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February 1788

Saturday 2nd Febry: We did not meet with any Natives again till this day, at day light saw several Canoes in the Cove we were surveying, they all fled some out of the Cove & others up to a Cove. (Lane Cove) We could not by any means get these People near us, Having occasion to go to the bottom of the inner Cove where several of them had gone w their Canoes, they thought we were following them & push'd up a Creek to avoid us.

Sunday. 3. PM. In a Cove to the NW 3 Miles above the Ship we saw several Natives, some sitting round a fire, others view facsimile

were just landing with their Canoes, the moment they perceiv'd us, they ran off in great confusion & hurry not taking time to make the Canoes fast or haul them ashore, these people had a dog with them: We found Muscles on the Fire, others in their Canoes & some dropt between both; their fright was so great that they went off without taking their fishing lines, Spears or any thing with them, these we suppose to be of the number who fled up the Harbour when we arrived, we left string of beads, Cards, peices of Cloth &c. about their Fire & in the Canoes & were very particular not to move any one of their things.

AM. As we proceeded up the Harbour, the Natives all fled in their canoes as far & as fast as they could; About 4 Mile higher than where the Ship lay, the Country was open & improved the farther we went up & in most places not any underwood, Grass very long.

Monday. 4th. PM. Followed many openings to the NW & pass'd a narrow Channel into a wide space which would not be in our power to survey before night & there being assembled up here an astonishing number of the Natives all arm'd, with Flats on which the Boats might ground in this channel & put us much in their power, not having any people but the Boats Crews with us & being 8 Miles from the Ship, Capt.n Hunter thought that taking the necessary precautions would employ too many of our people for us to go on with view facsimile

the plan we were prosecuting; we therefore returned & moored the Boats for the night at Dawes Island.

AM. Went into the SW Branch, found it terminate in snug Coves, surrounded with Mangroves, rather shoal water.

Tuesday. 5th. PM: Returned to the ship: At day light having a Guard of Marines, proceeded to the upper part of the Harbour again, passed several natives in the Coves as we went up & some on shore near the place where we left the beads & other things, who followed along the rocks calling to us, we landed to cook our Breakfast on the opposite shore to them (Breakfast p.t)

We made signs to them to come over & waved green boughs, soon after which 7 of them came over in two Canoes & landed near our Boats, they left their Spears in the Canoes & came to us; we tied beads &c. about them & left them our fire to dress their Muscles which they went about as soon as our Boats put off. At Noon, we were far enough to see the termination of the Harbour as far as Navigable for ships, being all Flats above us with narrow passages that we supposed might run a considerable distance but very shoal. As we returned to the ship we saw Natives in almost every part of the Harbour in small parties. In one of the Coves we found a peice of a Cake which appear'd to be made of the Wild Fig. We saw them cheifly in small parties & to appearance have not any fixed habitation, moving about the Harbor as view facsimile

they find will afford them the best means of subsistence. In the North Arm, I suppose them to be a people inhabiting that part of the Harbour, this I judge from the number of Women & Children that were with them & the appearance of their being governed by a cheif, from the attention they paid to the Old Man at our interview with the Women, The party of Arm'd Men being selected & painted on the foreheads & breast & their being with the women when they first appear'd shews that they were for their protection & favors my opinion. We did not see any thing of the kind in any other part of the Harbour or notice that one Man held himself superior to any other.

Wednesday. 6th: The survey of the Harbour was finish'd in as accurate a manner as the time would admit of, yet in a place so very extensive it is possible for rocks to be hidden & holes of deep water near the bluff lands to be, without our being able to get exactly on them; The entrance of the Harbour is about 10 Miles to the N.oward of Botany Bay, the best mark to know when you draw near it coming from the S.oward is some remarkable Sand Hills over a Sandy Bay these Sand Hills are near 3 Mile to the S.oward of the entrance, & from the point of this sandy Bay, the shore is all rocky Cliffs to the Inner S.o Head; as you approach the entrance from the S.oward, the Heads have an unfavorable view facsimile

appearance; As you sail into the opening between the Outer Heads which is near 2 Miles across, steep too on both sides, you will see on the S.o shore a point off which is a small reef made by the fallen rocks & breaks as far out as any danger can be; (& a steep Rocky Head to the WNW called Middle Cape as it seperates the Branches.) As you pass this point or Inner So Head the Harbour opens to the SW in which reach of the Harbor & more than 1/3 over from a sandy Cove on the S.o shore formed by a remarkable green point, is a Rock which dries at 1/2 ebb & a flat round it of considerable extent, there is a bar of clear flat sand all the way from this rock to the Inner S.o Head with 31/2 fathom at low water, it is not very broad & when past it you have deep water between the rock & the S.o shore, the marks for which channel are the Inner N.o & S.o Heads on. The marks for the Rock are the outer p.t of the N.o Head just on with the inner S.o Head & the Green point on with a remarkable gully seen over the Land to be close to the Outer S.o Head. In passing to the W.tward of the rock you will go over a flat which extends from the shoal of the rock over to the next point above the middle Cape there is 4 & 41/2 f.m on it & shoals gradually to 3 towards the shoal which a little dis.e above the rock you may cross in 3 f.m. As soon as past the p.t above Middle Cape you have deep water & may Anchor or work from Shore to Shore; there is no danger afterward that we could discover. As you sail thro' this reach of view facsimile

of the Harbour which lays SWbS by Compass you will see 2 Islands which before you get the length of, the Harbour will open W. or W1/4S of you round a projecting point & a white rocky small Island shew itself right in the Stream of the Harbour you may pass on either side of it & about 1/2 a mile higher up is the Cove where the Settlement is fixed, off both points of which is a small ledge which dries at low water the greater part of it, the shore round both sides of the Cove is steep too. With a leading wind I would recommend steering in for the land of the Mididle Cape which lays nearly WNW by Compass from the inner S.o Head & keep that shore on board 'til above the rock; The N.o arm has good clear ground & depth of water: The Harbour is Navigable for Ships 12 Miles E.t and W.t & the branches extend 6 miles N.o & S.o. It is one continuation of Harbour within Harbour formed by snug Coves with good depth of water & fresh water in many of them; Those Coves above where the ships lay were surrounded by Mangroves & had mud flats at the bottom, those below had sandy beaches most of them. The Entrance is in Latitude 33°:50′.S.o. Longitude 151°:26′E.t The Flag Staff at the settlement 33°:51′:3/4S.o & 151°:20′E.t Variation of the Compass 10°:30′E.t Flows full & change 1/4 pt 8 & rises from 5 to 8 feet much influenced by the winds.

We found Fish plenty altho' the Harbour is full of sharks, there is a great quantity of shell fish in the Coves that have view facsimile

mud flats at the bottom, Oysters very large; We found Wild Spinage, Samphire & other leaves of Bushes which we used as vegetables. An Island near a mile below the settlement was granted for the use of the Sirius to make a Garden of.

Thursday. 7th. PM. The Light'ning which had been frequent & very severe since our arrival was particularly so this evening, a Tree was struck & shiver'd near the encampment 6 Sheep, 1 Lamb & 1 Hog that were near the Tree were killed by the same Light'ning & others much scorched, the Centinel on post near the Tree was knock'd down & lost his sight; The Thunder Squalls for the last 3 nights were excessive severe.

AM. Being the morning appointed for reading the Governors Commission &c. all the Officers attended; at the Hour appointed the Convicts were collected & the Marines formed under arms, the Commission was then read by the Judge Advocate, & the other publick authorities by which the settlement was to be govern'd; besides the Civil Law according to the method used in England, another Court for the Trial of Capital Crimes was establish'd by Act of Parliament, this Court is called a Court of Criminal Judicature to be composed of the Judge Advocate & six Officers of His Majesty's Forces by Sea & Land, the Majority of whose Opinions to be the sentence if not touching Life or Limb, in which case five of the seven must concur in Opinion before sentence view facsimile

Sentence can be given. The Governor has the right of approving all sentences & mitigating punishments & of granting Pardon.

Friday. 8th. AM. Two Natives came to the Camp, the Governor gave a Hatchet & several other things but could not persuade them to stay. A Kanguroo was killed which was the first we had brought in.

Saturday. 9th. PM: The Captain of the Astrolabe came round from Botany Bay to pay respects to Governor Phillip & to leave the French Commodores dispatches for Europe to go by our Transports. We found that they had been obliged to fire on the Natives at Botany Bay to keep them quiet: We also learnt from them that they had lately suffer'd much loss at the Navigators Islands, from some offence having been given to the Natives they took the opportunity of their Longboat being aground to close on them with clubs while others threw stones & forced them from the shore to 2 small Boats which they luckily had with them or all must have fallen, they fired & killed many of the Natives but were obliged to retreat with the loss of the Captain of the Astrolabe 7 other Officers & 4 of their People & many others badly wounded, they broke the Boat to peices in their Savage Frenzy.

Monday. 11th: A Criminal Court of Judicature was held on 3 Convicts, whose Sentence was immediately put in execution after being read to them.

view facsimile

Tuesday 12th. A Boat belonging to the Sirius being up the Harbour found 4 Convict Women straggling about the Rocks one of whom made her escape into the Woods & no doubt perish'd.

Wednesday. 13th. Several Kanguroo were seen & a Bird resembling the Ostrich.

Thursday. 14th. Twenty of the Natives came to the Governors Farm. On seeing the Sheep they exclaimed Kanguroo, they would not come nearer the Camp: In the morning the Supply sailed for Norfok Island, with Lieut King, a Masters Mate, Surgeons Mate & 4 Artificers belonging to the Sirius; 9 Men & 6 Women Convicts. Mr King had some Sheep, Hogs, Poultry, Seed & Plants, with tools & implements & clearing & Cultivating the Ground.

Friday. 15th. The Governor went with 3 Boats Marin'd & Arm'd up the Harbour, taking the 1st Lieu.t & Master with him; we were some distance up the Harbour before any of the Natives were seen, the first party of them were 8 sitting under a hollow rock round a fire, one of the men stood up & spoke to us, the rest did not appear to be the least disturbed as they neither moved nor spoke; we stoped at a Neck of land to Breakfast, we were soon met there by a Native arm'd, He laid down his Spear as soon as he join'd us; & had more curiousity than any we had before met with, he examin'd every thing very attentively & went into all our Boats from one to the other view facsimile

in the Long boat he sat down & with the help of one of the People he contrived to manage an Oar, though very awkwardly: The Governor gave this Man a hatchet & a looking glass which went when he looked into, he looked immediately behind the Glass to see if any person was there, & then pointed to the Glass & the shadows which he saw in the water signifying they were similar: Another man joined us soon after & a third was laying off in a Canoe; wanting to see him get out of the Canoe we enticedly him on shore, he had a stone slung by way of an Anchor which he let go just as the Canoe took the ground, he stept one leg out of the Canoe keeping the weight of his body in its center 'till he had foot hold of the shore to remove it to that leg, in this manner he landed without any risk of oversetting the Canoe. We next proceeded up to the beginning of the Flats, where we landed & went 2 or 3 Miles into the Country, found the Trees a considerable distance apart & the Soil in general good Grass very long & no underwood.

16th: At 1 PM. returned to the Boats & after Dinner went in the smallest boat over the Flats past a Mangrove Island & followed a Creek some distance to the W.tward when it branched away to the NW & SW which last we followed 4 miles as near as we could judge, the lake or drain is very shoal & where we stop'd was entirely fill'd up with fallen trees from both sides, the water falling fast we had barely time to get down view facsimile

Boats, which when we join'd returned to the Ship. A Marine was missing in the woods.

AM. In a Cove where our People were hauling the Sein, the Natives Men & Women joined them & assisted for which they had some Fish given them & were very thankful.

Sunday. 17th: AM. The Marine that lost himself, came in, He met with several of the Natives who were all very friendly they wanted his Musquet but did not offer to take it by force when he refused to let them have it; He saw a great number of Kanguroo, One of which he killed & brought to the Camp with him. Three people belonging to the French Ships came over from Botany Bay, they met with but few of the Natives; we found that the Natives at Botany Bay had been endeavoring to steal several things from them which obliged them to fire on them once or twice.

Monday. 18th: Several of the Natives appear'd on the points of land near where the Ship lay, the fishing boat coming past them put ashore & gave them some fish which they eagerly accepted.

Tuesday. 19. Governor Phillip removed from the Ship & took up his Residence on shore.

AM. Several of the Natives came down the Harbour & kept in a Bay near the Ship; 7 of them in 4 Canoes passed thro' the Cove between the Sirius & Transports & went close past one view facsimile

our boats with great confidence; One of them landed on the East point of Sydney Cove to meet some of our people who were there from this they went to our Garden Island & found means to steal two Iron shovels & a pick axe, the pick axe the Gardners obliged them to bring back & lay it themselves in the very spot they had taken it from, the Shovels the escaped with, but not without their skin being well pepper'd with small shot.

Wednesday. 20th: Several Canoes pass'd the Ship in which were women & Children, they stayed all night on a point close to the Ship & then went down the Harbour.

Thursday. 21st: Having had a great deal of dry, Hot weather it was observed that several of the Streams of fresh water had stoped & others run very slow. Some of the Officers of the Boussole came from Botany Bay to visit the Governor, they inform us that the Natives are exceedingly troublesome there & that wherever they meet an unarmed Man they attack him,

Saturday. 23. A General Muster of the Convicts discover'd that 9 men & 1 woman were still missing, the woman is the same that ran into the woods the 12th when our Boat took her 3 Companions straggling; this afternoon the left arm & hand of a white man or woman floated past the ship, had the appearance of having been a considerable time in the Water.

Monday. 25th: Our fishing boat met with a great number of Canoes in the Cove where they went to haul the Sein, in view facsimile

several of f which were women fishing who felt no kind of interruption from our Boat being amongst them.

Tuesday. 26th: Cap Hunter went to Botany Bay in the Longboat to visit the French Officers.

27th: Three Convicts were condemn'd to Death by a Criminal Court for stealing provisions from the Store: The allowance to the Convicts had been this day increas'd & were receiving such addition at the time the Theft was Committed; One of them was Executed the same afternoon & the others repreiv'd 24 Hours.

Thursday 28th: The weather was such that our Boat could not get out of Botany Bay, Captain Hunter walked over with some of the French Officers. At 6 in the evening the Criminals who had been repreiv'd were taken to the place of Execution, they were pardon'd on condition of being banished from the Settlement.

29th: The same Criminal Court met again to try the rest of the Criminals, one was admitted King's Evidence, 2 condemn'd to Death & 1 acquitted for stealing wine from the Contractor, Another was sentenced to Death for stealing provisions from one of the other Convicts; At 4. Their sentences were read to them & they were taken to the place of Execution where instead of meeting the Fate they deserved, they received an extraordinary mark of the Governors lenity, He pardon'd them on condition of their being banish'd from the Settlement & one view facsimile

He reserved to be the Common Executioner.

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