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The Project Gutenberg EBook of An Historical Journal of the Transactions
at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, by John Hunter
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
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Title: An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island
Author: John Hunter
Release Date: April 20, 2005 [EBook #15662]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
Produced by Col Choat
Vignette described
PORT JACKSON and NORFOLK ISLANDwith the Discoveries which have been made in
since the publication of
compiled from the Official Papers;
Including the JOURNALS of Governor PHILLIP
and KING, and of Lieut. BALL;
and the
from the first Sailing of the Sirius in 1787, to the Return of
Ship's Company to England in 1792
Illustrated with seventeen Maps, Charts, Views and other
Drawn on the spot by
Captains Hunter and Bradley, Lieutenant Dawes and
Governor King
Printed for John Stockdale, Picadilly
January 1, 1793.
The ships destined for Botany-Bay rendezvous at the Mother-Bank.--Leave that
place, and proceed on the voyage.--The convicts on board one of the transports
attempt an insurrection.--Are timely discovered, and the ring-leaders
punished.-Arrived at Santa Cruz.--Transactions there.--Attempt of a convict to
escape.-Description of Laguna, and the adjacent country. Departure from Santa
Cruz.-Pass Cape Frio.--Arrive at Rio Janeiro. Transactions there.--City of St.
Sebastian described.--Table of Winds, Weather, &c.
Anchor in Table-Bay.--Refreshments procured there.--Depart from the Cape of
Good Hope.--Captain Phillip quits the Sirius, and proceeds on the voyage in
the Supply.--The Sirius arrives in Botany-Bay.--Finds the Supply at anchor
there.--Arrival of the Bussole and Astrolabe.--Leave Botany-Bay, and anchor in
Port Jackson.--The Table of Winds, Weather, &c.
Frequent interviews with the natives.--Weapons
described.--Ornaments.-Persons, manners, and habitations.--Method of hunting.--Animals
described.-Birds, and insects.--Diary of the weather.--Departure of the Bussole and
Astrolabe.--A convict pretends to have discovered a gold mine.--The frauddetected.--Observations for the longitude, &c
The Sirius leaves Port Jackson.--Sails for the Cape of Good Hope, by the
Eastern Passage.--Falls in with many large islands of ice.--Casts anchor at
Robin's Island.--Tables of the winds, weather, &c.
Depart from Robin's Island, and anchor in Table Bay.--The sick sent on
shore.-Arrival of the Alexander transport.--Provisions procured for the settlement at
Port Jackson.--Departure of the Sirius.--In great danger from a violent
tempest.-Arrives safe at Port Jackson.--Tables of the winds, weather, variation of the
compass, &c.
The small-pox makes its appearance among the natives.--Its fatal effects.--A
criminal court held.--Six marines tried and convicted.--Governor Phillip visits
Broken-bay.--Explores its various inlets.--Returns to Port Jackson. Broken-bay
surveyed.--Botany-bay surveyed.--Two natives brought to the settlement, and
kindly treated.--One of them makes his escape.
The Sirius and Supply sail for Norfolk Island.--Land the marines and
convicts.-Wreck of the Sirius.--Some provisions saved.--Martial Law established.--Ratio
of provisions settled.--Vast numbers of birds caught.--In distress for
provisions.-Receive a supply from Port Jackson.--Officers and crew of the Sirius leave
Norfolk Island, and arrive at Port Jackson.--Norfolk Island described.--Its
situation and extent.--Soil.--Climate, &c.--Table of Winds, &c.
Great improvement of the country at Rose Hill.--Vicissitude of the climate.
Norfolk Island remarkably healthy.--A native runs away from the
settlement.-Frequent visits from the natives.--Governor Phillip wounded by the natives with
a spear.--Natives again visit the settlement.--Entertain the governor, &c. with a
dance.--Decorate themselves for that purpose. Method of dancing
described.-Music and singing.
Captain Hunter leaves Port Jackson in the Waaksamheyd transport.--In danger
amongst some islands.--Isle of Pines described.--Stewart's islands
discovered.-Fall in with Bradley's shoals.--Discover a cluster of islands.--Name them Lord
Howe's Groupe.--The natives described.--Attempt to find anchorage on the
coast of New-Britain.--Are disappointed.--Anchor at the Duke of York's
island.-Attempt to procure water.--Are attacked by the natives.--A few shots fired.--The
natives dispersed.--A reconciliation effected.--Natives
described.--Weapons.-Ornaments, &c.--Produce and soil.--Leave the Duke of York's island.--Natives
from the Admiralty islands visit the ship.--Their canoes described.--Phillip's
islands discovered.--Anchor at Hummock island.--Refreshments
procured.-Visited by the Raja.--A quarrel ensues.--Several of the natives killed.--Articles
of barter in request.--Canoes described.--Leave Hummock island.--Anchor at
Batavia.--Tables of latitude and longitude, &c.
Captain Hunter waits on the Governor at Batavia.--Applies for a passage to
England.--Purchases the Waaksambeyd for that purpose.--Leaves
Batavia.-Passes the Keelings.--Arrives at the Cape of Good Hope.--Leaves that place,
and anchors at Saint Helena.--Departs from Saint Helena.--Arrives at
Portsmouth.--Tables for the variation of the compass.--Captain Hunter's letter to
the Lords of the Admiralty.
Lieutenant King visits Monsieur De la Peyrouse at Botany-Bay.--Polit reception
there.--An account of his adventures.--Lieutenant King returns to Port
Jackson.-Sent by Governor Phillip to form a settlement on Norfolk Island.--Leaves Port
Jackson.--An island discovered. --Arrival at Norfolk Island.--Difficulty in finding
a landing-place.--Lands the convicts, provisions, and stores.--Ground cleared,
and tents fixed. --A store-house erected.--Vegetables, and various sorts of grain
sown.--Distressed by rats.--General orders for the regulation of the settlement.
Regular employment of the convicts.--Meet with an unlucky accident.--Thefts
detected.--The robbers punished.--Pestered with rats.--Method of destroying
them.--Live stock on the settlement.--Trees discovered which afford food for
hogs.--Some of the settlers poisoned.--Cured with sweet oil.--A convict
punished for using seditious language.--Birds on the island. Description of
Arthur's Vale.--His Majesty's birth-day kept.--Flourishing state of the gardens.--Arrival of the Supply.--Four persons drowned.--Provisions and stores
received.-Queries from Governor Phillip, and the answers.--Ball-Bay described.--The
landing-place cleared.--Arrival of the Golden Grove transport.--Marines and
convicts brought in the Golden Grove.--Provisions and stores.
Quantity of provisions received by the Golden Grove.--Timber sent to Port
Jackson.--Observations on the navigation near Norfolk Island.--Number of
persons on the settlement.--Nepean and Phillip Islands described.--Corn
reaped.--A party sent to Ball Bay.--Talk-work of the convicts.--The free people
exercised.--Plot to seize the island discovered.--Orders made public for the
preservation of regularity.--Oath of allegiance administered.--Provisions and
stores examined.
A violent hurricane at Norfolk Island.--Arrival of the Supply.--Convicts sent from
Port Jackson.--Provisions and stores.--Departure of the Supply.--Robberies
committed.--Employment of the convicts.--Wheat infested with caterpillars.--A
store-house erected.--Arrival of a party of marines from Port Jackson.--Thefts
committed.--Orders read for preserving regularity.--A female convict
punished.-Pernicious effects of the grub-worm.--Gardens plundered.--A granary
erected.-Wheat destroyed by paroquets.--Number of inhabitants on the island.
The arrival of the Sirius and Supply at Norfolk-Island.--The loss of the
Sirius.-Captain Hunter and the crew saved.--A general meeting of the officers
convened.--Sundry regulations adopted.--Martial-Law
proclaimed.--LieutenantGovernor Ross takes the command.--Lieutenant King leaves
Norfolk-Island.-Description of Norfolk-Island.--Face of the
country.--Water--Soil--Climate-Timber--Insects--Fish--Seasons--Winds--Coast, and Bays.--Present state of
cultivation.--General behaviour of the convicts.--Number of inhabitants on the
island.--Grain and live-stock.--Lieutenant King arrives at Port Jackson.--Finds
the country greatly improved.--Manners and customs of the
natives.-Vocabulary of the language.
Lieutenant King sails for Batavia.--Meets with a dangerous shoal.--Discovers
Tench's-Island.--A description of the inhabitants.--Prince William-Henry's Island
described.--Touches at Kercolang.--A description of the inhabitants, their
cloathing and utensils.--Passes through the Streights of Salayer.--Arrival at
Batavia.--Interview with the governor.--Batavia described.--Situation and
extent.--Manners and customs of the inhabitants.--Government and
police.-Annual exports.--Departure from Batavia.--Mortality amongst the
sailors.-Arrival at the Isle of France.--An account of that island.--Sails from the Isle of
France.--Arrival in the English Channel.
The Lady Juliana Transport arrives at Port Jackson.--Loss of the Guardian.--A
settlement made at Sydney-Cove.--A state of the settlements at Sydney-Cove
and Rose-Hill.--A general return of male convicts, with their employments.
An excursion into the country.--An interview with the natives.--Governor Phillip
wounded with a spear.--A second interview with the natives.--Occurrences on
that occasion.--Five convicts effect their escape in a boat.--The settlement
visited by the natives.--Their customs.--Arrival of the Supply from Batavia.
Fruits in season described.--The manners of the natives.--Disputes with
them.-Arrival of a vessel from Batavia.
The depredations of the natives.--Bannelong's behaviour.--The Supply sails for
Norfolk-Island.--The quantity of provisions brought in the Waaksam-heid from
Batavia.--The appearance of a prodigious number of Bats.--The return of
Bannelong.--The manners of the natives further described.
An excursion into the country.--Occurrences on the journey.--Surprising
dexterity of the natives in climbing trees.--Their superstition.--Their method of
curing wounds.--Their language.--Their manners and disposition.
A second excursion into the country.--The first grants of land to settlers.--A
barter with the natives established.--The arrival of several vessels from
England.--A new harbour discovered.--The names of the first settlers.CHAPTER XXIII
Arrival of the Gorgon, and several transports at Port Jackson.--The number of
convicts brought out in these vessels.--A whale-fishery established on the
Coast of New South Wales.
The Supply leaves Port Jackson.--Receives some damage in a
storm.-Doubles Cape Horn.--Passes Staten's land.--Anchors at Rio
Janeiro.-Refreshments procured.--Departure from Rio Janciro.--Proceeds towards
England.--Arrives off the Lizard.--Particulars respecting Norfolk-Island.
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1. Captain Hunter
2. Vignette on the Title Page. (Vignette described)
3. A Map of New South Wales
4. View of the Settlement on Sydney Cove, Port Jackson
5. The Southern Hemisphere, showing the Track of the Sirius
6. A Chart of Botany-Bay, Port Jackson, and Broken-Bay, with the Coast and
7. View at Rose-Hill
8. A Man of Lord Howe's Groupe9. A Man of the Duke of York's Island
10. Canoes of the Duke of York's-Island
11. Canoes of the Admiralty Islands
12. Track of the Waaksamheyd Transport
13. A Plan of Norfolk-Island
14. A Family of New South Wales
15. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate I.
16. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate II.
17. Non-Descript Shells, of New South Wales, Plate III.
Captain HunterA Map of New South Wales
Chapter I
October 1786 to September 1787
The ships destined for Botany-Bay rendezvous at the
Mother-Bank.-Leave that place, and proceed on the voyage.--The convicts on
board one of the transports attempt an insurrection.--Are timely
discovered, and the ring-leaders punished.--Arrived at Santa
Cruz.-Transactions there.--Attempt of a convict to escape.--Description of
Laguna, and the adjacent country. Departure from Santa Cruz.--Pass
Cape Frio.--Arrive at Rio Janeiro. Transactions there.--City of St.
Sebastian described.--Table of Winds, Weather, &c.
It being the intention of government to remove the inconvenience, which this
country suffered, from the goals being so exceedingly crouded with criminals,
who had been by the laws condemned to transportation, the east coast of New
Holland was the place determined upon to form a settlement for this salutary
purpose. The east coast of New Holland is that country, which was discovered
and explored by Captain James Cook, in his first voyage round the world, and
by him called New South Wales. Botany Bay, the only place he entered with
the ship, which could be called a harbour, having been mentioned in the
narrative of that voyage, as a convenient place for a settlement, was fixed upon
by government for the intended design.
On the 25th of October, 1786, his Majesty's ship Sirius, lying in the dock at
Deptford, was commissioned, and the command given to Arthur Phillip, Esq;
the Supply armed tender was also put in commission, and Lieutenant Henry
Lidgbird Ball was appointed to command her.
The Sirius was a ship of about 540 tons burthen, exceedingly well calculated
for such a service; she mounted 20 guns, and had a spar deck over them, was
of a round full built, and was all together a very capacious and convenient
vessel. The Supply armed tender was a brig, and was one of the vessels which
were employed in carrying naval stores from one of his Majesty's dock-yards to
another; she was a very firm strong little vessel, very flat floored, and roomy,
mounted eight guns, and had a deep waist, which I feared would be found a
very great, if not a dangerous inconvenience in so low a vessel on so long a
voyage. The Sirius's compliment was 160 men; that of the Supply, 55 men.
These two ships were intended, after having performed the service of escorting
the convicts to the place of their destination, to remain in the country to beemployed as the governor might find necessary for the public service, until they
should be relieved by other ships from England.
I had some reason, during the equipment of those ships, to think I might be
employed upon this service, in some way or other; and as Captain Phillip was
appointed governor of the new settlement, and of course had much business to
transact in London, I frequently visited the Sirius, and frequently received his
directions in any thing that related to the fitting her; she was out of the dock and
the rigging in hand when I first went on board, On the 9th of December, the ship
being ready to fall down the river, we slipped the moorings and sailed down to
Long-Reach, where we took in the guns and ordnance stores. On the 15th, I
was informed by a letter from Mr. Stephens, Secretary to the Admiralty, that
there was a commission signed for me in that office, and desiring I would come
to town and take it up. The nature of the service upon which the Sirius might be
employed in those seas to which she was bound, having been considered, it
was judged necessary that an officer, bearing a certain rank, should command
that ship in the absence of Captain Phillip, whose prefence, it was to be
supposed, would be requisite at all times wherever the seat of government in
that country might be fixed. In consequence of Mr. Stephens's letter, I repaired
to the Admiralty, and received a commission, appointing me Second Captain of
his Majesty's ship Sirius, with the rank of Post Captain, and with power to
command her in the absence of her principal Captain; subject nevertheless to
his controul, and to such orders and directions for my proceedings as he might
see occasion to give me, for the good of the service. This appointment of a
Second Captain, to a private ship, being the first instance in our service, it could
not, consistent with the established regulations of the navy, take place, but by
the authority of the King's order in council: an order from his Majesty in council,
authorizing the Lords of the Admiralty to make such appointment, was therefore
On the 30th of January, 1787, two transports, one having male, the other female
convicts on board, dropt down to Long-Reach, but they having business to
transact with the owners of the ships, relative to their ships companies, were
permitted to proceed as low as Gravesend, where the Sirius joined them the
next day, and proceeded immediately to the Nore, where we anchored the
same day, and were joined by his Majesty's armed tender Supply: on the 4th of
February, we anchored in the Downs, and were detained there by bad weather
and contrary winds, until the 19th, when we put to sea in company with the
Supply and transports, and arrived on the Mother-Bank on the 21st: at this
anchorage, all the transports and store-ships were directed to rendezvous; the
latter were already arrived, and, while we lay here, the other transports joined
us from the westward.
On the 9th of May, Captain Phillip arrived in Portsmouth, and the next day came
on board, and issued the signals and other necessary orders to Lieutenant
John Shortland, the agent for transports, to be delivered to the masters of the
different ships.
On Sunday the 13th, we sailed from the Mother-Bank in company with the
Supply armed tender, six transports, having on board 600 male, and 200
female convicts, and three store-ships, carrying provisions and various other
stores: on board the ships carrying convicts, were embarked 160 marines, with
their proper officers; Major Robert Ross was commandant of the battalion, and
appointed lieutenant-governor of the new settlement; a surgeon and three
assistants were also embarked in the transports, with medicines and
necessaries for the people under their care. The wind being easterly, we ran
out at the Needles, and were accompanied by his Majesty's ship Hyena,
Captain De Coursey, who had received orders from the Admiralty to see us 100
leagues to the westward.
We had light breezes with fair and pleasant weather down the channel, but had
the mortification to find that two of our transports sailed exceedingly bad; one of
which, the Hyena towed two or three days. On the 15th, at sun-set, the Start
Point bore north-east half east by compass, distant seven or eight leagues: at
noon on this day (which finishes the nautical and begins the astronomical day)
the longitude, by account, was 5°. 01'. west of the meridian of Greenwich, and
by a timepiece made by Mr. Kendal, with which the Board of Longitude had
supplied us, it was 4°. 59'. west; we had a variety of weather from this time till
the 21st. when being in latitude 47°. 52'. north, and longitude 12°. 14'. west,
Captain Phillip put his dispatches on board the Hyena; she saluted us with
three cheers, and we parted company; the wind was now, and had been for
some days before, in the south-west quarter, with hazy weather, our progress to
the southward was therefore but slow; much attention was required on our part
to the rate of sailing of the different transports, in order to prevent separation.
At this time a report was made from one of the transports, both by the
commanding marine officer on board, and the master of the ship, that a
discovery had been made of an intended insurrection amongst the convicts in
that ship; in which, if they had succeeded, they were to have quitted the fleet in
the night, and afterwards to have made such use of the ship, as they should,
upon farther consideration of the matter, determine amongst themselves.
Captain Phillip had very humanely, a few days previous to this scheme,
directed that the irons with which most of the male convicts had hitherto been

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