and George Bass, surgeon, who rank among the most able and daring of Australian navigators. Within a month after they arrived at Port Jackson they fitted up a boat, only eight feet in length, called the Tom Thumb, in which they set sail and explored George's River for a distance of twenty miles beyond Captain Hunter's Government survey. In March, 1796, they again put to sea in the Tom Thumb, with a boy to bear them company, and gained a minute knowledge of the coast south of Botany Bay. They explored Port Hacking and met with many adventures, falling in with some savage tribes unseen before, but their poor equipment forced them to curtail their journey. The dangers they escaped were many. When their light boat was tossed on land, their muskets rusty and their powder wet, Flinders cleverly amused the natives, who were inclined to be hostile, by clipping their beards while Bass dried the powder and laid in a store of fresh water. Fortunately they did not know what the powder was, but they became so excited when their visitors began to clean their muskets that the muskets had to be left as they were.
The next year, 1797, Lieutenant Shortland, also of the Reliance, while in pursuit of some run-aways, came upon an unknown river about one hundred miles north of Port Jackson, to which he gave the name of the Hunter, and also a harbour where, in the cliffs, a stratum of coal was found. Here a settlement was formed named Newcastle—afterwards, but only for a time, known as Kingstown.
Meanwhile further discoveries of the Australian continent were made by Captain Vancouver, who had sailed from England in December, 1790, in command of H.M.S. Discovery and Chatham, and reached the south coast of Western Australia. He took possession of King George's Sound. Having anchored on the anniversary of Princess Charlotte's birthday he called the place Princess Royal Harbour. "To commemorate our visit," he writes, "near the stump of one of the trees we had felled, in a pile of Stones raised to attract any European, was left a bottle sealed containing parchment inscribed with the names of the vessels and their commanders with the name given to the Sound and the date of their arrival and departure. Another bottle was deposited at the top of Seal Island and a staff erected to which was attached a medal of the year 1789."
In 1789 Captain Cox in the brig Mercury had entered several bays in Tasmania, and on account of its numerous oysters named one of them Oyster Bay. Captain Bligh, in the Bounty, on his voyage to Tahiti had also touched at Tasmania, anchoring and planting fruit trees near Adventure Bay, which he visited again in 1792.
Tasmania was next visited by the French in search of La Pérouse, an expedition having been sent out under Bruni d'Entrecasteaux in the Recherche, and Esperance, for the purpose of learning the fate of the Boussole, and Astrolabe, and making further discoveries. The admiral anchored in Storm Bay in 1792, and discovered the river Derwent which he called Riviere du Nord, giving his own name to the channel between Bruni Island—also called after him—and Tasmania. Labillardiere, the botanist to the expedition, in his Voyage in Search of La Pérouse mentions the prodigious height of the trees, some being one hundred and fifty feet, and says that during an expedition inland the fruit trees that Bligh had planted were noticed, as well as the name and date of the expedition, cut into the forest trees, but only one native was seen. They found no trace of the lost ships or of their crews, but in the year 1809 when Captain Bunker of the Venus put into Adventure Bay in Bruni Island he noticed the stump of a tree carved with French words which he deciphered sufficiently to induce him to dig in the ground beneath. There he found a sealed bottle containing three letters left by La Pérouse—one to the French Government, the others merely mentioning his voyage, all three being dated a month after their departure from Sydney in 1788.
Count De La Pérouse, The French Navigator who reached Botany Bay Six Days after Captain Phillip had anchored there, and afterwards landed in Tasmania.
In December, 1797, while Flinders was absent at Norfolk Island, Bass made another adventurous voyage. Gaining permission to take a whale boat manned with eight volunteers from the Reliance he coasted along to the south and saw Shoalhaven, Jervis Bay and Twofold Bay, Continuing his course he found the coast more exposed, and became convinced that a channel existed between the mainland and Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania), He touched at Wilson's Promontory[*] and Port Western, but, in spite of the fish, birds, and seals obtained for the crew, want of provisions compelled him to turn back from surveying the "very good harbour" which he had found, otherwise he would have reached Port Phillip (Melbourne). He returned in the following February, and on approaching one of the small islands at the south-east angle of New South Wales was surprised to find seven convicts who had escaped from Sydney, two of whom, as they were suffering from illness, he brought home with him, the others being given provisions and firearms to help them on their way back to the settlement.
[* Mr. William Wilson of H.M.S. Reliance was one of the crew in this expedition. After passing the straits named in honour of Dr. Bass, a headland of the Australian continent was sighted, and Bass and Wilson went off in the cock-boat to explore the coast. When they reached the small beach on its northern side Wilson jumped ashore first and the point was henceforth called Wilson's Promontory.]
Meanwhile the colonists in Sydney were much interested in other discoveries of which they had heard. Mr. Clark, supercargo of an East Indiaman from Bengal to Sydney named The Sydney Cove, which was ashore on Preservation Island, one of the Furneaux Group, attempted with a portion of the crew to reach Sydney in the long boat. They were wrecked at Cape Howe, some three hundred miles from Port Jackson, and were compelled to walk to their destination. Several perished by the way, some being cut off by the natives, and only three, picked up by a fishing boat, reached Sydney, although others were afterwards rescued. The three who first arrived told of a number of rivers they had crossed on their way along the coast, one or two of which they had had to explore for some distance inland in order to cross them. They also reported that while endeavouring to light a fire one night they found coal among the stones on the beach. This was an important discovery, and eventually led to the opening up of what is now known as the Mount Keira coalfield.
The voyage of Bass, just referred to, extended along three hundred miles of coast; and, to complete the exploration, he and Flinders set off together early in October, 1798, in a small schooner of some twenty-five tons, built of Norfolk pine and named the Norfolk. Touching first at Twofold Bay, where they took refuge from a storm, they surveyed it, and running south saw many of the small islands north of Tasmania afterwards known as the Kent Group. Sailing along the northern shores of Tasmania they discovered Port Dalrymple, and the mouth of the Tamar. Driven back by gales to Furneaux Island on 21st November, they left again for the south on 3rd December, and on the 6th discovered Circular Head, where they saw the wombat for the first time and numbers of petrels. On the 9th, while passing south of Three Hummock Island, a long swell was perceived to come from the south-west, and Flinders hailed it as "the completion of our long-wished-for discovery of a passage into the Southern Indian Ocean".
On the day on which Cape Grim was seen and named the land was observed to be washed by ocean breakers, which proved that a navigable open channel separated Australia and Tasmania. The channel is still known as Bass Straits. Following the west coast first to South-West Cape and past South-East Cape they saw the opening of Storm Bay and the river discovered by D'Entrecasteaux and called by him Riviere du Nord which in 1794 Captain Hayes had named the Derwent. Bass and Flinders sailed up this river, anchoring at its mouth on 21st December. On 3rd January, 1799, they resumed their exploration of the eastern shores, and Tasmania was completely circumnavigated.
They reached Sydney on 12th January after a voyage of five months, during which they had obtained much information about the island. Traces of inhabitants were observed, and important facts were gleaned about the fauna. Dr. Bass gave such a flattering description of the country that it was formally taken possession of by Lieutenant Bowen in 1803 and a settlement was established there in 1804.
Later in the year Flinders again set forth from Sydney to explore the east coast. He left on 8th August to sail north to Moreton Bay, so named by Cook, but his ship sprang a leak a few days after leaving Port Jackson and he was compelled to put into a bay where many aborigines were seen of finer physique than those at Sydney. They turned out to be expert fishermen, living in villages consisting of circular huts, the framework of each being made of vine shoots crossed and bound over with grass to keep out wind and rain. Glasshouse Bay and Harvey Bay were also explored. After his return to Sydney from this expedition Flinders sailed for England almost immediately, reaching home at the end of 1800. The charts of his discoveries were published, and the home authorities, for the further exploration of Australia, fitted out an old ship of 334 tons, the Xenophon, bought into the navy some years before, and renaming her the Investigator appointed him to her command.
Upon the walls of many of the public buildings in Sydney and in various rooms at Government House may be seen the portraits of the first governors of Australia. One glance at these old pictures will show that the first governors were either sailors or soldiers and were taken from the quarterdeck of a man-of-war or from the head of a regiment. Being little encumbered with administrative councils or advisory committees, much had necessarily to be left to their discretion and therefore a short sketch of the career and character of each officer will help us to better understand the fortunes of the colony. The first four, Phillip, Hunter, King and Bligh were naval officers, possibly because the maritime position of Sydney made it at that time either the starting point or the head-quarters for every voyage to the southern hemisphere whether English or French. Macquarie, Brisbane and Darling were soldiers, and were appointed when attention was turned from the surveying of the coast to the exploration of the interior.
Captain Arthur Phillip was born in London where his father, a native of Frankfort, taught the German language. His choice of a profession and his early success are perhaps due to the influence of his mother who had been the widow of Captain Herbert of the Royal Navy. Educated at Greenwich, he joined the frigate Buckingham and saw service first under the flag of Admiral Byng. In 1776 he offered his services to Portugal, but hostilities breaking out between Great Britain and France he returned to England to fight for his own country, and was made commander and master of the Basilisk in September, 1779. In 1781 he was promoted to the rank of post-captain; and in 1786 he became governor of New South Wales.
Arthur Phillip, Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief of New South Wales.
Lord Sydney, who selected him, evidently thought him a capable man, but the appointment seems to have surprised Lord Howe who wrote to Sydney a curious letter containing something like a remonstrance: "I cannot say that the little knowledge I have of Captain Phillip would have led me to have selected him for service of this complicated nature, but doubtless you know more of his abilities," etc. Lord Sydney, however, had no occasion to regret his choice. No sooner was Phillip appointed than he began preparations for the expedition, and urged the admiralty to grant the necessary rations and medicines and to provide the needful accommodation so that the fleet might reach its destination with little sickness or loss of life. The voyage proved an unqualified success, and the commanders and officers well earned the credit it brought them. Never before had so large a fleet been taken so skillfully half round the globe to an almost unknown shore. Its safe arrival was at the same time a tribute to the draftsmanship of Captain Cook, by whose charts Phillip was guided.
From the first the governor's actions were tempered with discretion, firmness and kindliness. On the day he landed, at no little personal risk, he secured the friendship of the blacks; which he retained throughout his stay in the colony.
During the years of famine his energy relieved the settlers and helped the colony to tide over calamities until relief came. Collins assures us: "The governor from a motive that did him immortal honour in this season of distress gave up three hundred-weight of Hour which was his private property as he did not wish for more at his table than was received in common from the public store"; to this resolution he strictly adhered in order that "want should not be unfelt at Government House" and rich and poor alike were cared for, and upon those occasions when the established etiquette rendered it necessary that he should invite the officers of the colony and their wives to dine with him at Government House, he usually informed his guests that they must bring their own bread as he had none to spare. It is told how he jokingly wrote upon the invitations to Captain and Mrs. Macarthur, "There will always be a roll for Mrs. Macarthur".[*]
[* See Rusden.]
The colony under Phillip was of comparatively small dimensions, but fresh arrivals, mostly prisoners, necessitated the formation of new settlements, which until the Blue Mountains had been crossed were generally near the coast. In 1790 and subsequent years large reinforcements reached the colony, and the governor had instructions to make free grants of land to discharged marines and others who were willing to reside there permanently. The powers entrusted to him have seldom if ever been conferred upon any other in the British dominions. He could sentence, fine, pardon those under his charge as he thought fit; he could regulate customs and trade, bestow money or land, create monopolies; all stores, grants, places of honour or profit, and even justice itself were placed in his hands. The friendly tone of the dispatches to Captain Phillip showed the confidence which the home authorities placed in the colonial governor.
In 1792 Phillip's health, which had been much tried during the term of office, gave way, and he asked the Home Government to be allowed to return home. Leave was granted with much reluctance and he left Sydney in the Atlantic on 11th December, 1792, and took with him to England, besides kangaroos and other native animals, many beautiful birds, and numerous specimens of native workmanship. Two natives who accompanied him were well received among all classes of society. In London Bennilong, clothed in the garb of civilisation, was a great favourite. On returning to Sydney with Governor Hunter, however, while keeping upon good terms with the British, he discarded his clothes and took again to the bush where he lived with his tribe. Captain Phillip was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral, and died a vice-admiral in September, 1814, at Bath, in his seventy-seventh year.
Bennilong, one of the Natives who accompanied Governor Phillip to England.
Between the departure of Captain Phillip and the arrival of the second governor, Captain Hunter, there was an interval of about two years and nine months during which the settlement was administered successively by the senior officers of the New South Wales Corps. The first of these was Major Francis Grose, eldest son of the well-known antiquary of the same name. He continued in office till December, 1794, when, finding that his authority among the settlers was weakening, he resigned and sailed for England. His successor as lieutenant-governor was Captain William Paterson who was popular with all classes. In early life with the 98th regiment he had seen service in India and had been at the siege of Caroor, afterwards becoming a lieutenant in the 73rd foot. He had arrived in Sydney three years before and was therefore well acquainted with the condition and the wants of the colony at the time of Grose's retirement. The latter had practically suppressed civil government and in its place set up a system under which the administration of justice was entrusted to the officers of the New South Wales Corps. Paterson made no attempt to reform these errors, but he did useful work in exploring fresh territory and also in protecting the settlers around Port Jackson and on the Hawkesbury River from the raids of the natives.
Commercial dealings had, however, become complicated. When vessels arrived with stores to which all the free setters should have had access on equal terms, the officials, having the control of the customs, easily obtained advantages over the rest of the community. This monopoly caused widespread evil.
In those days coin was scarce, not only because the settlers were poor, but because, in accordance with well-known economic principles, it was difficult in the circumstances to keep money in circulation or even to retain it in the colony. Things of daily use, and even landed property, were therefore valued and paid for in spirits and other commodities. Such was the state of affairs when on 7th September, 1795, Captain John Hunter arrived and assumed authority as governor.
Hunter, the son of a captain in the merchant service, was born at Leith in 1738. His parents intended him for the Church, but, nevertheless, he was entered on the books of the sloop Grampus, and subsequently served in the Neptune as a midshipman under Jervis, afterwards Lord St. Vincent. After various experiences he was appointed to command the frigate Sirius, with the rank of post-captain, but when that vessel was assigned to Captain Phillip for the expedition to New South Wales, Hunter was, for the time, second in command.[*]
[* When the colonists were landed he resumed his post as captain of H.M.S. Sirius, and held that appointment until the vessel was wrecked at Norfolk Island in 1790. Afterwards he returned to England in a Dutch ship, but early in 1795 again voyaged to New South Wales. This time he went in the Reliance, on board of which was his nephew, Lieutenant Kent.]
Upon assuming the governorship Captain Hunter had instructions to reinstate the civil magistracy; to direct the judge advocate to discharge his duties relative to the administration of justice and to Endeavour to suppress the illicit traffic. But the governor soon discovered that, although the officials received him with great respect, they were inwardly determined that the regulations of trade which had become common in the colony should not be materially altered. His orders were not always carried out. Reforms he tried to introduce were often opposed. He perceived that influences not in accord with his own views were working against him and with success. It became clear that his action was deliberately clogged by military opposition, and in one of his dispatches home he wrote, "There exists I believe a jealous antipathy against naval government"; and he advised that the New South Wales Corps should be relieved of their duties and their place taken by marines.
In the meantime the fortunes of the land began to improve; the forests were cleared and cultivated, wheat-growing extended and Indian corn was found to be wonderfully productive. The white population increased by leaps and bounds, for the immigration scheme recommended to the authorities by Phillip was being carried out and new settlers made their home in the Hawkesbury River district at Portland Head. Hunter made voyages of exploration along the coast, travelled into the country, marked out districts, and encouraged further discoveries. He took the greatest interest in the voyages of Shortland, Flinders and Bass. He praised the hard woods of the colony. One he thought similar to Indian teak, and most of the gum trees he declared to be not only fit for ship's timber but for blocks, gun carriages or anything else subject to great friction. He himself raised the frame of a vessel of 160 tons which for want of strength he could not finish, "but she stood in the frame upwards of two years exposed to the weather, apparently without the smallest decay". He recommended the native flax, the indigo, which grew "spontaneously," and the astringent bark of trees "well adapted for tanning". He presumed that furnaces would soon be erected for smelting-the abundant iron ore by means of the equally abundant coal.
Captain John Hunter.
Five years passed, and being still dissatisfied with the results of his rule and the way in which his wishes were carried out Hunter determined to return to England and represent in person to the Government the state of the colony. He sailed in the Buffalo in September, 1800, leaving the administration in the hands of Captain King, who, when Hunter did not return from England, was appointed to succeed him. Captain Hunter subsequently rose to the rank of vice-admiral. He spent his declining years at Leith, the scene of his boyhood, and, in the enjoyment of universal esteem, died in London in his eighty-third year.
Captain Philip Gidley King.
The new governor. Captain Philip Gidley King, was a native of Cornwall who had passed a considerable portion of his naval career under Captain Phillip. He first served under him in the East Indies as far back as 1783 where he had been lieutenant of the Europe; and accompanied Phillip in his voyage to New South Wales; Phillip had sent him to make the first settlement in Norfolk Island, had appointed him commandant there in 1788, and had despatched him as special envoy to England to lay before the Home Government the needs of that island, with commendation as "a very steady officer ".
On assuming office as governor. Captain King found himself in a difficult position. He was honestly desirous of effecting improvement, but the conditions required sagacity and skill, and King proceeded with a high hand. He made strict regulations and any disregard of them was punished. The monopolists were enraged at what they considered an interference with their rights, but their discontent did not burst out until the rule of his successor, Captain Bligh.
Governor King possessed a fiery temper which sometimes tended to put him at a disadvantage. On one occasion the Rev. Samuel Marsden happened to be present when a violent dispute occurred between King and the commissary-general. Mr. Marsden could not leave the room, but retired to a recess at a window so as not to witness the storm. In the heat of passion the governor seized the commissary by the coat-collar and the commissary in turn thrust him away, "Did you see that, sir?" King shouted to the chaplain. "I see nothing," said Marsden in solemn tones, still looking through the window. Fortunately the words were accepted by both disputants as a dignified remonstrance, good humour was restored, and the incident closed.
King gave much encouragement to exploration which made great advance during his term of office, and while John Franklin, the youthful officer in charge of Captain Flinders' observatory, was at Sydney, spent much time in assisting him with his wide experience and knowledge. He jokingly christened Franklin Tycho Brahe. Captain King retired from the governorship in August, 1806, and died in England two years afterwards.
The new governor, Captain William Bligh, arrived in August, 1806. Like Captain King he was a Cornishman, and had seen service in various parts of the world. He had fought with distinction in two naval engagements, and his name had become famous in connection with the mutiny of the crew of the Bounty, which had been despatched under his command on a semi-scientific mission to the South Pacific. The mutineers had sent him and about twenty officers and sailors adrift in the long boat, and the skill and resourcefulness which he displayed in navigating this frail craft over 3,500 miles of ocean to the island of Timor gained him considerable reputation. To the British Government he seemed to be the very man to pilot the Australian settlement out of its sea of troubles into quiet waters, and he entered on his new duties under the most hopeful auspices.
Captain William Bligh.
(By kind permission of Messrs. H. Graves and Co., Ltd.)
But to succeed in this task required tact and a temperament which he did not possess. As he had lost command over the mutineers of the Bounty, so he very soon ruffled the military officials at Sydney into a commotion which he could not control, and most of the settlers engaged in the practical work of the colony, in tilling the soil and reaping the harvests, rightly or wrongly sided with the military faction against the governor. Yet he was their friend.
When the settlers had produce to dispose of there was no market for them except in Sydney, no purchaser except the dealers there, and no hope of payment in sterling coin. In exchange for wheat the dealer gave, with immense profit to himself, tea, sugar, or other goods which the farmer required, and oftener rum, a fruitful source of mischief. Bligh went round among the colonists learning what commodities and how much they required for their own use, and also what produce they would be able to supply to the Government stores in return. He then fixed the rates at which the various productions were to be exchanged for the needful necessaries. Among the poorer classes of the community these proceedings effected some improvement, but in other quarters they stirred up resentment.
In January, 1805, the great friction between the military and the governor led to the arrest on a trifling charge of Captain Macarthur of the New South Wales Corps. The regiment naturally sided with Macarthur. Directly after the trial, erroneously assuming that Governor Bligh intended to set aside the criminal court altogether and to invest the magistrates with its powers, Colonel George Johnston put the seal to the act of revolution and assumed the governorship. Orders were given for the regiment to form in the barrack square and, with the band playing martial airs, the soldiers marched to Government House where the governor was arrested. Johnston then took the reins as lieutenant-governor and soon afterwards Macarthur was appointed colonial secretary.
Governor Bligh was kept within his own house for twelve months by a military guard, his daughter Mrs. Putland, widow of Lieutenant Putland, R.N., remaining with him. When Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Foveaux arrived in the colony on 28th July, on his way to take up the governorship of Norfolk Island, he learned the turn events had taken, and being senior officer assumed the governorship. He in turn was succeeded by Captain Paterson, who arrived from Tasmania, where he had been acting as commandant. Otherwise few changes were made in the general administration of affairs.
The three officers. Johnston, Foveaux. and Paterson, appear to have endeavoured to obey the instructions found in the dispatches from the Secretary of State. Bligh, however, had sympathisers who wished for his reinstatement, and Paterson in 1809 decided to send him as well as Johnston and Macarthur to England to account to the authorities for what had happened. In accordance with Bligh's wish he was placed on H.M.S. Porpoise a sloop-of-war of which he took command, and in which he promised to proceed direct to England. But instead of doing so, he landed at Derwent River in Tasmania and was still at Adventure Bay in that colony when Governor Macquarie arrived at Sydney, on 28th December, 1809.
Macquarie had been instructed to send Johnston home for trial and to reinstate Bligh for twenty-four hours, the latter order he could not, of course, carry out, since the ex-governor was not there. Lord Castlereagh, Secretary of State for the Colonies, informed Bligh by letter that this arrest had excited a strong sensation among his Majesty's ministers and he was empowered to carry home to England with him all such persons as he should think necessary to strengthen his case. Bligh was received by England with open arms, and died in London—a vice-admiral—in 1817.
Colonel Paterson left the colony in 1810. He is one of the best known and most popular of the lieutenant-governors, but his kindliness of heart often prevented him from doing useful work for fear of giving offence. When he left Sydney ten boats crowded with people followed his pinnace to the ship "cheering him all the way". He died during the homeward voyage.
Lachlan Macquarie, the new governor, came of the old Scottish family settled at Ulva, his father being the sixteenth, and last, chief of the clan, and a tendency to rule and enforce obedience was part of young Lachlan's natural inheritance. He entered the army in 1777, and saw service in America and in India, where he was present at Cananore and both sieges of Seringapatam, and he was in Egypt at Alexandria in 1800. He returned from India to England in 1807 to take command of the 73rd and in 1809 received orders to proceed to New South Wales with that regiment, his further promotion to major-general taking place while he held the governorship.
Major-General Lachlan Macquarie.
His first step was to issue three proclamations with which he had been charged by his Majesty's ministers. The first was to declare the king's displeasure at the late proceedings in the colony. The second rendered void all acts of the interim governors. The third invested the governor with power to act at his own discretion with regard to the past and future. The governor had thus a free hand and adequate means of carrying out the measures he deemed expedient.
The affairs of the colony had been much neglected; commerce was in its earliest stage; there was no revenue; several districts were threatened with famine; and Sydney was distracted by faction. Public buildings were in a state of dilapidation; the few roads and bridges were almost impassable. The whole population was depressed by poverty; there was neither public credit nor private confidence; the morals of the mass of the population were debased; public worship had been abandoned. Indeed there is nothing more dismal in the story of Australia, and it is refreshing to read how, under Macquarie's able guidance, the country started upon an entirely new and improved career. His energies found scope in many directions. He found the town of Sydney composed of mean houses or huts scattered about or huddled together on no particular plan. Under his hand it began to be a fair city with well-ordered streets and handsome public buildings. He aimed at the formation of agricultural settlements, not so much by the introduction of free colonists as by grants of land to deserving men already settled there. These grants were of small extent, thirty or forty acres of forest to be cleared and occupied by the men to whom they were allotted.
Food stuffs were still a medium of exchange. The economic difficulty had not been overcome; coin was scarce so that workman were paid, at least to the extent of half their wages, in commodities, a system wasteful to the workman and injurious to the whole community. There could hardly be said to be any coin in circulation, but English shillings and copper coins an ounce in weight were sometimes available. The money within the colony was either English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch or Indian, every coin having an official value. There was no export of merchandise in those days, and no import of coin except in Government ships. Payments began to be made by means of promissory notes which passed from hand to hand. These were easily forged, and in 1810 Macquarie issued a proclamation requiring that for promissory notes of five pounds and under printed forms should be used. The governor's next step towards a currency was the introduction, in 1813, of 10,000 dollars from India for the retention of which within the colony elaborate precautions had to be taken. A small circular piece of silver was struck from the centre of each of the coins; the coin was then stamped on one side with the words "Five Shillings" under which was a branch of laurel; on the other side was "New South Wales," and beneath it the date, 1813. This coin became known as "the holey dollar". The small piece knocked out of its centre was dealt with in a similar manner. It was impressed with the words "Fifteen Pence," with the name of the colony and the date. Its popular name was "the dump".
It would be difficult in a short space to portray the character or do justice to the work of Governor Lachlan Macquarie. He has received, perhaps, more praise and more blame than any colonial governor before or since. He has even been likened to Napoleon in his methods, and has been called narrow by one and broadminded by another. But no one can read his correspondence with the home authorities without admitting that he possessed an aptitude for ruling, and that he used the gift wisely and well for the land the destinies of which he had to guide. Passionate, punctilious, obstinate he may have been, but he was strong and capable; a man of foresight who used the best means in his power to obtain his object, even if in so doing he exposed himself to condemnation. H is aims were always high, and he always set before him the good of the people. Industry particularly appealed to him. If a man were industrious and endeavouring to live honestly, whatever he was, Macquarie would reward him and raise him in the face of all opposition. No one was more generous or liberal in praise to those who deserved it, more watchful for miscreants; but all who endeavoured to escape from what he considered to be their duty, or their particular work, paid the penalty for their misdeeds. In his last speech at Sydney he openly stated his strong attachment to the settlement.
His governorship, which extended over twelve years, was of greater importance to the colony than that of any of his successors. He died in London, two and a half years after his departure from Sydney in December, 1821, and was buried at his old home among the Argyllshire Hebrides.
Macquarie's successor was another Scot, but of an entirely different type. Scholarly, humane and an experienced officer, Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, although perhaps he had the good of the country as much at heart, lacked those characteristics which won for Macquarie the people's love and at the same time guided the colony out of its difficulties. He was a son of Thomas Brisbane of Brisbane House, Ayrshire, who had fought at Culloden. Gazetted to the 38th regiment in 1789 he had been sent to Ireland where he met Arthur Wellesley and the two became lifelong friends. During-the Peninsular War Wellington asked for his services, and he held a command with Picton's division. He made himself useful during the campaign by taking regular observations with his pocket sextant, and, as Wellington remarked, "kept the time of the army".
Sir Thomas Brisbane.
While a student at Edinburgh he had distinguished himself in mathematics and astronomy; and when he returned from the West Indies in 1805 he devoted his leisure to building an observatory at Brisbane House, little thinking that he was destined to build another on the other side of the world. In 1821 he was appointed governor of New South Wales. Soon after he arrived in the colony he built the observatory at Parramatta at his own expense, obtaining valuable instruments for it, and the skilled services of Messrs, Runker and Dunlop. It was opened in 1822. Here Sir Thomas spent most of his spare time and Parramatta soon began to be called in Europe "the Greenwich of the Southern Hemisphere".
But Brisbane's fondness for his favourite science somewhat lessened his popularity with the people who, having been accustomed to seeing Governor Macquarie so much among them, considered that he was neglecting their interests. Dr. Lang described Brisbane "as a man of the best intentions but deficient in energy". The finances of the colony became involved and the revenues diminished. Yet many improvements were made, and institutions which afterwards formed the basis of self-government were founded during his governorship.
Under the New South Wales Judicature Act, which received the royal assent in 1823, the supreme courts, each with a chief justice and if necessary two other judges, were created for both New South Wales and Tasmania. The Legislative Council then instituted was to consist of five, six, or seven members nominated by the Crown on the recommendation of the Colonial Office, the governor being left with powers to act as he thought best, irrespective of the advice of the council, and any serious difficulty or disagreement between the governor and his council was to be referred to England.
One of Brisbane's first actions has earned the gratitude of numberless colonists. He had fixed to the rock on the very spot where Captain Cook first landed at Botany Bay a brass tablet in commemoration of that navigator's discovery of Australia's eastern shores. It bore the following inscription: "A.D. 1770. Under the auspices of British Science—these shores were discovered by James Cook and Joseph Banks—the Columbus and Maecenas of their time. This spot once saw them ardent in their pursuit of knowledge; now to their memory this tablet is inscribed in the first year of the Philosophical Society of Australasia. Sir Thomas Brisbane, K.C. B., corresponding member of the Institute of France, A.D. 1821."
Sir Thomas Brisbane also encouraged immigration, and the population of 23,000 people which he found upon his arrival in the colony had increased to 36,000 when he left for England. He was most successful in advancing new industries. He promoted the cultivation of tobacco, sugar-cane and the grape.[*]
[* He made several tours into the interior, and in 1822, accompanied by Major Goulburn and Mr. H. Grattan-Douglas, crossed the Blue Mountains. The county of Roxburgh and the village of Kelso on the banks of the Macquarie received their names in honour of Lady Brisbane's home in Scotland.]
The biographer of Sir Thomas Brisbane writes that Sir Thomas always regarded two acts of his in New South Wales with "great gratification". These were the laying of the foundation stone of the first Presbyterian church in Sydney, and, in 1824, the removing of the censorship of the press. Brisbane also praised the country. He had himself seen the stone of a peach placed in the ground and in three years had eaten ripe fruit from it—he had seen fields which produced white crops for twenty-eight years successively without any artificial manure or stimulant. Horse owners in New South Wales owe much to him, for on his arrival, finding the breed of horses inferior, he took measures to import, at his own expense, the best bred Arabs he could obtain at Mocha and Calcutta.
Explorations of importance were also carried out. The Monaro plains were reached, the Great Stock Route to Queensland was established, the first overland journey to Port Phillip was accomplished, and the Goulburn, Brisbane and Murrumbidgee Rivers were discovered.
Brisbane left Sydney in December, 1825. During the three weeks' interval which elapsed between his departure and Darling's arrival, Colonel William Stewart of the Buffs acted as governor of the colony. On his return to Scotland Brisbane lived principally at his home in Ayrshire and died at the ripe age of eighty-seven in the very room where he was born.
Sir Ralph Darling.
General Ralph Darling had joined the 45th regiment after serving in other regiments, and was in command of the 51st when it formed part of Sir John Moore's army at Lugo and fought at the battle of Corunna. After much administrative experience on the staff he became lieutenant-general in May, 1825, and in the following August was appointed governor of New South Wales.
He arrived at Sydney on 18th December, and landed in state on the following day, the streets being lined with soldiers from the King's Wharf, then the chief point of embarkation, to the gates of Government House. His rule was unfortunately full of unpleasantnesses—the greatest troubles that he experienced being occasioned by the freedom of the press. For the heavy punishment meted out to deserters popular feeling was excited against him. The accusations became so persistent that they were eventually brought to the notice of the House of Commons and discussed in England, where the governor was pronounced free from blame by the committee appointed to investigate the charges, and he was afterwards knighted.
At the head of the opposition was William Wentworth,[*] then a young man whose ability had already won for him a prominent position in the colony. It was probably due to his influence and power that General Darling was recalled.
[* He was born at Norfolk Island, and was the son of D'Arcy Wentworth, an Irish gentleman who had arrived in the colony in 1790, a scion of the great Yorkshire family of Wentworth. When he was only twenty he joined Gregory Blaxland and William Lawson in their exploration of the Blue Mountains. Each of the three was presented by Governor Macquarie with a grant of a thousand acres of land as a reward for their success. But even before this Macquarie had been struck with young Wentworth's capacity and had actually made him deputy provost-marshal. In 1816 Wentworth, who had as a boy been sent home to school at Greenwich, returned to England and spent several years at Cambridge, where in 1823 he competed for the Chancellor's Medal for the poem on Australia, the prize for which was awarded to Winthrop Mackworth Praed, Wentworth being placed second out of twenty-five competitors. He was called to the English Bar in 1823, afterwards returning to Sydney, where in 1828-29 he concentrated his energies on overthrowing the governor.]
General Darling is often described as a rigid disciplinarian, exacting in trifles, exclusive and reserved. But on the other hand we are told that to the people with whom he came in contact he was a firm friend—"a just and good man"—and gave most liberally to the needy. He embarked for England on 21st October, 1831. Neither joy nor regret was manifest at his departure. The six years of his rule were, however, rich in geographical discoveries, due not only to the energy of Captain Sturt who was his military secretary, but to Darling's active support and patronage.
Darling encouraged the explorations of Sturt. He visited many of the settlements, made journeys through the different districts and inspected many of the homes of the colonists. He was always deeply interested in the improvement of land, the increase of cattle and sheep, and the beautiful fruit and flowers grown in the gardens.
In 1827, in company with Captain Rous[*] of H.M.S. Rainbow, he made a tour of the settlements in the north, and instituted much-needed reforms and improvements in order to attract European settlers. Captain Rous discovered the Richmond and Clarence Rivers in 1829. Ipswich (in Queensland), Stradbroke Island and the county of Rous were named in his honour, he being a son of the first Lord Stradbroke and a native of Suffolk.
[* This was the Rous who brought H.M.S. Pique across the Atlantic without a rudder, and afterwards, as Admiral Rous, became so well known in English racing circles. Even in those early years he showed interest in the turf and became a member of the Parramatta Jockey Club. One horse which he imported to Sydney named The Emigrant or (Rous's Grey Emigrant) is still famous in Australian sporting annals.]
Dr. Peter Cunningham's eulogy in the preface of his work is perhaps one of the most flattering the governor ever received. "I have," says Cunningham, "travelled over the greater part of the colony and resided there for two years, so that I may claim some acquaintance with the manners, pursuits, etc., of the various classes resident in Sydney. The justice of the laws governing the colony and the wisdom displayed in their administration have greater influence upon the prosperity of an infant state than even the resources of climate and soil. The admirable system pursued by the present governor must be encouraging to those who purpose to emigrate...I found my opinions almost solely upon the official orders promulgated by him, to which every one has access, but it is only individuals who know how much his efficient reforms were wanted by whom their value can be appreciated...In New South Wales...as yet immature...although destined perhaps to become the seat of a powerful empire we require a governor possessed of ability to discern and activity to awaken its dormant energies; and although Lord Bathurst conferred many benefits upon the colony during the period of his holding office, a greater could not have been conceded by him than the appointment of General Darling."
In a setting of hill and valley, at the head of a magnificent stretch of water, Sydney is endowed by nature with all the requirements of a great port. When Phillip called the harbour, "the finest in the world," his praise was rather that of a sailor beholding the waters of a great haven, than of a discoverer commending the site of a future city. Extending inland for a distance of some twelve or thirteen miles from the Heads that guard the entrance, around its shores are over a hundred bays and coves, intersected by slender well-wooded promontories affording shelter from every wind.
From the Heads to the site chosen for the city is a distance of about four miles with an average breadth of some three miles, but the navigable waters extend nine miles beyond the cove to the Parramatta River.
The old saying, "Where nature gives most, man does least," does not apply to Sydney's early existence. Although the beauty of the spot first made it famous in Europe, the work of the colonist soon became known and appreciated. Lanes, cut on shore for the passage of timber, developed into streets; the woodmen's huts were replaced by houses; and the building of the town proceeded according to the plan designed in England, with materials brought to the colony for that purpose, supplemented with native woods. Parties sent out to examine the soil, found earth from which bricks could be made and dry marl and chalk which yielded lime. From some fireclay sent to England, Wedgwood caused a medallion to be modelled representing Hope encouraging Art and Labour under the influence of Peace; in allusion to which medallion Erasmus Darwin wrote the well-known lines beginning with:—
Where Sydney Cove her lucid bosom swells.
A portable canvas house for the governor's residence, with the framework all ready to be fixed, was erected on the east side of the cove, and upon some ground near were planted fruit trees which had been collected at Rio and the Cape of Good Hope. The town, built on the banks of the Tank Stream, spread over the space in the valley between the two ridges lying to the east and west. At first the houses were rudely designed and lacked regularity, but the narrow streets were kept in good order and fairly clean. The chief street was twenty feet in breadth and was named George Street after King George III. Another was called Pitt Row after Mr. Pitt. George Street extended from the sea along the hollow between the two ridges and was rather more than a mile long, the other streets either intersecting it at right angles and extending up the hills, or else running parallel to it, so that rain water drained into the Tank Stream.
The portion of the town built upon the eastern ridge near the water's edge contained most of the principal buildings and residences. The live stock had been removed to the head of the adjoining cove, called Farm Cove, which had been cleared for farming purposes. The west ridge was called the Rocks, and here many of the prisoners lived; the place where the colonists first landed was known as the Camp. The more valuable portion of the ground was that close to the harbour, and was much sought after and closely built on.[*]
[* Mr. Alt, who came to the colony with Phillip and afterwards Mr. Grimes, his successor, were the chief surveyors and architects of Sydney's first buildings.]
Meanwhile a settlement was made at Parramatta in 1788. On the 2nd of November the governor and three officers with a party of marines visited the spot and named it Rosehill after George Rose, then Secretary to the Treasury and the intimate friend of Pitt. The same year the governor's land at Farm Cove, which had been sown with seed, produced only twenty-five bushels of barley. In 1790, as already related, the stock of provisions from England failed. So great was the anxiety that a flagstaff was erected at the South Head to be ready to make known to the people the first appearance of a vessel from home. The signal flags, however, were afterwards stolen by the natives, who used them as coverings for their canoes.
Sydney soon became the head-quarters of the English race in the southern hemisphere. Thence, while the city was yet in its infancy, the exploring expeditions of Phillip. Hunter, Bass, Flinders, Murray and Shortland by sea, of Tench, Dawes, Caley. Wentworth, Blaxland and Lawson by land, went forth, many of them with only such rude equipment as the colony could provide. Here, too, in the small observatory established and given into his charge by his cousin Matthew Flinders, the young midshipman. John Franklin, worked out those difficult problems of navigation which afterwards helped him during his arctic voyages. Here also came Napoleon's expedition with Baudin and De Freycinet in the Géographe and Naturaliste to seek refuge and provisions for their weather-worn ships, and to gain the knowledge of the new continent of which so much is made in their journals.
It has been said of England that she gave to Australia only her worst in those early days; but the mother country also gave the young country some of her very best as the deeds of the pioneers bear testimony. Rarely in history can be found types of men more patient than Phillip, more heroic than Bass or more persevering than Flinders. There is nothing brighter in maritime discovery than the story of these few British seamen in a distant land, planting the flag of Great Britain over a large portion of her present empire. Whatever else was then wanting at the settlement it certainly was not the spirit of enterprise or courageous loyalty to the motherland; and it was among such scenes and in such stirring times that the seed of Australia's first history was sown.
The first step to render Sydney self-supporting had been to grant land to settlers for agricultural holdings. In December, 1792, when Phillip left, there were sixty-seven settlers who held 3,470 acres, of which 417 were under cultivation, but the greater part (now of course within the city) proved miserably barren. These settlers were clothed and fed from the public stores, furnished with farming implements, with grain to sow their land, and with such stock as the governor saw fit to give them—the young animals raised from this stock having to be offered in return to the Government authorities at market prices. Every man also had a hut erected on his farm at the public expense. After Hunter's arrival an extension of land for cultivation by settlers along the rich banks of the Hawkesbury River was made, and this district became one of the first, if not the very first, to yield a good return, it being so fertile that it became known as the granary of New South Wales.
Flocks and herds also began to flourish. In 1796 Captain John Macarthur obtained from the governor's nephew, Captain William Kent, R. N., eight sheep which had been brought from the Cape of Good Hope in the Supply and the Reliance. They were part of a fine-fleeced flock belonging to the widow of Colonel Gordon, a Scotch gentleman who formerly resided in Cape Town. The original stock had been presented by the King of Spain to the Dutch Government, who had sent them out to their South African colonists. In the same year a few English sheep and others from Bengal were crossed with these, the result being a great improvement in the breed. Macarthur, who took infinite pains to form his flock, was thus the founder of the Australian wool trade, for the sheep brought out by Phillip had been eaten during the famine.
The houses were mainly detached cottages of white freestone or brick plastered over. They were built one or two storeys high and surrounded by verandahs; in many instances they had well-kept gardens enclosed by wooden palings or hedges. The streets were as yet unpaved, but at night were well lighted with lamps. Government House, in brick and plaster, was also built, its gardens and shrubberies extending over four acres. In the garden was a huge pine tree originally brought from Norfolk Island, and a flagstaff used for signalling: between the shore and the men-of-war at anchor in the cove. The high road to Parramatta led through the Barrack Square. Immediately below the barracks, which were well built, were a large warehouse and the residence of Mr. Simeon Lord, known as the White House.
In 1801 a range of storehouses was completed on the banks of the Parramatta River, and another was commenced close by the wharf at Sydney, These were urgently required, as most of the Government warehouses were built so far from the waterside as to render the unloading of ships burdensome and expensive. A factory had been established this year for coarse woollen blanketing, rugs, and a linen called drugget which was much bought by the settlers; but the progress of this industry was retarded by the destruction of the building by fire.
(From an early painting)
The leather made from the skins of cattle, kangaroos and seals, and tanned with the bark of the wattle tree proved good. Several potteries were established, and many articles of crockery manufactured. Salt was taken in abundance from the salt water, the pans being at Rose Bay and Newcastle. During Hunter's governorship the printing press was first used, and the newspaper called The Sydney Gazette was instituted.
Of the work accomplished by the first settlers in New South Wales much has been written; perhaps justice can best be done the colonists by quoting from an author who saw Sydney soon after their work had commenced and knew well the nature of their hardships: "A single glance is sufficient to show that the hills upon the southern shore of the port, now covered with houses and spires, must once have been gloomy woods. The labour and patience required and the difficulties which the first settlers encountered must have been incalculable. But the success has been complete—-a very triumph of human skill and industry over Nature itself The cornfield and the orchard have supplanted the wild grass and the brushwood, a flourishing town towers over the ruins of a forest, the lowing of herds has succeeded the wild whoop of the savage, and the stillness of the once busy shore is now broken by the busy hum of commerce."
Francois Péron, the naturalist of the Géographe, in his Voyages published in 1824, described Sydney and the harbour, and though he was a member of a rival expedition, his account is entirely impartial. He dwells on the pleasant and picturesque position of the town, its natural advantages, defences, hospital, warehouses, public buildings and gardens. "The wooden bridge at the bottom of the valley," he tells us. "has been removed to make room for a new stone bridge; at the same time a water mill has been constructed at this spot by the Government, and strong sluices have been made to keep back the fresh water and to restrain the incursions of the tide which used to flow a considerable distance up the valley. Beyond and towards the bottom of the port is a dock called the Government Dock on account of its being exclusively appropriated for Government vessels. The wharf adjoining this dock naturally slopes in such manner that without any labour or expense on the part of the English the largest vessel can be laid up without danger. Near the Government Dock are three warehouses. In one are stored articles required for domestic use, such as crockery and furniture, the property of the English Government, who deal in these articles for the purpose of supplying the settlement at stated prices, some being even less than those given for the same articles at home. Kettles, farming utensils, etc., are kept here. The second storehouse contains clothing, sail-cloth, etc., for Government ships. The third is where prisoners are taught trades. Behind these stands the Government House, built in the Italian style, surrounded by a colonnade and having in front a very beautiful plantation which slopes to the seashore. In this plantation are a great variety of trees. A Norfolk Island pine and the superb Columbia are seen growing side by side with bamboos of Asia. Farther on the orange of Portugal and the fig of the Canaries ripen beneath the shade of apple-trees from the banks of the Seine. Not far from a neighbouring cove, at a spot called by natives Woolloomooloo, is the residence of Mr. Palmer, the commissary-general. The great road to Parramatta passes through the middle of a brickfield where numbers of tiles, bricks and squares are made. This is also crossed by a small rivulet before its fall into the end of a neighbouring cove. Between this village and Sydney Town is the public burial ground.[*]...In port we saw several vessels from different quarters of the world, the majority destined for new and hazardous voyages. Here were some from the banks of the Thames or the Shannon ready to proceed to the shores of New Zealand, and others after landing freight about to sail for the Yellow River of China; some laden with coal intended for the Cape of Good Hope and India. Many small vessels were ready to depart for Bass Strait to collect furs and skins, obtained by men left on different islands to capture the seals which made them their resort. Others of of greater burden were intended for the western shores of America. Others again busily fitting out as store-ships for the Navigator or Friendly Islands and Society Islands to bring back pork for the colony. At the same time Captain Flinders was preparing to resume his great voyage round New Holland. This assemblage of operations, this constant movement of shipping impressed these shores with an activity which we were far from expecting in a country so lately known to Europe, and our interest increased our admiration."
[* Where the Town Hall now stands.]
Sydney, (As Péron saw it.)
It is interesting to compare with this description of Sydney in the early times, written by a Frenchman, Froude's impressions eighty years afterwards. He quickly found the secret of Sydney's charm for his countrymen. "One sunset evening in the exquisite botanical gardens, warm with the scent of tropical flowers, the vessels at anchor in the cove, their spars black against the evening sky, with their long pennants drooping at the masthead, the Nelson in the midst like a queen with the admiral's white flag flying over the stern, and steam launches gliding over the glassy waters which were pink with the reflection of the sunset," he looked upon the harbour, and was evidently fascinated by its beauty, while the boats bringing off the officers and men of the men-of-war who had been on leave on shore reminded him of the old order and discipline in the new land of liberty—"the shield behind which alone the vaunted liberty is possible". And he found the reason why the Briton of the north is attracted to this city of the south. "These are the associations of home...we are among our own people; in a land which our fathers have won for us."
In that quiet sea garden—which is perhaps more like home to the Englishman than any other spot in the southern hemisphere—those scenes are teaching the youth of Australia another lesson. We who have witnessed them, who have watched the sunset as Froude watched it and seen the red glow reflected in the waters and spreading over the broad leaves and green grass, do not forget them when in the motherland we gaze on similar scenes in the old harbours of Portsmouth, Plymouth or Harwich, and as we think of our country re-echo Froude's refrain: "We are among our own people—we are in the land of our Fathers".
News having been received of the intention of the French to send an expedition to the Australian Seas while the Investigator was being prepared for her voyage, the Admiralty quickly fitted out the Lady Nelson, a brig of sixty tons, which differed from other exploring vessels in having a centreboard keel. This was the invention of Admiral John Schank, the ingenious Scotsman who had submitted his idea to the Admiralty after attaining captain's rank in 1783, and so well was it thought of that two similar boats had been built for the navy, one with a centreboard and one without in order that a trial might be made. The result was so successful that the Cynthia, sloop, Trial, revenue cutter, and other vessels were constructed on the new plan, one of them being the Lady Nelson, which was chosen for the service because her three sliding centreboards enabled her draught to be lessened when in shallow waters.
She left Portsmouth on 18th March, 1800, her commander Lieutenant James Grant having orders to sail through the newly discovered straits between Australia and Tasmania. The Lady Nelson reached the shores of Australia on the morning of 3rd December, 1800. Grant sailed along the coast and saw two capes which he named Cape Banks after Sir Joseph Banks, and Cape Northumberland, after the duke who then commanded the army. He also noticed and named Mount Gambier after Admiral Gambier, and Mount Schank, after the centreboard's inventor; farther east he named Cape Bridgewater, Portland Bay and Cape Otway. He passed during the night from Cape Otway to Cape Liptrap without exploring Port Phillip although he described the land as running northward and judged it to be a bay which he named after Governor King. Having traced the coast from 141° E. longitude to Western Port he continued his voyage to Port Jackson, and arrived there on the evening of 16th December, 1800.
While passing through Bass Strait he made land 4° farther to the westward than Flinders and Bass. The commanders of two other vessels, Captain John Black of the Harbinger, from the Cape of Good Hope, and Captain Buyers in the Margaret, which arrived from England shortly after the Lady Nelson, had also sighted land on their voyage through Bass Strait; and the governor, convinced of the need of a thorough exploration of the south coast, now ordered Grant to return and carefully survey the bay between Cape Otway and Cape Schank, besides the land which had been seen by Captains Black and Buyers, then to sail to King George's Sound and, in returning, to explore the whole south coast to Wilson's Promontory, going to the head of every bay or inlet as far as possible. Mr. Caley, the botanist, and Ensign Barrallier of the New South Wales Corps, one of the governor's aides-de-camp, went with the expedition. The Bee, a decked boat of fifteen tons and formerly a ship's launch, was also fitted out to accompany the Lady Nelson, but, being unable to keep pace with her and proving unseaworthy, was sent back before leaving New South Wales.
The "Lady Nelson".
(By kind permission of Messrs. Longmans, Green, and Co.)
The Lady Nelson returned in May, 1801, after a voyage of about two months, having failed to explore Governor King's Bay. Lieutenant Grant retired shortly afterwards and went back to England, whereupon Lieutenant John Murray, Grant's second in command, a former Lieutenant of H.M.S. Porpoise, took over the Lady Nelson, and in October, 1801, was ordered to make the explorations which Grant had left unfinished. He was instructed to follow the coast between Cape Schank and Cape Otway, to take soundings and make notes of everything he saw. Portland Bay, named by Grant, was to be explored, and a look-out was to be kept for Flinders from whom further instructions would be taken. The French ships Géographe and Naturaliste were then known to be in these waters, and Murray was warned how to act if he fell in with them.
The Lady Nelson left Sydney on 12th November, 1801, and while the vessel was at Western Port on 7th December, seeking refuge from the heavy gales, natives were encountered. One old aboriginal leader incited his followers to show resistance, but on a shot being fired they dispersed. At the entrance to Port Phillip on 5th January the bay within could be plainly seen, but as the waves broke high on the rocks it was thought wise to take the brig out to sea again. Next day, however, King's Island was explored and, on the 31st, Murray returned to Western Port and anchored there.
Eventually, on 1st February, Murray sent Mr. Bowen, his mate, with five men—in a whale boat—to survey Port Phillip harbour. The boat returned on the 4th and Bowen reported that he had seen "a most noble sheet of water," but nothing of the aborigines, although some huts were examined; and he so highly praised the new discovery that Lieutenant Murray wrote in the log: "It would be unpardonable in me not to give this new harbour a strict overhaul". On 15th February he himself entered it in the Lady Nelson and recorded that he had named it "Port King," in honour of the governor, P. G. King, "under whose orders I act,"—a name which the governor changed to Port Phillip.
A meeting with the natives took place on 17th February. The sailors in their endeavour to make a good impression and in order to find out where fresh water could be obtained, made many overtures to the blacks; but they were thoroughly hostile and threw spears at the sailors, so that Murray ordered small shot to be fired among them. They were believed to be of the same tribe which had threatened Bowen at Western Port, but were not met with again though their fires were frequently seen. On 9th March Murray hoisted the British flag, and landing under a discharge of three volleys took possession of the port in the name of King George III.
On 11th March the Lady Nelson weighed anchor, and arrived at Sydney thirteen days afterwards. On 29th March Governor King sent off his report on the discoveries made by Murray to the Admiralty, and on that day there arrived at Port Western the French ships whose proceedings now claim our attention.
When Napoleon turned longing eyes upon Australia his interest in the new country soon became known in England. It is said that he took with him to Egypt the newly published volumes of Cook's Voyages, and, soon after he became First Consul, he gave orders for the equipment of an expedition to explore and claim for France the yet unknown portions of New Holland. The full text of his scheme was never made known; but the map accompanying the volume of French voyages, published by the Imperial Press at Paris, claimed quite half the Australian Continent for France.
Two French vessels left Havre on 19th October, 1800. The Géographe, commanded by Captain Nicholas Baudin, was a corvette mounting thirty guns, and the Naturaliste, Captain Hamelin, a ship specially suited in every way for her task. They reached Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia by way of the Canaries and Mauritius on 27th May, 1801. Here they landed and explored part of the coast, visiting and giving its name to Géographe Bay. The ships parted company on 8th June, in a storm. The Géographe went north to Eendracht's Land and entered Shark's Bay. The Naturaliste entered Swan River and waited three weeks for her consort, then continuing a northerly course she also bore for Shark's Bay, missing the Géographe by one day. The ships met and wintered at Timor, whence they sailed to Tasmania, which they saw first on 13th January, 1802. Here they spent three months, but parted in a gale off Cape Pillar.
Péron writes that on 6th March the largest boat from the Géographe, was sent off to survey the south and east coasts of Tasmania and, a storm arising, the ship was blown out to sea. The Naturaliste by violent squalls was separated from the Géographe during the night between the 7th and 8th; Captain Baudin being ill at the time De Freycinet, his first lieutenant, took over the command, with orders to pursue the search for the lost boat which with its crew was eventually picked up not by the French but by Mr. Campbell of the brig Harrington, who afterwards met the Naturaliste in Banks Strait off the north-east of Tasmania.
The Naturaliste awaited the Géographe in Banks Strait, but not meeting her sailed to Port Jackson, where eventually the two ships met. The Géographe in turn had, after parting-company with the Naturaliste, entered Bass Strait, crossed to the Australian coast, and traced it as far as Encounter Bay in the hope of finding that the continent was divided by a long strait running from north to south. When no indication of this was discovered the Géographe turned eastwards and arrived at Sydney on 20th June, 1802.
The French officers appeared delighted with Sydney, and Péron, to whom we are indebted for the history of their voyage, who liked new enterprises, marvelled that no new expeditions were beingplanned to ensure the crossing of the mountains. Before the close of his stay he induced Governor King to issue orders for another journey of exploration, the command of which was given to Barrallier, an English officer of French extraction and an expert engineer. Péron, however, was not granted permission to accompany the explorers, who proved no more successful than their predecessors.
Baudin's inquiries, before he left Sydney, as to the extent of the British claims in the Pacific were so pointed that they elicited from Governor King the definite statement that the whole of Tasmania and Australia was British territory. King also notified the Home Government of the suspicious actions of the French, and when they left Sydney on 17th November, 1802, to explore the southern and western coasts, a ship was sent to watch their proceedings.
The Géographe accompanied by the tender Casuarina, which had been built in New South Wales, arrived in Bass Strait on 7th December and anchored at Kino's Island. The English there hoisted their colours during the stay of the French ships, and these colours were saluted daily as a sign of prior possession, the reason being that the French commander told Governor King that his Government had no designs upon Tasmania, but wished for a whale fishery in Bass Strait, and he did not know what their plans were with regard to King's Island. It was upon seeing the British flag flying at this island that Baudin is said to have observed "that the English were worse than the Pope, for whereas he grasped half the world the English took the whole of it".
The instructions given to Flinders were to examine the southern coast of Australia and then proceed north-west and survey the Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Straits. He left Spithead on 18th July, 1801, accompanied by Westall, the landscape painter, and among his officers were no less than eight midshipmen, one of whom was his cousin John Franklin.
The Investigator arrived at Cape Leeuwin on 7th December. Flinders anchored in King George's Sound, where he stayed to careen his ship. He searched for a bottle containing the parchment reported to have been left by Vancouver, but saw no trace of it, although he found a sheet of copper recording the visit of the ship Elligood in 1800. The Investigator was taken into an inlet called Princess Royal Harbour to refit, whence Flinders attempted to explore the interior but was stopped by a chain of marshes. Many kangaroos, emus and lizards were seen, similar to those described by Dampier. Leaving King George's Sound on 5th January, 1802, he voyaged along Pieter Nuyt's Land, which had also been coasted by D'Entrecasteaux, and filled up occasional omissions in his charts. From Fowler's Bay (named after his first lieutenant Robert Merrick Fowler) Flinders proceeded along the south coast, sometimes on land as well as by water, and explored and named Spencer and St. Vincent Gulfs (after Lords Spencer and St. Vincent of the Admiralty), named Mount Lofty, near which Adelaide now stands, and disproved the existence of the supposed strait dividing Australia from north to south. He thus annexed the whole of South Australia for his country.
After making these interesting and important discoveries he met the Géographe under Baudin. The meeting on 8th April, 1802, took place in Encounter Bay, east of Kangaroo Island, so named because of the numbers of dark brown kangaroos that were seen there. Flinders hailed the French ship and inquired if she was one of those the news of whose departure from France had reached New South Wales. He afterwards went on board, paid his respects to the French commander, and gave information regarding portions of the country surveyed by him, and of Bass's voyage in the open boat. The whole coast from Cape Leeuwin to the place where the Géographe and Investigator met had been explored by Captain Flinders, and the French made no geographical discovery in the country they called Napoleon Land. This should be borne in mind, as Flinders found years afterwards on his return to Europe that French charts had been published by the Government of Napoleon, ascribing all his discoveries on this coast to Baudin. "My Kangaroo Island," he says, "a name which they openly adopted in the expedition, had been converted in Paris to L'Isle Décres; Spencer Gulf is named Golfe Buonaparte, the Gulf of St. Vincent, Golfe Josephine, and so along the whole coast to Cape Nuyts, not even the smallest island being left without some similar stamp of French discovery." At the interview, Captain Baudin conversed in English upon the new discoveries, and informed Flinders that he had coasted along from Port Western and found no inlet whatever; and his first lieutenant, De Freycinet, afterwards went so far as to remark to Flinders when they met at Government House in Sydney: "If we had not been kept picking up shells and catching butterflies in Van Diemen's Land, captain, you would not have discovered the south coast before us".
After leaving Captain Baudin, the English commander's attention was turned to a fine harbour which he found near the western entrance of Bass Strait. He imagined it at first to be Port Western, surrounded by beautiful country and capacious enough to admit the largest fleet, but detected his error, for the latter port could be seen to the south-east from the hills round the coast; he was then unaware that Lieutenant John Murray in the Lady Nelson had seen it ten weeks before. Flinders grave names to the various hills; Murray's Bluff Mount, more than 1,000 feet high, he named Arthur's Seat, because he fancied it resembled the hill near Edinburgh, and he placed the name of his ship upon a pile of stones at the top of what he named Station Peak. He left on 3rd May, and reached Sydney Cove on the 9th of that month.
On 22nd July, 1802, the Investigator, with the Lady Nelson, left Sydney to survey the eastern and northern coasts of New South Wales, and carry out the instructions which Flinders had received before leaving England. On 7th August, Port Curtis was discovered and on the 21st Port Bowen, but the Lady Nelson had become so unfit for service that on 17th October she had to be sent back to Sydney. Flinders rounded Cape York and sailed along the shores of the whole of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In Malay Roads, a strait in a group of islands called the English Company's Islands, he saw several Malay proas. After stopping at Cape Wessel to repair his ship, he returned to Sydney by way of the west coast, calling at Timor, and reaching Port Jackson on 9th June, 1803, where the Investigator was condemned as unseaworthy.
Captain Flinders desiring to lay his charts before the Admiralty embarked on 10th August, 1803, for England in H.M.S. Porpoise, commanded by Lieutenant Fowler, who had been his first lieutenant. At the same time the Cato of London and the Bridgewater, a vessel belonging to the East India Company, under Captain Palmer, left Sydney, all three vessels sailing northwards. After being a week at sea, when 200 miles from land off the north-east coast of Australia, the Porpoise, followed by the Cato, but two cables away, struck on a coral reef called afterwards Wreck Reef, the Bridgewater just clearing the danger. The Cato went down in deep water, but the Porpoise only heeled and fortunately a portion of the reef, although only a few feet above the sea, was dry sand and afforded a resting place for the crew. Flinders almost directly after the ship struck started in the gig to inform the captain of the Bridgewater of their plight, but seeing that it was impossible to reach the vessel he returned to the wreck and found that the Porpoise still held together, so he was able to board her.
It is difficult to say whether Captain Palmer of the Bridgewater saw what had happened to the two ships. Flinders believed that he did see them strike the reef, and that he bore away without attempting to render aid to the wrecked crews or work up to them in smooth water, and those of the Cato also thought that he was unwilling to help them, for his ship made straight off on her voyage to Batavia; and, as Flinders prophesied, Captain Palmer reported the loss of the Porpoise and Cato upon his arrival in India. Flinders was not the man, however, to sit still and wait for passing vessels to rescue him, but immediately set to work to build a cutter out of the disabled vessels. The cutter was launched on 26th August, and named the Hope. On that day the ensign with the Union downwards, which had been hoisted in the first instance as a signal of distress to Captain Palmer, was lowered and immediately re-hoisted with the Union in the upper canton.
Flinders sailed in the Hope to Sydney, taking with him a young officer named FitzDaniel and thirteen seamen; they arrived safely at Port Jackson on 8th September, after a wonderful voyage of 800 miles in the tiny craft. For the relief of the shipwrecked men Governor King despatched the ship Rolla and two schooners, the Cumberland and Francis. Flinders reached Wreck Reef in eight days, and the crews were taken on board the vessels.
The Francis with some of the men returned to Sydney, and the Cumberland and Rolla sailed together from the reef, the latter going to China, while the Cumberland, with Flinders on board, directed her course to Torres Straits. Lieutenants Fowler and Flinders (brother of the commander) and John Franklin had embarked in the Rolla. They afterwards took their passage from China for England in the Earl Camden an East Indiaman, and when Commodore Dance fell in with the French Admiral, Linois, Fowler took command of the upper deck while young Franklin was in charge of the signals, and they undoubtedly contributed to the success gained by the British over the French.[*]
[* The success was highly appreciated in England. Captain Dance was knighted. Fowler was presented with £300 by the East India Company for the purchase of a piece of plate and the Patriotic Society presented him with a sword of honour.]
Flinders, meanwhile, on his voyage to England, through the leaky state of the Cumberland was, on 17th December, forced to put in at Mauritius where he was kept prisoner by the French for seven years, the treatment he received from Decaen, the Governor, forming a striking contrast to the hospitality shown to Baudin and his brother officers at Sydney. He kept the English commander two hours in the streets waiting an audience, pretended to disbelieve that he was the officer named in the passport, and seized his vessel and all his books, charts, manuscripts, etc., and sent them to France. It is said that several French officers applied for his release and that instructions were sent out to Mauritius to that effect which Decaen disregarded; but, anyhow, his base conduct was approved in Paris, and the motive soon became apparent. The issue of the French Voyage of Discovery was pushed forward, and Napoleon granted a considerable sum to hasten its publication. French names were given to all the English discoveries, but fortunately Flinders had succeeded in sending a duplicate of his charts and papers to England before reaching Mauritius, and the whole imposture was exposed. Flinders died in England in July, 1814, four years after his release from the long imprisonment which hastened his end and a few weeks before the publication of his Voyage to Terra Australis, which holds a foremost place in the history of Australian exploration.
The first governor soon discovered that though he had been set over a vast country there was only a narrow strip within his grasp. Within a few miles of Sydney Cove there ran a range of mountains rising in places almost perpendicularly to a height of from 4,000 to 5,000 feet. Curving above Broken Bay on the north and below Botany Bay on the south, in the form of a crescent, they completely hemmed in the settlement and cut off all advance into the interior. From the heights of Sydney on a clear day glimpses could be obtained of their level line of cobalt. They formed part of the chain of the Great Dividing Range which runs with scarcely a break down the eastern side of the continent from Cape York—the most northerly point—to Wilson's Promontory at the southern extremity. Seen at a distance these mountains present the appearance of a bluish curtain raised but a little above the horizon; twenty-five miles nearer, their bare summits appear less regular, and at intervals a few peaks are perceived. The different tiers rise in height as they recede deeper into the country beyond. Cook and those with him in the Endeavour caught glimpses of these hills through the clear atmosphere when their ship lay becalmed off the coast on her way northwards.
The Blue Mountains had a wonderful charm for the colonists; the rocks, precipices, and thick scrub might repel them; but when days bright with sunshine revealed gleaming torrents and smooth green plains among the ranges, the desire to explore them became irresistible. Time after time expeditions left Sydney to penetrate into the forest, increasing in number as fresh vessels arrived bringing more settlers desirous of becoming farmers. The boundaries of the colony were enlarged to their utmost to sustain the flocks and herds which increased with marvellous rapidity and from the sea coast on the east to the river Nepean on the west, a distance of between forty and fifty miles from the capital, little or no land remained for grazing purposes. Fields of wheat, lucerne, and clover bordered one bank of the Nepean; on the other stood the mountains.
Water, as well as grass, became hard to find. Where no rain had fallen, the power of an almost tropical sun and the sandy nature of the river beds rendered drought inevitable and the settlers were compelled to look beyond the narrow coast line for sustenance. Many and various were the speculations as to what might lie on the other side of the ranges. Some believed that a white settlement would be found there, others that there existed an inland sea, or a country unfit for human habitation, and some condemned all projects of exploration as foolhardy. A few only were of opinion that open grass country would be discovered suitable for pasture. No warnings could prevent the colonists from trying to force a passage into the unknown bush. Many perished in the attempt. Sometimes an escaped prisoner in search of freedom, sometimes a visionary or too ardent explorer, starting without proper equipment, disappeared for ever in the labyrinth of forest; but their disappearance caused little surprise, and the Bathurst Plains remained undiscovered.
It was held as a fact that there was no break or pass in the mountains and to surmount their unbroken ridge seemed almost impracticable. There is a legend to the effect that a freed convict really penetrated the barrier and discovered the Lachlan River, having learnt the way from a black fellow; but Cunningham says that "the first known aborigines declared that there was no pass over the mountains, and held a tradition that malignant spirits resided there ".
The first attempt to explore the Blue Mountains was made long before by Governor Phillip who on 15th April, 1788, set out with provisions for four days, attended by several officers and a small party of marines. In three days they passed the swamps and marshes near the harbour and found themselves in a rocky barren country, the hills of which were covered with scrub, but the rocks and dense bush made ascending and descending difficult and often impossible. Fifteen miles from the coast Phillip had a fine view of the country and he gave names to several mountains, calling the most northerly the Carmarthen Hills, those to the south the Lansdowne Hills, and one between Richmond Hill.
An Exploring Party with Phillip and Hunter.
(From a sketch by Captain Hunter.)
On the 22nd he started again, taking with him some small boats in order to cross the river, and found good country, densely wooded, but after spending nearly a day in fruitless attempts to make his way through it, he was obliged to return. Setting out afresh on the morrow, the party by keeping close to the banks of a small creek continued their course westward for three succeeding days. On the fifth day they ascended a small eminence whence they saw the Carmarthen and Lansdowne Hills, the farthest point reached being called by them Belle Vue, but even there they were still apparently thirty miles from the mountains which it had been their object to visit. Having only six days' food with them they were obliged to return, having fully proved the extraordinary difficulty of penetrating into the interior. Unexpected delays from deep ravines and other obstacles had frequently forced the travellers from the direct course, and baffled every calculation as to the time required for passing from one point to another. The distance covered by the expedition was not more than thirty miles, and it took five days. The return was easier, the track being made and the trees marked, so that the explorers reached the boats in a day and a half.
In June, 1789, Captain Watkin Tench and Mr. Arndell, the surgeon, reached the bank of a river "nearly as broad as the Thames at Putney" to which the governor gave the name of Nepean, but it was not until the month of December that Phillip resolved seriously to undertake further exploration. Lieutenant Dawes was despatched with a detachment of troops and a stock of provisions for ten days; but after much fatigue and many dangers he returned to Port Jackson, having penetrated only nine miles more.
Eight months later, in August, 1790, Tench and Dawes set out with a strong escort, carrying ropes and other appliances for the attempt to pass the mountains; and they failed. Next June Tench went westward to find out whether the Hawkesbury and Nepean were one river. Twenty-one persons were of the party, which included the governor and Dawes. According to Tench: "Every man except the governor carried a knapsack (which contained his provisions for ten days), a gun, a blanket and canteen: these weighed not less than forty pounds. Slung to the knapsack was a cooking kettle and a hatchet to cut wood to kindle the nightly fire and build the nightly hut. Every man was garbed to drag through morasses, tear through thickets, ford rivers and scale rocks." The march began at sunrise and halted an hour and a half before sunset with only an occasional pause. Preparations were then made to camp for the night. The method of travelling was to steer by compass, noting the different directions taken as the party proceeded, and counting the number of paces, "of which 2,200 on good ground," says Tench, "were allowed to a mile. At night, when all were resting, these courses were separately cast up and worked by a traverse table in the manner that a ship's reckoning is kept, so that by observing this precaution we always knew exactly where we were and how far from home—an unspeakable advantage in a new country where one hill and one tree is so like another." This arduous task was allotted to Dawes and he performed it with wonderful precision. Whenever Colber, a black fellow who had been taken with the party, was asked the names of the tribes who lived inland he would answer with a shake of the head, "Boorooberongal," and add in English "bad"; "whence" adds his chief, "we conjectured that they sometimes made war upon those on the sea coast". The expedition proved successful, for Tench ascertained that the Nepean was an affluent of the Hawkesbury.
For some time little was done to scale the barrier, but on Captain William Paterson of the New South Wales Corps calling the attention of the Home Government to the Blue Mountains, and to the pressing need of more pasturage, he was placed in charge of a new expedition which was fitted out with much care. His plan was to ascend the Hawkesbury River as far as possible, so that he might reach the foot of the range, and he took with him two boats and a strong escort of soldiers. Among them were many Highlanders who, like Paterson himself, were accustomed to the Scottish hills. Some natives acted as guides, and it was thought that Paterson, whose extensive travels in South Africa had brought him fame, would succeed. The river Grose, so named after Major Grose, was discovered and traced to its junction with the Hawkesbury above Richmond Hill, and the advance was then made up the river, but did not continue far on account of the numerous cataracts, one of which fell sheer down some 420 feet, and the precipitous ground made further progress impossible.
In 1794 Quartermaster Hacking of the Sirius with some companions started with the idea of forcing a way over the barrier. They spent ten days in searching for a pass, and eventually travelled twenty miles beyond any previous attempt, but tiers of forest and thicket compelled their return. During the journey they saw a red kangaroo and also one of the natives, who, catching sight of the white men, fled in haste.
Two years afterwards Mr, Bass, the discoverer of Bass Strait, made the next attempt, with a few men on whose courage and skill he could depend. On this expedition he used iron boat-hooks on his hands and feet in climbing the steep sides of the rocks, and when stopped by ravines caused himself to be lowered by ropes, but after fifteen days of danger and fatigue he also returned to Sydney, declaring these singular mountains to be impassable.
In 1805 the Government botanist, Mr. George Caley, then in Sydney collecting new plants and seeds for Sir Joseph Banks, was seized with a desire to explore the western ranges and applied for permission to Governor King, who provided him with the four strongest men in the colony to help him cut a passage through the bush. He succeeded in gaining a footing on the dividing range at Woodford, as the place is now called, close to the spot where the railway passes, and after very trying experiences his party reached Mount Banks twelve days after they had left Richmond. Caley here looked westward, "I saw no large valleys," he says, "except the one close to us from which the ground rose gradually as far as the eye could reach. In a few places there appeared swamp, in others no trees and very scrubby ground. By these appearances the country might be imagined easy to travel over, provided the inaccessible valley close at hand was crossed, yet there is no doubt others of a similar nature would present themselves as I am too well conversant now with their rugged impassable state which at every step becomes a ha-ha."
It took him several days to cut a path from the spot where he had left a pile of stones, now known as "Caley's Repulse," to the Hawkesbury River, a distance of less than nineteen miles. Deep gorges were frequent. Sometimes upright walls of rock would suddenly confront him; at others, the ground under his feet would crumble away. In despair, he at last returned to Sydney, where Governor King sympathetically stated that in his opinion the idea of attempting to cross such "a confused and barren assemblage of mountains with impassable chasms between was as chimerical as useless," and that "nothing but enthusiasm could have enabled Caley, well equipped as he was, and with the strongest men in the colony to assist him, to perform the journey ".
The route taken by Caley across the mountains was in 1813 chosen by a fresh band of explorers to whom his experiences were doubtless of great advantage. On his return to England, he gave it in evidence before a committee appointed by the House of Commons that New South Wales was bounded on the west by a range that was impassable. Lieutenant William Lawson of the Veteran Company was in London at the time, and frequently discussed with him the possibilities of finding a pass through the barrier. Lawson soon afterwards returned to Sydney, and evidently did not forget these conversations.
In the year 1813, three years after Governor Macquarie arrived, a severe drought such as Australia has since, unfortunately, too often known, carried off numbers of sheep and cattle, and the scarcity of grass threatened to ruin the settlers. This induced Lawson, with William Charles Wentworth and Gregory Blaxland as companions, to follow up the efforts of Bass, Barrallier, Dawes and Caley. and before the marks cut by them had disappeared from the tree trunks, to try once again to find fresh country.
Starting at four o'clock of the afternoon of 11th May, 1813, from Blaxland's homestead at South Creek, near Penrith, with four servants, five dogs, and four pack-horses, the explorers crossed the Nepean at Emu Island, some thirty-six miles west of Sydney, to find a way between the Western River and the Grose. Passing a large lagoon full of coarse rushes and some thick scrub they were soon entangled among intricate gullies and deep ravines. "Narrow, gloomy and profound, these rents in the bosom of the earth (as Count Strzelecki describes them) are enclosed between gigantic walls of sandstone rock—sometimes receding from and sometimes overhanging the dark bed beneath with its black, silent eddies or its foaminor torrents of water."
In one of the gullies was found a dead kangaroo which had just been killed by an eagle. Numbers of the brown wedge-tailed species made their nests in these mountains whose rocky ledges with overhanging foliage sorely tried the patience of the men. When through the gullies, good grass country, extending apparently as far as Grose Head, made a pleasant change in the travelling. Europeans had evidently marked the trees, and here and there were native huts. But two miles farther on a deep impassable precipice compelled them to turn back to the spot where they had left the thick brush-wood.
It seemed then as if the expedition were doomed to fail when fortunately Lawson thought of a method which had never yet been tried. While gazing despondently around him he noticed that the spine of the mountains trended westward and believed that if only his party could gain the top of the ridge and push their way along it, success would ultimately attend their efforts. He at once decided to try; but the small party were then worn out with the exertions of the morning and it was thought wise to encamp at four o'clock and rest for the night.
Lawson pondered over the direction their path should take on the morrow, and thought it best to cut a road to what he believed was the Main Dividing Range, and, if possible, ascend it near the Grose River, keeping in sight the heads of the gullies which were supposed to empty into the Western or Warragumba River on the left hand and into the Grose River on the right. There were, however, other difficulties, and what troubled the explorer most was the way in which the horses travelled. From the first they had stumbled continually, and, so far, the start had to be postponed each morning on their account until nine o'clock when the dew was well off the grass. And he knew that the rocky hillsides, difficult enough for the men to climb, would prove still more trying for the animals. Next day he finally decided to leave them, as well as the provisions and five muskets in charge of two men, while the rest of the party (taking with them only two muskets) cut a way through the bush.
The work was unflinchingly got through, although there was not a man who was not wearied, nor a hand that was not blistered and sore. On this memorable day, Friday, 14th May, a path extending for five miles was completed, wide enough to allow the pack-horses to pass, and at five o'clock the explorers returned to camp. On the following day, leaving the camp as before in charge of the men, they cleared two more miles, but as there was no sign of grass for the horses they returned again at five o'clock. On Sunday they rested.
The whole party pushed on and encamped on a narrow mountain ridge between two very deep gullies, where some of the men descended a precipice to a depth of 600 feet to look for water, but none could be found. On the 18th, two miles farther on, their path became buttressed on both sides with precipices. Creeping along the narrow edge of the ridge, the men removed some of the larger pieces of rock, and eventually got over in safety, but in the evening returned to the camp tired and out of spirits.
Next day, on their leaving camp and looking back from the second ridge, a distant view of the settlement now a minute speck beneath them, met their eyes. Not far from this spot, while busily cutting trees along a narrow ridge, they came upon a cairn of stones, shaped like a pyramid. One side of it had been opened and the stones scattered around, evidently by natives. Lawson thought then that it had been built by Bass to mark the end of his tour and that they were following in his tracks; but Governor Macquarie explained afterwards that this pile of stones was Caley's work, and called it Caley's Repulse.
As they gazed around them the three leaders might well have been overawed by the task that they had set themselves. What lay beyond Caley's Repulse was mystery! Possibly the explorers remembered the old stories of the blacks at Port Jackson who said it was the abode of evil spirits who hurled thunder, floods,[*] and burning winds upon them, or the pleasanter fables that a white people dwelt there upon the banks of a great lake, a people who dressed like the English and had large towns with houses built of stone.
[* The blacks held a tradition that once long ago the floods had overtopped the Blue Mountains and that only two men of the tribe there had escaped alive in a "Koboa Noe" or large ship.]
Yet all was not mountain and forest. In the midst of what was to English eyes perhaps weird and strange there occasionally opened amid the transparent atmosphere scenes which would have lent grace to many a garden in a civilised land. In parts of these mountains, both in the deep gullies and upon the high slopes, ferns and rare plants are to be seen growing in their native state. Groups of tall tree ferns flourish beneath the shadow of massive rocks, their rough brown trunks contrasting strangely with their delicate green fronds and deeper tinted leaves; and numerous species of maidenhair fern hang down over the pale-faced sandstone or creep round the bronze-green moss which covers the dripping ledges. Here is also to be seen growing upon the heights of the mountains the waratah, or native tulip. The crimson colour of the flower gives the plant its name of "Telopia," meaning "seen at a distance". The trunks and branches of the eucalyptus trees are often overgrown with creepers, and many descriptions of palms fill the crevices among the rocks, and give an almost tropical appearance to these bush scenes. Such scenes, after journeying over tracts of uneven country, after scrambling up and down stony hillsides and cutting paths through the scrub, must have often appeared a restful sight to the first explorers.
From Caley's Repulse the travellers were able to advance four or five miles a day, and soon noticed with delight that the ridge was widening before them. New birds, parrots of varied plumage, attracted them. Emus were heard calling, and once the sound of a native chopping wood near at hand excited their curiosity, and told them, although they could not catch sight of the black fellow, that the mountains were inhabited. The next day, 25th May, the track of a wombat was seen; later they saw the smoke of fires curling upwards through distant trees and apparently thirty natives moving about, but so far off that it was impossible to ascertain with certainty anything regarding them.
Australian Natives Spearing Parrots in the Blue Mountains
On Friday, 28th May, to the explorers' joy, they beheld grass country in the valley below them. It was clear of trees and covered with loose white pebbles and stones. At first it looked barren and sandy, but they soon perceived that it really was grass of a light straw colour, and in the evening they descended the mountain which was high and steep in order to examine it more closely.
On Saturday, 29th May, at seven o'clock in the morning they began the descent of the valley through a passage in the rocks, thirty feet wide, which they had discovered the day before. A low slanting trench had to be cut with a hoe along the mountain side for the horses to walk in as there was no sort of foothold for them. The grass proved to be green underneath, and there was also a clear and rapid stream of water. The natives were evidently still moving before them, as smoke was again seen to the west; on the 31st remains of their old fires were found and traces where they had been sharpening their spears, and from the marks on the trees they did not appear to climb like the blacks at Sydney.
There were two streams here and the explorers encamped by the faster flowing one at a short distance from the High Hill. This high mountain was afterwards called Mount York by Governor Macquarie, although it became more familiarly known to travellers as the "Big Hill". It rose sharply 798 feet from the valley below, which Macquarie named the Vale of Clwyd. The passage was afterwards given the name of Cox's Pass, but Blaxland in a letter to Governor Macquarie, dated 15th June, 1815, stated that the passage was actually discovered through a suggestion of Wentworth's, and that the river was found by Lawson, while the others were bringing the horses down the mountains.
After once more surveying the newly found pasture the explorers, now sorely in need of provisions prepared to return to Sydney, For a time they satisfied their hunger by eating the flowers of the honeysuckle tree which are shaped like a bottle brush and are full of honey. The natives still camped a little distance away, evidently possessing no huts, and would not allow the white men to approach them. On Tuesday, 1st June, the party again ascended the mountain ridge and started homewards, carefully marking the trees to show each mile of the road, and reached their home on Sunday, 6th June, 1813, with all their party well. There may still be seen on the Old Bathurst Road the tree called the "Explorer's Tree" upon which Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth carved the initials L.B.W. Standing on a high point of the mountain it is plainly visible from the windows of the railway carriage.
Thus the mystery concerning the Blue Mountains was solved, and the discovery of the new territory soon led to important results. On 20th November, 1813, acting on instructions from Governor Macquarie, George Williams Evans set out from Emu Island to make a survey of the road, and to explore the country from the point where Lawson's party had turned back. On the fifth day he reached the valley containing the rapid stream, the limit of Lawson's expedition. On 27th November he discovered another valley with fine grass. Leaving his horses in this valley with some of the party, Evans set out to select a track where they could more easily ascend the mountain.
Curious high ranges to the south were seen from one point, the pasture covering their tops and sides being very green, but no better road was found, and the party again set forth over hills as steep and stony as the others. Some small clear streams and grassy valleys were passed, and from a high hill Evans perceived a peculiar mist in the distance, so unlike smoke that he believed a river would soon be reached. From this point a clear view of country for forty miles to the west was obtained, and the travellers began to meet with good sport. Each day many ducks were shot and the fish in the streams were both large and plentiful. Other high hills appeared, and on 1st December he reached a remarkable mountain with a stone on the top like a sugar-loaf or as some have described it an Indian fort, which was called after the discoverer Evans's Crown. He walked to its summit and looked down upon the western landscape for a distance of some fifty miles. The trees grew farther apart but the pasturage was thick and the soil looked fertile; the wide expanse still farther off afterwards gave rise to the story that, when he first saw it, he believed that he was gazing upon a vast inland sea. That his pleasure was very great is evident in his writings. "I am more pleased with the country every day," he says, "it far surpasses in fertility and beauty any I have yet seen."
His first sight of the river almost inspired him to be poetical. "The river winds through fine flats and round the points of small ridges which gradually descend towards it. They are covered with the finest grass intermixed with the white daisy as in England. It is a most picturesque spot with gentle rising hills and dales well watered. The distant hills, which are about five miles south, appear as grounds laid out, divided into fields by hedges. There are few trees on them and the grass is quite green. I still keep near the river, and at times I walk a few miles south or north as seems to me requisite; I now find the mimosa in clusters on the banks. The country continues good, in some places overrun with the shrub among the grass the same as on the cow pasturage at Stone Quarry Creek. I shall not name the river until I am certain of its real course."
At this time Evans had met with no natives, although he had observed their tracks. On 4th December the night was very wet and the party suffered much discomfort from the rain, the thin leaves of the eucalyptus trees affording little shelter. After a violent thunderstorm the clouds dispersed and a fresh westerly wind blew throughout the day. The horses benefited by the good pasturage, but their backs showed signs of soreness, as the saddles had not been lined and the straw stuffing in them was so hard that the party were forced to use their blankets as saddle cloths.
Evans called the first track of clear land O'Connell Plains alter the lieutenant-governor. Here numbers of wild geese were seen, and the discoverer writes: "This place is worth speaking of as 'Good and beautiful' it surpasseth Port Dalrymple (Tasmania) and the clear land occupies about a mile on each side of the river". Farther on he found another plain still more pleasing and very extensive which he named Macquarie Plains. In this region he saw numbers of wild geese and fish were abundant and easily caught. This river Evans named the Fish River. It flows westward from the Clarence Range. He wished to cross it, but it was too deep, and as he could see no signs of a ford he contrived a bridge. The diary states that "By driving two forked logs into the mud as far as we dared venture and by laying a piece of wood in the forks we formed a gallows: a party swam across the stream and did the same on the opposite side. We then felled trees as large as six of us could carry and rolled them down the bank. As soon as one end of the trees was in the water the current sent it round and the ropes which had been made secure round it prevented it being carried too far down. We lifted two of these trees up, which reached from one fork to another, and placed two more trees from the banks on either side to join the forks, over which we passed our necessaries and then swam the horses, first tying ropes to them and drawing them to the opposite bank; otherwise the force of the water might have carried them a great distance down the stream as it did some of the men who swam over."
Sketch Map of the Country West of the Blue Mountains
(Discovered by G W Evans)
At sunset they reached another stream which Evans called the Campbell. The two streams soon joined and formed what he called the Macquarie. It flowed across an extensive plain which he describes as "excellent good land overgrown with the best grass I have seen in any part of New South Dales. It might be mowed, it is so thick and long. These plains I called the Bathurst Plains."
Soon afterwards Evans decided to return to Sydney. His party were then almost barefoot, for the stones and grass had cut their shoes to pieces, and the horses' backs were in a bad condition. Little else claimed their notice. Emus were very numerous, one day forty-one were counted, and on 21st December they met two native women and four children, the first natives spoken to by white men on that side of the Blue Mountains. They fell down in fright on seeing the white people, and though they received several presents could not be induced to impart any information, or even to remain.
The sketch map of this journey (see p. 134) is in the British Museum, and was taken from an original draft probably in the possession of the Colonial Office either in London or Sydney.
The colony had made little progress during the first few years of the nineteenth century, but Macquarie's energy brought about a change. The public works which he ordered, the improvements of the city, the manner in which he encouraged the exploration of the interior, and visited the settlements whenever it was possible to do so, made each year noteworthy. His activity found scope in many projects which cannot be enumerated here, but the making of the roads from the capital to the remote settlements must not go unmentioned. There was not a pioneer in the country who did not in his heart thank the British Government for placing such a man at the head of the infant colony. Macquarie's insight told him that roads and bridges being the natural ducts of a new country should precede rather than follow colonisation, and if made upon a moderate scale would constitute capital in the best form for the country's interests. Had he not recognised their necessity in New South Wales progress would have been slow.
Before his coming road-making round Sydney was of the simplest kind. Wherever a road was wanted, the trees were notched, and the marked trees served as a guide to all who desired to travel that way. Horses and carts passed along and in a short time a bush-track became visible. The grass was soon trodden down and disappeared. If a stream happened to cross the track, branches were lopped off the trees growing on the banks and laid across it. On them smaller logs were placed with a little more regularity, and when a sufficient covering of earth was thrown over them, formed a rough culvert or bridge.
Roads made in this fashion were not approved by Macquarie, though they had been thought good enough by some of his predecessors. His were on a different plan. First the route was marked by the compass-line and by a careful survey to the right and left of the old "blazes" on the trees in order to make certain that the shortest and best direction had been obtained. Then the creeks and gullies were measured; the swamps drained; the brushwood cleared to allow space for three carts to pass and to give light and air overhead Tree stumps were uprooted, leaving the earth as little broken as possible; dangerous ground filled in; and preparations made for bridges. When the whole road was cut level and macadamised in the old-fashioned way it was strewn with gravel of the best and most binding description and well-rolled.
These methods were so successful that many roads made during Macquarie's rulership are still wearing well. At Sydney mail coaches soon began to run over them and the sound of the post-horn was heard in the streets as the vehicles made their way carrying post-bags and passengers into the interior. Then the beauty of the land became known to those who followed the tracks of the coaches and drays and caught glimpses of those grand vistas which are Australia's glory to-day, the shadows on the hills, the windings of the valleys, the waterfalls—Katoomba, Govett's Leap—and other scenes which were then revealed to the eyes of the white people.
The Great Western, the Great Northern and the Great Southern Roads were the first to be made. Of these the Great Western as far as Parramatta was the oldest in the colony, although for twenty-five years the Blue Mountains formed a barrier to its advance. In 1814 the Great Southern Road to Liverpool was opened, and it was afterwards continued to Camden and Goulburn. In 1823 Major Morrisett made his first overland journey from Newcastle to Sydney over what eventually became the Great North Road, reaching Windsor in nine days after travelling 169 miles. Major Mitchell was ordered by Governor Darling to survey this track and the first section, which reached to within six miles of Parramatta Ferry, was opened in July, 1829. It made a saving of fifteen miles of road northwards by way of Windsor. The new Great North Road, as it was called, was made in order to form a direct communication by land with the central and upper parts of the Hunter River, including Morpeth, and the township of Maitland; but it was not wholly completed until 1832.
The Great Western, on the other hand, was extended from Emu Plains to Bathurst immediately after Evans's return from his first expedition to the interior. It took only six months to make, the work being carried out by Mr. William Cox, J.P., of Windsor. Two hundred and fifty-seven miles of thick bush were cleared, fifty-eight of which spanned the breadth of the Blue Mountains; viaducts were built round giant rocks, chasms were bridged and difficulties overcome in a fashion that even to-day would be considered remarkable. As each section of the road was ready, a small band of privileged settlers[*] followed to make their homes in the new country. The road descended by zigzags into the valley running parallel to what was afterwards called Darling Causeway.
[* Macquarie recommended that the number of settlers be limited to fifty, with small families, each to receive fifty to a hundred acres of land, and that no others were to go for two years.]
It was completed on 21st January, 1815. On 25th April, the governor, accompanied by Mrs. Macquarie and a numerous suite, among whom were Captain Antill and Lieutenant Watts, A.D.C.'s., and Messrs. Oxley, Redfern, Evans, Lewin, Meehan, and Campbell left Sydney on their tour to the new settlement. The route they took was not that which is now followed by the railway line, but the older one known as the Mount York Road which was abandoned in favour of an easy descent by Mount Victoria executed later by Sir Thomas Mitchell, the road by Mount York being so steep that bullock drivers used to cut down trees and attach them to their drays as a substitute for a drag. We are told that General and Mrs. Macquarie were able to drive all the way to Bathurst in their post-chaise.
Upon reaching Evans's Crown and the high lands above Bathurst the governor was greatly pleased with the view of the rivers Fish and Campbell, and the Macquarie, which was known to the natives as the Wambool or Wandering River from its winding course. Along the banks of the rivers little dark hillocks or knolls and peculiar fairy rings were occasionally seen. Long furrows at regular intervals marked the plains. The furrows were remarkable, and in civilised countries would have been taken for plough ridges; and it is worthy of mention that in New South Wales on either side of the dividing range they preserve the same direction from north-east to south-west.
The course of the Macquarie could be traced for miles by the tall upright oaks that grew upon the banks. Flocks and herds now roam across the Bathurst Plains, and post and rail fences mark with regularity the estates of the squatters and settlers, whose homes are encircled by trees from Europe and America, and by orchards, vineyards and fields of wheat and maize. But when Governor Macquarie first saw the plains they were simply an expanse of waving grass. The first glimpse of the high banks of the Fish River gave him the idea that the stream was of considerable magnitude, but, owing to the dry weather, scarcely any water was running and the river might have been more properly described as a chain of pools. In the reaches there were great numbers of that curious animal the duckbill or water-mole, and upon the banks grew many different kinds of shrubs, strange grasses and flax with its sweet-scented purple and white flowers—the lilies of the Australian children to-day.
At a distance of seven miles from the bridge which had been made over Campbell's River a little to the south of its junction with the Fish River, the view was again admired. Waves upon waves of grass reaching like ocean billows as far as eye could see, whispered of prosperity and dispelled any doubts suggested by the barren regions of alternate rock and thicket. We need not wonder that the general openly expressed his pleasure when he saw the country. Years after it was written of him that "he constructed roads like a Colossus and covered the Blue Mountains with corn"; but at this time his work was only beginning and he knew little of the interior.
The open country began and the ranges ended, as it were, in a dense blue wall around a sea of grass. The Macquarie River showed to advantage. The view of its waters and winding course from the crest of the hill named after Lieutenant-Colonel O'Connell was extensive; a few trees were dotted about here and there, chiefly the tall white eucalyptus, the most beautiful of the gum-trees, whose snow-white trunks and long branches could be distinguished at some distance; the other trees growing along the river banks being the wattle or mimosa and the swamp oak, a species of Casuarina, tall and picturesque as the pine, its dark foliage making the course of the river easily distinguishable.
On 4th May the party encamped on an open space on the left bank of the River Macquarie whence the governor made excursions along both banks and saw many of the natives. He had the portrait of the native chief drawn for him, and in one of his letters to the Home Government vouched for its being an excellent likeness.
On Sunday, 7th May, he fixed on a suitable site for the erection of a town to which he gave the name of Bathurst in honour of Henry, third Earl of Bathurst, then Secretary of State for the Colonies.[*] Within a distance of ten miles there were not less than fifty thousand acres of plain, quite half of which was fit for cultivation. The site designed for the town was found to be, by observation taken at the selected flag staff, twenty-seven and a half miles north and ninety-four and a half miles west of Government House, Sydney. On 11th May the governor and his party set out from Bathurst and reached Sydney on the 19th.
[* The earliest settlers who formed the nucleus of the population lived at first in what is known as the county of Roxburgh and built their church there; the spot is now called Kelso, but when a heavy flood submerged this bank of the Macquarie they moved to higher ground on the opposite side of the river nearer to where the town of Bathurst now stands.]
A Native Chief of Bathurst
(From "Oxley's Explorations".)
As the Macquarie River flowed with such strong current and volume past the new settlement Evans was despatched to trace it and explore the country to the west and south-west. He and his faithful man Appledove leaving Bathurst on 13th May, 1815, passed through the valley called Queen Charlotte's Vale and discovered a small tributary and then a larger one which Evans called Limestone Creek. On the 25th he fell in with a creek bearing south, joining a water-course rising in a north-easterly direction. It was dry. But the banks were seventy-nine feet apart, and large swamp oaks growing on either side made it evident that it was the bed of a large river. Evans named it the Lachlan in honour of Governor Macquarie and established a military depot at a spot which he called Byrne's Creek. He discovered many hills or as he describes them "conical pics" and named the highest of them Mount Lachlan, Mount Molle and Mount Lewin. Many emus and kangaroos were seen, and there were remains of burnt-out native fires, around some of which he counted no less than twenty-three large heaps of emu feathers. A few days before his return he met three natives, a man, woman and child; the man ran off and climbed a tree, the woman and her infant remained terrified at the sight of the white man. Evans succeeded in getting on good terms with the child, but the man in the tree cried so loudly that he might have been heard half a mile away. On 1st June, Evans after carving his name and the date upon a tree, left the Lachlan River on his return to Bathurst where he arrived on 12th June.
In 1817 Lieutenant Oxley was sent to trace the course of the Lachlan and Macquarie. He took Evans with him and also Allan Cunningham, the king's botanist, who had been sent to collect plants for the Royal Gardens at Kew, Frazer, colonial botanist, and Parr, mineralogist. Leaving Sydney on 6th April they reached Bathurst on the 14th, pack-horses with provisions and two boats having been sent beforehand to a depot already established on the Lachlan. Heavy rain detained the party for five days, but they reached the Lachlan on 25th April. Finding that the land became flatter, the river being only 600 feet above sea-level, Oxley traced the main stream of the Lachlan for 150 miles,—naming Mount Amyot, Mount Melville, Mount Cunningham and Mount Maude—until the waters were lost among reeds and trickling marshes. He passed many other mountains, met several different tribes of natives, and came upon a curious burial ground; but though he found many swamps, drinking water was scarce, and believing that the Lachlan ended in marsh he turned back to the north-east on 18th May, to ascertain what became of the Macquarie.
At first there seemed little hope of finding wood, grass or water, and on 21st June, Oxley wrote that the land he now passed through was uninhabitable for civilised man, but then he suddenly came upon rich country watered by the Lower Lachlan, his farthest point being latitude 33° 57' 30" S. and longitude 144° 31' 15" E.
From here he returned to seek the Macquarie, and discovered a lake which he called Lake Campbell. After some difficult exploration he reached a clear stream of water running through a valley amid rocks, which he believed must flow into the Macquarie; and on 25th August he found a much larger stream from the east south-east which actually proved to be that river. The smaller stream he called the Bell River after Major Bell, and he named the beautiful valley through which it flowed Wellington Valley.
Oxley returned to Bathurst on 29th August. Although little was ascertained respecting the course of the rivers, Governor Macquarie felt justified in despatching him on a second expedition into the interior. This time he was accompanied by Dr. Harris. Leaving in May, 1818, they traced the Macquarie, crossing a stream on 11th July called by Oxley the Erskine. They sailed down in boats beyond Wellington until further progress was stopped by swamps and high reeds. Here, on the north bank of the Macquarie, Oxley observed a hill, 210 feet high, apparently the beginning of a range. From this hill, to which was given the name of Mount Harris, the party struck in an easterly direction for the sea-coast, while Evans went off alone on a route rather more to the north-east, across the stream known as Wallis Ponds and Morrisett Ponds, the boats being left behind at Mount Harris. On 27th July, Oxley crossed and named the Castlereagh forty-five miles from the Macquarie, and then fell in with a range of hills which he called Arbuthnot's Range. He now came upon many small streams and beautiful plains of great extent, alternating with chains and ridges of low forest, with woods of cypress and eucalyptus, and myall (Acacia pendula) in full flower. There were natives seen, the first party of whom, about twenty in number, near Wellington, proved most friendly. From their behaviour it was thought that they had formerly encountered white people from Bathurst. Many were well featured and some of them were big stout men. Curious to know the mode in which they buried their dead, Oxley opened a grave which differed from those of the natives on the coast. It was found after the soil was removed that four layers of wood supported the conical pile of earth above. "Then came numerous sheets of dry bark, beneath which was the body with the feet bent towards the head and the arms placed between the thighs. It lay towards the east and was wrapped in opossum skin, wearing a girdle and also a net about the head in the manner usual with the natives. The sides of two trees facing this tomb were barked and had curious characters cut upon them.
Devices carved by the Natives on the Trees at Wellington.
The portion of the valley where this burial-ground lay was beautifully situated in a secluded part of the forest, "near the rich banks of the river Macquarie". A long, straight avenue of trees about a mile in length led up to it; the trees were carved on each side with various devices, most of which were apparently intended to represent serpents in different attitudes. At the extremity of the avenue there were fifty graves and the ground was marked in curious ways. One grave had a ring 300 feet in circumference; one was in a ring of fifty feet, in the centre of which rose a large pile of earth where many bodies had been buried. Near the centre of the ring was a small opening; and a pathway, made by raising the earth very compactly on each side, led directly through the burial-ground. At the end of it were two graves fenced in by sticks and tied with ropes of bark. About 100 trees in the neighbourhood had the trunks marked according to the different totems of the tribes. A great number of spears, waddies, wome-rahs, nulla-nullas, etc., were scattered on the ground.
Oxley traversed the mountains for 100 miles of the journey and from Mount Exmouth, the central point of Arbuthnot's Range, his party discovered and crossed Liverpool Plains and many woods and valleys, and on 2nd September found the Peel River. Travelling over rough desolate country they passed other streams and mountains, and the explorer was led to believe that these ranges divided the drainage of the eastern and western waters. Again following an easterly route Oxley met another river, called by him, after the Governor-General of India, the Hastings, which he found also took a due easterly course and finally emptied itself on the east coast at a spot named Port Macquarie. Moving along the coast the party found a boat[*] which the men carried for ninety miles from one inlet to another. As there were many of these, it proved of great service. They had no conflicts with the natives of the interior, but those on the coast proved treacherous and troublesome. The journey ended at Port Stephens whence the party were conveyed to Newcastle and thence to Sydney.
[* This boat belonged formerly to a vessel from the Hawkesbury River the property of Mr. Mills which was lost. Here an axe and a hut built by Europeans were seen. The spot was near Cape Hawke.]
Evans, who had been separated from Oxley for some part of the journey, reported that the river Castlereagh flowed through reeds which stopped his progress to the north-east. From this information Oxley inferred that the three rivers, the Lachlan, Macquarie and Castlereagh, terminated in swamp and that their united waters formed an inland sea.
In 1826 Allan Cunningham traversed the interior to the north of Bathurst, and again in 1827 obtained much valuable knowledge of the country. He struck out in a northerly direction towards what is now Queensland. Crossing Oxley's route of 1818 and pushing across the Peel River (also discovered by Oxley) he fell in with a stream which he called the Gwydir which joined another called the Dumaresq[*]; continuing still north he turned slightly more to the east and found the Darling Downs, one of the best pasture lands in Australia. Still going north along the western side of the ranges which traverse the eastern coast he discovered a pass, known afterwards as Cunningham's Gap, which led to the sea and provided a way of communication from the interior to the coast district of Moreton Bay. Oxley had meanwhile prepared an expedition by sea, had sailed to Moreton Bay, explored the Brisbane River and learned that it flowed from the eastern side of the great chain of mountains which cut off the east coast from the Darling Downs.
[* Major Sir Thomas Mitchell found that these two rivers, the Gwydir and the Dumaresq of Allan Cunningham joined and formed the Darling River of Sturt.]
On 7th December, 1828, acting under instructions from Governor Darling, during Cunninghams's absence, Captain Sturt (accompanied by Hamilton Hume, the explorer who accompanied Hovell to Victoria in 1824) set out from Wellington Valley into the interior, their stores being drawn by bullocks. On 22nd December they proceeded from Buddah Lake, the burial-ground of the blacks, close to the south bank of the Macquarie, and traced the river until, on 17th January, 1829, they found themselves under the hills named by Oxley New Year's Range, of which the first elevation is Mount Harris. From the summit of this mountain Sturt sighted a stream of water and accordingly went towards it and gave it the name of New Year's Creek. This creek Major Mitchell afterwards crossed, calling it by its native name, the Bogan.
On leaving the creek Sturt noticed gum-trees around him and tall saplings in places that by the State of the lower leaves were evidently subject to floods. The party soon after they set out suddenly found themselves by the side of a noble river the banks of which stood at least forty-five feet higher than the level of the stream. The channel was seventy to eighty yards broad, and enclosed an un-broken sheet of water literally covered with wild fowl; the paths of the natives on either side of it were like well-trodden roads, the overhanging trees being of gigantic growth. The banks were far too steep for the cattle to descend to the water but the men scrambled down to quench their thirst which increased every moment under the heat of a powerful sun. Sturt writes: "I shall not forget the cry of amazement and dismay that followed! The water was salt, and not fit to drink! The cup of joy was dashed out of our hands as it was raised to our lips. Nor would the horses drink of it, although they stood in the stream covered in it for hours with only their noses exposed above the water. Sticks were placed to ascertain if there was a rise or fall of tide, but no satisfactory conclusion was arrived at; yet as I stood upon the banks at sunset, while not a breath of air existed to break the stillness of the waters below me, their surface kept in constant agitation by the leaping fish, I doubted if the river could supply itself with such an abundancy of water, and imagined that the great volume, which the presence of pelicans seemed to indicate was constant, was rather due to some mediterranean sea or lake. Beyond the extremely limited extent of alluvial soil between the inner and outer banks of the river, the plains of the interior Stretch far away in the distance. There is no life on this vast expanse and the stillness of death reigns in its brushes and over its wildernesses,"
The connection between the Darling, as he named this river, and the marshes of the Macquarie River was ascertained on Sturt's return journey. He writes: "The result of our journey up the creek was particularly satisfactory both to myself and Mr, Hume, since it cleared up every doubt regarding the actual termination of the Macquarie and enabled us to connect the flow of water at so interesting a point. The waters after trickling through the reeds of the marshes form a small creek which carries off a superfluous part of them into Morrisett's chain of ponds which latter falls again into the Castlereagh River at eight miles to the W. N.W. and all three join the Darling in a W. by N, direction in latitude 30° 52' S., and E. longitude 157° 8' at about ninety miles to W.N.W, of Mount Harris,"
Captain Sturt, having thus discovered an outlet from the Macquarie Marshes, turned homewards. On 16th April, 1829, he wrote to Governor Darling: "The cause of our return is solely to be attributed to the want of water. Lagoons have dried up in our path and we have exhausted pools almost before we could find another to enable us to move forward...The natives are wandering in the desert...birds sit gasping in the trees and are quite thin, the wild dog prowls about in the daytime unable to avoid us, and is as lean as he can be in a living state, while minor vegetation is dead and the very trees are drooping...I observe the sun does not lose his power when setting nor does the air begin to cool until long after he has disappeared. Thermometer 137° in the sun, 116° in the shade and 102° at 7 p.m."
In 1829 Sturt was commissioned by the Government to explore the Murrumbidgee. Hume was also asked to go, but it was harvest time and he could not leave home. Sturt, accompanied by M'Leay, started on 3rd November, 1829, from Liverpool, going thence to Yass, pushing along the right bank of the river until he reached a point near its junction with the Lachlan. Here he established a depot some 450 miles south-west of Sydney; and putting together the frame-work of an open boat which he had brought with him, launched it on the newly discovered stream and sailed down past the mouth of the Lachlan. Below the junction they saw in February, 1830, a river already found by Hume, which Sturt called the Murray in honour of Sir George Murray, then Secretary of State.
He strongly suspected that this was the river the upper waters of which he had himself explored three years before, and carefully traced its course for some days, but he did not reach the spot at which he had previously touched and was therefore unable to state with certainty whether the fresh-water river which joined the Murray in 141' E. longitude was identical with the Darling, the waters of which were brackish. Passing the junction with the Darling he sailed down the Murray till it entered Lake Alexandrina[*] after a journey of 1,950 miles, lasting over thirty-two days. Thence he crossed the lake to its south shore and although he found no practicable outlet to the sea, he ascertained beyond dispute that he had reached the southern coast of Australia at a point much farther westward than Hume had touched at. That point is now the portion of the colony of South Australia on Encounter Bay. Having discovered where the Murrumbidgee, Murray and Darling, united in one river, and where they discharged their waters, Sturt returned on 26th May, 1830, under circumstances of great difficulty. His valuable discoveries and the courageous way in which he carried them out, surrounded as he was by many uncivilised tribes, place Sturt in the foremost rank of Australia's explorers.
[* The native name, according to Sir Thomas Mitchell for Lake Alexandrina is Kayinga, meaning a lake with an outlet to the sea. It is twenty-seven miles long and twenty-three broad.]
Lachlan River at Condobolin
Major Mitchell in his first expedition in 1831-32, ascertained that the rivers discovered by Cunningham were all sources of the Darling, and consequently that the Dividing Range which separates the waters flowing to the southward from those flowing to the north must be situated much farther to the north than had been supposed. In his course northward, on turning the Lindsay Range in search of the mysterious river called by natives Kindur (the Gwydir) he reached a stream which he considered to be the Gwydir discovered by Cunningham when on his journey to Moreton Bay. The banks were low, the bed contracted and muddy. Crossing this river and travel-ling northward, Mitchell in latitude 29° 2' came upon the largest river that he had yet seen, named by the natives Karaula (the Dumaresq). Tracing it downwards he found that it joined the Gwydir only eight miles below the point where he had crossed the latter stream.
Immediately below this junction, which is in S. latitude 29° 30' 27", E. longitude 148° 13' 2", the river took a south-westerly course directly to where Captain Sturt discovered the River Darling, and Mitchell could no longer doubt that this was the same river. He therefore decided to explore north-ward, "since the results obtained proved that the division of the waters falling toward the northern and southern shores of Australia is not as has been sup-posed in the direction of the Liverpool and Warra-bangle Range, but extends between Cape Byron on the eastern shore towards Dirk Hartog's Island on the west...It appears, therefore, that all the interior rivers we know of to the northward of the Murrumbidgee belong to the basin of the Karaula which flows southward, and hence the disappearance of the Macquarie and other lower rivers may be understood, as all along the banks of the Karaula, the Gwydir and the Nammoy, the country, though not swampy, bears marks of frequent inundations—thus the floods occasioned by these united rivers cover the country and receive the Macquarie, so that no channel marks its course."
Mitchell's party for 300 miles below the Bogan (the New Year's Creek of Sturt) drank no other water than that of the Darling in places where there was only a slight current, enough to turn a mill. The water was as transparent as the purest spring well and lost all its brackish taste below the extreme point of the Dunlop Range. Mitchell ascertained, however, that the principal outlet of the marshes of the Macquarie was not the one Sturt imagined, by Morrisett Ponds and the Castlereagh River to the northward, but by Duck Creek considerably farther west, and Mitchell also found that Duck Creek conveyed the surplus waters of the Macquarie to the Darling, a separate channel altogether, to the west of the marshes. Duck Creek was, therefore, practically the Macquarie reappearing and pursuing its course to the Darling after passing through the marshes.
The courses of all the principal rivers of New South Wales are first northerly then north-north-westerly and finally south-westerly. They describe curves which add greatly to their length, and their long windings enable them to water a very much greater extent of country than if they were more direct. The whole of the western slope is drained by the Darling and its affluents. This river is called the Barwon when it enters New South Wales at 29° S. latitude and 149° E. longitude. It receives towards the south-west the McIntyre, Gwydir, Nammoy, Castlereagh and Macquarie. The next of its feeders are the Bogan on the left and the Warrego on the right. From the last-named river it receives no other tributaries until the Murray joins it, where it is naturally increased in volume by the number of streams which drain the southern portion of the western slope of New South Wales. Of these the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee are the most important.
The first book ever printed in Australia, The General Standing Orders of New South Wales, 1802, states that Sydney and Parramatta, or Rosehill, were first divided into two parishes, Sydney being called the Parish of St. Philip in honour of Governor Phillip, and Parramatta the Parish of St. John in honour of Captain John Hunter. Sydney Parish included Petersham, Bulanaming, Concord and Liberty Plains (named in 1793); while Parramatta Parish included Banks Town, Prospect Hill, Toongabbie, Seven Hills, Castle Hill, Eastern Farm, Field of Mars (the name given by Phillip to land granted by him to eight marines), Northern Boundary, The Ponds, and Kissing Point. Each of these places was little more than a hamlet, and consisted of a few settlers' houses.
The Hawkesbury or St. George's Parish was made the third parish of the new colony during the rule of Major Grose in 1794. In this region the cattle which, as we have seen, strayed in the early days of the colony had sought a retreat, and here they, or their descendants, were discovered in the year 1795. The country over which they ranged became known under the name of the Cow Pastures, and it not only formed a happy hunting-ground for the governors, but supplied them with the rare luxury of fresh meat. At Greenhills, its principal town, re-named Windsor in 18 10, Captain John Hunter built a country seat in 1800, and here he seems to have spent much of his time. There exists an old sketch of the Cow Pastures known as "John Hunter's Chart" on which is shown a lagoon with the name "Black Swan Lake," and at some distance from "Mount Taurus" where the bull had been killed, various inscriptions such as "here a bull was seen," or "beautiful country "—all conveying the idea that this chart was not made for the benefit of geographers alone.
The Tank Stream, Sydney
The Hunter River, also known as the Coal River, which was discovered and named by Mr. Shortland on 19th September, 1797, flows into the harbour at Newcastle, and in 1801 the governor declared that its timber and coals were the exclusive property of the Crown. Newcastle, the second port in New South Wales, was founded by Governor King in 1804, Lieutenant Menzies being appointed commandant, and sworn in as a magistrate to control the work of the coal mines at Coal River. "The coal mines at Newcastle," the old book states, "have been dug in the most shameful manner, without leaving props, which has occasioned much labour to remedy the mischief caused by these neglects, and the commandant is directed not to allow coal to be worked by individuals." Evidently until this time the people of Newcastle obtained coal with very little exertion.
The site of the town and its environs had been surveyed in June and July, 1801, by Ensign Barrallier in one of the Lady Nelson's voyages under Lieutenant Grant; Colonel Paterson and Mr. John Harris being of the party. Barrallier, in a note written on his chart, describes the entrance of Hunter River and its harbour, "the tides very strong but in the harbour there is good shelter from all winds and plenty of room for more than 100 sail of shipping". Newcastle now exports large quantities of coal to many parts of the globe and supplies the Royal Navy at several stations in the southern hemisphere. The Hunter is 300 miles in length and drains 8,000 square miles. It is navigable by sea-going steamers to a distance of thirty-five miles from the sea, the lower part being divided by a number of islands into two streams, which re-unite near its mouth.
Barrallier's survey of the Hunter did not extend much above Mount Grant—named, of course, after the Lady Nelson's commander—"progress being stopped by a cascade or fall of about four feet, after which the stream ran to the N.E."
In one of Macquarie's letters home, he says: "A small brig from India sank in the entrance of New-castle harbour about 1815 and a sand bank accumulated and affected the depth of the channel, rendering navigation insecure for this reason ". After a personal survey of the harbour, he decided on building a breakwater of massive stone-work to shut out the flowing tide and stop the discharge of the waters of the Hunter by the narrow channel between the main-land and the rock called Nobby's Island, whereby the scour of the current in the other channel might remove the sand deposit caused by the sunken brig; the work was carried out under successive command-ants of the port.
But Newcastle was as famous in early days for its supplies of wood as for its coal. It Nourished exceedingly under Captain Wallis who was commandant there from June, 1816, until December, 1818—and the governor wrote home to Earl Bathurst recommending that it should be made a free settlement on account of the fertility of the country and its convenient situation for the collection of produce and its conveyance by sea to Sydney. "The plains near Newcastle along the principal sources of the Hunter River are valuable because of the large quantities of timber fallen there for consumption at this place," wrote Macquarie, who visited Newcastle three times and in November, 1821, sailed up the Hunter for seventy or eighty miles.
Governor Macquarie was almost as active in forming settlements as he was in making new roads. Great floods had occurred at intervals throughout the colony and in the Hawkesbury district in particular. The first took place in 1796. During another flood in 1806 the water rose near the town of Windsor, seventy feet above the ordinary level; the people took refuge on the tops of houses, chimneys, barns, haystacks, etc. In many cases there were no boats to go to them; and, when they could go, the rushing water frequently swirled round the houses and other obstacles in its path, so that the boats were swamped and overturned before a rescue could be effected. Horses, cattle and sheep were lost in great numbers and the roar of the waters could be heard for many miles.
This Hawkesbury flood hastened the building of many new towns. A curious old notice, dated Government House, 15th December, 1810—runs as follows: "The frequent inundations of the rivers Hawkesbury and Nepean having hitherto been at-tended with the most calamitous effects with regard to the crops growing in their vicinity and in consequence of the most serious injury to the necessary subsistence of the colony the governor has deemed it expedient to erect certain townships on the most contiguous and eligible high ground for the better security of the settlers whose farms are exposed to the floods". Five townships, one for the Greenhills district, called Windsor; one for Richmond Hill district, called Richmond; one for the Nelson district, to be named Pitt Town; one for the Phillip district, to be called Wilberforce; and one for the Nepean or Evan district, to be called Castlereagh, were marked out by the governor. A plan of a house was left with each constable of the district, and the settler was expected to conform with its measurements when building. Orders were given that the dwellings were to be of brick or weather-board; to have brick chimneys and shingled roofs, and that no house was to be less than nine feet high. Macquarie evidently possessed a progressive mind from a present-day point of view, as we find that this rule was also carried out in some of the districts of the interior. Hut in spite of his forethought and the damage that the floods had done, the Hawkesbury settlers could not be induced to leave their old homes for the opposite banks of the river. In Wilberforce and Richmond they were more sensible and took possession of the new houses.
The town of Liverpool was founded in 1810. For some time afterwards its name had to be indicated by a post with the inscription, "This is Liverpool," but when on 22nd February, 1814, the road was opened, the district began to grow into importance and in the twenties it was "a pretty little country town built on a green with a cool stream gliding between deep sloping banks".
In 1813 Macquarie marked out and named Campbell Town in honour of his father-in-law. In 1818 the Goulburn Plains were discovered and named after the Colonial Secretary, the native name for them was Mulwarree after one of the rivers which ran through them, and the foundation of the now well-known town of Goulburn was laid.
Large tracts of pastoral land within the southern portion of the colony were explored. Goulburn in the south, like Bathurst in the west, became the starting-point of many of these expeditions. Governor Macquarie and his suite left Liverpool, then the nearest inland town, on 16th October, 1820, to visit the site of the future town of Goulburn. In the account of the early history of this place we are told that the party slept at night in the open country and were disturbed by the noise of cattle, probably the wild cattle of the cow pastures and that "there were many kangaroos ". On the 18th Throsby's Country (so called after Mr. Charles Throsby, a settler who had discovered it and who possessed even in those early days a splendid herd of 500 bullocks) was reached. The governor called upon Mr, Throsby, went over his domain at Throsby Park, and was greatly interested in his large herd. On the 22nd the party reached open plains named by Hume the Goulburn Plains, and others the Breadalbane Plains, which the governor named, and on the 23rd they arrived at Lake Bathurst. On the journey over the Goulburn Plains natural furrows or ridges were crossed similar to those on the Hunter and at Bathurst. Here they were called "the ploughed land", Macquarie also formed half a dozen agricultural establishments or Government farms, but they consisted of little more than a few farm buildings and huts for the men.
The first governors had their country-seat at Parramatta, eighteen miles from Sydney. It was a place of great importance, especially during Sir Thomas Brisbane's tenure of office. There he built his famous observatory and devoted so much time to his favourite science that he was called the first astronomer of Australia. He seems to have lived altogether at this country-seat, studying the heavens, and was away from Sydney for long periods. One old writer says that "Sir Thomas Brisbane was so much occupied in looking up at the stars that he seldom saw the earth beneath his feet". This absence may have been excusable on account of the building operations which were being carried out at Government House, Sydney.
The Bathurst Settlement soon occupied a prominent position, as most of the explorations in the west of the colony started from here.
Its importance may be inferred from the vast extent of territory of which it was the administrative head-quarters, which was then called the Bathurst District. Stations and out-posts were dotted over the country for hundreds of miles, and, in some directions, the boundaries of the district were simply the geographical limits of the colony.
Barron Field, a friend of Charles Lamb, has left a description of Bathurst in 1822. "I could hardly believe that I was in New Holland this day," he wrote: "so different, so English is the character of the scenery—downs, meads and streams in the flat—no side scenes of eucalyptus but the white daisy of the sod,[*] you may see as far as the eye can reach. Stockmen with cattle and sheep occasionally appear upon the horizon as in old Holland—a Paul Potter or Cuyp effect rare in New Holland. At sunset we saw wooded hills displaying in the distance the golden blue or purple which landscape painters love...the smoke of the little village of Bathurst is seen for miles off as that of no other town in Australia is seen at this time."
[* Quoted from Evans who, he thinks, must have meant a species of Gnaphalium or Aster.]
It was after Sir Thomas Brisbane's visit in the same year that the order to divide the plains into districts or counties, as they appear on the early maps, was given. But perhaps the visit of Governor Darling is more noteworthy, as it marked the progress of the colonisation in the interior. In company with his brother-in-law Colonel Dumaresq and Lieutenant de la Condamine, General Darling left Parramatta on 4th November, 1829. The governor spent the first night at Regentville with Sir John Jamieson, and on the following day explored the banks of the Nepean and the vale of Mulgoa. Mulgoa seemed to him particularly beautiful. "The waterfalls were overflowing after the splendid rain, and the landscape looked rich beyond description. Farther along, the dark-green orange trees were laden with golden fruit." On Monday, 9th November, he reached Bathurst.
Major Macpherson, with Lieutenant Browne in command of the Mounted Police, and Lieutenant Moore of the 39th regiment, rode out early in order to be first to bid him welcome, and we are told that three miles outside the town forty of the settlers on horseback were drawn up in line on either side of the road to form a guard of honour. They saluted the general as he passed and then joined in the procession to the Government Domain where several native tribes had assembled and presented a "novel and interesting spectacle".
On the following day at noon an address was presented to him by a deputation consisting of:—
John Street, J.P. George Suttor. A. K. Mackenzie, J.P. William Lee. Thomas F, Hawkins, J.P. John William Gosling.
The Sydney Gazette gives a copy of it—it ran as follows:—
"To His Excellency Lieutenant General Ralph Darling, Captain-General, Governor-in-Chief, etc.
"May it please your Excellency, We the undersigned Landed Proprietors of the District of Bathurst beg leave respectfully to approach your Excellency with the expression of our unfeigned gratitude in hailing the safe arrival of your Excellency at this Settlement, and of our grateful sense of that solicitude for its prosperity which has prompted your Excellency at much personal inconvenience to confer upon the Plains of Bathurst the distinguished honour of your presence.
"We rejoice by the fall of recent and provident rains your Excellency is enabled to view our pastures clothed with verdure and our cultivated lands teeming with a reasonable prospect of an abundant harvest.
"We avail ourselves of this acceptable opportunity to convey to your Excellency our special acknowledgment for the advantage which this District is deriving from the rapidly improving state of our Mountain Road, and for the persevering exertions which have been directed under your Excellency's auspices towards the completion of an undertaking upon which our comfort and welfare so essentially depend. We look forward with satisfaction and pride to the approaching period when our District will not only possess a comparatively good road to Sydney but also a splendid and permanent memory of that zealous anxiety which your Excellency has always manifested to promote the interests of our adopted country.
"We desire further to offer to your Excellency our sincere thanks for the institution of local Courts of Quarter Sessions and Requests, accompanied by our humble though confident hope that these valuable arrangements may be speedily extended to this populous and important District.
"We finally entreat permission to assure your Excellency that we are not insensible of the security which we derive both in person and property from the effectual and combined exertions of our Civil and Military Police Establishment, to add our most cordial wishes for your health and happiness, and to subscribe ourselves with every sentiment of respect and esteem,
"Your Excellency's very obliged and obedient servants"
(here follow the signatures of the settlers). The Governor's reply was as follows:—
"To the Landed Proprietors of the District of Bathurst,
"I receive with the truest satisfaction this kind expression of your sentiments. Your loyalty to your King required no proof. Your goodwill to me could not have been exemplified in a manner more flattering than that which has marked my reception in your District.
"I have long wished for an opportunity of assuring you personally of the interest I take in your welfare, and it is particularly gratifying to me to have visited you at this time when after the severe trials to which you have been subjected a bountiful Providence has promised to replenish your granaries with the fruits of an abundant harvest. Your personal comfort and the security of your property are objects of no common interest to the Government, and you may be satisfied as far as the means of Government permit that these objects will not be neglected. I cannot, Gentlemen, close my reply to your Address without endeavouring to express the satisfaction I feel in observing the part which native-born Australians have taken on this occasion. It is a proof that they have not suffered themselves to be misled by the arts which have been used to prejudice them against the Government. They may depend on my solemn assurance that their prosperity and happiness are connected with the first objects of its care and solicitude.
"Hoping, as I sincerely do, that the bright prospect now-opening to your view may be confirmed by years of plenty crowned with peace and happiness, I beg, Gentlemen, to assure you collectively and individually, of my unfeigned esteem and regard.
"I have the honour to remain, Gentlemen,
"Your most faithful and obliged,
"Bathurst, 10th November, 1829."
"During his Excellency's stay," says The Sydney Gazette, "Major McPherson, the commandant of the district, gave a 'dinner-party' every day, so that the governor had an opportunity of meeting all the neighbouring magistrates and gentry, besides visiting the estates of Messrs. Icely, Rankin, Street, McKenzie, Jemmett-Browne, Hawkins, Perrier, Lee and many others, at all of which his Excellency was received with the utmost hospitality and every demonstration of sincere respect. Our old townsman, Captain Piper, had the honour of dining with the governor, who afterwards paid the captain a visit at his estate at Alloway Bank...The fatigues of the journey were borne by the governor uncommonly well, although he walked up most of the steep mountain roads."
Since those days Bathurst has greatly altered. A large thriving town now looks forth over the open plains. But no change has come over the silent blue mountains which for so many years held back the knowledge of that land's existence and so severely taxed the powers of the explorers.
The settlement at Wellington, that is Wellington in New South Wales, was formed in March, 1823, and Lieutenant Percy Simpson appointed command-ant. It had up to then been a military depot. The country between Bathurst and Wellington was comparatively easy to travel over, and we are told with satisfaction by contemporary writers that Lieutenant Simpson, in making his first journey to take up his duties there, "was able to drive the whole way in his gig," and informed the governor that "only one bridge would be required for the road between the two settlements ".
The word "district," which Macquarie said was synonymous with town, more aptly described the first divisions of the interior than the territorial terms "counties" and "parishes" which the officials gave them. The districts of Sydney, Parramatta,[*] Hawkesbury, Hunter River, Bathurst, Argyle or Goulburn, and Illawarra or Five Islands were the best known. Besides these, there were plains and downs, and grazing properties or stations, named after their owners, or after the rivers whereon they stood, the names of some in these later days have entirely disappeared. These old names appear in the Government Notice reproduced at the end of this volume. In this small gazetteer many of the names of rivers or stations are the original native names; some of them fortunately are still preserved. The English names were apt at times to be bewildering to new arrivals in the colony. While a traveller, for instance, might not object to pass through Penrith to reach Kelso he might remark on the absurdity of taking a boat to Newcastle in order to reach Twickenham. Some of the native names for the rivers have long been displaced.
[* Modern writers state that Parramatta meant in aboriginal language the place of eels, but an old historian says: "Parramatta is a compound word meaning the head of the stream". The native name for the Hawkesbury River was Deerubbun, and for the Murray, Millewa. The main portion of the Hunter was called the Coquun and its first branch Dooribang (Williams River), another branch the Yimmang (Paterson). Warragamba is the name of the Wollondilly and Cox Rivers joined before they meet the Nepean. The Darling was named by the blacks Calle-watta or Watta; the Macquarie, the Wambool or Wandering. The Molong was re-named the Bell. Murrumbidgee, meaning "beautiful river," retained its native name; the Lachlan is in the native language the Colare. A portion of the Darling is known to the natives as the Barwan.]
VICTORIA AND TASMANIA.
The new colony had practical reasons for exploring the land on which it had gained a foothold, for, like the mother country, it had an irrepressible desire for expansion, and, not content to work within the limits which Cook had set down on his charts and maps, it sought regions for fresh settlement wherever habitable land was found. We have already mentioned the discovery of Western Port in 1798, and of Port Phillip in 1802, though this fine harbour was not then fully explored. In 1803 Mr. Grimes, the surveyor-general of New South Wales, visited the region and found "a small river falling into the north head of the harbour" which was probably the river Yarra Yarra. The name means waterfall in the native language, and the Yarra is generally regarded as one of the constant streams of Australia. Melbourne now stands upon its banks.
The first attempt to form a settlement here was made by the Home Government in 1803, when H.M.S. Calcutta under Captain Woodriff accompanied by the ship Ocean brought some three or four hundred persons (including convicts) from England. Colonel Collins, formerly judge advocate of New South Wales, was in command of the expedition in the capacity of lieutenant-governor. A landing was made on the narrow strip now called Sorrento, about five miles from the entrance to the harbour, but Collins, after a few months' sojourn, finding no fresh water nor a suitable site for a town, despatched an open boat to Sydney, to Governor King, asking permission to find a better situation. Soon after-wards the whole party, except some prisoners who had escaped, were transferred to Tasmania. Among the prisoners left behind was a soldier named William Buckley who years afterwards did good service to his countrymen in their first interviews with the blacks.
Buckley was a native of Macclesfield, and enlisted in the Cheshire Militia. He afterwards entered the King's Own Regiment, but falling into disgrace was sent to Australia in the Calcutta and was one of the convicts landed at Sorrento in 1803. With two companions he escaped into the bush. Being separated from them he wandered alone through the country for a whole year. He lived in a cave which is still called Buckley's cave. One day while near his primitive dwelling he saw three natives gazing down upon him in astonishment from the hill above. He endeavoured to hide from them in a cleft rock but they quickly traced him out. From that time forth Buckley lived as one of them. He probably owed his preservation to the awe of the natives at his remarkable stature, being 6 ft. 5 in. They looked upon him as a returned spirit. When discovered by Batman's party in June, 1835, he had almost forgotten his own language and in appearance resembled a black man, his body being painted over with red ochre and pigment. He afterwards re-turned to Tasmania.
Tasmania's rugged southern shores like those of Tierra del Fuego present a bold rocky front to the Pacific. The northern coasts appear like the inner shore of a cluster of islands whose outer parts have been broken away by the waves. The southern coast on the other hand abounds with peaks and ridges, gaps and fissures. When Bass and Flinders entered Herdsman's Cove and sailed up the Derwent in a small boat they saw smoke arising at the back of one of the bights which told them that the mainland was inhabited. The river, 230 yards in breadth and about three fathoms deep, lay between high grassy green hills that descended in steep straight slopes on either side. There were just a few level patches of land which looked fit for cultivation here and there amid the defiles and at the edges of the water. As the explorers drew to the shore, a human voice suddenly saluted them from the hills.
Taking with them one of the black swans which they had just shot (being then short of provisions) they landed and started to climb the hillside, and had nearly reached the summit, when they saw at some little distance away two aboriginal women conversing together. At the sight of the white men each snatched up her small basket and scampered off hastily. They both wore a short covering which hung loose from their shoulders.
Shortly afterwards a black fellow was seen. He stood still and watched Bass and Flinders approach with indifference, but when they offered him the swan, appeared delighted. The doctor and lieutenant tried to converse with him, but he understood none of the dialects of the natives of New South Wales nor even the most common words of the South Sea Islanders. With some difficulty the officers asked him to show them the way to his home. He pointed over the hill and went on before them, but walking so slowly and stopping so often under pretence of having lost the track that they suspected he was unwilling to grant them their wish.
Remembering that they must not lose the tide to carry them back to their ship they parted with him and said farewell with as great a show of friendship as was possible. The man was short of stature, slightly built and less like a negro than those whom they had caught sight of elsewhere. His face was blackened, and the top of his head plastered with red earth. His hair was short and curly, and he carried two spears—rather badly made—of solid wood. This was the first man to whom Bass and Flinders had spoken in Tasmania and they were favour-ably impressed. Many native huts were observed, badly constructed and like those of Port Dalrymple, but with fewer heaps of mussel-shells around them, as if the natives existed chiefly upon opossums, squirrels, kangaroo rats, etc., many small bones being strewn around the deserted fires. No canoes were seen. The grey and red kangaroo and bandicoots and the black swans, upon which the English-men lived, were numerous, and there were some rather venomous snakes. There was a special black snake which so resembled a burnt stick that one day Dr. Bass stepped over one and would have passed on without noticing it, had the snake not raised itself and hissed loudly. The doctor determined to try and take it alive in order to see to what species it belonged and in the contest the reptile bit itself. Dr. Bass thought at first that he had killed it and wondered why so large a snake should die so easily, for he had hit it very lightly with a rotten twig. Three hours afterwards in order to find out the true cause of death he stripped off its skin. It had evidently terminated its own life, for the flesh round the marks of the puncture was found to be inflamed and discoloured.
The discovery of Bass Straits soon brought English ships on their way to Sydney past the northern shores of Tasmania instead of by the longer route round the southern extremity of the island. One of the first ships to sail through the Straits was the Margaret, in command of Captain Byers or Buyers, with Mr. Turnbull on board. This gentleman was in charge of a valuable cargo sent as a mercantile speculation to the south seas. The ship, after calling at Port Jackson, was wrecked at Tahiti. (See Turnbull's Voyages) Foreign vessels followed.
In the fourth volume of the Quarterly Review, issued in August, 1810, we read that a few months before the retirement of Mr. Pitt and the succession of Mr. Addington in June, 1800, Monsieur Otto, the resident commissary for French prisoners of war, obtained the necessary passports for the Géographe and Naturaliste to put into any of his Majesty's ports in case of stress of weather, or to procure assistance to enable them to prosecute their voyage round the world. As already stated, the expedition reached Cape Leeuwin on 27th May, 1801. The whole of the west coast of New Holland was explored and charts made giving it a variety of new French names. Having reached N.W. Cape, Captain Baudin in the Gographe stood for Timor where he arrived on 18th August, 1801. The Naturaliste, which had parted from the Géographe on the coast of Leeuwin's Land, in the meantime, before joining the Géographe at Coupang, had examined Swan River, discovered by Vlamingh in 1697, and among other zoological discoveries met with the pearl oyster in considerable quantity on the coast of Endracht. The two ships left Timor on 13th November, 1801, made Cape Leeuwin January, 1802, and proceeded to the southern extremity of Van Diemen's Land, Here they explored the coves and harbours of Storm Bay and D'Entrecasteaux Channel. M. Peron writes of this strait: "Crowded on the surface of the soil are seen on every side those beautiful mimosas, those superb correas unknown till of late to our country but now become the pride of our shrubberies. From the banks of the ocean to the summits of the highest mountains may be observed the mighty eucalyptus—those giant trees many of which measure from 160 to 180 feet in height. Banksia of different kinds with creeping plants form an enchanting belt round the skirts of the forest. Here the casuarina exhibits its beautiful form, there the elegant exocarpus throws into a hundred different places its negligent branches. Everywhere spring up delightful thickets, all equally interesting either from their graceful shape, the lovely verdure of their foliage or the character of their seeds." After examining the channel the French proceeded round the southern point of Maria Island and anchored in Oyster Bay. Peron here thought the natives were savage and ferocious and unlike those met with at D'Entrecasteaux Channel. The discovery of human bones in the form of ashes gave rise to many speculations on the origin of the custom of burning the dead.
A road through the forest in Tasmania
But to return to Collins, the locality chosen by him for the new settlement was in the south of Tasmania on the banks of the river Derwent. To make sure that the French should not anticipate them, a small company had been despatched from Sydney in August, 1803, to occupy the place. The colonists from Port Phillip reached their new destination in two shiploads, one in February, and the other in June, 1804, and found there settlers from Sydney who had come with Lieutenant Bowen, R.N., at a spot they had called Risdon[*] (or Restdown). The name was shortly afterwards changed to Hobart.
[* This place was called Risdon Cove by Mr. Hayes, Commander of the ship Duke, in 1793. See Flinders, Observation on the Coasts of Van Diemens Land, p. 5.]
Collins made a survey of different parts of the country; and chose a spot called Sullivan's Cove as the best site for his head-quarters. He also named his little camp "Hobart Town" in honour of Lord Hobart, who was then Secretary of State, transferring the name Hobart from Risdon to Sullivan's Cove, and acting as governor of both settlements until he died. Such was the first formation of the community in the southern portion, which, in a few years, was to become the capital of Tasmania.
It was thought unwise to leave the northern shores of the island unpeopled and open to the designs of other nations, so after a survey of the entrance of the Tamar, executed by Lieutenant Simmons, a settlement was made at Port Dalrymple. Colonel Paterson was appointed commandant and in October, 1804, landed at George Town on the Tamar. Thence he removed to York Town, whence in 1806 he shifted his camp to the site of the present city of Launceston. From these early settlements at Hobart and Launceston Tasmania was colonised. Before re-turning to Sydney, Simmons surveyed King's Island and the islands of the Kent Group, and also took soundings in Bass Straits.
Great privations were experienced at Hobart Town, particularly in the years 1806 and 1807. When Norfolk Island was evacuated in February and March, 181 3, most of the settlers, who numbered 145, were with their stock transferred to Tasmania, the tract of land given them being called Norfolk Plains. The cattle of Tasmania like those of New South Wales were at first inferior, being mostly of the Bengal breed; but English shorthorns were afterwards imported at Port Dalrymple. In 1807 sheep were first introduced in considerable numbers.
The west coast of Tasmania was explored in 1815 by Captain James Kelly who left Hobart in a whale-boat and sailed to George Town, and on his way round named Port Davey and Macquarie Harbour. The discovery of the whale fisheries to the south of Tasmania increased its importance, and Hobart be-came the principal port of call for the whaling ships. During the governorship of Colonel Sorrell merino sheep were introduced from New South Wales and wool became one of the principal sources of the wealth of the colony.
Bass and Flinders learnt that the Australian blacks were better armed than the Tasmanian natives; the latter had neither the boomerang nor the womerah and they climbed the trees in a somewhat different way from the Australians. The women especially had a peculiar method—instead of cutting holes for the thumbs or the great toe as in New South Wales (excepting where the bark is rough and loose at the base of the trees), a rope formed of a twisted strip of kangaroo skin or grass twice as long as was necessary to encompass the tree was thrown round it. Later explorers found that their only weapons were spears and waddies and probably at no time of their existence did they exceed 8,000[*] in number. They were divided into tribes, many of whom resembled the African negroes. Mr. Leigh, the missionary, de-scribing the natives of Tasmania, says: "Both men and women are of low stature, of better appearance than those of New South Wales. They have woolly heads, their limbs are small, and the thinness of their bodies arises from the poorness of food, which consists of fish, chiefly mussels, fern root, and 'native bread'—the fungus which grows round the roots of large trees. Their skin is as black as that of the African negro. Their hair is kept short by cutting it frequently with large shells. In winter they dress in skins and in summer cast off their clothing. They believe in two spirits—one governs the day which is the good spirit, the bad spirit governs the night. They possess musical voices, far more so than the Australians." Many people, including Flinders, believed that the Tasmanian native sprang from an entirely different race from that upon the continent of Australia, and that his ancestors had been blown there in canoes—but Dr. Anderson, who was with Captain Cook at Adventure Bay, thought that both races came from the north and mentions as one reason that the kangaroo[**] was called by the same name in both Australia and Van Diemen's Land. (In West Australia it is Yangore or Yangory.) He also thought that all people in that portion of the globe from the shores of New Holland to Easter Island sprang from one source, for example, the word "cold" was almost the same in far distant portions, in New Zealand being "Mak kareede," in Tahiti "Marreede," and in Tasmania "Mallareede".
[* Historians disagree as to the numbers, some giving 8,000 and others 3,000.]
[** The kangaroo, however, seems to have been called different names by different tribes as were other birds and animals, etc.]
In 1824 the Tasmanian blacks were as trouble-some to the settlers of that island as their dark brothers were in New South Wales. They appear to have broken laws, taken lives, and plundered the white people oh every possible occasion, much after the same fashion as their neighbours. But until then they seem to have been a rather more peace-able race than the natives of Port Jackson. Quaint stories are told of the thefts that they committed, before the spirit of revenge had so completely asserted itself that Governor Arthur was compelled to make stringent laws for the protection of the settlements. One relates to the loss of a valuable horse, which after it had been taken from the stable was not seen until one day a native black girl, perhaps the first of her race ever to mount a horse, rode the animal at full speed, without bridle or saddle and with only a rope halter round its neck, down the valley in front of Allen Vale House the home of the owner. A servant was immediately despatched on horseback to demand possession of his master's property, but the girl continued to gallop onward urging the animal along so fast that, hard as the groom rode, he found that it was impossible to come up with her, Although a reward was afterwards offered for its recovery, the horse does not appear to have been returned.
Captain Cook landing at Adventure Bay, Tasmania.
(By R. Caton Woodville.)
A Sydney native named Mosquito became a daring leader of one of the Tasmanian tribes. His history is curious. Transported from New South Wales for some offence he was made a stockkeeper, and then Governor Arthur employed him to assist in capturing the bushrangers. He thus became instrumental in bringing many criminals to justice. No sooner was this accomplished than the friends of the bushrangers jeered at him for the services which he had rendered their enemies—the soldiers. Such a life to such a wild creature was insufferable, and he took to the bush and became chief of a tribe which were described as harmless and inoffensive—"the most peaceable creatures in the universe"—until they were corrupted by Mosquito, the Sydney black. They then grew violent, hunted the country for plunder, and every white person was counted an enemy.
The colonists became alarmed. The police force was inadequate and the military only consisted of a few detachments, the greater part of which were stationed in Hobart and Launceston. The audacity of the blacks increased until at last a raid was made upon a sheep run at a place called Grindstone Bay. This sheep run was in charge of a white stock keeper named Radford and it belonged to Mr. Silas Gatehouse. When Mosquito's black tribe arrived, Radford had with him two men, a fellow-servant named Mammoa, a native of Tahiti and a white stockman named William Hollyoak, servant to Mr. George Meredith at Swan Port, who was returning home from the colonial hospital, and, being weak and only able to travel slowly, had begged to be allowed to remain a day or two at Radford's. He arrived on a Wednesday, and on the following Saturday Mosquito with his tribe, numbering some sixty-five blacks, reached the place. Some were armed with spears and waddies while others had sticks; the spears were from six to twelve feet long. The sticks in some instances had wooden heads carved like an axe. At first Mosquito merely begged provisions, planting his blacks upon the opposite side of the creek which divided the sheep-yard from the stock-yard. He interviewed the men in the hut and said he was going to Oyster Bay, and that he would not kill their sheep. In the hut were a small fowling-piece and a musket, which evidently attracted Mosquito. At dawn on Sunday morning, when Radford looked out of the door of his hut, the blacks had lighted their camp fire in the sheep-yard and some were sitting round it eating breakfast, while others were running about playing games.
An hour later they came over the creek. Radford with Mammoa walked out to watch their sports, and Hollyoak afterwards joined them. Unfortunately he forgot to fetch the firearms as Radford had desired him to do should he leave the hut. Shortly afterwards Mosquito walked in the direction of the hut. Radford noticed this and, remembering the guns, ran quickly to the dwelling, only to find that in his short absence the firearms had been stolen and that a number of blacks had crept round unseen to the back and others were joining them there.
The white men and Mammoa now stood un-armed among the armed natives. The black leader first proceeded to untie several sheep dogs that were tied to a tree at a little distance away. When the men asked him to leave them alone he made no answer, but took the dogs with him to the sheep-yard. Meanwhile the blacks raised their spears menacingly. Radford cried to Hollyoak to seek a place of refuge, but the weapons began to fall thickly around the two men and both were speared. Stopping to pluck out the spear which had wounded his companion Radford raised him, urging him to hasten, but Hollyoak was doubtless weak and unable to keep up, and when Radford next looked round he saw that a considerable number of natives had closed upon the fallen man. Radford was lucky enough to elude his pursuers. He hid for ten days in the bush, then cautiously made his way back to his home and found that both Hollyoak and Mammoa the Tahitian had been killed. Mosquito was soon captured by a native named Teague near Grindstone Bay. He was charged with killing Hollyoak and executed on 24th February, 1824.
Some years afterwards the blacks were still troublesome, and more than once martial law was proclaimed. Sir George, then Colonel, Arthur at last resolved to drive all the natives to Tasman's Peninsula and keep them there. They were to be told that they could do as they liked within this peninsula, which was to be regarded as their own territory, but they were never again to set foot on the rest of the island. The governor and suite with the settlers and 300 soldiers arranged to form a cordon and drive the natives before them to their new territory. The enterprise failed; the natives knew the woods and mountains better than the whites and their dark forms easily escaped through the trees at night without being seen, and they eluded their pursuers, so that upon the arrival of the governor and his troops at Tasman's Peninsula, the natives were found to be behind, and not in front of them. The expedition cost the colony £36,000 in direct expenses alone and only two natives were captured. Wild and foolish as the scheme appeared to all who were familiar with the rugged mountains and deep defiles of that part of the country, what seemed a more foolish proposition was made to the governor. Mr. George Augustus Robinson, a builder residing at Hobart, offered to go out alone and bring in all these blacks single-handed, on condition that they should be forgiven the murders and robberies which they had committed and be allowed to settle somewhere outside the Island of Tasmania. The governor smiled at the proposal, and both governor and the general public regarded the scheme as that of a visionary enthusiast, but as there could be no harm done in gratifying his strange request the governor consented. Mr. Robinson, with Messrs. John Batman and Cotterell set out with a few pack horses laden with a tent and provisions while a few friendly natives accompanied them for a part of their journey. Scarcely a soul expected to see them return alive considering the exasperated temper of the whole black population at that period.
Time passed and to the astonishment of the community Robinson and his party returned sound and well, leading with them whole tribes of blacks numbering 250 in all. Mr. Robinson's good opinion of these people had proved correct. He knew that everything that violence and hostility could do had been tried, and he had a profound faith in the power of kindness. The secret of his success lay in the patient and persuasive arguments used by him and his few companions.
In the first place he knew the native language and went boldly among them without a single weapon of any sort. Then he told them that if they persisted in their present warfare against the white man they would be exterminated, for if they killed the whole of the white men, ten times as many more would come, as in their native land in the north they were innumerable. He also told them how he had come almost alone to them; how he had en-treated the governor to offer them an island absolutely for themselves and had asked for food for them. Lastly he told them that if they were afraid of being ill-treated they might keep him among them as a pledge for their own safety. These persuasive endeavours succeeded, although the winning over of the whole of the blacks was not effected with-out many other dangers, and many tiring journeys into the bush—where Mr. Robinson was often menaced by death and the utter failure of his scheme.
At length all obstacles were surmounted and the day was won. Every native man, woman and child was brought in peacefully, and conveyed to Flinders Island which was given up exclusively to the black population. Some sixty natives joined the party later, making 316 in all who were removed to their new home. The achievement is unique of its kind. Robinson was appointed their preceptor and instructor and they were taught Christianity. Un-fortunately in spite of all the kindness shown them, they began to dwindle rapidly, as all the native tribes in the southern continent seemed to do wherever the white man appeared. They numbered only forty-five when the settlement was removed to Oyster Bay. Their protector later on returned to England and died at Bath in 1866.[*]
[* The Tasmanian blacks are now extinct. The last man, William Lanne, died in 1869 and the last woman in 1876. She was called Truganini and was the daughter of a chief named Mangana.]
On 30th April, 1824, a public meeting was held in Hobart, when it was resolved to petition his Majesty that the island should be made a separate colony from New South Wales and be allowed to administer its own affairs. The request was complied with in a proclamation, dated Carlton House, 14th June, 1825, and published on 3rd December, announcing that Van Diemen's Land and the islands thereunto adjacent were to be independent of the Government of New South Wales.[*]
[* After the death of Colonel Collins, the Government was administered until 1813 by three commandants, viz.: Lieutenant Edward Lord, Captain William Murray and Colonel Andrew Geils.
Captain Thomas Davey, the second governor of Tasmania, arrived on the 4th of February, 1813, and held the office until 9th April, 1817.
Colonel William Sorrell succeeded Colonel Davy. He was sworn in on Wednesday, the 9th April, and continued in office until 14th May, 1824.
Colonel George Arthur, the fourth lieutenant-governor, succeeded Governor Sorrell on 14th May, 1824.]
In the year 1813 when Evans journeyed over the Blue Mountains, Alexander Hamilton Hume, the native Australian explorer, born at Parramatta, a youth of seventeen, was exploring to the south-west of Sydney around Bong Bong and Berrima. In 1819, with Mr. Meehan, the Government surveyor, he reached the Goulburn Plains and the country of Argyle as far south as Lake Bathurst.
In 1824, accompanied by Captain Hovell, he left his home at Appin, thirty miles from Sydney, to march overland to the southern shores of the continent. Six convicts were of the party, and two bullock drays carried the provisions. They traversed Yass Plains to the Murrumbidgee which they crossed with difficulty. Unable to make a raft because the trees would not float, they took the axle, wheels and shafts from a cart, and used the body covered with a tarpaulin, as a punt. Hume, taking between his teeth a small line to which was attached a tow-line, swam with one of his men, and in this way the boat made its first trip across the stream. The bullocks and horses were induced to swim and all got safely over. For days they traversed dense forests—through which they caught glimpses of snow-clad mountain peaks. On 16th November they discovered the beautiful river now known as the Murray. It was 240 feet in breadth with a current of about three miles an hour, and of clear water. Again they had to improvise boats to cross. The banks were clothed with long grass to the water's edge. On each side of the river there was a succession of lagoons within elbows formed by its windings, most frequently in the shape of a crescent with an inlet from the river and an outlet into it. The spaces between the lagoons and the main stream were sometimes more than a mile in breadth but irregular, the ground between being partly swamped, sandy and unsafe for cattle, thickly wooded with blue gum-trees, and overgrown with vines of various kinds, ferns, flax and currajong. The natives made fishing lines and nets from the flax.
Hume really first discovered this river although both he and Hovell had looked for it, and not far from the spot where the explorer first struck the stream Hovell carved his name upon a tree thus: "Hovell, November 17, 1824". This was seen eleven years after by the first party taking cattle overland to Port Phillip. It is near the crossing place at Albury, the border town between New South Wales and Victoria, and a monument to Hume is placed close by.
On the 2ist they reached another river, no feet wide, naming it the Ovens after the governor's secretary, Major Ovens, and on 3rd December another which they called the Goulburn after the Colonial Secretary. Continuing the journey they noticed snow-peaked mountains forming part of a high range trending to the left, while in front there lay open country with a sward of fine grass, like English rye grass, mixed with lucerne and clover.
After many miles of travel they came to a lofty mountain, which the two leaders ascended, hoping for a view of the sea from the summit, but they saw nothing of the kind and therefore christened it Mount Disappointment. On 16th December, they proceeded south-west by south and noticed at a great distance what looked like water. They thought at first that it was smoke, but upon nearer approach it proved to be the ocean. Hovell decided that the spot was Western Port but Hume maintained that it was Port Phillip. The place really reached was Corio Bay, near which Geelong now stands. The surroundings were almost clear of timber and they described the water near the shore as covered with wild fowl and looking like a large lake in a beautiful park. On 18th December, after cutting their initials on a tree to mark the end of their journey, they started homewards across Iramoo Downs near the Werribee River and recrossed the Goulburn on Christmas Day. Twelve years afterwards people travelled in their gigs all the way to Port Phillip—"the long journey being so little obstructed by impediments".
French ships, fitted out to all appearances for the purposes of exploration but also suspected of the intention of forming a settlement, were met off the south coast in 1826. Governor Darling, therefore, gave orders for a second attempt to reach Port Phillip by sea in that year. The narrative of the expedition which was under Captain Wright of the Buffs, Captain Wetherall and Mr. Hovell, is interesting, as it describes the Victorian coast in much the same manner as Cook did the eastern coast. But Wright's failure lay in his mistake in landing at Phillip Island, near the entrance of Western Port, instead of at Port Phillip itself.
The expedition left Sydney Harbour on 9th November, 1826, in H.M.S. Fly, followed by the colonial brig Dragon freighted with provisions and stores for Western Port, and the brig Amity with colonists who intended to settle at King George's Sound.[*] The weather outside the heads being rough the Dragon lost sight of the Fly on the third day and did not see her again until the 23rd, when the two ships entered Western Port in company. The Amity was lost sight of on the 18th when the other vessels were off the Kent Group, and she was not seen again by either of the ships. After this stormy voyage the two vessels found a refuge behind Phillip Island which forms a natural barrier across the mouth of the harbour. When the ships drew close to the shore, men dressed in seal-skins with a number of dogs appeared from several rude conical huts, half hidden among a profusion of honeysuckle, mimosa, and gay-coloured myall which had evidently sprung up and bloomed unhindered and untended. The men were sealers who had come from Port Dalrymple and were about seven in number; they stated that they had lived there two or three years.
[* Major Lockyer was appointed commandant at King George's Sound. He abandoned this settlement and removed to Swan River in 1830.]
The vessels anchored to the north of Phillip Island after passing a wide stretch of sandy beach Thick woods on one side trended towards a shallow lagoon of salt water, where flocks of ducks and sea fowl skimmed and swami, and on the other side the shore boldly sloped to the east until shut out by a swamp of mangroves. A great part of the Dragon's freight was landed on a sandy point about a mile from the ships, and two soldiers and a prisoner were left in charge. Near this spot the country was covered with long coarse grass. There were a few trees and a hut which had been built there some time before, besides a well dug and used by the sealers, A survey party cleared four acres of the high land opposite to the landing, a flagstaff was raised, and two long six-pounders were dragged up the steep sides of the hill and mounted facing the harbour. On Sunday, 3rd December, the British flag fluttered on the hill amid the smoke and thunder of a salute; and after further clearance of the wood on the hill-sides a sort of glacis was formed, and the battery was named Fort Dumaresq.
On the eastern side of the harbour and on Phillip Island the military party, prisoners, Government stock, and provisions were landed under Captain Wright. Home wheat and maize were sown; a vegetable garden was made and did well. Here also Captain Wetherall erected a flagstaff to communicate with that on the north-western side of the island and, when the guns were landed the settlement had an appearance of being defended. Soldiers and prisoners built huts on Phillip Island; the officers and men of the Fly encamped near Fort Dumaresq; roads were cut and wells sunk. The sealers claimed to have thoroughly explored the island and believed that a stream of water was hidden behind the range of hills which looked out to sea. The soil seemed fertile; there were honey trees, beef-wood or red-wood, and several species of mimosa. In the woods were many wallabies, king-fishers, lories, paroquets, black cockatoos, and quail were also said to be numerous; cranes and pelicans and black swans lived on the mud flats. On the appearance of the boat the swans flew off in different directions and could only be pursued two at a time. As it was moulting season the birds flew indifferently; but by paddling against the wind and dodging, immersing their bodies so that the water overbridged between their necks and backs, some escaped from the sailors. They flapped and swam alternately. Bass once made a rough calculation of the number of swans on the opposite side of the straits and estimated them at 300, all swimming within the space of a quarter of a mile square, and heard, says Collins, "the dying song of some scores; that song, so celebrated by poets of former times, exactly resembled the creaking of a rusty alehouse sign on a windy day". The seine brought ashore sting-ray, dog-fish, mullet, sword-fish, trumpet eels and a beautiful fish resembling a sea leopard which Captain Wetherall skinned and preserved as a curiosity. Lizards were plentiful and brown snakes were seen, one of which bit a soldier who recovered after treatment by Dr. White, though a bitten pig soon died.
Mr. Hovell intended to explore the distant ranges which stretch north of French Island into Argyle and horses had been brought from Sydney in the Dragon for his use. These ranges he named the Australian Alps. At Phillip Island from a height, where a rustic hut of palisades woven together with wicker-work had been set up, the view was magnificent, extending over the scarcely ruffled surface of Western Port, the blue waters of which sparkled in the sun or in the moonlight, the background lost in rising wood while the bold profile of the mainland opposite broke in between the sea and sky.
After a careful examination Captain Wright wrote to the New South Wales Government: "I selected the site for a settlement, the only one possessing requisite advantages, viz., good anchorage and fresh water. Rich open ground to the west of a line passing from Bass's River due north to the east arm of this port, some five miles square, is of excellent quality, well watered by lagoons and small streams. On the north shores of this square, two miles east of Kangaroo Point on which a battery of two QTuns has been constructed, the settlement is now established. By the master of the Dragon I have sent specimens of coal produced by Mr. Hovell from Cape Paterson."
In spite of the flattering accounts by the two leaders of the expedition, the disadvantages subsequently discovered led to the settlement's abandonment.
The aborigines of the country where Melbourne now stands consisted of only two tribes, about 200 in each tribe. They were not unfriendly and lived on opossum and kangaroo and birds such as the quail and bronze-wing pigeon, as well as water-fowl, and fish, which seemed to be obtained in great quantities.
In 1818 Captain Phillip King, son of the late governor of New South Wales, sailed in the cutter Mermaid, with Mr. Cunningham. With them went Boongaree[*] who had accompanied Captain Flinders.
[* Boongaree's grave is at Rose Bay, Sydney. Governor Macquarie gave him a brass medal engraved to the effect that he was chief of the Broken Bay Tribe. He always wore it hanging from his neck.]
NORTH AND NORTH-WEST COAST.
Their object was to examine the unexplored coast of North-West Australia where Flinders had left oft. King was particularly instructed to explore the archipelago about the Rosemary Island of Dampier, as an idea existed that the river Macquarie might discharge its waters there. He touched at Twofold Bay and sailed through Bass Straits to King George's Sound, where he began his survey of the coast. He looked first for Vlamingh's Plate and the more recent French one said to have been placed on Dirk Hartog Island, but found neither, and learned afterwards that they had been taken back to Paris by M. de Freycinet. Leaving North-West Cape he examined Exmouth Gulf and passed the Dampier Archipelago and Rosemary Island.
He surveyed Port Essington on the north side of the Coburg Peninsula on the northern coast. The port at its entrance is seven miles wide: the southern end forms three spacious harbours each extending for three miles with a width of about two miles. "There is no harbour except Port Jackson," says an old writer, "to compare to it in Australia. It may be approached in all seasons and would make a convenient place of call for vessels proceeding from Sydney through Torres Straits to Java, Singapore and India." Its one serious disadvantage is the scarcity of fresh water. The soil is excellent on the low flats and hollows and near swampy places on either side of the port. The trees are clear of undergrowth and the grass even in a dry season is good. The natives subsist chiefly on nuts, roots and seeds of a water-lily which abounds in the vicinity of the lagoons. This port is—as it were—"the friendly hand of Australia stretched out towards the north and openly inviting the scattered islanders of Java and the Malayan, Celebean, and China Seas to take rest and shelter in its waters, to bring to it the productions of their inter-tropical isles for barter and exchange for such European goods as are known to be prized by the inhabitants of those far-off countries."
Vlamingh's Plate Giving an Inscription of Hartog's Plate Found by Him on Dirk Hartog Island, and also a Second Inscription of His Own
The following is a translation: "1616: On the 25 October came here the ship Eendraght of Amsterdam. Chief Merchant Gilles Miebais of Luck; Skipper Uirck Hatichs of Amsterdam. On the 27th ditto sailed for Bantam under Merchant Jan Stins; Upper Steersman Pieter Dookes of Bil. Anno, 1616."
In English Vlamingh's inscription runs: "1697: On the 4th of February arrived here the ship Geelvinck of Amsterdam, Commander and Skipper Willem de Vlamingh of Vlielandt; Assistant Joannes Bremer of Copenhagen; Upper Steersman Michil Bloem van Esticht, Bremen the hooker of the Nyptangh. Skipper Gerrit Colaart of Amsterdam; Assistant Theodoris Heirmans of ditto; Upper Steersman Gerrit Geritsen of Bremen; the Galliot, the Weeseltie, Master Cornehs de Vlamingh of Vlielandt; Steersman Coert Gerritsen of Bremen. Sailed from here with our fleet on the 12th to explore the south land and afterwards bound for Batavia."
Vlamingh's plate was discovered by Baudin's Expedition in 1801, and it was said the French Commander replaced it by another. It was for this plate Captain Phillip King searched but without success.]
The north coast of Australia was, strange to say, never inhabited as were the Malay Islands close to its borders. The wild people in the north of Australia strongly resembled the Malays, and most likely the lands were peopled from the same source. But those who settled in the islands dwelt in a fruitful land, while those who settled in Australia in their poverty developed into wild men and became a terror to the islanders who visited the Australian trepang fishing grounds, where on calm days they searched for the sea slug. If the water is shallow they bring the fish to the surface with a sort of eel spear. They also fish in the moonlight when the fish come out to feed, looking like huge caterpillars crawling in and out the sandy rifts in the coral.
King ascended Alligator River in a boat for forty miles, and after seven months' voyaging returned to Sydney with interesting collections of plants and animals. He next spent two months surveying the Tasmanian coast, and then, accompanied by Oxley in the Lady Nelson, followed the track of Flinders through Torres Straits and discovered Liverpool River on the north coast, up which he sailed between the mangrove covered banks for forty miles, and found many remarkable fish and birds. After touching at the Island of Savu, King turned homewards and reached Sydney in January, 1820. On his third voyage he sailed from Sydney in the Mermaid in June the same year, but the vessel proved unseaworthy and he had to return in the following September without finishing his exploration. In 1821, however, Governor Macquarie fitted out a vessel named the Bathurst, or Earl Bathurst it is sometimes called, 170 tons, especially for him, and sailing by way of Torres Straits he again visited the north-west coast and established Port Cockburn settlement in Western Australia.
Two experimental settlements were formed on the north coast between the years 1824 and 1828. One was placed at Apsley Strait on Melville Island and the other in Rafiles Bay, the latter being abandoned in 1829. In 1824 Captain (afterwards Sir James) Gordon Bremer left England in the Tamar for New South Wales. He sailed from Sydney to establish settlements on the outlying portions of the Australian coast, and on 21st October, 1824, he landed some guns and fixed up houses at Port Dundas, the settlement being placed in charge of Captain Barlow. Major Campbell succeeded Captain Barlow, but the settlement was afterwards abandoned owing to the hostility of the natives and the privations caused by the loss of the Lady Nelson.[*] She had been sent by Captain Bremer to fetch supplies from the island of Timor and was taken by pirates off the west coast of that island on her outward voyage. This was the last heard of the little brig which was perhaps more closely connected with the exploration of Australia than any other vessel.[**]
[* Another settlement was made in 1831.]
[** The Lady Nelson was built at Deptford in 1799, but, for ten years before King took her over, was used as a coal ship. In the Sydney Gazette a writer states that "When leaving Fort Dundas for the last time those on board the Lady Nelson were warned to avoid an island called Babba. This order was not obeyed. Every one in the ship was massacred, and the hull of the vessel was seen some time afterwards with the name painted on her stern."]
In 1823 Oxley in the cutter Mermaid explored the shores of Moreton Bay. He had sailed as far north as Curtis Bay, had examined its coasts and then turned south, reaching Moreton Bay in December. Here he rescued four colonists who had left Sydney in an open boat to fetch cedar from Illawarra (a harbour about fifty miles to the south). They had been driven out of their course and, after much hardship, from which one member of their party died, had been wrecked on Moreton Island where they would have perished had they not been aided by friendly natives who supplied them with fish and dingowa, or fern root. From Pamphlet and Finnegan, two of the rescued men, Oxley received information inducing him to ascend a river which discharged into the bay. The river was of large size, flowing through beautiful scenery, alternately hilly and level. Oxley ascended to a distance of about seventy miles and found the land covered with brushwood, cedar, tulip-wood, and bamboo, with timber of great height, the most noticeable trees being Cupressus australis and the pine now known as Araucaria cunninghamii, having from fifty to eighty feet of trunk without a branch. He named the river the Brisbane and chose a site for a settlement at Redcliff Point on the north side of the entrance to Moreton Bay.[*] Taking with him the two rescued men Oxley returned to Sydney on 13th December.
[* This was Oxley's last expedition—he died at Kirkham near Sydney on 25th May, 1828.]
In 1825 Major Lockyer in the Mermaid[*] made further researches on the Brisbane River. The first commandant appointed from Sydney at Redcliff was Lieutenant Millar. He was followed by Captain Bishop and then by Captain Logan, after whom the Logran River was named and in whose time the massive barracks were built and cotton cultivated with success. In 1830, after Logan had been killed by the natives, it was decided to do away with convict labour at this settlement, and not long afterwards a settlement was made at a more suitable place on the Brisbane River where Captain Clunie was appointed commandant. This new offshoot from Sydney became so prosperous that it developed into the capital of Queensland.
[* The Mermaid, colonial cutter, so well known in maritime exploration, and a vessel in which Captain King took many voyages, was finally wrecked in 1829. This wreck constituted the first of what was according to an article printed in the Sydney Gazette, "a record of mishaps which overtook one ship-wrecked mariner". Captain Nolbrow left Sydney in the Mermaid in 1829 for Port Raffles or Raffles Bay, a settlement which as has been already stated was evacuated in 1829. On entering Torres Straits the Mermaid ran ashore and was lost. All on board were saved, and in three days the ship Siviftsure hove in sight and took Captain Nolbrow and his crew on board. In three days she too ran ashore and the crew were saved and taken on board by the ship Governor Ready which was hailed by the ship-wrecked people. Within a few days the Governor Ready ran ashore. All were again saved and the ship Comet soon afterwards took the crews of the lost ships on board, but in a few days she was wrecked. Again every one was saved. At last the ship Jupiter came in sight and taking the now numerous crews on board steered for Raffles Bay. At the entrance of the port this vessel also ran ashore and received damage. Captain Nolbrow here, however, found the Government brig Amity and, strange to say, this vessel was nearly wrecked in Gage's Roads. One must bear in mind that the passage where most of the ships ran ashore is one of the most intricate waterways in the world; and ships at that time—when so few ports existed, and there were no docks near at hand to allow them to be cleaned or repaired—often put to sea in a very unseaworthy condition.]
King George's Sound was found by both Vancouver and King to be a very good harbour, and in 1826 a small settlement, under the command of Major Lockyer was made there by New South Wales. Flinders Land, as part of South Australia was then called, extended in a south-easterly direction to Grant's Land, which now forms part of Victoria.
One of the most important expeditions to Western Australia was that which sailed from Sydney in 1827 under Captain Stirling in H.M.S. Success, Mr. Frazer, the colonial botanist at Sydney, being a member of the party. The country along both sides of the Swan River on which Perth and Fremantle now stand was carefully explored for some sixty miles and the Canning or Moreau[*] was also surveyed for forty miles. Captain Stirling reported that he had found a beautiful country where he had seen many turtles and kangaroos and myriad black swans, besides cockatoos different from any met with elsewhere. In returning to Sydney the Success touched at Rottnest or Rat's Nest Island, on 6th March; it was found to be barren, with the Horseshoe Reefs on either side nearly connecting it with the mainland. On receiving Captain Stirling's account of the west coast the New South Wales Government despatched him to England to advise that a settlement should be made there. Captain Fremantle of the Challenger was afterwards sent from the Cape of Good Hope to take formal possession of the country; his ship anchored off the Swan River on 2nd May, 1829. On 2nd June, 1829, the ship Parmelia under Captain Luscombe arrived with Lieutenant-Governor Stirling and his family, a small detachment of the 63rd regiment and some sixty-nine settlers, and thus began the settlement of another colony of Australia. The governor's commission, however, limited the boundaries of the new colony to the Meridian of 129° E., thus leaving a gap in the interior between 129° and 135°. This portion of Australia was Noman's Land until 1855 when it was included in the boundaries of the parent colony.
[* The Canning River was taken by the French to be an outlet which they called Moreau.]
The population of the Swan River Colony in December, 1829, numbered 800 people, including a detachment of sixty soldiers under the command of Captain Owen and Lieutenant Peddar, The latter officer afterwards was appointed A.D.C. to Lieutenant-Governor Arthur in Tasmania. The large grant of land, 250,000 acres, which had been allotted Mr. Peel was, it was thought, to be thrown open to small settlers on 2nd November, 1829, as that gentleman had not arrived from England to take possession of it according to the terms under which it was granted to him. It was stated that his expedition to West Australia had been countermanded by the British Government because an outcry had been raised and questions asked in Parliament by Mr. Joseph Hume as to the legality of granting away such large tracts of territory. Several cartoons appeared in the London papers representing Mr. Peel with a black swan under his arm while he plucked feathers from its tail and underneath was printed "Cousin Tom feathering his nest". These undesirable caricatures brought forth a speech from the Secretary of State for the Colonies disclaiming any participation in the proceedings of his fifty-third cousin, or, as Mr. Hume called it, the Peel Colony. However an understanding was come to between Mr. Peel and the Government, and he arrived in the ship Gilmore in December, 1829, with a large establishment of 170 people, and settled at Clarence or Peel Town, a harbour on the coast twenty-five miles south of Swan River. The grant of 250,000 acres was made to Mr. Peel on condition that he took out 400 emigrants to the colony. The first governor, Captain James Stirling, received a grant of 100,000 acres from the Home Government as a reward for his services in exploring West Australia, and he settled at Isle Buache.
Governor Phillip before leaving England had been instructed to occupy Norfolk Island and on 6th March, 1788, Lieutenants King and Ball with a party of twenty-three landed in the Supply and took possession. The settlement in October of that year had sixty-two inhabitants and continued to increase by additions from Port Jackson. On Sydney Bay on the south side of the island log huts were built and thatched with bulrushes and flags. The cabbage palm and flax plant were found growing in great quantities. In January, 1790, the population had increased to 149 persons. Governor Ross, who arrived in the Sirius and Supply with a large body of marines and convicts, was ordered to take command in March, 1790, and Lieutenant King, after visiting the governor at Sydney, returned to England to give such information to his Majesty and Ministers respecting the settlement as could not be conveyed by letter. The Sirius, after landing the passengers from Port Jackson, was blown upon the rocks and became a complete wreck[*] and only a little of the cargo was saved. In 1791 Lieutenant King returned to the island as governor, and in 1796, Captain Townson succeeded him. An order for the evacuation of the island was issued by the authorities in 1803. The settlers were to have been removed to Tasmania and to Sydney but the fulfilment of this purpose was long delayed. It was partly carried out in 1803, in 1813 and in 1825, but the island was used as a penal settlement down to the year 1855. Lord Howe Island was surveyed and named in March, 1788, by Lieutenant King.
[* The anchor of the Sirius was discovered in 1905, and has been placed in the museum at Sydney.]
When it became known in England that white men could live in New South Wales, and that the country was fertile, emigrants and capital began to flow thither, though slowly at first. Even in the very early days, following upon the visit of La Pérouse, the stranger came there, and Spanish, Russian and other ships of war dropped their anchors in Neutral Bay, the name given to the lovely spot set aside for ships of foreign nations at Port Jackson, But, after the Blue Mountains were crossed and the vast interior began to be explored, the real growth of Australia began. Not only prisoners and soldiers and sightseers filled the ships which passed the heads of Port Jackson, but sturdy farmers with their wives and families smiled from the deck and gazed wonderingly upon the straggling settlement as the vessels drew in to Sydney Cove. Few seemed to regret writing those letters to Lord Bathurst which may still be read, along with the accompanying recommendations from influential people in towns or villages, begging that the applicants might be allowed to settle in New South Wales. The fort crowning the hill, the high stone windmills, the tower of the little church of St. Philip with its square-faced clock; the barracks in long white rows, where at nine o'clock each night was heard the beating of drums, followed by the sounds of the bugles and the simultaneous cry of "All's well" from the sentinel; and, lower down, the one-arched bridge spanning the stream, all told plainly that they were among people of their own nationality. While a short distance away, shrouded by the grove of trees and distinguishable by the national flag, stood the modest little villa called Government House where the ruler of the colony dwelt in state.
Before long the new settlement began to be content; a spirit of local patriotism towards their new country was awakened within them, and while they remained loyal to their motherland they learned to love their southern homes.
The first settler and his family, his servants, if he were fortunate enough to possess any, his horses, the cattle grazing in the paddocks (excepting the few first brought to the colony), the flowers, among them the sweet violet, the rose, the wallflower and the pansy, in the newly made garden were either British or of British parentage. Small things many of them, but they played their part in helping on civilisation and giving colour to the minds of the children in this far off land. The pioneer settlers who opened up the west, the south and the north, those who followed Wentworth, Evans, Oxley and Cunningham, Sturt and Mitchell, and later, Burke and Wills, were kept busily employed. Their work in smoothing the way for younger generations, and laying the foundations of future cities and communities, deserves, and perhaps will some day obtain, fuller recognition than has yet been accorded to it.
The names of some of the pioneers are now heard in the great wool marts; they distinguish many of the herds in the southern hemisphere, and are spoken of at Randwick or Flemington when the representative of one of the old colonial studs wrests a victory from the progeny of some English thoroughbred.
For these early settlers and squatters the pastoral occupation was beset with difficulties. In addition to the privations incident to their manner of life, they had to lay their account with drought, bad seasons, and fluctuations in the prices of cattle and wool. They had not seldom to contend with financial troubles, debts due to the bank or to the Government, and, all the while, it w-as to them that the population at Sydney looked for their food supply.
It is true that in the early days grants of land[*] were liberally given, and sometimes to people who could not or would not turn the property to profitable account, but sold their rights at ridiculously low prices. Thus at times wide tracts would be in the hands of a few, and this fact has been pointed to as hurtful to the interests of the community, though there is no reason for supposing that the original owners of either large or small grants could have turned them to better account. From the first, land has changed hands freely, though the change has not always been for the better, but the settlers who have clung to their farms and homesteads appear to have been the backbone of the colony, securing by their prudence and industry the welfare of those who were dependent on them, and thus advancing the general prosperity. In New South Wales there are families who, after a hundred years of good and evil fortune, still hold the lands granted to them in the days of Macquarie and Brisbane, and by their foresight and unremitting labour have increased the resources not merely of their own land but of other countries.
[* See State of Agriculture in New South Wales, by H. Dangar. 1828.]
The first homes of the settlers were of very simple design. If the settler were a rich man, a weatherboard house divided into four or five rooms on the ground floor with wooden walls and ceilings and floors, and a verandah running round, was considered worthy of his wealth or position, but most of the houses were built of wooden slabs with roofs of thatch or of bark, a smaller building to serve as a kitchen being sometimes added. A few yards off was a hut to house the handy man.
Then stockyards and fences made their appearance, and, as flocks increased, a modest wool-shed, which was as small compared with the sheds of to-day as were the quaint buildings which first encircled Sydney Cove compared with the great warehouses that now surround the Circular Quay. Yet these small sheds and scattered flocks and herds were the beginnings of the vast sheepfolds and the stockyards of the southern continent. The style of the houses quickly improved. When soil from which bricks could be made was discovered, and builders and workmen arrived from England, the architecture became picturesque and comfortable. Many bore a resemblance to the better class of farmhouses in England, or were built in approved Indian fashion after the manner of a large bungalow. All without exception possessed a wide shady verandah which ran almost round the house. And up the wooden posts roses and creepers were carefully trained, and as Australia is a flower-growing country of the first rank they lent additional beauty to the landscape.
In the country parts the favourite flowers were roses—the old monthly rose grew to perfection—and scarcely one of the old homes was without their red or white blossoms. They trailed over the long low roof and spread around the white house-front and along the short fences and twined among the thorn hedges[*] enclosing the garden. The yellow and white banksia, and the white or pink moss rose scented the air. Australian gardens of to-day are filled with the choicest flowers that can be obtained in Europe which flourish in a way that puts to shame their representatives in older countries, but there was no prettier sight than these old homes in the "time of roses".
[* Both the whitethorn and blackthorn were first introduced by Mr. Nicholas Bayly at Bayly Park.]
Many of these old homesteads are now dilapidated. Well built as some of them were, a blazing sun and semi-tropical rains have destroyed the shingled roofs and white plastered walls. They are Australia's first ruins. Different as they are from the castles and manor houses which are the glory and pride of England, the old squatters who dwelt in them loved them as dearly and defended them with as much spirit as the feudal lords in olden days defended their homes. Whoever has read of the attack at Goimbla near Forbes in New South Wales, when David Campbell defied a set of ruffians of the worst description, who, daunted by the squatter's brave attitude, left off their assault on his house and set fire to the stables, will admit the truth of this statement. Shot for shot, bullet for bullet was returned by the squatter, while his wife at his side, loading and re-loading his weapons, and with her life openly exposed to danger, encouraged him in his resistance. The old verandah's wooden battlements still bear the marks of the lead where it splintered the wood or lay imbedded in it. The owner of Goimbla felt dismayed as he watched the glare of his burning stables, but was almost overwhelmed when he saw his favourite horse pay forfeit with its life for his own daring. The space between the stables and barn formed a quadrangle. Round and round this enclosure the animal raced, trying vainly to break away from the scorching heat, while one of the bushrangers stood looking over a paling fence to gloat upon the result of his handiwork. But Mr. Campbell was an expert shot and in the firelight night was as clear as day. One angle at the end of the house close to where the bushranger watched the horse, lay in shadow. Leaving his barricade the squatter crept round the verandah. The flames leapt up brightly as he marked his man. A sharp report rang through the air. The squatter knew that he had not missed his aim, for the palings suddenly assumed a straight line again and the bushranger vanished. That smile at the dumb creature's sufferings was the last and crowning act of his inhumanity. In the morning, when relief came, his body was traced to where it had been dragged by his mates, deep down in a field of growing oats, ripe and ready for harvest.
How even a small homestead can improve a new land has been described by Sir Thomas Mitchell in the story of his first expedition into the interior of Australia during the years 1832-35. Returning after a long weary journey in the far west, in the midst of the dense bush on an unsurveyed part of the Bogan River, the exploring party suddenly saw smoke rising from a chimney among the trees and, meeting a tribe of blacks, were informed that they were near a cattle station where two white men lived. They hastened towards the dwelling of these men, and the symmetrical appearance of the stockyard fence when it first caught the eye so long accustomed to the lines of simple nature, delighted them as did the sight of the chimney. The two stockmen, however, for such the white men proved to be, seemed to have enough to do in keeping the natives in good humour and securing their own safety. From these stockmen Mitchell first heard authentic news of the murder by blacks of Mr. Cunningham, one of his party.
Major Mitchell[*] goes on to relate that the cattle station was occupied by the stockmen and cattle of Mr. William Lee of Bathurst who had followed him on his outward journey. Sir John Jamieson had a station on the Nammoy; and Mr. Pyke had one also on the Bogan. These were the first pioneers to follow where Mitchell had led the way.
[* See Three Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, 1832-35, by Major Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell, vol. i., p. 331; Favenc's Australian Exploration, p. 109.]
While the first settler worked cutting down trees, building his house and laying out his stockyard, small groups of natives came from their retreat to gaze on the transformation. The natives beyond the Blue Mountains differed in many respects from the Sydney blacks, although they resembled them in person. They wore square cloaks of kangaroo skin sewed together with the sinews of the emu and worn loosely over the shoulders, some turning the fur side inwards with curious devices on the outer side. In this attempt at ornament they seemed more advanced than the coast natives, these devices being first traced by cutting or raising lines on the skin with a sharp instrument and then top-sewing them with threads of emu sinews. Governor Macquarie described one to Lord Bathurst which he said bore "as regularly formed a St. George's cross as could be made".
The Bathurst blacks were cheerful and good-natured and were not warlike. Their spears were heavy and clumsy and could be thrown only a short distance, like those of the Maoris; they hunted the kangaroo with dogs which were as a rule either black or white with red spots. They spoke a different language from their brethren at Sydney, and the native whom Macquarie took up with him in 1815, hoping, that he would be of use as an interpreter, could not understand them at all. This man was very agitated when he saw the strange blacks who at first were nervous also, particularly at the sight of the horses, but soon became friendly and seemed proud of any little articles given them.
The inland natives, like those of the coast, had few ideas on the subject of religion. They had no word equivalent to the word God in the sense which we use it, but they bestowed the name Piame, Baiamai or Byamy on the good spirit of the black people on the Lachlan. He was regarded by them as the father of their race, and was believed to have sojourned amongst them. Mudjegong or Coppeer or Mannai (all three names are used) was an evil spirit; a Wellington tribe said that he, having derived his existence from Piame, declared war upon him, and now endeavoured with all his power to supplant him. The offspring of Piame were numerous they said; but the whole, except two, were destroyed by Mudjegong, who converted them into different wild animals. A number of the devices carved by these blacks on the trees were intended to represent these transmigrations; such as the snake, the opossum, the emu, the kangaroo, the cockchafer, etc., while others were said to indicate forked lightning, weapons and falling stars. The evil spirit seemed to be described under the form of the eagle-hawk, an imitation of his eyrie forming a conspicuous object in their burial-grounds. The natives about Bathurst and Wellington, when near a river, frequently made a circle with their womerahs and, seating themselves on the ground, each in turn cast a stone into water, saying, "That is to appease the wrath of the Evil One". Sometimes they would make the circle on the open plain and as they said "try to reason with the Evil Spirit".
They had no symbol for numbers above five; above that number the only word used meant many and might mean ten or twenty or a thousand. In all pertaining to abstract ideas they were deficient, but in perceptive powers they were more highly gifted, a fact proved not only in their tracking man or beast, but also in their acquaintance with natural objects. The native knew every flower, plant, or tree, every bird, insect or reptile; he appeared to look upon them as his own and to regard them with the greatest interest. When asked the name of a flower or butterfly he could answer immediately, and, in describing them, would call one good and another bad, would tell whether it was rare or common, and mention many facts concerning it, showing that he loved and knew the natural world around him.
Seen in their natural state in the bush the black fellows appeared to greatest advantage; those at Bathurst were a simple, superstitious race, eager to show their skill and not ungrateful for kindness. They were indeed in many respects the very reverse of some of the miserable buffoons to be met in the streets of Sydney. Yet, like all savage races, the bush people were vindictive and the spirit of revenge in them was not easily subdued.
Quarrels with the inland natives may be said to have begun in the days of the first governor. The first attacks upon the whites were those already mentioned which broke out on the Hawkesbury. On the Nepean River in 1816 a band of thirty plundered a settler's home and the seven white men who followed the robbers were ambushed and killed. The blacks, elated with their success, attacked every house in the neighbourhood and robbed the teams passing along the Great Western Road on their way to Bathurst with provisions. Gradually increasing in numbers to ninety or a hundred they grew more daring, and closed round the outlying settlers near Sydney, until Governor Macquarie called a meeting of the friendly coast natives, offering them rewards for the ring-leaders of the revolting tribes; and in this way, with the aid of the soldiers, order was restored.
On the western side of the mountains the settlers were out of reach of such protection, and, prior to 1824, twenty Englishmen had died at the hands of the blacks in that region. In August, 1824, over 600 natives assembled to proclaim their hostility to the white men. No doubt they had received provocation, for the servants of the settlers, instead of endeavouring to conciliate them, acted as if they were the "lords of the soil". The natives naturally resented this and argued that though the things which the white man had brought over the mountains were the property of the white man, the country itself and the wild animals, birds, native plants, and all that was there before the strangers came belonged to the black fellow. Unfortunately they did not consider that the produce of land tilled and sown by white men belonged to the settlers, and they made frequent raids upon the young crops. Once an overseer came suddenly on a tribe of blacks retreating with their nets filled with cobs of young green corn—a great delicacy which they were fond of roasting at their fires. Irritated at the sight of the destruction of the cornfield and at their open boldness, the man fired at them. The gun was loaded with small shot, which the blacks coolly received on their oblong shields and with jeers taunted him as a bad shot. On the following day the same man found them again pilfering the field and fired upon them, this time seriously wounding a black fellow. Long afterwards, when people had forgotten the quarrel, the man's body was found speared, and there was little doubt as to the culprits.
In 1824 the natives hunted cattle into the bush and, when detected, urged as an excuse that the white men had driven away their kangaroos and opossums, and that the black man must now have beef. The manner in which they killed the cattle and sometimes strove to avoid detection was, says a Sydney paper, ingenious. They managed to perforate the animal's skull with a spear, making a hole about the size of a musket ball. When the carcase of the animal was found, and they were arrested, they calmly answered that the beast had been killed by a white man, at the same time pointing to the spot where they said the ball had entered. They killed the sheep and cooked them in large holes which they dug out of the earth, making fires and laying the meat—which was quartered—upon the burning wood; then a few sheets of bark were placed over the meat and covered with earth, so as to form an oven.
The most famous chief at Bathurst was a black fellow named Saturday who was a very strong man, tall and muscular. Helped by another chief known as Sunday, who was also well-built but more thickly set, he was very troublesome to the settlers, and his robberies were so frequent that the police received orders to arrest him, 500 acres of land being offered by the Government for his apprehension. The Sydney Gazette relates that his strength was so amazing that it took six men to secure him. He was awarded a month's imprisonment, and soon afterwards, on 28th December, 1824, he made his submission to Sir Thomas Brisbane at Parramatta, riding into the town at the head of his tribe, bearing a branch of a tree as a peace-offering.
There was another equally troublesome chief known as Blucher, who with his tribe made a raid upon the cattle station of a squatter at Clarendon, near Mudgee, Driving off all the stock that they could find the blacks had proceeded some distance before Chamberlane, the overseer, with two men came up with them. They met in a densely wooded part of the bush. Seeing that he was followed Blucher with thirty blacks turned back and attacked the horsemen. A shower of spears penetrated the bushes and boomerangs hurtled through the boughs; one of the latter wounded the overseer's horse badly, which so enraged the man that drawing his pistol he turned in his saddle and fired among the blacks, at the same time urging his men to retreat. "Three times," says the Sydney writer, "he retrograded and faced the fierce onslaught of the blacks, and eventually the white men escaped." Blucher, however, was shot in the affray. Upon hearing of this encounter Major Morrisett with a large party of soldiers and settlers set out from Bathurst to restrain the attacks of the natives.
Apart from their thieving propensities, the blacks were helpful to the white people. They fished and hunted, and the women were taught domestic duties by the wives of the settlers. Their extraordinary powers of mimicry afforded amusement, and they could sing a song or repeat a phrase in English with astonishing quickness after hearing it only once or twice, but like a parrot without grasping its meaning.
Their corroboree, or principal war dance, was performed all over the country in much the same way, being usually danced at night, and as a rule in moonlight. For some little time before the spectators sat waiting in semicircular rows, three or four deep. A large fire was kindled and a space kept clear by men wrapped in opossum skins, while a monotonous chant or tune was played by beating sticks upon shields made either of gum-tree bark or of solid wood. The musicians were usually women, hidden amongst the brushwood. The bodies of the dancers were painted white in various devices, which generally extended from the shoulder to the hip, and their faces were usually red or white. The figures, slowly advanced from the obscurity of the trees into the firelight, coming at first by twos and performing curious motions, one by one others joined in and the dance would quicken gradually into a sort of short stamp backwards and forwards, increasing in vigour until at last the ground seemed to shake, and the corroboree jump or spring was attained. Grasping a weapon and raising their arms on high the natives would then incline the head from one shoulder to another, keeping each jump and inclination in perfect time with the beats and voices of the singers. Although at first the dancers kept to one long line and sprang only six inches aside, as the line doubled, trebled, or quadrupled, they varied their formation and the first line would jump to the left, the second to the right, and the third and fourth to the left and right alternately. After nearly exhausting themselves they would stop simultaneously and, sinking on their knees with a sort of dismal wail, bend themselves forward to the earth, and disperse.
Sir Thomas Mitchell observed that the natives on the Darling River expressed hostility by throwing up dust with their toes, and dislike by spitting, symbolic actions resembling those practised in the East. In this region many graves were marked with white casts of burnt gypsum, probably deposited by the widows of the men buried in them. The widows of certain tribes on the Darling and at Fort Bourke in New South Wales plastered their heads, renewing the plaster for six or seven months, and would not remarry for seven months after the casts had worn off. The men wore round the head a neatly wrought bandage or fillet whitened with pipeclay as a sign of mourning for the dead. Pipeclay was very highly valued by them and the natives of the Darling kept it in a hut specially set apart for its storage.
Natives of Australia on Trial
The natives buried their dead differently on different rivers. On the Bogan the graves were covered like our own and surrounded with curved walks and ornamented ground. On the Macquarie and Lachlan Rivers they were lofty mounds with seats around them. On the Murrumbidgee and Murray they were covered with thatched huts containing dried grass enclosed like the inside of a whale boat. On the Darling they were in mounds covered with branches and surrounded by a ditch and sometimes a fence. The natives of the Macquarie River made the graves always from east to west with the head to the east. Captain Bligh was struck with a similar custom at Tahiti when a grave was dug by the natives for one of his officers who had died there. The chief asked if it was made in accordance with the captain's wishes, because, said he, pointing first to the east and then to the west, "There the sun rises and there it sets". Captain Bligh thought then that the custom might have been learned from the Spaniards who buried the captain of their ship on the island in 1774, but it is clear that the Australian native knew nothing of any white men's habits. The tumulus Oxley saw on the Macquarie was in the form of a semicircle of which three rows of seats occupied one half, the grave and more seats the other half The seats formed segments of circles of fifty, forty-five and forty feet each and had trenches between them. In the centre was the grave five feet high, and nine feet long, forming a curve.
The natives were certainly not musical, although their voices at times were soft and pleasing. Their songs, as translated, generally contained much repetition. According to Mrs. Meredith, an early writer, they were generally of feasting, for example:—
Eat a great deal, eat, eat, eat, Eat again, plenty to eat,
which they sang over and over again. This, she says, far exceeded the weary echo of love-lorn drawing-room ballads. Dr. Lang, on the other hand, says that the song, although it often consisted of but a single couplet, was the outcome of inspiration, and that one tribe taught their song to another who, when they had learned it passed it on to others, so that songs sung by the natives were sometimes in the language of a far-distant tribe.
It is true that they repeated the same words over and over again, and upon the death of a chief would weep and lament, crying, "Where is he, where is he?" but Dr. Lang gives what he says is a pretty free translation, or paraphrase, of a song sung by a tribe in the Sydney district of the Cow Pastures to show that the natives were not altogether devoid of poetical sentiment:—
A warrior lies in yonder dell, His eyelids closed for ever, Heroes! I slew him and he fell Near Warragumby River. Who is he, ere we dig his grave? Come tell me in the song, Oh! he is like a warrior brave Bold Barrabooriong.
Native Burial Ground near Wellington, N. S. Wales. (From 'Oxley's Explorations')
In 1830 several blacks from the Hunter districts travelled to Windsor, Parramatta and Sydney to teach other tribes a new song-which had lately been brought to them from far beyond Liverpool Plains where the song existed although the dialect was not the same. Captain Flinders encouraged some natives to sing to him and his companions while exploring Pumice Stone River near Glasshouse Bay, and they began in concert and sang very pleasingly, "not descending by thirds in the diatonic scale as did the natives at Sydney but in a waving soothing strain ". Letting their voices down to the lowest pitch, they began again at the octave and accompanied their song with slow and not ungraceful motions—it was not confined to one air but three. Observing that they were listened to attentively after the first song had been sung, they each selected a white man and placed themselves beside him, and with much earnestness, fixing their eyes on his face all the time, sang into his ear as if trying to teach their song to him.
As an example of the songs which the old tribes used to chant around their fires, when tired out with their wanderings, the following may be given. It was translated by Mrs. Dunlop and published in an Australian paper. A very old black named W'ullati repeated the verses to her: the tribe has been long extinct:—
Our home is in the gibber-gunyah[*] Where hill joins hill on high Where the boomerang and womerah Like sleeping serpents lie:— And the rushing of wings as the wangas[**] pass Sweeps the wallaby's print from the glistening grass. Ours are the great fish gliding Deep in the shady pool, For the spear is sure and the prey secure The eel and the bright gherool;[***] Our children sleep by the water clear, Where the white-fellow's track hath never been near. Ours is the hive o'erflowing With precious honey stored, For fleet the foot and keen the eye That seeks the wild bee's hoard; And the glances are bright and the laughter free, When we meet 'neath the shade of the karrakun tree.[****]
[** The flight of the wanga or wonga-wonga pigeon is not unlike the whir of the partridge.]
[*** A species of mullet.]
[**** The swamp oak.]
The natives had a superstitious dread of entering any of the limestone caves. During cold or rainy weather they protected themselves by sheets of bark placed so as to support one another, of sufficient dimensions inside to admit a single individual, and these being left standing, indicated for a considerable time afterwards the sites of their encampments. They used canoes to cross the deep rivers, building them differently in different parts of the country. Those at Wellington were merely fresh single sheets of eucalyptus bark, carefully taken from a twisted tree, and prevented from rolling up by two slender boughs or thwarts which kept them apart. The canoe was generally about six feet long, by two and a half wide, with the head made round like that of a boat, and higher than the stern, which hid a low wall of clay to prevent the water from rushing in. The passenger was forced to sit perfectly still, while a native by means of a paddle guided this very primitive boat across the stream with considerable dexterity. When the stream was high its crossing was, and is, by no means easy, and the difficulties may be greater at some times than at others. As a case in point we may quote the following story told by an English officer of how he and a commissioner for Crown lands were carried over a big river. "We came to a large river which could only be crossed in a canoe. The proprietor was a big black fellow. The commissioner was determined to pass over. Being a fat and portly personage his unwieldy size and weight, added to the black's, brought the light structure to the water's edge, and they had much difficulty in keeping her afloat. At length the signal was given to push off which the black laughingly did, and the fragile bark with its goodly freight was launched into the current of the stream. The canoe with gyratory motion whirled rapidly along the centre of the river which happened to be unusually high. In vain the black fellow plied his paddles. In vain he strove to guide his unruly charge to the opposite bank. They were borne helplessly on like a huge bubble on the tide. One fearful look was cast by the commissioner at the foaming flood, another full of envy, regret and despair at his companion on the bank. Then the slender skiff was impelled more fiercely, causing him to lose his equilibrium, and before he could recover himself he pitched headlong into the stream, upsetting with the surge both blacky and his canoe; and shooting with great velocity into the depths below, he disappeared as if he had been an expert pearl diver. The black scarce wetted his head and seemed simply disporting in the water. After a while, many yards away from the scene of the capsize, up bobbed the commissioner, then bobbed down again almost immediately into the elements below. Again he appeared; when in an instant, with the speed of an arrow, the black dived and dragged him to the bank, looking far more like a sea king or a river god than a commissioner for Crown lands."
Before the white man crossed the mountains the natives may be said to have lived an idyllic life, spending their days roaming through the woods whither their fancy led them. The bush was thronged with birds, many species of which have since become extinct, while others have been frightened away by the sound of the settler's gun. Here in the long summer days, the voices of the black man mingled with the chattering of the parrots, until the deep banks of the river, the low sandy shallows, the fiat-topped hills, and the wild bush beyond rang with the echoes of their mirth. Eating at every opportunity, as long as there remained anything for them to eat, they would stretch themselves down to rest under the shade of the trees until hunger once again called them to action. Then, shaking off their inertness, they arose as famous hunters and appeared almost a different people. Along each bend of the river banks, each turn of the stream, they paced the narrow, well-trodden paths seeking for their food. As the swarthy savages swept swiftly through the foliage, or peered into the undergrowth, or with womerah and spear pursued the game across the white boulders or up the hill-sides, their efforts were seldom unrewarded. They would encircle or sweep the bush which the victim had skirted, running at topmost speed through the long grass, through scrub and stream, over sand and rock, to disappear finally into the thickest of the forest where death awaited the object of their pursuit.
Natives spearing the kangaroo
At evening they would return with their spoil to the camp in the open air, for they seldom dwelt in the rude gunyahs, as the doubled-up pieces of bark which served them for dwellings were called. The greater part of the year they spent the night around their open fires, seeking no particular shelter, save a bush or tree to screen them from the piercing wind or the frosty air. The height of their attainments was to make a good canoe or shield or spear. It has been well said of them that "they had no home yet every place was home: if thirsty, the yellow sand in the bed of the river formed for them a golden drinking bowl; if hungry, the spoils of the chase sustained them; the leaves of the trees served as dishes for their food; the sun in the heavens told them the hour". Their greatest excitement was in fighting a neighbouring tribe, but for the settlement of disputes they were sometimes willing to parley with their adversaries.
It is difficult now amid these same scenes to realise that such people ever existed. The fairy rings, "the ploughed furrows," and the tall clusters of rushes remain, the river meanders as in the past, the swamp oak sways with all the dignity of former days above the rippling water, the wind chants the same flute-like melody through the moving boughs. But otherwise the great silence is unbroken. The black man has all but passed away. His voice is never heard. Out on the plain his lithe form will never again bend low in the reeds to await the coming of bird or beast; never again will his boomerang float through the air or his womerah speed the spear to stop the career of some wild animal. The sweet warm evenings will come and go; the opossums which have slept through the long hot days will spring unmolested from tree to tree, and hang head downwards from the boughs; but he whose joy it was to hunt them is passing away with many of the animals which once peopled his kingdom. The land acknowledges a new master; the change is inevitable.
But as we press forward let us turn to the few that remain and watch their vanishing figures. Let us ask, we who have scattered them and who now possess the country which they so dearly loved, "Is it well with the land?" The white townships growing where once all was dark with forest; the axes ringing through the backwood; the network of masts fringing the busy port; the golden corn colouring the grassy plains; the wealth of the mine drawn from the barren waste, all unite in the full, clear answer "It is well".
While naval officers were surveying the coast of Australia, army officers were not only assisting but often entirely directing expeditions into the interior. Unfortunately authoritative writers of Army Records give little information concerning operations which opened up vast areas to colonisation. The duties of the small military force were various. The soldiers not only guarded the prisoners and lent due dignity to state ceremonies in Sydney, but they were stationed throughout the country in detachments, which rendered such good service that towns like Newcastle, Bathurst, Goulburn and Maitland soon sprang into existence. Officers and men acted as engineers, architects, and in remote regions kept order among the natives, or put down bushrangers. The men also often helped the settlers at harvest time. The troops which had accompanied Governor Phillip were Marines. When European wars made the presence of every soldier necessary at home, the Marines were recalled and an irregular force was raised in England for special service in the colony. This irregular regiment was called the New South Wales Corps; it was recruited principally in London. Chatham and Portsmouth, and came into existence in 1789; was increased in 1797, and was embodied as the 102nd regiment in 1809.
The following were the first appointments[*]:—
[* See London Gazette.]
Major Francis Grose, from half-pay of the late 96th regiment, to be major commanding.
First Lieutenant Nicholas Nepean, from the Marines, to be captain of a company.
Lieutenant William Hill, from the 6th regiment of Foot, to be captain of a company.
Lieutenant William Paterson, from the 73rd regiment, to be captain of a company.
Ensign John Macarthur, from the 68th regiment, to be lieutenant.
Ensign Michael Stovin Fenwicke, from the 22nd regiment, to be lieutenant.
Ensign Joseph Foveaux, from the 60th regiment, to be lieutenant.
Ensign George Richard Marton, from the 22nd regiment, to be lieutenant.
Quartermaster William Duberly to be ensign.
John Thomas Prentice, gentleman, to be ensign.
Francis Kirby, gentleman, to be ensign.
C. de Catterel, gentleman, to be ensign.
John Bain, clerk, to be chaplain.
Thomas Rowley, gentleman, to be adjutant.
William Duberly, gentleman, to be quartermaster.
Surgeon's Mate James Macauley, from 33rd regiment, to be surgeon.
But on 24th October, eight days afterwards, the following exchanges were gazetted.
Lieutenant Edward Abbott, from half-pay of 73rd regiment, to be lieutenant vice Michael Stovin Fenwicke who exchanges.
Lieutenant John Townson, from half-pay of the 50th regiment, to be lieutenant vice George Richard Marton who exchanges.
The formation of this corps has been so much discussed and so many writers have said that the officers had never served in the army before, that the old list is worth attention as showing that they were not only officers but belonged to regiments of repute. It is evident, too, by the exchanges that these officers were appointed by the authorities. Possibly few of the men had previously seen service, but were chiefly recruits who volunteered spontaneously to voyage to New South Wales in order to help form a garrison for the new colony.
The first detachments reached Sydney in June, 1790, by the ships Surprise, Neptune, and Scarborough. In October, 1791, another detachment arrived by H.M.S. Gorgon, which brought also the New South Wales territorial seal. In December of the same year the Gorgon put to sea on her return voyage, taking with her most of the officers and men of the Marines. Those who did not then embark were purposely detained, because it was thought wise to keep a strong garrison at Port Jackson until the whole of the new regiment should have replaced them. They comprised a captain, three lieutenants, eight non-commissioned officers, fifty privates and thirty-one retired soldiers who desired to settle in the colony.
Two officers of the New South Wales Corps administered the affairs of the colony after Phillip's departure, but the regiment is best known for the quarrels that took place between its officers and Governor Bligh. Some of its officers and many of its men, however, turned colonists, and did much for the country, notably Captain John Macarthur. When Governor King paid a visit to New Zealand in 1794 a guard of the New South Wales Corps accompanied him, and probably these were the first British soldiers to set foot in that country after Cook had landed there.
The command of the batteries and defences of the harbour was given to Francis Louis Barrallier who was gazetted to the corps, as ensign, on the 14th of August, 1800, He made the first survey of the Hunter River in June, 1801, and also surveyed Western Port in Victoria. In 1802, as already mentioned, he attempted the crossing of the Blue Mountains, afterwards accomplished by Blaxland, Went worth and Barrallier's brother officer. Lieutenant Lawson. Among the other officers were Lieutenant-Colonel Foveaux, Lieutenant-Colonel Paterson and Major Johnston who became notorious in setting Governor Bligh's authority at defiance; Dr. Harris, who accompanied Oxley, the explorer, and Ensign George Bellasis, who succeeded Barrallier and built the battery on Dawes Point, also belonged to this regiment, as did Lieutenants Cox and Minchin, who afterwards settled in the country.
In December, 1808, orders were received by the 73rd regiment to proceed to New South Wales to replace the New South Wales Corps. Mustering, besides officers, 1,000 rank and file, it embarked on 8th May, 1809, at Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, on the ships Hindostan and Dromedary with Lieutenant-Colonel Lachlan Macquarie who had been appointed governor of the colony in succession to Captain Bligh. The ships reached Sydney on 28th December, 1809, and on New Year's Day, 1810, Macquarie took over the reins of government. The first battalion of the regiment was considerably reinforced upon its arrival by men of the New South Wales Corps, who had accepted an offer to remain in the colony, so that in 181 2 the 73rd numbered not less than 1,200 rank and file. On its departure the men of the New South Wales Corps were transferred to the 46th regiment when it arrived in 1814, and they became then known as the Royal Veteran Corps.
This corps was disbanded in 1823 by the advice of Governor Macquarie, given some years previously, on the ground that the expense of so many old soldiers and their families was too heavy a burden for the Government resources. On 24th September, 1823, the corps under Captain Brabyn was marched from the Barrack Square where it had paraded for the last time in the presence of the governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, who addressed it, and there was much interest in Sydney at the sight of the old regiment on its way to dissolution.
After the 73rd had been in New South Wales and Tasmania about four years Macquarie asked for its removal, and the first detachment sailed in the Earl Spencer in January, 1814, to Ceylon, two detachments following in March in the General Hewett and Windham transports. The Windham touched at the Derwent to embark the men who were serving in Tasmania; the General Hewett with the detachment under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice O'Connell sailed by way of New Guinea to Colombo, A fourth detachment left Sydney for Ceylon in 1815 in the General Brown and the colonial brig Kangaroo.[*]
[* Captain Antill of the 73rd was A.D.C. to the Governor; Lieutenant Skottowe of the 1st battalion, was commandant at Newcastle; Captain Haddon was in 1813 commandant at Parramatta; Lieutenant James Primrose succeeded Lieutenant Ovens, also of the 73rd, as inspector of public works, and many other officers held posts of importance under the Government. Captain, afterwards Major, Antill died in August, 1852, a few days before Lieutenant-Colonel Morrisett of the 48th.]
The 46th (South Devonshire) regiment of Foot, commanded by Colonel Molle (afterwards lieutenant-governor) arrived in New South Wales in February, 1814. One of its officers, Lieutenant Watts, was aide-de-camp to Governor Macquarie, and another. Lieutenant Thompson, who had preceded the headquarters, was commandant at Newcastle in 1814. Sergeant R. Broadfoot and six privates of the regiment were sent from a detachment at Hobart Town in Tasmania into the interior to suppress bushranging, and succeeded in taking two ringleaders, Maguire and Burne, who were tried and executed, the sergeant and his men receiving £100 and the thanks of Governor Davy. In April, 1816, the flank companies of the regiment under the command of Captains Shaw and Wallis were sent into the interior of New South Wales to reduce the aborigines to obedience. In February, 1817, Corporal McCarthy and his party at a place called Black Brush in Tasmania fell in with a gang of bushrangers who under Geary, a deserter of the 73rd regiment, were well armed, each having a musket, a brace of pistols and plenty of ammunition. The fight raged for an hour and a half, the old soldier fell mortally wounded, two men were captured, the rest escaping. A few days afterwards the gang were again attacked, and again one man fell wounded and another was captured.
The regiment under Colonel Molle embarked in September, 1817, at Sydney in the Matilda Lloyd and Dick, transports which had brought the 48th regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Erskine to New South Wales, but a few of the 46th, officers and men, remained in the colony, attached to the 48th regiment, and gave great help to the exploring expeditions which took place in the years 1817-21. Both the 46th and the 48th provided colonists as well as excellent soldiers, and many public works were designed and built by them.
Under Captain Wallis of the 46th the wharf at Newcastle, called Macquarie Pier, was begun in August, 1818. The engineers were subalterns of both regiments, the mechanics being under the orders of an old sergeant of the 46th. The work was suspended in the early part of the year 1823. the length of the pier being then 350 yards or some 400 yards from Nobby's Island. Until then no vessels above fifty tons had ventured into the harbour without a flood tide and a leading wind. The wharf was, however, continued at intervals and finished in 1827.
Lieutenant-Colonel Morrisett of the 48th was commandant at Norfolk Island, at Newcastle, and at Bathurst. He made the first overland journey from Newcastle to Sydney and later lived altogether at Bathurst with his family. No officer was better known in the western district. He had seen much service and bore upon his face the traces of a wound received in action. He died in 1852 and was buried at the Old Bathurst Church now known as Kelso Church. Years after his death the present writer, then a child, was shown several military relics of this gallant officer in the possession of his son and daughter-in-law at the town of East Maitland.
The 3rd regiment (the Buffs) went to New South Wales from Liverpool in September, 1821, and were stationed in various districts—the ship Commodore Hayes landing the head-quarters staff at Sydney on 18th September. Lieutenant-Colonel Cameron of the corps took command of the garrison in Tasmania, and Lieutenant-Colonel Cimitiere became second in command at Sydney after the departure of Lieutenant-Colonel Erskine of the 48th. Major Wall lived near Rooty Hill which was a military depot at that time. Detachments were also quartered at Bathurst and Wellington until the year 1827. At Bathurst Lieutenant Evernden and some settlers of the district captured the bushrangers Carter and Johnstone on 6th July, 1826. This capture was one of the first made in the district. Captain Rolland, also of the Buffs, succeeded Captain Allman as commandant at Port Macquarie in April, 1824. The regiment was increased by the arrival of several drafts, and in 1825 its establishment in New South Wales consisted of ten companies, and in 1826 of eleven. One wing embarked for the East Indies at Sydney early in 1827; the other left on 28th November of the same year and arrived at Calcutta in February, 1828. Lieutenant-Colonel, afterwards Major-General, Stewart of this regiment acted as Lieutenant-Governor from the departure of Sir Thomas Brisbane in 1825 until the arrival of Major-General Ralph Darling in the same year. He settled at Bathurst, and was buried at Mount Pleasant, so called by Mr. G. W. Evans upon his first expedition to the west of the Blue Mountains. The general's coffin was drawn up the mountain to its last resting-place by bullocks as the sides of the hill were too steep for horses to gain a footing there.
The 3rd Regiment of Buffs in 1823.
The 40th regiment, a single battalion corps, received orders in March, 1823, to proceed to New South Wales and was sent out in small detachments. Lieutenant-Colonel Thornton with the head-quarters staff landed at Sydney on 27th October, 1824, and found a large portion of the regiment distributed over the colony. A detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Balfour went on 23rd March, 1825, to Tasmania, and in July was followed by another under Major Kirkwood. Captain Turton was appointed commandant of Norfolk Island, whither, accompanied by Lieutenant Richardson of the 40th regiment, he sailed in May, 1825. Captain Bishop was ordered to Moreton Bay on 27th July, 1825, as commandant to reinforce Lieutenant Millar.
The 57th regiment arrived at Sydney in 1825-26, under Colonel Shadforth and detachments were sent to the different small settlements at Moreton Bay, Melville Island, and other places. The soldiers were employed in a variety of ways, but were chiefly active in exploring undiscovered tracts of country, and as engineers, as well as in other duties connected with the development of the colony; while some were employed in hunting down bushrangers.
On this service Ensign Shadforth, who afterwards fell at the Redan in 1855, had a very narrow escape. In following a bushranger his party came across a boat lying on the shore, bottom upwards; Shadforth put his head under the gunwale to see if the man they were looking for was hiding there. The bushranger was a very small man, and instead of lying on the ground under the boat he had curled himself up on one of the thwarts. He related after he was captured that when he saw the ensign's head appear under the boat he immediately covered it with his gun, determined to shoot if discovered. Fortunately the officer did not see him and withdrew, little knowing how narrowly he had escaped.
Captain Logan, who commanded the detachment at Moreton Bay, was an energetic and successful explorer. During the year 1826 he discovered a portion of Darling River, fifty miles north of Moreton Bay, which he named after the governor who had recently succeeded Sir T. Brisbane. Strong detachments of the regiment were sent to Norfolk Island and Tasmania. The head-quarters at Sydney took part in a number of field-days and reviews.
The anniversary of the Battle of Albuera, always celebrated by the "Die Hards," was kept with great ceremony, both by them and the 39th, who this year were quartered in the same barracks, the officers of each giving dinners to the civil magistrates and principal private inhabitants of Sydney. Festivities were also held at the barracks, which were brilliantly illuminated at night, the word "Albuera," being surmounted by a crown in a number of different coloured lamps. Colonel Shadforth and Captain Jackson, who had both been severely wounded in the battle, were chaired by the men of the regiment, and carried amidst cheers to the steps of the mess-house, which was gaily decorated.
Major Ovens who held the appointments of private secretary to the governor of the colony, brigade major, and chief engineer, died at Sydney on the 7th December, 1825, and was buried at Garden Island as the old cemetery on the mainland had been done away with. He came to the colony as a subordinate officer of the 73rd regiment in 1810. Two years afterwards he returned to England in company with Captain Piper and Major Cleaveland, who died in the China Seas. Major Ovens obtained his commission in 1822 and returned with Sir T. Brisbane.
In October, 1830, the regiment had to deplore the loss of Captain Logan, who fell a victim to his zeal in exploring the country near Moreton Bay. On the 18th of the month he left the station, attended by a boat's crew and a private servant, intending to make his final survey (the regiment being shortly about to leave the colony for India), where the party encamped. On the way a body of natives was encountered, whose demeanour was unmistakably hostile, and his men endeavoured to dissuade Captain Logan from his determination to proceed from the camp on his survey unattended. Their entreaties were, however, of no avail, and, laughing at their fears, saying he had often frightened natives off by merely pointing an empty bottle at them, he set out alone on the survey, from which he never returned. Alarmed at his non-appearance, his men went in search of him, but being unsuccessful returned to Moreton Bay and reported what had occurred to the officer left in command there, who at once sent out numerous search parties to look for the missing commandant. At length on the fifth day of the search his body was discovered with many native spears in it and partly covered with leaves and earth. It was evident that he had been murdered by the natives. The remains were removed to Sydney, and buried beside those of his old friend Mr. Justice Bent.
On 21st December, 1830, the regiment was transferred to the Indian Establishment and left Australia on the 31st of the following March. Lieutenant-Colonel Shadforth, who had been in command, retired and settled in Australia. He had been succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel Allan in November, 1828. Major Lockyer, who was in 1828 appointed surveyor of roads and bridges, carried out many explorations by land and sea in Queensland and Western Australia as well as in the mother colony.[*]
[* At the commencement of 1825 this regiment was stationed as follows:—
Lieutenant-Colonel Shadforth; Captains Donaldson and Hartley; Lieutenants Donelan, Ovens, Condamine, and T. Shadforth; Ensigns W. Lockyer, Benson, Kidd, E. Lockyer and Wood, twenty-one sergeants, eight drummers and 277 rank and file, (head-quarters) Sydney. Major Campbell, Lieutenant Bate with detachments, was stationed at Melville Island. Captain Logan, Lieutenant Bainbrigge and detachments at Moreton Bay. Lieutenant Browne with detachments at Bathurst. Lieutenant H. Shadforth, one sergeant and detachments at Cox's River. Lieutenant Taylor, and detachments at Western Port. An officer with a detachment was also stationed at the follow mg places: Walh's' Plains (now Morpeth), Longbottom, Parramatta, Globe farm, Emu Plains, Molong Plains, Fish River, Weatherboarded Hut, Springwood, Port Macquarie and Wellington Valley.]
To relieve the 40th regiment, the first detachment of the 39th left Cork for New South Wales in the Woodman on 4th November, 1825, other detachments following during the next year. The head-quarters under the command of Colonel Patrick Lindsay arrived at Sydney in the Cambridge on 7th September, 1827. Detachments were stationed in Tasmania, at King George's Sound, and on the northern coast. Captain Charles Sturt, the explorer, Captain Joseph Wakefield, who established a settlement at King George's Sound, Captain Henry Smyth, who formed a settlement named Fort Wellington on Raffles Bay on the northern coast of Australia, were officers of this regiment. The medical officer, Dr. Macleod, became a settler in a southern district, and Captain Thomas Wright succeeded Captain Turton as commandant at Norfolk Island.
On 16th May, 1831, the anniversary of the battle of Albuera in which the 2nd battalion had distinguished itself twenty years before, new colours were presented to it by Governor Darling in the Barrack Square of Sydney. Before the presentation, the ceremony of consecrating the colours was performed by the Venerable Archdeacon Broughton. The festivities afterwards were unfortunately clouded by the news of the death of Captain Collett Barker near Spencer's Gulf. Captain Barker had succeeded Captain Stirling as commandant at Fort Wellington, and when that settlement was abandoned in 1829 had gone to King George's Sound as commandant. In returning to Sydney Barker landed for the purpose of making a survey of Lake Alexandrina, Spencer's Gulf, where his party unfortunately fell in with natives at whose hands he lost his life. On 30th May, 1831, the regiment proceeded to India. Colonel (afterwards Sir Patrick) Lindsay, however, acted as Lieutenant-Governor after General Darling's departure from New South Wales until the arrival of Sir Richard Bourke, and during this period the command of the regiment fell upon Major Macpherson who had been withdrawn from Bathurst.
Early in the twenties the settlers had to contend not only with the attacks of the natives but with the lawlessness of their own countrymen. Bands of convicts, many of whom were the settlers' own servants, seeing how successfully the blacks carried out their raids upon the industrious inhabitants bade farewell to all authority and took to the bush. The Bathurst and Goulburn districts were for some time overrun with these disturbers of the peace. Near the head of Campbell River, where it inclines towards the Lachlan, a small piece of land about two miles in diameter was called Wildhorse because, when the commissioner travelled from Bathurst to Argyle in October, 1820, one of the baggage horses was hurt and being unloaded was left loose while the party proceeded on their journey. Here for years afterwards this horse was to be seen, grown fat and sleek, with his tail long and sweeping, and perfectly wild, for he would gallop oft at first sight of man. He seemed always to be near the place. It was in this same spot that much cattle-stealing and bushranging began and ended, and hither, because of its lonely and inaccessible surroundings, were driven alike the stray bullocks, valuable racehorses, and, on occasions, flocks of sheep, stolen from the paddocks and stables of the settlers, taken sometimes while the owners slept or sometimes even, when the desperadoes were sure of safely landing their spoil, during broad daylight.
Herds of cattle thinly scattered over the wide pastures with only a few men in charge soon became the prey of the Australian cattle poacher, whose ingenuity was chiefly exercised in altering the brand marks upon the stolen cattle. A bit of hoop iron applied to the old brand soon turned the letter C to G, O to Q while other letters were only slightly more difficult to change. With a little practice the thieves became almost perfect in the art, and, at the worst, made the letters indistinguishable. The excitement was quite equal to that of poaching game in the mother-country, while the poacher was not half so heavily handicapped at the outset. It is true that the Australian poacher occasionally fell in with the bronzed owner of the cattle or the lithe officer of the mounted police, and then "things" were more even, but the new country on the whole gave the pursued far better chances of escape than the old. Once the cattle stealer was well away from the fold, after passing through a few slip panels, a log fence or a stream or two he would gallop fast over the plain, to the sound of ringing hoofs, the cracking of whips, and the shouting-of men. It took little time to alter the brands, dip a white hoof or paint out a star or a blaze, and then the chances were that if any of the stolen animals happened to be seen alive it would be a difficult task for the owners to recognise them, or if dead to distinguish their hides.
Tracing these bushrangers to their lair was a most difficult task. Had it not been for the help of the natives the police would have often found it impossible to get near them at all, as, when suspected, they separated in two and threes, and waded a river for some distance so as to leave no foot marks. This was particularly necessary in order to screen their movements from the keen eyes of the blacks, who were marvellous trackers and could discover the trace of man or animal where a white man could see nothing. Once, while busily following up a robbery, a black fellow stopped and told the police that the bushranger they wanted to arrest was knock-kneed simply from the impression made by his foot, and the information afterwards proved to be correct.
Trusted natives were created bush constables by the Government, and were allowed guns and ammunition. At first they were given a brass plate, shaped like a crescent, which they wore suspended on a chain round their necks, and upon which was written the name of the wearer, his tribe, and the purpose for which the plate was given him. In later days it was not worn by the "black tracker," as the native mounted policeman began to be called.
On account of these outbreaks settlements of veteran soldiers were placed throughout the colony, one being placed at Black Rock near Bathurst where the land granted them might have made many independent. A number of free settlers also were given grants at Queen Charlotte's Vale which a writer described as "approaching nearest in its original state to the beau ideal of natural scenery". But it was not only at Bathurst and Goulburn the bushrangers carried out their robberies. They were even more frequent around Newcastle and along the Hunter where gangs met and divided the spoil, and in this part of the colony deeds of greater violence than those of the western and southern districts were frequent, and constituted a real anxiety to the inhabitants.
The corps of mounted police which was raised for the repression of these crimes was soon largely increased. The officers, constituted also magistrates of the colony, were chosen from the regiments of the Sydney garrison; the troopers being obtained from the same source. No soldier was chosen or allowed to serve in the mounted police unless he bore a good character. Dressed in a smart serviceable uniform, each carried a carbine, sabre, and a pair of pistols, and all were splendidly mounted on the fastest horses that could be obtained. The nature of the country and the recklessness of the bushrangers soon taught them to be wide-awake and cautious, and most of them became good riders and expert shots.
The daring deeds of those early times would put all later bushranger stories in the shade. The raids were skilfully planned, generally taking place when the police were at a distance from the settlement, and courage and not a little unselfishness were needed for one settler to go to another's assistance. Not only did many of the community refuse aid through fear of being robbed, but it was believed that the bushrangers were often informed how to carry out their plans with success. In 1825 and 1826 they had become a terror in all the country districts. The bushrangers' greeting "Bail up" very soon sounded more familiar than pleasant to the settlers' ears, and on returning after a day's toil among his herds it was not an uncommon occurrence for the colonist to find his home looted and his family in hiding, if nothing more serious had happened.
In July, 1825, Messrs. Rankin and Perrier at Bathurst captured Blanchfield, one of the leaders, but Mr. Rankin had a narrow escape, for the bullet fired at him by the bushranger only missed him by a hair's breadth. In 1826 Lieutenant Evernden of the Buffs, when acting-commandant there, was most energetic in endeavouring to crush the outlaws with large detachments of that regiment. In March he fell in with seven bushrangers, captured Morris O'Connell, leader of another gang, and took many runaways. In July this officer, accompanied by Mr. William Lee of Claremont, Bathurst, and assisted by a party of natives, after a smart three days' chase captured Carter and Johnstone, who had escaped from an escort six months previously. In recognition of this capture of the bushrangers[*] a quaintly worded Government notice appeared in the Sydney Gazette, acknowledging the activity of the settlers and the usefulness of the mounted police under Mr. Evernden.
[* Governor Macquarie seems to have been the first official to make use of the word "bushranger". Writing home in March, 1815, he remarks: "There have been small bands of robbers, since the original establishment of the settlement, infesting the colony who have generally gone by the name of 'bushrangers'".]
The following reprint is only a portion of the original notice:—
Colonial Secretary's Office, 6th July, 1826.
The Governor has again the Satisfaction to notice the successful Exertions of the Mounted Police, under Lieutenant Evernden, at Bathurst.
A Party of Bushrangers, armed with Musquets, have been taken, after a Pursuit of three Days. They had seized some Horses, and were driving off a Number of Sheep.
* * *
Those who, from Supineness, or any unworthy Motive, do not at once come forward, but acquiesce in the Aggressions of the Bushrangers, in the Hope of conciliating them, will meet the merited Reward of their Baseness, by being plundered by those whom they have endeavoured to screen, and being held up to the just Reprobation of the Public.
* * * * * * *
By His Excellency's Command,
* * * * * * * * * *
A portion of the 39th regiment under Major Donald Macpherson and Captain Horatio Walpole were some three years later quite as enterprising, pursuing gangs of bushrangers, many of whom were caught and executed. In 1830 both Captain Walpole and Lieutenant Browne, aided by Mr, Suttor of Brucedale near Bathurst, and other settlers, succeeded in tracking a gang of desperadoes through the bush, who, after having successfully robbed the Bathurst settlers, managed to escape before the soldiers arrived. Making their way to the far west, they fled for many miles through densely wooded country, providing themselves with fresh horses during the chase. Lieutenant Macalister moved out from the military depot at Goulburn and met them on the Lachlan River where a sharp fight took place in which he as well as many men on both sides were wounded. The following morning the bushrangers surrendered to Captain Walpole who had now caught them up, having followed from the Bathurst side.
In consequence of the boldness of the outlaws Captain Forbes was on 16th October, 1830, by a general order, appointed to command a large body of men drawn in equal numbers from the regiments and garrison. They were mounted by the Government and dispersed over the various settled parts of the colony. Before this appointment was made, the police had no recognised commanding officer, but were nominally under the superintendence of the brigade major at Sydney. After Captain Forbes became their chief they improved wonderfully in discipline and efficiency, and the whole colony acknowledged their usefulness.
Many of the officers and men did not return to their native country. Some became colonists, others died before their regiments left Sydney. Many were laid to rest in those outlying military depots where duty had called them to serve. But England can not regard them as entirely lost to her. Over the country where they died her flag flies proudly and in the little old-fashioned churchyards where they sleep many a sunburnt Australian child has bent over their graves and with tiny fingers brushing away the bramble has traced the quaintly worded inscriptions and learnt yet another reason why Australians call England "home".
Church service was first held in Sydney "under a shady tree". There was only one clergyman, Richard Johnson, chaplain of the Sirius, and he for years undertook the religious duty at the settlement. Even the one clergyman would have been forgotten had not Wilberforce drawn the Prime Minister's attention to the fact that no provision had been made for a chaplain. The requisite authority was given, and Mr. Johnson, a graduate of Cambridge University (Magdalene College, B.A., 1784, Senior Optime), was chosen.
It was not a post that would have attracted many men, however imbued with a sense of duty. Apart from its responsibilities, it entailed heavy sacrifices. It meant breaking with ties of home, friendship, or professional companionship, and the loss of all the comforts of life, of the chances of gaining distinction or promotion, and the ministering to over one thousand persons, the majority of whom were prisoners.
The choice turned out well. No one in that small colony proved more earnest, more painstaking, or held office so faithfully as the chaplain of the Sirius. Every Sunday after the first landing at Sydney Cove, at a very early hour and before their various occupations had scattered the people to different parts of the settlement, he would gather his flock together around him beneath some large tree, there to worship in the manner they had been accustomed to do in their native land. The sight was a strange one, and we are told that when the Spanish warships the Descuvierta and the Atrevida anchored in Neutral Bay in 1793, the priest belonging to the commodore's ship lifted his eyes in astonishment on observing no church there, and seeing the English pastor each Sunday seek a shady spot, declared that "His nation would have erected a House for God before one for man".
Johnson's steadfastness developed the seeds of Christianity, notwithstanding the drawbacks with which he had to contend, and perhaps in some future age his work through those tedious years, in that rough bare land, will appeal to the hearts of the Australian people and save his memory from the oblivion into which it has partly fallen. If there was no chiming of the Sabbath bell; no dome overhead but the green boughs and the blue sky; no music but rustling leaves and the lapping waves in the cove, and nothing to attract the congregation except his quiet voice, the Church of England can claim that where he first began to preach there are now thickly populated parishes owning churches the services of which would satisfy the most devout worshipper. "Owing to his splendid energies," says Colonel Collins who knew him intimately, "the early Sabbath days at Sydney were not allowed to pass over without the ordinary observances of a civilised land. They were never omitted. All that he could do he did. He visited the sick, went from settlement to settlement, from hut to hut; rode to distant stations and assembled at each place as many as could be got together to read the service to them and exhort them to live the lives of Christian people."
As Phillip promoted the social welfare of the country so Johnson helped forward its spiritual life. But while the governor was aided by civil and military officers to carry out his designs, Johnson was dependent upon himself alone; even his small income was employed in uses which might be termed "Church expenses" if a church had existed. At last 400 acres of land were set apart by Governor Phillip for the maintenance of a clergy fund, but not for some time afterwards was it deemed necessary to begin to build a church. Six years, nearly seven, went by and divine service was still held in the open air, subject to all changes of climate. Then, in despair, Johnson, who had made repeated applications both to Governor Phillip and Major Grose to provide him with a place of worship, began at his own expense a temporary building, intended chiefly to shelter the congregation from the inclemency of the weather. The spot chosen was on the east side of Sydney Cove, not far from what is now the corner of Hunter and Castlereagh Streets, near the Circular Quay. It was seventy-three feet long and fifteen wide, with one extension forty feet long by fifteen wide running at right angles from the centre. It was built of posts, wattles and plaster, with a thatched roof and is said to have resembled a barn more than a house of prayer. But it was the first Christian church in that part of the globe. The chaplain consecrated and opened it on 25th August, 1793, and for five years, although so roughly built, it proved fairly comfortable within, and a great boon in wet weather.
On 1st October, 1798, it was unfortunately burned down, history says by an incendiary. The governor then allowed a newly built brick store to be fitted up to take its place. In 1800, when the Orphan School was completed, the fittings were removed from the brick storehouse to the school, as it was the larger building. This stood on what now is the corner of George and Bridge Streets and served as a house of divine worship until Governor Bligh's departure.
St. Philip's Church, Sydney.
In 1794 the Rev. Samuel Marsden (Mag. Coll., Camb.) arrived in Sydney in the William and the work was divided between the two clergymen. Mr. Bain, the chaplain of the New South Wales Corps, who received his appointment also through Wilberforce, had arrived in the Gorgon, but he appears to have fulfilled his duties simply as chaplain of his regiment in Sydney and Norfolk Island, and he returned to England with Lieutenant-Governor Grose. A temporary church similar to that built by Johnson in Sydney was opened at Parramatta in 1796, and meanwhile preparations to build St. Philip's Church were taken in hand. The tower which was of brick was built first in 1797, three years before Governor Hunter laid the foundation of the main building on 27th June, 1800. A clock with a square face was placed in the steeple in 1798. Owing to bad workmanship and to its being built on a hill-side the south side of the tower fell in June, 1806, during a severe gale. The clock, however, escaped injury; and the steeple was soon rebuilt of stone. In 1800 Captain Hunter laid the foundation stone of another church at Parramatta where service was held for the first time in 1803. The Sydney church was called St. Philip's in honour of Governor Phillip, and the church at Parramatta St. John's after Captain John Hunter. A silver communion service which was presented by King George III. to St. Philip's arrived in October, 1803, by H.M.S. Calcutta and is used in the church at the present time. The walls were finished in April, 1804, but the church was not consecrated until 1810. St. John's, therefore, was finished first—it could hold nearly 400 people; two steeples were added to it later.
St. John's Church, Parramatta.
In 1801 after thirteen years of hard work Mr. Johnson returned to England and the Rev. Samuel Marsden became the senior chaplain. For seven years he ministered almost entirely alone. In 1805 the Rev. Henry Fulton, who had in 1801 been appointed chaplain by Governor King at Norfolk Island, arrived in Sydney. Mr. Marsden obtained two years' leave of absence in 1807 and proceeded to England to obtain assistance for the church in Australia, and also to advocate a Christian mission in New Zealand. Mr. Fulton officiated in his place until the arrest of Governor Bligh. During the troubled state of the colony under Bligh, when public worship was suspended (January, 1808, to December, 1809), Mr. Fulton was the governor's staunchest friend, and he returned to England with him in 1810. He came back to the colony in 1812 and was made incumbent of the church at Castlereagh.
Mr. Marsden left for England in the Buffalo accompanied by Mrs. Marsden; Mrs. King, the wife of Governor King, being also a passenger by the same ship. After leaving Sydney a heavy gale threatened, and it was proposed that the passengers should quit the Buffalo, as she was an old ship and thought unseaworthy, and go on board a stauncher vessel which bore her company. The governor's wife, however, was an invalid and could not be moved, and Mrs. Marsden would not leave her, so the chaplain refused the offer and remained behind. Throughout the night the gale blew strongly. Danger appeared to threaten them, and the creaking timbers of the Buffalo groaned as the huge waves lashed the sides of the vessel. When morning dawned all eyes sought for the companion ship. But in vain. She was nowhere to be seen nor was she ever heard of again.
While in England Marsden did not appeal unsuccessfully either for Australia or New Zealand. The Church Missionary Society decided to accept the call to New Zealand, and the Episcopal authorities agreed to send more clergymen to aid Marsden in his work at Sydney. The Rev. William Cowper, whose family were afterwards closely identified with "Church and State" in the colony, reached Port Jackson before Marsden's return and took duty at St. Philip's Church. Mr. Robert Cartwright followed in 1810, and Marsden, resuming his duties as incumbent of St. John's at Parramatta, also preached regularly once a week in Sydney. In addition to his ecclesiastical duties Marsden was an enthusiastic farmer and was one of the first clerical magistrates appointed. Such appointments called forth much criticism in England and were discontinued in the colony by the order of Lord Bathurst during the governorship of General Darling. Dr. Lang united in the censure against Marsden's accepting the post and also against his agricultural enterprise, but Mr. Robert Montgomery Martin, in his work on Australia written in 1851, says that Dr. Lang appears to have forgotten the peculiar circumstances in which both Marsden and the officers of the New South Wales Corps were placed, having nothing but their pay and "rations" to rely on for the support of themselves and their families, when the rations were salt pork or salt beef, and fresh mutton two shillings a pound, a cow brought £80 and so on. "This state of things," says Martin, "compelled them to rear their own stock and it was fortunate that they did so."
In 1814 Marsden fitted out the brig Active and, accompanied by two missionaries, founded a mission station in New Zealand. This really was the first attempt at British colonisation in that country, and although no Government was set up, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of New South Wales was extended to residents in New Zealand who at that time were chiefly the crews of fishing vessels and missionaries. The success that attended Marsden's dealings with the Maoris was remarkable, and he proved himself most energetic in good works both at home and abroad. He had visited Norfolk Island as far back as 1795, and the traders and missionaries in the south seas were wont to send him articles to sell or exchange for them in the market at Sydney. The Maoris trusted him implicitly and in return for his straightforwardness allowed the missionaries to come and go freely among their tribes. The European sailors, however, behaved very differently and, in spite of precautions, murders and outrages took place.
In 1810 on Christmas Day Mr. Marsden consecrated St. Philip's Church which had been enlarged and improved. When the alterations were finished it was a substantial stone building with a round tower. The interior, however, probably still contained either the old fittings of the Orphan School or temporary ones, as some years later we find that Macquarie mentions in his report that "the old church at Sydney was repaired inside and out with new galleries and new pews". In another report we read that "St. Philip's resembles an English church and would accommodate a thousand people".[*]
[* Mr. Bigge says about eight hundred in his report.]
Wooden churches, however, were built inland before the days of Macquarie, The earliest appears to have been at Parramatta. It was used in 1796 and another built at Windsor was used as early as 11th August, 1805. In the book entitled General Standing Orders of New South Wales, 1803—the first book ever printed in Australia—a notice appears with respect to the school-house and wooden church or chapel at the Hawkesbury to the effect that, "All who wish to become subscribers to support the institution and maintain the chaplain may do so by paying 2d, for each acre of land they possess".
The foundation stone of St, Matthew's, the first stone church at Windsor, which took the place of the above-mentioned wooden church was laid by Governor Macquarie on 11th October, 1817. It was opened for service on 8th December, 1822, when Mr. Cartwright, who was also appointed to act as magistrate, was installed as first incumbent. In 1817 Christ Church at Newcastle was completed, but it was not opened until 1821.
A wooden church was in existence at the Castlereagh in 1812 and on the return of the Rev. H, Fulton from his voyage to England with Governor Bligh he was appointed to officiate there.
St. Luke's Church at the Hawkesbury, St. Peter's at Campbelltown, St. Thomas's at Port Macquarie, and the Church of the Holy Trinity at Bathurst were all built during the rule of Macquarie or that of Brisbane. The Bathurst church, a wooden one, where now stands the well-known Kelso church was the first to be built on the western side of the Blue Mountains. Its register is still in existence and dates back to 1826, when the first death occurred, fully twelve years after the discovery of the plains. There is, however, reason to believe that the church was used for many years previously, although it does not appear in the list of those actually completed during Macquarie's rule, nor had it a permanent chaplain until some years afterwards. Captain John Fennell, civil commandant of the town and A.D.C. to Sir Thomas Brisbane, and Lieutenant Gore, who died there, were both buried in the old Bathurst Churchyard, Kelso, in 1826. The Rev. Thomas Hassall, formerly a missionary, was the first clergyman and permanent chaplain; the Rev. J. E. Keane, a graduate of Dublin University, being the second, and was appointed to the district in 1828. The brick church now standing at Kelso was built in 1835 and was consecrated by the Rev. Samuel Marsden. The Rev. Joseph Walpole of Cambridge University, probably a relative of Captain Walpole who served with his regiment in that district, succeeded in 1840, and the Rev. T. Sharpe then took duty at Bathurst itself, service being held in the house of the commandant.
Holy Trinity Church, Kelso (Old Bathurst)
Governor Macquarie on 7th October, 1819, also laid the foundation stone of St. James's Church, which stood at the north end of Hyde Park, Sydney, but it was not opened until 11th February, 1824, when it was dedicated to St. James. The building was designed for a court house and the alteration marred its architectural features. It was finished after the arrival of Mr. Bigge the royal commissioner who visited Sydney in February, 181 9. He had been sent out to report to the Home Government upon the various public works then in progress, and stopped the building of St. Andrew's Cathedral, planned by Governor Macquarie to be erected at the corner of Church and Bathurst Streets. Mr. Bigge thought that there was no need for such a large building in the colonies at that time, and the proposed expenditure far exceeded the sum that the British Government desired to spend upon a cathedral for so young a settlement. The work at St. James's was not interfered with, but the tower and spire were not added until some years afterwards, when a contemporary report speaks of its being built in Grecian style with a lofty spire and belfry, constructed of bricks and strengthened by large freestone pillars. Between 1810 and 1818 the Revs. B. Vale, J. Youl, R. Hill and J. Cross came to the colony. Mr. Youl had been appointed to Liverpool, but he went at first to Port Dalrymple, Tasmania, for duty there, returning to Liverpool later. In 1820 the Rev. R. Reddall arrived.
While Messrs. Cowper and Hill divided the duty at St. Philip's and St. James's in Sydney, Mr. Marsden continued to officiate at St. John's, Parramatta. The services for the troops in Sydney were held at seven o'clock in the morning; that for the prisoners at nine o'clock, and besides the ordinary morning service at eleven, there were services held in the afternoon and evening. "Sunday was scrupulously kept," and in September, 1825, shops of all kinds were formally prohibited from being opened.
In 1823 an archdeaconry for New South Wales was created by Royal Charter and placed under the See of Calcutta. Bishop Heber did not forget or overlook his distant charge. On his way to India to take up his duties he wrote to a friend: "How strange to recollect the interest I used to take in southern seas...in India and its oceans, in Polynesia and Australasia! I used to fancy I should like to see them, now it seems not improbable that I shall see many of these colonies if life is spared me." In a letter to the Right Hon. R. J. Wilmot Horton he wrote: "I hope that I may carry my Australasian visitation into effect ". And again: "Shall we forget while every sea is traversed by our keels and every wind brings home wealth to our harbours that we have a treasure at home of which those from whom we draw our wealth is in the utmost need?"
Unfortunately the bishop did not live to carry out his intentions, although we are told by one of his editors that he often studied with him the map of New South Wales in the hope of voyaging there. His sudden death in 1826, after only two years' work in India, may have been a greater loss to Australia than might be now supposed. New South Wales had many Churchmen employed in religious work, but the bishop's presence there, even for a short time, would doubtless have made its influence felt.
Bishop Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, under which See the Diocese of New South Wales was placed by Royal Charter in 1823.
The Rev. Thomas Hobbes Scott, who with Mr. Bigge had travelled from England to New South Wales, was upon his return ordained and appointed first Archdeacon of Australia. Like the first governor he was invested with extraordinary powers; he was directed to make an annual visitation of all the churches throughout the colony, and throughout Tasmania, where he was given orders to appoint a rural dean to officiate in his absence, the expense of the appointment to be paid by the governor. He was to recommend to the Government the several stations where it might be desirable to place chaplains, and all the appointments of inferior offices of the Church nominated by the officiating ministers were to be subject to his approval. All schools maintained by the Government were to be placed under him as a visitor. In point of rank, the archdeacon was to hold that next in order to the lieutenant-governor. Regarding questions of a legal nature the attorney-general and solicitor-general were to give him advice freely, and in special cases to act as his assessors. In the event of a clergymen being suspended by him, he was to signify the case to the governor, who was to act on the archdeacon's responsibility. "The letter from Lord Bathurst to Sir Thomas Brisbane, which conveyed these instructions," an old writer says, "forms a somewhat curious document in the history of the Church in the colonies, since it gave to the Archdeacon of Australia powers which exceeded those conferred on the Bishop of India."
With the coming of Archdeacon Hobbes Scott, who arrived in Sydney on 9th May, 1825, in the ship Hercules, the Church took her rightful place in the colony. The archdeacon held his primary visitation at St. James's Church, on 19th June, 1825; the Rev. Mr. Wilkinson preached the sermon. Services were held regularly and Church work was carried out with order and to the people's benefit. At the second visitation held in September, 1827, the Rev. C. Pleydell Wilton preached, and at the third, on 3rd December, 1829, the Rev. Joseph Docker of Windsor, who had arrived in 1828. At the conclusion of his sermon in St. James's the whole of the clergy then in the colony, except two who were excused by the archdeacon because of the long distance they lived from Sydney, advanced to the communion table and stood around the semi-circular railings to hear the address. While the archdeacon remained seated by the holy table, Mr. James Norton, the registrar of the Archdeacon's Court, called over the names of the clergymen, to which each one answered by an obeisance to the archdeacon, who, in conclusion, delivered his charge to them. Mr. Docker afterwards left the Church to enter Parliament, and proved himself a most consistent statesman.
In 1828 the Established Church consisted of one archdeacon and fourteen chaplains; there were eight churches, six chapels and seven parsonages, two clergymen had temporary parsonages found for them, and four were allowed the equivalent for a house. The chaplain's house in Sydney faced Bridge Street. It was a small white cottage, surrounded by a garden with orange bushes growing in front, which probably were planted in the first instance by the Rev. Richard Johnson who had introduced the orange into New South Wales, having obtained the seed from Rio de Janeiro when he voyaged out with Captain Phillip.
The Rev. W. Grant Broughton arrived in Sydney in 1829. He became Archdeacon of Sydney in succession to Archdeacon Hobbes Scott, and was afterwards first resident Bishop of Australia. Before his death he had charge over six bishoprics and 200 clergy. Sir Alfred Stephen, Chief Justice of Sydney, afterwards in his eulogy asserted that no man ever went down to his grave carrying more deservedly the respect of his fellow-colonists.
We have described the houses of the settlers in the interior as bearing a strong resemblance to an English farm-house of the eighteenth century. But perhaps the building that bore the strongest resemblance to the English original was the church where for one day in the week at least the whole of the settlers, rich and poor, master and servant, met together. The carved baptismal font, the high old-fashioned pews, the wide gallery and spacious organ loft, the communion table with its railings, the pulpit surmounting the reading-desk, fenced round again by the wide square pew reserved for the chaplain, and the two large calf-bound books with their long markers resting upon the red velvet cushions, needed but one glance to tell the nationality and creed of the people who worshipped there.
The Church of those early days owes so much to laymen that two at least of the most prominent must be mentioned: Captain Wallis who is said to have founded Christ Church, Newcastle, in which he held services when the incumbent was absent, a matter of frequent occurrence, since there were so few clergymen then in the colony; and Sir William Edward Parry, the arctic explorer, who accepted in 1828 the managership of the Australian Agricultural Company which had been established at Port Stephens five years previously for the purpose of promoting the growth of fine merino wool. Sir Edward and Lady Parry spent four years in the colony. A few days before leaving England Sir John Franklin, who was on terms of great friendship with them, wrote them a letter of farewell. Both of these great explorers, Franklin and Parry, held posts in Australia and endeavoured to do all in their power when there to forward religious education among the people.
St. Leonard's Church.
Sir John Franklin wrote from Gedling Hall, Nottinghamshire, on 9th July, 1829:—
"My dear Parry,
"I cannot allow you and Lady Parry to leave the shores of England, although it is to embark in a very interesting pursuit, without the hearty good wishes and best desires of Lady Franklin and myself, and that our prayers will often be offered up for every blessing to attend you. You will have a wide field for the exercise of Christian virtues, and I am sure you will have full experience of the delight arising from contributing to the moral improvement and happiness of those under your command. When I reflect on the change effected by my little party on the habits and manners of the people during a hasty progress through the wilds of America I feel that in the evening of your life you will look back upon the time you may spend in Australia with the warmest feelings of gratitude and joy."
On the 13th December the William reached Sydney, where Sir Edward and Lady Parry were invited by Governor and Mrs. Darling to stay at Government House. Here Lady Parry spent some time after having given birth to a twin son and daughter. Owing to the care and attention of the governor's wife, the little son who was a very delicate child, was nursed safely through a critical illness.[*]
[* In after years this son became Bishop of Dover.]
On the 28th of March they embarked in a small cutter belonging to the Agricultural Company and arrived at Port Stephens after a voyage of fifteen hours. The harbour, some ninety miles north of Sydney, is guarded at the entrance by two conical hills, called by the natives Yacaba and Tomare. The estuary is fifteen miles long and near the centre contracts to the width of a mile.
Rear-Admiral Sir W. Edward Parry
The Parrys lived here for four years, and their first step was the establishment of regular Sunday service. As there was no church nearer than Sydney, ninety miles distant, and no chaplain, Sir Edward fitted up a carpenter's shop in the village and there conducted service himself. His friend and assistant, Mr. Ebsworth, says: "I scarcely ever heard the liturgy read with so much reverence, feeling and apparent delight ". A choir was formed and the members practised at Sir Edward's house. A school was also opened by Lady Parry and a library formed. Later when writing to his father-in-law. Sir John Stanley of Alderley, Sir Edward says: "In our character of the parson of the parish and his wife we have visited, admonished and assisted everybody within our reach. My duties have been somewhat arduous. I have written one and preached two sermons every Sunday—christened a great many children—visited the sick—buried the dead."
The success which attended their combined efforts rendered the years spent at Tahlee among the brightest of their married life. Parry's letters home show how thoroughly he entered into the religious work. "Send out more Bibles," he writes, "I never before so fully felt the truth of its being the sword of the spirit...In this country almost more than any other whatever fruit is brought forth God shows that the praise and glory are, as they ought to be, His alone."
Sir Edward and Lady Parry shared the joys and sorrows of the people, and constant entertainments enlivened the everyday life. Lady Parry's birthday was always a gala day. Sir Edward describes the first festival: "We had a large dinner and ball of all the company's servants...being the first ever given here. Isabella and I danced away with them at first to set them going. Our great object is to make them all sociable and happy." And in another letter writes: "Yesterday was the breaking up of our school...We had a kind of tent rigged up on the middle of the flat at Carribeen which is a place something like an English common, and the head carpenter entered into it with great spirit, decorating the place with boughs and bunches of wild flowers which to an English eye were greenhouse plants and some of the rarest kind. There were flags flying and an ensign upon a flagstaff not far away. Altogether it had a beautiful effect with the woody scenery around. Fifty-two children sat down to dinner and no Cheshire children could have done greater justice to the beef and plum pudding. After dinner we set them to play games at which blacks and whites joined, both old and young. Mr. Ebsworth (the assistant manager) was delighted with the fête. They all said it reminded them of England and was the first of the kind Port Stephens had ever witnessed." Lady Parry also took evident interest in the natives..."There are a great number of natives about the place and they have an encampment between us and the village, their huts being formed of two pieces of bark placed upright against each other. They appear to be harmless, quite different from those near Sydney who are so bad and horrible looking. I think I may even learn to admire a little native black child. I often long for—to see the small black things running about like little imps." Another letter describes Christmas in Australia, "Christmas Day is passed...we have commemorated it with pleasure and interest, though in this distant land, and have endeavoured to make it like an English Christmas. We did not wish for your frost and snow, but we did wish that the sun had not been quite so hot. The thermometer registered 87° in the shade of our verandah...Our singers had prepared hymns for the season and on Christmas Eve we had the carols, which they sang very well indeed, going round to all the houses, seventeen in number, where every one seemed quite happy to be reminded of England. We also had our church decorated with evergreens. We could not get holly or yew, but there is a shrub which is very common here, like the laurel, only I think handsomer...It was a beautiful evening". and when we were all sitting out on our lawn we could not help thinking of the difference of your climate to ours just then."
Sir Edward was often away. Long expeditions were made through the bush to unknown tracts of land.
After one of these expeditions through the company's estate Lady Parry describes some of their experiences. "We heard tidings from our absent party three days after they had left us, and they were going on prosperously, having reached Myall River. They are obliged to make short journeys each day as eight pack bullocks which carry their goods travel slowly. They are travelling through an untracked country and have frequently to cut their way through the bush. Their party consists of twelve, including blacks—of whom they have three—as they are of great service when they fall in with other natives. They have two tents to pitch at night. It was like a large caravan moving when they set out—all the bullocks in a string, each laden, and a man to every beast, the attendants with guns slung over their shoulders and the others riding. The blacks were dressed for the occasion and looked so proud of themselves! They soon get tired of their clothes, but always want to have them at first and it is one inducement to make them go! We are now in the middle of winter but we have had no cold as yet. The thermometer having never been below 50°, but it feels colder here than it would do at that temperature in England from our being" accustomed to such hot weather..."
On one occasion on a trip to the colliery at Newcastle the party who were as usual all on horseback had to wade through a swamp. The horses were floundering in the soft black earth when the guide remarked that "there was after all a good bottom". "No doubt," replied Sir Edward as his horse up to the girths in mud gave a fresh plunge to try and get out of the slime, "no doubt, but I have not found it yet."
Another night they encamped by the side of a creek. It was raining. The explorer was standing at the door of the tent watching the rising of the stream below them. All at once the water came down "like an immense wave" and in a few minutes the party were deluged and found themselves wading about up to their knees in water. The dray which carried their baggage had to be hastily fastened to a tree to prevent its being washed away while the bullocks were turned loose to find safety for themselves. Those of the party who could, swam over the creek; the rest were hauled across by means of a rope secured to a tree on either side.
Carribeen or Carrington was not the only part of the settlement which profited by their visits. In March, 1831, Lady Parry writes: "On Tuesday we set off in the boat for Booral, another of the company's farms, where the river navigation ends. The scenery is beautiful the whole way, and I quite longed to get out of the boat to examine the beautiful vines and plants, all quite new to me, which were growing along the shores...Our boat, the six-oared gig, had an awning, a very necessary comfort with an Australian sun shining full upon us. At Booral I met an old Alderley acquaintance, who had been transported for poaching; and when I asked whose pheasants he had been taking, he said, 'Sir John Stanley's!' I felt quite kindly disposed towards him, and glad to see one whose face reminded me so strongly of old Alderley! The distance from Booral to Stroud is about eight miles, along a most beautiful bush road. In many parts you might fancy yourself in an English park, the trees being not too close and interspersed with green slopes. I heard for the first time the bell bird and coachman's whip (coachwhip). The former is found near fresh water so that his note is a cheerful sound for travellers. We also saw quantities of parrots and cockatoos. Stroud is charming, but I have no wish to live there instead of Tahlee, for the sea is everything to me."
The want of a regular church and minister being more and more felt as the time drew near for Sir Edward's connection with Port Stephens to cease, he determined to build a church to leave as a legacy for the people. A site was fixed at Stroud near Carrington, and on Monday, 29th April, 1833, the first stone was laid by Sir Edward Parry, and a service for the occasion read by the Rev. C. Pleydell Wilton, chaplain at Newcastle.
In the spring of next year Sir Edward's engagement with the company closed, and Colonel Dumaresq was appointed as his successor, but the work of Sir Edward and Lady Parry was a lasting one. A visitor to Port Stephens after they had left wrote: "At Port Stephens Sir Edward Parry found a wilderness and left it a land of hope and promise...He erected a small but beautiful church on the calm Karuah...where never prayer was heard before...and his example in making improvements everywhere has animated others to do likewise."
Among others who took an interest in Church affairs was Lady Darling. She and her family, with the governor, attended service twice every Sunday, and at Government House the day was held sacred. The help she gave to charitable institutions, as well as the widespread influence her example shed upon the women of the land, bore emphatic testimony to her goodness.
The foundation stone of the first Roman Catholic Church in Sydney was laid on 29th October, 1821, by Governor Macquarie. The first mass is said to have been performed in Harrington Street by a priest belonging to one of the French war-ships which came to Sydney in 1802; but it is more than likely that the devout priest in one or other of the Spanish ships the Discovery and the Intrepid which remained for some time in the harbour held service and that some of the colonists were present. The Rev. James Dixon, an Irish priest (a political prisoner), was permitted by the governor to hold Roman Catholic services in 1803. In 1817 the Rev. Jeremiah O'Flynn was appointed archpriest at Sydney, but having no formal permission from the home authorities was obliged to return to England. In 1820 the Rev. J. J. Therry was appointed and arrived with the Rev. Philip Connolly, the first Roman Catholic chaplain of Tasmania, In 1829 the Rev. J. V. Dowling and three other priests reached Sydney, and a second church was then built at Parramatta. At that time one-third of the population were members of the Church of Rome. The Cathedral of St. Mary was situated in a commanding position in Hyde Park—the land whereon it stood having been granted by Governor Macquarie.
The first Church of Scotland in Sydney itself was St. Andrew's, better known as Dr. Lang's Church. It was erected near St. Philip's upon the hill which was afterwards called Church Hill, but before this a Presbyterian Church of wood had been built at Portland Head on the Hawkesbury by free emigrants from the South of Scotland in 1809, one of their number, Mr. Mein, acting as voluntary catechist. Mr. Andrew Hamilton Hume, the father of Alexander Hamilton Hume, the explorer, was also a Presbyterian who helped his Church. He lived at Parramatta.
The first minister of the Presbyterian Church at Sydney was Dr. John Dunmore Lang. He was born at Greenock in Scotland in 1799, educated at Glasgow University, and ordained and appointed as minister of the Scots Church in Sydney in 1822. He reached the colony in 1823 and at once gave evidence of strong personality. He attracted a large congregation and in a few days the subscriptions for the erection of a church amounted to £700. The list was headed by the Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, a Scotsman and a Presbyterian, but in consequence of a serious disagreement the subscription was withdrawn. Dr. Lang, however, proceeded to England, and, after laying the matter in dispute before Lord Bathurst, returned to Sydney in 1826, bearing instructions to the colonial authorities to pay one-third of the cost of the church, and also an annual stipend of £300 to Dr. Lang. Along with his church Dr. Lang introduced his school system, and through his efforts the Australian College in Sydney was established in 1832.
The Scotch Church, Parramatta.
The controversies respecting the relation between Church and State which culminated in the disruption of the Church of Scotland were not excluded from New South Wales. Dr. Lang, finding himself at variance with his brethren, severed his connection with the State Church, but later on when the various Presbyterian bodies in the colony became one, Dr. Lang entered the union. He wrote many books and pamphlets, the best known being his History of New South Wales, first published in 1834. After a long and useful career he died in Sydney, 8th August, 1878, and was accorded the honour of a public funeral.
The population of the colony contained a considerable proportion of Scotsmen whose numbers had been from time to time increased through the influence of Dr. Lang during visits to his native country. To minister to the increasing flock came other Presbyterian clergy. An early and important addition to their number was the Rev. J. M'Garvie who settled at Portland Head; some years later the Rev. T. Thomson arrived, who became minister at Bathurst, and the Rev. W. Pinkerton, whose sphere of labour was at Maitland on the Hunter.
The first Wesleyan prayer-meeting was held in Sydney on 7th February, 1812, and the first minister of that denomination, other than missionaries who had come there from the South Seas, was the Rev. Samuel Leigh who arrived in the Hebe on 15th August, 1815. The Rev. B. Carvossa came in 1820, and touching at Hobart held his first service there in August of that year. Colonel Waddy and Mr. Nokes held prayer meetings at Hobart in October, 1820. The first Wesleyan resident minister in that colony was the Rev. William Horton.
On the removal of the Port Phillip settlement to the banks of the Derwent, Tasmania, the Rev. Robert Knopwood accompanied the expedition as chaplain. At first the services were held in a large tent. Later the good deeds of Colonel David Collins were perpetuated by the dedication of St. David's Church at Hobart Town. The foundation was laid on 19th February, 1817, and the consecration was performed six years later by Mr. Marsden, and the Rev. William Bedford was appointed chaplain. St. John's Church, Launceston, was opened in 1827 by Archdeacon Hobbes Scott, the Rev. John Youl being the first incumbent.
By 1824 the Wesleyans possessed no less than six chapels in New South Wales. One at Parramatta, twenty-one feet by thirty feet, was opened on 21 St April, 1821. It was built of stone and the fittings are said to have been "well finished ". The second, built three years afterwards, also of stone, stood in Macquarie Street, Sydney; it was very much larger than that at Parramatta. Another chapel, built of brick, at Windsor, measured thirty-two feet by sixteen feet. The cost of these was defrayed by public subscription. A chapel built of wood at Castlereagh, fifty miles from Sydney, in a very solitary neighbourhood, was erected by Mr. John Lees, a settler of the district, at his sole expense. Another, also of wood, was built at the Nepean.
Messrs. Hayward, Erskine, and Hutchinson, Wesleyan missionaries, were then in the colony, and were among those who welcomed Messrs. Tyerman and Bennet upon their visit to Sydney in 1824.
A chapel was opened at Hobart in February, 1826, and one at Launceston in 1827.
There were also in Sydney a Baptist Chapel, a Friends' Meeting House and a Jewish Synagogue.
Geographically Australia lies between the tenth and fortieth parallels of south latitude. Surrounded on all sides by the ocean it measures 1,900 miles from north to south and 2,400 across from east to west. In shape it has been compared to a dish or pancake—a plain in the middle and fringed around the edges. The interior is somewhat elevated above the level of the sea and studded here and there with small groups of hills—-not high enough to yield the rivers which are so much wanted to fertilise the arid wastes of the central plain. Commencing at the northern extremity of the east coast, this central table-land is bordered by ranges, which run downwards through the colony of Queensland, where they are covered with trees and foliage of tropical growth. Maintaining a fair average height they continue their course through New South Wales until, in the colony of Victoria, Mt. Kosciusko, called after the Polish patriot, rises to 7,308 feet, which is only 700 feet short of the limit of perpetual snow. Here they turn westward towards South Australia where there is much high ground, and in that colony meet the slope of outlet by which the three large rivers from the east, whose waters unite and form the Murray, find their way to Lake Alexandrina. Farther west of this break, the table-land is more broken, the mountains being rarely high; and in Western Australia they sink to mere hills.
Captain Sturt had been led to believe that Australia was a basin; that an unbroken range of hills lined its coasts, that the rivers flowed only to the centre and contributed to the formation of an inland sea; but as he proceeded with his explorations he found that there was, especially near the junction of the Castlereagh with the Darling River, a rapid fall of country to the south. His barometer told him that the cataract of the Macquarie was 680 feet above the level of the sea, and that Oxley's depot on the Lachlan was only 500—the fall being still greater beyond these two points, the maximum of the fossil bank through which the Murray passes being only 300 feet. Many of the rivers are connected with lagoons, the lagoons possessing salt or brackish water, but having no communication with the sea, affording vast quantities of salt so beneficial for sheep. Some of these lagoons are small and dry up in the hot summer months altogether; others are really lakes. The largest inland stretch of water is Lake Torrens, near the head of Spencer Gulf, being nearly as large as the Lake of Geneva. Lake George when full of water is twenty-one miles long and in one part five miles wide.
There are signs of volcanic action in many parts not only in the rocks but in the isolated hills, the "conical pics" of the first explorers. The burning hill, Mount Wingen (native name for fire) near the valley of the Hunter River, like similar elevations elsewhere, contains sulphur in a continual combustion, without eruption but throwing out smoke. The hill was discovered in 1828 by a settler who one day while out shooting noticed the smoke arising from it and asked a native whether the bush was on fire, but the black replied "No," adding that the mountain had been burning a very long time; it was subsequently visited by three settlers, Messrs. Mackie (father and son) and Dixon who took with them a party of labourers and made an examination of the place. The opening in the hill was approached by a steep ascent and the ground about it was black and tarry. It was twelve feet wide and thirty feet long, lying between the peaks of two mountains which the natives called Wingen. Five feet from the opening the party threw up a barricade to protect them from the heat which was like that of a furnace, and then they began to explore under the surface. Eight feet down they came on a rocky substance which they blasted and then found coal, saltpetre, alum and sulphur. The settlers, thinking that it was a volcano, were disappointed at not finding lava, but, near the bed of the river, stumps of petrified trees and fossil woods were discovered. The petrifaction presented stripes and coloured bands like beautiful ribbons; there were also sandstones, limestone, beautiful specimens of J asp-agate or Egyptian pebble and amorphous nodules, the interior being filled with the finest crystals. Sandstone and granite were also found in oval or round masses varying from two to twelve feet in circumference. These balls of granite were exactly like the cannon balls used by Cromwell, and when displaced from the sockets appeared as if they had been thrown there by artillery.
Between Glendon and the Hunter River and in the immediate neighbourhood of Mount Wingen the soil was thrown up in regular ridges or furrows similar to those on the Bathurst Plains, and the natives when asked if they knew the cause, explained that corn was grown there a very long time ago, and holding up their fingers exclaimed "Murrey, Murrey, many years gone by!" But this seems incorrect as the undulations preserve the same direction on each side of the mountains and there is little doubt that they were formed by the subsidence of the water after terrible floods from the mountains. An old geologist[*] declares that in his opinion "it may have been at the same time and perhaps by the same catastrophe as that which separated Nobby Island at the mouth of the Hunter from the mainland".
[* The Rev. C. Pleydell Neale Wilton, M.A. Camb.]
In Illawarra, New South Wales, and at Mount Barker there are ranges of hills with abrupt precipices of unstratified igneous rock which has been forced up through marine strata. When Flinders explored Pumice Stone River in the neighbourhood of Glasshouse Bay, he was surprised not to find a volcano. The pumice stone in the river and the situation of the tremendous peaks standing on the low flat ground led him to believe that there must be one there.
The curious harbours with their equally curious branches and inner branches connected with the sea by comparatively narrow openings present a great likeness to the valleys or depressions found in the Blue Mountains, which, like them, says Charles Darwin, are also due to marine action.
Snow is found upon the peaks of the Australian Alps, and during the winter upon many of the smaller ranges. It is also no uncommon sight upon the highest peaks of the Blue Mountains while the wintry blast of the Canoblas nearer Orange is too icy not to be quickly identified. When it blows the newcomer from Great Britain is unmistakably reminded of the north-easter of his native land, while the suntanned face of the Australian turns blue under its sharpness, and his keen eyes measure the white snowcaps on his blue hills with much the same expression as they watch the glittering ring of bush fires encircling the ranges in summer.
Bush fires, like snow, may have serious consequences for the stock. During the hot months fires are not uncommon, for the sun's rays are so powerful that they set the dry grass burning. Then the heat is extreme, the air like that of a furnace; there is no breeze, even the smallest leaf is unmoved. The sun appears as a copper disc through the brown haze of smoke. The clouds hang low in the sky which is of a smoky colour, and the same coloured mist rises from the ground. Even at a distance these signs show that the bush is on fire. As darkness sets in a peculiar redness glows like a halo above the horizon. The sight at night is magnificent if the fire increases and becomes serious, for the trees contain so much resin and turpentine that when once ignited they burn fiercely and rapidly. Long tongues of flame leaping and flashing envelop the blue foliage. From rock to rock, from bush to bush they spread until the tall forest trees come crashing to the earth .beneath a deluge of sparks and falling timber. But the train of fire continues onward, with fierce energy, taking new paths, and doing enormous damage.
Farmers and squatters seldom prepare for the snow even in the districts where as a rule there is at least one fall during the year; but the touch which winter lays upon the land as a rule is comparatively tender and gentle; the thaw being rapid and the ice quickly disappearing.
The coldest months are June and July, when the roses are in bloom and the young birds are twittering in the trees in England; just as in January while "at home" the northern farmer is shaking the snow from his boots and the village children are sliding across the pond—the sun in Australia is throwing its dazzling rays over fields of golden wheat, over gardens and orchards in which the fig, almond, grape, mulberry, melon and orange, as well as the apple, pear, plum, peach, and many other fruits that Great Britain has given her colonies, are ripening.
To quote the words of an old writer: "Besides the trees and fruits all kinds of grain flourished among dingy forests which until now had yielded barely enough to support a few wandering savages". But with the good seed sprang up the tares. In the early days the weed known by the familiar sobriquet of "fat hen" (Chenopodium album) throve so well that dozens of acres were to all appearance one mass of it and reapers were unwilling to undertake work in the fields where it grew. It took deeper root than the wheat and chose the best land for itself. The Scotch thistle increased far too abundantly in the new soil and was so disliked by the cattle that they would starve rather than eat it. So it was with the thistle of the Argentine, the seed of which was originally brought to Bathurst matted in the tails of cart horses imported from South America. From these few seeds there has spread what is now known in Australia as the "Bathurst burr," regarded as a great evil, because of the havoc it creates in the fleece of the fine woolled sheep; it has often been known to ruin a clip for seasons together. Instead of the red poppy, and hardly so ornamental, the tall yellow buttercup seen in English cottage gardens invaded the wheat fields; called in many places "Mackenzie's buttercup," after the settler who first grew it on his land, its long stalk and green leaves make it noticeable, and even in the great heat and dry weather it holds its own among the wild flowers of its adopted country.
The produce of the first wheat grown was most disappointing. But the seed sown had been damaged by the long sea voyage. We learn from an article headed with Thomson's quotation, "Ye hardy Britons venerate the plough," that fifty sheaves made but two bushels of grain. In another instance twenty-two sheaves produced but one bushel. Cape wheat of a good appearance required eighty good-sized sheaves for two bushels; white Lammas wheat somewhat less. The general average seemed to be from thirty to forty sheaves to the bushel and in one place in a previous year (1828), and when exposed to blight, 160 sheaves were thrashed for a bushel. People were also deceived by the length of the straw. A great deal of the wheat grown around Windsor went to stalk. One country clown six feet high boasted that his wheat was the best in the parish: "It is," said he, "as long in the stalk as myself". In return he was told if it were "as light in the head it would be of little value". The maize which Captain Hunter praised so highly grew well everywhere; the banks of the Nepean especially produced large fields of it, and its tall stalks and shining green leaves, surmounted with bursting cobs out of which peeped tiny silky tufts, gave the crop as handsome an appearance as the orchards of oranges growing near by.
The year 1829 seems to have been a bountiful one—the potatoes were of a larger and better description than the country had ever before grown, and all the field and garden crops seem to have thriven. From the first the governors had encouraged gardening. As far back as 1790 Governor Phillip held that it was an absolute necessity for every man to cultivate his own garden. To the few who had not shown signs of industry, had not sown any ground or planted any vegetables, he allotted a small but sufficient plot and encouraged their labours not only by directions but with his presence; and in 1815 Governor Macquarie showed the same interest in gardening. Mrs. Macquarie in her efforts to civilise and improve the condition of the aborigines, had wooden cottages built for them at St. George's Head near the harbour, and allotments laid out, the seeds and plants for these being furnished from the Government store. But the kindness shown both by the governor and his wife to the blacks seems to have been wasted, as in 1824 the gardens and orchards were overrun with weeds, and had become little wildernesses, while not a sign of the dwellings remained. When the land was first cleared British fruit trees were planted and it is still not uncommon to find hedges of ungrafted quince or plum, sometimes along a public road where, their green hue is a pleasant change from the sombre tint of native grass.
Macquarie not only tried to improve the Sydney gardens but also made walks and drives wherever they would command views of the shores of Port Jackson. Mrs. Macquarie had the drive in the Domain laid out after her own plans; the road had to be cut through rocks and underwood and many trees were destroyed; seats were placed at intervals and lodges built at the entrances. On the extreme point overlooking the harbour some horizontal rocks formed a sort of natural seat which has ever since been known as "Mrs. Macquarie's Chair," as the carved inscription bears witness.
There are over ten thousand species of plants in the Australian flora, and a description of the flowers of New South Wales that attracted Sir Joseph Banks, Mr. Cunningham, Mr. Caley and other botanists, would alone fill a volume. Many collections were sent home by Governor Macquarie, one at Lord Bathurst's request being made for the Emperor of Austria and another for M. Goiim, the French King's gardener in Paris. With so many good local plants it is not surprising that Sydney gardens have always been beautiful. They run down to the edge of the water where ships of all descriptions have their anchorage. Men-of-war, famous liners, yachts and weather-beaten vessels from distant ports lie quite close to the land. Wavelets wash the edge of white sand and beat against the brown rocks and quaint boat-houses and rustic steps, and gardens encircle the various coves and promontories, and encroach as it were upon the very borders of land and sea.
Here and there straggling masses of foliage break through the barrier fences or creep over the stone walls and sweep the surface of the waves. Ferns and sea plants cover the rockeries and ornament the borders of the red paths which cross and re-cross the green lawns between the houses and the beach. The tree fern, the bird's nest, the maidenhair, the stag's horn and bright lichens like stars on the grey stone, all seem to be growing as Nature placed them. Higher up, bushes of geranium, soft fragrant oleanders; magnolias laden with yellow flowers scent the air; fuchsias of the richest reds and purples droop on thin stems, and the prickly pears add a touch to the wealth of colour. Besides the indigenous plants, others of northern climates flourish in happy contrast, and lend to the gardens a double charm,—among them the rose, the violet and the English honeysuckle, while trailers and climbers of mountain rockeries, such as bougainvillea, clematis and Virginia creeper hide the porches and cover the white walls of the houses many of which have green shutters and quaint gables.
The eucalyptus trees, of which there are numerous kinds, are the largest trees in the country. These were first called gum-trees by Captain Cook's party, from the quantity of astringent juice or gum which most of them contain, and they are popularly known by that name. Besides gum several of the species also yield manna which is generally found in tiny pieces, dry and crisp, beneath the tree amid the dried leaves and pieces of bark. And in addition to the gum and manna, some yield the well known oil.
To one kind, E. piperita, the name of peppermint tree was given by Mr. White, surgeon of the Sirius, and afterwards Surgeon-General of New South Wales under Governor Phillip, on account of the resemblance between the oil drawn from its leaves and that obtained from the ordinary peppermint plant. The best known sorts are the red gum (E. rostrata) and the blue gum (E. globulus); the yellow gum was formerly used by the natives in making their spears; the white gum (E. haemastoma) is a big tree with wide-spreading branches, the bark covering the trunk and limbs is white and smooth, the leaves deep green. In the Dandenong ranges peppermint trees have often attained 420 feet and near Healesville a fallen tree measured 480 feet or 76 feet higher than the spire of Salisbury Cathedral.
There are numerous Australian species of acacia. The wattles are most valued because the bark is used in tanning, and the myall has the hardest wood with a very fine grain. When Captain Cook's party saw the polished weapons of scented myall wood in the hands of the natives they declared that they shone like musket barrels in the sunlight. Ornaments made out of this wood are much sought after. The natives formerly carved these articles neatly; and formerly there were few stockmen who did not carry a myall whip handle. The valuable acacia cedar, found chiefly in Queensland and the northern portion of New South Wales, represents another genus. The Norfolk Island pine is a tree allied to the bunya bunya which the Government will not allow to be felled on Crown lands as the seed is eaten by the natives. Both are picturesque trees, but the former is not indigenous to Australia. We are told that it was first planted on the banks of the Parramatta by Mr. Wilson of H.M.S. Reliance who had brought many seedlings of the tree from Norfolk Island, and it has done well in New South Wales.
One of the chief peculiarities of Australian vegetation is that ferns, nettles, and even grasses have the form and habits of trees. The grasses, like the numerous sedges, thrive best in places liable to inundation. In summer time the green sward or turf is unseen. It lies hidden beneath a taller grass of a yellowish brown tint. This long herbage—as the stock well know—protects the short grass from the fierce sun rays. Were you to uproot the brown grass, to plough the land and sow it with artificial seed to obtain the effect of an English field you would reap no reward for your pains, as the native grass would be destroyed and the foreign grass, the seed of that grown in colder climates, would perish under the summer sun.
It is remarkable how in Australia, in the midst of luxuriant growth, bare patches, due perhaps to the quantity of salt impregnating the soil, are to be seen in places on which, says an old writer, "even the grasshopper would starve". The kangaroo grass is one of the chief grasses grown, but a small fine barley and the yellow or brown oat-grass are the prettiest. Mitchell thought the latter when ripe resembled a crop of grain; when it is young and after a shower of rain it overspreads the plains with a brilliant green.
The land around Sydney and the eastern shores of Port Phillip, like Western Australia, are famous for their wild flowers, those known as Christmas bush, the uncommon flannel flower, and many species of heath and everlasting growing in comparatively sterile soil. The grass tree (Xanthorrhaea arborea) is also noteworthy; when young it seems to be merely a large plant without a stem, with long, narrow, sharp leaves; but as it becomes older the lower leaves curve down and the young growth rises from the centre, and soon a thick stem appears bearing a cluster of leaves. From the centre of this rises a scape like an enormous bulrush, frequently ten feet in height, the spike being a foot long. In perfection it is erect, in old age it becomes crooked and sometimes deformed but it always gives a truly Australian aspect to the scenery.
There are many wild herbs which are favourable to sheep almost everywhere. Wild thyme, native hops, the plant from which the first house-wives raised their yeast, and mint also thrive well, and a fruit commonly called "five corners" is eaten by the children of the poorer settlers, who also gather manna and the gum of the wattle which has a flavour not unlike wild honey.
No book about Australia would be complete without some reference to the horse. Of all animals, indigenous or otherwise, none was of such use and importance to the pioneers. Neither the kangaroo which is, as it were, looked upon as part of the soil, nor the sheep which has brought wealth to her pastures has entered into the joys and labours of Australia's people in anything like the same measure as the English horse.
Whether it be in rearing sheep, raising cattle, or growing wheat—or almost any Endeavour he undertakes—the Australian must have the assistance of a horse. Railways now spread their long lines through the interior of the country, carrying travellers from place to place, but in those early times when a man wanted to visit in the country he packed his bag, strapped it to his saddle, mounted his steed and rode away.
The population in the "twenties" was scattered far inland, many stations being "nearly beyond the pale of civilisation," and a ride of a hundred miles was not thought an unusual journey.
The soil, the climate, and the general surroundings of the greater part of the country was only fitted for pastoral occupations. Some of the sheep-runs of the settlers were enormous, and immense flocks of pure merino sheep roamed over open land; old stockmen and drovers, worn-out adventurers, human waifs and strays, spent their last days shepherding and many were laid to rest beneath the shade of the mallee and wattle trees with "never a stone or rail to fence their bed". Cattle raising soon became an important industry. English breeds were first introduced for King George's farms, and in congenial surroundings quickly multiplied. For the management of these cattle stations and sheep runs, horses were required in large numbers, and, in addition to mounts merely serviceable for stockmen at their work, the land could soon boast its thoroughbreds.
The descendants of the horses taken to Australia thus early soon gained a reputation far beyond local bounds. Good and fast mounts were found to be necessary when bushrangers and cattle stealers had to be watched and pursued. The bushrangers were especially attracted by the horses, for their lives often depended on the possession of a fleet steed, and few of the famous racing stables escaped a visit from them.
Mustering cattle came to be regarded as an exciting chase, many of the open lands being little more than a vast prairie where the herds became as wild as deer, and, when it was necessary to collect them for sale, it meant a hard day's work for the owner and his men, and required a rider possessed of a tolerable share of nerve, and a good horseman into the bargain. A mob of bullocks is not easily brought to a stockyard. They try every conceivable manoeuvre to evade their pursuers, and start off with a fleetness quite unexpected in animals of such size and weight. But fox-hunting cannot provide more exciting sport, and Adam Lindsay Gordon, who rode after cattle every bit as well as he could write about them, brings such scenes vividly before us in his lines:—
'Twas merry in the backwoods when we spied the station roofs To wheel the wild scrub cattle at the yard With a running fire of stockwhips and a fiery run of hoofs Oh! the hardest day was never then too hard!
The first cattle muster took place at the Cow Pastures when in November, 1795, the sailor governor, Hunter, learning that wild cattle had been seen there, set out with a small party to satisfy himself as to their origin. Uncertainty existed as to whether the cattle were descendants of those brought from the Cape or belonged to some wild breed peculiar to the country. After a search of two days they were discovered, grazing knee-deep in thick grass. As light was failing the governor decided to wait until next day to get a better view of them. When the cattle were rounded an order was given to kill one of the calves, but in the attempt a full grown animal attacked the hunters and had to be killed. It was found to resemble the Cape cattle, having wide-spreading horns and the hump between the shoulders. Only twenty-three pounds of beef could be sent into Parramatta, forty miles away, and the party were compelled regretfully to leave the rest to be devoured by crows. Hunter, as we have already mentioned, called the mountain near this spot "Mount Taurus," and the plains the "Cow Pastures", Thick grass covered the ground, and the trees, though thinly scattered, were shady and free from undergrowth; there were many level strips with open clear lagoons where wild ducks in myriads and black swans were swimming, and sedges and shrubs of the brightest hues fringed the margins of these miniature lakes. Captain Hunter was as fond of riding as of boating. Many horses were imported during his term of office; and besides these we read praises of the Arab Derwent, a son of White William, the property of Mr. Paymaster Birch; of those brought from India and Arabia for Sir Thomas Brisbane; of the English race-horses of Captains Piper, Macarthur and Rous, R.N., while Colonel Morrisett possessed numerous chargers, two of which were lost in a gale between Sydney and Norfolk Island.
The vehicle most generally used at first was the gig. According to the Quarterly Review "the outward sign of respectability in New South Wales meant dining with the governor or driving a gig". In later years, behind the stables of some of the old homesteads quite an array of these vehicles in all stages of dilapidation could be seen, some mere skeletons of rusty iron which might have been driven in the days of Macquarie, Brisbane or Bourke, and others less dilapidated, with the horse-hair gaping from the tattered cloth of what once had been a cushion. Here the children loved to sit and play at driving to town, and if sometimes there was one found sound enough for a pony to drag about the yards the youthful joy knew no bounds.
Hunting was enjoyed from the very early years. As far back as October, 1811, a good day's sport was obtained on the banks of the Nepean. The dingo escaped, but the hounds "found" a kangaroo along the sands of the river and killed at Mr. Throsby's after two hours' run. Before foxes were introduced into Victoria, the dingo or native dog was hunted, but unfortunately the hounds were severely bitten at times and this made the sport unpopular, so that kangaroo hunting took its place. Foxhounds were introduced at Bathurst by the 73rd regiment a little before 1820. The members of the Bathurst hunt wore green coats with velvet collars ornamented with a dingo embroidered in gold. Each member was responsible for the upkeep of a certain number of hounds. They were hunted on various days and not only was good sport obtained, but an enemy to the flocks of the squatter was destroyed. The pack of the 73rd was broken up when that regiment quitted the colony (writes Wentworth) "as their successors had no taste for the sport," but the breed of foxhounds was not allowed to die out.
The most characteristic of the Australian animals are, of course, the marsupials, carnivorous and vegetable-feeding, of which nearly the whole mammalian fauna consists. Australia has no native monkeys or ruminants. There are no tigers, leopards or other large cats; the almost extinct dingo, probably landed by the Malays years ago, is the only representative of the canine race. There are many bats, fruit eating and otherwise, the largest of the fruit-eaters being the flying-fox which does as much damage in a garden as the English fox in a farmyard. It seems to delight in settling upon the choicest fruit trees and in one night stripping them of every apple or pear in a spirit of destructiveness no other animal can equal, and so it is watched for and promptly shot. But the most extraordinary animal is the duck-billed platypus described first as "a quadruped with the beak of a bird" which, says the old writer, is "contrary to known facts". So singular did the quadruped's head terminating in a duck's bill appear to the late Dr. Shaw of the British Museum that when it was shown to him he suspected it to be an attempt to impose upon his credulity as a naturalist. Sir Everard Home, too, who gave a minute description of the anatomy of a platypus said that "it could not be classed among the mammalia, aves or pisces, but if it belonged to anything it must be to the amphibia".
The bird-life of Australia is seen at its best among the great trees in the distant bush. Flocks of cockatoos—the sulphur-crested, the crestless long beaked, and the rosy species known as Leadbeater's or Major Mitchell's, crimson-winged lories with backs like velvet, and the beautiful and perfectly shaped rosella—that most graceful of all parrots, fly from tree to tree. Through the monotonous green foliage the bronze-winged pigeon (the dove of the first explorers) passes with its peculiar beating of the wings. Close by on the flats the peevish cry of the peewit arises, protesting loudly that its solitude is disturbed, while down among the sandy shallows of the rivers skim the sandpipers and sandlarks and water wagtail, their white and black markings making them clearly discernible from a distance. In the rings of mud, as though dreaming through the long day, but really silently watching for food, the tall white crane stands immovable with its soft unruffled plumage, its calm demeanour contrasting with the chattering and ceaseless activity of its smaller companions. When the red sun sinks in the western sky, it rises majestically and flies slowly homewards. Soon there pass the flocks of ibis and wild duck in angles of dark specks against the pink heavens, and the sun sets to the shrill cry of the morepork, followed by the quaint laughter of the brown kingfisher—the settler's clock—telling the birds that another day has closed.
The Duck-billed Platypus
Australia has very few hedgerows, no mossy banks, no lanes or dells, but long lines of fences, miles of posts and rails with here and there a gate or slip panel dividing the land into paddocks or cornfields. And yet there are spots as innumerable as in other lands for birds to nest in. There are tall sedges and clumps of rushes out on the plains, the haunt of the emu and the pelican where close by in hidden pools the frogs sprawl and swim all day. There are marshes for the crane—"the native companion"—and "flats" for curlew and plover.
The Wonga-Wonga Pigeon
In the wide creeks martins build their mud nests in myriads; and kingfishers gaily flash in and out of the holes in the banks; while beneath where the stream flows cheerily, the wildest birds can drink undisturbed. Crows and magpies often swarm round the homesteads. The Australian magpie is most docile; it seems to prefer domesticity to a life in the silent bush, and is the most petted bird. In the morning and evening the laughing jackasses (kookaburra) also come round the country homes and they too are most sociable; not only inland are they heard close by, but along the unsettled par of the coast rivers they will venture near to a tent or a yacht and laugh long and loud as if for the special edification of the visitors. Perhaps the warbling of the magpie is the sweetest sound one can hear in the bush; not even the pretty chime of the bell-bird or the song of the skylark can compare with the flute-like note of "maggie" on a bright summer morning. And the chief attraction about the magpie's song is that the birds sing in chorus; numbers will start off at once and although often a great many sing either behind or before the main body of singers, there is no shrillness or discordancy so often heard with the song of English birds when many sing together. Vlamingh and the Dutch sailors were not quite wrong when they likened the song of the "piping crow," to that of the nightingale. Altogether there are more than 650 species of birds, while Europe has but 500. The settlers have given European names to many of the smaller kinds, though the species in many instances are not identical. For example, the local robin, which has a breast as bright as that of its namesake on a Christmas card, is not the English redbreast, but a Petraeca, the wren is a Malurus, the blackcap a Melithreptus; finches, flycatchers, swallows, kingfishers, bee-eaters are none of them of European species; and the landrail, quail and snipe vary, although many have a more or less distant resemblance to their English namesakes.
The Giant Kingfisher
The commonest eagle is the brown wedge-tailed species which was seen at Sydney Cove and described by Captain Phillip. No more appropriate bird could have been chosen to balance the kangaroo on the national coat of arms than the emu. The bird has been identified with southern lands for centuries. Ever since the first coming of Europeans to the East Indies the emu, eme or emeu has been described by historians. Leonardo de Argensola in his work, The Conquest of the Moluccas, published in 1609, shows that the "emeu" of those islands, and which is depicted in many old histories, bears a very close resemblance to the Australian bird.
Nothing has been said here of the mineral wealth of the continent, as the discoveries of gold and silver belong to a period subsequent to that dealt with in these pages.
It was, however, no lifeless, unprofitable island to which Phillip took the first fleet, but a continent abounding in possibilities which must inevitably be developed. No region of the earth is of greater promise, none in all her empire more in need of Britain's surplus people. Its future importance is unmistakable. As an indication of what is thought by its friends take President Roosevelt's recent message: "Next to my own nation I am interested in the progress, success and safety of Australia...Tell them I wish them all good things. Open your doors to immigration. Beware of keeping your far north empty; encourage the influx there of Southern Europeans. They will cultivate that rich country and become good Australians. That is my message."
In the old days there were those who advocated the recall of the colony from Port Jackson as man could not live on scenery. The scenery remains, but the struggling settlement has been replaced by a mighty city with nearly as many people as London had when Phillip set sail. And that city is the mother of many cities, most of them growing as fast and some of them as much grown up. And yet the history of Australia is only beginning.
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