October 1788

October. 1st. The Sirius & Golden Grove dropt down the Harbour, & in the night the Golden Grove sailed for Norfolk Island.

Having pass'd part of a Summer & one Winter in New South Wales; I shall give a collected account of the Natives &c. before we quit Port Jackson, from occurrencies which has in the Course of that time come within my certain knowledge. In the course of the last month, the Natives appear to be very numerous & the Fish to come in great quantities into the Harbour, from which circumstance I still support the opinion of their not having any fixed residence & that the Fish as well as considerable part of the Natives incline to the N.oward during the Winter.

What has been experienced lately in several instances meeting with the Natives, has occasioned me to alter those very favorable opinions I had formed of them, & however much I wished to encourage the Idea view facsimile

of their being Friendly disposed, I must acknowledge now convinc'd that they are only so, when they suppose we have them in our power or are well prepared by being armed. Latterly they have attack'd almost every person who has met with them that has [indecipherable letter]not had a musquet & have sometimes endeavoured to surprise some who had; We have also experienced that they have great cunning, which was twice particularly shewn in stealing a Goat each time, this they effected by a part of them engaging the attention of those who they supposed might interrupt them whilst others would spear'd the Animal & put it into a Canoe, paddled away directly & by the time the animal could be miss'd they had been gone too long to follow them with any chance of success. The Musquet now seems to be the only thing to keep them in Awe, which when they notice we have, & they are disposed to come among us, they are familiar & friendly. That some of them have been killed by Musquet balls, both at Port Jackson by our People & at Botany Bay by the French I have not the least doubt.

The Instruments & Weapons, that I have seen, Are Spears some with 4 prongs 3, 2, & single for fishing the points of all which are barbed with shell or bone secured to its respective prong with stiff Gum, the single one is generally barbed at the point & at several parts above it in the same view facsimile

manner; they are seldom without a Spear which they use as an Offensive Weapon, the sharp pointed end is made of very hard wood 2 or 3 feet in length & taper'd to a point (I never saw any of those barbed), this is secured as are the prongs of the fishing spear to a long & light stick which they find about the low Gum Trees & which they make to the length they want by lashings & Gum at the different parts where they join it, generally from 18 to12 feet in length. I have seen them add a joint to the fishing spear by letting one part into the other & use it immediately: I think the Spear may be easily avoided if you see the Man who is going to throw it, in two or three instances when they have attacked our People, their spears were taken up & broken as fast as thrown; those Convicts who were killed were either surprised or held a Contest with them until surrounded; They no doubt endeavour to be assured that those whom they mean to treat unfriendly are not provided with fire arms before they make an attempt & those Boats at which they have thrown stones & spears appear'd to them unprepared, but twice they experienc'd that the people in the boats were perfectly ready altho' the musquets where not shewn until it was necessary to fire on them. For short distances & commonly in striking Fish they throw the Spear by hand, but other times they use a stick about 3 feet long, with a peg at one end, which is applied to the end of the Spear, then balanced they just steady the Spear view facsimile

with a finger thumb & apply the force of the arm to the Stick on which they spear is poised, they throw it from 60 to 90 yards. I have seen them throw it very true at 60 yards; On the other end of the throwing stick is fixed a shell which they use in getting shellfish from the rocks & various other purposes as we would a knife or chissel.

They use Targets made from the bark of the Gum Tree & I have some of the outside part of the Tree itself when the Tree has been burn'd inside which is here a very common practice for getting the Opossum &c. out of them or some purpose we are yet unacquainted with: I have seen there sheilds or Targets with the points of spears broken in them & some holes which had the appearance of the spear or pointed part of it having passed through; It was noticed by the Officers who were in our Boat[s] in the N.o arm of the Harbour & present at a real or sham fight among the Natives, that they use the Target for security against the Spear. The other Instruments of War which I have seen are the Club, Wooden Sword & Scimeter.

The Club is 3 or 4 feet long, of very hard & heavy wood of diff.t shapes, some are pointed so that it may be used to make a charge with as well as to give a very violent blow

The Sword is somewhat of the shape of the common hanger with the handle or hilt carved so as to give them a good hold of it: It is made of very hard wood, smooth & sharp at both view facsimile

edges coming to a tolerable sharp point, they are from 2 to 3 feet long & as many inches broad or more.

The Scimeter is of the same hard wood, of a Curve with two handles to it & appears to be used to repel the blow of the Club or Sword & from its construction, will as well as fend off a blow occasionally give a very heavy one.

The Implements or Tools which we found among them are very miserable tools indeed: & they do not appear to have one which is not absolutely necessary for furnishing the means of subsistence to themselves which appears to be their only care.

The Stone Hatchet is made of a hard stone much like Flint, sharped at the edge, secured to a stick about 2 feet long by fixing in with Gum & lashing & is a miserable blunt tool -

The adze is made of the same stone & secured to a stick in a similar manner as the hatchet but of shape somewhat like our Carpenters adze but 100 strokes with it would not do the same execution as one with ours.

They use a wedge of the same kind of stone, with a junk of wood for a Mallet or Maul. These tools appear all to be used in providing the Canoe & sheilds from the Trees, which with such wretched implements is a work of great labour; they cut the bark round to the length they want & enter the wedges leaving it in that state some time before they take it off altogether: Many of them has been met with & several view facsimile

times seen at work on the Canoe & Sheild: Some have been considerably above the reach of any Man, they notch the Trees to enable them to get up for this & other purposes.

The Canoes we met with are by far the worst I ever heard of, being nothing more than a peice of Bark gather'd up & lashed at both ends with spreaders of small sticks inside by way of thwarts. I have seen them from 10 to upwards of 20 feet in length & observe that when employed fishing have seldom more than two people in them, when moving their station I have seen 4 & once 6 in a Canoe, we never met with any that had outriggers or any kind of sail, we have met with them without the Harbour between Port Jackson & Broken Bay when there has been a great swell on the shore. They row with paddles in shape like a pudding stirrer about 2 or 3 feet long, which they use one in each hand & take the stroke alternately as one hand comes aft, the other is applied forward. I have noticed them when in a great hurry apply both at the same which occasions them to stoop forward, at other times they sit perfectly upright & are very expert in preserving the equilibrium so necessary to prevent oversetting.

The Men sit upon their heels with their legs under them & their feet [stucky] out behind them: The women sit with their knees up to their chin & their feet cross'd before them, they all sit in the bottom of the Canoe with their face forward view facsimile

they have generally fern & some sea weed under them & under the fire which they are scarce ever without in the middle of the Canoe; When Men & Women are in the same Canoe I have always observed that the woman sat forward & the Man abaft, the Women sitting forward have their backs to the fire which occasions many of them to be mark'd which appear'd to us at first like that of their having been severely scourged. Having fire in the Canoe I take to be for the purpose of getting fire when they land & for warmth, more than that of dressing food in the Canoe, I have seen them broil fish in the Canoe once or twice when alongside the Sirius, but in general they put all that was given to them among what they had before got themselves. We never yet got an opportunity of seeing the method they use to produce Fire & from their always carrying it about with them suppose it to be a difficult process or a work of labour & time: The young Children in the Canoes are sometimes laid across the Mother's lap, setting between her knees & sometimes on the Mens shoulders, holding fast by his head neither of which prevents either Man or Woman from using both paddles; from the wretch'd construction of these Canoes they take in a great deal of water; which they throw out with a flat stone or slate, taking it in the hollow of the hand they throw the water out behind them without getting up in the Canoe, this for the view facsimile

time prevents the person who is baling, from using both paddles; this method of freeing the Canoe is very hurtful to them as they apply the edge of the stone every time to touch the bottom of the Canoe, that part wears away & when into a hole, they patch up with Gum & sometimes use the leaves of the Cabbage trees with it, but from these holes enlarging they are frequently obliged to lay the Canoe by before the other parts are decay'd; they get in & out with great ease, tho' it is not without great difficulty & attention that any one of us can without oversetting when they land at the rocks, they lay the Canoe alongside of them keeping fast by a peice of line; when at a beach or Mud flat they haul the Canoe ashore after them or heave a stone overboard with a fishing line fast to it as soon as they take the ground to prevent their driving off; they frequently haul their Canoes up upon the rocks at those places where the shelving rocks afford themselves shelter.

In the Summer, the Sea seems to furnish the Natives good subsistence, Fish being then in great plenty in & about the Harbours, among which are the Jew Fish, Snapper, Mullet, Mackrel, Whiting, Dory, rock Cod, leather jackets & various others, some of a species which had never been seen by any of us; There are great numbers of the Sting ray & shark, both which I have seen the Natives throw away when given to them & often refuse them when offer'd. We met with view facsimile

several Fish that seem'd to partake of the shark, the upper part being that of the skate or other flat fish with the back fins & tail of the shark: This kind of mixt breed is also found among the Beasts & Birds, the Quadrupeds, the Dog excepted partake of the Kanguroo & Opossum, many having the false belly & hind legs & feet similar to those of the Kanguroo. The Birds frequently partake of the Parrot.

The Natives strike fish with their barbed Spears from the rocks & sometimes from the Canoe in with they stand up: in general we observe the Canoe occupied by the Women who fish with hook & line, which I never noticed any of the Men to use or that the women use the Spear. The line appears to be made from the inside / bark of the Cabbage tree, it is laid of two strands well twisted & strong. Their hooks seem to be made both from the claws of Birds & the inside of a shell resembling the pearl Oyster Shell, from the latter I have seen a hook made, they rub it down on the rocks until fit for their purpose & then shape the hook in a curve with a sharp shell or stone; we found vast quantities of Oysters & other shell fish in the Harbour & Oysters of an amazing size in the uppermost Coves. At Broken Bay we saw several very fine Cray fish & one tolerable size Crab, but did not ever meet with either at Port Jackson. For a considerable time after our arrival it was supposed that the food of the Natives was entirely Fish, view facsimile

but the winter convinced us, that if they had not some other resource great numbers of them must perish, as it is, they are very hard put to it when the Fish is scarce; they we have been several days together without getting half a bucket of fish with the Seine & having met some of the Natives in a most deplorable situation for want of food in the winter Months. At those times they will eat any thing & have been seen to take up the carcase of a sheep that had been thrown overboard as eagerly as if the animal had been just killed; I have several times met with small parties of them seeking roots & spungy substances which grow on some of the Trees & yeild a small seed & sweet juice which the Birds feed on: The fern & some other roots they prepare by moistening & beating between two stones a considerable time before they use it. There is no doubt but they lay wait for the Kanguroo & Birds many of the trees are notch'd that has not had a Canoe taken from them from which I suppose they get into these Trees to seek or wait for any thing that may come in their way, About the open ground where the Kanguroo frequent we have met with a kind of hunting wigwam, consisting of two sides made of bark over some small sticks just meeting each other & open at both ends, in the sides they have a hole or two to look out; The Dogs Hunt the Kanguroo we have prove of by one being shot close at the heels of a Kanguroo. In an view facsimile

excursion made to Botany Bay, near the Sea Coast, many of the Natives were found feasting on the remains of a Whale that had been thrown on shore by the Sea: they have no idea of dressing fish any other than by laying it on the fire; One of them very eager to steal a fish which he saw in a pot at our fire in one of the Coves, put his hand in to snatch it out but the water being just boiling he let the fish go & appear'd to be much surprised. We found a kind of wild fig & notice that the Natives use it; they also use a nut which grows in clusters to the size & shape of the top of the pine, One of the Convicts was poison'd by eating them, in what manner the Natives prepare them I do not know but I tasted some at Broken Bay & thought them good.

We never met with the smallest appearance of any kind of Cultivated ground: We found wild spinage, samphire & parsley & small quantity of sorel & wild celery, all of which with the leaves of several kinds of bushes were used by us for want of better vegetables which were not yet supplied from the Garden, as will appear from our whole stock of vegetables on board the Sirius for her intended voyage was a dozen heartless Cabbages & as many young Brocoli plants & those the produce of the Governors Garden. Soon after our arrival a berry in appearance like an unripe currant was found in many parts of the Harbour; a very strong pure ascid & of infinite use view facsimile

in removing the Scurvy from those on board who had been attack'd by that disease: We also found a plant which grew about the rocks & amongst the underwood entwined, the leaves, of which boiled made a pleasant drink & was used as Tea by our Ships Company: It has much the taste of Liquorish & serves both for Tea & Sugar & is recommended as a very wholesome drink & a good thing to take to Sea.

The Quadrupeds we met with here, were the Dog, of the common size much resembling the Jackal: The Kanguroo which is an Animal we have reason to suppose is not known in any other Country, are of a Dunn & reddish Fox colour, the fur on the young ones is tolerable good, the body of this animal seems to be of a peculiar structure, narrow shoulders the fore legs small & short having 5 toes on each foot or paw; regularly placed the middle the longest; this animal is very large & strong about the loins, the hind legs long & of great strength, they seldom use the fore feet in moving, but bound along with great swiftness upon the hind legs, in doing which the tail which is large & powerful affords them much assistance they have but 3 toes on the hind feet, one large long one with a very strong nail on it, this is between the two others which are smaller than those of the fore feet & one of those has a double nail, which I never heard of being met with in any other Animal & in this is general in the vast number view facsimile

shot there never was one exception, they also differ from other Animals in having the testes situated before the penis which comes out thru′ the external orifice of the anus, the Female has but one external orifice within which is seated the parts necessary for propagation, it is not ascertained whether they bring forth the young in the false belly or whether in the same manner as other animals & afterwards put it into the false belly to nourish it, the Teats are situated in the false belly & the young one has been found fix'd on the Teat when just formed & not half the length of a mans finger; they young ones of considerable size has been found & killed in the false Belly; The Kanguroo have been killed from the smallest size to that of 160 Lb weight the dimensions of which were from the head to the tail 7Ft:03In, of the tail 3Ft:04in: fore legs 1Ft:3in, hinder legs 2Ft:09in the tail at the root 18 inches in circumference; the head is much the shape of the Horses head, small & rather longer ears which they turn right round & hear the least noise, windy weather is reckon'd best for shooting them, the woods being then in motion & making a noise prevents them hearing the approach of any person, we think the Meat very good having been so long without other fresh provision, but in any other situation I cannot think it would be esteem'd as such. We found great numbers of the Opossum, Squirrels, rats of various kinds & many of which partake of view facsimile

the Kanguroo, the hind legs & tail being similar, & the females of the Opossum having the false belly. The flying Fox, or large bat is common here as are flying squirrels. The Birds we met with here; are Gulls of many kinds, Black Swans, Eagles, Hawkes, Crows, Cranes, Curlieu, Heron Bustards Quails, Cockatoos, Parrot, & Paroquets of beautiful plumage, we found but few pidgeons & met with a great variety of small birds extremely beautiful & some of the birds most unaccountably partaking of the parrot in some degree. The Ostrich & Emew have been seen & one Emew killed, which was allowed to be very fine eating & the best Bird in the Country on account of its size.

Many kinds of Snakes were met with & Lizards, Guanas Turpins, Centipieds of an incredible length, one which was justly called a Millepied measured 2Ft:6in in length & was taken on Garden Island; The Ants & Musquitos we found very troublesome, of the former we saw a great variety the sting of the large white Ant is very painful.

The Natives that we met with during our stay at Port Jackson & visiting Broken & Botany Bays, were in general of the middle stature, very active, but do not appear to be that strong, robuste people which Savages are usually found to be, there is a great sameness in their features, noses rather flat voice of the Men harsh; The Women view facsimile

have remarkable soft voices & the younger Women much expression in their countenances, they are very dark & keep their skins so dirty that it is hard to tell the true colour of them, their hair is clotted with dirt & full of vermin, & as they never wash themselves unless by chance or accident, the beauty which many of them from regularity of features & pleasing countenances would be allowed to have, is destroyed. The Men wear their beards long, their hair which is full of dirt & vermin they were wear loose or rather clotted with both, & sometimes ornamented with the teeth, claws &c. of animals stuck in their hair with gum, several of them have been shaved by our people & one party after having gone through this operation, came alongside the Ship again in a few days making signs that they wished to have it repeated: We never could prevail on any of them to come on board altho' they would frequently run all over our boats. Of the whole number I ever saw or met with, there were only two who were not entirely naked & those seem'd to be lame, the one an Old Woman, the other a young boy; some of the women I have seen with a string tied loose about their necks. The Men have many large scars about their bodies which they signified to us was done by a sharp shell, but on what account we could not discover. The Men having lost one of their front teeth is except a few instances a general custom as is that of the women losing two view facsimile

joints of the little finger on the left hand; all these customs we are yet at a loss to account for, but that they are not a badge of disgrace or infamy is evident from being so general & that they are fond of shewing them to us when we notice it; one of them in a party I fell in with up the Harbour took a deal of pains to shew us the difference between the Ornamental Scars & those from the wounds of the Spear, he had three of them in his body. The inside part of the nose between the two nostrils being bored, appears to be common but not general in both Sexes, they thrust a bone or stick through it at times, but are very seldom found wearing it there. Several have been met with very whimsically painted with red Ochre & pipe Clay both which we find plenty of; they are great Theives which is common among Savages.

In many places we found straggling Huts, but I never saw more than 8 or 10 together, these are if possible more wretched than their Canoes, they are made with small boughs or rather sticks, cover'd in a miserable manner with bark & leaves of the Cabbage tree: their height will not admit of entering without stooping or crawling in; They appear to live cheifly in the Caves & hollows of the rocks, which Nature has supplied them with, the rocks about the shore being all mostly shelving & overhanging so as to afford a tolerable retreat to these miserable creatures & frequently after view facsimile

passing a whole day in search of food without being able to procure as much as would make half a reasonable meal they make a fire at the outer part of these dismal holes which throws a heat in, but so hard press'd are these poor Devils in the Winter, that from the hours we have seen them fishing with a light in the Canoe, they are frequently without two hours rest to themselves, Hunger is so pressing a call that they cannot quit their endeavors to satisfy it for any other enjoyment: In heavy rains I have seen the Women hold a peice of bark over their heads so as to throw the rain clear of them, but I never notice the Men make any difference, only that they are not so active in the rain & appear to be cramped. To speak of the Virtue of the Ladies of this Country, I beleive no one in the Colony can boast of having received favours; Whether they are bound by any tie or their Connexions made by promiscuous intercourse is hard for us to determine; it has been generally observed that they are very jealous of the women being among us when we happen to fall in where they are & that the Women are kept at a distance when we do not come unawares upon them, & a guard with several lances always ready for their protection has been usually found; they are very impatient to revenge an affront, & very soon forget injuries, or any offence that has been given to them. There has view facsimile

been two hundred of them met with together about Botany Bay, but except that & the N.o arm of Port Jackson, they are seldom seen more than 20 or 30 & frequently two & three together: That large body of them met with @ Botany Bay had a quantity of dried fish with them, which was the only time that any ^thing) of the kind had been seen.

It has been suggested by a Convict who absented himself & remained some days in the Woods, that the Natives were Cannibals, & that he had seen a party of them eat the flesh of one who they had killed, the authority is not good yet I think that circumstance of their taking one of the convicts into the woods with them after having killed & strip'd him favours the mans report; & that but a short time before he was executed for the robbery that induced him to absent himself he affirm'd the truth of his report; this expedient of flying to the woods for shelter has been tried by several of them & have found that they have been obliged to return & be hanged or suffer the most shocking death; that of being starved. We have every reason to suppose that they burn the dead, from the number of graves we have open'd & seen in those which were open'd we found the ashes with many peices of bone not quite consumed, the ashes appear to be thrown together & cover'd with earth until raised much as those commonly met with; it was the appearance view facsimile

that led us first to open one which we met with newly made. They do not appear to observe any kind of religion.

The land on that part of the Coast which we fell in with is moderately high & the Sea face rocky, with many sandy beaches between the projecting points; some parts appear'd barren, others pleasant Downes, particularly that about the white Cliffs to the S.oward of Botany Bay which we called Portsdown from a remarkable clump of trees on it; The land over the sandy bays is in general woody, as is a very considerable part of the higher lands: A great distance inland from the Coast about Port Jackson are a chain of very high Mountains, towards which many excursions has been plann'd but none yet executed:

Towards the upper part of Port Jackson the Country opens & is cover'd with long grass growing under the trees, there are some spots of clear ground round P Jackson but none of considerable extent until near the head of it, from which, along by the flats & creeks it improves & near the fresh water at the top of the creek it is a fine open Country & good soil, to this part which is called Rose Hill & is about 12 Miles above Sydney Cove, it is intended early in the present Month to detach a Capt & Company of Marines with a proportion of Convicts for the purpose of clearing & cultivating that part of the Country, which will no doubt view facsimile

be of great use to the Settlement. The wood for building is not very good, the Gum tree grows very large but the grain is so short that it is neither strong nor durable, there is a kind of pine & a bastard kind Mahogany, all of which are used, the latter makes tolerable good furniture.

The Stock brought to Port Jackson has turn'd to little account, the sheep nearly all dead, the Bull & Cows missing, either killed by the Natives or run wild in the woods. Hogs which appear to thrive the best will be lost for want of food, before grain can be raised for their support, the cabbage tree affords good food while it lasts but there is great difficulty in getting it. All kinds of poultry thrive very well & Goats particularly well, the great want is grain to support the stock.

To speak of the Seasons & Weather; from our partial trial of both, I have observed that the weather is generally unsettled at New & full Moon, at which times on our first arrival we had tremendous thunder squalls: The Wind frequently changes suddenly to the S.oward in a strong Gust & generally blows hard afterwards; We have remarked also that Lightning to the S.oward is an indication of such strong Winds coming, but I have frequent known them come on in a sudden gust without a moments warning or any apparent alteration in the Heavens: In Moderate fair weather, the Land & Sea Breezes are regular & fresh.

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We found very great & sudden changes in the degree of heat a shift of wind would rise or lower the Thermometer 14° in less than 10 Minutes on board the Sirius & on shore considerably more. We observe a change in the face of the Country as the winter approaches, altho' the Trees are not strip'd of their leaves, there being a constant succession, which we also found in the vegetable production of the woods, but during the Winter neither the Grass or the Trees have the fine green appearance as on our first arrival. We found a very great variety of shrubs which had beautiful bloom but scarce any smell in them.

The progress made in the New Settlement, or what the Colony may promise from its present state I cannot pretend to judge of further than that I think the quantity of ground clear'd is very inconsiderable

October. 2nd: Sailed for the Cape of Good Hope, we left the Supply at Port Jackson, with the Fishburne & Golden Grove Transports, both of which it was supposed would be clear'd & Sail for England in November. We had a fresh Gale & S.o which soon gave us a good Offing.

3rd. At Noon, we were 37 leagues to the E.tward of P.t Jackson a strong Gale S.oerly which continued to the 6th: when in 35°:22 S.o 156°:51′ Et it hauled round to the East & NE.t

8th: Blew a Strong Gale at NE & at Noon came to the N.oward.

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8th: It was this day determined to pursue the route to the E.tward round Cape Horn as the most certain passage from what had been experienced by others in high S.oern Latitude getting to the W.tward; & particularly as the Ship had sprung a leak the day we sailed from Port Jackson was thought the more unfit to beat against the W.terly winds:

From the 8th to the 11th: Wind & weather very changeable, then a strong Western Gale promised a good run to the E.tward

13th: We pass'd the South Cape of New Zeeland at 40 leag.s distance. The 16th: in Latitude 51°.S.o 176°Et, we again met with SE & E.tly winds with fine settled weather; these winds continued to the 22nd veering from SE to E.t & NE by which we were enabled to make some small progress to the E.tward altho' in 6 days, it was only as many degrees of Longitude.

23rd. A Fresh Gale sprung up from the W.tward & continued to the 30th in Lat: 53°:38′ S.o 203°:45′ Et weather mostly fair; the 30th it fell Calm, we had a great quantity of Birds about the Ship, in the evening a breeze sprung up which was very variable & the weather unsettled.

31st: Saw several Divers, small Gulls & two Sea Otters.