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March 1788

March 9th. The governor, with two long boats manned and armed, returned from Broken Bay, situated a little to the northward, which he had been exploring for several days. It affords good shelter for shipping, and the entrance is bold;


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it cannot, however, be compared to Port Jackson. While he was there, he saw a great many of the natives, some of whom he thinks he had observed before, either at Botany Bay or in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson. One of the females happened to fall in love with his great coat; and to obtain it she used a vareity of means. First, she danced, and played a number of antic tricks; but, finding this mode ineffectual, she had recourse to tears, which she shed plentifully. This expedient not answering, she ceased from weeping, and appeared as cheerful as any of the party around her. From this little incident it may be seen that they are not a people devoid of art. At Broken Bay many of the females, young and old, had the first joint of the little finger on their left hand cut off. As this was the case with those who were married, or appeared to be so from their having young children, as well as with those who were too young for a connection of that nature, it was not possible to account for the cause of such an amputation. Thefts and depredations on one another have become so very frequent and glaring among the convicts, that scarcely a day passes without some of these miserable delinquents being punished. So hardened in wickedness and depravity are many of them, that they seem


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insensible to the fear of corporal punishment, or even death itself.

The principal business going forward at present is erecting cabbage-tree huts for the officers, soldiers, and convicts; some storehouses, &c.; and a very good hospital; all which in the completion will cost a great deal of time and trouble, as the timber of this country is very unfit for the purpose of building. Nor do I know any one purpose for which it will answer except for fire-wood; and for that it is excellent: but in other respects it is the worst wood that any country or climate ever produced, although some of the trees, when standing, appear fit for any use whatever, masts for shipping not excepted. Strange as it may be imagined, no wood in this country, though sawed ever so thin, and dried ever so well, will float. Repeated trials have only served to convince me that, immediately on immersion, it sinks to the bottom like a stone.

The stone of this country is excellent for building, could any kind of cement be found to keep it together. There is not any limestone (I believe) in New South Wales. The governor, notwithstanding that he had collected together all the shells which could be found, for the purpose of


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obtaining from them the lime necessary to the construction of a house for his own residence, did not procure even a fourth part of the quantity which was wanted. The foundation stone of a private house for him has been laid, and a plate of copper, with the following inscription engraved on it, is to be placed in the wall:

ARTHUR PHILLIP, ESQ.

Captain General in and over his Majesty's Territory of New South Wales, and its Dependencies;

Arrived in this Country on the 18th Day of January, 1788, with the first Settlers;

And on the 15th Day of May, in the same Year, the first of these Stones was laid.

The Supply tender returned from Norfolk Island, where, with great difficulty and danger, the stores sent with Lieutenant King were landed, on account of the rockyness of its shore, and the violence of the surf that almost continually beats upon it. In her passage there she fell in with an


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island, in lat. 31°36'S. long. 159°4'E., never before discovered, to which Lieutenant Ball, who commanded the Supply on this occasion, gave the name of Lord Howe's Island. On her return to this port she stopped at it, and found the landing nearly, if not quite, as difficult as at Norfolk Island. The shore in many places was covered with excellent turtle, eighteen of which were brought here, and proved a seasonable supply to the convicts afflicted with the scurvy, many of whom were in a deplorable situation.

The smallest turtle brought from Lord Howe's Island did not weigh less than 150 lb. They also found on it, in great plenty, a kind of fowl, resembling much the Guinea fowl in shape and size but widely different in colour, they being in general all white, with a red fleshy substance rising, like a cock's comb, from the head, and not unlike a piece of sealing wax. These not being birds of flight, nor in the least wild, the sailors, availing themselves of their gentleness and inability to take wing from their pursuits, easily struck them down with sticks. There were also many birds of the dove kind, as tame as the former, and caught with equal facility. Some of them were brought alive to this place. Besides these, the shore abounded with sea


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birds of several species. The island is very barren, and not more than twenty miles in circumference.

25th. The Scarborough, Lady Penrhyn, and Charlotte, transports, being cleared of government stores, were discharged from the service, and are shortly to depart for China in order to load home with tea, they being chartered by the East India company for that purpose.

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