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THE YEARS 1888 TO 1899 

James Backhouse Walker, F.R.G.S., 


Casmanta : 
John Vail, GToveenment Peinteb. 





Biographical Sketch (bj the Rev. Georg-e Clarke) v 

The French in Van Diemen's Land, and the First Settlement 

at theDerwent I 

The Founding of Hobart by Lientenant-Grovernor Collins ... 59 

The Expedition under Lieutenant-Governor Collins in 1803-4 85 

The Discoveiy and Occupation of Port Dalryniple 103 

The Discovery of Van Diemen's Land in 1642 ; with Notes of 

the Localities mentioned in Tasman's Journal of the Voyage 125 

The Deportation of the Norfolk Islanders to the Derwent 
in 1808 141 

Abel Janszoon Tasman : His Life and Voyages 171 

Notes on the Aborigines of Tasmania extracted frsm the 
Manuscript Journals of George Washington Walker, with 
an Introduction by Janaes Backhouse Walker, F.R.G.S 233 

Some Notes on the Tribal Divisions of the Aborigines of 

Tasmania 263 

The Tasmanian Aborigines 275 

The Cartography of the Terra Australis and New Holland ... 283 



James Backhouse Walker, F.R.G.S. 

(Born 14tli Oct.. 1H41 ; died 4tli Xov,, 1899.) 

It is the privilege of the writer to have known the late 
and much lamented Mr. James Backhouse Walker, 
F.R.G.S., through all his life, and he has been asked to 
supply a short memorial preface to the following papers 
which were read before the Royal Society of Tasmania. 

Mr. Walker was born at Hobart in the year 1841. 
His father, Mr. George Washington Walker, was a well- 
known and much respected member of the Society of 
Friends, and transmitted his simple and altruistic ways 
to his children. In the early years of these Colonies he 
was deputed, with Mr. Backhouse, by the Society of 
Friends, to visit the Australian settlements, and to 
inquire into and report upon their social condition. 
They did so at much cost of time and labour, and their 
representations were not without effect on the Colonial 
Office in Downing-street, which, in the old times, was 
the most perfunctory of State Institutions, very ignorant, 
very indifferent, and very contemptuous of communities 
which they regarded as almost wholly made up of the 
scum of the Empire. When his mission was fulfilled, Mr. 
Walker, the elder, came back to Tasmania, took his place 
as a leader in philanthropic work, and became Manager 
of the Savings Bank in Hobart, and occupied the position 


to the time of his death. At an early age the son, James, 
was sent to school iji England, and when he came back 
to his home was a pupil of the late Rector of the High 
School, the Rev. R. D. Poiilett-Harris. As a scholar, he 
was steady, bright, and intelligent, and much regarded 
by his fellows for his simple and genial ways. Even 
then he was prone to wander in the paths of literature, 
and cared more for Homer than Euclid. In due time he 
passed the A. A Examination of the Council of Educa- 
tion, and when he left school he was put on the staff of 
the Savings Bank, under the charge of his father. No 
doubt the discipline of his work as an accountant was 
of great service to him through all his subsequent career, 
but it was very irksome, and made no appeal to his 
ambition. He determined to give it up, and to qualify 
himself for the legal profession, though it might involve 
the patience of years. Through all his routine work he 
drank deeply from the wells of general literature, and 
passionately studied many of the masters of immortal 
memory. He knew, though he never made a parade of 
his knowledge. In the practise of his profession he took 
a high stand, and won the confidence and esteem of his 
brethren for his sound judgment, integrity, and honour, 
and they have shown theii- appreciation of his work by 
contributing to the foundation of a scholarship in hia 
memory in the University of Tasmania. 

Mr. Walker, as might be expected from his bringing 
up, was very sympathetic with all movements for the 
uplifting of our social and moral condition, though suffi- 
ciently alive to the futility of many well-meant but 
ill-considered schemes of doing good. Ho had a singular 
power of winning the affection and confidence of young 
people, who believed in his judgment, and trusted in his 
good will. He took boys one by one with a due con- 
sideration for their personal equation, and many » 
Tasmanian lad owes much of his success in life to the 


wise and sympathetic counsels of their fiiend. Little 
children gathered round him as they did about Lewis 
Carroll, and clung to him with perfect tnist and joy. 
He was, at any rate, very lovable to them all. 

Mr. Walker was a broad-minded man, and he took an 
intelligent and sympathetic interest in scientific research 
of every kind, though he never claimed to be an expert 
in many questions discussed at the meetings of the Royal 
Society. The special bent of his mind was towards 
literature and history. The story of our earliest Aus- 
tralian days was to him a theme deserving the most 
careful study, and that ought to be rightly told ;vnd 
thoroughly sifted. To know about Tasman and the first 
discoverers he thought worth painstaking labour ; and to 
correct the legends that have gathered round the fact 
as it was, seemed to him almost a religious duty. He 
would take nothing at second hand if he could help it, 
but went back to the original sources, even to ransacking 
the archives of Holland for anything that would throw 
light on Tasman and his career. And so it was all 
through, and his papers show how hard he worked to 
secure accuracy where accuracy was possible. 

Next, if next, to Mr. Walker's interest in the Royal 
Society, was his interest in the cause of higher education, 
though, indeed, it was as a branch of higher education 
that he set so much value on the work of scientific 
research, which the Royal Society was designed to pro- 
mote. He had much to do with starting the University 
of Tasmania, and guiding and supporting it through the 
difficulties of its earliest years. He was, perhaps, the 
hardest worker in the Council, and certainly he was 
second to no one in wise and loyal service to the Insti- 
tution. His colleagues in the University know best the 
loss that they have suffered by Mr. Walker's passing from 
among us. 

viii bio(;raphical sketch. 

In conclusion, there are sacred things on which on© 
can hardly touch in a paper like this, but, pei'haps, in 
the circumstances, I may be allowed to say that my dear 
friend seemed to me to be a man who tried to pitch his 
life to the old Hebrew oracle, " He hath shewed thee, O 
man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of 
thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk 
humbly with thy God." 






(Read November, 188«.) 

Prefatory Note. 

As the subject of the present Paper may appear to be 
scarcely within the scope of the objects of the Royal 
Society, it seems proper to state briefly the occasion of 
its being written and. submitted to the consideration of the 

Some two years ago, the Tasmanian Government^ — of 
which the Hon. James "Wilson Agnew, Honorary 
Secretary of the Royal Society, was Premier— following 
the good example set by the Governments of New South 
Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and New 
Zealand, directed search to be made in the English State 
Record Office for papers relating to the settlement and 
early history of this Colony. The idea originated in a 
suggestion from Mr. James Bonwick, F.R.G.S., the well- 
kuown writer on the Tasmanian Aborigines, who had 
been employed for years on similar work for vai'ious 
Colonial Governments, and to him the task was entrusted 
by Dr. Agnew. Mr. Bonv/ick searched, not only the 
Record Office, but the papers of the Admiralty, the 
Foreign Office, the Privy Council, and the British 
Museum, and discovered and copied a large mass of docu- 
ments relating to the early days of Tasmania. In the 
early part of this year, these copies, extending over some 
640 foolscap pages, were received in Hobart, and the 
present Premier — the Hon. Philip Oakley Fysh — oblig- 
ingly allowed me to peruse them. I found them to be 
of great interest. They threw quite a new light on the 
causes which led to the first occupation of this Island; 
gave a complete history of Bowen's first settlement at 
Risdon Cove ; and supplied materials for other hitherto 
vmwritten chapters of Tasmanian history. Upon inform- 
ing Mr. Fysh of the result of my examination, he entered 


warmly into my proposal to put before the public in a 
narrative form the information acquired, and placed tha 
documents at my disposal for that purpose. It is at Mr. 
Fysh's suggestion that this first paper on the subject is 
now submitted to the Royal Society. The introductory 
sketch of the operations of the French in Tasmania has 
been compiled from the original published narratives of 
the expeditions. Some history of preceding events seemed 
necessary for a px'oper understanding of the trans- 
actions referred to in the documents under notice. My 
object has been, not to give a history of the discovery and 
early exploration of our Island, but merely such an out- 
line of the rivalries of the French and English in these seas 
as would suffice for a better apprehension of the motives 
which prompted the first occupation of the Derwent. 

The story of the first settlement of Tasmania, and of 
Lieutenant Bowen's little colony at Risdon Cove, has 
never yet been told, so far as I can discover. West, 
Fenton, and other authors give meagre, inaccurate, and 
contradictory particulars. No writer records even the 
date of Bowen's landing. Mr. Bonwick's researches 
now, for the first time, enable us to give this missing first 
chapter of Tasmanian history. 

I. — The French in Van Diemen's Land. 

The Cambridge Professor of Modern History, in a 
recent remarkable book, has shown that the great English 
event of the 18th century, indeed, the greatest fact of 
modern English History, has been the expansion of 
England into lands beyond the seas — the foundation and 
growth of a Greater Britain. Professor Seeley holds 
that the great hundred years' struggle between England 
and France, lasting from the time of Louis XIV. to the 
days of Napoleon, was, in the main, a duel between the 
two nations for the possession of the New World. Even 
in the English conquest of India the Professor traces, 
not so much the ambition of conquest and the lust of 
empire, as fear of the French and rivalry with them. 
By the close of the last century the issue of the strife 
was no longer doubtful. In India, Wellesley had anni- 
hilated French influence, and was rapidly consolidating 
the I^nglish dominion. France had lost for ever her 
finest possessions in America, though she, on her side, had 
dealt us a return blow in assisting to tear from England 
her North American Colonies. 


But the struggle was not over, and it was destined, to 
yield yet wider triumphs for the English race. The very 
humiliation which, France had helped to inflict on her 
rival was to prove a potent factor in the further expan- 
sion of "Greater Britain." It is probably no exaggeration 
to say that it is to the hostility of France, and her action 
in America, that we owe in no small measure the British Expansion 
colonisation of Australia — a work which must ever stand of England, 
as the most momentous event of our century. ^''^• 

The secession of her North American provinces had well 
nigh left England without a colonial empire. English- 
men straightway set themselves to search for a com- 
pensation for their lost possessions, and to find a new 
outlet for their energies and for their surplus population. 
A new world lay ready to their hand. As David 
Livingstone, in our own days, has called into existence 
a new realm in the dark continent of Africa, so iU) the 
days of our great grandfathers, the genius of Captain 
Cook, England's greatest circumnavigator, had opened 
up a new realm in the unknown and mysterious seas 
of the South. But in these Southern seas, as formerly 
in America and India, England and France were, and 
indeed still are, rivals. In exploration each nation can 
boast of distinguished names. The English navigators, 
Anson, Vancouver, Cook, Furneaux, and Flinders, had 
active competitors in the Frenchmen, Bougainville, 
Marion, Surville, La Perouse, D'Entrecasteaux, and 
Baudin. Nor were the English the first to entertain the 
design of colonising the new lands. So far back as the 
year 1756, an eminent and learned French advocate, 
M. le President Charles de Brosses, in his Histoire des 
Navigations aux Terres Australes, had strongly vxrged 
upon the Government of Fi-ance the wisdom of establish- 
ing a French colony in the South seas. In the work cited 
the author passes in review the relative advantages of 
various portions of the Southern world, and concludes 
that some part of Australasia* offers the best prospects for 
settlement, the country being favourable, and access easy, 
with Pondicherry as a base of operations. f He rejects 
New Zealand and Van Diemen's Land as too remote; and 
after hesitating for a while over Quiros' Terre du St. 
Esprit (the coast between Cooktown and Townsville), 
finally inclines to New Britain as the most suitable 

* De Brosses was President of the Parliament of Dijon. To 
him we owe tlie invention of the name Australasia. Nav. 
aux Terres Aus., i., 80. 

♦ Nav. aux Terres Aust., ii., 367, et seq. 


locality. With a sagacious foresight, since amply justi- 
fied by events, he declares that any colony planted in 
these regions would hold Ariadne's clew for the whole 
Southern world. From such a centre, every part of 
this new realm could in time be explored and conquered, 
from the Equator to the Antarctic Circle. He elaborately 
discvisses the best means of forming such a settlement, and 
recommends that after its first establishment a certain 
number of convicts, male and female, should be sent to 
it every year to supply the necessary labour, and to be in 
time transformed from a danger and burden to the State 
into indvistrious and useful citizens.* Still further to 
strengthen the new colony, he would deport to it, as free 
citizens, numbers of foundlings, who are in a sense the 
property of the State which has reared them, and can 
therefore dispose of them at its pleasure. He warns his 
countrymen against the danger of waiting until some 
other nation had proved the practicability of a colony by 
trying the experiment ; for when once any nation has 
gained a foothold it will not siifi'er another to share the 
territory to which it has thus acquired a right by con- 
quest.! Although various discovery expeditions were 
despatched from France to the South Seas after the days 
of De Brosses, the President's warning remained un- 
heeded. France missed her opportunity, and it was left 
to England to take the first step, and found a new empire 
in these southern seas, from which — justifying the French- 
man's forecast — she did not scruple from the very first 
peremptorily to warn off all intruders. 

It was probably due to the fact of the coincidence of 
Captain Cook's discoveries with the loss of the American 
colonies, quite as much as to her naval supremacy, that 
England chanced to be beforehand with her rival. It 
takes an effort of imagination to realise the New World 
which Cook revealed, and how he opened up to men's 
minds the possibilities and promise of the new field for 
enterprise. Until his time. New Holland — for as yet 
Australia was not I — had been little more than a 
geographical expression. Parts of the Northern and 

*Ibid., i., 28, etseq. -^ Ibid., ii., 408. 

X Quiros (1606) named his discovery Australia del Espiritii 
wSanto, in honour of Philip of Austria. I'urchas, in his 
English translation of Quiros' voyage (1625) called it Australia 
Incognita — (See Petherick's Bibliography of Australasia). 
Dalrympip, in his Collection of Voyages (1770) suggests the 
name, and Flinders rovivod it in the Introduction to his 
Voyage to Terra Australia, 1814, p. iii. 


Western coasts, and one ominous Bay of Storms at the 
South, were laid down more or less vaguely on the maps 
from the reports of Dutch navigators of the preceding 
century, and those old and infrequent voyagers had 
brought back only reports of forbidding shores and 
desolate territory. The right to these dreary coasts was 
conceded without dispute to the Dutch, for it was a laud 
that no man desired. The English had no part in its 
discovery. One Englishman, indeed, and one only — 
William Dampier — had touched on the W^estern coast 
in the year 1688, had found a barren sandy soil, inhabited 
by wretched savages, with no redeeming advantage, and 
had left it gladly, thinking it the most miserable spot on 
the face of the earth. Svich was the state of affairs when 
Cook appeared on the scene. In 1770, on his return from 
the observation of the Transit of Venus at Tahiti, and in 
pursuance of instructions to try to solve the mystery of 
the great South Land, the Endeavour, after rediscovering 
and surveying the islands of New Zealand, sailed west till 
the eastern shore of New Holland was sighted. Cook 
explored the coast from Cape Howe to Cape York ; 
landed at Botany Bay, hoisted the English flag, took 
possession of the country in the name of King George, 
and retui'ned home to report the existence of a fine and 
fertile territory in a temperate climate, well suited for 
English settlers. At home the growth of feeling in favour 
of a milder penal code had rendered it necessary to devise 
some scheme for disposing of criminals, and Pitt and the 
English Government resolved to choose Botany Bay as 
the field for a project which should relieve English diffi- 
culties, and lay the foundation of a new colony. The 
first fleet sailed from England, and in January, 1788, 
Governor Phillip planted the first settlement in New 
Holland, substantially on the lines indicated in detail by 
the French President more than a quarter of a century 

But the French had never ceased to turn longing eyes 
towards the new Southern world. If the mind of France 
had not been so fully occupied in the desperate effort to 
maintain her naval power against the English in other 
seas, it is quite possible that to her, and not to England, 
would have fallen the dominion of Australia. And, 
probably, suspicion of French designs had its effect in 
hastening English action. Already, in 1785, the French 
Government had despatched the celebrated La Perouse 
with an expedition to circumnavigate the world, and 
explore the coasts of New Holland, doubtless, with some 


moi-e or less definite design of settlement. When, on the 
26th January, 1788, La Perouse, with his ships, the 
Bouxftnh and the Asfrolithe, sailed into Botany Bay, he 
fovind an English fleet at anchor there, having arrived 
five days before him. Governor Phillip had just left the 
Bay in the Sup2)Iy to find in Port Jackson a more suitable 
site for a town ; and on the very day La Perouse's ships 
Collins' Nc^^ came to an anchor the city of Sydney was founded. The 
South French remained in Botany Bay for six weeks, the 

■Wales, 1.. 1. English and they maintaining a friendly and pleasant 
intercourse. Collins says that the French were very 
unfavourably impressed with the prospects of the settle- 
ment, the officers having been heard to declare that in 
their whole voyage they had never found so poor a 
country, or such wretched people as the natives of New 
Ibid, i., 20. South Wales. On the 10th March La Perouse sailed 
from Nev.^ South Wales to vanish into space — the mystery 
which shrouded his fate not being solved until nearly 40 
years had elapsed. 

The English foothold on the Australian continent was 
now securely established, and disregarding the western 
half, to with the Dutch were still considered as having a 
title — something like their present title to Western New 
Guinea— England, by solemn proclamation, formally laid 
claim to the whole eastern territory from Cape York to 
the extreme South Cape of Van Diemen's Land, and as 
far west as the 135th degree of east longitude. 

Still France did not relinquish her dreams of colonisa- 
tion, but seemed to cherish the idea of disputing with 
her great rival her exclusive possession of the new 
territories. There is reason to think that the French 
designs, if ever distinctly formulated, pointed to the 
southern extremity of Van Diemen's Land as the locality 
for a settlement. The Terre de Diemen and the Baie des 
Tempetes exercised a particular fascination over succes- 
sive French navigators, and excited the attention of the 
French Government. It was a spot known only for a for- 
bidding rock-bound coast, washed by an angry sea, and 
lashed by perpetual tempests. For more than a century 
after its discovery by Abel Tasman in 1642 no European 
had invaded its solitudes, until on the 4th March, 1772, 
the French navigator, Marion du Fresne, anchored his 
ships, the Mascorin and the Castries, in the Frederic 
Hendric Bay of Tasman*. He remained there six days, 

* Thi.s it not the Frederick Henry Bay of tlio colonists, but 
that marked on the maps as Marion Bay, on the East Coast. 



landed, and attempted to establish intercourse with the 
natives, the attempt resulting in an encounter in which 
the first Tasmanian aborigine fell under the fire of Euro- 
pean muskets. After Marion, the English navigators 
Furueaux (1773) Cook (1777), Cox (1789), and Bligh 
(1788 and 1792) paid passing visits to Adventure Bay; 
but it was a Frenchman, again, wJio made the first survey 
of the approaches to the Derwent. The instructions to 
La Peroixse in 1785 had directed him to explore this, the 
extreme southern point of New Holland ; and the last La Perouse, 
letter written by him from Botany Bay, on 7 February, Voy.,i.,120. 
1788, notes his intention to proceed there before his /fy^'^'' 
return, — an intention there is some I'eason to believe he 
executed.* The exploration was made four years later 
by Admiral Bruny D'Entrecasteaux, Commander of the 
expedition sent out by the National Assembly in 1791 to 
search for the missing navigator. It was to Storm Bay 
that his ships, the Becherche and Esycrance, first directed 
their course from the Cape of Good Hope. The autumn 
of 1792 was far advanced before the French Admiral 
sighted the basaltic cliffs of Van Diemens Land. 
Through an error of his pilot, Raoul, he missed 
Adventure Bay, which he had intended to make, and on 
21st April cast anchor at the entrance of the inlet after- 
wards known to the English as Storm Bay Passage, but 
which now more fittingly bears the name of D'Enti'e- 
casteaux Channel, after its discoverer. Recherche Bay, 
close at hand, offered a safe and commodious harbour for 
the ships ; and here they remained for a month, their 
boats exploring and surveying the channel and the various 
inlets on the coast, while the scientific men journeyed 
inland, made observations, collected specimens of natural 
history, and revelled in the examination of a new flora and 
fauna. The natives, at first timid and distrustful, were 
soon concilated, and showed themselves most friendly 
to the Europeans. On the 17th May the ships entered 
the Channel, and the French viewed with astonishment 
the extent of the harbours which unfolded themselves to 
their delighted gaze, affording a secure shelter spacious 
enough to contain easily the combined fleet of all the 
maritime powers of Europe. After a fortnight employed 

• Bent's Almanac for 1827 states that in the year 1809 
Captain Bunker, of the ship T'<'?n/s, found, buried on the 
shore of Adventure Bay, a bottle containing letters from La 
Perouse dated one month after his leaving Port Jackson. In 
the year 1826 Captain Peter Dillon discovered traces of La 
Perouse's expedition at Vanikoro, in the Santa Cruz Group. 


vov., Intro., 
p. 03. 
Voyage a la 
de La 
Perouse, i., 
pp. 116-194, 
and i., p. 
428— ii., p. 

Flinders' In- 
tro., p. 94. 

in examining the Channel, the Admiral sailed out of the 
Passage into Storm Bay, rounded the Pillar, and pro- 
ceeded to New Caledonia. In the summer of the 
following year he returned to Van Diemen's Land, and 
spent another five weeks in the Channel (21 January 
to 28 February, 1793). During the second stay the 
French completed the surveys which they had begun 
in the preceding autumn, explored Norfolk Bay and 
Frederick Henry Bay (Baie du Nord), and ascended 
20 miles up the Derwent, which they named Riviere 
du Noi'd. Flinders, with his usual generous recognition 
of the v/ork of previous navigators, says of the charts 
of Beautems Beaupre, the hydrographer of the expedition, 
that ■' they contain some of the finest specimens of 
marine surveying perhaps ever made in a new country." 
Labillardiere, the natviralist and historian of the expedi- 
tion, devotes more than 160 pages of his work to a descrip- 
tion of the Terre de Diemen. He speaks with enthusiasm 
of the country and its productions, of its magnificent 
forests of blue-gum and other timber, of its soil and 
fertility, and of the amiability of its peaceful inhabitants, 
and dilates with pardonable pride and satisfaction on the 
grandeur and extent of the harbours which French enter- 
prise had discovei'ed in this hitherto dreaded coast. The 
lengthened stay of D'Entrecasteaux, the minute and 
elaborate nature of his surveys, and the space his historian 
devotes to a description of the country and its advantages, 
indicate some further object than mere geographical re- 
search. The names which stud our southern coast, and 
are familiar in our mouths as household words, — Bruny 
Island, D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Recherche Bay, Port 
Esperance, River Huon, Cape Raoul, and others, — stand 
a perpetual monument to the memory of the French 

And now, at length, English explorers appear upon the 
scene. In 1794, Lieut. John Hayes, of the India Navy, 
was despatched from India in the ships Dvke of Clarefice 
and Duchess on a voyage of discovery, including the 
exploration of the coasts of Van Diemen's Land. He 
sailed up the Riviere du Nord— which he re-christened 
the Derwent — as far as Herdsman's Cove. As the 
admirable charts of D'Entrecasteaux were unknown to 
the English until long years after, it was on Hayes' sketch 
that subsequent visitors had to rely, and in many cases 
the names he gave have been substituted for those given 
by the French. 


In December, 1797, the adventurous Bass, leaving 
Port Jackson in an open whaleboat, had solved the vexed 
problem of the strait which bears the name and immorla 
lises the intrepid daring of its discoverer ; and late in the 
year 1798, Bass and Flinders, in the Norfolk, a little 
sloop of 25 tons, sailed through Bass' Strait, explored I'ort 
Dalrymple, circumnavigated Tasmania, and made a care- . 
ful examination and survey of the Derwent and its 
approaches and neighbourhood. 

On the 19th October, 1800, when Bonaparte v/as first 
Consul, an expedition, consisting of two ships, the Geo- 
grcifhe and Naturaliste, sailed out of Havre, amidst great 
demonstrations, for a voyage of discovery round the 
world. Commodore Baudin, in the Geogrcifhe, was 
chief of the expedition ; Captain Hamelin commanded the 
yatriraliste. Although fierce w^ar was raging at the time 
between the two nations, the English Admiralty granr.ed 
a passport or safe conduct to Baudin, on the ground that 
scientific expeditions should be exempt from hostilities. 
Notwithstanding these courtesies of the English Govern- 
ment to the French commander, it was shrewdly suspected 
that the real design of the expedition was to spy out the 
state of the English possessions in New Holland, and, if 
practicable, hoist the standard oi Bonaparte at some con- 
venient point of the coast and establish a French colony. Edinburgh, 
Certain it is that Baudin's instructions — afterwards pub- Kev., Aug., 
lished in Peron's account of the voyage — give colour to p j - 
the belief. They direct the captain to proceed direct Djgr.. of 
from the Mauritius to the southern point of the Terre de Port 
Diemen, double the South Cape, carefully examine the Phillip, p. 3. 
Canal D'Entrecasteaux in every part, ascend all the 
rivers in this portion of the island as far as they were 
navigable, explore all the eastern coast, carefully survey 
Banks' Straits, sail through Bass' Strait, and after ex- 
ploring Hunter's Islands, proceed to the continent of New 
Holland and search for the great strait which was sup- 
posed to separate the eastern part occupied by the 
English, from the western portion claimed by the Dutch. 
All this certainly looks very like some further object than 
geographical discovery. The French expedition doubt- 
less stirred the English to renewed activity, and through 
the influence of Sir Joseph Banks, Earl Spencer (then at 
the head of the Admiralty) consented, early in 1801, to 
despatch the Investigator, a sloop of 334 tons, to make Flinders, i., 
a complete survey of the coast of New Holland. The P- 4. 
command was given to Lieut. Matthew Flinders, who had 


already distinguished himself by some daring explora- 
tions in company with Dr. George Bass : and amply did 
Ihid. p. 15. he justify his appointment. The ship's complement was 
88 persons, amongst whom served, as a midshipman, John 
Franklin, afterwards destined, as Sir John Franklin, to 
become Governor of Tasmania, and to die in solving 
the problem of the North-West Passage. The Investi- 
gator sailed from Spithead on the 18th July, 1801, and 
sighted Cape Leeuwin on 6th December follow/ng. Mean- 
time Commodore Baudin, deviating from his instructions, 
had gone to the western coast of Australia, and it was not 
Peron, i., until the 13th January, 1802, that he sighted the De 
p. 21S. AVitts Islands (known to our fishermen as " The Witches "), 

off the soutli coast of this island. The French com- 
mander anchored next day off Partridge Island, in the 
Channel; remained there until the 17th February — 36 
days ; occupied the warm summer season in making a 
very complete examination and survey of the Channel, 
the River Huon and Port Cygnet, Frederick Henry and 
Noi'folk Bays, and exploring the Derwent carefully nearly 
as far as Bridgewater. The French had many interviews 
with the natives, doing everything in their power to con- 
Ihid, pp. ciliate them, and with complete success. Peron, the 
218-260. naturalist, who wrote the history of the expedition, 

devotes nearly 100 pages of his first voluiwe to Van 
Diemen's Land. He gives a glowing description of the 
beauty and capabilities of the country, and a poetical and 
highly-coloured picture of the kindliness and good quali- 
ties of the aborigines. On leaving Storm Bay the French- 
Peron, i., men sailed for the east coast ; they examined Maria 
pp. 261-302. Island, visited the Schoutens and Freycinet's Peninsula, 
and surveyed the remainder of the coast until they reach- 
ed Bank's Strait. Here the ships were separated by a 
storm. The Naturaliste surveyed Banks' Strait, and 
explored the Hunter Islands and other islands in Bass' 
Strait ; and the Gengrn'phe sailed for the south coast of 
New Holland — or, as Baudin christened it. Napoleon 
Land — to search for the channel which was supposed to 
divide New Holland. The French expedition had sur- 
veyed the whole coast-line of Van Diemen's Land, with 
the exception of the west coast from Cape Grim to Port 
Flind'TS, i., On the 8th April, 1802, the ships of Baudin and 
p. 189. Flinders met off Kangaroo Island. Flinders states that 

Baudin was communicative of his discoveries in Van 
Diemen's Land, and declares that he, on his part, furnish- 
ed the French commander with every information as to 
his own explorations of the coast, and gave him directions 


for his guidance. Peron, in his brief notice of the inter- Peron, i., 
view between the two commanders, simply remarks that P- 325. 
Flinders showed great reserve on the subject of his own 
operations. The object of this suppression of facts by 
the Frenchman will appear later on. 

On the 25th April 1802, Captain Hamelin, in the 
NatnraUste, arrived ofiP Port Jackson. His provisions 
were exhausted, his crew prostrated by scurvy. He v«'as Z&id, p.365. 
in urgent need of succour. Yet he approached Port 
Jackson with many misgivings. War, so far as he knev,-, 
was raging in all its bitterness and fury between France 
and England, and though he bore a safe conduct from the 
Admiralty, he fully anticipated that he would not be 
allowed to enter the Port, or, if he was, that the aid he 
so much needed would be refused him. But his doubts 
were soon dispelled, for, as he says, he was instantly 
welcomed by the English with magnanimous generosity. 
Not only were all the resources of the country placed at 
the disposal of the French captain, but the most dis- 
tinguished houses of the colony were thrown open to 
his officers, and during the whole time they remained 
they " experienced that delicate and affectionate hospi- 
tality which is equally honourable to those who confer it 
and to those who are its objects." The news of the Peace 
of Amiens (proclaimed 27 March, 1802), which reached 
Sydney a short time later, though it made intercourse 
more pleasant, " could not," Peron says, " increase the 
kindness which the English displayed towards us." A 
fortnight later (May 9) Flinders, who had completed a 
thorough survey of the South Coast, arrived at Port 
Jackson in the Invest i(/(ifur. 

Baudin, in the Geographe, had been some six weeks on 
the South coast of New Holland, rediscovering and 
renaming the discoveries already made by Flinders. His 
crew were suffering terribly from scurvy, and his officers 
urged his going to Port Jackson to recruit. Whether the 
Commodore doubted the nature of his reception, or 
whether the attractions of the Terre de Diemen proved 
irresistible, does not appear, but Baudin disregarded their 
protests, and to their intense chagrin, though winter was 
fast approaching, headed his ship for the cold and stormy 
south, and on 20th May once more cast anchor in 
Adventure Bay. The state of his ship's company, how- 
ever, was such that after only two days' stay he was 
obliged to give oi-ders to sail for Sydney. Baffled by 
contrary winds, battered by violent storms, with a crew 
unable, from illness, to handle the ship, it took him a 


whole mouth to make the passage. On the 20th June 
the Gcographe approached the heads of Port Jackson. 
Not only were they apprehensive respecting the fate of 
the Naturaliste, and as to the nature of their own recep- 
tion, but the condition of the crew was most deplorable. 
Flinders, Flinders says '" it was grievous to see the miserable 
i., 230. condition to which both officers and crew were reduced 

by scurvy, there being, according to the commander's 
account, out of 170 men not more than 12 capable of 
Peron, i., doing their duty." Peron quotes the Commander's 
p. 340. journal as stating that but four of the crew, including 

a midshipman, were able to keep the deck, and he adds 
" there was not one on board who was free from the 
disease." Many had died, and the surgeon, M. Taillefer, 
gives a horrible description of the sufferings of the sur- 
Z?)((7, ft,343. vivors.* In fact, on arriving off Port Jackson the Geo- 
grai)he was unable to make the harbour, until Governor 
King had sent the Invest igators boat with a number of 
hands to work the vessels into port. It is hardly necessary 
to say that the distressed Frenchmen were received with 
the greatest kindness. The numerous sick were re- 
moved to the Colonial Hospital, and tenderly cared for 
by the English surgeons. Whatever they had need of 
that the place could furnish was placed at their disposal, 
and the Governor gave the Commander an unlimited 
credit at the Pviblic Treasury to enable him to revictual 
Peron, and refit, and also purchase a third vessel. More than 

p. 377. this : the Colony was at the time in great want of fresh 

provisions, floods on the Hawkesbury having destroyed 
the wheat harvest, salt meat was exceedingly scarce, 

* The scurvy was at this period the scourge of the naval 
anil mercantile marine, and especially of discovery expedi- 
tions. Vancouver attributes the high position England had 
attained, in a great degree, to the attention her captains 
paid to naval hygiene. The French discovery crews always 
suffered terribly from want of proper precautions, and from 
Peron's account Baudin's ships were miserably victualled, 
and their commander culpably indifferent to the health of his 
men. Out of 23 scientific men who left France in the 
Geographc and Naturaliste only three returned to their 
country. Out of 219 men who sailed with D'Entrecasteaux, 
89 died before the ships returned to Mauritius. The French 
voyages of discovery were singularly fatal to their com- 
manders. Besides La Perouse^ who perished witli all liis 
ship's company, not one of the commanders who visited Tas- 
mania lived to return to his native country. Marion du 
Fresne was killed at New Zealand. Admiral D'Entrecasteaux 
died at sea off the Admiralty Isles, and his second in com- 
mand, Huon Kormaflac, at New Caledonia. Baudin himself 
died at Mauritius on the voyage home. 


and fresh meat almost unprocurable ; yet so soon as the 
strangers" necessities were known, Government oxen were 
killed, and by a common consent the ration of wheat 
issued to garrison and inhabitants, including the 
Governor and officers, was reduced one-half, so that the 
scurvy-stricken crew might not want what was so essential 
for their recovery. This statement is made on the 
authority of a letter written by Baudin himself. Both Flinders' 
he and Peron handsomely asknowledge the kindness they ^°^-' "•> 
received, and exhaust their phrases in describing the P" 
affectionate and obliging care of Governor King and his 
unexampled conduct, the courtesy and unremitting 
attention of the inhabitants, the generosity of the Govern- 
ment, the absolute freedom accorded to their movements, 
and the sentiments of gratitude which these kindnesses 

I have dwelt particularly on these incidents, not only 
because it is matter of pardonable pride to record how 
chivalrously Englishmen can behave towards an enemy 
in distress, but because of the striking contrast which the 
aid and courtesies extended to the Frenchmen by 
Governor King and the English colonists offer to the 
treatment Flinders experienced from the Governor of a 
French Colony v.dthin little more than a year of the 
arrival of Baudin's expedition at Sydney. In December, 
1803, on his way to England in the little Cnmherland, 
Flinders was obliged to put into Mauritius in distress ; 
when, in spite of his safe conduct from the French 
Admiralty, his ship was seized as a prize, he himself sub- 
jected to close imprisonment, his papers and charts 
confiscated, and when, after three j'^ears, tardy ordei's for 
his release came from France, he was detained on one 
pretext or another until 1810, six years and a half after 
his seizure. In the meantime the narrative of Baudin's 
voyage was published in Paris, all mention of Flinders' 
explorations being suppressed, and the credit of his dis- 
coveries being claimed by the French for themselves. In 
Sydney, at any rate, the French officers had 
no pretensions to priorty of discovery, for Flinders tells 
us that Lieut. Freycinet (the joint editor of the history 
of the voyage), remarked to him, inGovernor King's 
house — -" Captain, if we had not been kept so long pick- 
ing up shells and collecting butterflies at Van Diemen's 
Land, you would not have discovered the South Coast 
[of New Holland] before us;" and Flinders, in Peron's 
presence, showed his chart to Baudin and pointed out the 
limits of his discovery. Flinders generously acquits 


Peron of blame in the matter, and says that he believes 
his candour to have been equal to his acknowledged abili- 
ties, and that what he wrote was from overruling 
authority, and smote him to the heart. He attributes 
the suppressions in Peron's work, and his own treatment, 
to the secret instructions of the French Government, 
Flinders' and possibly to have " been intended as the forerunner 
Voy^, ii., of a claim to the possession of the countries so said to 
p. 4/^0. have been first discovered by French navigators." 

II. The first Settlement at the Derwent. 

The foregoing sketch of the operations of the French 
navigators in these waters will, I think, have made it 
pretty plain that the French Government entertained 
serious designs of planting a colony at the first convenient 
opportunity somewhere in Tasmania, presumably in the 
neighbourhood of the Derwent. How disastrous to the 
English colonies in Australia the successful accomplish- 
ment of such a design would have been we can partly 
appreciate from our recent experience of the trouble and 
vexation caused to the Australians by the existence of a 
French penal settlement even so far removed from our 
shores as New Caledonia. 

The following particulars of the circumstances which 
were the immediate occasion of the English occupation 
of Van Diemen's Land are drawn almost wholly from 
unpublished documents preserved in the English State 
Record Office, and which I have already referred to as 
having been lately copied by Mr. Bonwick for the Tas- 
manian Government. They will show that the colonisa- 
tion of Tasmania was not an isolated or chance event, but 
one link of a chain, — a ripple in the great current of 
influence which has been shaping English and European 

On the 18th November, 1802, after a six months' stay, 

the two French ships sailed out of Port Jackson for Bass' 

Straits. The Naturaliste was intended to take home the 

sick, leaving the Geograjphe to complete her voyage of 

discovery alone. Governor King had not been without 

misgivings respecting the movements of the French, and 

had given expression to them in a despatch to Lord 

King to Hobart written a few days before ; but his suspicions only 

Hobart^ 23 proceeded from the circumstance of the long time they 

n ^rS were engaged in surveying at Storm Bay Passage. 

Moreover, the recent discovery of Bass' Straits, by 

proving Van Diemen's Land to be an island, had given 


rise to a new cause for apprehension, since it might now 
be fairly contended that the island could not form part of 
the territory of New South Wales, and that the English, 
having no prior right of discovery, could not make good 
their claim, while the French expeditions, by their 
explorations and surveys, had established a superior title. 
But a few hours after the French ships were out of Ibid. 
sight, a piece of gossip reached the Governor's ears 
which fairly startled him out of his equanimity. This 
was a report that some of the French officers had stated, 
in conversation with Lieut. -Colonel Paterson and others, 
possibly in a convivial moment, that a principal object 
of their voyage was to fix on a place at Van Diemen's 
Land for a settlement. The alarmed Governor sent off 
forthwith to Colonel Paterson for more precise informa- 
tion, and the ansv/er he received, on that same Tuesday 
morning on which the ships had sailed, more than con- 
firmed his worst fears. Not only had the talk among Paterson to 
the French officers been so general that the Colonel I'^ing, 18 
could not understand how it was that the Governor o-j' '■°^'-'' 
had not heard of it, but one of the officers had sent ^' 
Paterson a chart, and had pointed out the very spot 
selected — the place where they and D'Entrecasteaux also 
had spent so much time- — the Baie du Nord [now known 
as Frederick Henry Bay], in Storm Bay Passage, or, as 
the French called it, Le Canal D'Entrecasteaux. King, 
of course, knew very well that Baudin could, at most, 
take formal possession, for, with his small and sickly crew, 
and without stores or provisions, he had not the means to 
found a colony. There was no immediate danger on that 
score, but he did not know what recommendations might 
have been sent to the French Government, or how soon a 
properly equipped expedition might be on its way from 
France to plant a settlement, and, being a man of action, 
acciistomed to act promptly and on his own responsibility, 
without waiting for instructions that might be twelve 
months in reaching him, he proceeded forthwith to take 
steps to prevent an invasion of His Majesty's territory of 
New South Wales, of which territory he was the guardian. 
His first difficulty was to find a ship. The naval strength 
at the command of the Governor of New South Wales 
was not large. His Majesty's ships in these seas were 
few in number, small, and often unseaworthy, and there 
was a constant difficulty in finding vessels that covild be 
spared for any special service. Of those under his orders 
the Buffalo was essential at Port Jackson, the Lady 
Nelson was off north with Flinders, the Porpoise, the 


ouly other king's ship, was away at Tahiti salting pork 
for the necessities of the colony. But there was in Port 
Jackson a little armed schooner called the Cumberland, 
which had been built at Sydney a few years before for 
the purpose of pvirsuing runaways. She was only 29 tons 
burden, it is true, but she would do to checkmate French 
designs. This little craft was therefore hastily prepared 
for sea, a crew was selected, Lieut. Chas. Robbins, 
master's mate of H.M.S. Buffalo, was put in command, 
Kings S'lid in four days she was ready to sail. Robbins received 

Orders to several sets of instructions, indicating the uncertainty into 
Roi)bins, -.2 -pirhich the Governor was thrown. His general instructions 
1)11^^66-72 ' I'squired him to proceed without loss of time to Storm 
Bay Passage, — "the dominion of which, and all Van 
Diemen's Land, being," says King, " within the limits 
of His Majesty's territory and my government," — and 
to fix on the most eligible places in Frederick Henry 
Bay and the River Derwent, agreeable to the separate 
pp.^ 65-72. instructions on that head. If, however, Robbins met 
P- '°- • with southerly or westerly winds, he was to go to King's 
Island and Port Phillip, for the examination and sui-vey 
of which places he had separate instructions, and after- 
wards proceed to Storm Bay Passage. He was to hoist 
the English flag whenever on shore, placing a guard at 
each place, who were to turn up the ground and sow 
seeds. As the Porpoise was intended to follow with 
soldiers and settlers immediately on her return from 
Tahiti, he was to keep the King's colours flying to 
indicate the intended settlement. Captain Robbins was 
also charged with a letter from King to the French com- 
mander, if he should happen to overtake him in Bass" 
Straits; and he received veiy precise instructions respect- 
ing the action he was to take to assert English rights if 
the French ventured to infringe them. Having his pre- 
parations made, and his little vessel ready for sea, King 
sat down to report to Lord Hobart the position of aflfaii's. 
He tells the Secretary for War* that, on hearing Colonel 
Paterson's report, he had lost no time in expediting t|ie 
Cumberland, armed colonial schooner; that she was on 
the point of sailing, and that, from the arrangements he 
had made. His Majesty's claim to the threatened part of 
this territoiy could not be disputed; for, whatever might 
be in contemplation, it could not be performed by Baudin 
in his present condition ; it was only necessary to guard 

* The Secretary for War was also at that time Minister for 
the Colonies. 


against any action of the French Government which 
Baudin might have recommended. It was his intention. 
therefore, when the Poi-foise arrlvnd from Tahiti, to 
despatch her with a small establishment to the most 
eligible spot at Sform Bay Passage, and also with one for 
Port Phillip or King's Island. 

Th3 Cumherland sailed the same day (23rd November). Fiemming's 
She had on board Mr. Charles Grimes* (Acting Sur- Journal. 
veyor-General) , M'Callum (the svxrgeon), Jas. Flemming 
(the gardener), and three marines; with the crew, 17 
persons. In the journal f kept by Flemming, the 
gardener, who was sent to report on the soil and produc- 
tjons of the almost unknown regions to which they 
v/ere going, we have a chronicle of their proceedings.;]: 
They had a quick rvm of two days to Cape Howe, but, 
baffled by contrary wind^and calms, were nine days more 
in reaching Kent's Group, and it was not until the 8th 
December — a fortnight after leaving Port Jackson — that 
they made Sea Elephant Bay, on the east coast of King s 
island. Here they found the French ships lying at 
a.richor. and at 5 o'clock on that summer evening the 
little Cumberland dropped anchor alongside them. The 
Naturcdi-sfe was on the point of sailing for France. 
Captain Bobbins boarded the Geofjrcqjhe, announced his 
mission, and delivered to the Commodore the Governor's 
letter. It was short, and frieiidly in tone. King begins 
by remarking that his intention to send a vessel to the 
southward, to fix on a place for a settlement, was already 
known to Baudin himself. He then mentions the report 
tha,t had led to the departure of this vessel being hastened, 
and goes on to* say that, while wholly disbelieving that 
the French commander had any thought of such a design 
as had been imputed to him, yet it seemed but proper that 
he should be informed of the rumour, and of the orders 
the captain of the Cumherland had received in conse- 
quence. The version of the Governor's letter given by 
Peron in his histoiy of the expedition represents it as 
couched in more forcible and less conciliatory terms. 
Peron says that hardly had they a^nchored at King's 
Island when the little schooner Cuinberland arrived from 

* Grimes was one of the first, if not the first, to cross Tas- 
mania from uortli to south. — See Flinders' Chart, 1807. 

t Flemino;'s Journal was disinterred from the Records in^ 
the Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney, 'ly jMr. J. J. Shilling- 
law, in 1877, and was printed in that gentleman's " Historical 
Records of Port Phillip." Melbourne, 1879. 

Xlhid., pp. 15-30. 


Port Jackson, bringing Surveyor-General Grimes, who 
had been sent by Governor King to make a declaration, as 
singular in its form as it was remarkablo in its object. " A 
report having reached me,"' wu'ote Mr. King to our Com- 
mander, '■ that you entertain a design of leaving some 
people either at Diemen's Land or on the south-west coast 
of New South Wales, to found a French Colony there, I 
deem it my duty to declare to you, Monsieur le Com- 
mandant, that, by virtue of the proclamation of 1788, 
whereby England formally took possession, all these 
countries form an integral part of the British Empire, 
and that you cannot occupy any part of them without 
breaking the friendly relations which have been so i-e- 
cently re-established between the two nations. I will not 
even attempt to conceal from you that such is the nature 
of my positive instructions on this point that it will be my 
duty to oppose by every means in my power the execution 
of the design you are supposed to have in view. 
Accordingly, H.M.S. C urnherland has received orders not 
to leave you until the officer in command of her is con- 
vinced that your proceedings are wholly unconnected 
with any attempt a.t invasion of the British territory in 
these parts.' * With Kings own copy of his letter before 
usf we can hardly accept Peron's version as accurate. 
Probably, while professing to give the letter textually, 
he really relied on his m'emory, and intei-Avove the sub- 
stance of the English Captains verbal communications 
to the Commodore. It is sufficiently clear, however, that 
Robbins, with the downrightness of a sailor, had left 
nothing doubtful or ambiguous with respect to the object 
of his mission. During the week after the arrival of the 
Cumhtrldnd and the delivery of the despatches, the re- 
presentatives of the two nations fraternised and inter- 
changed hospitalities on the disputed shores of King's 
Island. The French, meanwhile, set up an observatory 
on land, and pitched their tents near the beach. Perhaps 
it was this proceeding that confirmed Bobbins' suspicions, 
or perhaps the French Commander would not give him 
the assurances he wanted ; at all events, before the end 
of the week the Englishman made up his mind that the 
time for decisive action had come ; so, on the 14th, he 
made a formal landing in full view of the Frenchmen, 
marched his little party to the rear of the tents, hoisted 

* Peron's Voyage, '2nd ed., vol. 3, p. 11; and sec Appen- 
dix B. 

t See Appendix B. 


His Majesty s colours on a large tree, posted at the foot of 
the tree his guard of three marines with loaded muskets, 
fired three volleys, gave three cheei's, and took formal 
possession of the island in the name of King George. 
This defiant assertion of British claims by a handful of 
English sailors, in the teeth of ten times their number of 
traditional enemies, might well have wounded the vanity 
of people less susceptible than Frenchmen, and we need 
not, therefore, wonder that we hear of no more mutual 
hospitalities. Peron remarks that " such proceedings may 
probably seem childish to people unacquainted with the 
English policy, but to the statesman such formalities have 
a more important and serious aspect. By these repeated 
public declarations England continually aims at 
strengthening her claim, and establishing her rights in a 
positive fashion, and uses these pretexts to repel, even by 
force of arms, all nations who ma.y desire to form settle- 
ments in these lands."* Peron must often have recalled 

* The high-handed and exclusive policy of the English is a 
frequent topic of complaint in Peron's work. Thus, he re- 
lates that two days after leaving Port Jackson they fell in 
with a schooner, on board of which was a M. Coxwell from 
the Isle of France, who had accompanied another Frenchman, 
Lecorre, on a sealing cruise to Bass' Straits in the Enterpyisr, 
of Bordeaux. He goes on to explain that, while other nations 
had been indifferent to the importance of New Holland, Eng- 
land had, in 1788, despatched a fleet thither and founded 
a Colony, and had, without remark from European statesmen, 
taken possession of half the Continent. Emboldened by the 
silence of other Governments, the British Government had 
published the instructions to Governor Phillip clanning the 
country from Cape York to- the South Cape (lat. 10° to 43 
S.), and as far to the West as the 135th parallel, besides all 
the islands in the Pacific, and had estaWished a policy of ex- 
clusion of other nations from the fisheries. So that, on the 
arrival of the Enterprise, Governor King, although peace liad 
been declared, warned Lecorre off the coast under a threat 
of seizing his vessel, and, though he finally allowed the 
Frenchman to fish at the Two Sisters, it was only on the con- 
dition that he should undertake not to enter Bass' Straits, 
and that no vessels in future would be allowed even so much 
indulgence. Lecorre's vessel was wrecked at the Two Sisters, 
and he himself and two-thirds of his crew perished. Peron 
says it is plain that the intentions of the English Government 
are so hostile that it will be dangerous for other speculators 
to venture into these waters. (Peron's Voyage, 2nd ed., vol. 
3, p. 3.) ,^ 

Governor King, in a despatch to the Admiralty (9th May, 
1803), states his intention of restricting seal fishing by 
foreigners; and, in another despatch to Lord Hohart, refer- 
ring to Lecorre's vessel, remarks with some satisfaction that 
the French schooner had been wrecked at the Cape Barren 
Islands, "which may stop more adventurers from that 


to mind the warning of the President of the Parliament 
of Dijon half a century before, and reflected with some 
bitterness how amply the prophecy had been fulfilled. 

The French Commander's answer to Governor King's 
letter is worthy of notice, as showing that the French had 
by no means relinquished their claim to a share of Ausr 
tralian territory. His letter is dated from the 
Geografhe, and beai's date the 3rd of the month Nivose, 
in the 11th year of the French Republic (23rd December, 
1802). He tells King that the an-ival of the Cumberland, 
and especially the letter which the Governor had done him 
the honour to write, would have surprised him if Mr. 
Robbins had not. by his conduct, made clear to him the 
true motive of the expedition which had been despatched 
after him in such headlong haste. " But, perhaps," says 
the Commodore, " after all, it may have come too late, for 
several days before the gentleman who commands it 
thought proper to hoist his flag above our tents, we had 
taken care to place in four prominent parts of this 
island — which I intend shall continue to bear your 
name — proofs sufficient to show the priority of our visit." 
He then declares that the report — of which they suspected 
Captain Anthony Fenn Kemp to have been the author, 
was entirely without foundation, and he does not believe 
that his officers or scientific men had by their conduct 
given any ground for it. " But." he concludes, ' in any 
case, you ought to have been perfectly certain that if the 
French Government had given me orders to establish my- 
self in any place, either at the north or at the south of 
Diemen's Land- — discovered by Abel Tasman — I should 
have done so without keeping it a secret from you."* 

A week after the date of his letter to King (31st De- 
cember), Baudin sailed from King's Island for the Gulf of 
Carpentaria, and from thence made his way to Mauritius, 
where he died. Surveyor-General Grimes and I'lemming 
spent some six weeks in a thorough exploration of 
King's Island. t Their report of the island as a place 
for settlement was unfavourable. They then proceeded 
in the Cumberland to Port Phillip, where they remained 
six weeks, Grimes making an accurate survey of the Port 

* See Appendix B for Baudin's letter. 

t Tlie island was in those days a favourite resort of sealers. 
Peron says tliat when they reached Sea Elephant Bay the 
beach was covered with sea elephants, their brown colour 
making them strikingly vi.sible on the white strand, where 
they lay like great black rocks. At the approacli of the 
French some of the animals plunged into the sea, roaring 


both by sea and land, discovering the River Yarra, and 
bringing away a more favourable impression of the 
country, but, as King says, with no very promising hopes King to 
that either that place or King's Island would ever be S^'^^^^Ap,?. 
found an eligible place for an agricultural settlement. '^^7 ^^ 
On leaving Port Phillip, Robbins sailed direct for Port Fiemming'g 
Jackson, where he arrived on 7th March, having been Journal, 
absent about three months and a half. It does not ap- p- 19. 
pear why he did not fulfil the rest of his instructions, and 
go on to Stoi'm Bay Passage. Perhaps, having seen the 
French ships sail away to the westward, and fairly off the 
English premises, he conceived the danger to be at an end. 
King, at any rate, was perfectly satisfied, and writes to 
the Admiralty that Robbins had conducted the service 
entrusted to him very much to his satisfaction, and re- 
marks that " making the French Commander acquainted King to 

with my intention of settling Van Diemen's Land was all ^/P^^P'^^ 
T iTi. I, 4.1 • ■' May, 1803. 

I sought by this voyage. •" 

The fear that the French might yet make a descent on 
Van Diemen's Land still weighed on King's mind. As 
we have seen, before the Cnnhherland sailed he had de- 
termined to send the Porpoise, on her arrival from Tahiti, 
to make a settlement. The return of Robbins with un- 
favourable reports of King's Island and Port Phillip had 
satisfied him that neither of those places Avas adapted 
for settlement, and he once more fixed his attention on 
the point which, now that Baudin had left Bass' Straits, 
appeared to be most threatened. He, therefore, resolved 
to limit his action to Storm Bay Passage, and immediately 
took steps to carry out his resolution. 

He reported his intention to the Admiralty, and says :n King to 
his despatch, " My reasons for making this settlement are Nepean, 
the necessity there appears of preventing the French gain- IL^*^' 
ing a footing on the east side of these islands; to divide ' ^' 

the convicts ; to secure another place for obtaining 
timber with any other natural productions that may be 
discovered and found useful ; the advantages that may 
be expected by raising grain ; and to promote the seal 

There is no doubt that Governor King was in perfect 
accord with the Home Government in his apprehension of 

frightfully, while others remained motionless on the sand 
gazing on their visitors with a placid and indifferent air. In 
the same year Captain Campbell, of the Snow Harrmgfon, at 
New Year's Island, on the western side of King's Island, in 
10 weeks (19th March to 27th May) killed 600 sea elephants 
and 4300 seals. 

p. 4'JS). 


Frenoh designs, and in his policy of anticipating them by 
occupying important poiiits " for political reasons."* 

Already, in January of this very year, the Authorities 
in Downing-street had determined to form a settlement at 
Port. Phillip, and had selected Lieut. -Col. David Collins 
to be its Lieutenant^GoveriTor, and the date corresponds 
with the communications that King had made to the 
English Government with respect to Baudins expedition. 
See Memo. Five months later (24th June, 1803), in consequence of 
of May IS, King's despatch of 23rd November, 1802, informing the 
lovi, p. 4-4. Admiralty of the report that the French were about to 
colonise Van Diemen's Land, Lord Hobai-t instructed the 
Governor to remove part of the establishment at Norfolk 
Hobart to Island to Port Dalrymple, " the advantageous position of 
King, 24 which, upon the southern coast of Van Diemen's Land 
^"^f,;, ' • and neai- the eastern entrance of Bass Straits, renders it, 
in a political view, peculiarly necessary that a settlement 
should be formed there. " The amusing confusion of 
localities does not say much for the state of geographical 
knowledge at Downing-street, but the anxiety of the Go- 
vernment to anticipate French action is very clearly indi- 

The Governor's mind was now firmly made up to estab- 
lish a colony at the Derweut, but some months were yet 
to elapse before he could carry out his plans. One of his 
difficulties had been to find, out of the slender estab- 
lishment at Port Jackson, a competent officer to whom 
he could entrust the command of the intended settlement. 
The arrival of H.M.S. Glatton at Sydney, in March, 1803, 
relieved him from this embarrassment. There was on 
board the Glatton a Lieutenant who had made several 
voyages to the colony, and so far back as 1792 had been 
engaged in conveying cattle and provisions from 
Bengal to New South Wales in the Atlantic storeship, 
at a time of great scarcity, f He was a son of 
Commissioner Bowen,t and we have King's testimony 
that he came of a family various members of which, in- 
cluding his father, had distinguished themselves in the 

* See Professor Seeloy on Napoleon's intentions in the war 
that ensued on the rupture of the Peace of Amiens, 18th 
May, 1803. Exp. of England, p. 34. 

t So Mr. lionwick, who gives an extract of a letter from 
Bowcn to tlie Tender-Secretary of State, dated from the store- 
ship Atlfinfir, March, 1792; Collins, however, gives the name 
of the Admiralty Agent on lioard tlie Afhintic as Richard 
Bowen. Collins, New South Wales, i., 174. 

} Jorgensen's Slired of Auto!)iographv in Ross' Almanac, 


navy during the French wars. Peace had now been 
declared, and Lieut. John Bowen saw little prospect of 
speedy promotion. When, therefore, the Governor spoke ICing to 
of the difficulty he was in through not being able to find Hobart, 20 
a man competent to take charge of the Derwent establish- |qnT"^'"'f9r 
ment, it occui-red to Bowen that here was a chance for gowen to"^ 
him to earn a claim to notice as the founder of a new King, 16 
colony, and so possibly win a promotion he could hardly Nov., 1304, 
hope for as a junior lieutenant in time of peace. He P- 12/ . 
obtained Captain Colnett's permission, and offered his 
services to the Governor. King was glad to accept them, 
and on 28th March, 1803, he issued a Commission, in Order 28 
which, after premising that it had become necessary to March, 1803. 
esftablish His Majesty's right to Van Diemen's Land, '^' "" 
within the limits ol the territory of New South Wales, • • 

he directed Lieut. John Bowen to proceed in H.M. armed 
tender Lady Nelson to choose a suitable place for an 
establishment, and appointed him Commandant and 
Superintendent of the settlement. The more detailed Instruc- 
instructions to the new Commandant, bearing the same ^""^^V^i^qqo 
date as the commission, direct him to proceed in H.M. „ gg '* 
armed vessel Porpoise, or Lady Jelson tender, with people 
and stores for a settlement, and fix on a j^roper spot in 
the Derwent, about Risdon's Cove ; to begin immediately 
to clear ground and sow wheat and other crops ; , and to 
furnish full reports on the soil, timber, capabilities, and 
prodvictions of the country. He was to have six months' 
provisions; was to employ the convicts in labour for the 
public good; to hold religiovis services every Sunday; 
and to enforce a due observance of religion and good 
order. No trade or intercourse was to be allowed with 
any ships touching at the port. Arrangements were to 
be made for laying out a town, building fortifications, 
and appropriating land for cultivation on the public ac- 
count. The free settlers who accompanied hhn, in con- 
sideration of their being the first to volvmteer, were to 
have a location of 200 acres for each family, and be 
allowed rations, the labour of two convicts each for 18 
months, and such corn, seeds, and other stock as could be 
spared. Bowen also received sealed orders with ')ider 1 
respect to any French ships which might arrive ; he waa May, 1803, 
to inform them of His Majesty's right to the whole of Van J^j CoUins"^^ 
Diemen's Land, and was to repel any attempt to form 39 Sept., ' 
a settlement, — if possible, without I'ecourse to hostile 1804, p. 389. 

Another three months elapsed after Bowen had received 
his Commission before King had vessels at his disposal 


King to which he could spare for the service. It was not until 

Hobart, 7 the 30th June, 1803. that at last the l^orjmisc and Lady 

■^"Sv 1S03. j^if)f,fi sailed from Port Jackson with the Comniiuidant 

Kine to ^^'^ people and stores for the Derwent. Yet even then 

Palmer, 29 the attempt was destined to be thwarted for a time. Both 

Sept., 1804, ships were much out of repair and sadly leaky, and on 

E*..^^^" leaving Port Jackson they met with such strong head 

ii 96 as winds that they were compelled to give up all idea of 

toL. yelson. proceeding on their voyage, and put back to the harbour, 

Ibid, ii., arriving on the 4th July. The rorptmc was now required 

-76. as to j^Q take Flinders to England, and, after undergoing re- 

Flimlers pairs, she sailed on 10th August, only to be lost a week 

ii., 276.' afterwards, in company with the Cato, on Wreck Reef, to 

Ibid, ii., the north of Rockhampton (Lat. 22° 11' S.). King forth- 

7i • , or.r^ with ordered the Colonial vessel Francis to be fitted out 
Luici 2Stu 

' ' ■ to accompany the Lady N elson on a second attempt, and 

K'nff to wrote to Lord Hobart that he hoped these ships would 

Hobart. 7 complete the service, w4iich he deemed the more essential 
Aug., 1>^03. from the inclination the French had shown to keep up a 
P- 91- correspondence with Port Jackson. 

In those days the exigencies of the service compelled 
Governors to take whatever offered to aid them in accom- 
plishing their plans. Many were the missions of relief 
or mail despatch that were entrusted to whalers, or even 
American sealers, and their remuneration was sometimes 
odd enough. Thus, on one occasion, Governor King 
desired Governor Collins to pay for the despatches sent 
to him by a sealing sloop going to King's Island, by giving 
the skipper 30 empty salt-meat casks — surely as odd a 
postage as ever was paid. And it must be admitted that 
at times the Yankees fleeced the Britishers handsomely 
for the humane help they afforded — for a consideration. 

Let us be thankful that it was not a Yankee sealing 
schooner that carried the first Governor of Tasmania to 
the seat of his Government, but a British whaler, which 
turned up at the right moment — the Albion, 326 tons — 
whose skipper, Captain Ebor Bunker, was aftei'wards 
well known at the Derwent Settlement in early times.* 

On the 31st August, 1803, the Albion and Lady Ndson 
set sail from Port Jackson. The Lady Nelson took the 

* Tn 1809, when in the ship yenus, he put into Adventure 
Bay, and there found a bottle containing the last letters of 
the unfortiuiato La Perouso. And liis name is yet pfrpotuateci 
on a tombstone at Crayfisli Point, near Hobart, whicli records 
that under it lies buried Jame.s Batchelor, Second Officer of 
the ship \'t HUH, commanded by R. Bunker, and that ho died 
28th January, 1810. 


bulk of the people and stores. She was a brig of 60 tons 
burden, and had been originally sent out in 1800 under 
the command of Lieutenant Grant to explore the newly- 
discovered Bass' Straits. A little while before she had 
been employed as a tender to Flinders' vessel, the Investi- 
gator, on the survey of the coast within the Great BaaTier 
Reef. She was commanded by Acting Lieutenant C. G. 
Curtoys, and had for Chief Officer the redoubtable Dane, 
Jorgen Jorgensen, the conqueror of Iceland. The same 
plan of colonisation with convicts and a few free settlers 
that had obtained in the planting of the settlement at 
Port Jackson 15 years before, and in settling Norfolk 
Island in 1788 by King himself, was follov.'ed in this little 
off-shoot from the parent colony. Governor Bowen's King to 
Civil Establishment consisted of three persons, including H*^'^^^,*Anq 
himself. His subordinates were Dr. Jacob Mountgarret, ^^J' ' 

Surgeon of the GIatfo7i, a,s Medical Officer, and Mr. Wilson 
as Storekeeper. His militai'y force consisted of one lance- 
corporal and 7 privates of the New Soiith Wales Corps, p. 96. 
There were 21 male and 3 female convicts. Three free Bowen's re- 
settlers accompanied the party — Birt, who took his wife ; ^"™^' , J^o 
Clark, a stonemason; and another whose name is not " 103. ' 
given, who was made overseer of convicts. Three other 
free persons, a man and two women, also obtained leave to 
try their fortunes in the new settlement. Thus the 
whole colony consisted of 49 persons, of whom 13 were 
women and children. They took about six months' 
provisions and some live stock — viz., 10 head of cattle and 
about 50 sheep — while the Governor had the only horse. 
and the settlers a few goats, pigs, and fowls. 

The Alh'wn and Lady Nelson put to sea on the Slst Bowen to 
August ; but Governor Bowen was invariably unlucky i^ing, 20 
at sea, and on the second day of their voyage they ^^y' ' 
encountered a heavy gale, which obliged the Albion to 
heave-to, and cost them heavy losses among the live-stock. 
Then it fell calm, for which, however, Captain Bunker 
found consolation by catching three sperm whales. The 
Albion had a reputation for fast sailing — having luade 
the passage from Spithead to Port Jackson in the then 
unprecedented time of 108 days — but, baffled by light 
unfavourable winds, she did not make 'Storm Bay until 
the tenth day out. Even then she was two days beaiting 
up the river against head winds, so that it was not until 
Sunday, the 12th September, 1803, that, passing along 
the lonely and thickly wooded banks of the Derwent, the 
Albion, with the first Governor of Tasmania on board, 
came to an anchor in Risdon Cove. Here they found 


the Lady Nelson already lying at anchor, having arrived 
five days before, on the 7th September. 

I have searched in vain hitherto in printed accounts for 
the correct date of Bo wen's settlement. The dates given 
vai*y from June to August, but I think \ve may hence- 
forth consider it settled, on the authority of official docu- 
ments, that the bii'thday of Tasmania was Tuesday, the 
7th day of September, 1803. 

Here I must pause. On a future occasion I hope to be 
able to draw further on the store of material which has 
been provided by the wise liberality of the Government, 
and to give some particulars of the history of Bowen's 
abortive colony at Risdon, and of Collins' settlement at 
Sullivan's Cove. 

Appendix A 

Summary of Documents copied by Mr. Bonwick 


1. British Museum Discovery Papers, viz. — 

Furaeaux, in the Adventure, 1773; 
Grant, in the Lady Nelson, 1800; 
Flinders to Sir J. Banks, 1802 ; Sealers 
in Bass' Straits, 1802 ; Exploration of 
River Huon, 1804 59 pages. 

2. Despatches relating to supposed French 

designs on Australia; especially the 
proceedings of Baudin's Expedition, 
and the measures taken by Governor 
King to anticipate the French in form- 
ing a Settlement in Van Diemen's 
Land, 1802-3 "25 pages. 

3. The Bo wen Papers — First Settlement at 

Risdon Cove, 1803 48 pages. 

4. The Collins Papers — Settlement of Ho- 

bart Town, 1804 300 pages. 

5. Exploration of Port Dairy mple and 

River Tamar — Settlement at York 

Town under Colonel Paterson, 1804... 124 pages. 

6. The Bass Papers 44 pages. 

7. Papers on the Aborigines 37 pages. 


Appendix B. 

Governor King's Letter to Commodore Baudin. 

(From the copy in tlie Record Office, London.) 

Sydney, November 23rd, 1802. 

You will be surprised to see a vessel so soon after you. 
You know my intention of sending a vessel to the south- 
ward to fix on a place for a Settlement, but this has been 
hastened by a report communicated to me soon after your 
departure — " that the French intended to settle in Storm 
Bay Passage, somewhere about what is now called 
Frederick Hendrick Bay, and that it was recommended 
by you to the Republic," as a proof of which a chart 
pointing out the situation (Baye du Nord) was, as Colonel 
Patersou informs me, given him a short time before you 
sailed by a gentleman of your ship. 

You will easily imagine that if any information of that 
kind had reached me before your departure I should have 
requested an explanation ; but, as I knew nothing of it, 
and at present totally disbelieving anything of the kind 
ever being thought of, I consider it but proper to give you 
this information. In case the Cumherland should fall 
in with your ships, the Commander of that vessel has my 
directions to communicate to you the orders he is under. 

Myself and family join m the kindest good wishes for 
your health, and shall long remember the pleasure we en- 
joyed in your society. We request you will offer our 
good wishes to Captain Hamelin and all your officers. 

I have the honour to be, Sir, 

Your most obedient humble Sei-vant, 


To Cominodor< Baudin, Cominander-in-Chief 
of the French Expedition of Discoveries. 

Peron's Version of the above Letter. 

["Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australes." 2''* 
edition. Tome 3"^'% p. 11.] 

" Le bruit s'etant repandu — ecrivoit M. King a notre 
commandant— que votre pro jet est de laisser quelques 
hommes, soit a la terre de Diemen, soit a la cote sud-ouest 
de la Nouvelle-Galles, pour y jeter les fondemens d'une 
colonie fran9oise, je crois devoir vous declarer, monsieur 


le Commandant, quen vertu de Tacte de prise de pos^ 
session de 1788, solennellement proclame par I'Angle- 
terre, toutes ces contrees font parti e integrants de Temp ire 
britannique, et que vous ne sauriez en occuper aucun 
point sans briser les liens de I'amitie qui vient si 
recemment d'etre retablie entre les deux nations. Je 
ne chercherai pas meme a vous dissimuler que telle est la 
nature de mes instructions particulieres a cet egard, que 
je dois m'opposer, par tons les moj'ens qui sont en mon 
pouvoir-, a I'execution du projet qu'on vous suppose; en 
consequence, le navire de Sa Majeste le Cumberland a 
re9U I'ordre de ne vous quitter qu'au moment oii Tofficier 
qui le commands aura le certitude que vos operations sont 
etrangeres a toute espece d'envahissement du territoire 
britannique dans ces parages . . ." 

Commodore Baudin's Reply to Governor King. 

( From the copy in the Record Office, Loiuloii. i 

A Bord de la Corvette le Geographe, Isle King, le 
5""- Nivose, an IP''' [23 December, 1802.] 

Le Commandant en Chef rExpedition de Decouvertes 
A Monsieur le Gouvernenr King an Port Jackson. 

Monsieur Le Gouverneur, 

L'arrivee du Cumberland m'auroit surpris par le con- 
tenu de la lettre que vous m'avez fait I'honneur de 
m'ecrire, si Mr. Roben qui le commande n'avoit par sa 
conduite fait connoitre le veritable motif pour lequel il a 
ete si precipitamment expedie ; mais peut-etre est il venu 
trop tard, car, plusieurs jours avant qu'il arbora sur nos 
tentes son pavilion, nous avions laisse dans les quatre 
points principaux de lisle a laquelle je conserve voti-e 
nom des preuves de I'epoqvie ovi nous I'avons visitee.* 

L'histoire qu'on vous a fait, et dont on soup9onne Mr. 
Kemp, Capitaiue Regiment de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, 
etre Tauteur, est sans fondement. Je ne crois pas non 
plus que les officiers et naturalists qui sont a bord puissent 
y avoir donne lieu par leur discours, mais dans tous les 
cas vous deviez etre bien persuade que si le Gouvemement 

* Governor King has written in the margin : — "If Monsieur 
Bauclin insinuates any claim from this visit — the island was 
first discovered in 1798 by Mr. Reed in the Martha, after- 
wards seen by Mr. Black in the Harhbiqer, and surveyed by 
Mr. Murray in February, 1802." 


fran9ois m'avait donne ordre de m'arreter quelque part au 
Nord ou au Sud de la terre de Diemen decouverte par 
Abel Tasman j'y aurais reste, et sans vous en faire un 

Le dix-sept le Naturaliste a mis a la voile et doit se 
rendre droiture en France. 

Malgre toutes mes recherches avant le depart il s'est 
trouve trois hommes caches a bord due Geographe ; cinq 
autres etoient sur le Naturaliste, et trois sur le batiment 
Americain la Fanny dont le mauvais temps nons a separe 
J'ai, comme nous en etions convenus, mis sur I'lsle King 
les huit hommes qui nous concemoient,* on leur a donne 
un pen de pain et quelques vetements ; vous trouverez cy- 
joiiit leurs noms ou du moins ceux qu'ils ont donnes. 

J'ai I'honneur (i'etre avec la plus parfaite consideration, 

Monsieur Le Gouverneur, 

Votre Serviteur, 


[Mr. Chapman, Colonial Secretary, certified the fore- 
going as a true copy of the original letter.] 

* King notes : — " Most of these found means to go on board 
the Geographe before she left the island." 




(Head 14tli Octobor, 1889.) 

I. The English at the Derwent. 

In a paper which I had the honour to read before the 
Royal Society last November, entitled " The French in 
Van Diemen's Land," I endeavoured to show how the 
discoveries of the French at the Derwent, and their 
supposed design of occupation, influenced Governor 
King's mind, and led him to despatch the first Englisih 
colony to these shores. That paper brought the story 
to the 12th September, 1803, when the Albion whaler, 
with Governor Bowen on board, cast anchor in Risdon 
Cove, five days after the Lady Nelson, which had brought 
the rest of his small establishment. 

The choice of such an unsuitable place as Risidon for 
the site of the first settlement has always been something 
of a puzzle; and, in order to understand the circumstances 
which led to this ill-advised selection, it will be necessary 
to go back some years, and follow the history of English 
discovery and exploration in the south of Tasmania. 

I have already noticed the elaborate and complete 
surveys of the Canal D'Entrecasteaux, and the Riviere 
du Nord, made by the French navigators in 1792, and 
again in 1802 ; but it must be remembered that the re- 
sults of these expeditions were long kept a profound 
secret, not only from the English, but from the woi-ld in 
general. Contemporaneously with the French, English 
navigators had been making independent discoveries and 
surveys in Southern Tasmania; and it was solely the 
knowledge thus acquired that guided Governor King 
when he instructed Bowen "to fix on a proper place about 
Risdon 's Cove " for the new settlement. 

The English discoverer of the Derwent — a navigator 
who, though less fortunate than Admiral D'Entrecas- 
teaux, yet merits the title of original discoverer equally 


with the illustrious Frenchman — was Lieutenant John 
Hayes, of the Bombay Marine, to whom I have already 
alluded. The occasion of Hayes' expedition is sufficiently 
curious to justify a few words of remark. It was the only 
exploring expedition ever sent out by the East India 
Company into Australian waters. In those days the 
great Company was at the height of its power. Its 
royal charter secured it an absolute monopoly of trade, 
iiot only with India and China, but with the entire East, 
including the whole of the Pacific Ocean. So exclusive 
were its privileges, and so jealously maintained, that the 
colonists of New South Wales could not trade with the 
home country except by permission of the Company. So 
late as the year 1806* it successfully resisted the sale in 
England of the first cargo of whale-oil and sealskins 
shipped by a Sydney firm in the Lady Barlow, on the 
ground that the charter of the colony gave the colonists 
no right to trade, and that the transaction was a violation 
of the Company's charter and against its welfare. It 
was urged on behalf of the Court of Directors that such 
'•piratical enterprises" as the venture of the owners of 
the Lady Barlow must at once be put a stop to, as " the 
inevitable consequence of building ships in New South 
Wales will be an intercourse with all the ports of the 
China and India Seas, and a population of European 
descent, reared in a climate suited to nxaintain the 
energies of the European character, when it becomes 
numerous, active, and opulent, may be expected to 
acquire the ascendancy in the Indian Seas." The 
Lords Commissioners of Trade decided that the 
action of the colonists was irregular in respect to 
the Company's charter. Sii- Joseph Banks exerted 
himself strenuously on behalf of the colonists, 
and represented to the Court of Directors that 
the Lords Commissioners in future cases " are dis- Brabourue 
posed to admit the cargo to entry, in case the Court of ^'"^'"P"' 
Directors see no objection to this measure of indulgence P" 
towards an infant and improving colony. " and, further, 
that their Lordships intend, without delay, " to prepare 
instructions for the future government of the shipping 
concerns of the colony, on a plan suited to provide the 
inhabitants with the means of becoming less and less 
burdensome to the mother country, and framed in such a 
manner as to interfere as little as possible with the trade 

* See Pamphlet containing a summarj' of the contents of 
the Brabournc Papers, Sydney, 1886, p. 11. 


prerogatives and resources of the East India Company." 
It was mainly owing to Banks' diplomacy and energy that 
an Order of Council was obtained allowing future cargoes 
from Sydney to be landed and sold in England. 

It is, perhaps, not surprising that the Company should 
have contributed so little towards the exploration of 
regions which it held to be an appanage to its Indian 
dominions, for at that time the Southern Seas offered few 
or no temptations of profit to a great trading corporation. 
As to New Holland, and Van Diemeu's Land, its sup- 
posed southern extension, they were merely obstacles 
in the way of the lucrative China trade — jutting out in- 
conveniently into the South Sea, lengthening the voyage 
and increasing its dangers. For the sake of the vessels 
employed in £his trade, a knowledge of the Australian 
coast and its harbours was desirable.* It was jDrobably 
v/itli the object of finding a convenient harbour of refuge 
for ships following the southern route to China in their 
passage round the stormy South Cape of the Austral iaji 
continent, that, in the year 1793, the Company fitted out 
an expedition destined for Van Diemens Land. Cook 
and Bligh had recently brought home I'eports which 
encouraged the idea that a suitable port might be found 
there, and it is quite possible that rumours of the visit of 
D'Entrecastes.ux the year before had stimulated the 
Board of Director:, to action. Lieutenant John Hayes was appointed to the com- 
oi tlie mand of the expedition, which consisted of two ships, f.he 

j|n(iian Duke of Clarence and the Duchess, and was despatched 

200-265.' from India to explore the coasts of Va.n Diemens Land 
and its harbours, and to make its way back to India by the 
South Sea Islands and the Malay Archipelago. This 
service Lieixt. Hayes performed in a very satisfactory 
manner. He surveyed the coasts of Tasmania, parts of 
New Caledonia, of New Guinea and other islands, 
his voyage extending over two or three years. Un- 
happily, the results of these valuable surveys were lost 
to his employers and to England, for the ship taking 
home his charts and journals was captured by a French 
man-of-war, all his papers were taken to Paris and have 

* It was ronsirlcrod a chief object of every exploring expedi- 
tion to find harliours suitable for tho East India Company's 
sliips. When Flinders was about to sail in the Im-fxtlijator 
to explore the Australian coast, the Court of Directors, on 
being applied to, made him an allowance of £1200 as " batta 
money " — a practical recognition of their interest in his ex- 
pedition. - Hral)ourno Pamphlet, p. 13. 



never since seen the light.* A rough sketch of the Flinders' 
Derwent made by Hayes found its way to Sydney, and Voyage, 
is frequently referred to by Flinders in the account of ^"g^f^"' 
his voyage. This is all we know of his exploration of ^' 
Tasmania, and of the Honourable East India Company's 
first, last, and only discovery expedition to Australian 

Lieut. Hayes' ships reached Storm Bay in the year 
1794. He had heard of the visit of the French to these 
shores two years before, but knew nothing of what 
D'Entrecasteaux had done. He explored and sixrveyed 
the approaches of the Derwent, and sailed up that river 
nearly as far as Bridgewater ; while, in the belief that he 
was making an original discovery, he gave new names 
to various localities. These have in some instances 
superseded those bestowed by his predecessor D'Entre- 
casteaux. Thus it is to Hayes that we owe the name of 
the Derwent, which has replaced the French appellation 
of the Riviere du Nord, and D'Entrecasteaux Channel 
was long known to the English by t-he name of Storm 
Bay Passage, which it bears on Hayes' chart. Other 
names which are still remembered are Betsey's Island, 
Prince of Wales Bay, Mount Direction, and, lastly, 
Risdon Cove.f It is said that Risdon Cove and River 
were named by him after one of the officers of the ship. 
but this I have not been able to verify.]: 

It was in the early spring of the year 1798 that Flinders' 
Governor Hunter gave to Flinders- — then a young Voyage, 
Lieutenant of H.M.S. Reliance — the Norfolkk a little I"tVo., 

, m, • , P- 138. 

There is good reason to believe that Hayes' charts and 
journals are in the National Library in Paris, or, possibly, in 
the Department of Marine and Colonies. It would be well 
if an effort were made to discover them and have them pub- 
lished. See Appendix. 

t Adanison's Peak, Mount Lewis, Cornelian Bay, Taylor's 
i^ay. Court's Island, Fluted Cape, Ralph's Bay, were also 
named by Hayes. 

I Mr. Justin Browne informs me tliat Risdon is a name 
borne by a county family of Devonshire; (see "Marshall's 
Genealogist's Guide," p. 524), and that it occurs also as a 
place name in Gloucestersliii-e, (see also Burke's Armoury, Ed. 
18.) The popular derivation from a supposed " Rest-down " 
may, perhaps, be credited to the fancy of the enterprising 
anjj pugnacious printer, Andrew Bent. So far as I have 
been able to discover, it first occurs in " Bent's Tasmanian 
Almanac " for 1827. It has been copied by West and other 

§ The NnrfoJl:, which has the credit of having first circum- 
navigated Van Diemen's Land, was built at Norfolk Island, of 
the pine for which that ishind is celebrated. She was after- 
wards used by Flinders in his exploration of Moreton Bay. 
Labilliere's Early History of Victoria. Vol. i., p. 26. 



p. 181. 

New South 
Wales, ii., 
p. 188. 
Tntro., pp. 

Collins, ii., 
pp. 143-194. 

colonial sloop of 25 tons, to try to solve the vexed question 
of the existence of a strait between New Holland and 
Van Diemen's Land. Flinders secured Dr. George Bass 
as his companion in the expedition, and on the 7th 
October, 1798, the Norfolk sailed from Port Jackson 
with a crew of 8 volunteers, taking twelve weeks' pro- 
visions. They examined the North Coast of Tasmania, 
entering Port Dalrymple, and sailed for the first time 
through the Straits, to which, at Flinders' request, 
Governor Hunter gave the name of Bass' Straits.* 

Leaving Bass' Straits the Norfolk sailed southwards 
along the West Coast — Flinders naming Mount Heema- 
kirk and Mount Zeehan after Tasman's two vessels — and 
on 14th December, arrived at the entrance of Storm Bay. 
Flinders had with him a copy of Hayes' sketch chart of 
the Derwent, but had never even heard of DEntre- 
casteaux's discoveries six years before. . Bass, in 
speaking of Adventure Bay, says — " This island, the 
Derwent, and Storm Bay Passage were the discovery 
of Mr. Hayes, of which he made a chart." More than 
a fortnight was employed by Flinders in making a care- 
ful survey of Norfolk Bay, and of the Derwent from 
the Iron Pot to a point some 5 miles above Bridgewater. 
In the Introduction to his Voyage to Terra Australis, 
he gives the I'esult of his observations. Bass devoted 
his attention more particularly to an examination of 
the neighbouring country, its soil, productions, and 
suitableness for agriculture. He took long excursions 
into the country, having seldom other society than his 
two dogs, examining in this way the western shore of 
the river from below the Blow Hole at Brown's River 
to beyond Prince of Wales Bay, visiting various parts 
of the eastern shore, and ascending Mount Wellington 
and Mount Direction. His original journal has never 
come to light, but the substance of it was published in 
1802, by Collins, in the second volume of his Accoinit of 
New South Wales. 

It is interesting to learn how the country with which 
we are so familiar struck the first visitor to its shores, 
when as yet the land was in all its native wildness, and 

* "No more than a just tribute," says the generous Flinders, 
" to my worthy friend and companion for the extreme dangers 
and fatigues he has undergone in first entering it in the 
whale-boat, and to tne correct .iudgment he had formed from 
various, indications of the existence of a wide opening between 
"Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales." — Voyage to 
Terra Australis, Intro., p. 193. 


untouched by the hand of man, and I shall therefore 

give some of Bass's observations on the country about 

the Derwent. The explorers had some difficulty in 

getting the Norfolk as far up the river as the mouth of 

the Jordan, which Flinders named Herdsman's Cove. 

Thence they proceeded in their boat some 5 or 6 miles Collins, ii., 

higher up. They expected to have been able to reach P- 186. 

the source in one tide, but in this they were mistaken, 

falling, as they believed, some miles short of it. I regret 

to say that Bass did not show the good taste of the 

Frenchmen who were so enthusiastic on the grandeur 

and beauty of the harbours and rivers which they had 

entered. He describes our noble river as a "dull, lifeless /bid, p. 183. 

stream, which after a sleepy course of not more than 25 

or 27 miles to the north-west, falls into Frederick 

Henry Bay. Its breadth there is two miles and a 

quarter, and its depth ten fathoms." He further remarks, 

" If the Derwent River has any claim to respectability, 

it is indebted for it more to the paucity of inlets into 

Van Diemen's Land than to any intrinsic merits of its 

own." Yet his impression of the country on its banks 

was distinctly favovirable. " The river," he says " takes 

its way through a country that on the east and north 

sides is hilly, on the west and north mountainous. The 

hills to the eastward arise immediately from the banks; 

but the mountains to the westward have retired to the 

distance of a few miles from the water, and have left in 

their front hilly land similar to that on the east side. All 

the hills are very thinly set v/ith light timber, chiefly 

short she-oaks, but are admirably covered with thick 

nutritious gi'ass, in general free from brush or patches of 

shrubs. The soil in which it grows is a black vegetable 

mould, deep only in the valleys, frequently very shallow, 

with occasionally a mixture of sand or small stones. 

Many large tracts of land appear cultivable both for 

maize and wheat, but which, as pasture land, would be 

excellent. The hills descend with such gentle slopes, 

that the valleys between them are extensive and flat. 

Several contain an indeterminate depth of rich soil, 

capable of supporting the most exhausting vegetation, 

and are tolerably well watered by chains of small ponds, 

or occasional drains, which empty themselves into the 

river by a cove or creek." Black swans were seen in 

great numbers, and kangaroo abounded, but Bass came 

to the conclusion that the natives must be few in number, 

as although they frequently found their rude huts and 

deserted fires, during a fortnights' excursions they fell in 



Collins, ii., 
p. 186. 

Intro., pp. 
186, 189. 

King to 
Hobart, 3rcl 
May, 1803. 

Bowen to 
King, 20th 

with none of the aborigines, except a man and two 
women, with whom they had a friendly interview some 
miles above Herdsman's Cove. Basa contrasts New 
South Wales and Van Diemen's Land in respect of 
their fitness for agriculture : his opinion was that they 
were both poor countries, but in point of productive soil 
the preference was to be given to Van Diemen's Land. 
He founds on the banks of the Derwent various tracts of 
land which he considered admirably adapted for grain, 
for vines, and for pasturage, and no place combined so 
many advantages as Risdon Cove. Bass grows almost 
enthusiastic in describing Risdon. " The, land at the 
head of Risdon Creek, on the east side," he remarks, 
" seems preferable to any other on the banks of the 
Derwent. The creek runs winding between two steep 
hills, and ends in a chain of ponds that extend into a 
fertile valley of great beauty. For half-a-mile above the 
head of the creek the valley is contracted and narrow, 
but the soil is extremely rich, and the fields are well 
covered with grass. Beyond this it suddenly expands 
and becomes broad and flat at the bottom, whence arise 
long grassy slopes, that by a gentle but increasing ascent 
continue to mount the hills on each side, until they are 
hidden from the view by woods of large timber which 

overhang their summits The soil along the 

bottom, and to some distance up the slopes, is a rich 
vegetable mould, apparently hardened by a small mixture 
of clay, which grows a large quantity of thick juicy 
grass and some few patches of close underwood." 

Flinders was, however, disappointed with Hayes' 
Risdon River, and notices the insignificance of the little 
creek, which even his boat could not enter, and at which 
he could barely manage to fill his water casks. Among 
" the many local advantages of the Derwent " to which 
King alludes in his despatches to Lord Hobart, and which 
determined him to- choose that place for a settlement, 
there is no doubt that Bass's glowing description of the 
beauty and fertility of Risdon filled a large place, and 
induced him to direct Bowen to choose its neighbour- 
hood for the new colony. 

11. — The Risdon Settlement. 

It is now time for us to return to Lieut. Bowen and 
his little colony, whom we left on the 12th September, 
1803, in the Albion and Lady Nelson at anchor in 
Risdon Cove. A week later Bowen writes to Governor 
King by the Albion, reporting his arrival, and his 



definite selection of Risdon as the site of the new 
settlement. He seems to have accepted Risdon as a 
foregone conclusion, for although he tells the Governor 
that he had explored the river to a point rather higher 
than Flinders went, it does not appear that he made any 
sufficient examination of the western bank. If he had 
done so he could hardly have written to King — " There 
are so many fine spots on the borders of the river that I 
was a little puzzled to fix upon the best place; but there 
being a much better stream of fresh water falling into 
Risdon Cove than into any of the others, and very exten- 
sive valleys lying at the back of it, I judged it the most 
convenient, and accordingly disembarked all the men 
and stores." He could never have written thus if he 
had examined either Humphrey's Rivulet or the stream 
falling into Sullivan's Cove. Bowen's choice of Risdon 
does not lead us to form a high opinion of his qualifi- 
cations as the founder of a new colony. On the other 
hand, it is only fair to take into account his difficulties. 
Doubtless, he felt himself in a great degree bound by the 
instructions he had received from Governor King to fix 
on a spot in the neighbourhood of Risdon Cove. He 
also knew that Bass had carefully examined both shores 
of the river and had found no place so eligible. More- 
over, it would be unjust to judge his choice by our present 
knowledge. Every settlement in an unknown and 
thickly wooded country must be more or less tentative, 
and the objections to the locality were not so evident in 
its original state as they now are. At present the Cove is 
silted up in consequence of a causeway having been built 
across it, but when Bowen entered it it was a fairly deep 
and commodious harbour. There was much to recom- 
mend the site to a new-comer. When the Albion sailed 
up the Derwent the best valleys running down to the 
river were full of a dense scmb, most discouraging to a 
settler, and at that period Risdon probably presented the 
most open land on this side Herdsman's Cove. It was 
early spring, and at that season there would be a good 
stream of water in the creek, the open land of the Risdon 
valley was covered with rich and luxuriant grass, and 
higher up the creek was a fair amount of the good agri- 
cultural land described by Bass. The unsuitability of 
the valley as a site for a large town would never occur 
to Bowen, who was content if he could find for his handful 
of settlers a sufficient space for their gardens, and a few 
cornfields to supply their immediate requirements. The. 


small scale of the establishment with which he was en- 
trusted would inevitably limit his ideas. Still, after 
every allowance has been made, it remains evident that 
Lieut. John Bowen was not one of the men who are born 
to be the successful founders of new States. 

The site of this first settlement is on the farm so well 
kno\vn as the home of the late Mr. Thos. Geo. Gre)gson, 
M.H.A. It lies about two miles from the landing-place 
of the Risdon ferry. A stone causeway crosses the cove 
not far from the mouth of the creek. For some 100 or 
150 yards before the little stream falls into the cove it 
finds its way through a small marsh of some 20 acres, 
shut in on each side by steep hills. In Bowen's time 
this stream was fresh and clear-flowing ; now it is brack- 
ish, sluggish, and muddy, choked with weeds and slime, 
and altogether uninviting in aspect. At the upper end 
of the marsh, where the valley suddenly contracts, a 
dilapidated stone jetty marks the old landing-place on 
the creek, at present quite inaccessible for a boat. On 
the narrow strip of flat ground between the jetty and the 
steep hill beyond are the barely discernible foundations 
of a stone building, the first stone store in Tasmania. 
From this point a road leads upwards along the hillside 
for some 150 or 200 yards to the top of the rise, where 
there is a level piece of land of no great extent, bounded 
on the north by rough hills, and on the south sloping 
steeply to the valley. On the edge of this level ground, 
overlooking the flat, and commanding a fine view of the 
Derwent and of the mountains behind it, stand some 
dilapidated wooden buildings, for many years well known 
as the residence of Mr. Gregson, the little cottage in 
front being, not improbably, Lieut. Bowen's original 
quarters. A good garden extends to the rear of the 
house, and in this garden, about 100 yards behind the 
cottage, there still stand the ruins of an oven with brick 
chimney, which Mr. Gregson for many years religiously 
preserved as the remains of the first house erected in 
Van Diemen's Land. From this point the valley is 
narrow, the ground sloping down steeply, but there is 
good agricultural land in the bottom, and on the northern 
slope where Bowen's free settlers were located— the other 
side being stony and barren. A plan which Bowen 
sent to Governor King enables us to identify the locality 
with absolute precision. He tells King — " We are 
situated on a hill commanding a perfect view of the river, 
and with the fresh water at the foot of it — the land 


After pitchiug his tents at Risdon, Bowen was not 
idle He set his people at once to work to build huts. 
During the first week he made a boat excursion up the 
river; examined Herdsman's Cove, and thought of 
locating his free settlers there. He describes the Der- Bowen to 
went al " perfectly fresh ' above Herdsman s Cove, and J-f-Of^^ 
" the banks more like a nobleman s park m J^ngiancl ^ggg^ 
than an uncultivated country; every part is beautitully 
crreen and verv little trouble might clear every valley i 
have seen in a month. There are few rocky spots except 
on the high hills, and in many places the plough might 
be used immediately; but our workmen are very tew 
and very bad. I could with ease employ a hundred men 
upon the land about us, and with that number— some 
good men among them— we should soon be a flourishing 
colony " Next week he made another trip up the 
Derwent, but without further results. He sends King a Bowen to 
plan of his settlement,* and already wilhm a fortnight of ^^^^^^^^^^ 
his arrival he had got quarters built for his soldiers and ^g^g^ ^^^ ' 
prisoners, had located his free settlers on their five-acre i^^iy . 
allotments up the vklley about a quarter of a mile from I^elson. 
his tent, and had Clark, the stonemason, at work build- 
ing a stone store. ... 

He had — probably in accordance with King s mstruc- King to 
tions— named the new settlement " Hobart,"t after Hobart, 1st 
Lord Hobart, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. ^^qI ' 

His Returns, dated 'Hobart, Van Diemen's Land, 
27th September, 1803," show an effective strength of 22 

men 21 convicts and their overseer — of whom 2 w^ere 

in charge of stock, 4 employed on buildings, (viz., a 
blacksmith, carpenter, and two sawyers), the bulk of 
the convicts forming a town gang. The three women 
are returned as " cutting grass," probably for thatching. 
Of the stock, the Government owned 9 cattle and 25 
sheep, the Commandant had a mare, and the Doctor a 
cow, while the Officers and Birt and Clarke, the free 
settlers, w^ere possessors of 7 sheep, 8 goats, and 38 swme. 

Within a fortnight from his landing, as I have said, Bowen to 
Bowen had all his people housed, and reports to King l^^^g'^^^^*^ 
that the soldiers and prisoners have got very comfortable '^^^^ 
huts. He fixed his own quarters on the spot where Mr. 
Gregson's house now stands; the soldiers' huts were a 
little behind Dr. Mountgarret's quarters, and the 
prisoners' huts were placed on the brow of the steep bank 

* See Appendix. 

t " Town " was not added to the name until some time atter 
the settlement was removed by Collins to Sullivan's Cove. 



Bowen to 
King, 27th 

King to 
Bowen, 18th 

King to 
24th Octo- 
ber, 1803. 

overlooking the creek. (See plan). The Commandant 
tells King that he has not yet drawn any lines for the 
town, waiting till he can cut down the large timber which 
obstnicted his view. To lay out a town in such a situa- 
tion must have been cf difficult problem, for his little 
settlement was perched on the top of a high almost pre- 
cipitous bank, on the edge of a very narrow gully, and 
the narrow plateau on which it stood, shut in at the back 
by rough hills, did not afford room for a fair-sized village. 
But the difficulties of the locality were as nothing to the 
difficulties of the hviman material out of which he had 
to form his colony. 

The soldiers of the New South Wales Corps, who 
formed his guard, and on whom he had to depend for 
the maintenance of order, were discontented, almost 
mutinous. Within a week of his arrival they were 
grumbling at the hard duty of mounting one sentry dur- 
ing the day and two at night. The Commandant thought 
they had been spoilt by too easy a life in Sydiiey, and 
begged the Governor to send him down an active officer 
or sergeant who would keep them to their duty. 

As to the prisoners, they were of the worst class, ill- 
behaved, useless, and lazy. Indeed, when we find that 
some of the worst offenders in New South Wales had 
been sentenced by the Criminal Court in Sydney to serve 
a certain number of years at Risdon Creek, we cannot 
wonder at Bowen's complaints of their condvict, nor can 
we be surprised that he was able to effect so little. 

Meanwhile, Governor King did not forget the interests 
of the new colony. In his reply to Bovv-en's first letters, 
he expressed himself as well pleased with the selection of 
Risdon, and with the progress that had been made with 
the settlement. He also promised the reinforcements for 
which Bowen asked, and, accordingly, towards the end of 
October the Drtj-t brig was despatched to the Derwent. 
She took 42 prisoners — of whom 20 were volunteers — and 
these latter were told that, if their behaviour was good, 
they should be allowed, at the end of two years, to choose 
between settling at the Derwent and retvxrning to Sydney. 
The Governor also strengthened the Military force by 
sending down 15 'soldiers under the command of Lieut. 
Moore. He strongly urged Bowen to leave their dis- 
cipline entirely to their officer, to give them good huts, 
full rations, a plot of ground for a garden, and to employ 
them on military duty only, so that they might have no 
just ground for complaint. The Dart took six months' 
supplies of pork and flour for the new arrivals, and also 



two carronades which had belonged to the Investigator, 
and as to the care of which King gave the Commandant 
very special cautions. No more free settlers were sent, 
as the Governor v/ished first to get a better knowledge 
of the country and of its suitableness for agriculture. To King to 
this end he sent down James Meehan, a surveyor who q^J'^'J^'^'/^**^ 
had done good work in New South Wales under Sur- jgQg^ ' 
veyor-General Grimes, and had recently formed one of 
the party who had made the survey of Port Philip in the 
Cumberland. Meehan was to be employed in surveying 
and making observations on the soil and natural pro- 
ductions of the colony, and was to advise with respect to 
the distribution of the town, church, and school lands, 
fortification, court-house, settlers' allotments, andgovem- 
m;ent grounds for the purpose of agriculture and grazing. 
He remained some fbur months at Plobart, returning Knopwoods' 
to Sydney in March, 1804, after having completed the ^^^^ JgJ^_ 
first "^surveys in Tasmania. Flinders' map shov.'s that ' ' 

Meehan explored from the Coal Hiver in a north-east 
direction, returning by way of Prosser's Plains and the 
Sorell District, but wc have no particulars of the result 
of his obsei'vations. 

Bowen's little colony now numbered something like. 
100 souls. It had been established about two months, 
and might fairly have been expected to have made at 
least a start towards definite progress. But it was pre- 
destined to failure. The few meagre facts that can be 
gleaned from the Record Office papers show that matters 
went most persistently wrong. The Commandant may 
not have been to blame for this ill success — possibly no 
man could have achieved success with the like material. 
The first arrivals had been bad, the second batch was 
certainly no better. We have Collins' testimony, very Cdlins to 
emphatically given, that many of them were "abandoned, 5>''^S, -^^^ 
hardened v^^retches — more atrocious than those imported -^^q^ 
from the gaols of England." The story of the escape of Harris's 
seven of tliese convicts, under the leadership of one Duce, statement, 
gives us an idea of their lawlessness, their ignorance, and 
their utter recklessness. One night, Uuce and his six 
companions stole the Commandant's boat as she lay in 
the cove, gained possession of two guns, and got away 
down the river. Some of the party wanted, without 
compass or provisions, to run for New Zealand, which 
they thought could easily be done. Others, not quite 
so ignorant, preferred to try to make Timor. Violent 
quarrels ensued, but they kept on their course along the 
east coast, living on fish and such vegetable food as they 



King to 
Hobart, 1st 
March, 1804. 

Collins to 
King, 29th 

street to Ad- 

could collect on the shore, and constantly on the verge 
of murderous conflict, until they reached Bass Strait. 
Here one of the party was left on a desolate rock, Duce 
threatening to shoot any one who interfered. The rest 
made Cape Barren Island, where they fell in with a 
sealing party. Duce and three others designed to seize 
the vessel, but were betrayed by their campanions. The 
sealers overpowered them, and put the foiir, with some 
provisions, on one of the islands, where they left them. 
Whether they perished, or whether they helped to swell 
the number of lawless runaways who for so long a time 
infested the islands in the Straits, no one knows. 

The soldiers were almost as great a trouble to the Com- 
mandant as the convicts. They were always discon- 
tented, occasionally mutinous. At timesi, instead of 
guarding the stores from depred^ion, they connived at 
the prisoners plundering them. An occasion of this 
sort, when a soldier was proved to have been accomplice 
in a robbery, led to Bo^ven taking a very extraordinary 
step. He could not try the man, not being able to 
constitute a court-martial, and was no puzzled to know 
what to do with him, that when the Ferret whaler 
chanced to put into the Derwent, he actually determined 
to leave his post, and himself take the culprit to Sydney 
for trial. Accordingly, he sailed from Risdon for Sydney 
in the Ferfet, on the 9th January, 1804. 

With all these signs of the utter disorganisation of the 
settlement, we cannot wonder that no progress had been 
made, and that when Collins arrived a few weeks later, 
he found that after five months' residence not a single 
acre of land was in preparation for grain upon Govern- 
ment account. 

But the Risdon settlement was already doomed, owing 
to a series of events of which neither Governor King 
nor his Commandant was yet aware. Before Bowen 
had made his first abortive start for the Derwent, and 
before Governor King's despatch of 23rd November, 1802, 
respecting French designs, could have reached England 
the Home Government had taken a resolution which — 
not by any intention of theirs — was destined to bring 
Lieut. Bowen's colony to an end, by its extinction in a 
more systematic and extensive settlement on the banks 
of the Derwent. In January, 1803, an Order in Council 
appointed Lieut. -Colonel David Collins, of the Royal 
Marines, Lieutenant-Governor of a settlement intended 
to be formed at Port Phillip, in New South Wales. 
The new establishment sailed from Spithead on the 24th 


April, 1803 — a month before King had given Bowen Knopwood's 
his commission as Commandant of Hobart — had just left Diary. 
Cape Town when Bowen sailed from S3^dney in the 
Albion, and arrived in Port Phillip on the 9th October, 

This is not the place to give an account of Collins' 
proceedings, at Port Phillip or elsewhere, except in so 
far as they affected the fortunes of the Risdon settlements 
Suffice it to say, that Collins found, or fancied, that Port 
Phillip was unfit for a settlement, and after correspond- 
ing with Governor King, and dawdling near the Heads 
for some three months, he finally decided to remove his 
establishment to the Derwent. Thereupon, King sent King to 
Collins a letter addressed to Bowen. directing the latter Bowen 26tb 
to hand over to Collins his command at the Derwent, jg°Q^^™ ' 
and to send back to Port Jackson his detachment of 
the New South Wales Corps. And so a game of cross 
purposes began. For while Collins was still fuming and 
fidgetting at Port Phillip, balancing the comparative 
advantages of Port Dalrymple and the Derwent, and 
gradually making up his mind in favour of the latter 
place, Bowen had sailed from Risdon in the Ferret with 9th 
his burglarious soldier, and had presented himself to the January, 
astonished Governor King at Port Jackson. The 93^^' 
Governor seems to have taken no pains to conceal the January, 
annoyance he felt at his Commandant leaving his post 
on so trifling an occasion, and sarcastically remarks in a 
despatch to Lord Hobart, that Bowen's " return was 1st March, 
occasioned by the necessity he conceived himself to be 1804. 
under of bringing up a soldier who had been implicated 
with the rest in robbing the stores." He was the more 
vexed at this inopportune return, as he knew that Collins 
was on the point of leaving Port Phillip, and he was 
particularly anxious that the Risdon Commandant should 
be at hand to give the new Lievitenant-Govcrnor the 
benefit of his experience and knowledge of the locality. 

The colonial cutter Inteynty had just been launched. lh\d. 
She was hastily fitted for sea, and Bowen was ordered 
to return in her to the Derwent forthwith, calling at 
Port Phillip to join Collins, to give him all necessary 
assistance, and accompany him to Risdon. The In- 
teyrify sailed on the 5th February; but Bowen's ill Ivick 
still attended hirn. When he reached Port Phillip he 
found only a remnant of Collins' establishment, vmder 
the charge of Lieut. Sladden, the Lieutenant-Governor soth 
himself having sailed for the Derwent in the Ocean vvith January, 
^ 1804. 




Order to 







the bulk of his people two or three days before. Bowen 
accordingly hastened on with his despatches, but shortly 
after sailing the cutter's rudder fastenings carried away, 
and she was placed in a very dangerous position. How- 
ever, she managed to reach Kent's Bay, Cape Ban-en 
Island, and there they found a sealing painty belonging 
to the American ships Pilgrim and Perseverance. The 
necessity for getting on was imjierative ; so Bowen made 
a verbal agreement with the American skipper, Captain 
Amasa Delano, to carry them on in his ship, and after- 
wards, if required, to proceed to Port Jackson. From 
the diary of the Chaplain of Collins' party, the well 
known Rev. Robert Knopwood, we learn that the Pilgrim 
cast anchor in Sullivan's Cove on 10th March, and that 
at six in the evening, a boat brought ashore " the 
Governor of Risdon Creek, Lieut. Bowen, of the Royal 

It must have proved a considerable mortification to 
the Governor of Risdon Creek to learn the events that 
had occiiiTed during his unlucky absence. Lieutenant- 
Governor Collins had arrived in the evening of the 15th 
Februai-y, and next morning had landed at the Risdon 
settlement under a salute of 11 guns from the Ocean. 
On landing, he had been received by the ofiicer in chargei, 
Lieut. Moore, of the New South Wales' Corps, and the 
rest of the establishment — consisting of the doctor, store- 
keeper, and military force of 1 6 privates, one sergeant, 
a,nd one di'um and fife. After examining the camp, 
gardens, water, &c., the new Lieutenant-Governor had at 
once come to the conclusion — which, indeed, was pretty 
evident — that Risdon was not, in the Chaplain's words, 
" calculated for a town." Accordingly^ on the following 
day, the Governor, with the Chaplain and Wm. Collins, 
had gone exploring, and had returned much delighted, 
having found, at a place on the opposite side of the river, 
six miles below Risdon, " a plain well calculated in every 
degree for a settlement." Forthwith the tents of the 
new establishment had been struck and taken on board 
the ships, which had dropped down the river to the 
selected spot, and anchored in Sullivan's Cove. So that 
on the 20th February — five days after Collins' arrival — 
his tents had been pitched at the mouth of the creek oiu 
the present site of Hobart, and the glory of Risdon had 

Bowen's settlement had had its own internal troubles, 
which, no doubt, Lieut. Moore duly reported to the Go- 
vernor of Risdon Creek. On the 21st February, the day 


after the foundiug of the new Hobai-t at Sullivan's Cove, Collins to 
a further batch of five convicts had escaped from Risdon, ^^i'lgj -^th 
having found means to steal half a barrel of gunpowder t*"^ 'i"^i"y- 
from under the very feet of the sentry, and also two 
" musquets," with which they had got off into the wooda. 
The runaways, however, did not find the woods inviting 
enough for a permanent residence, and one of them hav- 
ing voluntarily come in, the others followed his example 
next day, bringing the ai'ms and ammunition with them. 
It was too troublesome and expensive to send them to 
Sydney for trial ; they were, therefore, heavily ironed, 
and kept to work as a gaol gang. 

The only consolation that the Risdon Governor could 
have found in his adversity — besides the greater oppor- 
tunities of good fellowship which were now afforded him, 
with, no doubt, better fare than the salt pork and bread, 
which had hitherto been the regulation diet — was the 
consideration that the religious wants of his people, 
about which Governor King had been so emphatic, 
were now under proper regulation, aoid that on Sundays, 
when the weather was not unfavourable, the Chaplain, 
after divine service at Sullivan's Cove, had occasionally 
gone over to Risdon in the afternoon, and, as he phrases 
it, " done his duty to all the convicts, &c., &c.," dining 
afterwards with Dr. Mountgarret. 

Captain Delano, meanwhile, was making a good th'ug 
out of Bowen's misfortunes. The Integrity was still 
lying at Cape Barren Island, disabled, and she had to 
be brought on. So, after enjoying and returning llae 
hospitalities of the place for a fortnight, the American 
captain sailed again for the Straits, with new rudder 26th March 
fastenings for the disabled vessel, and in less than a 
month the Pilgrim once more appeared in the Derwent i-\\i April, 
with the Integrity in company. The Filyrim sailed 
away a few days later to continue her sealing voyage. 
and her captain carried with him not only the reward 
of an approving conscience, but also Bowen's bill on 
Governor King for £400. When the bill was presented King to 
in the following August, King's surprise was considerable. Palmer, 
and he ma-de some vigorous protests. But the bill was 29th 
in due form, for services performed, and the Governor i\^J§"^*' 
had to pay. He could only relieve his feelings by 
writing to Lord Hobart in strong terms as to the 
American's conduct; but he says, " I did not consider I King to 
could, with that respect due to the British character, j^^^^jT*" 
either curtail or refuse payment of the bill, notwithstand- T _^ isol"^' 
ing the extortionate advantage that had been taken of 



sealers — 

King to 
20th Decem- 
ber, 1804. 

Collins to 
King, 29t]i 

Collins to 
31st July, 

Collins to 
King, 29th 

Collins to 
31st July, 

Collins to 
Hobart, 3rc 

Mr. Bowen's necessities, and his not entering into a 
written agreement." 

We hear again of Captain Delano and his party a 
month or two later, and they seem to have been very un- 
desirable visitors. Not only had they been smtiggling 
spirits against the stringent regulations, and decoying 
prisoners, but they had made themselves still more ob- 
noxious by theu' brutal treatment of a sealing party at' 
Kent's Bay belonging to the Surprise sloop, of Sydney. 
According to the statement of the master of the Surprise, 
he had been flogged and nearly killed by Delano's men 
for ventviring to come into the Straits and interfere with 
them by killing seals in their neighbourhood. Governor 
King was inclined to take vigorous measures to put a 
stop to the lawless conduct which was then only too 
common amongst the American sealers in Bass' Straits, 
and proposed to the Home Government that he should 
be authorised, to go the length of seizing their ships as 
the only means of teaching them better behaviour. 

But to return to the fortunes of the Risdon Settlememt. 
Lieutenant-Governor Collins was altogether disappointed 
with the condition of Bowen's colony, and made a very 
unfavourable report on it to Governor King. The site 
was quite unsuitable ; the landing-place on the creek was 
choked with mud, and only accessible at high tide; the 
stores were placed on a low position, and likely to be 
flooded by any heavy rain; the land was by no means 
first class; and the rivulet, on which they depended for 
their fresh water, and which in September had been a 
lamning strea,m, was in February dwindled to a few pools 
of dirty water. The indifferent capabilities of the place 
had not been made the most of. No gi-ain had been 
sown, and no Government land had been eveu prepared 
for sowing. Dr. Mountgarret, and Clark and Birt, the 
free settlers, had each about five acres ready, hnt they 
ha-d no seed, so Collins had to supply them with suf- 
ficient to crop their land. The five months' occupation 
had been wasted ; there was nothing to show but a few 
wretched huts, cottages somewhat better for the oflScers, 
and a few acres of land roughly cleared of trees and scrub. 
The people were in a miserable condition, having been 
for some time on two-thirds of the standard rations, so 
that Collins had to supply them with food, and even to 
remove their starving pigs to his own camp to save theii- 
lives. A more dismal failure for a new colony could 
scarcely be imagined. It is difficult to decide how iar 


Bowen was to blame for this wretched state of things. Collins to 
The human material that had been given him to motild h^f^' ^^*^ 
into shape was desperately bad. Collins says that the ^§04 ^ ^' 
officer in chaa'ge on his arrival (probably Lieut. Moore) 
described them " as a worthless and desperate set of 
wretches"; and this language does not appear to have 
been too strong. The Sydney authorities seem to have 
taken the opportunity of Bowen's settlement to rid them- 
selves of their worst criminals, including the most tur- 
bulent of the United Irishmen, who had lately given so 
much trouble by their rising in the older colony. Even 
the soldiers of the New South Wales Corps, sent to curb 
these undesirable colonists, were lazy and mutinously in- 
clined. It is a satisfaction to know that Collins eventu- 
ally shipped the whole lot back to Sydney — both soldiers 
and convicts, with but few exceptions — so that they never 
had any part in the new Hobart. 

Collins did not interfere with Bowen or with Lieut. Ibid. 
Moore in theii' command, bitt left them in uncontrolled 
charge. Indeed, he seems to have been only too airxious 
to wash his hands of Risdon and all its works. Governor 
Bowen and the Risdon officers, however, made the best 
of their circumstances, and, if we can trust the chaplains 
diary, took life easily — shooting, hunting, excursionising, 
and exchanging frequent visits with the officers of the 
new camp. Towards the end of March Mr. Knopwood Knopwood, 
goes to Risdon for a few days, and "they caught six 2()th March. 
young emews the size of a turkey, and shot the old 
mother." On Easter Sunday, after Divine Sei-vice, they 1 April, 
all go to the chaplain's marquee at the caanp, and "par- 
took of some Norfolk ham, the best we ever eat." At 4 
P.M. he adjourns to Lieut. Lords to dinner, " and v/as 
very merry." Mr. Knopwood records many visits to 
Risdon, and excursions with Bowen up the river, to 
Mount Direction, to Ralph's Bay, and other places. 
" The Govenior of Risdon Creek," as Knopwood called 
him, had, however, enough trouble with his refra^toiy 
people. His soldiers had long giixmbled at the sentry Collins to 
duty as too hard for their small numbers ; and the dis- King, 24th 
content at last broke out into direct mutiny. On Sunday, -^P"!? lbt)4. 
22nd April, the men flatly refused to mount guard, and 
became so insolent and insubordinate that Lieut. Moore 
promptly put four of the ringleadei's into irons, and took 
them down to Sullivan's Cove. Lieut. -Governor Collins 
sent the mutineers under a guard on board the Colonial 
cutter Intcgriti/, then on the point of sailing for Port 
Jackson. At the same time a plot was on foot amongst 


some of the Irish convicts at Risdon. Their object was 
to seize the storehouse, supply themselves with provisions, 
and make good their escape from the settlement. On 
the discovery of the plot, three of the ringleaders were 
forthwith flogged, and, to prevent further mischief, Cap- 
tain Bowen and Mr. Wilson, the storekeeper, a few days 
later, took the mutinous prisioners to Norfolk Bay in the 
Risdon whaleboat. " Eight of them, and all Irislimen," 
remarks the chaplain. They were left on Smooth Island 
(now known as Garden Island), with a months pro- 
visions, and Bowen went on to explore the River Huon. 

With that fatality which always kept Bowen out of the 
way when he was wanted, an importa-nt and disastrous 
event occurred at Risdon in his absence. This was the 
Erst affray of the English with the natives. It was on 
the 3rd May, 1804, that this first of the long series of 
fatal encounters betv/een the two races took place. Up 
to this time it does not appear that any natives had been 
seen in the neighbourhood of Risdon. Knopwood re- 
lates that there had been some friendly intercourse with 
the tribe on the other side of the river, and that some 
of them had come to Collins' camp. W^e also learn from 
him that he and Bowen had seen many natives in the 
neighbourhood of Frederick Henry Bay. The blacks 
had always shown themselves shy and suspicious, but re- 
lations had hitherto been quite friendly. The unhappy 
event of the 3rd May sowed the seeds of a hostility on the 
part of the blacks, which, exasperated from time to time 
by mutual injuries, filled the colony with deeds of outrage 
and horror, with savage niurders of innocent settlers, and 
almost equally savage I'etaliation, until the native race 
was nearly exterminated, and the miserable remnant re- 
moved to Flinders' Island, to perish of slow decay. Of 
the origin of the affray the accounts are very contradic- 
tory T 'O of these are contempoi-ary ; one recorded 
by Mr. K pwood in his diary, the other in a letter by 
Lieut. Moore, the officer in charge of Risdon. The Chap- 
lain says, under date Thursday, 3rd May: — " At 2 p.m. 
we heard the report of cannon once from Risdon. The 
Lieut. -Governor .sent a message to know the cause. At 
half-past 7, Lieut. Moore arrived at the camp to Lieut.- 
Governor Collins, and I received the following note from 
Risdon : — 
Deak Sir, 

I beg to refer you to Mr. Moore for the particulai's of 
an attack the natives made on the camp to-day, and I 
have every reason to think it was premeditated, as their 




number far exceeded any that we ever heard of. As you 
express a wish to be acquainted witli some of the natives, 
if you will dine with me to-morrow, you will oblige me by 
christening a fine native boy who I laave. Unfortunately, 
poor boy, his father and mother were both killed ; he is 
about 2 years old. I have, likewise, the body of a man 
that was killed. If Mr. Bowden wishes to see him dis- 
flected, I will be happy to see him with you to-morrow. I 
would have wrote to him, but Mr. Moore waits. 

Your friend, 


Hobart, six o'clock. 

The number of natives, I think, was not less than 5 or 6 
hundred. J.M." 

Knopwood continues : 

" At 8, Lieut. Moore came to my marquee, and stayed 
some time; he informed me of the natives being very 
numerous, and that they had wounded one of the settlers, 
Burke, and was going to burn his house down, and ill- 
treated his wife, &c., czc." 

Lieut. Moore's letter — a copy of which is preserved in 
the Record Office — is dated Risdon Cove, 7th May, 1804, 
and is addressed to Governor Collins. He ^ays- — 


Agreeable to your desire, I have the honour of ac- 
quainting you with the circumstances that led to the a,t- 
tack on the natives, which you will perceive was the con- 
sequence bf their own hostile appearance. 

It would appear from the numbers of them, and the 
spears, &c., with which they were armed, that their design 
was to attack us. However, it was not until they had 
thoroiTghly convinced us of their intentions, by using 
violence to a settler's wife, and my own servant — who was 
returning into camp with some kangaroos, one of which 
they took from him — that they were fired upon. On 
their coming into camp and surrounding it, I went to- 
wards them with five soldiers. Their appearance and 
numbers I thought very far from friendly. During this 
time I was informed that a party of them was beating 
Birt, the settler, at his farm. 1 then despatched two 
soldiers to his assistance, with orders not to fire if they 
could avoid it. However, they found it necessary ; and 
one was killed on the spot, and another found dead in the 



against tlio 
of V.D.L., 
House of 
Paper, 28 rd 
1831, p. 53. 

But at this time a great party was in the camp ; and, 
on a proposal from Mr. Mountgarret to fire one of the 
carronades to intimidate them, they departed. 

Mr. Mountgarret, with some soldiers and prisoners, 
followed them some distance up the valley, and have 
reason to suppose more was wounded, as one was seen to 
be taken away bleeding. During the time they were in 
camp, a number of old men were perceived at the foot of 
the hill, near the valley, ernployed in preparing spears. 

I have now, Sir, as near as I can recollect, given you 
the leading particulars, and hope ihere has nothing been 
done but what you approve of. 

I have the honour to be, &c., 

William Moore, 

Lieut. N.S.W. Corps. 

It will be noticed that in this letter Lieut. Moore, who 
had evei'y reason to represent the conduct of the natives 
in the worst light, can show no direct act of hostility. 
He assumed that they were hostile, from their numbers ; 
and, for the beating of Birt, and the proposed burning 
of his hvit, he has no evidence to offer but a report brought 
to him in the midst of the panic which the appearance 
of the blacks had caused among his people. That the 
doctor's proposal to fire the carronade should have induced 
savages, who did not understand the language, and had 
never seen fire-arms, to withdraw, is too great a stretch 
on one's ci'edulity. We know, from Knopwood, that the 
gun was fired ; but, whether it was loaded with blank cart 
ridge or with grape, we have no means of deciding. 

The only other eye-witness of the affair whose account 
we have directly contradicts Lieut. Moore ; and his story 
looks probable, like the stoj-y of a man who had kept his 
head amidst the general panic. This witness is one 
Edward White, who was examined before Governor 
Arthur's Aborogines' Committee in 1830. In consider- 
ing his evidence, it should be remembered that, at the 
time he gave it, the exasperation of the whole colony the blacks, on account of their brutal outrages, 
was at fever heat, and the witness had every inducement 
to represent their conduct in this affair in an unfavour- 
able light. White came to the colony with Bowen, and 
was an assigned servant to the settler Clark. He was the 
first man who saw the approach of the natives. He was 
hoeing new ground on the creek near Clark's house, which 
was about half a mile up the valley behind the camp. 
As he was hoeing, he saw 300 natives, men, women, and 



children, coming down the valley in a circular, or rather, 
a semi-circular, form, with a flock of kangaroo between 
them They had no spears, but were armed with waddies 
only, and were driving the kangaroo into the bottoni. 
On catching sight of him, they paused, astonished, and, 
to use his expression, " looked at him with all their eyes_ 
White had very probably been accustomed to the 
Port Jackson natives; at any rate, he says that 
he felt no alarm at the approach of the blacks, but he 
thought it advisable to go down the creek and inform 
some soldiers. He then went back to his work. On 
his return the natives were near Clark's house. They 
did not molest him or threaten him in any way. Birt's 
bouse was on the other side of the creek, some hundreds 
of yards off, and White was very positive that, so far from 
attacking Birt or his house, they never even crossed over 
to that side of the creek, and " were not within half a 
quarter of a mile " of the hut. He knew nothing of 
their going into the camp itself; but they did not attack 
the soldiers, and, he believed, would not have mo'ested 
them. When the firing commenced there were a great 
many of the natives slaughtered and wounded, how many 
he did not know. 

The Rev Mr. Knopwood gave evidence betore the H. of Com. 
same committee. He stated that he had heard different '^-^^^""'{^-^ 
opinions as to the origin of the attack; that it was said ^ ^^g^'.' 
the natives wanted to encamp on the site of Birt's hut, 
half a mile from the camp, and had ill-used his wife, but 
that the hut was not burnt or plundered. They did 
not attack the camp, but our people went from the camp 
to attack the natives, who remained at Birt's hut. He 
thought only five or six natives were killed. The general 
opinion was that the blacks h^d gone to Risdon to hold a 

These accounts throw gi'eat doubt on the accuracy ot 
Lieut. Moore's version of the affaii-. It is significant 
that Knopwood, who had every opportunity of learning 
the truth at the time, should state so positive^ that the 
natives never left the neighbourhood of Birt's hut, but 
that the soldiers went out to attack them. 

It seems clear that the natives had no hostile intention 
in their visit, and this was the conclusion of Governor 
A.rthur's committee. Everything goes to show that they 
were a partv coming from the east, probably the Oyster 
Bay tribe, engaged on a hunting expedition, and that 
they were more "astonished than the English on coming 
into contact with them. The fact of their having their 


women and children with them is perfectly conclusive 
proof that no attack was contemplated. We can easily 
understand how terrifying to the Risdon people must 
have been this sudden inroad of a horde of excited savages, 
yelling and gesticulating. Utterly ignorant of their 
customs, unable to understand them, or to make them- 
selves understood, the panic of the English, convinced that 
the natives had collected in force to destroy them, was 
natural enough. Doubtless the soldiers shared in the 
general scare, and, moreover, were probably quite inclined 
to take pot shots at the black savages. But Lieut. Moore 
ought not to have lost his head. He, at least, should 
have grasped the situation, and restrained his men. A 
little more presence of mind on his part, the exercise of a 
little tact and forbearance, and a collision would have been 
avoided, the natives would have been conciliated, and the 
history of the black race in Tasmania might have been 
different. That the aborigines of Tasmania would, in 
any case, have melted away before the white man, as the 
aborigines of the ether colonies are melting away, is cer- 
tain ; but if it had not been for Lieut. Moore's error at 
Risdon, a war of extermination, with all its attendant 
horrors, might have been averted. 

There is little to add respecting this occurrence, except 
H. of Com. that, according to White, come of the bones of the 
Pappr, 23rd slaughtered natives were sent in two casks to Port Jack- 
D^^s' ^°'^ ^y ^^" Mountgarret, and that the chaplain, ever 

anxious to extend the bounds of his church, re- 
Knopwood, cords that he went to Risdon a week later and " xtiand 
11th May. a young native boy whose name was Robert Hobert 
May " — the good chaplain having thus the honour of be- 
stowing his name on this first • innocent aboriginal 
Collins to Christian. Collins tells Governor King that the baptism 
King, 15th had taken place without his knowledge or consent, and 
May, 1804. ^ffYmn he found that Dr. Mountgarret intended to take this 
two-year-old native to Sydney, he had the boy broixght 
to the camp, and directed that he should be returned to 
his own people, for fear they should think he had been 
killed and eaten by the English. " For," he remarks, 
" we have every reason to believe them to be cannibals, 
and they may entertain the same opinion of us."* The 
incident made Collins very apprehensive of further at> 
tacks; and, indeed, a few days after this affray the crew 
of the cutter, while collecting oyster shells on the river 

There is no foundation for this opinion 


bank opposite Holjart, was attacked by a numerous party 
of natives, and beaten off with stones and clubs. 

As I have ah-eady observed, Lieut. -Governor Collins 
was very reluctant to have anything to do with the Risdon 
people, and would willingly have shipped them all off to 
Port Jackson ; but he now received express and positive 
instiiictions from Governor King to take over the com- 
mand ; and, accordingly, on the 8th May (immediately 
after Bo wen's return from the Huon), a General Order 
was issued, notifying that he had taken upon himself the 
command of Risdon ; that Lieut. Bowen was to continue 
in the direction of the settlement under him until further Collins to 
ordei's, and that the officers and prisoners were to return ^-ing, I5th 
to Port Jackson in the Ocean. The stores were iniinedi- -*f^y> 1804. 
ately removed to Sullivan's Cove, the few remainiui^ 
prisoners being victiialled from the Hobart camp. The Collins to 
stock was also removed — 17 head of cattle, and 45 sheej) Hobart, 
and lambs ; and, a few days later, the whole of the ')]^. J'^^y" 
prisoners were removed to the camp, where they could be 
kept at work in one gang, under a strict guard and a vigi- 
lant overseer. 

Although Collins badly wanted more military, he did IMd. 
not care to keep the small detachment of the New South 
Wales Corps, as he had at first thought of doing ; for, out 
of the 23 soldiers, one had been taken to Sydney by Bowen 
for robbery, and he himself had sent four others thither on 
a charge of mutiny. He, therefore, determined to despatcli 
them all to Sydney, where a Court Martial could be as- 
sembled to correct and punish their evil propensities. Of 
the convicts, 50 in number, there were only 11 men and 2 
women whom the Governor deemed it expedient to keep. 

It was not until the 9th August that the Ocean got Knopwood. 
under way for Sydney, and carried with her the whole 
civil and military establishment, — Capt. John Bowen, 
Dr. Mountgarret, Wilson the storekeeper, the turbuleut 
soldiers and the mutinous convicts, 40 or so, who had 
formed the first Settlement in Van Diemen's Land. 
Thus ended the first and abortive Hobart. 

The only free settler who remained was Richard Clark, Collins to 
who had been made superintendent of stonemasons. King, 3rd 
Both King and Collins speak highly of his character and August, 
capacity. Collins gave him a similar position in the ne<v l?- y oi ^ 
Hobart at Sullivan's Cove; and in this office he acquitted July' 1804. 
himself well. A few sheep were given him, and a location Ibid, 16th 
of 200 acres on the other side of the river, nearly opposite May. 


King to Tl^s other settler, Birt, had applied for and obtained 

Collins, 30th leave to remain ; but at the las^t moment he changed his 
September, mind, and sailed with the rest in the Ocean, which 

brought him under the displeasure of Governor King, 
Collins to who refused to allow him a grant of land. Dr. Mount- 
King, 29th garret, also, at tiist desired to stay, as lie had been. 
February, combining commerce with medicine, and had a large 

stock on hand which he wished to dispose of; but he, 

eventually, changed his mind, and he also sailed in. the 


King to The net balance of the Risdon Settlement, therefore, 

Collins, 30th remaining with Collins, was Richard Clark and the 1 1 

September, j^^le and 2 female convicts above mentioned. Collins 

Knopwood, afterwards ordered all the houses at Risdon to be pulled 

3rd Sept. down ; but it does not appear whether this was carried 

King to into effect. The Ocean did not arrive in Port Jackson 

Palmer, until the 23rd August, King having almost given her up 

^ . I for lost. Dr. Mountgarret got a fresh appointment as 

King's Com- Surgeon to the new Settlement at Port Dalrymple, under 

mission, Lieut.-Colonel Paterson. 

31st August, Lieut. Bowen had left a mare at the Derwent for wliic 

i^P"^- . he had paid £120, and he offered her to King at that 

Kmg to V,, ~ ' , , , ° , 

Collins 30th pi'ice. ihe Governor agreed to purchase her on 

September, Government account, and paid Bowen with four cows, 

1804. which he stopped out of his next shipment to Collins. 

This was the first horse taken to Van Diemen's Land. 

It only remains to state what more we know of the 

Governor of Risdon Creek. On his arrival at Sydney 

he was desirous of returniiig to England, in order that 

he might again enter on active service in the navy. 

King's Governor King had offered him the munificent pay of 5.s-. 

memo, to per day from the 30th June, 1 803, when he first sailed 

oo'i^^cf' from Sydney in the Porjioisr, to the 24th August, 

tembe?^" ^^^*' ^^^" ^^ returned thither in the Ocean, viz., 420 

1804. ' days, at 5s. per day, or £105 — exactly one hundred 

guineas for 14 months' governorship — certainly not an 

extravagant salary for a governor — not enough to pay his 

Bowon to passage to England. He refused the colonial pay 

King, 17th offered, and addressed a letter to King, in which he re- 

^ovember, minds the Governor that pecuniary considerations had 

not been in his view in accepting the appointment, but 

simply the advancement of his interest in His Majesty's 

naval service ; but that, as he had been at great expenge 

consequent on that appointment, he trusted the Governor 

would recommend him to the Home authorities for a 

King to sufficient remuneration. King enclosed the letter to 

Hobart, Lord Hobart, strongly recommending the application, as 


he believed Bowen had done his utmost to forward the 20th De- 
service he undertook, and expressing a hope that, in cember, 
addition to this, his character, and that of his father and ^°^- 
other relatives in the navy, might open a way for the 
promotion he was so anxious to obtain. King also paid 
his passage home in the Lady Barlow, amounting to 

It would seem that Lieut. Bowen obtained the promo- 
tion he sought. Jorgensen — who, however, was not the 
most accurate of men — states in his autobiography that 
the Commandant of Risdon was a son of Commissioner 
Bowen. Mr. Leslie Stephen's " Dictionary of National Boss' Ho- 
Bioeraphy," in a notice of Captain James (afterwards ^f'*'^ Town 
A , • ,s-^4^ 1 a 1 -L -IT i. • 4- Almanac, 

Admiral) Bowen, who performed brilliant services at sea i835_ 

during the French wars, mentions the fact that he was 
one of the Commissioners of the Navy from 1816 to 1825, 
and that his son John, also a captain, after serving in 
that rank through the later years of the war, died in the 
year 1828. 

With this brief notice of its founder, I close the story 
of the first settlement at Risdon Cove. 


Captain Hayes' Charts. 
A manuscript map, evidently the result of Lieut. Hayes' 
surveys of the Derwent, was recently discovered by Mr. James 
R. M'Clymont in the National Library. Mr. Alfred Mault 
has obtained, through his friends in Paris, a fac simile of this 
map, which he has courteously placed at the disposal of the 
Royal Society, and a photo-lithograph of it will appear in this 
year's volume of the Society's Proceedings. The map bears 
the imprint of A. Arrowsmi'hh, London, but apparently was 
never published. Mr. Mault thinks it is Lieut. Hayes' own 
draft of his chart prepared for publication. This is pro- 
bable ; but the map in question is not identical with the 
sketch Flinders refers to, since that sketch showed Risdon 
Cove, wliich does not appear in Mr. Mault's fac simile. His 
Excellency the Governor has kindly interested himself in the 
matter, and it is probable that, through his influence, some 
further information respecting Hayes' expedition may at last 
be brought to light. 


Population of the Australian Colonies at the time of the 
Risdon Settlement (1803) : — 

New South Wales 7134 

Norfolk Island 1200 

Van Diemen's Land 49 

Total 8383 

See Collins' " Account of New South Wales," 11., 333. 

56 addenda et corrigenda. 

Addenda kt Corrigenda. 


(See Roj'al Society's Transactions, 1888.) 

P. 101, Note. — The name "Australia." — In a despatch to 
Lord Bathurst, dated April 4th, 1817, Governor Macquarie 
says — " The Continent of Australia, which, I hope, will be the 
name given to this country in future, instead of the very 
erroneous and misapplied name hitherto given it, of New 
Ilditand, which, properly speaking, only applies to a part of 
this immense continent."" — Lahilliere's " Early History of Vic- 
toria," i., 184. 

P. 100, line 3.— " Qniros' Terre du St. Esprit, the coast 
between Cooktown and Townsville." — It is so placed by De 
Brosscs in the chart appended to his " Navigations aux Terres 
Australos." It is now identified as the island of Espiritu 
Santo, one of the New Hebrides group. 

P. 103, line 16.—" Cox (1789)."— Through inadvertence Cox 
is mentioned as having touched at Adventure Bay. He did 
not enter Storm Bay, but visited Oyster Bay and Maria 

P. 110, line 9. — " In spite of his safe conduct from the 
French Admiralty, [Flinders'] ship was seized as a prize." — 
In a pamphlet published in Sydney in 1886, containing a sum- 
mary of the contents of the Brabourne Papers, it is stated 
that amongst the despatches carried by the Cumhcrland was 
one from Governor King pointing out the opportunities which 
Port Jackson afforded for the concentration of troops, which 
might at any time be sent against the Spaniards in South. 
America, and it is suggested that the discovery of this des- 
patch amongst Flinders' papers gave Governor De Caen a 
plausible excuse for the detention of the English navigator. 
It is difficult to believe that this surmise has any sufficient 
foundation, since, if such a despatch had come to the hands 
of De Caen, he would certainly have produced it as a justifica- 
tion of his action, and would not have been driven to the 
paltry pretext drawn from an entry in Flinders' journal. 

It may be mentioned that in a paper dated 1809 — while 
Flinders was still a prisoner — Governor King states that there 
was no doubt that the French entertained the design of at- 
tacking New South Wales from Mauritius. He says 
Baudin had taken correct plans of Port Jackson, and had 
explored the passage to Mauritius through Bass Straits, and 
that, had he lived another year, tlie Commodore would most 
likely have visited the colony for the purpose of annihilating 
the settlement. — Lahilliere's " Early History of Victoria," i., 
121. See also Jargensen's Autobiography in Boss's " Ilobart 
Town Almanack for 1835," p. 138. 



Read 1 1th October, 1889. 

I. — The Choice of Sullivan's Cove. 

On the 30th January, 1801, the Orerm and Lady 
Nelson, with the first detacliment of Lieut. -Governor 
Collins' establishment, sailed from the Heads of Port 
Phillip for the Derwent. The Lady Ndson was com- 
manded by Lieut. Simmons, with Jorgen Jorgenson as 
first mate. She took the settlers and their families, and 
the stores. The Ocean had on board 178 pi'isoners, 
with some women and children, a guard of 25 marines, 
under Lieut. Edward Lord, and the civil establishment, 
consisting of the Lieut. -Governor, the Rev. Robert 
Knopwood, Surveyor-General Geo. Prideaux Harris 
Mr. Adolarius W. H. Humphreys, the Mineralogist, Dr. 
Bowdcn, and two Superintendents of Convicts. The 
ship was greatly overcrowded. She had been fitted up in 
England to carry some 30 people besides her crew. She 
had now over 200 souls on board, and we can well be- 
lieve Mr. J. P. Fawkner when he says that they had a 
miserable time of it during their 15 days' passage, cooped 
up in a small vessel of 480 tons. Fawkner says they 
suffered terribly from the want of cooked food, as the 
cooking accommodation for 25 had to serve for the whole 
200. They were 10 days reaching the Pillar, and were 
there caught in a heavy south-wester, which kept them Occan'.s Log. 
two days off the Raoul. It then came on to blow hard 
from the north-west, which obliged Capt. Mertho to bear 
up for Frederick Henry Bay, where he came to an anchoi 
off Pipe Clay Lagoon. Here Lieut. Lord and Mr. Knopwood 
Humphreys were landed, with four men, to walk up to llth Feb. ' 
Risdon with despatches, while the vessel lay wind-bound 
for another three days, the officers amusing themselves 
by going ashore, where they were very much pleased 
with the appearance of the country and the abundance 




17th Feb. 

4th March, 

of game and wild fowl. The boat's crew filled their 
boat with fine oysters in half an hour on the shores of 
the lagoon. They also fell in with a party of 17 natives, 
who were very friendly. On the 5th February a change 
of wind enabled them to make the entrance of whe river, 
where they were met by the boat of the Lady Nelson, 
which had arrived before them, and they ran np before 
the sea breeze, anchoring at half-past six in Risdon Cove, 
off the settlement of v/hich Lieut. Moore was in charge, 
Lieut. Bowen being absent at Port Jackson. 

At 10 the next morning, the Lieut. -Governor, with 
Lieut. Lord and the Chaplain, landed under a salute of 
11 guns from the Ocean — the first salute fired in the 
Derwent — to inspect the Eisdon settlement. They were 
received with military honours by Lieut. Moore and the 
16 privates of the New South Wales Corps drawn up 
under arms. After inspecting the settlement, the Lieut. - 
Governor came to the conclusion that Risdon was not a 
suitable site for a town, and returned on board the Ocean 
very much disappointed. It was the report of the 
advantages of Risdon that had led him to decide in 
favour of the Derwent rather than the Tamar, and now 
he had brought his people to a spot that promised as 
little as the abandoned Port Phillip. However, the next 
morning was bright with sunshine, and as he looked out 
over the waters of the Derwent, with its picturesque 
scenery of hill and valley and thickly wooded plains, 
things looked less gloomy. To be prepared for the worst, 
he directed the tents to be pitched at Risdon. Then the 
boat was ordered out and put in charge of the trusted 
William Collins, and the Governor, taking with him his 
favourite companion, Mr. Knopwood, was pulled down 
the river to a cove on the opposite shore some five miles 
below Risdon, and which had probably attracted atten- 
tion on the way up. Here Collins landed, and, after a 
short examination, made up his mind that it was the very 
place for his settlement. We can imagine his admiration 
of the fine cove, with deep water vip to the shore, and his 
profound satisfaction, after four months on the dry sand- 
hills of Sorrento, at finding himself on a well-wooded 
and fertile plain, lying at the foot of the great Table 
Mountain, and watered by a copiou.s stream of splendid 
fresh water. In his first despatch to Lord Hobart, he 
says that the situation was all he could wish. There 
was land of good quality immediately about him 
sufficient for extensive agricultural purposes. The timber 
and stone were in sufficient quantity and quality for all 


his needs, and the cove would make an admirable 
harbour. Knopwood describes the site, not very 
accurately, as an " extensive plain, with a continual run 
of water, which comes from the lofty mountain much 
resembling the Table Mountain at the Cape of Good 
Hope. The land is good, and the trees excellent. The 
plain is calculated in every degree for a settlement. At 
five we returned and dined with the Governor, much 
delighted with the excursion." Collins devoted another 
day to the examination of a plain further up the river— 
probably in the neighbourhood of Glenorchy — which, 
he thought, might serve for the location of his free 
settlers. The trees were large and good, but the ground 
was so cut up by torrents that he decided it to be unsuit- 
able. In the meantime the officers had been sent to look 
at the first site, and they returned with their unanimous 
approval of it. The Governor forthwith ordered the Ocean's Log 
tents to be struck and sent on board the Lady Nelson, 
and the two ships were moved out of the cove. On the 
Sunday morning, in a strong northerly breeze, they 
dropped down the river and anchored off the bay, to 
which the Lieut.-Governor gave the name of Sullivan's 
Cove, m honour of his friend Mr. John Sullivan, the 
Permanent Under-Secretary at the Colonial Office. 

Monday morning (20th February) was squally and wet, Knopwood. 
but in the afternoon the weather cleared, and a body 
of prisoners with a military guard was landed to pitch the 
tents on the selected site. At four o'clock the Lieut - 
Governor himself, with his officers, weuv on shore for 
a .<^hort time to superintend operations. That night the 
marines and convicts slept at the new camp— the first 
Europeans to sleep on the site of the future capital of 

In a despatch to Governor King, Collins gives a oo,,, FpK 
description of the Cove in its original state. " In the ^^04 
centre of the Cove." he writes, " is a small island, con- 
nected with the mainland at low water, admirably 
adapted for the landing and reception of stores and pro- 
visions. Round this island is a channel for a boat at 
the head of which is a run of clear fresh water, proceed- 
ing from a distance inland, and having its source in a 
rock m the vicinity of Table Mountain. The ground 
on each side of the run is of gradual ascent, and upon 
that next the Cove I have formed my camp. The Ocean 
and Lady Nelson are lying within half a cable-length of 
the shore in nine fathoms water." The inhabitants of 


Hobart will hardly recognise their harbour in Collins' 
description. The filling up has been so considerable as 
to obliterate the original natural features. The creek 
has been diverted from its course, and the island, which 
Collins named Hunter's Island, after his old patron, has 
been swallowed up in the Old Wharf. Originally the 
Cove was much more extensive than it is at present. 
The island, which now forms the extremity of the Old 
Ocean's Log. Wharf, was then in the middle of the bay. This island 
was connected with the mainland by a long sandspit, 
covered at high water, and the site of which is now 
occupied by the long range of stores forming the Old 
Wharf. The bottom of the Cove was marked by a 
yellow sandstone bluflF, since cut away, and now forming 
the clifif overhanging the creek at the back of the hospital. 
A little below this was the original mouth of the creek, 
which issued out of a dense tangle of tea-tree scrub and 
fallen logs, surmounted by huge gum trees. It fell into 
the river just at the intersection of Campbell-street and 
Macquarie-street, at the lower angle of the New Market 
building. The land at the creek mouth was flat and 
marshy for some distance. On the side towards the 
town the beach curved round the site of the old Bonded 
Stores, thence, along a slope covered with gum trees, by 
the back of the Town Hall, by Risby's Sawmill and the 
Parliament Houses, past St. David's churchyard, and 
thence along the line of stone stores on the New Wharf 
to the Ordnance Stores, and round the old Mulgrave 
Battery Point. On the side of the creek towards the 
Domain was a low swampy flat, extending over Wapping 
and Lower Collins and Macquarie streets to the Park- 
street Rivulet and the present bridge leading to the 
Domain. Thence the beach ran round the foot of a 
wooded slope by the present Gas Company's office, along 
the course of the railway embankment, to Macquarie 

* I am indebted to my friend Mr. Mault for a beautifully 
Gxcoutcd plan (scr Appendix) which shows very clearly the 
original features of tlie ground, and tlie position of the first 
camp, and also indicates tlie alterations which have sinoo 
taken place. It is taken from a survey made by Surveyor- 
General Harris in 1S04-5. The original plan was discovered 
many years ago in the Lands Office at Sydney, and was pre- 
sented by the New South Wales (iovernnK^nt to our Lands 
Department. The Deputy-Commissioner of Crown Lands, 
Mr. Albert Reid, kindly presented rae with a tracing of it. 


2. The Founding of Hobart. 

On Tuesday, the 21st February, 1804, the Ocean and 
Lady Nelson were warped up to within half a cable length 
of Hunter's Island, the rest of the people were landed, 
and the discharge of the stores began. The Lieut. - 
Governor's tent was pitched on the slope overlooking the 
cove near the spot where the Town Hall now stands. The 
Chaplain's marquee was pitched next to the Governor's, •'^nopwood. 
and those of the other civil officers in close proximity on 
the same slope. The tents of the convicts were further 
inland, extending from about the present Telegraph 
Office at the corner of Macquarie and Elizabeth streets, 
back to Collins-street to the edge of. the scrul) in the 
valley of the creek. The camp of the marines was placed 
higher up towards the Cathedi'al. On the Tuesday 
night, Knopwood says, " I slept at the camp for the first 
time, and so did the Lieut. -Governor." Jorgensen, who, '^oi'S^pe^.s 
as mate of the Lady N ehon, had assisted at the settle- ]>qss' 
ment of Risdon in the px-eceding September, and was Almanac, 
now in the same capacity assisting at the founding of 1835. 
Hobart, gives us a graphic sketch of the scene on that 
first day. As soon as the tents had been pitched under 
the shadow of the great gum-trees, spades, hoes, saws, 
and axes were put into the hands of the prisoners, and 
they began clearing away as fast as they could. The 
block just opposite the Tasmania Museum, behind the 
old Bank of Van Diemen's Land building to the neigh- 
bouring mouth of the creek, was then an impervious 
grove of the densest tea-tree scrub, surmounted by some 
of the largest gum-trees that this island can produce. 
All along the rivulet, as far up as the old mill beyond 
Molle-street Bridge, was impassable from the denseneas 
of the scrub, and the huge collections of fallen trees and 
dead timber which had been washed down the stream 
and were strewed and piled in confusion in its bed. In 
many places the stream was dammed back, and spread 
out into marshes covered with rushes and water. 

Governor Collins had amongst his various stores a 
small printing press, which had already done service at 
the Port Phillip camp. This was set up under a con- 
venient gum-tree, and on the day of landing the first 
printed work issued from the Tasmanian press. It was 
a General Order, fixing the weekly rations to be issued 
to each person — viz., 7 lbs. beef or 4 lbs. pork, 7 lbs. flour. 


and 6 ozs. sugar. The second da5''s Order, with a back 
ward glance at the casks sunk at the foot of the Port 
Phillip sandhills, expressed the Governor's satisfaction at 
having been enabled to fix the settlement advantageously, 
and in a situation blessed with that great comfort of life, 
a permanent supply of pure running water, and cautioned 
the people against polluting the stream. On the third 
day the hours of labour were fixed. The Lieut. -Governor 
having thus given his people some elementary lessons, 
enforced by appropriate sanctions, on the mutual rights 
and duties of the individual and the State, proceeded to 
care for their spiritual requirements, and on the fourth 
day issued an order for a general muster of the prisoners, 
and notified that on Sunday, weather permitting, divine 
service would be performed, at which all were expected 
to attend. 

Plunter's Island had been appropriated for the site of 
the store tents, for which purpose it was admirably 
adapted, not only on account of its handiness as a land- 
ing place, but also because its isolated p'isition made it 
comparatively safe from plunderers. All available hands 
were now employed to discharge the stores. The ships 
were moored at a short distance from the shore, and the 
cargo taken off in boats. A wharf was begun at the 
landing-place on the island, and a Avay was formed along 
the sandspit by means of which the mainland could be 
more conveniently reached at low tide. These works 
were placed under the superintendence of Mr. William 
Collins, the hero of the boat expedition to Port Jackson, 
and who had already given the Governor many proofs 
of his capacity. Even the Chaplain, usually the only 
idle man in the settlement, found employment during 
the first week. His diary tells us that it cost him three 
, days' work to prepare a sermon worthy to be the first 

preached in the new colony. On Sunday, then, under 
the gum-trees on the slope near the Governor's tent, over- 
looking the waters of the Derwent sparkling in the 
bright February sunshine, the military paraded, the 
prisoners were drawn, up, the officers and settlers formed 

Knopwood. ^ group "apart, and the Rev. Robert Knopwood conducted 
the first service in Tasmania. " The sermon, by request 
of the Lieut. -Governor, was upon the prosperity of the 
new settlement, and to pray to God for a blessing upon 
the increase of it." This first Sunday had, however. 

Ocean's Log. practical duties, and after service the Ocean's boats 
moved the settlers, with their families and baggage, to 
the spot which had been fixed upon for them on the 




shores of New Town Bay, theu known as Stainsforth's 
Cove, not far from where the Risdon Road leaves the 
Main Road. 

On the same day the first census was taken, and it 
appeared that the population consisted of 262 souls, of 
whom 15 were women and 21 children.* 

Of the group who landed at Sullivan's Cove in Feb 
ruary, 1804, with our first Governor, the best remem- 
bered, and, indeed, the only one of whom tradition has 
anything to say, is the Chaplain, the Rev. Robert Knop- 
wood. The survivor of all Collins' officers, he lived to 
times well within living memory, and many an old settler 
still tell stories of his eccentricities. Plis spare wiry 
little figure, on the well-known cream-coloured pony, 
is familiar to us from Mr. Gregson's painting, taken in 
his later days when the camp had grown into a town, and 
he had bachelor qviarters at Cottage Green. Of his quali- 
fications as the spiritual guide of the young colony not 
much can be said, and of this he must have been fully 
sensible if the tradition is correct which reports his 
favourite saying to have been, " Do as I say, not as I 
do." The choice of Mr. Knopwood as Chaplain was an 
unfortunate one. There was a fine field in those early 
days for a man who would have devoted himself— as 
Bishop Willson and others did in later years — with wise 
enthusiasm to the elevation of the society in which his 
work lay. It is doubtful whether Mr. Knopwood, clergy- 
man though he was, ever made any serious attempt to 

* Number victualled at Sullivan's Cove, Derwent River, 
26th February, 1804 :— 





Over 10. 

Over 5. 

Under 5. 

Military Establishment 
Civil ' 





















* Mr. Brown, Botanist. 
Henry Hacking. 
Salamander, a Port Jackson Native. 


raise the moral or religious tone of the community. He 
had been a chaplain in the navy, and, like too many 
chaplains of those days, was content to acquiesce easily 
and without uncomfortable protestations in the ways 
which were current. As a colonist, or in any other 
capacity than a clergyman, he would have been valuable ; 
as a chaplain he was a failure. Yet he was a genial 
little fellow, fond of good company and of a good dinner, 
not averse to a glass of good wine or a pipe with a friend, 
a lover of animals, an ardent sportsman, of a kindly 
nature, always ready to give good-natured help to. any 
one in need. In spite of his grave deficiencies, and the 
conviction that he would have been better in a secular 
calling, one cannot help having a kindly feeling for the 
man who was always popular in the settlement, and 
was long familiarly remembered amongst early settlers 
as " Old Bobby Knopwood." The diary of the chaplain 
is the only contemporary material, except grave official 
documents, which we have for the history of the founding 
of Hobart. It runs to tke end of 1804. The entries 
are meagre, and too much limited to records of dinners 
and the interchange of hospitalities amongst the officers; 
yet it is naive and candid, and supplies interesting detail. 
Official records are dry reading, but even they yield 
unexpected treasures to careful study ; and, from the 
early despatches of Lieut. -Governor Collins to Governor 
King and Lord Hobart, and from Collins' General 
Orders, with occasional side-lights from' the Chaplain's 
diary, we can form an idea of life in the quaint little 
camp which at the beginning of this century was pitched 
on the narrow rise between the waters of Sullivan's Cove 
and the thick belt of tea-tree scrub shading the course 
of the Hobart Creek. 

The Governor had pl.-mted his settlers at a safe distance 

at New Town Bay, and his total strength at Sullivan's 

Cove consisted of 178 convicts and the guard of 25 

marines under Lieut. Edward Lord. The selection of 

prisoners for the settlement had been very carelessly 

Collins to made. The frequent burden of Collins' complaint to the 

Hobart, 4th Colonial Office is that he was encumbered with so many 

March, q1(J^ worn out, or useless men, who ate the precious 

provisions, better bestowed on artificers and stout 

labourers. Out of the whole 307 men who sailed with 

Uonwick. ^^^^^ 137 were labourers, but the trades useful in a new 

colony were very insufficiently represented, and the 

weavers, silversmiths, engravers, and clerks supplied to 

him by the aiithorities with more than sufficient liberality 



were likely to have long to wait before finding scope for 
their talents. In fact, the usual official bungling was Collins to 
exemplified in the new colony. The stores supplied f|*,^^iT*°V 
by contract were as bad as usual. The Governor makes jgo4. ' 

an exception in favour of the provisions, which he says 
were excellent, the salt beef and pork being better than 
any he had seen in New South Wales. But with respect 
to the other stores he has one long complaint to make. 
The tools were bad ; the axes so soft that the commonest 
wood would turn their edges; of the gimlets scarce one 
in a dozen would stand boring twice. The materials 
for clothing were of poor quality, and the thread rotten. 
The shoes were made of inferior leather, and were all 
of one size. The surgical instruments were of an ob- 
solete pattern, and many of them worn out. The iron 
was rolled and not wrought, while neither glue, borax, 
resin, nor bar steel had been thought of, so that the 
carpenters and smiths were in difficulties. -The ordnance 
that had been given him for defence was incomplete, 
the guns of diflFerent sizes and patterns, while the 
ammunition was all of one sort. The seed corn brought 
from England would not vegetate, and if it had not been 
for some good seed which he obtained at the Cape, and 
some more which Governor King sent him, he could not 
have raised a crop of wheat. Except the provisions, the 
printing press was the only item of which he could speak 
with satisfaction, but for this they had not" given him a 
sufficient supply of type or of paper. Of course, when 
the contractors were commxiuicated with they all pro- 
tested that the goods were carefully selected, of a quality 
superior to the pattern, and quite equal to those which 
the convicts had had heretofore. Perhaps this last state- 
ment was correct. 

In spite of these minor difficulties, the work of settle- 
ment and improvement was pushed on with an energy 
and system presenting a strong contrast to the inaction 
and disorder of the Port Phillip camp. When the land- 
ing jetty at Hvinter's Island was completed, all the 
strength that could be spared from the work of clear- 
ing was bent to the building of a Government House. 
He had 178 men in all, bat when the necessary deductions 
were made for overseers, servants, cooks, boats' crews, 
labourers clearing away scrub or employed in other 
necessary work, and for the sick — always a large item, 
owing to the prevalence of scurvy and other ailments 
induced by the exclusive use of salt provisions — it will 
be seen that no large number would be left for the actual 


work of building.* It is most probable that the Governor 
selected and brought with him in the first' detachment 
all the skilled workmen, leaving the most useless at Port 
Phillip with Lieut. Sladden; but still the number avail- 
able was small. 
Gen. Orders, No idle time was allowed in the settlement. The bell 
SOth A 1 rang at five in the morning, and the convicts turned out, 
clad in blue kersey jackets and trousers, and proceeded 
at once under their overseers to their various employ- 
m.ents. Work was continued, with intervals of an hour 
for breakfast and an hour and a half for dinner, until six 
o'clock in the evening, when the bell gave the signal for 
the close of the day's labour. On Tuesday an extra 
hour was allowed for the issue of rations ; Saturday was 
a half-holiday after 11 a.m.; and it was only under 
exceptional circumstances that any labour was required 
on Sunday. 

There was ample work for all hands. A large pro- 
portion of the people had to be employed clearing away 
and burning the scrub, grubbing stumps, trenching, 
digging and preparing garden ground. Building opera- 
tions were necessarily slow. A quarry had to be opened 
on the sandstone point near the mouth of the creek to 
supply stone for foundations. Oyster shells were gather- 
ed from the beaches and burnt for lime. Governor King 
had sent a quantity of bricks from Port Jackson, and 
these were utilised for chimneys. The fine gums on the 
banks of the creek furnished an abundant supply of good 
Gen. Order, timber. Stringent regulations were enforced against the 
27th Feb. useless destruction of the timber, and no trees might be 
felled without the permission of the Superintendent of 
Carpenters, to which office the Governor had appointed 
Mr. "Wm. Nicholls, who had come out in the Ocean as 
a free settler. With the inferior axes supplied by the 
Government contractors, and which had their edges 
turned by the hard gum wood, felling was a tedious 
operation ; and when the trees were felled and sawn into 
lengths, the logs had to be dragged to the sawpits by 
hand labour, and the sawn timber carried thence by the 
same means, for as yet there were neither horses nor 
oxen in the colony. The sawyers, of whom it appears 
there were nine, were constantly employed at the saw- 
pits cutting the logs into posts and planks — two men at 
each log with a ripping saw — in the slow and laborious 
method so familiar to those whose memory goes back to 

* (Sfee Appendix : Return of Employments. 


the days when steann sawmills were not. The progress 

at the sawpits was so slow that the Governor, notwith- Gen. Order, 

standing his preference for day work, found it necessary 27th July. 

at a later period to put the sawyers on task work ; and 

no sawyer was allowed to work for his own profit unless 

he and his mate had turned out at least 400 feet of sawn 

timber in the week on the public account. It speaks 

well for the industry of the community and the energy 

of the administration, that the sawyers, carpenters, and 

other mechanics made such good progress with their 

work that in less than three weeks from the day of 

landing Government House was completed, and the 

Chaplain records in his diary on the 9th March, " The 

Lieut.-Governor slept in his house for the first time." 

This first wooden Government House was not on the same 

site as the brick building of later years, but stood on 

the spot now marked by the main entrance of the Town 


So soon as the* Lieut.-Governor had got his house built Gen. Order, 
he turned his attention to agriculture. A gang of some -4tn March, 
thirty men was sent to prepare ground for wheat for the 
use of the settlement. The place chosen was near the 
locations where the settlers had been set down a month 
before, on the shore of a bay named Farm Bay. This 
appears to have been at Cornelian Bay, at what was 
long known as the Government Farm, but is now occupied 
by the Cornelian Bay Cemetery. The farm was placed 
under the charge of Mr. Thomas Cl.ark, who had been 
brought out from England as Agricultural Superinten- 

Collins' next care was to get his people housed under 
better shelter than canv;is tents afi"orded. They were 
encouraged to use their spare time in building huts. 
This was an employment for Saturday afternoons, for 
Sundays — after service, when that was held — and for the 
occasional holidays allowed for the purpose by the 
indulgence of the Governor. The huts were of most 
primitive construction, being for the most part what 
old settlers will remember under the name of wattle- 
and-dab — or wattle-and-daub — with a rush thatch. Let 
me give you an idea of what a wattle-and-dab hut 
was like, and how it was built. Four corner posts were 
stuck in the ground, and upon these wall-plates were 
rested or nailed ; further uprights were then added, and 
long rods of wattle from the bush were interwoven with 
the uprights, openings being left for door and windows. 


Mortar was then made of clay and loam, into which was 
mixed and beaten up wiry grass chopped up as a sub- 
stitute for hair. This mortar was dabbed and plastered 
against the wattles outside and in, the roof covered in 
with flag-grass, a chimney built of stones or turf, a door 
and window added, the earthen floor levelled, and a coat 
West, i., 35. of whitewash completed the cottage. It is said that the 
first house in Hobart was a wattle-and-dab hut built by 
Lieut. Lord on land adjoining Macquarie House. In 
less than two months after the Ocean and Lady Nelson 
had anchored in Sullivan's Cove the huts were completed 
and the people were all provided with fairly comfortable 
habitations, occupying a line from the Commercial Bank 
to the Hobart Club in Collins-street, and theare along 
the edge of the scrub to the Australian Mutual Pro- 
vident Society's Building. A General Order of 17th 
April enjoins strict attention to the cleanliness and order 
of the hvits, and to precautions against danger by fire. 

When the huts were finished the pj'isoners were at 
liberty to work in their spare time for the officers and 
settlers, in clearing locations, preparing and fencing in 
gardens, trenching and hoeing the ground for corn or 
vegetables, and building houses. Labour was scarce, 
and the demand being greater than the supply, the work 
people were not slow to take advantage of the necessity 
by demanding exorbitant prices for their labour. The 
aljuse became so considerable that by General Order 
(1st June), the Lieut.- Governor appointed a Committee 
composed of the civil and military officers, together with 
three of the settlers, to meet on Sunday, after service, and 
fix the rate of wages. The new prices for labour were 
promulgated by General Order of 2'2ud June. Mechanics 
for the day of 10 hours were to be paid 3s. 6d/., and 
labourers 2s. %d. For felling and burning timber, 30s. 
per acre ; for grubbing and bui'ning, £4 per acre ; for 
breaking up new ground, £2 per acre. For reaping 
wheat, 10s. per acre. For sawing, 8s. Ad. per 100 feet. 
Splitting 7-feet palings, 3.y. per 100; 5-feet palings. Is. Qd. 
per 100. Oyster shells for lime, 3r/. per bushel. Thatch, 
6(i. per bundle of 9 feet girth. The workmen were often 
paid for their labour in provisions, and the Order fixed 
the following equivalent rates : — Salt beef, 2d. per lb. ; 
salt pork, Is. ; kangaroo, 8r/. per lb. ; flour. Is. per lb. 
So that for a day's work of 10 hours, a labourer could 
procure 1 lb. of pork and 1^ lbs. of flour, and a mechanic 
2 lbs. of beef and 2 lbs. flour. Payment for labour, 
however, was often made in a more objectionable medium, 



raw spirit. At a very early period the Governor issued Gen. Order, 
a stringent order against this most pernicious practice. ^'^^' ' 
Nevertheless, in spite of Government regulations it 
continued to be a crying evil, and for many a long year 
the abuse continued. Many a Hobart building has 
been paid for in rum. More could be got for spurits than 
for cash. A bottle of rum was long recognised currency 
for £1 or even a higher value. It is probable that very 
little labour in those early days was paid for in cash. The Collins to 
want of specie prevented the payment of the salaries of ^^^^^'8^4*^ 
the officers and superintendents, and to meet this difh- 
culty, and to supplv the officers with the means of pur- 
chasing necessary articles brought by vessels coming from 
Sydney, the Commissary was directed to issue small pro- 
missory -notes of not less than £1 sterling in value. These 
were to pass in cii'culation until specie was sent out. 

The little camp on the hill above Sullivan's Cove must 
have been a grotesque and rough-looking village, with 
its collection of wattle-and-dab huts thatched with grass. 
The officers, for the most part, still occupied tents, the 
hospital was a maiquee, and the only piece of architecture 
making any pretence to be a civilised dwelling was the 
wooden cottage of the Governor. Hunter's Island was 
the citadel of the colony. Here all the stores were 
kept in large tents under a strong guard, which, however, 
did not always prevent robberies. At low water the 
island could now be reached by the sandspit. The 
approach was carefully guarded, and the most minute 
regulations were laid down for the issue of 5tores and 
provisions, onlv one person at a time being allowed to 
come up to the store tent. Those who landed at the 
jetty were not permitted to make any stoppage at the 
island; no boat was allowed to land passengers at the 
jetty or come into the creek after sunset, nor was any 
person suffered to approach the island after that hour 
without a special permit from the Governor. These 
precautions were necessary, not only for the protection 
of the stores, but to secure the safety of the boats, always 
in danger of seizure by intending runaways. The boats 
were moored every night by a locked chain, a sentinel 
was always on guard over them, and one of the earliest 
works, after the completion of Government House, was 
the building of a boat-house for their security. 

Mr William Collins was supreme in the direction of 
the works in and about the island, and the Governor was 
already planning the erection of substantial store-houses 
there, in which the precious provisions and stores, on 



6th Aug., 

25th March, 

Memo. 4th 
Aug., 1804. 

which the very existence of his little community de- 
pended, might be safely housed beyond the reach of 
marai^ders. This William Collins was a prominent man 
in the new colony, a position which his training as a 
master in the navy, his enterprising character, and his 
capacity and judgment fully justified. His adventures 
and plucky voyage in an open boat from Port Phillip to 
Port Jackson with despatches will be remembered. Since 
that time he had done good service in examining Port 
Dalrymple, in company with Surveyor-General Harris 
and Agricixltural Superintendent Clark, Avhile the 
Governor was still lingering at Port Phillip vindecided 
as to his final destination. He was now raised to the 
dignity of Harbour Master of the port, and was a person 
of no small consequence in the settlement. 

The Lieut. -Governor, in his despatches to the Colonial 
Office, enlarges on the advantages of Hobart for pur- 
poses of commerce, and speaks of the spot chosen for the 
settlement as "a port the advantages of which, when 
once known, will ensure its beitag the general rendezvous 
of all shipping bound into these seas." For the present, 
however, merchant ships were absolutely for bidden, 
under severe penalties, from entering the Derwent, 
except in case of absolute necessity. The masters of 
vessels sailing from Port Jackson for Van Diemen's 
Land had to enter into a recognizance of £100, and two 
sureties in £50 each, to be forfeited if they landed any 
per.«on or took any one away without the Governor's 
written permission. No one but the Harbour Master 
was allowed to board any vessel arriving in the river. 
These restrictions on merchant ships were iiot removed 
until the year 1813. 

But while trading was thus prohibited, the develop- 
ment of the whale fishery, from which Hobart in after 
years drew so much wealth, early engaged the Governor's 
attention. By his desire William Collins drew up a 
scheme for the establishment of an extensive whaling 
station at Sullivan's Cove. This memorandum, which 
was forwarded to the Secretary for the Colonies for his 
approval, is well written, and shows that the Harbour 
Master was a man of good education and shrewd practical 
sense. He works out a plan for making Sullivan's Cove 
the centre of a South Sea sperm whale fishery — advis- 
ing on the description of the vessels to be employed, 
their plant and equipment, the number of men required, 
the mode of their remuneration by lays on the take, 
the necessary local superintendence, and all the details 



of the scheme, with an estimate of probable profits. 
The sperm whale season lasted from December to April. 
William Collins says that when the season for sperm 
whales and for sealing on the islands was over, the 
vessels could arrive in the Derwent in time to get rid of 
their catch, and then pursue the beach whale fishery, 
which commenced early in July and continued until 
September. During these months Storm Bay Passage, 
Frederick Henry Bay, and the Derwent abounded with 
the black whale or right fish, and a dozen vessels yearly 
could be freighted and sent home with then- oil. The 
right whale was frequently seen in the Derwent in con- 
siderable numbers out of the regular season, but during 
the months of July, August, and September they were so 
numerous in the shoal parts of the river that from his 
tent in the camp at Sullivan's Cove he had counted as 
many as 50 or 60 whales in the river at one time.* 

The Lieut.-Governor had his time fully occupied in 
directing the development of thg settlement. Every- 
thing had his daily supervision. The planning of the 
buildings, the clearing of the ground, the marking off of 
gardens, the allotment of servants to the officers, the 
regulation of labour, the provisions, the stores, the 
punishment of offences, and the general discipline and 
regulation of the people, down to the smallest detail, 
required the personal sanction of His Honor. In addi- 
tion to the care of the camp, the new Government farm 
demanded his constant attention, for the prosperity 
of the new settlement largely depended on the progress 
of cultivation. The intervening scrub made it difficult 
to reach the farm by land, and Henry Hacking, the 
Governor's coxswain, with his boat's crew, frequently 
pulled His Honor to Cornelian Bay to inspect the work 
of Superintendent Clark and his thirty men, who had 
now some 19 acres in crop, and to pay a visit to the 
settlers' locations a short distance beyond at Stainforth's 
Cove. The officers of the settlement, too, had little spare 

• Knopwood in his diary (1st July) speaks of whales being 
so numerous in the river that his boat had to keep close along 
the shore, it being dangerous to venture into the mid-channel. 
The Alexander whaler. Captain Rhodes, fished in the Derwent Knopwood. 
and Storm Bay Passage from August to the end of Octol^er in 
this same year, and went home a full ship. There are persons 
yet living who can remember the time when bay-whaling, as 
it was called, had not ceased to be profitable. We have a 
reminiscence of this old industry in the name of Tryway 
Point, by which one of the promontories in the Derwent is 
still sometimes known. 


time on their hands, for the Governor was eager to get on 
with the public buildings, and the workmen could only 
be kept industrious by close and constant supervision and 
the strictest discipline. The Chaplain was probably the 
only really idle man in the camp. His professional duties 
were not heavy, consisting of one service and a sermon 
on Sundays, when the weather was fine, for there was 
no building large enough for the people to assemble in. 
Occasionally there was a burial or a marriage. During 
Knopwood. the first six months there were three weddings. On Sun- 
day, the 18th March, Corporal Gangell of the Royal 
Marines was married to Mrs. Ann Skelthorn, the widow 
of a settler, at Governor Collins' hovise. On the 1st July, 
at the same place, Mr. Superintendent Ingle was married 
to Miss Rebecca Hobbs, and on the 23rd July, Mr. Gunn 
to Miss Patterson. But>the Chaplain had plenty of idle 
time. His poultry yard occupied a good deal of his 
attention, and he chronicles his successes with sittings 
of eggs, and the raid^ made upon his hens by spotted 
cats, which he occasionally captured. His chief resource 
was his gun. During the first fortnight he shot quail in 
the camp, on one occasion putting up three by Mr. Bow- 
den's max'quee and bagging them. Bronzewing pigeons 
he sometimes shot. On the 13th March he killed his first 
kangaroo, adding — " the first kangaroo that had been 
killed by any of the gentlemen in the camp." Many a 
walk through the adjoining bush he took, gun in hand, 
and accompanied by his dog " Nettle." Sometimes 
he went by himself, sometimes with his man Salmon, 
who was a better spoi'tsman than his master, and shot 
the largest kangaroo recorded as being killed on the 
present site of Hobart. Mr. Knopwood has preserved 
the weight and measurements. It weighed 150 lbs., and 
measured 3 feet 10 from the tip of the nose to the root 
of the tail, the tail being 3 feet 4 long, and 16 inches in 
girth at the root. Sometimes Lieut. Bowen, or some 
of the officers from Risdon joined the Chaplain in 
his shooting expeditions, more rarely Surveyor-General 
Harris, or Mr. Humphreys, the mineralogist. The 
parson's skill was scarcely equal to his zeal, for though 
he extended his walks as far as the Government farm 
and the settler's locations at Stainforth's Cove, and 
game was fairly jjlentiful, the diary often contains) the 
entry " no success." It was not altogether the love of 
sport that spurred the Chaplain to these excursions — he 
went to shoot something for dinner. Twelve or fifteen 



months of salt beef and salt pork, without even vege- 
tables, would have made a man lesg fond of good things 
tnan the parson long for a change, and kangaroo was 
greatly appreciated. Of the first kangaroo he tasted at 
Port Phillip, he says, " and very excellent it was." He 
is equally emphatic as to the excellence of the emu, on 
which he dined at Risdon. On one occasion he gave a 
dinner in his tent to all the civil and military officers. 
Here is the bill of fare:— "Fish, kangaroo soup, roast 
kid saddle, roast kangaroo saddle, 2 fowls pellewed with 
rice and bacon, roast pig." Game was plentiful at the 
camp, and kangaroo sold at U. per lb. Sometimes good 
hauls of fish were made. Soon after his landing, the 
Lieut -Governor tells Lord Hobart that on the preceding 4th March, 
day he had served out 328 lbs. of fish, thereby saving 1804. 
164 lbs. of salt beef. At Risdon game was much more 
abundant than in the neighbourhood of the Camp. Kan- 
garoo, emu, ducks, and black swans were very p'entiful. 
Immense flights of black swans frequented the river above 
Risdon in the breeding season. The people destroyed 
them so recklessly that the Governor, fearing lest such a 
valuable resource for fresh food might be extinguished, 
issued an Order prohibiting their being molested during 10th March. 
the breeding season. This first game law was one of the 
earliest products of civilisation. 

We have little information respecting the numbers of 
the natives about the neighbourhood of the Camp. 
During the first week their fh'es were seen at a little dis- 
tance, and Mr. Knopwood, in his walks, saw many of their 
huts. There is no doubt that they reconnoitred the 
strangers closely, but they were very shy, and only once 
did a party of them approach the settlement. Captain 
Mertho and Mr. Brown, the botanist, had an interview 
with them on the beach near Macquarie Point, bvit could 
not induce them to venture into the Camp. They were 
probably not very numerous about Sullivan's Cove — 
at any rate, we hear nothing of such large bodies of them 
as visited Risdon and caused a panic on the 3rd 
May, when the fatal affray took place. At other 
places, such as Frederick Henry Bay and the Huon, +hey 
were numerous, and quite friendly with the English. 

During this first year few attempts were made to ex- 
plore the neighbouring country. In a former paper 
I noticed Mr. James Meehan's exploring trip from Risdon 
in the early part of 1804, by way of the Coal River 
to Prosser's Plains, and through the Sorell dis- 
trict. Of Meehan's journey there is no record, 


except the track of his route given in Flinders' map. 
The few officers at Sullivan's Cove had too much 
to do at the Camp to allow of their leaving it for 
any extended excursions. The first explorations from 
the Hobait settlement were made .by Mr. Robert Brown,* 
the celebrated botanist, who had come to the Dei^went 
with Collins' settlers, to examine the flora of Tasmania. 
Lieut. Bowen had ascended the river for some distance 
above Bridgewater. but on 5th March Mr. Brown, accom- 
panied by Capt. Mertho and Mr. Knopwood, set out in 
the Ocean's boat on a more extended exploration. They 
were three days al>sent, and Knopwood says they reached 
a spot more than 40 miles from the Camp, where there was 
an extensive plain, with very few trees — probably Mac- 
quarie Plains. Game — kangaroo, emu, and pigeons — was 
abundant. They saw many traces of the blacks, who, 
however, carefully avoided them. Towards the end of 
the month. Brown and Humphreys, with a party pro- 
visioned for ten days, made a further attempt to reach 
the sources of the Derwent, but had to return disap- 

Knopwood. pointed. A few days later the indefatigable botanist 
set off alone through the bush, intending to go to the 
Huon. He was unable to get fvirther than the North- 
West Bay River; but on the 1st May he and Humphreys 
started again, and this time they succeeded in reaching 
the Huon, returning to the Camp after an absence of six- 
teen days. Lieut. Bowen had already been a short dis- 
tance up this river, and had given but a poor account of 

Ibid. the country. In June, William Collins, the Harbour 

Master, went in the white cutter to Betsy's Island, to land 
two refractory convicts there, and to look out for the 
anxiously-expected ship Oct an, with the rest of the people 
from Port Phillip. From Betsy's Island Collins pro- 
ceeded up the Huon River. He was away a fortnight, 
and on his retui'n reported that it was a very favourable 
site for a settlement, with an abundance of fresh water, 
good land, and fine trees. He saw many of the natives, 
who were friendly, and took him to their camp, where 
there were about twenty families. Knopwood says that 
on this trip Collins saw three of the native " catamarans, 
or small boats made of bark, that would hold about six 
of them." 

* Hohort Brown was a botanist of P]uropoan reputation, and 
his " Prodromiis Flono Noviic-l:Iol!andia! et Insuho Van 
Diemen (London, 1810). is still a standard work. Ho arrived 
at the Derwent in the Lady Nclsan early in February, 1(S04, 
and returned to Port Jackson in the Ocean, 9th August in tho 
same year. 


The only other exploration recorded is Surveyor- Knopwood, 
General Han'is' survey of the Hobart Rivulet. Harris 18 June, 
was accompanied by Mr. Humphreys, the mineralogist, 
and three men. They followed the rivulet to its source, 
and thence went to the top of the mountain. The old 
plan which I have mentioned was probably the result of 
this survey. 

It will be remembered that when the Lieut. -Governor 
removed his people to Sullivan's Cove, he did not inter- 
fere with Lieut. Bowen at Risdon, but left that officer in 
charge at the site chosen by him in the previous 
September. It was not until after Lieut. Moore's fatal 
afiFray with the blacks (3rd May) that Collins took over 
the command of the unlucky first settlement, and removed 
the people to Sullivan's Cove, preparatory to their being 
sent back to Port Jackson. The Risdon colony had been 
named " Hobart," under instructions from Governor 
King, and, on the abandonment of that place, Collins 
appropriated the name, and called his new settlement at 
Sullivan's Cove " Hobart Town." This name it retained 
until 1881, when the Legislature di'opped the superfluous 
" Town," and reverted to the simple original designation 
" Hobart." The name " Hobart Town " first appears 
in a General Order of 15th June, 1804. Hobart Town 
was henceforth the official designation of the colony ; 
but the memoiy of the first encampment lingered 
long with the early settlers, and at that time, and for 
long years afterwards, even as late as the year 1825, the 
new town at Sullivan's Cove was familiarly known as 
" The Camp." 

The Lieut. -Governor had now been settled at the Der- 
went for four months, and as yet had only half his estab- 
lishment with him. The Lady Nelson, after landing Knopwood 
the settlers and the stores, had sailed for Port Jackson 6th March, 
early in March, and before the end of the month the 
Ocean had also left for Port Phillip to bring Lieut. 24th March. 
Sladden and the remainder of the people. The Ocean 
might have been reasonably expected to be back in a 
month at furthest ; but week after week went by, April 
and May had passed, June was well advanced, and yet 
there was no sign of the missing vessel. The Governor 
grew very anxious, and almost made up his mind to give 
her up for lost. The Harbour Master was sent at inter- 
vals to Betsy's Island to look out for her, but returned 
without news. At last, on the 22nd June, the Governor's 
fears were set at rest by her appearance in the river. 
Lieut. Johnson landed, and reported that they had been 


33 days on the voyage, during which they had had violent 
gales, the ship having been under bare poles for days at 
a time, the captain hour by hour expecting her to 
founder. It took her three days to come up the river, 
making her total passage 36 days. The misery and semi- 
starvation of those wretched five weeks, during which 
they were cooped up and tossed about in that little vessel 
of 480 tons, were not soon forgotten by her IGO passengers. 
The live-stock brought in the Ocean also suffered severely 
during the long rough passage, and Collins ruefully 
enumerate the losses, which he could ill afford seeing^ 
that the whole of the live-stock at the settlement at the 
end of July consisted of only 20 head of cattle, 60 sheep, 
and some pigs, goats, and poultry. 

The reinforcement of people he had received now 
brought up the strength of the Governor's establishment 
to 433 persons — viz., 358 men, 39 women, and 36 
children.* The new arrivals were tempoi'arily distributed, 
amongst the huts already built, and the considerate 
Governor allowed them a few days' exemption from work 
to enable them to build themselves houses. He was so 
pleased with Lieut. Sladden's report of his little detach- 
ment of marines that he issued a Garrison Order com- 
mending them, and expressing his gratification at their 
soldier-like demeanour. His civil staff was now com- 
plete. Mr. Leonard Fosbrook, the Deputy Commissary- 
General, who had been left at Port Phillip in charge of 
the stores and live stock, was quartered in a marquee on 
Gen. Order, Hunter's Island. Three magistrates were appointed 
29th June, under a Commission fi'om the Governor-General King. 
This first Tasmanian Commission of the Peace consisted 
of the Rev. Robert Knopwood, Lieut. Sladden, and Sur- 
veyor-General Harris. The night watch was also re- 
organised, and placed under the direction of Mr. Wm. 
Thos. Stocker, who in after years became a respected 
citizen of Hobart as the proprietor of the best inn in 
the town, the Derwent Hotel, situated in Elizabeth-street, 
on the spot now occupied by Mr. Henry Cook's 
tailors' shop. Collins was not altogether satisfied 
with this night watch, for he had to complain of 

* The return is printed in the Appendix. It bears date 
July, 1804, and is, presumably, the record of the muster taken 
about three weeks after the Ocean's arrival, and referred to in 
General Order, 17th July. It does not include Lieut. 
Bowon's Risdon people, who were separately victualled. A 
comparison of figures leads to the belief tliat it does include 
the few prisoners .selected from the Risdon establishment, and 
whom Collins retained at the Derwent. 


frequent robberies, which he characterised as a disgrace 
to the settlement, and which he was of opinion could not 
have been perpetrated if the watch had been properly 
vigilant. Such irregularities were, no doubt, inevitable 
with the class of people the Governor had to control ; 
but, for all that, the community, taking all things into 
consideration, seems to have been fairly orderly and well- 
behaved, and to have been free from the tlagrant abuses 
and general demoralisation which disgi'aced the early 
years of the Port Jackson settlement, and which after- 
wards sprung up in this colony under less capable 
Governors than Collins. 

That Collins must have had first-rate qualities as a 
ruler is evidenced by the fact of the rapid progress made 
by the colony during the first six months of its existence — 
from February to the beginning of August — the time 
covered by the present paper. When, on the 9th 
August, 1804, the Ocean sailed for Port Jackson with 
Lieut. Bowen and the rest of the Kisdon people, whom the 
Governor was so glad to be rid of, the new settlement at 
Sullivan's Cove was already organised, and with every 
prospect of permanent success. 

After the lapse of well nigh a century, we, the inhabi- 
tants of the fair city which has arisen on the site of the 
Camp of 1804, would show ourselves strangely unmindful" 
of what we owe to the past if we did not hold in honour 
the name of David Collins, and if we failed to keep in 
grateful remembrance the sagacity and energy which he, 
our first Lieut. -Governor, displayed in the founding of 
Hobart, 85 years ago. 












RETURN of Inhabitants at the Berwent Rtver, 
Van Du'tn'en's Land, July, 180-k. 

Men. Women. Children. 

Civil Department 18 

Military Department 48 

Prisoners 279 

Prisoners' wives and children. 
Settlers 13 

358 39 36 

Total 433 

Note.— This return does not include the people belonging 
to Lieut. Bowen's Risdon Settlement, who Avere sent back to 
Port Jackson by the Ocean, 9th August, 1804. 

Free Settlers. 

The names of the free settlers were sent with a letter 
of April 5th, 1803, from Mr. Sullivan to Lieut. -Governor 
Collins. — LabHliere's " Early History of Victoria," i., 148. 

" LIST of Persons who have obtained Lord Hobart's 
'permission to proceed to Fort Phillip. 

Names. Occu))atiotis. Remarks 

Mr. Collins Seaman 

Edw. Newman Ship carpr. 

Mr. Hartley Seaman 

Edw. F. Hamilton. 
John J. (iravie. 
Mr. Pownall. 
A I'cmalf .servant. 

Thos. Collingwood Carpenter 

Duke Charman. 

John Skiltlmrne Cutler 

Anty. Fletcher Mason 

T. 1{. Preston Pocket-book maker. 

[This list is incomplete.] 



RETURN of the Officers, Suferintendrnts, and Overseers 
helungmg to the GivU E stahlishnient at Hohart Town, 
River Dtrwent, Van Diemen's Land. [July, 1804-\ 




Date of 

David Collins, Esq. 


At Hol)art 

Rev. Robt. Knop- 




Beujn. Barbauld ' 

Depty. Judge 

In England 


on leave 

Wm. rAiison 


At FJobart 

Mattw. Bowden 

1st Asst. Sur- 


Wm. Hopley , 

2nd Asst. Sur- 


Leoiid. Fosbrook 

Dep\ .Coiiimis- 


Geo. Prid. Harris 

Depy. Surveyor 


A. W. FI. Hum- 



phreys ' 
Wm. Collins* 

Harbour Mas- 


2 April, 1804 

Thos. Clarke 


At Farm 

Wm. Patierson 


At Hobart 

Wm. NichoUs * 



21 Jany.1804 

John Jiihal Sutton* 



27 Feby. „ 

Rich,!. Clark « 


] itto 

1 June „ 

John luf^le ^ 



William Parish ' 



' Mr. Barhauld never came out to the Colony. * After Aaids P .lice 
Mafiistrate at Hobait. ^ < "a'lie out as a fi-ee .scttl'^r. * ( 'aiue out as 
a free settliT ; app' inted Sujieriutfn'ient of Caipenttn-s at Port 'hillip. 
*Oanie out as Coi-poral 'if Maiin';s. * Caiue with Lt. H.iwen to Kis- 

don in Sept., 18l);3, as a i'l-on Settler ; appoiiiind SiipciiiiiHiicleut of 
Masons. ''A])pointed at Port Phillip; seem to liave been free 


QU ARTE ELY employment of the Prisoners in His 
Majesty's Settlement, Derwent River, Van Diemeti's 
Land, July, 180 Jf. 

Agriculture and Stock. 

Overseers 2 

Agriculture on the public account 28 

Care of Government Stock 5 

— 36 

Stone Cutters and Masons 3 

Sawyers and Timt)er Measurer 11 

Carpenters and Labourers 11 

Blacksmiths, Armourer, Tinman, and File Cutter. 8 

Lath and Pale Splitters 2 

Bricklayers, Plasterers, and Labourers 10 

Lime and Charcoal Burners 5 

Timber Carriage 26 

— 76 
Boat B\tildcrs, d^c. 

Shipwrights and Caulkers 3 

Labourers 1 

— 4 
Various Emploipn ri}ts. 

Clerks ." 2 

Overseers 7 

Taking care of Government Huts 4 

Public Stores and Cooper at ditto 5 

Boats' Crews 21 

Government Gardens 7 

Town Gang 38 

Night Watch ... 7 

Attending Hospital 6 

Bellringer and Barbers 3 

Tailors and Shoemakers 6 

Printer 1 

Tliatchcrs and Toolhelrer 5 

Cook, Baker, and Drummers to the R. M. Detach- 
ment 4 

Jail Gang 1 

Tanner and Glucmaker 1 

— 118 

To Connnissioned Officers, Civil and Military 21 

To Superintendents and Over.seers 8 

'I'o Non-commissioned Officers of the Royal Marines 2 

To Settlers 1 

— 32 
Sick and Conxdismif 14 

Total 279 



RETURN of Live Stock in His Majesty's Settlement, 
Derwent River, Van Diemen's Land,4th August, 180 Jf, 

To whom belonging. 








Fowls, Geese, 
Ducks, and 













Lieut.-Governor Collins 

Military Officers 

Civil Officers 



Settlers and others , 







Read 14th October. 1889. 

•^~- — 

1. The Origin of the Expedition and the Voyage to 
Port Phillip. 

In former papers which I have had the honour to read 
before the Royal Society, I have endeavoured to trace 
the influence of French rivalry in hastening the English 
settlement of Australia. I have shown that to the 
pioneer work of French navigators we owe the first ad- 
mirable surveys of the southern coasts of Tasmania, and 
that it was wholly due to the apprebensions that those 
surveys excited that Governor King sent Lieut. Bowen 
from Port Jackson to take possession of the JDerwent. 

I have also briefly touched on the explorations of our 
own English sailors in the neighbourhood of the Derwent 
and in Bass' Strait, and the influence of their reports in 
deciding the choice of localities for new colonies, while I 
have followed the misfortunes of the unlucky settlement 
at Risdon, and described its collapse after a short and 
troubled life of little more than half a year. 

The real history of Tasmania as an English colony be- 
gins with the departure from England, in the spring of 
1803, of the expedition of Lieut. -Governor Collins,* 
the founder of Hobart ; and it is with the origin and mis- 
adventures of that expedition on its way to the Derwent 
that I have to deal in the present paper. 

* The first lieutenant of the Calcutta published a narrative 
of the voyage of the expedition to Port Phillip, and of its 
failure there. " Account of a Voyage to establish a Colony 
at Port Phillip, in Bass' Straits, in H.M.S. Calcutta, in 1802- 
3-4. By James Kingston Tuckey." London, 1805. 

The principal official documents relating to the expedition 
down to the date of its departure from Port Phillip, have 
been printed by Mr. Francis Peter Labilliere, in his "Early 
History of the Colony of Victoria," 2 vols., London, 1878, and 
also by Mr. James Bonwick, in his " Port Phillip Settlement," 
London, 1883. The Rev. Robert Knopwood's Diary has been 
printed by Mr. John J. Shillinglaw in his "Early Historical 
Re^cords of Port Phillip," Molbourne, 1878; 2nd edition, 8vo., 
1879. The diary was copied from the original then in the 
possession of the late Mr. Vernon W. Hookey, of Hobart. 


The project of the English Government to found a 
colony on the shores of Bass' Strait, and the unseccessful 
attempt of Governor Collins to plant that settlement 
at Port Phillip in 1803, may at first sight appear to be 
beyond the scope of the history of Tasmania, and to be- 
long exclusively to that of Victoria. But Collins' expedi- 
dition has absolutely nothing to do with the history of our 
Victorian neighbours. The sandhills of Port PhOlip 
merely served for a month or two as a resting-place for 
the colonists on their way to the Derwent. The short 
stay of Collins' people on Victorian soil was only an in- 
cident in their passage from England to Van Diemen's 
Land, like their touching at Rio or the Cape ; and the 
story of those months is an essential part of the history of 
the first settlers of Hobart 

The idea of the settlement emanated from Captain 
Philip Gidley Kiiig, the then Governor of New South 
Wales, and was, doubtless, sviggested to him by the arrival 
at Port Jackson of the French ship the Naturalist e from 
Bass' Strait, and the suspicions thus excited in his mind 
with respect to French designs on His Majesty's terri- 
tories in New Holland. 
Labilliere, On the 21st May. 1802 — shortly after the arrival of the 

i., 125. Naturaliste, but before Commodore Baudin's own ship 

had reached Port Jackson- — the Governor addressed a 
despatch to the Duke of Portland pressing upon him the 
importance of founding a colony at the newly-discovered 
harbour of Port Phillip, of the soil, the climate, and 
advantageous position of which he had just received a 
very favourable report from Captain Flinders, who had 
explored it in the preceding month. The reason most 
strongly urged by King was the necessity of being before- 
hand with the French, who, in his opinion, were bent on 
getting a footing somewhere in ^ass' Straits. 

When the Governor's despatch reached England there 
was for the moment peace with France, but French move- 
ments were viewed with the utmost suspicion, and a 
speedy renewal of the war was regarded as inevitable. 
Home Office H.M.S. Calcutta was under orders to take to New South 
f?ffi^°'i7^v^^ Wales a further detachment of 400 male convicts and 
Dec^^i802 some 50 free settlers, and preparations were being made 
' ' to send her off immediately. King's recommendation, 
therefore, came at an opportune juncture, and was at once 
taken into consideration. 

, Amongst miscellaneous Colonial Office documents in 

the Record Office, Mr. Bonwick found a paper which re- 
cords the result of these deliberations. It has neither 


superscription nor address, and is undated, though from 
other evidence its date can be fixed at somewhere in the 
latter half of the mouth of December, 1802. 

This document is of so much interest as setting forth 
the views of the Government on Australian colonisation 
at this important period, that it is here given in full: — 

" Memorandum of a Proposed Settlement in Bass's 

" The attention of the French Government has recently 
been directed to New Holland, and two French ships have, 
during the present year, been employed in surveying the 
western and southern coasts, and in exploring the passage 
through Basses Straights to New South Wales. By the 
accounts which have been recently received from Governor 
King at Port Jackson, there is reason to believe that the 
French navigators had not discovered either of the two 
most important objects within those Straights, namely, 
the capacious and secure harbour in the North, to which 
Governor King has given the name of Port Phillip, nor 
a large island called King's Island, situated nearly mid- 
way on the western side of the Straights, and which ex- 
tends about 50 miles in every direction. 

" Governor King represents each of these objects as 
deserving the attention of Government, but especially 
Port Phillip, where he urgently recommends that an 
Establishment should be immediately formed, at the same 
time observing that, if the resources of his Government 
could have furnished the means, he should have thought 
it his duty, without waiting for instructions, to have 
formed a settlement there. 

" The reasons adduced by Governor King in support 
of this opinion are principally drawn from the advantages 
which the possession of such a port naturally suggests for 
the valuable fishery that may be carried on in the 
Straights, where the seal and the sea elephant abound, 
and from the policy of anticipating the French, to whom 
our discovery of this port and of King's Island must soon 
be known, and who may be stimulated to take eai-ly 
measures for establishing themselves in positions so 
favourable for interrupting in any future war the com- 
munication between the United Kingdom and New South 
Wales, through the channel of Basses Straight. 

" In adition to these reasons, it may be stated that it 
would be of material consequence to the settlement at 
Port Jackson, which has now arrived to a population of 
near six thousand persons, if an interval of some yeart 


were to be given for moral improvement, which cannot 
be expected to take place in any material degree while 
there is an annual importation of convicts, who neces- 
sarily carry with them those vicious habits which were the 
cause of then- having fallen under the sentence of the law. 

" From a due consideration of all these circumstances, 
it is proposed to adopt the recommendation of Governor 
King, and to appoint a competent person to proceed in 
the Calcutta, direct for Port Phillip, for the purpose of 
commencing the establishment there, by means of a cer- 
tain number of settlers and male convicts, now r^ady t<> 
be embarked in that ship, and, further, that the estab- 
lishment shall be placed under the control of the principal 
Govemonent at Port Jackson, upon a similar footing to 
that on Norfolk Island. 

" The expense of this new settlement, beyond what 
would necessarily attend the conveyance and supplies for 
the convicts if sent to Port Jackson, may be calculated 
at a sum not exceeding <£lo,000 a year, subject to a small 
additional charge, if circumstances should render it ad- 
visable to send some of the convicts under a sufficient 
guard to secure the possession of King's Island. 

" With a view to this sei*vice, and for the purpose of 
keeping open the communication between the two settle- 
ments and with Port Jackson, it is thought necessary that 
a small vessel should be stationed in the Straights, to be 
employed in such manner as the Lieut.-Governor, acting 
under the orders of Governor King, may point out. 

" Experience having proved the great inconvenience 
arising horn, the establishment of the New South Wales 
Regiment at Port Jackson, it is conceived that consider- 
able benefit would result from selecting a detachment of 
ihe Royal Marines for this service. 

" With a view of exciting the convicts to good be- 
haviour, it is proposed that such of them as shall merit 
the recommendation of the Governors abroad shall be 
infoiined that their wives and families will be permitted 
to go to them at the public expense as indentured ser- 
vants; and, to render this act of humane policy as con- 
ducive to the benefit of the Colony as the circumstances 
of the case will permit, it will be necessary that thes© 
families shall on no account be sent upon ships on which 
convicts shall be embarked, and that they shall be in- 
formed their reunion with the objects of their regard 
would depend upon their own good behaviour, as well as 
upon that of their husbands." 


The recommendations of the memorandimi were Downing- 
adopted by the Cabinet. Early in January, 1803, it street to 
was ordered that the destination 'of the Calcutta should j^^^^^^lJg'- 
be changed, and that the convicts, with a detachment of ' ' '' 
100 Royal Marines as guard, should proceed direct to 
Port Phillip, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel 
David Collins, who was appointed Lieut. -Governor of the 
new Settlement. An urgent appeal was made to the 
authorities by Mr. Secretary King, of the Home Office, 
to send a proportion of women — to allov.^ the wives of the 
married convicts to accompany their husbands, and to add 
a number of female convicts. Secretary King pointed 
out the mischief that had ensued in the Port Jackson 
colony from the disproportion of the sexes, and remarked. 
" To begin with a colony of men, popiifus viroruin. will do 
for nothing in nature but what Virgil applies it to — a Hive 
of Bees." It would have been well if this sensible ad- 
vice had been acted upon; as it was, out of 307 convicts 
who sailed from England, only 17 were accompanied by 
their wives. The military guard, officers and men, con- 
sisted of 51, of whom some seven had their wives with 
them. Free settlers were not much encouraged in those 
days; for, though it was the policy of the Government to 
introduce a certain proportion, the number was rigidly 
limited. Mr. Bonwick says that up to the year 1803 the 
whole number of free settlers introdviced into New Hol- 
land was only 320, to a total population of over 7000. 
Thirteen persons obtained Lord Hobart's permission to 
throw in their lot with the new colony as settlers ; and, 
of these, not more than three or four had wives with them. 
The Civil Establishment consisted of a Chaplain, the Rev. 
Robert Knopwood ; three Surgeons, Messrs. Wm. 
I'Anson, Matthew Bowden, and Wm. Hopley ; a Com- 
missary, Mr. Leonard Fosbrook ; a Surveyor, Mr. George 
Prideaux Harris ; a Mineralogist, Mr. Adolarius William 
Henry Humphreys ; and two Superintendents of Con- 

The Colonial Oflfice could probably have chosen no more 
suitable man than Lieut.-Colonel David Collins as 
Governor of the new settlement. Collins was an Irish- 
man, having been born in King's County in 1756. 
He had seen military service ; and, as a young Lieutenant 
of Marines, had been present at the battle of Bunker s 
Hill. When Governor Phillip sailed with the 
"First Fleet," in 1788, to found Sydney, Captain 
Collins accompanied him, as Judge Advocate. He 
served in this important capacity, and also as Secretary 
to the Governor, for eight years, returning to England 


in 1796, with high recommendations from Governor 
Hunter to the Duke of Portland for his merit and ser- 
vices to the young colony. During his stay in England 
he wrote and published his well-known and valuable 
" Account of the English Colony of New South 
Wales," the first volume appearing in 1798, and the 
second, which carried on the history to August, 1801, be- 
ing published in 1802. The book met with a vei'y favour- 
able reception, and was reviewed by Sydney Smith, in the 
Edinburgh Review. The reviewer says, '' Mr. Collins's 
book is written with great plainness and candour; he 
appears to be a man always meaning well ; of good plain 
common sense; and composed of those well-wearing 
materials which adapt a person for situations where 
genius and refinement would only prove a source of misery 
and error." Collins is said to have been a remarkably 
handsome man, with delightful manners. He seems to 
have had not a little tact in managing men, and to have 
possessed many of the qualities requisite in the founder of 
a colony. If he erred in his judgment of the capabilities 
of Victoria as a place for settlement, he certainly showed 
sagacity in his choice of a site for Hobart. 

The preparations for the new settlement were quickly 
pushed on; and, in April, 1803, the expedition was ready 
for sea. The 307 male convicts, and their military guard, 
were to be conveyed by H.M.S. Calcutta, in Avhich vessel 
the Lieut. -Governor himself, and a select few of his 
staff — viz., Lieut. Sladden, the First Lieutenant of 
Marines; Mr. Knopwood, the Chaplain; and Mr. I Anson, 
the Principal Surgeon— were also to be accommodated. 
At the period of which we are speaking, which was during 
March, 1802, the short peace which followed upon the Treaty of Amiens, 
to May, the ships of the Navy were frequently employed for the 

B • 1,' conveyance of convicts to New South Wales. In the 
., pj^l^ ^ early days of the colony the convicts were brought out 
Twenty under contract, — the contractors receiving as much as 

Years of £17 7*'. 6d. per head for all shipped. The contractors 

Australia.'' had no interest in treating the people well, or even in keep- 
ing them alive. The consequence was a most scandalous 
state of things. It was estimated that during the first 
eight years at least one-tenth of those transported died on 
the voyage. In the " Second Fleet," in 1790. the mor- 
tality was awful. In one ship more than a fourth part 
died on board, and a large number after arrival. The 
unhappy people were shut up below, in filthy and stifling 
quarters; seldom allowed on deck, for fear of mutiny; 
kept under no discipline ; and often subjected to brutal 
ill-usage. Besides the dreadful mortality on the voyage, 


the su.r\'ivors arrived so enfeebled that the hospitals were 
filled with sick, many of whom succumbed ; while a con- 
siderable proportion of the remainder never recovered 
from the effects of the passage. Afterwards, by the 
adoption of the system of paying a premium for each 
person landed, thereby giving the contractors a direct 
interest in caring for the health of the convicts, a great 
improvement in their treatment was secured. During 
the peace, however, the Government preferred using Gentleman's 
ships of the navy as transports, thus giving employment Magazine, 
to officers and seamen whom it was undesirable to dis- 1804. 
charge, in view of a probable renewal of hostilities, and 
at the same time ensuring that the convicts would be 
kept in a better state of order and cleanliness. The 
vessels could also, on their return voyage, bring home 
cargoes of timber for naval purposes at a small expense. 
The ships best adapted for transports were those which 
had been originally built for the East Ind.ia Company, 
and had been purchased into the King's service during 
the war. The Calcutta was a ship of this class. She 
was commanded by Captain Daniel Woodriff, who had 
been in New South Wales in 1792 and 1793, and had 
been so favourably impressed with the capabilities of the 
settlement that, when he received orders to take out a 
transport, he petitioned Lord Hobart for a grant of laud 
for his sons, with the view of settling his whole famiiy in 
the colony. He had as his first lieutenant Lieutenant 
Tuckey, a young Irishman of great energy and ability, 
who afterwards wrote an acount of the expedition, which 
was published in 1805.* 

* " An Account of a Voyage to establish a Colony at Port 
Phillip in Bass' Strait, on the South Coast of New South 
Wales, in H.M.S. Calcutta." By Lieut. J. K. Tuckey. 
London, 1805. Lieutenant James Kingston Tuckey was born 
in 1776, at M.illow, C")unt, Jerk. He entered the navy at an 
early age, and served with distinction in the Eastern Archi- 
pelago and the Indian Seas, and afterwards in tlie Red Sea. 
Broken in health, he was, in 1802, appointed first lieutenant 
of the Calcutta, and served during the voyage to Port Phillip, 
returning to England in 1804^ and publishing his hook. In 
1805 the Calcutta, in convoymg ships from St. Helena, was 
captured by the French, after a gallant defence, in wliich 
Tuckey particularly distinguished himself. He remained 
in a French prison for nine years. During his imprisonment 
in France he married a lady who was his fetlow prisoner. On 
his release, in 1814, he was made commander, and in 1816 
he obtained the command of an expedition to explore the 
River Congo. The members of the expedition suffere 1 ter- 
ribly from fever, which was fatal to 21 out of a total number 
of 66. Tuckey was one of the victims, dying on 4 Octolier, 
1816. — " Narrative of an Expedition to explore the River 
Zaire (Congo) in South Africa in 1816." London, 1818. 



Memo. 7th 
April, 1803. 

The Calcutta was to take the convicts and military, 
but a tender was necessary to carry the stores for the 
whole establishment. For this purpose the Transport 
Office chartered the Ocean, a ship of 481 tons, belonging 
to Mr. Hurris, of Newcastle, and commanded by Captain 
John Mertho. The stores, exclusive of provisions, 
amounted to the value of £8047*; the freight and pro- 
bable demurrage were put at £2568; total, £10,615. 
The remainder of the civil establishment, seven in 
number ; two of the officers of the Royal Marines (Lieoits. 
J. M. Johnson and Edward Lord) ; and the 13 free 
settlers and their families, were passengers on board the 

On Sunday, 24th April, 1803, the. Calcutta and the 
Ocean left Spithead in company, and three days later 
took their final departure from the Isle of Wight. For 
the events of the voyage Mr. Knop wood's diary is our 
principal source of information.! The diary is taken 
for the most part from the ship's log; and the chaplain, 
while he tells usi a great deal about the ports at which 
they touched, and about the dinners and amusements 
which they enjoyed at those places, says nothing about 
the condition of the convicts, and but little of the in- 
cidents of the voyage. The ships touched at Teneriffe 
and at Rio de Janeiro, where they stayed three weeks. 
Off the Island of Tristan d'Acunha the Ocean was lost 
sight of in a storm, and the Calcutta put into Simon's 
Bay, Cape of Good Hope, where she remained a fort- 
night. The good chaplain was a man who dearly loved 
good company and genial society, and from the fond way 
in which he lingers over the delights of Rio and the 
Cape, at both of which he managed to have a very good 
time, we can judge how irksome he must have found the 
long sea life of five months. Though well on in middle 
age, he was still susceptible, for at Rio he remarks of the 
Convent de Adjuda, which received as boarders young 
ladies who had lost their parents: — "This I frequently 
visited, where I conversed with a very lieautiful young 
lady named Antonia Januaria. Her polite attention I 
shall not easily forget, having received great friendship 
from her, and should I ever return there again shall be 
happy to see her." And a few days later he writes:' — 
" I visited De Adjuda for the last time. I saw Antonia 

* In the list of stores are the following items : — Iron- 
mongery, £2525; clothing, &c., £1930; naval stores, £723; 
carts and implements of husbandry, £500 ; medical and hospi- 
tal stores, £1380; six pipes port wine, £282. 

t Mr. Labilliere discovered the log book of the Calcutta at 
Deptford Dockyard, and gives extracts from it in his book. 


this eve at 5, and we took leave of each other with regret. 

It is so seldom that the chaplain indulges in sentiment 
that I cannot forbear quoting his reflections on leaving 
the Cape. " On our departure from the Cape," he 
writes, " it was natural for us to indulge at this moment 
a melancholy reflection which obtruded itself on the 
minds of those who were settlers at Port Phillip. The 
land behind us was the abode of a civilised people — that 
before us was the residence of savages. When, if ever, 
we might again enjoy the commerce of the world was 
doubtful and uncertain. The refreshments and the 
pleasures of which we had so liberally partaken at the 
Cape and Simon's Bay were to be exchanged for coarse 
fare and hard labour at Port Phillip, and we may triily 
say, all communication with families and friends now cut 
off, we were leaving the world behind vis to enter on a 
state unknown." After leaving the Cape the Calcutta 
encountered a severe storm, and reached Port Phillip on 
the 9th October, where she found the Ocean at anchor, 
having arrived two days before her. 

From the Chaplain's diary it appears that the voyage 
was uneventful, and that good order was preserved 
throughout, for there are only two or three entries of 
punishments, for trifling offences. The health of the 
convicts must have been fairly looked after, only four 
deaths from illness being noted and one from drowning. 
This presents a pleasing contrast to the mortality and ill- 
usage which had been too common in the transports to 
New South Wales.* 

* Lieut.-Governor Collins, in his despatch to Governor King 
reporting his arrival, states that he had brought with him 299 
male convicts and 16 married women. From this it would 
appear that 8 convicts and 1 convict's wife had died on the 
voyage. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile the 
varying statements contained in different documents with 
regard to the number and names of the free settlers. In a 
despatch to King, dated 16th December, 1803, Collins says 
that he has eighteen free settlers with their families, yet Ins 
official returns of 26th February and of July, 1804, show only 
thirteen at the Derwent. We have a list of thirteen persons 
wh.o had obtained permission from Lord Hol)art to accompany 
Collins' settlement, but apparently this list does not contain 
the names of all who eventually sailed with him. Thus it 
omits the names of Messrs. Pitt, Nicholls, Ingle, Dacres, and 
Bhnkworth, who are known to have come out with Collins to 
the Derwent as free settlers. The Calcutta's log records re- 
ceiving on the 17th October six passengers from the Occun to 
proceed from Port Phillip to Port Jackson. Deducting those 
from the total so far as known, would leave the balance within 
one of the number given in Collins' return. 


2. The Port Phillip Failure. 

Collins to Collins' ships anchored within Port Phillip Heads 

King, 6th about a mile and a half to the eastward of the entrance. 

Labilliere ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^ their arrival the Lieut. -Governor and Capt. 

i.^ 131. ' Woodrifif went on shore. They returned in the evening, 
having found no water, and reported that the soil was 
very bad. The next morning they set off again to look 
for a good spot for the settlement. They examined the 
eastern shore for some miles as far as Arthvir's Mount, 
and although they found a small stream of fresh water, 
the soil was so poor and sandy, and the shoal water made 
approach to the shore so diflicult that they returned to 
the ship much discouraged. The next two days were 
spent in exploring the west side of the Bay for a distance 
of many miles, but with no better result. The soil was 
rather better, but there was no fresh water. In the 
words of the Chaplain — 'Along the shore we returned 
by no means satisfied with the country.' From this 
time Collins made up his mind that Port Phillip was 
unsuited for settlement, and that his stay could be only 
temporary, until some more favourable locality were 
found elsewhere to which he could remove his people. 
For the present, however, the nece?sity of immediately 
unloading his ships was imperative. Capt. Woodriff 
had instructions to proceed at once to Port Jackson to 
take in a cargo of timber; the Ocean was bound for 
China, and could not be detained without considerable ex- 
pense. He therefore gave up further search for a good 
locality, and, on the foui-th day after his arrival, fixed 
on a spot about eight miles to the eastward of the Heads — 
near the present town of Sorrento — where very good water 
had been got by sinking half a dozen casks in the sand, 
and here, on a small flat of some 5 acres in extent, ihe 
resolved to pitch his tents and encamp his people and 
stores. The ships were moved opposite to the selected 
spot, the convicts and military put on shore, the ground 
cleared, and the landing of the stox-es begun. This was 
a task of some difficulty, as the men had to go up to their 
middle through the water to carry in the goods from the 
boats. The bulk of the stoi'es were piled in the open air, 
aiUl the more valuable and perishable were placed in three 
large tents, a guard of ten marines being posted to protect 

Tuclveys them. This done, Lieut. Tuckey, accompanied by Mr. 

V'oyage. Surveyor Harris and Mr. Wm. Collins, was sent i?i 

the Calc lit fa's launch to sui-vey the upper part of the 

harbour. They proceeded to the north-west, and after 


two attempts reached the head of the Western Ann of 
Corio Bay, near to where Geelong now stands. The 
report brought back was not encouraging. The soil was 
mostly sandy, and, except a few acres at the head of 
the Port, there was no land within five miles of the water 
which would grow corn. Water was everywhere scarce. 
Snakes were common, and insects innumerable and tor- 
menting, but game was not plentiful, and fish scarce. At 
the head of the Bay, where a level plain stretching to the 
horizon appeared more promising, the blacks were 
numerous and hostile. A mob of 200 attacked Tuckey's 
party, and v-^ere so pertinacious and threatening that 
Tuckey had to fire upon them with fatal effect. 

It seemed to the Lieut.-Governor that any attempt to 
plant his colony in this apparently more favourable situa- 
tion, amidst sv/arms of hostile savages, with his little 
military force of 40 men — already hardly sufficient to re- 
strain the convicts — must only end in disaster. He wrote 
to Lord Hobart, "Were I to ^settle in the upper part of 
the harbour, which i'^ full of natives, I should require four 
times the strength I have now." Yet this Avas the only 
alternative he could see to his present position in a waste 
of waterless sand. So gloomy was the view he took of Collins to 
the situation, that he even found the Bay itself wholly un- King, 5th 
fit for commercial purposes on account of its difiiculty of "^°^-> 180d. 
access, and that, owing to th& dangerous entrance and 
strong tides, it required a combination of favourable cir- 
cumstances to enable a vessel to enter without disaster. 
His sole idea was to remove as soon as possible from these 
forbidding shores. His instructions from the Colonial Instruc- 
Office had contemplated such a possibility, and allowed tions, 7th 
him considerable latitude of choice as to the final destina- '^''^•' ^""'* 
tion of the colony. " Although Port Phillip has been 
pointed out as the place judged most convenient and 
proper for fixing the first settlement of your establishment 
in Bass' Straiis. nevertheless, you are not positively re- 
stricted from giving the preference to any other part of 
the said southern coast of New South Wales, or any of 
the islands in Bass' Straits, which, vipon communication 
with the Governor of New South Wales, and with his 
concurrence and approbation, you may have well- 
grounded reasons to consider as more adavntageously 
situated for that purpose." With the idea, therefore, 
fixed in his mind that at Port Phillip nothing bvxt faihire 
was possible, it became his most anxious thought to ob- 
tain Governor King's pennission to remove his settlement. 
But here was a new source of embaiTassment. 


By the beginning of November the Ocean had landed 
lier stores. Captain Mertho was anxious to proceed 
on his voyage to China, and to charter the jhip for 
Port Jackson would entail a lieavy expense. The 
Governor was anxious to detain the Calcutta as long as 
he could, both for protection and to be at hand to assist 
Collins to his removal if affairs took a more serious turn. In this 
Hol)art, dilemma he found a friend in need in one of the settlers, 

ifir^ -" Mr. William Collins, formerly a master in the navy, who 

had come out in the Ocean on a seal-fishing speculation. 
This William Collins volunteered to go to Port Jackson 
in an open six-oared boat to carry despatches to Governor 
Kirig and to bring back his reply. Six convicts 
voliiiiieered as a crew,* the ])oat v.-as victualled for a 
month, and on the 6th November Mr. Collins started on 
his plucky trip. The surf was so bad at the Rip that he 
could not get out of the entrance for four days. A v/eek 
later the Ocean was ready for sea, and sailed out of Port 
Phillip on her way to China. She was, however, 
destined to play a further part in the history of Tasmanian 
colonisation. When within 60 miles of Port Jackson, 
Captain Mertho came upon W^illiam Collins in his cutter. 
King to The boat had been nine days at sea, and had had a very 
Collins, 26th rough time of it. The captain took the people 
Wov., 1803. Qjj boa-rd and carried them to Sydney, arriving on 
the 24th November, and the despatches were delivered 
to Governor King. King acted promptly, the more so, 
as, from Grimes' repoi-t, he was prepared for Collins' un- 
favourable account of Port Phillip. The Lady Nelson 
was on the point of sailing for Norfolk Island; he im- 
mediately changed her destination, and sent her to 
Port Phillip with what little fresh provisions and live- 
stock he could spare, and with orders to return with 
despatches. He wrote to Captain Woodriff, begging 
him, if it was consistent with his instructions from the 
Admiralty, to assist by removing the convicts to the 
Mertho to Derwent or Port Dalrymple ; and, finally, he arranged 
King, 26th with Captain Mertho for a charter of the Ocean for four 
Nov., 1803. months, at 18s. per ton per month, to proceed to Port 
Phillip to remove the stores. The Ocean and Lady 
Nelson sailed within four days after receipt of the de- 
King to Governor King, in his despatch, fully endorses Collins' 

Collins, 26th opinion about Port Phillip. " It appears," he says, " as 
Nov., 1803. well by Mr. Grimes' and Mr. Robbins' surveys, as by your 

* For this service the six men received conditional pardons. 


report, that Port Phillip is totally unfit in every point 
of view to remain at, without subjecting the Crown to 
the certain expensive prospect of the soil not being 
equaJ to raise anything for the support of the settlement. 
unless you shall have made any further observations to 
encourage your remaining there. Perhaps the upper 
part of the bay at the head of the rivers may not have 
escaped your notice, as this is the only part Mr. Grimes 
and those that were with him speak the least favourably 
of. From this circumstance, I shall presume, it will 
appear to you that removing from thence will be the 
most advisable for the interest of His Majesty's Service." 
He then refers to Bowen's settlement at Risdon, and the 
reports from thence, and sends to the Lieut. -Governor 
Bass' and Flinders' MS. journals containing a description 
of the Derwent. He next discusses the relative advan- 
tages of the Derwent and Port Dalrymple {i.e., the 
Tamar). The Derwent has the recommendation of being 
already settled on a small scale, and as being an excellent 
harbour for the China ships to touch at, and also for 
sealers and whalers. However, if it were not for the 
difficulties of approach in the channel of Port Dahymple, 
and the possibility of not finding good land there, he 
would decidedly prefer the northern locality, as more ad- 
vantageously situated, and particularly as a place of 
resource for the sealing and fi^liing vessels in Bass' Straits 
and to protect the fisheries at Cape Barren and King's 
Island from the Americans. However, he leaves to Col- 
lins full freedom of choice between the two places. 

In the meantime, Governor Collins had got adl his Collins to 
people encamped in tents, and had placed his sixteen ?^?}|^]^' 
settlers in a valley near his encampment, where they -j^ggg '' 

established themselves in temporaiy huts. For the first 
few weeks the general health was good, but after that 
time sickness began to appear, and he had some 30 under 
medical treatment. A matter which troubled Col- 
lins more was the desertion of the convicts. The people 
had been very orderly for the first three weeks, but soon 
a spirit of discontent arose, and, immediately after the 
boat left for Sydney, three men absconded, — with 
some vague idea of reaching Port Jackson, or getting on 
board a whaler off the coast, — and within a week twelve 
were missing from the camp. Parties were oi'ganised in 
pursuit, and, at a distance of 60 miles from the camp, five 
of the runaways were recaptured and brought back. 
Hitherto the Governor had not caused his commission to Collins to 
be read, reserving this ceremony till he should be finally Hobart, 
settled. Now he wished to make a public example of 7'^'^ Feb., 


the delinqueuts ; and, to add solemnity to the punishment, 
he had the garrison drawn up under arms, the convicts, 
clean dressed, on the opposite side, while the chaplain 
read the commission, the marines fired three volleys, and 
all gave three cheers for His Honor. The Governor 
then addressed the people, pointing out the comforts 
they enjoyed and the ill use they made of them, and the 
folly of desertion, which could only end in suffering and 
death, either fi'om the attacks of the savages, or from 
starvation and hardships in the fruitless attempt to travel 
1000 miles through a wild and inhospitable country 
inhabited only by savages. The five deserters were then 
brought up for punishment, and, in the presence of all, 
received 100 lashes each, administered by the drummers. 
Notwithstanding this example, desertions still continued 
in spite of all the vigilance that could be exercised. Some 
of the runaways, after a bitter experience of the miseries 
of the bush, voluntarily returned, in a deplorable state of 
illness and exhaustion, having travelled over 100 miles 
Collins to ^^^d subsisted on gum and shellfish. One or two were 
King, 29th shot, others wei-e recaptured, but on Collins' departure 
Feb., 1804. ,j,t least seven were left in the woods. What became of 
them was never known, except in one instance. Thirty 
yeai's after, when the first party from Launcestou went 
over to settle Port Phillip, they found amongst a tribe 
of blacks a white man, unable to speak English, and 
hardly distinguishable from an aborigine. This was 
William Buckley, one of the runaways from Collins' 
settlement. Biickley received a free pardon and settled 
in Tasmania. His huge ungainly form and heavy face 
were familiar in the streets of Hobart in the memory of 
many now living. 

Considering the character of the people, and the fact 
that they were broiling on the sandhills in a Victorian 
summer, with an insulficient supply of water, and un- 
employed on ciny useful work, it is not to be wondered 
that disorder broke out in the camp. From Collins' 
General Orders, and Mr. Knopwoods diary, we learn of 
drunkenness amongst the marines, of plundering of the 
stores by the convicts. After some particularly daring 
robberies on Christmas eve, it was found that the militaiy 
Knopwood, guard was insufficient, and, by the Governor's desire, the 
4th Jan., officers of the civil establishment, including the chaplain, 
1804. formed themselves into an association to patrol as a watch 

at night for the protection of property and the mainten- 
ance of order. 


The Governor did his best to find employment for his 
men by setting them to build huts, and to construct a 
stone magazine for ammunition, but he made no further 
effort at exploration, nor did he attend to King's hint that 
better country might be found at the head of the port. 
If he had done so, it is probable that the systematic 
settlement of Hobart might have been long deferred. 
It is the more inexplicable that the country on which Calcutia's 
Melbourne now stands was not examined, as the Calcutta log> 22nd 
proceeded up the Harbour and anchored in Hobson's w^^ ' igna 
Bay off the present site of Williamstown, actually taking '' 
in 55 tons of water from the River Yarra. Yet, although 
the ship was away for some ten days, no attempt was made 
to explore the shores of that river. 

On the 13th December the Ocean returned from Port 
Jackson, and with her the Francis schooner, bringing de- 
spatches from Governor King. The appearance of the 
Ocean was hailed with delight, and the satisfaction of 
Collins was shared by all when they learnt the news of 
Bowen's settlement at the Derwent, and that the Ocean 
had been chartered to remove the people thither, or wher- 
ever the Lieut.-Govemor thought proper. Collins' 
pleasure was rather damped by Capt. Woodriff's inform- 
ing him that, as the Ocean had arrived to remove the 
colony, the Calcutta, in accordance with the Admiralty 
instructions, must immediately proceed to Port Jackson, 
where a cargo of timber for the use of the navy was awail> 
ing her, and that she could give no assistance in removing 
the settlement. This would render it necessary to divide 
the convicts, the military and civil establishments, and the 
stores into two detachments, as the Ocean could not take 
them all at once. 

Collins immediately set to work to prepare for removal. 
He set the people to build a temporary jetty, 500 feet 
long, over the Hats, and soon had all hands busily at work 
loading the Ocean. As to his ultimate destination he 
was still in much perplexity, and for some weeks it was 
doubtful whether the Tamar or the Derwent would be 
the site of the principal settlement in Van Diemen's 
Land. Indeed, in those days the ignorance of the different 
localities was so great — being limited to the information 
acquired by Flinders in his flying visits — that the data 
upon which to base a decision were wanting. By the 
Calcutta, v/hich left him on the 18th December, he writes 
to King that he will not come to a decision on a point of 
so much importance until Port Dalrymple had been 
examined by Wm. Collins, who was leaving in. 


the Francis for that purpose. He will, in deference 
to King, give the northern port the preference, thooigh 
he himself inclined to the Derwent. King, in reply, tells 
him that a schooner which had just arrived from Port 
Dalrympie reported the entrance and channel very 
dangerous, and the natives troublesome, and advises 
him to give up the idea of going there, and to decide for 
the Derwent. 

This advice only confirmed the conclusion to which 
Collins to Collins had at last brought himself. He gives as his 
King, 28tli reasons, in addition to King's recommendation, that the 
Feb., 1804. advantages of being in a place already settled had great 
weight with him, but that a stronger consideration was 
the mutinous spirit amongst his soldiers, which, he 
thought, would be checked by the presence of the detach- 
ment of the New South Wales Corps at Risdon ; and, 
moreover, that he considered the Derwent better for com- 
mercial purposes than any place in the Straits, and that he 
hoped before long to see it a port of shelter for ships from 
Europe, America, and China, and a favourite resort of 
whaling ships. 

The Lieut. -Governor was so anxious to get away from 
the place he detested that he kept his people at work 
loading the Ocean all the week round, Sundays included. 
He says, in his General Order of Sunday, 31st December, 
" It has never been the Lieut. -Governor's wish to 
make that day any other than a day of devotion 
and rest ; but circumstances compel him to employ it in 
labour. In this the whole are concerned, since the sooner 
we are enabled to leave this unpromising and unproduc- 
tive country, the sooner we shall be able to reap the ad 
vantages and enjoy the comforts of a more fertile spot ; 
and as the winter season will soon not be far distant, there 
will not be too much time before us wherein to erect more 
comfortable dwellings for every one than the thin canvas 
coverings which we are now under, and which are every 
day growing worse." 
Collins to Wlaen Wm. Collins, on 21st January, returned from 

King, 27tli Port Dalrympie in the Lady Nelson — which vessel had 
Jan., 1804. taken him from Kent's Group, the Francis having proved 
too leaky to venture across the Straits — he found the 
Ocean loaded and ready to go to the Derwent. The fact 
that he brought a report on the whole very favovirable to 
Port Dalrympie did not induce the Lieut-Governor to 
alter his mind. 

A few days sufficed to select the people he intended to 
leave behind him, some 150 in number, of whom Lieut. 


Sladden, with a small guard, was to have charge, and 
to embark the majority, some 200 souls, on board the 
Ocean, the settlers finding a place on board the Lady 
Nelson. On the 27th January, Collins writes to King 
that he was now only waiting for an easterly wind to clear 
the Heads and leave this inhospitable land behind. They 
had to wait four days for the wind ; and, on the 30th 
January, 1804, the Ocean and Lady Nelson sailed out 
of Port Phillip in company, and headed for the Derwent. 

In his narrative of Collins' expedition, Lieut. Tuckey 
says of the country he had just left: 'The kangaroo 
seems to reign undisturbed lord of the soil, a dominion 
which, by the evacuation of Port Phillip, he is likely to 
retain for ages." — Surely as unlucky an attempt at pro- 
phecy as was ever made ! 

Could some truer prophet have lifted the veil of the 
future for Collins, he would have shown the disappointed 
Lieut. -Governor a picture which would have more thaai 
surprised him. He would have shown him, within little 
more than thirty years, a small party of adventurous 
squatters leaving Van Diemen's Land to seek a new land 
of wealth on the shores of Port Phillip. Amongst them 
he would have noticed a man — whom he himself had 
brought out as a boy in the Ocean, and taken to the Der- 
went,* and who was now returning to the unpromising 
and unproductive country which the Lieut. -Governor had 
abandoned in despair, to find in it a land of fair plains 
and of springs of water — a land of promise — a veritable 
Australia Felix — soon to be wealthy in flocks and herds. 
Such a prophet would have shown him this 
country, which he and Governor King agreed in think- 
ing wholly uusuited for settlement, within another fifteen 
short years invaded by tens of thousands of eager emi- 
grants, rushing to secure at least some small share of its 
wonderful wealth, until in another generation it had 
grown into a land of gardens and farms, rich in corn aind 
wine, crowded with villages and cities; and on the un- 
promising shores of Port Phillip there stood a great city, 
the centre of a free and prospei'ous state numbering more 
than a million souls. 

* Mr. John Pascoe Fawkner. 



I. The Discovery. 

It is a fact, often forgotten, that an interval of a cen- 
tury and a half separated the discovery of the eastern 
coast of Australia from that of her western shores. The 
western coast was visited by the Dutch in the early part 
of the 17th century. It was not until the last half of the 
18th that the eastern coast was first seen by European 
eyes. The discovery of Southern Tasmania belongs to 
the old period — to the days of the Dutch East India Com- 
pany, and of Tasman's search for the Great South Land — 
to the days when New Holland had an evil reputation as 
the most forbidding and inhospitable country on the face 
of the earth. The discovery of our northern coast was 
one of the last of the modern epoch, when English navi- 
gators had laid open to the world the rich promise of the 
fertile lands of Eastern Australia, and when the first of 
the great English southern colonies had already been 
planted at Port Jackson. 

A short sketch of the exploration of the Straits, and 
particularly Port Dalrymple, although it may traverse 
some ground already touched upon in former papers, may 
prove of interest as an introduction to the story of the 
settlement of Northern Tasmania. Such a sketch will 
serve to bring into due prominence the achievements of 
two men, whose names should be held in honour by every 
Tasmanian, as practically the discoverers of our island 
home, and the pioneers who opened it for English colonisa- 
tion. These two men were George Bass and Matthew 

I trust, therefore, that my readers will forgive my de- 
taining them for a time from the settlement of Port Dal- 
rymple by a prefatory history of the events which led to 
it6 discovery. 


The existence of a great southern continent surrounding 
the Antarctic Pole, and pushing itself northward far into 
the Pacific Ocean, was a fixed belief of the old geo- 
gi-aphers. The hope of discovering such a continent 
prompted not only the voyage of Abel Tasman towards the 
unknown South Land in 1642, when he discovered the 
southern coast of Van Diemen's Land, bxtc many another 
expedition of the old navigators. As is well known, Cap- 
tain Cook's first voyage in the Endeavour, in 1768, was 
Cook's First vindertaken for the purpose of observing the transit of 
Voyage, ii., Venus from a station in the South Seas. But when the 
282. observations had been made, Cook, in accordance with 

his instructions, headed the Endeavo^tr from Tahiti to the 
far south, to make one more effort to solve the old geo- 
graphical problem. After reaching lat. 40° S. without 
seeing any sign of land, he turned north, and then west, 
until he sighted what he at first took for the long-sought 
Terra Australis Incognita. It is scarcely necessary to 
say that this was the east coast of New Zealand. After 
circumnavigating the islands, in March, 1770, the ques- 
Ihid., ii., tion arose as to the homeward route. Cook himself had 
433. a strong desire to return by Cape Horn, in order finally to 

determine whether there Avas or was not a continent in 
that direction. As, however, winter was approaching, it 
was thought inadvisable to venture into the stormy seas 
of those high latitudes. It was resolved, therefoi'e, to 
return by the East Indies, and, with this view, to sail 
westward until they should fall in with the undiscovered 
east coast of New Holland, and then follow thfit const to 
Ihid. ii. its northern extremity. The Endtavour took her depar- 
483. ' ' ture from Cape Farewell, and, on 19th April. 1770, 
sighted land at Point Hicks, about 60 miles westward of 
Cape Howe. Cook had expected to see the coast of 
Tasman's Van Diemen's Land to the south, and from the 
sudden falling of the sea, concluded that it was not far off, 
but was not able to determine whether it was joined to 
New Holland or not. From Point Hicks he sailed north, 
exploring the whole length of the eastern coast, which he 
named New South Wales, until he reached its northern 
extremity at Cape York, and returned home by Torres 

Two years later. Cook sailed on his second voyage in the 
Resolvtum. He was accompanied by the Adventure, 
commanded by Capt. Tobias Furneaux. The ships were 
separated in a fog in 50° S. lat., between the Cape and 
New Zealand, and Furneaux shaped his course for the 
land marked on the charts as Van Diemen's Land, which 


he sighted on 5th March, 1773. After a short stay, he 
sailed out of Adventure Bay with the intention of explor- 
ing the east coast as far as Point Hicks. Cook's most 
soiithern point, in order to discover whether the coast of 
Van Dieraen's Land was joined to that of New Holland. 
The Adventure sailed northwards till land was lost sight 
of, a little to the north of th6 Furneaux Group, but. con- 
tinuing a northerly course, Furneaux saw, or fancied he 
saw, land again in about lat. 39°. Here the soundings 
indicated the presence of shoals, and, thinking the naviga- 
tion too dangerous, he stood away for New Zealand. His Cook's 
conclusion is thus expressed : " It is my opinion that Second _ 
there is no strait between New Holland and Van iijf*^^' ^■' 
Diemen's Land, but a veiy deep bay." 

No further exploration in that direction took place be- 
fore the settlBment of Port Jackson in 1788, and for years 
subsequently the resources of the new colony were too 
limited to allow of more than boat expeditions to short 
distances from the Sydney Heads. 

In June, 1797, however, the wreck of a vessel named Flinders' 
the Sydney Cove, on Cape Barren Island, in the Furneaux Voyage, In- 
Group, led to the despatch of the colonial schooner Francis ^o- l^*- 
to the scene of the wreck. The trips of the Francis not poj^^land^ 
only eixtended geographical knowledge, but aroused a keen 6 July 1797. 
interest in the locality, as the seat of a most lucrative seal 

Just at this time H.M.S. Reliance arrived at Port Jack- 26 June, 
son from the Cape of Good Hope, with a cargo of cattle. IJ^T" 9^^' 
She was in a very leaky condition, and had to be detained hns New 
for extensive repairs. Amongst her officers were two '^-^jes jj, 
eager and adventurous spirits, her Second Lieut., Mat- 318. 
thew Flinders, and her Surgeon, George Bass They were 
both young — Flinders W9.s 23 — both ardent, and full of 
zeal for exploration. On a previous voyage of the Re- 
liance they had made a daring expedition down the coast 
in a boat only 8 feet long, and Bass had travelled inland 
to try to cross the Blue Mountains. On this occasion Flinders' 
Flinders could not leave his ship, but Bass, tired of in- Voyage, 
action, prevailed on Governor Hunter to lend him a whale- ^"^'■"•- ^^6. 
boat for a more extended voyage. The Governor gave 
him a boat, six weeks' provisions, and a crew of six seamen 
from the King's ships. In this whaleboat Bass made 
his way down the coast, examining the inlets and har- 
bours, and battling with head winds and gales, for a dis- 
tance of more than €00 miles. Rounding Cape Howe, 
and passing Cook's furthest point (Cape Hicks), he sighted 
the high land aftei-wards known as Wilson's Pro- 
montory, but the contrary winds preventing him from 



reaching it, he stood across for the Furneaux Islands, 
where he hoped to replenish his stock of provisions. The 
wind, however, now drove him to the south-west, and aa 
the gale and sea increased, the water rushed in fast 
through the boats side, and he was obliged to go on the 
other tack. After a time of considerable danger, he once 
more reached the Promontory, this time on the west side, 
and, proceeding along the coast, discovered and entered 
Western Port. He was detained in the Port for a fort- 
night by contrary gales, and, as the seventh week of ab- 
sence from Port Jackson had expired, want of provisions 
forced him veiy reluctantly to turn the boat's head home- 
Fiinders' ward. On his way back, he examined Wilson's Pro- 
Voyage, ^ montory, and came to the conclusion from various indica- 
Intro.,117. tions that there must be a strait between Van Diemen's 
Land and the mainland. He found that the flood-tide 
swept westward past the Promontory at the rate of 
two or three miles an hour, the ebb setting to the east- 
ward. "Whenever it shall be decided," he says in his 
- journal, " that the opening between this and Van Die- 
ruen's Land is a strait, this rapidity of tide, and the long 
south-west swell that seems to be continvially robing in 
upon the coast to the westward, will then be accounted 
for." Strong contrary gales delayed Bass on his home- 
ward voyage, and it was not until after an absence of 12 
weeks, during a great part of which he and his crew had 
subsisted chiefly on mutton-birds, that he returned to 
Port Jackson, and reported his discoveries to Governor 

Tlie Govei-nor, in bis despatch to the Duke of Portland, 
says that Bass " found an open ocean westward, and, by 
the mountamous sea which rolled from that quarter, and 
no land discoverable in that direction, we have much 
reason to conclude that there is an open strait through, 
between the latitude of 39° and 40° 12^ S., a circumstance 
which, from many observations made upon tides and cur- 
rents, I had long conjectured ... I presume it will 
appear that the land called Van Diemen's, and generally 
supposed to be the southern promontory of this colony, 
is a group of islands separated from its southern coast by 
a strait, which, it is probable, may not be of narrow limits, 
but may, perhaps, be divided into two or more channels 
by the islands near that on which the Sydney Cove was 
Flinders' During Bass' absence in the whaleboat, the Frnnris was 

Voyage, again sent to the wreck, and this time Flinders accom- 

Intro..l20 panied her. Tlie schooner went as far south as the 

1 March, 


entrance of Banks" Strait, and Flinders got his first sight Ihkl., 126. 
of the north coast of Van Diemen's Land. The smoke 
rising from the land showed that there were inhabitants 
on it, and as there were none on the adjoining islands, 
Flinders was shaken in his belief in the existence of a 
strait, for he could not understand how, unless by a con- 
necting isthmus, men could have reached the more distant 
Van Diemen's Land, and yet failed to have attained 
the intervening islands, more especially as those islands 
were so abundantly supplied with birds and other 

When Flinders met Bass in Sydney, and heard of his 
obsei-vations at Wilson's Promontory, he declared that 
there wanted no other proof of the existence of a strait 
than that of sailing positively through it ; and this the 
two friends now anxiously waited for an opportunity to 
do. Their professional duties, however, delayed the exe- 
cution of the project, but, six months later, when the 
Reliance returned from her voyage to Norfolk Island, 
Flinders explained his views to Governor Hunter, and 
the Governor gave him the Norfolk, a sloop of 25 tons, 
with a crew of eight volunteers, to attempt the circum- 
navigation of Van Diemen's Land. This voyage was 
briefly mentioned in a former paper, and it is not now 
necessary to follow it in detail, except so far as concerns 
our immediate subject, the discovery of Port Dalrymple. 
On the 7th October, 1798, Flinders and Bass sailed in Flinders' 
their tiny vessel on their now famous voyage. Their Voyage, 
first point was Cape Barren Island, and thence they ■'^^^''°-» 138 
sailed through Banks' Strait, and proceeded along the 
north coast of Tasmania. On the 3rd November, at two IhicL, 152. 
o'clock in the afternoon. Flinders saw with great 
interest indications of an opening in the land, and bore 
tide, and, rounding a low head, entered a broad inlet. 
Sailing up this inlet some three miles, they passed a low 
green island, when suddenly the sloop grounded. For- 
tunately, the ground was soft, the strong flood dragged 
the sloop over into deep water, and drove her rapidly 
onward, till the harbour suddenly expanded into a broad 
and beautiful basin, on which swam numbers of black 
swans, ducks, and wild fowl. Its shores were broken into 
points and projections, covered with wood and grass down 
to the v/ater's edge, — a sti-ong contrast to the rocky and 
sterile banks observed in sailing up Port Jackson. There 
appeared to be three arms or rivers discharging them- 
selves into this extensive basin, and, as evening v\-as 


coming ou, the sloop was anchored near to the mouth of 
the western arm. Flinders was greatly pleased with his 
discovery, to which Governor Hunter gave the name of 
Port Dalrymple, in compliment to Alexander Dalrymple, 
the well-known Hydrographer to the Admiralty. He 
employed 16 days in examining the place, explored 
Western and Middle Arms, worked his way up Whirl- 
pool Eeach, and got as far as Shoal Point and Crescent 
Shore, when, although he believed that half the river was 
still unexplored, the limited time allowed hiin compelled 
his return. The Norfolk took her departure from Low 
Head, and, sailing along the north coast, rounded Cape 
Grim, her commaiider finally settling the problem of the 
insularity of Van Diemen's Land by his circumnaviga- 

The importance of the discovery was at once recognised 
in England; and early in 1800 the Lady Nelson, a brig 
of 60 tons, was fitted out and despatched under Lieut. 
Grant to examine the new strait. It was, however, left 
to Flinders himself, in the Investigator, two years later, 
to complete his own work by making the first reliable 
survey of its northern shores. 

As we have already seen, the discovery of Bass Strait, 
and the possible colour it might give to French claims to 
the island, were among the causes which prompted King's 
hasty occupation of the Derwent by Bowen in 1803; and 
King's ^^ ^'^^ owing to King's urgent represeiitations of the im- 

Despatch, portance of forming settlements in the Straits, to assist 
21 May, the seal fisheries, and anticipate the French, that Governor 
1802. Collins' expedition was despatched to Poi-t Phillip. 

When Governor Collins found his position at Port Phillip 
untenable, he was doubtful whether he should not re- 
move his people to Port Dalrymple rather than to the 
Kine to Derwent. Governor King was also, in the first instance, 
Collins, 26 strongly in favour of the northern locality, consider- 
Nov., 1803. ing it more advantageously situated for the principal 
Kine to settlement in Van Diemen's Land, chiefly on account 
Woodriffe, of the protection it would afford to English sealers 
21 May, in the Straits from the attacks of American interlopers. 

1802. jjjg only doubt was whether the soil was as good as that 

on the Derwent, and whether the entrance to the port 
was not too dangeroxis. To enable Governor Collins 
to satisfy himself on these points, he sent the schooner 
Francis to Port Phillip to serve as a surveying vessel. 
Collins to She was in a very leaky condition, and though they 
King, 27 tried to patch her up at Port Phillip, and sent her, with 
Jan., 1804. William Collins Clark, the agricultural superintendent, 



and Humphreys, the mineralogist, to make an 
examination of Port Dalrymple, she proved so unsea- 
worthy that William Collins had to send her back to 
Sydney, and complete his voyage in the Lady Nelson, 
which he fell in with at Kent's Group. 

The Lady Nelson entered Port Dalrymple on New Collins' 
Year's Day, 1804. William Collins immediately pro- j^eport, 
ceeded with his examination. The Lady N elson anchored '^ggj^ ^' 
above Upper Island (now Pig Island), and from thence Clark's 
the examination of the yet unvisited portion of the river Report, 
was made in a boat. William Collins was delighted with 
the appearance of the country about the present site of 
Launceston, diversified with hill and plain, with good 
land both for pasture and agriculture. He went some , 

distance up the Main River (North Esk), and found ex- 
cellent land. Then he entered the Cataract Gorge. 
Grand as its towering rocks are now, the Gorge in its 
natural state, when clothed with the wild beauty of its 
native bush, and full of wild fowl, mu«t have been mag- 
nificent. William Collins says of it: "The beauty of 
the scene is probably not surpassed in the world. The 
great waterfall, or cataract, is most likely one of the 
greatest sources of this beautiful river, every part of 
which abounds with swans, ducks, and other kind'^ of 
wild fowl. On the whole, I think the River Dalrymple 
possesses a number of local advantages requisite for a 

Collins had been 18 days in Port Dalrymple, and was Collins to 
anxious to get back to the Lieut. -Governor with his ^^?^' t^Q«. 
good nev/s. A fair wind carried the Lady Nelson across ® '' 
the Straits in two days, and, on the 21st January, Lieu- 
tenant Symons brought his ship to an anchor off the 
Camp, inside Port Phillip Heads. The Camp was a 
scene of bvisy activity, and when Wni. Collins landed to 
present his report, he found that the Lieutenant-Governor 
had at last made up his hesitating mind, and that the 
establishment was on the point of sailing to the Derwent. 
It so happened that Governor King had heard such a ^^|^8 *°„- 
bad account from the captain of a schooner which had n*^ 1803 
t.ouched at Port Dalrymple for water, who painted such 
a picture of the dangers of the entrance and the hostile 
attitude of the blacks, that he had written, advising 
Collins to give up all idea of the northern port. The 
Lieutenant-Governor, therefore had the satisfaction, be- 
fore sailing, of having his superior officers approval of 
his final choice. 


Collins to TLe reports of the explorers had now lost their imme- 

King, 27 diate interest, and the Lieutenant-Governor forwarded 
Jan., 1804. ^j^gj^ ^q King with the despatch announcing his depar- 

II. The Occupation of the Tamau. 

Possibly, Governor King, if left to himself, would have 
been contented, at least for a time, with the establishment 
of the Colony at the Derwent as a sufficient safeguard 
against French designs. But the apprehensions of the 
Home Government had been thoroughly aroused by the 
Governor's despatches pressing the urgent necessity of 
occupying certain points in Bass Straits and Van Diemen's 
Land to prevent the probable intrusion of French claims 
to the territory. In was the consideration of these de- 
spatches which had led to the writing of the Minute of 
December, 1802, quoted in a former paper, and to the 
sending of Governor Collins to Port Phillip with instruc- 
tions to place a post on King Island also. The Cabinet, 
however, was not yet satisfied with the precautions taken, 
94 June ^^^' ^^^ months later. Lord Hobart addressed a despatch* 

1803. ' (24th June, 1803, p. 429) to Governor King, in the fol- 
lowing terms : — 

" It appears to be advisable that a part of the establish- 
ment now at Norfolk Island should be removed, together 
with a proportion of the settlers and convicts, to Port 
Dalrymple, the advantageous position of which, upon the 
southern coast of Van Diemen's Land, and near the 
eastern entrance of Bass" Streights, renders it, in a politi- 
cal view, peculiarly necessary that a settlement should be 
formed there, and, as far as the reports of tho:-e who have 
visited that coast can be depended upon, it is strongly re- 
commended by the nature of the soil and the goodness of 
the climate." 

The despatch proceeded to designate Lieuten.uit 
Colonel Wm. Paterson, of the New South Wales Corps. 
Lieutenant-Governor under Governor King, as the Ad- 
ministrator of the new Colony, at a salary of <£250 a 

Lord Hobart's despatch was very perplexing to King. 
The direction to occupy Port Dalrymple was too positive to 

* As an instance of the ronndal)ont way in wliich oven im- 

• portant Govornment Despatches readied tlie Colony in those 

davs, it may be mentioned that Lord Holiart's despatch was 

landed at Norfolk Island by the Adornl^ whaler, and brought 

thence to Port Jackson by the Alexander whaler. 


be disregarded, and yet the grotesquely inaccurate 
description of Port Dalrymple as on the southern"' coast 
of Van Diemen's Land, and near the eastern entrance of 
Bass Straits, introduced an element of uncertainty that 
threw him into a difficulty as to his course of action. It 
was probable that Lord Hobart's directions were the re- 
sult of a despatch of his own. dated 23rd November, 1802, 
in which he had strongly urged a settlement at Storm 
Bay Passage, Port Phillip, or King's Island, to counteract 
any intention of the French intruding a claim within the 
limits of his government. Bvit, if so, it might be " re- 
spectfiilly presvimed " that a mistake had been made in 
naming Port Dalrymple as on the south coast of Van 
Diemen's Land, and then the inference was that Storm 
Bay Passage was really intended. If this construction 
were right, then Colonel Collins' removal to the Derwent 
had anticipated the Ministers wishes. Furthermore, as 
Lord Hobart, w^ien writing, had supposed Port Phillip to 
be already occupied by Collins, would his commands be 
best fulfilled by settling Port Dalrymple or re-settling 
Port Phillip ? Or, if the despatch were literally obeyed, 
and Port Dalrymple occupied, would it not be advisable 
to send, also, a small post to Port Phillip or "Western 
Port ? 

The Governor propounded these questions to his princi- Opinion of 
pal officers, Lieutenant-Governor Colonel Pate^.^on and Officers, 
Major Johnston, of the New South Wales Corps, for their jl,^'^*-^' 
consideration and advice. They were unanimously of ' " 
opinion that the commands of the Secretary of State to 
occupy Port Dalrymple, " with a political view," were too 
explicit and peremptory to admit of hesitation, and that 
they must be immediately carried into eflFect. They 
thought that the north side of the Straits .should also be 
occupied, and a post established either at Port Phillip 
oi" "Western Port, whichever might be found the more 
eligible situation. They recommended that Colonel King to 
Paterson should forthwith be despatched to Port Dal- Hobart, 15 
rymple with a small establishment, and a guard of not less May, 1804. 
than 20 soldiers. 

Having thus settled his course of action, the Governor 
lest no time in taking steps to send a force to occupy the 
post, pending the transference of the colonists from Nor- 
folk Island. The armed colonial cutter Integrity, 56 King to 
tons, was at once fitted for sea, and a small private vessel Hobart, 14 
Aug., 1804. 

*It does not seem to have struck King that "southern" 
was probably merely a clerical error for " northern." In fact, 
this is the only possible explanation. 



10 June, 

King to 
Hobart, 14 
Aug., 1804. 

Paterson to 
King, 27 
Sept., 1804. 

of 25 tons, called the Contest, was chartered to assist. 
The two ships were to take 20 convicts and a force of 34 
soldiers, in all 56 persons. On the morning of the 7tli 
June, the New South Wales Corps was drawn up on the 
Government wharf as a guard of honour, and 
Lieutenant-Governor Paterson embarked in the 
pinnace to go on board his vessel. The pinnace left the 
wharf, the battery fired a salute, and, to quote the reporter 
of the Si/diu'i/ Gazette, " the most animated acclamations 
issxied from the shore," as the new Lieutenant-Governor 
set out to found another British Colony- — or, rather, to 
attempt to found it— for the same fate which befell the 
first attempt to found the Dervvent Settlement attended 
that to the Tamar. It was now the. depth of winter, and 
storms such as had driven back Lieuteuant Bowen on his 
attempt to reach the Derwent, just twelve months before, 
met the ships at the entrance to Bass Straits. The 
Integrity, on rounding Cape Howe, battled in vain against 
the strong westerly winds which prevailed in the Straits, 
and had to put back to Port Jackson, which she reached 
on 21st June,* her passengers all ill. in consequence of 
being battened down in the hold. The Contest, after 
beating about for a month, had to follow her consort's 
example. King was much disappointed, and made offers 
to the masters of two East India Company's ships then 
in harbour to take Paterson and his people to their desti- 
nation, ofl'ers which their charter parties prevented them 
from accepting. There was, therefore, no alternative 
but to delay the expedition until the approach of spring, 
when H.M.S. Buffalo would be available for the service 

During the interval between the return of the Integrity 
and the Departure of the /i'/^V^/o, a question of some diffi- 
culty arose respecting Paterson's relations to the Lieut. - 
Governor at the Derwent. Colonel Collins claimed that 
his appointment as Lieutenant-Governor extended to the 
whole of Van Diemen's Land, that the northei-n settle- 
ment was, therefore, within his jurisdiction, and Paterson 
under his command. This claim Paterson wholly repudi- 
ated. He contended that he had received an appoint- 
ment from the King as Lieutenant-Governor of Port Dal- 
rymple at a time when Collins was supposed to be at Port 
Phillip ; that, consequently, his command was wholly in- 
dependent of Collins, and he absolutely refused to tolerate 

* Paterson, in his despatch to Lord Camden, 14th Novem- 
ber, 1805, says he arrived in Port Jackson 17th June, 1804, 
but this is probably an error. 



any interference by the Lieut. -Governor at the Derwent 
with him or his settlement. Governor King admitted 
the cogency of Paterson's argument, and issued 
a General Order, dividing the island into two independent 
governments, to be known respectively as the Counties of 23 Sept., 
Buckingham and Cornwall, the dividing-line to be the 1804. 
42nd parallel of south latitude, each government to be 
subordinate only to himself as Governo'--in-Chief of New 
South Wales and its dependencies. 

Governor King's instructions to the new Lieut.- Iii.struc- 
Governor present curious matter for study. We may tions to 
pass over the usual directions as to the treatment of the j^^t^rson, 
aliorigines, the investigation of the products of the 1804. ' 
country, the care of clothing, stores, and live stock, the 
oversight of the convicts, the regulations for the occupa- 
tion of lands and their cultivation, religous worship, and 
so forth. But there are other features in the instructions 
which present a very striking contrast to what 
would, in these days, be thought proper to inculcate on 
the founder of a new colony. It must never be forgotten 
that these early establishments were not colonies at all in 
the modern sense, but military posts, established for 
political purposes, in which a limited number of convicts 
were utilised to provide the labour necessary for their 
maintenance. Instead, therefore, of encouraging trade 
and settlement, every possible precaution was taken lo 
ensure the most complete isolation. This had the double 
object of keeping out foreign intruders and guarding 
against the escape of the convicts. Paterson was ex- 
pressly enjoined to take particular care that all communi- 
cation with the East India Company's possessions, with 
China, or with the islands visited by any European nation, 
should be rigorously interdicted, or only allowed on the 
special authorisation of the Indian Government. No 
craft of any sort was to be built by any private person 
without a written licence from the Governor in Sydney. 
No intercourse was to be permitted between persons arriv- 
ing in any vessel and the inhabitants of the settlement 
without the Lieut. -Governor's special permission. The 
American sealers who had given so much trouble to King 
had been building vessels from the wrecks of the Sydney 
Cove and other ships. These, if met with, were to be 
seized by putting the King's mark upon them. The in- 
troduction and sale of spirits by private persons was pro- 
hibited, and any which were introduced were to be seized 
and destroyed. 



order, 22 
Sept., 1804. 
14 & 30 
Sept., 1804. 

King to 
Hobart. 20 
Dec, 1804. 
King to 
11 Aug., 
King to 
Hobart, 20 
Dec, 1804. 


Kent's Re- 
port, 28 
Nov., 1804. 

By the end of September, H.M.S. Buffalo was fitted 
and ready for sea. The armed tender Ladi/ Nelson and 
the Colonial schooners Francis and Integrity were to ac- 
company her, and assist in conveying the people and 
stores to the new colony. Paterson s establishment con- 
sisted of Dr. Jacob Mountgarrett (who had come up with 
Lieut. Bowen in the Ocean on '24th August, and on leaving, 
Risdon had received the appointment of Surgeon) ; 
Mr. Alexr. Riley, Storekeeper, at a salary of 5s. per day; 
Capt. Anthony Fenn Kemp, Ensigns Hugh Piper and 
Anderson, 64 non-commissioned officers and privates of 
the N.S. Wales Corps, and 74 convicts. One settler, 
James Hill, accompanied the party, and, possibly, another. 
In all, there were some 146 persons, all told. The troops 
were embarked on Wednesday, 3i-d October, — the music 
of the band, says our reporter of the Sydney Gazette, being 
" only interrupted by reiterated peals of acclamation from 
the spectators." On Sunday, October 14th, the Lieut. - 
Governor embarked from the Government wharf, under a 
salute of 11 guns from the battery, the band of the N.S. 
Wales Corps playing " God Save the King " and " Rule 
Britannia." Governor King and a number of ladies and 
officers accompanied him on board the Buffalo, which 
saluted with 11 gims. The little squadron got clear of 
the Heads the next forenoon. The ships had a very 
rough voyage down, and a succession of heavy gales 
separated them. Most of the live stock died ; and it was 
not until the 28th — a fortnight after leaving Port Jack- 
son — that the Buffalo reached Eastern Cove, Kent's 
Group, where she found the Francis. Here she lay at 
anchor for six days, while it blew a strong gale from the 
westward. On the 3rd November, the ships left their 
anchorage, and next morning the Buffalo made the 
entrance of Port Dalrymple. None of her consorts were 
in sight to try the channel for the larger vessel ; and Cap- 
lain Kent, vv-ith many misgivings, determined to make 
the venture ; for he says, in his report to Goveinor King, 
■' I saw little probability of the settlement, ever being 
formed unless some risk was run. I therefore bore up, in 
dark cloudy weather, blowing strong at north-west right 
on shore, for a harbour little — very little — -known, hoping, 
should any accident happen to the ship, I might meet witli 
every consideration for my zeal." After what he ha J 
heard of the strength of the tides, he was surprised to find 
it running only \\ miles per hour, and avers "that a 
common four-oared jolly-boat, rowed ill, could always, 
even in the height of the springs, head the tide between 


Green Island and Outer Cove, as it never exceeded three 
miles an hour." The night coming on, the ship 
came to an anchor below Green Island. It blew very- 
hard in the night, and harder in the morning, the anchor 
came home, and the ship drove on shore on the 
eastern shoals. Here she lay beating for three 
days; but the Integrity, Acting Lieut. Bobbins, 
coming in, they lightened the ship of part of her 
cargo; and on the 4th day. after great exertions, Paterson to 
she was got off, fortunately, without damage, and Camden, 14 
came to an anchor in Outer Cove (George Town). Here ^^J'-' 1^05. 
the military, prisoners, and stores were landed, the Kini^T^ *° 
tents were pitched, and on the 11th November pos- Nov.,' 1804. 
session was formally taken by hoisting H.M. Colours under 
a royal salute from the Buffalo and three volleys from the 

The other two ships did not arrive till the 21st, the 
Lady Nelson having suffered much damage from the 
storm, having had her decks swept, and having lost all her 
live stock. Before leaving, Captain Kent erected a flag- 
staff at Low Head, and other beacons, for the guidance of 
vessels entering the port. 

The day after taking possession (12th November), the Ibid. 
camp was approached by a body of some 80 natives, under 
the lead of a chief. Presents were offered to the chief — 
a looking-glass, two handkerchiefs, and a tomahaAvk. 
Paterson says that the looking-glass puzzled them much, 
and that, like monkeys, on looking at it, they put their 
hands behind it, to feel if there was any one there. When 
they came to the boat, they wanted to carry off everything 
they sav/, but when made to understand that this could 
not be allowed, they retired peaceably. Shortly after- 
wards, however, the blacks returned in greater force, and 
made an attack on an outpost. A correspondent of the 
Sydney Gazette thus describes the incident: — " An inter- 16 Dec, 
view took place with the natives, which began very amic- 1804. 
ably, but, unfortunately, theii- natural impetuosity has 
caused a temporary suspension of civilities, they having 
attempted to throw a sergeant from a rock into the sea. 
and attacked his guard of two men, which compelled them 
to fire in their own defence." One black was killed, and 
another wounded, in this affray. 

The hurried landing at Outer Cove was necessitated 'b» 
the accident to the Buffalo, and the pressing need of im- 
m^ediately unloading her. As there was a sufficient stream PaterRon + 
oi water for present use, and about ICO acres of land that King 26 
might do for cultivation, Paterson thought it best to keep Nov.,'l804. 



order, 19 
Nov., 1804. 

Paterson to 
King, 26 
Nov., 1804. 

his people at the spot where they had hmded until he 
should have had time to explore the river. Captain 
Kemp. Dr. Mountgarrett, and Mr. Reilly, the store- 
keeper, were appointed the first magistrates ©f the 
settlement, Dr. Mountgarrett acting as Superinten- 
dent of Public Works. Mr. Thos. Massey was made 
chief constable, with three subordinates ; two overseers 
were appointed, and Jas. Hill, the solitary settler, was 
put in charge of the live stock. His duties were not 
onerous, for only a horse, four head of cattle, three sheep, 
and 15 swine had survived the storms of the passage. 
There was no chaplain, and, as Paterson was at a loss for 
a person to perform Divine service, he induced Captain 
Kent to discharge from the Bu-ffalo a Mr. Edward Main, 
who, we may presume, had some qualifications for 
the office, and who was thereupon installed to attend to 
the spiritual wants of the little community. The 
prisoners were set to work to erect temporary huts for 
themselves, which were placed clear of the camp on the 
opposite side of the creek, to prevent, as far as possible, 
communication with the troops. The prisoners worked 
hard and cheerfully from daylight to dark every day, and 
in a fortnight from the time of landing the huts were com- 

The Governor's next care was to begin cultivation, for, 
with a salt meat diet, a plentiful supply of vegetables was 
most important to the health of his people. A gang of 
men was, therefore, set to work to break up ground. The 
means at hand for cultivation were limited ; hardly any 
agricultural implements had been provided. The 
seeds had nearly all been destroyed by rats on the pas- 
sage down, and most of the plants sent had died, though a 
few fruit trees and strawberry and hop plants had been 
saved. The Governor had to buy potatoes for seed from 
the master of the Integrity, as the authorities had not 
thought it worth while to send any for the use of the 
colony. Paterson's despatches show that, in fitting out 
the expedition, there had been the same extraordinary 
want of care and foresight in providing necessary things 
which seems to have been characteristic of oflicial pre- 
parations for all these early settlements. He complains 
to Governor King that the prisoners were wholly destitute 
of shoes, and that he had been compelled to ask the purser 
of the Biiffdio to let him have 100 pairs from the vessel's 
stock ; while, in such a vital matter as the supply of pro- 
visions, the quantity sent was so inadequate, in view of 
the difficulty and uncertainty of obtaining timely aid 


from headquarters, that he had thought it necessary to 
supplement his stock with salt meat from the Bnfahjs 

The Lieut. -Governor had already made some short ex- 
cursions from Outer Cove, and Captain Kent, of the 
Buffalo, had examined Western Arm, where he had fovind Paterson to 
good streams of v/ater. land fit for cultivation, and good J^^^^' |^ 
timber; and, from his report, Paterson thought ^^ov., 1804. 
that it appeared to be the most eligible situation for the 
seat of government. It had taken him three weeks to 
get his people fairly settled at Outer Cove, and he was now 
free to go up the river, and thoroughlj^ examine the 
country. On the 28th November, therefore, he went on Paterson's 
board the Lady Xelson. He took with him Surgeon Journal. 
Mountgarrett ; with Ensign Piper, and a corporal and 3 ^""* 
privates of the N.S. Wales Corps, as a guard. They 
ascended the river, making observations of the country 
and soil as they went, till they arrived at the junction of 
the two rivers forming the present port of Launce.^ton ; 
and here the vessel came to anchor. Paterson was 
gi'eatly pleased with the park-like country on the present 
site of Launceston, and considered it better pasture laud 
than the Seven Hills, near Parramatta. The party now 
proceeded up the main river (now North Esk) in the ship's 
boat and the Governor's wherry. "The jovirnal 
notes the rich plains on the river banks ; and, further on 
(near St. Leonards), the beautiful rising ground to the 
left, the green hills covered to the top with trees, and on 
the other side of the river — which was about 20 yards 
wide — the plain with stately gums, great wattles 60 to 80 
feet high, and dense scrub. They pushed on with diffi- 
culty, the river being blocked with drift-wood and fallen 
trees, and various rapids giving them much trouble, until 
they reached a point^ — apparently about the White 
Hills — above which they found it impossible to take the 
boat. Here they pitched their tent on a rising ground, 
and looked with delight over the rich plains, or, rather, 
meadows, covered with luxuriant herbs and pasture, and 
waiting for the plough. Paterson says, " From my tent Ibid., 515. 
there is an extent which is seen in one view of nearly three 
miles in length, and, at places, one in breadth, along the 
banks of the river, where thousands of acres may be 
ploughed without falling a tree. These plains extend 
upwards of ten miles along the winding banks, and every- 
where equally fertile." He found good clay for 
bricks, abundant timber for building, reeds for thatching, 
with everything necessary for agricultural settlement, and 


considered the country superior to any yet discovered. 
They made excursions on foot some miles further up the 
river; and then, " having ascertained to a certainty that 
the country in general can hardly be equalled either for 
agricultural or pasture land,'' they made their way bacic 
down the river, and reached the Ladi/ Nelson near the 
Cataract, after an absence of four days. Paterson 
describes the Cataract Gorge, with its stupendous 
columns of basalt rising one above another to over 500 feet 
in height, as picturesque beyond description — the effect 
being heiglitened by the number of black swans, unablo 
to fly, in the smooth water close to the fall. Paterson 
named the Cataract River the Sovith Esk ; and. to the 
main river, including what is now known as the Norfh 
Esk, he gave the name of the Tamar, out of compliment 
to Governor King, whose birthplace was on the English 
stream of that name. After an absence of a foi'tnight, 
the Lady Nelson got back to Western Arm. and 
entered that shallow inlet. Here Paterson landed to 
examine, for the second time, a piece of land at the head 
of the Arm, between two streams a quarter of a mile 
apart, and which he had named Kent's Burn and 
Paterson's M'Millan's Burn. He says, " On landing, the soil 
Journal, ig very forbidding, being a hard whitish clay mixed 

with quartz ; but towards the hills there are 
patches of excellent ground, and the finest timber I ever 
saw (gum and wattle). Boats, at high water, can come 
up close to either of the runs. After much labour and 
attention I have paid in examining every part of 
the river, I have seen none so advantageously 
situated for a permanent settlement as this, where there 
is an easy communication with vessels arriving in this 
port, as well as with settlements higher up the river. 
These favourable circvxmstances have induced me to de- 
termine upon removing the principal part of my small 
military force, with most of the prisoners, and commence 
clearing ground and erecting the necessary buildings be 
fore the winter sets in." 

The question naturally arises, by what extraordinary 
perversity of reasoning did Paterson arrive at the conclu- 
sion that the miserable patch of land at the head of 
Western Arm was pre-erninently the best place for his 
chief settlement 1 He had just come back from a visit 
to the splendid site of Launceston, and the fertile banks 
of the North Esk, which he described as siiperior to any 
country yet discovered, either in Van Diomen's Land or 



New South Wales, and as possessing every possible advan- 
tage for a settlement, including approach to it by a fine 
river, navigable for large ships. What induced him, 
then, after anxious thought, to pass this by, and de- 
liberately make choice of a narrow strip of land which he 
describes as having a forbidding soil, and which was 
situated at the head of a shallow and muddy inlet not 
accessible even to boats except at high water? The ex- 
pJanaiion, I think, is to be found in the policy of the Home 
Government. Founding a colony, according to modern 
ideas, means to open up the country as speedily as pos- 
sible, to settle the lands with energetic cultivators, who 
will develop the natural resources of the soil, to attract a 
population who will thrive themselves, and advance the 
colony by the extension of an export trade. Nothing 
was further from the thoughts of the Home authorities 
than any plan for colonising in this sense. New Holland 
was to be, not a colony, but a place for the reception of 
criminals — a settlement to relieve the Home country of 
the ever-growins' and over vhelming difficulty of disposing 
of her criminaf population. The British Government 
not only did not encourage colonisation, they endeavoured 
as far as possible to prevent it, or, at least, to confine it 
within the narrowest limits, permitting it only in so far as 
it might he made to serve as an auxiliary to their sole 
object— the maintenance of a penal settlement at the 
smallest possible cost. The subordinate establishments 
at Port Phillip, the Derwent, Port Dalrymple, Newcastle, 
and other places, were planted, in the first instance, as 
military posts, to prevent France establishing herself in 
spots where she might be able to harrass the great penai 
establishment at Port Jackson. The expeditions of 
Bowen, of Collins, and Paterson were mainly pre- 
cautionary measures, pai;t of the military policy of 
England in her great struggle with France. Prisoners 
were a usefvil part of these early establishments, as pro- 
viding labour which, by the erecting of buildings and cul- 
tivation of the soil, might make these posts as little burden- 
some as possible to the national exchequer. These out- 
lying settlements, also, if favourably situated, might, in 
course of time, become valuable penal stations. Some of 
them, such as the Derwent and Port Dalrymple, would 
further serve the useful purpose of ports of refuge for the 
East India Company's vessels in the China trade, and 
form convenient posts for the protection of the whale and 
seal fisheries from American and other foreign in- 


Boweu's choice of Risdon, and Collins" abandonment 
of Port riiillip, when he could not find a suitable locality 
near the Heads, were not, as is too often supposed, the 
result of incapacity and blindness. They wanted to form 
a station, not to plant a colony — a station readily acces- 
sible from the sea — and the resources of the interior of 
the country were of little concern to them, so long as they 
could find in theii* immediate neighbourhood sutfi- 
cient pasture for their cattle, and enough agricultural 
land to yield a food supply for their people. It was, 
doub.tless, considerations such as these which led Paterson 
deliberately to turn away from the fertile banks of the 
North Esk, and fix his people on the little strip of for- 
bidding soil at the head of We-tern Arm. 
Paterson to The Lieut. -Governor gave the name of York Town to 
King, 27 the spot he had chosen for his town. He marked out 
Dec, 1804. i\^Q ground for erecting dwellings, and set the prisoners 
to work to load the Ladi/ Nelson and Francis with a por- 
tion of the stores and with tv.'o wooden houses which 
he had brought with him from Port Jackson. He 
detained the Lady Kelson until after the new year, in 
order to assist in the removal from Outer Cove, and when 
Sydney she sailed for Port Jackson, on the llth January, 

Gazette. 1805, she took some tons of the iron ore which he had 

found in great abundance in the neighbourhoo;! of his 

From this point it is difficult to trace the history 6f 
York Town from the official papers. Patei'son's de- 
spatches present a great contrast to the careful and 
volumiiious reports sent by Governor Collins from the 
Derwent. Collins could give interest even to an official 
document, and introduced into his despatches an amount 
of graphic detail which not only gives us a full history of 
events, but enables us to reconstruct the actual condition 
of his colony. Paterson was neither so precise nor bO 
picturesque as Collins; his official communications are 
meagre, and his carelessness in supplying regular and full 
returns brovxght upon him the censure of Governor Bligh. 
The Lieut.-Governor's deficiencies can, however, be partly 
supplied from the columns of the Sydnty Gazette, whic'i, 
during the year 1805, contained many letters giving in- 
formatior; with regard to the new settlement at Port Dal- 
n,u].^ In January, or early in February, 1805, the schooner 

10 March, Integrity was despatched by Governor King to examine a 
1805. port situi.ted to the westward of the mouth of the Tamar — 

presumably. Port Sorell — which had been discovered by 


Surgeon Mountgarrett and Ensign Piper, and by them 
named SnpjDly River. On the 22nd she left, carrying a 
report that the country between the Supply River and 
York Town had been found so good that it was intended 
to give the first free settlers locations of land in that dis- 
trict. The buildings at York Town were rapidly ap- 
proaching completion. The colony at Outer Cove was 
doing well, the gardens had flourished, and on the 18th 
January (ten weeks after the first landing) the Governor 
and others v;ho had cultivated small plots of ground had 
peas. French beans, potatoes, and turnips. Vegetables 
were plentiful, and it was fully expected that the culti- 
vation of grain would be an equal success. Towards the Syclni y 
end- of March, H.M.S. Baffalo again sailed for the Tamar, ^?^^^^\ 
ca.rryi u g an additional military force, 50 prisoners — mostly f oqs '^""^ 
from Norfolk Island — 2 horses, 8 head of cattle, 135 sheep, 
and a quantity of stores. This made the total strength 
about 200 persons. Mrs. Paterson was a passenger by Paterson to 
the Buffalo, and the transference of headquarters to York ^^^^'-i^rvr 
Town was completed before the end of March. ^ ' 

By this time Paterson had received a welcome addition 
to his resources. Lord Hobart had, in 1803, directed 
Governor King to enter into an arrangement with Camp- 
bell and Co., of Sydney, to import cattle from India foi' 
the use of Collins' Port Phillip settlement. When Collins Campbell 
removed to the Derwent, King an-anged v\ath Campbell ^ ^^I'ini 
and Co. to supply these cattle to one or other of the Van '' ^^ ' 
Diemen's Land settlements. The directions as to their 
final destination were given in a '.vav sufricienlly curious, 
and wjiicii illustrates the primitive methods in use in those 
early days. The master of the vessel bringing the stock, 
on his arrival at the entrance of Bass Strait, was to send 
a boat ashore at Sea Elephant Bay, King's Island, whei'e 
he would find a shed, from the raftei-s of which a bottle 
would be suspended, and in the bottle he would find a 
letter with the Governor's directions as to the port at 
which the cattle were to be landed. The contract price King to 
was to be £25 per head for the cows landed, and £5 per Camden, 30 
head for the calves. Nine hundred and ten cows were put April, 1806. 
on board the ship Sydney at Calcutta. Of these, 298 died 
on the passage; the remaining 612, uith 10 calves, being 
safely landed at Port Dalrymple at the end of March. The 
cost to the Imperial Government of this shipment was 

As York Town did not afford sufficient pasture for the Paterson to 
stock, the Lieutenant-Governor had them landed at Out^iv King, 14 
Cove, where Ensign Piper was placed in charge of them • ^^^ ^^^^- 



Paterson to 
King, 30 
Dec. l«C'r... 



The change of clunate and food, however, was so injurious 
to them that their numbers rapidly diminished, and they 
were removed to the less exposed western shore, where 
sheds were erected for their shelter. In spite of all care 
and the labour of a large number of men in providing 
them with fodder, the winter reduced them s.o 
much that the return of spring saw only 251 of the 
Bengal cows surviving. Paterson, therefore, had 
them removed, first to Point Rapid, and then to the 
plains on the North Esk, where they found better pasture 
and a more congenial climate. Although York TowTi 
was now the headquarters, Paterson still kept up an estab- 
lishment at Outer Cove, as his port and his depot for 
stock. He also had a small post at the Low Head 'flag- 
staff and at Green Island, which formed his store depot. 
This did not meet with the approval of the Governor at 
Sydney, who objected to the division of his forces, and 
thought they ought to be concentrated at his principal 

There is little more to tell respecting the York Town 
Settlement. After a few months' trial, Paterson found 
the site so unsuitable that, in March, 1806, he moved his 
headquarters to the banks of the Noi-th Esk — the present 
site of Launceston. A small establishment was, how- 
ever, maintained in the old port for upward.^ of a year 
longer, and then York Town was finally abandoned. 

For long years afterwards the whole district was de- 
serted, save for a few scattered and insignificant holdings. 
Towards the year 1870 ( I think) attention was directed to 
the working of the rich iron deposits in the neighboui'- 
hood of Western Arm, and large smelting works 
were erected at Ilfracombe. The enterprise proved a 

Though the iron industry had failed, gold was destined 
to restore the fortunes of the district. Gold was dis- 
covered, in 1870, at Cabbage-tree Hill, in the vicinity of 
Middle Arm, and, by the development of the Tasmania 
Mine, a considerable poiDulation has been attracted, 
so that in the present year we have the town of 
Beaconsfield a prosperous mining centre, claiming to be 
the third town in the Colony, within less than five 
miles of the spot which Lieutenant-Governor Pater- 
son designed to make the capital of northern Tas- 

Anyone who has the curiosity to see the ruins of this 
early settlement may easily reach the spot from Beacons- 
field. A rough bush-track, practicable for a chaise-cart, 



winds in a north-westerly direction through raiserably- 
poor country, covered with gum forest and a heath-like 
scrub, intei-mingled with the dwarf grass-tree. After 
travelling for about 5 miles along this track, and crossing 
the Anderson's Creek of Paterson, we reach M'Millan s 
Burn, now known as Massey's Creek, and emerge from 
the bush. Between this creek and a creek on the nortli. 
called by Paterson Kent's Burn, but now known as the 
York Town Rivulet, just at the head of the Western 
Arm is a cleared flat of indiflFerent land, 300 to 400 yards 
wide. This is the site of Paterson's settlement. On the 
banks of the northern creek are some fair grass paddocks ; 
and immediately beyond, rises an abrupt, almost preci- 
pitous, wooded ridge, to which Paterson gave the name of 
Mount Albany. From the side of this hill the flat^ou 
which York Town stood lies spread out below us. Two 
little wooden cottages, or huts, surrounded by neglected 
orchards, are the only habitation-. To the left stretcti 
the shallow waters of Western Ann. fringed with extensive 
mud-flats, which are l.are at low water. The 
owner of one of the huts on the desolate clearing 
i= an old man, the son of a man who came with Paterson's 
first establishment. He is ready to tell the visitor of 
blacks and bushrangers, and of the days when there was a 
Government House, and York Town was busv with sol- 
diers and prisoners. 

Ruins of the original Settlement there are none. ihe 
old inhabitant points to a hole, from which the founda- 
tious have been long ago removed, as the site of Govern- 
ment House, and to a clump of wattles as the spot where 
once stood Captain Kemps house, the birthplace of the 
late Mr George A. Kemp. This is all;— except that, 
back in the bush, where the little valley widens, are a 
few mounds under tl^e gum-trees, half hidden by the low 
scrub, and indicating neglected and forgotten graves. 




Abel Janszoon Tasman was unquestionably one of the 
greatest, if not the greatest, of the navigators between 
Magellan, who in the early years of the 16th century 
first crossed the Pacific Ocean, and Cook, who in the 
latter years of the 18th practically opened Oceania and 
Australia to Europe. 

Little is known of Tasman 's personal history, except 
that he was born about the year 1602, at Hoorn on the 
Zuyder Zee, a seaport which produced many another 
hardy navigator. Tasman has made familiar in our seas 
the name of one of these fellow townsmen, the Cornelis- 
zoon Schouten, who in 1616 doubled the Cape, afterwards 
called the Horn in honour of the birthplace of its dis- 

That Tasman's merit has not received due recognition, 
and that his fame has not been as wide as his achieve- 
ments deserved, is the fault of his own countrymen. In 
the 16th and 17th centuries the persistent policy of the 
Dutch was to conceal the discoveries of their navigators, 
and suppress their charts, for fear other nations should 
reap advantage from the knowledge and rival them in the 
eastern seas. In later times when this motive had lost 
its force, Tasman 's countrymen were strangely indifferent 
to the honour which their great sailor had won for his 
native land. Of his second voyage in 1644 — in which 
he explored the northern coast of Australia, and laid 
down with painstaking accuracy the shores of the Gulf 
of Carpentaria — we have to this day only meagre hints 
and the record contained in a sketch map. Of his more 


famous voyage to the Great Southland in 1642 — in 
which he discovered Tasmania and New Zealand, and 
made a great step towards solving the vexed problem 
of the fancied Terra Australis — the journal remained 
unpublished for more than two centuries. It is true 
that a short abstract of this voyage was published in 
Holland late in the 17tli century, and was shortly after- 
wards translated into English, and included in several 
collections of voyages made by English and French 
editors, and that Valentyn, in his great work on the 
Dutch Ea-t Indies published in 1726, gave a more ex- 
tended account, illustrated by copies of Tasman's maps 
and sketches. But the journal itself remained practically 
unknown until a copy of it and of the original sketches 
and charts was discovered in London in 1776 and pur- 
chased for half a guinea. This MS. afterwards came 
into the possession of Sir Joseph Banks, and he employed 
the Rev. C. G. Woide, a Dutch clergyman living in 
London, to make a translation of it. Thirty years later 
the substance of this translation was printed by Dr. 
Burney in his " History of Discovery in the South Sea," 
published in 1814. Woide's MS. is now in the British 
Museum, and a verbatim copy of the part relating to 
our island has lately been made by Mr. Bonwick for the 
Tasmaniau Government. In Tasman's own country his 
original journal remained neglected for more than two 
centuries, until in the year 1860 it was printed in extenso 
at Amsterdam, under the editorship of Mr. Jacob 

Tasman's expedition was probably the fii'st systematic 
attempt made by the Dutch to explure the Great South 
Land. In the early years of the 17th century the 
Western Coast of Australia had been several times 
sighted by Dutch Captains. Ships, bound for the Dutch 
settlements at Batavia, had been driven to the southward 
by storms, and the resulting discoveries had, therefore, 
been to a large extent involuntary, or at least accidental. 
In the year 1642, however, the Governor-General 
Anthony Van Diemen, and the Council of Netherlands- 
India, determined to despatch from Batavia a proporly 
equipped expedition, having for its sole objecr, the dis- 
covery of the Great Sauthern Continent. The instruc- 

* Journaal van de reis naar lict onbekcndo Zuidland in den 
jare 1642, door Abel Jansz, Tasman ; mcdcgedeeld door Jacob 
Swart. Amsterdam, 18G0. 


tions to the commander, prepared by their du-ection, 
have been preserved. They contain a detailed statement 
of all that was then known by the Dutch of the geography 
of those parts, and they prescribe the course that the 
ahips were topvirsue. The command of the expedition 
was entrusted to Tasman, then 40 years old, and the ship 
Heemskerk was assigned to him for the service, vith the 
little fly-boat Zeehcin as tender. Tasman sailed from 
Batavia on August 14 ; reached Mauritius (then a Dutch 
settlement) on September 5, and sailed thence for the 
South on October 5. He held a S.E. course until on 
November 6 he had reached 100 deg. E. long, in lat. 
49 deg. S., without finding any signs of the supposed 
continent. A council of oflicers was held, and the 
chief pilot, Francis Jacobsen, advised that the course 
should be altered, and that the ships should make for lat.^ 
44 deg. S. until 130 deg. E. Ion. was reached, c;hen, if 
no mainland mas met with, they should sail into 40 deg. 
E. lat., and steer on that parallel until they reached 
200 deg. E. long. By this course he thought they would 
be sure to fall in with islands, and having so far solved 
the problem of the great southern continent, he advised 
that they should stand north for the Solomon Islands, 
whence they might shape their course for home. By 
the middle of November they came to the conclusion 
that they had passed the extreme limits of the supposed 
continent, but on the 24th of the month land v/as 
seen bearing east by north, distant 10 Dutch miles (40 
miles English). Unlike the invariable low sandy shore 
which former captains had described as characteristic 
of the Great Southland, the country before them was 
mountainous, and clothed with dark forest. Tasman 
says: "This is the furthest land in the South Sea we 
met with, and as it has not yet been known to any 
European we called it Anthony Van Diemen's Land, in 
honour of the Governor-General, our master, who sent 
us out to make discoveries. The islands round abovit, as 
many as were known to us, we named in honour of the 
Council of India." They skirted the newly discovered 
land, and on December 1 came to an anchor in a bay on 
the east coast. On December 3 they weighed anchor 
and sailed north until they reached a point about St. 
Patrick's Head, from whence they stood away eastward 
to make new discoveries. After eight days they sighted 
land, which Tasman called Stat en Land, thinking that 
it might be part of the Southern continent and joined to 


Stateu Land, cast of Tierra del Fiiego. (When this 
supposition was shortly afterwards shown to be an error,* 
the name was changed to that of New Zealand.) After 
a fatal encounter with the Maoris, Tasnian sailed along 
the west coast of New Zealand to Cape Maria Van 
Diemen, and thence took a north-east course, discovering 
Amsterdam and other islands, and after skirting the 
north coast of New Guinea, he returned to Batavia. 
In his second voyage in 1644, Tasman again sailed 
from Batavia and explored the west, north-west, and 
north coasts of Australia, the Gulf of Carpentaria, and 
the south coast of New Guinea. Thus in the two 
voyages, though he left the question of the existence of 
a southern continent still unsolved, he had made the first 
complete circumnavigation of Au.stralia and New Guinea. 

We may now turn our attention to identifying the 
parts of the coast of our island which were sighted by 
Tasman. The difficulty is that his longitudes are very 
uncertain, and his latitudes, though less variable, do not 
agree with modern observations, being in general some 
9 or 10 miles too southerly. t His longitudes are quite 
hopeless. Their vincertainty is shown by the fact that he 
makfes h difference of 3 dcg. 40 min. between the west 
coast and Frederick Henry Bay, while the true difference 
is only 2 deg. 48 min. — an error of 52, or nearly a degree 
in that short distance. Many of his positions are stated 
to have been estimated by reckoning, and we know that 
in those days the ascertainment of longitude by obser- 
vation was always very uncertain. 

It is generally stated that the first land sighted by 
Tasman was near Point Hibbs, and his little chart of 
Van Diemen's Land appears to favour this opinion, but 
an examination of his journal leads us to a different 
conclusion. From the entries in the journal it is evident 
that his position on November 24, when he first saw the 
land, is not laid doAvn on the chart at all. The latitude 
entered for noon that day is 42 deg. 25 min. As the 

* By the voyage of Brouwer round Cape Horn in 1643. 

t This conclusion is reached by a comparison of the lati- 
tudes shown on his chart for his ancliorage on the east coast, 
for Maria Island, the Friars, and Maatsuyker Island. On 
the other hand, he gives the latitude of the point where he 
approached close to shore as 42 deg. 30 min., the true lati- 
tude of Point Hibbs being 42 deg. 38 min. 



-I C 1 1 (_ 

_i I : r 1- 


.*i c 1- 

—I r 1 1 1 1 1 — 


weather was clear this was probably the observed lati- 
tude, and making allowance for the usual error we may 
place it some miles more to the north, say 42 deg. 20 min. 
or 42 deg. 15 min. From noon he sailed four hours E. 
by N. before he sighted land bearing E. by N. 40 
English miles distant. When evening fell some three 
hours later this course would have brought him to a 
latitude a little to the northward of Cape Sorell (42 deg. 
12 min.) This position would agree very well with his 
description of the land as he saw it on that evening, and 
which he describes as "very high." " Towards evening 
we saw three high mountains to the E.S.E. and to the 
N.E. We also saw two mountains, but not so high as 
those to the southward." 

Flinders in his circumnavigation of the island identi- 
fied the two mountains to the N.E. as those named by 
him Heemskirk and Zeehan, after Tasmans ship. They 
are visible at about 30 miles distance. Now, with 
Heemskirk and Zeehan bearing N.E., at a distance of 
say 20 miles, Mount Sorell, the southern peaks of the 
West Coast Range, and the Frenchman's Cap, would be 
nearly E.S.E., while the centre of the West Coast Range, 
seen over the low sandy foreshore north of Macqviarie 
Harbour, would fit Tasman's description of the very high 
land in front of him. If the land near Point Hibbs had 
been first sighted, Mount Heemskirk would have been 
at least 50 miles distant, and not visible. It is therefore 
probable that the first land seen by the Dutch navigator 
was the mountainous country to the north of Macquarie 
Harbovir. Without further observation the point must 
remain doubtful, but when we get the much-needed and 
long-expected Admiralty survey of the West Coast it 
will doubtless be possible to fix precisely the spot of 
Tasman's landfall. 

When the shades of evening fell over the strange shore 
they had just discovered it was deemed prudent to run 
out to sea during the night, and when morning broke 
the land was far distant. The bi-eeze had died away, 
and it was noon before they had enough wind to run in 
again towards the shore. By 5 in the evening they 
were within 1 2 miles of the land, and they kept on their 
course until within one Dutch mile (4 English miles) of 
what was without doubt Point Hibbs. 

This was the opinion of Flinders, than whom there 
could be no higher authority on such a question, and 
Tasman's sketch, rough as it is, seems conclusive. Point 


Hibbs is there laid down as an island, but its distinc- 
tive form — unlike any point lying to the northward — is 
correctly shown.* 

The ships stood out to sea again and sailed south-east 
in thick, foggy weather, in which only glimpses of the 
coast were obtained. Tasman took some of the high 
headlands and mountains about Port Davey for islands, 
calling them De Witt and Sweers Islands. Then he 
rounded the South-West Cape, and named '.he Maat- 
suyker Islands, passing close to a small island about 12 
miles from the mainland which looked like a lion, and 
which was identified afterwards by Flinders as the rock 
named by Furneaux the Mewstone. Thence he passed 
between the mainland and a rock which he named Pedra 
Branca t (White Rock) from its resemblance to Pedra 
Branca oflF the coast of China, and sailed past the en- 
trance of D'Entrecasteaux Channel without entering it, 
though in his chart he marks an opening in the coast. 
Rounding the Friars (which he called Boreels Isles) on 
November 29 he bore up for a large bay, intending to 
anchor there. When he had almost reached his intended 
anchorage I a heavy storm arose, and he was driven out 
so far to sea that next morning he could hardly discern 
the land. It was from this incident that Storm Bay got 
its name. When the wind moderated he continued his 
easterly course, and rounding Tasman's Island (the 
Pillar) he turned northward along the east coast of Tas- 
man's and Forestier's Peninsulas until, on December 1, 
an hour after sunset, he came to anchor in a good port in 
22 fathoms, the bottom fine, light-grey, sand. " Where- 
fore," says Tasman piously, " we ought to lift up thankful 

* The only diflBculty in reconciling the positions of the two 
days (Nov. 24 and 25) lies in the fact that the difference of 
latitude given in the journal is 5 min. only. The difference 
of latitude between Cape Sorell, where we suppose him to 
have been on the first evening, and Point Hibbs, where he 
certainly was on the second, is 26 miles. The discrepancy 
may, however, be accounted for. On the second day tliey 
had southerly wind and thick weather, and probably got no 
observation. They had been standing off and on for 24 hours, 
and currents unknown to them would probably lead to error 
in estimating their position. The probability of error in 
Tasman's latitude is increased by the fact that he makes the 
latitude 42 deg. 30 min. instead of 42 deg. 38 min., the error 
being too northerly instead of too southerly, as usual. 

t Known to our fishermen as " Peter's Bank." 
i The anchorage he aimed at was the same where Furneaux 
anchored in 1773, and which he named Adventure Bay. 


hearts to Almighty God/' The position of this anchor- 
age, as shown in Tasman's chart, is north-west of the rocky 
islet now called Green Island, just north of the basaltic 
cliffs of Cape Frederick Henry. 

On December 2, early in the morning, the boat was 
sent to explore, and entered a bay a good 4 miles to the 
north-west (Blackman's Bay). The boat was absent all 
day, and returned in the evening with a quantity of 
green-stuff which was found fit to cook for vegetables. 
The crew reported that they had rowed some miles after 
passing through the entrance to the bay (now known as 
the Narrows). They had heard human voices, and a 
sound like a trumpet or small gong (probably a cooey), 
but had seen no one. They saw trees from 12 to 15 feet 
round, and 60 to 65 feet up to the first branch. In the 
bark of these trees steps had been hacked with a flint for 
the purpose of climbing to the birds' nests. From the 
steps being five feet apart they inferred that the natives 
were either very tall,* or had some unknown method of 
climbing. The forest was thin and unencumbered by 
scrub, and many of the tree trunks were deeply burnt by 
fire. In the bay were great numbers of gvills, ducks, 
and geese. At various times dviring the day both the 
boats' crews and the people on board the ships had seen 
smoke rising from different points on shore, '' so that 
without doubt in this place must be men, and these of 
uncommon height." 

The next day (Dec. 3) the boats went to the south- 
east corner of the bay in which the ships were anchored, 
in order to get fresh water, but, though they found a 
lagoon, the shore was so low that the waves had broken 
through, and the water was too brackish for use. The 
wind blew strongly from the east and south-east, and in 
the afternoon, when they again tried to effect a landing 
with the boats, the sea ran so high that one boat was 
obliged to return to the ship. The other larger boat, 
under the command of Tasman himself, made for a little 
bay to the W.S.W. of the ships, but the sea was too 
rough to allow of landing. The carpenter, Peter Jacob- 
sen, volunteered to swim ashore with a pole on which was 
the Prince's flag. He planted the flag-pole in the ground 
on the shore of the bay, and thus Tasman took possession 
of our island for the Dutch. 

• The early navigators had a fixed idea that these southern 
lands were inhabited by giants. At the Three Kings, north 
of New Zealand, Tasman describes the men they saw walking 
on the shore as being of gigantic stature. 


Next morning at daybreak (Dec. 4), the storm having 
subsided, and the wind blowing off shore, they weighed 
anchor and stood to the northward, passing Maria Island 
and Schoiiten Island, so named by Tasman after his 
fellow-townsman of the good port of Hoorn. 

On the following morning (Dec. 5), he took his 
departure from a high round mountain (St. Patrick's 
Head) and stood away to the eastward to make fi'esh 

Of the localities as^sociated with the discovery of this 
island, the one rouiid which the chief interest centres is 
Frederick Henry Bay and its ncighbourheed. The name 
has been dislocated from its rightful position on the map, 
and has been transfered to another part of the coast, 
where it is now fixed by long usage. Tasman never saw 
what is now popularly known as Frederick Henry Bay. 
The bay to which he gave the name of the Stadtholder 
of Holland was in the immediate vicinity of his anchorage 
on the north-east coast of Forestier's Peninsula. Its 
exact locality the records of the voyage leave a little 
doubtful. The journal contains no names of places, but 
the account of the planting of the flag would lead to the 
inference that he gave the Prince's* name to the bay in 
which his ships lay at anchor, on the shore of which the 
Prince's flag was set up, and which is now known as 
Marion Bay. The charts, however, lead rather to the 
conclusion that it is the inner port or arm of the sea (now 
Blackman's Bay) which is the true Bay of Frederik 
Hendrik. The copy of the map in Burney leaves the 
point doubtful, the name being written on the land be- 
tween the two ports. But in the chart as reproduced by 
Vallentyn, and stated to have been copied by him from 
the original journal, the name is distinctly written in 
Blackman's Bay. On the whole, therefore, it seems pro- 
bable that this is the Frederik Hendrik Bay of Tasman. 

The eastern shore of Forestier's Peninsula is wild and 
rugged, and scarcely known except to the hardy fisher- 
men who, in their trips northward along the coast, fish 
in its quiet nooks, or run for shelter into the beautiful 
inlet of Wilmot Harbour. With the exception of a 
solitary shepherd's dwelling on the shore of this harbour- — 
locally known as Lagoon Bay — the eastern part of the 
Peninsula is uninhabited, and so difficult of access that it 

* Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange was Stadtholder of 
Holland from 1625 to 1647. He was the grandfather of 
William of Orange, afterwards William III. of England. 


is seldom visited. In the early part of 1889 I had an 
opportunity of thoroughly exploring a locality which 
must alway be of interest as the spot where the sailors 
of the great Dutchman first set foot on the island which 
bears his name. 

Our party — which included my friend Mr. E. M. 
Johnston — left East Bay Neck in a fishing-boat to camp 
at Chinaman's Poiiit just v.ithin " The Narrows," or 
entrance of Blackmans Bay. During the time of our 
ten days' camping we cruised in our boat over the great 
bay outside, seeing the coast from the point of view 
which Tasman occupied when the Heemskerk lay at 
anchor off rocky little Green Island. ¥7e could thus 
realise the scene, unaltered after two centuries and a 
half, which presented itself to the old navigator when he 
caught his first near view of the picturesque shores of 
this outpost of the Great South Land, the mysterious 
continent of his search. To the south stood the jutting 
basaltic columns of Cape Frederick Heru-y — a lesser 
Cape Raoul — backed by the high round of flumper's 
Bluff. Thence his eye travelled uorthv,'ard rouni twenty 
miles of- curving shore, its white beaches broken here 
and there by dark cliffs and rocky points. On the north, 
beyond the long stretch of white sand barring Blackman's 
Bay, rose steep-wooded hills, buttressed at their eastern 
end by the abrupt mass of Cape Bernier, thrusting its 
almost precipitous slope into the ocean, and flanked by 
the hills of Maria Island, shutting in the great bay on 
the north-east. The coast view from the offing is fine, 
but if the visitor wishes to appreciate fully the pictu- 
resqueness of the shore, and to identify the spots men- 
tioned in the quaint old Dutch journal, he must be 
prepared for some rough scrambing on the Peninsula 
itself. The country inland is poor, almost without water, 
covered with thin gum forest, scrub, and meagre grass. 
It is only the shore that is interesting. The rocky head- 
lands, cliffs, and islands, against which the ocean dashes, 
are rent and scarred by sudden fissures and chasms, into 
which the waves rush roaring and tumbling. Between 
the points lie a variety of lovely bays ; now a broad 
white beach with long rollers of breaking surf, now a 
rocky hook, now a quiet and sheltered cove. 

Our centre of observation was the camping ground 
within " The Narrows," from whence we looked out over 
the broad expanse of Blackman's Bay. This extensive 
inlet or arm of the sea is shallow and full of shoals and 
sandbanks, which make the navigation even of a boat 


dangerous to the inexperienced. Tt is shut in from the 
sea by a long tongue of land and by shoals, leaving only 
a small outlet*very appropriately called " The Narrows," 
through which the tide rushes with great force. Early 
on the first morning after the ship? had come to an 
anchor the two boats, under the command of Pilot 
Francis Jacobszoon, rowed through this narrow inlet to 
explore the new-found country. The Pilot's description 
of the watering places, where the water trickled «o slowly ' 
that they covld with diflficulty fill a bowl, is thoroughly 
characteristic of the eastern shores of Blackman's Bay. 
In the evening Pilot Jacobszoon returned on board with 
his collection of strange vegetables, and his report of the 
well-wooded country, the great trees scarred by fire, with 
marks on their bark of the steps of gigantic climbers, 
whom they had not seen, but whose mysterious voices 
they had heard. 

The various localities mentioned in Tasman's journal 
were easily reached from our camp. Outside " The 
Nan'ows " the shore rises in high cliffs, at the foot '^f 
which a broad rocky shelf affords access to little nooks, 
which, in the early days of the colony, were the sites of 
stations for bay whaling, and are still known as Gardiner's 
and Watson's Fisheries. Some two miles from " The 
Narrows " is Cape Paul Lamanon. A fishing excursion 
to the neighbourhood gave me an apportunity of landing 
on the Cape. It is a low point, the soil of which is stony 
and arid, covered with small timber and rough scrub. 
From the Cape a short walk took me to the little cove 
marked on the maps as Prince of Wales Bay. It was 
on the shore of this little cove (cicene buchtieii), situated 
to the west-south-west of Tasman's anchorage, that the 
Dutch flag was planted two centuries and a half ago. 
The shores of the bay on each side of the entrance are 
rocky and broken, but further in the rocks give place 
to a beach of large grey shingle. As you advance along 
the shore up the bay the banks of shingle on each side 
curve into two horns shelving out towards the centre of 
the bay, and forming a bar extending nearly the whole 
way across the entrance to the inner cove. Within the 
bar of shingle lies enclosed a lovely cove, its quiet waters 
fringed by a curved beach of great smooth stones. On 
either hand it is shut in by steep banks crowned with 
dark forest, and from the steep grey beach at the bottom 
of the cove a wooded valley runs inland. Standing just 
outside the shingle bar at the entrance to this innei 
harbour it needs no great effort of the • imagination to 


call up the scene on that 3rd December, 1642. Away 
out in the offing, near yonder grotesquely shaped Green 
Island, the high-pooped old Dutch ships lie at anchor. 
The wind is blowing fresh from the eastward, and two 
boats put off from the ships and stand for the shore. 
The wind increases to half a gale, and while the smaller 
boat runs back to the ships the larger boat changes her 
course and heads for this bay. As she approaches we 
can see on board of her Tasman himself, and some of the 
Heemskerk's officers; Gerrit Janszoon, the master; 
Abraham Coomans, the supercargo; and Peter Jacobs- 
zoon, the carpenter. The surf breaks violently on the 
shingle, and Tasman finds that to land in such a sea is 
impossible without great danger of wrecking the boat. 
Must he, then, after all, sail away without taking formal 
possession of the newly-discovered land ? There is a 
short deliberation as the rowers rest on their oars, and 
then the carpenter, Jacobszoon, hastily throws off his 
clothes, plunges into the sea, and, pushing his flag-pole 
before him, strikes out for the shore. Making his way 
through the breaking surf he lands on the shingle beach, 
and there, at the foot of the steep slope, where four stately 
gums stand in a crescent on the hill side, he plants the 
flag of the Prince Stadtholder. We can imagine the 
cheer which greeted the raising of the flag as the car- 
penter, in the name of the States-General, thus took 
possession of the new territory of the Great South Land. 
Then the boat is brought as close in to the shore as 
possible, the carpenter swims out to her again through 
the surf, and they return on board the Heemskerk. 
" Leaving the flag," says Tasman, " as a memento to 
posterity and to the inhabitants of the country, who, 
though they did not show themselves, we thought were 
not far off, carefully v/atching the proceedings of the 
invaders of their territory." 

Another place of interest on this coast to which we 
paid a visit is Wilmot Harbour, locally known as Lagoon 
Bay, a deep cove to the south of the basaltic promontory 
of Cape Frederick Henry. Here is the one solitary 
dwelling on this part of the Peninsula. It is probably 
the only locality which has altered much in appearance 
since the time of Tasman. Everywhere else the wild 
bush remains untouched, but here is green pasture, and 
even a small cornfield or two. The southern headland 
of the harbour is one of the wildest and most picturesque 
of spots. Standing on the grassy surface of its narrow 


extremity, which is rent into chasms and fissures, you 
look down upon the sea breaking tumultuously into a 
deep gulf below. On the other side of the gulf, to the 
south, there rises abruptly out of the water the grassy 
and wooded steep of a headland, with bold outline like 
Mount Direction. Turning to the north you see at 
your feet two rocky islands, their precipices crowned 
with wood and scrub, the waves heaving and swirling 
round their bases. Across the mouth of the harbour 
stand the basaltic columns of Cape Frederick Henry — 
a lesser Cape Raoul. Beyond, over outlying rocks and 
islets, is the place of Tasman's anchorage ; while in the 
distance, twelve or fifteen miles off across the sea, loom 
the peaks of Maria Island. 

On our return we took the way of the Two Mile Beach 
(the North Bay of the maps). Behind the sandhills 
at the back of the beach lies a large lagoon, which dis- 
charges its brackish waters by a narrow sandy channel 
at the south corner of the beach. This is the spot where 
Tasman's boat's crew landed — on the morning after their 
exploration of Blackman's Bay — to search for water, and 
where they found that the sea breaking through into the 
lagoon had made the water too brackish for use. The 
spot is easily identified from Tasman's description, and 
is probably hardly altered in appearance by the lapse of 
two centuries and a half. The beach is a fine stretch of 
broad white sand two miles long, on which the great 
ocean rollers break splendidly, and is backed by a line of 
low sandhills, behind which lies the lagoon. 

For more than a century after Tasman anchored off 
Green Island no navigator ventured to follow him into 
the stormy seas that wash the dark cliffs of the Gieat 
South Land. The first of the moderns who sighted the 
coast of Van Diemen's Land was the French captain 
Marion du Fresne in 1772. Marion made the West 
Coast a little to the south of Tasman's landfall, and, 
following almost the same course as the earlier navigator, 
his ships, the Mascarin and Marquis de. Castries, on the 
5th March, 1772, anchored at a spot somewhat to the 
north-west of the H eemsK-erk's anchorage in 1642. 
Marion took this to be the Frederick Henry Bay of Tas- 
mania, but, as we have already seen, this was almost 
certainty an error, and since the visit of the Mascarin 
the outer bay, as distinguished from the inner, has 
borne on the charts the more appropriate designation of 
Marion Bay. The description in the narrative of the 


voyage* is not sufFicieutly exact to enable us to determine 
the precise spot where the French landed, but it appears 
to have been on the Two Mile Beach (North Bay of our 
present maps). On this beach it was that the aborigines 
of Tasmania first came into contact with Europeans. 
The meeting was an ill-omened one. The blacks resisted 
the landing, and attacked Marion's party with stones and 
spears. The French, in retaliation, fired upon them, 
killing one man and wounding others. The ships lay at 
anchor in the bay for six days, during which the French 
explored the country for a considerable distance, search- 
ing for fresh water, and timber for spars, but they saw 
nothing more of the natives after this first fatal encounter. 
Being unable to find either good water or timber suitable 
for his needs, Marion sailed on March 10 for New 
Zealand; where he met his death m a treacherous attack 
on his people by the Maoris. 

The next navigator who visited the Tasmanian coast 
was Captain Tobias Furneaux, Cook's second in command 
on his second voyage of discovery. It is to Furneaux's 
blunders that the confusion respecting Frederick Henry 
Bay is due. The two ships, the Kesolutinn and the 
Adventure, were separated by a storm m latitude 50^ 
south, between the Cape and Australia. Cook, in the 
Retsohitinn, kept on his course for New Zealand; Fur- 
neaux, in the Adventure, being short of water, bore up 
for the land laid down by Tasman as Van Diemen's 
Land. On March 9, 1773, Furneaux sighted the land 
at a point which he took to be Tasman's South Cape. 
The point was, in fact, South West Cape, and from this 
initial error the whole course of subsequent blunders 
arose. From South West Cape he sailed eastward 
intending to make Tasman's anchorage in Frederick 
Henry Bay- Reaching the South Cape, he mistook it 
for the Boreel Islands, south of Bruny, and mistook the 
entrance of D'Entrecasteaux Channel for Tasman's Storm 
Bay. The south point of Bruny he mistook for Tas- 
man's Island (the Pillar), and called it Tasman's Head. 
Rounding Bruny Island he stood noi-th, under the im- 
pression that he was sailing along the east coast of Van 
Diemen's Land, and in the evening came to- an anchor 

* Nouveau voyage a la mer du Sud, commence sous !es 
ordres de M. Marion Redige d'apres les joiirnaux de M. Crozet 
(Paris, 1783). Through the exertions of Mr. McClymont and 
Mr. A. Mault, Marion's charts of Van Diemen's Land have 
been discovered in Paris, and fac sbnib s of them obtainecK 
See the Society's*Papcrs and Proceedings for 1889. 


in a bay of which he says — " We at first took this bay 
to be that which Tasman called Frederick Henry Bay, 
but afterwards found that his is laid down five leagues to 
the northward of this. " Furneaux named his anchorage 
Adventure Bay, the point to the north he called Cape 
Frederick Henry — believing that Tasman's Fi-ederick 
Henry Bay lay to the north of this cape — and the opposite 
shore of Tasman's Peninsula he laid down on his chart 
as Maria's Isles. After five days' stay in Adventure 
Bay, he sailed ovit and rounded the Pillar, under the 
impression that he was rounding the south point of 
Maria Island. Thence he proceeded north as far as the 
Furneaux Groiip, and then bore away for New Zealand 
to rejoin Cook. 

Cook, on his third voyage, cast anchor in Adventure 
Bay on January 24, 1877, without detecting Fvirneaux's 
mistake or correcting his charts. 

In 1789, Captain J. H. Cox, in the brig Mercury, 
anchored in the strait between Maria Island and the 
mainland, but, misled by the charts of Furneaux and 
Cook, never suspected that he was within a few miles of 
Tasman's Frederick Henry Bay. 

In April, 1792, Admiral D'Entrecasteaux, with the 
ships Recherche and Esperance, sighted the Mewstone, 
and bore up for the mainland, intending to make Cook's 
anchorage in Adventixre Bay. Throixgh an error of his 
pilot, instead of rounding Bruny Island, he stood to the 
west of it, and found that he was not in Adventure Bay, 
but in the entrance of the channel, which he (like Cook) 
believed to be the Storm Bay of Tasman. D'Entrecas- 
teaux explored the channel which bears his name, as- 
cended our river, which he named Riviere du Nord, and 
explored the wide bay to the north-east, which he named 
* Bale du Nord. This bay, he thought, communicated with 
Tasman's Frederick Henry Bay on the east coast, and 
under this impression the land which Cook had errone- 
ously laid down as Maria Island he named He d'Abel 

In 1794, Capt. John Hayes, in the ships Duke of 
Clarence and Duchess, visited Storm Bay — although the 
name does not appear on his charts.* He evidently had 
only Cook's chart, since he places Adventure Bay, Tas- 
man's Head, and Maria's Isles as they are laid down by 
Cook. Capt. Hayes re-named all the other localities in 

• See Mr. A. Mault's paper, with fac simile of Hay's chart, 
in the Society's Papers and Proceedings for 1889. 



Storm Bay, and it is to him that we owe the name of the 
River Derwent. The Baie du Nord of D'Entrecasteaux 
he called Heiishaw's Bay. 

In December, 1798, Flinders and Bass, in their first 
circumnavigation of the Island in the Norfolk, sailed up 
Storm Bay and explored and surveyed the Baie du Nord 
of D'Entrecasteaux. Flinders says that he was at the 
time quite ignorant that this bay had ever been entered 
before, and, misled by the errors of Furncaux and Cook, 
he laid it down on his first sketch chart* as Frederick 
Henry Bay. 

In January, 1802, the French discovery expedition 
under Admiral Baiidin, in the ships Geogra'phe and 
NaturaUste, arrived in D'Entrecasteaux Channel. Dur- 
ing a stay of some weeks they completed the surveys of 
Admiral D'Entrecasteaux, and explored and surveyed 
the Baie du Nord. They then sailed for the east coast 
and anchored their ships in the passage between Maria 
Island and the mainland. From this point Freycinet, 
Baudin's lieutenant, made the first thorough examina- 
ation of Tasman's Frederik Hendrik Bay. He explored 
it as far as East Bay Neck, and was thus enabled to 
correct the mistakes of former navigators. He found 
that D'Entrecasteaux had been mistaken in supposing 
that thei'e was channel between Frederick Henry Bay 
and the Baie du Nord, and that the supposed He d'Abel 
Tasman was a double peninsula, to which he gave the 
names of Forrestier's and Tasman's Peninsula (Pre- 
squ'ile d'Abel Tasman). He also proved that Flindersf 
had been in error in applying the name Frederick Henry 
to the Baie du Nord. The charts of Baudin's expedi- 
tion, constructed by Faure, were the first to show this 
coast accurately : in them for the first time the outer port 
was laid down as Baie Marion, and the inner one as Baie 
Frederick Hendrick. 

Many years later, after his liberation from his long 
Mauritius captivity. Flinders came to write his " Voyage 
to Terra Australis." He had then had the opportunity 
of comparing his own surveys of fifteen years before with 
the French charts, and correcting his en-ors. In his 
atlas, therefore, the Baie du Nord is correctlv named 

* See Mr. Mault's paper and fac simile of chart, cited 

t Peron'3 narrative of Baudin's voyage was published in 
1807. The author had, therefore, the opportunity of com- 
paring Flinders' charts which were seized at the Mauritius 
in 1803. 


North Bay, and the name of Frederick Henry Bay is 
restored to its proper place on the east coast; the* igh 
Flinders applies it to the outer port and not to the inner, 
which bears the name on Tasman's map. 

The original error of Furneaiix, perpeliiated as it was 
by the high a\ithority of Cook and of Flinders' first chart, 
had obtained too firm a hold to be displaced. On all the 
early English charts the Baie dii Nord was laid do^n as 
Frederick Henry Bay, and by this name it is alhxded to 
in all the early records; in Collins' despatches;* in 
Knopwoods diary ;t as such it continued to be known 
to the early settlers, and so it is universally known to 
the present day. 

After the publication of Flinders' atlas some of the 
early map-makers endeavoured to restore the names to 
their proper localities. Thus in a chart of Van Diemen's 
Land compiled by G. W. Evans, Surveyor-General, 
and published in London in 1821, and also in a chart 
published in London by Cross in 1826, North Bay is 
correctly placed, and the name Frederick Henry is in 
the first map applied to the outer bay, and in the second 
more correctly to the inner one. In Assistant Surveyor- 
General Scott's map published in Hobart by Ross in 
1830, the name Frederick Henry appears in North Bay, 
but in Arrowsmith's map published in London in 1842, 
the alternative names are given, viz. — Frederick Henry 
Bay or North Bay ; while the name Frederick Henry 
also appears correctly in the inner bay to which it was 
originally applied by Tasman. In all modern maps, 
however, D'Entrecasteaux's name of North Bay has been 
most inappropriately transferred to what I have 'lescribed 
as the Two Mile Beach, on the east coast of Forestier's 

The Fredrik Henrik Bay of Tasman is now known 
as Blackman's Bay. On early maps the name of Black- 
man's Bay is applied sometimes to the Two Miles Beach, 
and sometimes to Wilmot Harbour. By what freak of 
the map-makers of our Survey Department these names 
have been shuffled about so oddl}'^ I am quite at a loss to 

The names as they stand are perhaps now too firmly 
established to be changed at once. But I would venture 
to oflfer to the Lands Office two suggestions : — 

(1.) As there is already a Cape Fi'ederick Henry on 
the east coast of Forestier's Peninsula, which rightly 

• King to Collins, January 8, 1806 : Collins to King, June 
24, 1805. 

T Knopwood's diary, February 12, 1804. 


marks Tasman's anchorage, a more appropriate name 
should be given to the other Cape Frederick Henry, 
forming the north point of Adventure Bay on Bruny 
Island. Let the last-mentioned Cape bear the name of 
its discoverer, and be re-christened " Cape Furneaux." 
This would remove one source of misapprehension. 

(2.) Though it may not be possible at once to restore 
the correct names of the bays, yet they may be indicated 
without causing confusion, and indeed with distinct 
advantage to the popular apprehension of our history. 
In all future maps let the names originally given be added 
in brackets. D'Entrecasteatix's Baie du Nord would then 
appear as " Frederick Henry Bay or North Bay," and in 
Blackman's Bay would also be added " Fredrik Hendrik's 
Bay of Tasman." 

Thus to perpetuate the remembrance of the landing- 
place of Tasman would be a graceful act of justice to the 
memory of the great seaman who, two centuries and a 
half ago, first circumnavigated Australia, and has given 
his illustrious name to this fair island of Tasmania. 



I. The Settlement of Norfolk Island. 

The laborious and valuable researches made in the 
English State Record Office by the veteran historian, Mr. 
James Bonwick, have a great interest for Australians, and 
mark a new departure for the historian of the Australian 

The Government of New South ^\' ales has shown its 
sense of the value of the documents which Mr. Bonwick 
has discovered by printing them iw e.xtc7iso* Our own 
Government, equally mindful of the importance of these 
records for the elucidation of our early history, has, with 
a wise forethought, availed itself of Mr. Bonwick 's special 
knowledge to secure copies of the papers relating to the 
settlement and earliest history of Tasmania. Of this 
period no contemporary records have been preserved in 
our local archives; our knowledge of those early times has 
hitherto been derived merely from vague and inaccurate 
tradition. The material supplied by Mr. Bonwick, and 
placed at my disposal by the courtesy of the Government, 
has enabled me to lay before the Royal Society the first 
authentic story of the planting of Tasmania and of the 
motives which led to it. 

In former papers which I have had the honour of read- 
ing before the Society, we have seen how the occupation 
of our Island came about. It was merely one episode of 
the long life-and-death struggle which England waged 
with France under the first Napoleon. It was due to 
the dread of possible injury to England from the sudden 
intrusion of a hostile French settlement in such close 
proximity to the young English colony at Port Jackson. 
The first puny occupation by Bowen at Risdon, in Sep- 
tember, 1803 ; the expedition of Collins to Port Phillip, 

•Up to this date (1895) five volumes have appeared, viz., 
Historical Records of New South Wales, 1762-1795 (3 vols.) ; 
History of New South Wales from the Records, 1783-1789 (2 


xind its transfer to Hobart, in February, 1804 ; the occupa- 
tion of the Tamar by Patterson, in August of the same 
year, and the consequent settlement of northern Tasmania, 
were all parts of the far-seeing and persistent policy by 
which the great English statesmen of that day did much 
to ensure the fall of Napoleon's power, and to give to 
England her world-wide dominion. 

The next chapter in our colonial history to which I ask 
your attention demands for our comprehension of its sig- 
nificance that we should leave these high questions of 
statesmanship, and turn our view for a time to a small and 
solitary island, separated from us by more than a thousand 
miles of ocean, the fortunes of which have, nevertheless, 
been strangely interwoven with those of our own colony. 

Situated in seas where perpetual summer reigns, en- 
dov/ed with great natural beauty, rich in the fruits of the 
tropics, few spots in our modern world have had a history 
so strange, so various, so horrible, and yet so romantic, 
as that of Norfolk Island. At the present time it is the 
secure retreat of an easy and indolent race, who are yet 
the descendants of the actors in one of the most noted 
and picturesque piratical deeds recorded in English 
annals. It is, moreover, the peaceful headquarters of a 
Christian mission to the savage islands, where the saintly 
Paterson laid down his life. It is most familiar to us as a 
synonym for cruelty and crime, a reminiscence of the days 
when the distant island formed a dependency and a part 
of the then penal settlement of Van Diemen's Land. To 
the majority this, which is within the memory of many 
still living amongst us, is the only known link between 
our colony and it — perhaps the only known fact respect- 
ing its earl ier history. Comparatively few are aware that. — 
with the single exception of Sydney — Norfolk Island is 
the oldest English colony in the South Seas. Perhaps 
still fewer know that to that same far-off island so familiar 
to us in later days under another aspect, Tasmania was 
indebted for a large proportion of her earliest colonists. 
To this historical fact the familiar names of New Norfolk 
in the south, and Norfolk Plains in the north, of this 
colony remain a perpetual but unappreciated memorial. 

The history of Norfolk Island and its earl vcoloni=tPthuf 
becomes an essential part of the history of Tasmania. The 
history of its colonisation and settlement caTi be gathered 
from scattered references in the works of Collins and other 
contemporary writers, but Mr. Bonwick's researches in 
the Record Office enable me to lay before the Royal Society 


the first authentic story of the evacuation of the island and 
the transference of all its free settlers to the Derwent in 

And, first, as to its discovery. The first voyage of Cap- 
tain Cook, lasting from 1768 to 1771, was that in which 
he did his most memorable work. The immediate object 
of the expedition was the observation of the Transit of 
Venus at Tahiti, in the South Seas. Bvit the voyage had 
more important results than astronomical observations, 
valuable as these were to science. In his little north- 
country collier of 370 tons, the Endeavour, Cook re-dis- 
covered and examined the islands of New Zealand, and 
then, steering for the as yet unknown coast of New Hol- 
land, anchored in Botany Bay (28th April, 1770), and 
examined the whole eastern coast, to which he gave the 
name of New South Wales. In two short years of this 
memorable voyage, our great navigator had, practically, 
added the possessions of Australia and New Zealand to the 
English Crown, a work, possibly, only second in its im- 
portance in the world's history to the discovery of 

Though Cook's first voyage was, beyond question, the 
most fruitful in resvilts, yet the more leisurely explora- 
tions of his second voyage, in the Resolution and the ^(Z- 
ven^i/re, extending from 1772 to 1775, are fuller of interest 
to the reader. Cook himself states the object of this 
second expedition to have been " to complete the discovery 
of the Southern Hemisphere." His first voyage had 
proved that if, as the geographers believed, any great 
southern continent did exist, it must lie far to the south of 
the latliti;de of New Holland. In three successive years 
during this second voyage. Cook sailed to the far south, 
making three unsuccessful attempts to penetrate the 
frozen sea, and finally demonstrating that the dream of 
centuries had no foundation, and that there was no Terra 
Australis Incognita outside the limits of the circumpolar 
ice. In the intervals between his attempts on the An- 
tarctic Ocean, Cook employed the winter m.onths in makinn 
further explorations in the Pacific, and his journals con- 
tain most fascinating descriptions of this first view of the 
islands of the south, and of their inhabitants in their 
original wild condition. In 1774, he employed his time 
in cruising among the Pacific Islands .beginning at Easter 
Island, with its gigantic stone figxires, mysterious relics 
of a forgotten civilisation. Thence, after a stay at his 
beloved Tahiti, he worked westward among the islands to 



New Caledonia, on his way to make his third and final at- 
tempt on the Antarctic Circle. 

On the 10th October, 1774, as the Resolution was slowly 
ploughing her way from New Caledonia towards New 
Zealand, land was discovered bearing S.W. It was found 
to be an island of good height, five leagvies in circumfer- 
ence. The island was bounded by rocky cliffs on nearly 
every side, with 18 to 20 fathoms water close to the shore. 
Cook says, " I named it Norfolk Isle, in honour of the 
noble family of Howard." 

The boats were launched, and, the weather being ex- 
ceptionally favourable, the captain landed without diffi- 
culty behind some large rocks on the north-east side, near 
what was afterwards known as the Cascades. Along the 
shore was a belt of thick scrub, and beyond this a dense 
forest of a sort of spruce pine, the trees as thick as two 
men could fathom, and exceedingly straight and tall. The 
soil was rich and deep, and the Captain fovind many 
trees and plants common to New Zealand, particularly 
the flax-plant, growing near the sea most luxuriantly, and 
much finer than he had seen it in New Zealand. The 
"woods abounded with pigeons, parrots, parrakeets, hawks, 
and many New Zealand birds. The island was unin- 
habited. The party from the Resolution may have been 
the first human beings to tread its tangled forests, though 
it is possible that, at isolated periods previously, Maori 
canoes had been driven by heavy south-east storms from 
the coast of New Zealand, and that shipwrecked Maoris 
had maintained an existence on the island for years ; for, 
in the early days of the settlement, two canoes were found 
on the beaches, and, it is said, stone adzes resembling 
those ill use in New Zealand, were turned up when tlie 
land was being broken up for cultivation. Cook gave 
but a few hours to the examination of the island, and, on 
the following day sailed away for New Zealand. On the 
publication of his book, his description, brief as it was, of 
the capabilities of Norfolk Island, of its rich soil, its dense 
pine forests, and profuse growth of New Zealand flax, at- 
tracted attention to it as a desirable possession. Con- 
sequently, when the Government, in the year 1787, re- 
solved on establishing a penal settlement at Botany Bay, 
it was determined to occupy this promising island as a 
dependency of the principal colony. In the Royal in- 
structions to Governor Phillip, the following passage 
occurs: — "Norfolk Island .... being represented 
AS a spot which may hereafter become useful, you are, as 


soon as circumstances admit of it, to send a small establish- 
ment thither to secure the same to us, and prevent it being 
occupied by the siibjects of any other European power." 
The instructions also contain directions to the Governor 
as to the cultivation of the flax-plant, and its use in manu- 
facturing clothing for the convicts and also for maritime 

Little more than a week after Governor Phillip had 
landed on the site of Sydney (6th February, 1788), Philip 
Gidley King, then a young lieutenant on board H.M.S. 
Biriiis, received his commission as Superintendent and 
Commandant of the settlement of Norfolk Island, with 
orders to take a small party of people and some live-stock 
to this distant isle, which was intended to serve as a place 
of seclusion for troublesome characters, and as a possible 
succour for the main settlement in case of famine. The 
party pla<;ed under King's charge was very similar to that 
which, 15 years later, he himself despatched under Lieut. 
Bowen to occupy Risdon, on the Derwent. It consisted 
of an officer and surgeon from H.M.S. Sirius, four seamen, 
and two marines from the same vessel, with nine male and 
six female convicts. They sailed from Port Jackson in 
the armed tender Sufply, and were 14 days before, on 29tlT 
February, they came in sight of their destination. For 
days they cruised round the island, searching iii vain for a 
harbour, or even a landing-place, sometimes in the ship, 
sometimes exploring the shores in a boat, but everywhere 
baffled by the inaccessible cliffs or the thvmdering surf of 
the ocean swell on the rocky beaches. At last, after live 
days' search, and when they had almost despau-ed of suc- 
cess, they found a beach in a bay on the south side of the 
island, protected by a long reef, extending parallel with 
the shore, and about 150 yards distant from it. At the 
end of the reef was an opening, little more than sufficient 
to allow two boats to pass each other, which gave access 
to the smooth water inside. Here King got his little 
party landed, with their stores, and soon had a small patch 
of ground cleared and tents pitched. Having settled his 
colony. King now proceeded to explore his ne wdomain. 
He describes the island as six miles long and four broad, 
and estimated it to contain about 11,000 acres. The 
ground was everywhere covered with an almost impervious 
forest, through which he forced his way with gi'eat diffi- 
culty. The principal tree was the pine, which grew 
everywhere. These gi-eat trees were often 140 to 200 feet 
high, 30 feet rovmd at the base, and 80 feet to the first 
branch. The roots sometimes ran two feet above the 


ground, twisted in all direction?. In this forest grew 
a sort of supplejack as thick as a man's leg, hanging in 
festoons from tree to tree, and foi'ming a network which 
was well nigh impenetrable. From the highest point of 
the island, 1200 feet above the sea-level, which he named 
Mount Pitt, he had a view of a continuous forest without 
a break, fo)-, in its natural state, there was not a yard 
square of clear ground on the whole island. The soil 
was deep and rich, but not a blade of grass grew^ anywhere. 
Pigeons and parrots were in great numbers ; the pigeons 
so tame that they could be knocked over with a stick. 
These exploi-ations were made with great difficiilty, and 
the explorers often returned with their clothes torn to 
shreds. To conquer the virgin forest King had only 12 
men, and one of these was an old man of 72, another a boy 
of 15. Small as the company was, it was a difficult one 
to manage. Before a month passed, the boy, having been 
caught stealing rum, was punished with 100 lashes, wliich 
King, in his diary, remarks, he hoped would have a good 
effect ; and, later on, we hear of a woman being punished 
in a similar way. To add to flie Commandant's troubles, 
all his people were ill with scurvy, from their salt diet, 
and his first attention -was given to obtaining fresh pro- 
visions. At first they got turtle, but these were soon 
scared away. The fish supply was precarious, as fishing 
was only possible in calm weather. Their chief resource 
was the pigeons, and the birds which abounded on Mount 
Pitt gave them many a good meal. A few banana trees 
were found growing not far from the settlement, but for 
vegetables they were chiefly dependent on nikau-palm, 
the crown of which furnished a good vegetable, not unlike 
a cabbage. 

Under these circumstances, the progress of the settle- 
ment was very slow, but gradually, as the little colony was 
reinforced by fresh drafts from Sydney, ground was cleared 
and brought under cultivation, huts and store-houses w^ere 
erected, and a weatherboard cottage. 24 feet by 12 feet 
was built for a Government house. In January, 1790, 
two years after his first landing, there were on the island 
79 nialc and 33 female convicts and 32 free settlers; in all, 
144 souls. King's administration of Norfolk Island lasted 
(with one interval) from February, 1788, to September, 
1796, a period of eight and a half years. He has left a 
diary of those days, extending over many quarto pages of 
print. It is di-eary reading, being a chronicle of petty 
crimes and rough punishments, of crops destroyed by 
blight or grub, of disorders, conspiracies, and mutinies 


among the prisoners, of discoiiteut among the settlers, 
whether free or emancipated. King ruled this turbulent 
community like a sailor, with a mixture of rough severity 
and good-natured lenity, dealing out barbaric punishment 
to offenders, and equally barbaric indulgences as a reward 
for improved behaviour. 

The early attempts at agriculture were not very success- 
ful. When his first little patch of wheat came up, the 
south-west wind blighted it, and turned it black; the next 
crop (and many a one after that) was 'nipped off by a 
small black catei'pillar, which came in thousands ; others 
were destroyed by a great worm ; much was eaten by par- 
rakeets ; and, even when the wheat was haiwested, it was 
attacked by the weevil and rendered useless. The rati — 
the only animals on the island — ^ate his Indian corn, in 
spite of traps and pounded glass mixed with oatmeal, 
which slew them in hundreds. The most successful crops 
were potatoes and vegetables. Nor was he more success- 
ful with his live stock than with his agriculture. There 
being no grass on the island, the stock had to be fed with 
herbs and plants. The sheep succumbed and died, partly 
from starvation, partly from scab. The pigs suffered 
greatly from poisonous herbs, and he had great difficulty 
in feeding them until he discovered that a tall palm, or 
fern, growing fiO feet high, had a soft core tasting like a 
bad turnip, on which the hogs throve splendidly. 

In -epite of all these misfortunes, however, and in spite 
of the calamity of a hurricane of wind and rain from the 
south-east, which laid waste and nearly destroyed the camp 
and the plantations, the little settlement struggled ahead. 

In January, 1790, the Commandant records with pride 
that he had 30 acres of land in cultivation, and his free 
settlers 18 acres. He had in store 300 bushels of wheat 
and 140 bushels of Indian corn. 

While King was thus rejoicing in the progress of his 
little colony, he little thought of the troubles which were 
impending, and which were destined to make the year 1790 
a sad and memorable year for the Norfolk Islanders. 

To understand the position of affairs, we must turn for a 
moment to the principal settlement at Port Jackson. The 
two years' supply of provisions which the First Fleet had 
brought out was now nearly exhausted, and every one at 
Port Jackson was in daily and anxious expectation of 
the arrival of ships from England with a fresh supply. In 
February only four months' provisions, calculated at half- 
allowance, remained in store. It was impossible to say 


when relief might arrive, and the prospect of starvation 
began to stare them in the face. 

In this emergency, Governor Phillip resolved to divide 
the settlement, and send a large body of convict'^ and sol- 
diers to Norfolk Island. The Commandant had constantly 
written in such high terms of the rich soil of the island that 
it seemed a garden of fertility in comparison with New 
South Wales, and the Governor thought it wou'd easily 
support a larger population, and thus relieve the distress 
of those left in the principal colony. Accordingly, Cap- 
tain Hunter was ordered to prepare H.M.S. S/riii.< for sea, 
and embark 186 convicts and a company of marines, while 
the armed tender Sujjpli/ was to accompany her with 20 
convicts and another company of marines. This would 
make an almost equal division of the people between the 
island and the main settlement at Port Jackson. Major 
Ross, the Lieut. -Governor, was to be placed in command 
of the dependency, in place of Lieut. King, who had ob- 
tained leave to visit England. A proper proportion of 
the remaining provisions an4 stores were put on board, 
and the ships sailed for Norfolk -Island on the 6th March, 
1790. A week's sail brought them to the island, and 
not being able to land in Sydney Bay on account of the 
sm^f, they ran round to Cascade Bay, on the north side, 
and in two days contrived to land the people, 270 in all. 
Before they could land the stores, a storm came on, and 
the ships were driven out of sight of land. It was four 
days before the Sirii/s could make the island again. The 
Suj)'piy was already in Sydney Bay, and the signal was 
flying that the landing was safe. Captain Hunter, there- 
fore, stood in, loaded the boats with provisions, and cent 
them in to the landing-place within the reef. Meanwhile, 
as the Sinus w^as settling fast to leeward. Hunter made 
sail to get her out of the bay, but could not weather the 
rocks oBf Point Ross, on the western side. The ship twice 
missed stays, and then slowly drifted stern first towards 
the reef opposite the settlement, and struck. The masts 
were instantly cut away, so that she might lift on to the 
reef, as she was in danger of going to pieces from the force 
of the seas that struck her. This was 11 a.m. All the 
provisions that could be reached were immediately got on 
deck and secured. This accomplished, a line was floated 
over the reef with an empty cask, and a hawser hauled on 
shore and made fast to a tree. At 5 o'clock the surgeon's 
mate was hauled ashore through the surf on a traveller 
fa.stened to the hawser, and by dark Captarn Hunter and 
most of the seamen were landed, having been dragged 


through a heavy surf, many being much bruised. The 
captain was so exhausted that he was nearly drowned. 
The rest of the crew got ashore next day. 

The situation of the settlement was extremely critical. 
There were now on the island 506 souls, on half-allowance 
of provisions, which would last a ver}^ short time, unless 
the stores could be saved from the Sirias. Lieut. -Governor 
Ross therefore assembled the officers, and it was resolved 
that, as, under the ordinary la-\v, there Vi^as no power to 
punish serious offences on the spot, it was absolutely 
necessary, for the general safety, to establish martial law. 
Further, that all provisions, public and private, should be 
thrown into a common stock in the storehouse, and put 
under the charge of three persons, viz.. Captain Hunter, 
a person appointed by the Governor, and a third person, to 
be named by the convicts. On the fifth day after the 
wreck, and before any of the provisions had been saved 
from the Sirius, the Supph/ sailed for Sydney, with Lieut. 
King and part of the crew of the Sinus, to carry the 
disastrous news to Port Jackson, where it created fresh 
consternation, and deepened the prevailing gloom; the 
more so from the impossibility of sending relief to the un- 
fortunate Norfolk Islanders. 

Fortunately, after the Supply left, they were able to 
get out of the wreck a large part of the provisions, though 
much was lost or spoiled. For some weeks, Lieut. - 
Governor Ross, Captain Hunter, and the people shut up 
in the lonely isle entertained a glimmering hope that they 
might see the Supply return with the comfortable news of 
arrivals from England. Long and anxiously they scanned 
the sea, and, when hope failed, and they had come to the 
reluctant conclusion that Governor Phillip could not re- 
lieve them, but had been obliged to send Lieut. Ball on 
more pressing seiwice, their situation began to wear a very 
alarming aspect. 

The weekly allowance of food was now still further re- 
duced, and Captain Hunter records in his journal his ap- 
prehension that, before long, many of the convicts, who 
often ate at one meal the whole week's allowance, would be 
dead from starvation, or executed for depredations. This 
gloomy anticipation would, doubtless, have been realised 
but for an unexpected resource which was discovered. 

In the month of April, the people, who were searching 
the island for food, found that Mount Pitt was crowded 
with l)irds. These sea-birds were away all day in seakTch 
of food, but as soon as dark came on they hovered in vast 
flocks over the breeding-ground, which was hollowed by 


inuumerable burrows. The seanieu, niariues, and con- 
victs went out to Mount Pitt every evening, arriving soon 
after dark. Tliey lighted small fires to attract the bii'ds, 
which alighted faster than the people could knock them 
down. After killing 2000 to 3000 birds every night, there 
was no sensible diminution in their numbers at the end 
of May. The people called the birds " Pittites ; " Phillip, 
in his voyage, gives it the name of the Norfolk Island 
Petrel. It is known to us in Tasmania as the Mutton 

Captain Hunter, in his journal, calls it the Bird of Fro- 
vidcnc.e. Such it undoubtedly was to the Norfolk 
Islanders, who, but for its timely and wholly unexpected 
arrival, must have perished in numbers from starvation. 
It is true that the sea abounded in fish, and the neighbour- 
ing islets (Phillip Island and Nepean Island) swarmed 
with coimtless multitudes of sea fowl, but they were un- 
attainable. For a month together the surf ran so high 
that not more than once or twice during that time was it 
possible to launch a boat, and even then the fishing was 
often unsuccessfvil, while the islands that the sea-birds 
frequented were usually inaccessible on accoimt of the tre- 
mendous surf. 

Towards the end of July, the birds on Mount Pitt began 
to get scarce. As only 10 or 12 days' salt provisions, at 
short allowance, were now left, the Lieut. -Governor re- 
duced the ration to three lbs. flour, or maize meal, and one 
pint of rice per week. The people were so reduced by 
want of food that hardly any work could be done, and 
it was with great difficulty that the little crops could be 
got in. 

On the 4th August, while in this deplorable state, with 
famine staring them in the face, one of the sailors came 
running into the settlement, crying out — " A ship ! 'a 
ship !" Men. women, and children rushed out to welcome 
her, and Captain Hunter and many of the people hurried 
across to the north of the island to communicate with her; 
but when they arrived in sight of her, in spite of their 
signals, she stood off before the wind, and sailed away. 
Hunter, in his journal, published some years later, speaks 
of their bitter disappointment and nidiguation at the want 
of humanity in the captain, who, although he might have 
nothing for them, might, at least, have informed them of 
the near approach of relief. 

From the appearance of the ship, the people were con- 
vinced that relief was not far distant, and, three jdays later, 
two ships hove in sight. They proved to be the Justinian 


and Sifrprise, from Port Jackson, with provisions and 200 
convicts. The mystery of tlie non-arrival of supplies from 
England was now cleared up. The Guardian., Captain 
Riou, had sailed from Plymouth for Sydney wuth pro- 
visions in August, 1789, but she had been wrecked at the 
Cape, and it was not until the ariyval at Port Jackson of 
the Second Fleet, in June, 1790, that the people felt the 
danger of starvation to be past. 

The relief at last sent to the islanders had, with unac- 
countable want of consideration, been delayed two months 
after the arrival of the fleet, and it arrived only just in 
time. The mutton birds^ had deserted the island, the fish 
also had failed them entirely, and a delay of another six 
weeks would have meant death by starvation for the 
greater part of the inhabitants. 

Captain Hunter did not get away from the island, which 
was associated with so much suffering and anxiety to him, 
until February, 1791. He considered its capabilities 
much over-rated, for — while he admits the richness of the 
soil — the crops were liable to destruction by blight, grub, 
caterpillar, and other plagues. The timber, of which so 
much had been expected, was very inferior. Instead of 
being able to support 2000 people, as Governor Phillip 
expected, he thought 500 too many, and these should be 
such as had forfeited all hope of seeing their native country 
again, and would know that their existence depended on 
their industry. He recommended the Government to 
remove the establishment to Port Dalrymple, as its only 
use could be to supply South Sea whalers with fresh meat 
and vegetables; though he admitted that, as a place for 
incorrigible criminals, the colony had this advantage^ 
that escape was impossible. Of the island, he says, " It 
is a dreadful place, almost inaccessible with any wind." 

Notwithstanding the vmfavourable opinion of Captain 
Hunter and others, Governor Phillip continued to send 
fresh batches of convicts and small settlers, and when 
Lieut. -Governor Ross gave up the command to King, on 
the return of the latter from England, in September, 1791, 
the population had increased to over 800 sovils. 

King had now the rank of Lieut. -Governor of Norfolk 
Island. He had founded the colony, and took the most 
sanguine view of its capabilities, and of the practicability 
of making it prosperous and self-supporting. Besides get- 
ting a large area of land under cultivation by the labour 
of the prisoners, he encouraged those whose time had ex- 
pired to take up small allotments for growing vegetables 


mid grain. A number of soldiers and sailors wei'e also 
induced, by the offer of grants of land up to 60 acres, to 
become agricultural settlers. 

The greatest obstacle to the progress of the settlement 
lay in the character of the people. Kings says of the 
prisoners that, while soane were well behaved, the bulk 
of them were miserable wretches. Collins, in his account 
of New South Wales, gives a deplorable picture of the dis- 
order and crime which were rampant at Port Jackson, 
and as the selection for Norfolk Island consisted of the 
worst and the doubly-convicted, the condition of affairs in 
the island was not likely to be better than 
in Sydney. The settlers were mostly soldiers and sailors 
and others who had little or no knowledge of agriculture, 
and were full of grievances and complaints. Still, the 
colony increased in population and production. At the 
end of 1793, there were 1008 souls on the island. The 
settlers had become a considerable body, and they had 
command of a plentiful supply of labour in tlie expiree 
prisoners, who had hii-ed themselves out to farm-work. 
The Government took into store all grain grown by the 
settlers at a fixed price per bushel. This so stimulated 
prodviction that, in the year ending May, 1794,. there were 
grown 34,000 bushels of niaize and wheat. The ■settlers' 
were all prosperous, and the Lieut. -Governor was able to 
offer to send, if required, 20,000 b^^shels to Sydney for 
commissariat use. The supply was now so large that the 
Governor was obliged to refvise to purchase grain which he 
could make no use of, and the settlers found themselves 
without a market. Many gave u.p their farms ; many left 
the island ; others turned their attention to raising hogs, 
which had multiplied exceedingly. In 1795, King could 
offer the Sydney commissariat 40 tons of cured pork, 
which had been salted on the island. 

It will be remembered that the New Zealand flax-plant 
was most plentiful at Norfolk Island. Lievit. -Governor 
King was very anxious to develop the manufacture of the 
fibre into cordage and canvas. Many attempts were made, 
but with small success, as no proper method of dressing 
the fibre could be discovered. King's method of grap- 
pling with this difficulty is sufficiently characteristic of the 
times. He offered to Captain Bunker, of the whaler 
WilUum and Ann, £100 to kidnap two natives of New 
Zealand, and bring them to Norfolk Island, as instructors 
in the art of fiax-dressing. Captain Bunker did not suc- 
ceed in earning the money. King seems to have made his 
views known to the Admiralty, for, when the Daedalus 


storeship was employed to carry provisions to tiie Sand- 
wicii Islands for Vancouver's discovery ships, Lieut. Han- 
son, who commanded her. was directed to touch at New 
Zealand on his way back to Sydney, and try to suppiy 
King's wants The Da'dalus accordingly touched at NeTv 
Zealand, about Doubtless Bay, and Lieut. Hanson having 
enticed on board his ship two Maoris, named Tuki and 
Uru, at once made sail, and carried them away to Governor 
King. The Maoris, who had been frantic with grief when 
they found themselves entrapped, were very sullen on 
their arrival at Norfolk Island, and absolutely refused any 
information respecting the flax. King says: — " The ap- 
prehension of being obliged to work at it was afterwai'ds 
found to have been a principal .reason for their not com- 
plying so readily as was expected. By kind treatment, 
however, and indulgence in their own inclinations, they 
soon began to be more sociable. They M-ere Ihen given 
to understand the situation and short distance of New 
Zealand from Norfolk Island, and were assured that, as 
soon as they had taught our women to work the flax, they 
should be sent home again. On this promise, they readily 
consented to giye all the information they possessed, and 
which turned out to be very little. This operation was 
found to be among them the peculiar province of the 
women ; and as Uru was a warrior and Tuki a priest, they 
gave the Governor to understand that the dressing of flax 
never made any part of their studies." Whatever may 
be thought of the means King employed to obtain the ser- 
vices of Uru and Tuki, it must be acknowledged that he 
fulfilled his promises to them very handsomely. He de- 
cided to accompany them to New Zealand, and embarked ' 
with them and a guard of soldiers on board the Britannia 
to take them back to their homes. This was safely ac- 
complished, and the Governor and his Maori friends parted 
with great expressions of mutual regard. 

The instructioii given by Tuki and Uru. meagre as it 
was. was sufficient to enable a few hands, with very primi- 
tive appliances, to manufacture 30 yards of coarse canvas 
m a week, and the Lieut.-Governor stuck pluckily to his 
manufactory, maintaining to the last that it was a valu- 
able industry, and could easily give employment to 500 

On the 25th October, 1796, Lieut.-Governor King gave . 
up the government, which he had held, with a short in- 
terval, for nearly nine years, and proceeded by the Brit- 
annia to England. Shortly afterwards, he received the 
appointment of Governor of New South Wales, in which 


capacity, in 1803, he despatched Lieutenant Bowen to 
establish the first settlement in Tasmania. 

On leaving Norfolk Island, he wrote an account of the 
condition of the settlement, which is printed in Collins' 
■"New South V.'ales"'; the population was 887. and of 
these only 198 were convicts. He says that 1523 acres 
had been cleai'ed. Besides huts and cottages, a Govern- 
ment-house, storehouses, and military barracks had been 
built. A water-mill had been expected at the Cascades, 
and this and two wind-mills ground the corn which each 
man had formerly to grind for himself. There were two 
schools on the island. 

Of the fertility of the land he spoke highly ; the princi- 
pal products were maize, wheat, potatoes, and vegetables. 
Tlie yield of wheat averaged 18 bushels per acre. Maize 
gave two crops a year, averaging 45 bushels per acre, and 
often reaching as much as 70 to 80 bushels. He calcu- 
lated that, if the whole of the arable land was put under 
cultivation, it would produce 225,000 bushels of grain, or 
even 450,000, if fully cultivated. There was little live 
stock, a few cattle and sheep, a number of goats, and fully 
5000 swine. The swine might be a great source of 
revenue ; up to that time, 500,000 lbs. of pork had been 
used or exported. 

With King's departure, the settlement began to retro- 
grade ; but the story of its gradual decline, and the final 
deportation of its settlers to Tasmania, mvist be left to be 
dealt with in a future paper. 

II. The Deportation to the Derwent. 

In the last paper which I read before the Society. I- 
sketched the strange story of the first planting of a 
European colony in an island of the South Sea, — the 
settlement of Norfolk Island by Lieut. King, in the year 
1788, and its fortunes during a period of eight years. I 
now propose to trace the history of its failure and abandon- 
ment, and the transfer of its settlers to our own island. 

From his first landing, in February, 1788, Lieut. King 
had formed the most sanguine expectations of the future. 
He was charmed with the beauty of the island. With 
such a genial climate and such a fertile soil, it should grow 
into one of the most flourishing and valuable of colonies 
From this view he never wavered. To secure this result 
he sti'uggled bravely and pertinaciously to overcome the 
difficulties of nature and the perversity of man. Nature 
met him on the threshold with a well-nigh inaccessible 
coast, and a dense and tangled forest, and fought him with 


hurricanes and blighting winds, with drought and cater- 
pillars, which marred his labour. But to rule and organise 
the unpromising human material with which he had to 
work, and to turn it to account in the face of laziness and 
disaffection, was a more trying task than to conquer 
nature. StUl, dviring those eight or nine years, he had 
fought his way thi'ough difficulty, and not a few disasters, 
to the attainment of a very fair success. When, in Sep 
tember, 1796, he resigned his government, he left with tlie 
feeling that the settlement to which he had given some of 
the best years of his life had overcome its first difficulties, 
and was firmly established, with a bright outlook for the 
future. The little island had a population of nearly 900 
people, who dotted its surface with clearings and cottages. 
More than a thu'd of its area (5247 acres) was occupied, 
and 1528 acres cleared and cultivated. The production 
of grain and jDork not only sufficed for the wants of the 
inhabitants, but left a large surplus for exportation to New 
South Wales. And yet the resources of the island were, 
in his view, only beginning to be developed. Instead of 
a population of 1000, he considered it could easily support 
more than twice that number, and could more than quad- 
ruple its products. By ordinary methods it would be 
easy to produce a quarter of a million of bushels of grain ; , 
careful husbandry might even double that quantity. In 
King's opinion, it might become a paradise for small land- 
holders, who would be enriched by the labour of those 
convicts whom it was desirable to isolate from the main 
settlement. The settlers would consist of soldiers, sailors, 
and the better class of expiree prisoners, while forced 
labovir would clear and cultivate their lands and build 
their houses. New South Wales would benefit by the 
removal of the worst and the most turbulent, and these 
would be easily controlled in an isolated dependency by 
a small military force, and, under strict discipline, would 
be transformed into a means of wealth to the community, 
instead of being a menace to its order. The mistake of 
the New South Wales settlement had been that it had 
been formed exclusively of convicts ; but in Norfolk Island 
the true solution of the transportation question would be 
found. It would be a community of free settlers, vo 
which the convicts would supply labour. It would be 
not only a self-supporting, but a profitable penal colony. 

When Captain King left Norfolk Island for England, 
in the Britannia, in 1796, he handed over the command to 
the principal military officer, Captain Townson. of the 
New South Wales Corps. Now that the island produced 


grain and meat enough to feed its inhabitants, its most 
pressing want was a vessel expressly appropriated to its 
service, and always ready, for communication with Sydney. 
Vessels were so few at Port Jackson that none could be 
spared for the exclusive use of Norfolk Island. Captain 
Townsoii, therefore, determined to try what the island 
could do for itself. The indigenous pine provided timber 
in plenty, but appliances were few, and the want of a har- 
bour presented almost insuperable obstacles to ship-build- 
ing. However, after some months' labour, there stood 
upon the beach before the settlement a little craft of 25 
tons, built of Norfolk Island pine, completely rigged and 
equipped for sea. An ingenious man on the island made 
a quadrant with which to navigate her. She was launched 
from the shore, and had to go on her voyage to Sydney 
without any further preparation. Probably, she was 
strained in launching, for she proved to be very leaky. 
With the aid of two pumps, however, the little crew man- 
aged to keep the water under, and she safely reached Port 
Jackson (15th June, 179S), with the Commandant's de- 
spatches to Governor Hunter. ^This vessel, the first and 
the only one built at Norfolk Island, was named the Nor- 
folk, and though little more than a decked longboat, she 
was destined to do good service, and attain a certain 
celebrity. Captain Townson and the Norfolk Islanders 
were not allowed to benefit by the vessel which they had 
built with so mvich difficulty. When she reached 
Port Jackson, Flinders and Bass were burning 
with anxiety to solve once for all the vexed px'oblem 
of Bass Strait and the insularity of Van Diemen's 
Land. They persuaded Governor Hunter to fit 
up the Norfolk for a voyage of discovery, and four months 
after her arrival at Sydney she sailed with those two 
adventvirous explorers, passed through Bass Strait, and 
accomplished the first circumnavigation of Van Diemen's 

In April, 1800, Captain King returned to New South 
Wales from England, but he did not go back to his old 
government at Norfolk Island. He had brought with 
him Ilis Majesty's Commission as Lieutenant-Governor 
of New South Wales, and when Governor Hunter left 
Sydney for England in September, 1800, King succeeded 
him in the government of the principal Colony. 

Before Governor Hunter's departure, and in accordance 
with orders from Home, Major Joseph Foveaux, of the 
New South Wales Corps, was appointed Commandant 
of Norfolk Island, and assumed the Government in July, 


1800. . Matters where in a bad way in the island. With 
the withdrawal of King's zeal and energy improvement 
had ceased. The population had increased somewhat, 
but in all other respects the settlement was steadily going 
back. Governor Hunter, who touched at the island 
on his way to England m H.M.S. BuffaJu (October, 1800) 
to land some mutinou.s Irish prisoners, gave a deplorable 
accont of its condition. Its appearance was most un- 
promising. All the buildings were in a state of rapid 
decay, and but few signs of industry were visible. The 
people were idle and refractory, the crops were mostly a 
failure. All they could supply to the Buffalo was a few 
hogs and some vegetables. 

The sanguine hopes of King were doomed to disappoint- 
ment. The island had been at first occupied chiefly v/ith 
a view to developing the manufacture of New Zealand 
flax. This had jDroved a complete faihu-e. Much had 
been expected from the pine forests ; but the timber was 
found to be unfit for ship-building and too brittle for 
spars, even if it had been possible for ships to lie there and 
take it in. The soil was fertile, it is true, but from the 
uncertainty of the climate and the many plagues — 
drought, blight, and caterpillars — the crops oftener than 
not yielded but a poor return. The project of settling 
pensioners and expirees had proved abortive. The 
soldiers and sailors were mostly too ignorant of farming 
to succeed, and the inveterate idleness of the bulk of the 
settlers of another class had been a still more insuperable 
obstacle to their prosperity. Moreover, they were dis- 
contented and disaffected, and laid the blame of all their 
misfortunes upon the Government. 

Governor Hunter was not alone in his opinion. Collins, 
who had ample opportunities of fonuing a correct 
judgment, speaks in his work on New South 
Wales of Norfolk Island as the place for transporting 
offenders who had been again convicted in New- South 
Wales, and that this was more dreaded than the first 
transportation. He thought that for this purpose it 
might be continued as an alternative for the gallows, but 
as a settlement the expense was quite disproportionate 
to any advantage to be derived from it. From the 
reports of Flinders and Bass on the climate, soil, and 
harbours of Van Diemen's Land, he thought that territory 
would be found much more profitable than this parched 
and inaccessible island. 

Such was the condition of affairs when Major Foveaux 
took over the command in July, 1800. Foveaux was not 


the man to cope with the situation, or to infuse, a spirit 
of order into a disorganised society. As if with the 
iuteijtion of making his task more diiiicult Governor King 
added a new trouble by banisliing to the island a number 
of the most txii-bulent of the Irishmen who had been 
exiled to New South Wales for their participation in the 
rising of 1798: they had given much trouble at Port 
Jackson through their mutinous conduct, and it was 
thovxght that by banishing the most turbulent to the 
distant settlement they could be kept under better re- 
straint. But in Norfolk Island society was even more 
anarchial than in the principal colony, and there was 
abundant opportunity for plotting. In December, 1800, 
a conspiracy was discovered among the Irish, the object 
being to uverpower the officers, seize the island, and escape. 
As the Ii'ish numbered only 36 men, while there was a 
force of 100 soldiers and 26 constables, the. plot could 
scarcely have been called formidable. But, if Foveaux 
w^as unable to preserve order, he could at least take sum- 
mary and barbarous vengeance. He received full infor- 
mation of the plot on a Saturday evening. On the 
Sunday morning the people went to church as usual. 
When service was over all the Irish were ironed and put 
into gaol. At two o'clock the Commandant had a gallows 
erected, and two of the ringleaders, John WhoUahan and 
Peter M'Lean, were brought out and forthwith hanged 
without trial or examination. 

In the memoirs of the so-called General Holt we have 
some graphic sketches of the state of Norfolk Island under 
Major Foveaux's government in 1804. Joseph Holt 
was a prominent leader of the United Irishmen during 
the rising of 1798, and was transported — or to speak 
correctly, exiled — to New South Wales as a political 
prisoner. As a State prisoner Holt was allowed full 
liberty in the Colony, and being a man of ability and 
energy, attained a fairly comfortable position. At the 
time of the Castle Hill rising in 1804, however, he came 
under suspicion, more on accoixnt of his antecedents as a 
rebel leader than from any actual proof of his comjilicity 
in the plot. Governor King, however, made up his mind 
that Holt was a dangerous character, and banished him 
to Nox'folk Island. There is no doubt that Holt's picture 
is strongly coloured by his prejudices, and must be taken 
with large allowances, but the account he gives of the 
arbitrary cruelty which reigned under Foveaux is too 
surely conobfjrated from otlier sources to be very far from 
the truth. As a political exile Holt was legally a free 


man in New South Wales, though subject to certain 
restrictions. He had not been convicted of -^ny crime 
when exiled to Norfolk Island, yet immediately on 
arrival he was clapped into gaol, and by Foveaux's orders 
was illegally put into the working gang as a convict. At 
first he refused to work, but, mindful of the absolute 
power of the Commandant, who was sole judge and jury, 
he finally submitted. For some three or four months he 
was kept in the gang, in which the men were subjected 
to most brutal treatment from the overseers. At length, 
under the combined effect of severe labour and exposure 
and insufricie7ifc rations Holt broke down, and in con- 
sequence of strong representations from Surgeon D'Arcy 
Wentworth to Foveaux of the illegality of this treatment, 
he was exempted from further labour and given his 
liberty. He remained on the island for 15 months 
longer, until Major Foveaux was succeeded in the com- 
mand by Captain Piper. Holt described Norfolk Island 
in these terms: " The dwelling of devils in human shape, 
the refuse of Botany Bay, the doubly damned." 

In spite of Governor King's partiality for the settlement 
he had founded, it was becoming evident to the Home 
Avithorities that Norfolk Island was never likely to be- 
come a successful Colony, and that it would always 
continue to be an expensive burden on the Government. 
Dr. Lang, in his " History of New South Wales," roundly 
charges King with having, from some interested motive, 
done his best to discredit the settlement at the Colonial 
Office. In the absence of any direct proof, and from the 
general tenor of King's conduct with regard to the 
changes in the establishment, this charge seems to be 
w^holly withoixt foundation. It is much more probable 
that the views of such men as Hunter and Collins, with 
the unsatisfactory reports of the condition of the settle- 
ment, and its great expense, prompted the Home Govern- 
ment to decide to reduce the establishment, if not to 
abandon the island altogether. 

At the same time, Governor King's urgent representa- 
tions of the danger which was impending over the new 
Colonies from the designs of the French had roused the 
English Government to take active measures to forestall 
them. In December, 1802, the Cabinet had decided to 
form a settlement at Port Phillip, and in the following 
April Colonel Collins' expedition had been despatched for 
that purpose. 

Still the Government was uneasy; and in June, 1803, 
Lord Hobart wrote to Governor King that the position of 


Port Dalrymple in Bass Strait rendered it particularly- 
necessary, from a political point of view, that an 
establishment should be placed there, and directed him 
for that purpose to remove from Norfolk Island a portion 
of the settlers and the convicts, and send them to Port 
Dalrymple under the command of Lieut. -Col. Paterson, 
at the same time recalling Major Foveaux to Sydney. 
Lord Hobart's despatch did not arrive at Port Jackson 
until May, 1804, nearly 12 months after it was written. 
Collins having in the meantime abandoned Port Phillip 
for the Derwent, the importance of occupying a station 
in Bass Straits became more urgent, and King at once 
applied himself to carry out his instructions respecting 
the settlement of Port Dalrymple, which was eventually 
accomplished by Paterson settling at George Town in 
November. 1804. 

King did not show the same alacrity in complying with 
the instructions respecting Norfolk Island. There is 
little doubt that they were distasteful to him. He con- 
tented himself with writing to Foveaux (23 June, 1804) 
that the establishment was to be reduced, and that to- 
wards the end of the year he would send a vessel or vessels 
to remove any settlers who were inclined to go to the 
new colony at Port Dalrymple. At the same time he 
said that he did not wish to force removal on any settlers 
who were valuable and industrious, and who might be 
ruined by having to give up their land after the expendi- 
ture of so nnich labour and the endurance of so much 
hardship. Nor, on the other hand, did he want the use- 
less and idle, who might be only too willing to move. 
Still, out of the 33 larger landholders there might be some 
who would be willing to go, and they should be encouraged 
by the offer of liberal terms. They and their stock 
would be removed at the public expense, and what was 
necessarily left behind would be taken by the Govern- 
ment at a valuation. On surrendering their grants 
they were to have four acres for every acre cultivated 
at Norfolk Island, and two acres for every acre of waste 
land. They were to have rations for twelve months for 
themselves and their households, and be allowed the labour 
of two convicts for the same period. Of the 180 little 
occupiers there might be a few who were worthy of en- 
couragement and removal. 

On the receipt of the Governor's instructions Foveaux 
assembled the settlers (19th July, 1804), and laid the 
proposal before them. It was well received, and some 
40 at once gave in their names as ready to try their 


fortunes in Van Diemen's Land. These 40 were free 
settlers, most of them being men who had been either 
in the army or the navy. A considerable proportion held 
grants of from 30 to 120 acres each. A few had flocks 
of sheep ; one, George Guest, as many as 600. Amongst 
those who were strongly recommended by Foveaux as 
the most industrious and fittest for selection we find the 
names of Daniel Stanfield, Abraham Hand, John and 
Joseph Beresford, George Guest, Wm. Pentony, Joseph 
Bullock, Edward Fisher, James Morrisby, and James 
Belbin. The only stipulation they made was that they 
should be allowed to wait until their crops were ripe, so 
as to take with them their corn and maize, and not be 
wholly dependent on rations from the public stores. 

But the settlers soon repented of their hastly decision. 
When the Integrity arrived from Sydney a fortnight 
later (4th August) with further despatches from the 
Governor, and their contents were communicated to two 
of the principal inhabitants, out of the 41 who had sent 
in their names all but 10 withdrew. As the settlers 
would not move voluntarily, and as King had no instruc- 
tions to use compulsory measures, the only thing left to 
do was to reduce the establishment. Foveaux was of 
opinion that such half measures were a mistake, and that 
the choice lay between continuing the colony on its exist- 
ing footing or abandoning it altogether. To cut down 
salaries and discharge officers would work great injustice 
to men who had spent considerable sums in building 
houses and making improvements. They must be com- 
pensated, and the saving effected would be minute. But 
indeed, any material redviction wovild be impossible. 
Courts of justice must be kept up, and there must be a 
sufficient number of officers to make a jury, Governor 
King proposed sending a vessel annually with officers to 
make a court, the vessel to bring back salt pork for the 
supply of Port Jackson. But a court once a year was 
quite insufficient, and their experience of salting pork 
was not encouraging. The pork was often so badly 
cured that it was useless for food, and the supply of swine 
could not be depended on. Corn was absolutely necessary 
both for their rearing and fattening, and the frequent 
scarcity of corn caused great mortality. Indeed, the 
expectations formed of the island were never likely to be 
realised. In 1801 there had been a famine owing to 
the scarcity of grain and pork, and the inhabitants had 
been dependent for food on fish. In 1802 the crops 
were better, but since then they had either failed 


generally, or had been so poor as hardly to rewai-d the 
settlers' labour. Biit for the large yield from Govern- 
ment land in 1802, large supplies would have been re- 
quLied from Port Jackson. As it was, they had been 
obliged to get afloat from Sydney, and even then could 
only allow a rediiced ration. Many of the settlers were 
in great distress, and if the crops failed again — as indeed 
was afterwards the case — they would be in absolute 

Yet, in spite of all these disadvantages, many of the 
settlers, especially those who had come over with the first 
settlement, showed a great reluctance to move. They 
were attached to their homes, and did not care again to 
face the difficulties and privations which they would have 
to encounter in a new settlement before they could get 
round them even such comforts for their families as they 
had at Norfolk Island. If they knew that the Govern- 
ment meant to abandon the settlement altogether, 
probably they would be willing to remove. One of the 
greatest obstacles was their debts. But perhaps the 
offer of greater inducements might overcome their reluct- 
ance, and eventually they would all benefit by the change. 

Governor King had no authority to abandon the settle- 
ment, and was probably only too pleased that the settlers 
whom he had planted showed such an attachment to his 
favourite island, or at least so much reluctance to leave it. 
It only remained for him to make such reductions in the 
establishment as were possible. Some of the civil officers 
were discharged and others transferred to Port Dalrymple, 
the military guard was reduced by one-half, and most of 
the convicts were withdrawn, some being removed to Port 
Dalrymple and the remainder to Port Jackson. With 
the few small vessels available for the service, the diffi- 
culty of approach to the island, and the storms which 
on more than one occasion disabled the badly found and 
unseaworthy ships, the removal of even a small part of 
the people was a tedious business, extending over many 
months. By the end of 1805 about 250 people had been 
removed, leaving more than 700 still on the island. The 
stores were for the most part transferred to Port Dal- 
rymple and the Derwent. A large quantity of the salt 
pork sent to the latter settlement was condemned as unfit 
for human food. 

In accordance with Lord Hobart's in&ti'uctions. Major 
Foveavix resigned his charge on V2th. February, 1805, 
when the reductions began. Captain John Piper, the 
senior military officer, took his place as Commandant. If 


Holt is to be trusted, Captain Piper's rule presented a 
favourable contrast to that of Foveaux, both in the 
humanity and consideration he showed to those under him 
and in his general conduct. To Piper was left the 
troublesome and unpleasing task of superintending the 
removal of the settlers. With but iew exceptions they 
obstinately refused to stir. The first to leave were five 
settlers who sailed with Foveaux to Sydney, and thence 
preceeded to Patersons Settlement at Port Dalrymple, 
where they arrived in April, 1805. These were the first 
Norfolk Islanders to settle in Van Diemen's Land. 
Paterson wanted them to take up theii' locations on the 
Supply River on the west bank of the Tamar; but they 
chose their allotments on a creek two miles south-east of 
York Town. The soil on the hills was bad, the flats were 
liable to floods. Their crops turned out so poor that 
they threw up their locations, and Paterson eventually 
gave them fresh grants in the fertile country on the banks 
of the South Esk, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 
Longford. Seven months later two more of the Norfolk 
Island settlers found their way to the banks of the Tamar. 
With a disabled little warship and a couple of small 
schooners for his whole available fleet. King had to look 
for some chance private ship to remove stores and people 
from Norfolk Island. In September, 1805, the Sydnet/ 
arrived at Port Jackson from India. As she was bound 
to the Derwent for oil, King agreed with Captain Forrest 
to touch at Norfolk Island on the way and take a cargo 
to Collins' settlement. For this charter he paid the 
captain £600. He had by this time relented of his 
harshness to Holt, and given him permission to leave his 
place of exile, so that when the Sydney sailed from Nor- 
folk Island on the 1st of November, Holt took a passage 
in her and paid a visit to the new settlement of which he 
has left us a lively account in his journal. In the Sydney 
also there came the first Norfolk Island settler to the 
Derwent — George Guest — who brought a wife and six 
children and also 300 ewes, of which only 265 survived 
the three weeks' passage. Of 200 ewes belonging to 
Government, shipped at the same time, only 148 were 
landed. Six head of cattle arrived safely. 

Thus, at the end of 1806. after the exertions of more 
than two years, only eight settlers with then- families had 
been prevailed upon to remove to Van Diemen's Laud. 
The convicts had been nearly all withdrawn, the military 
guard reduced to 25 men, but there were still 700 people 
on the island, a numbei^ nearly equal to the combined 


population of the two recently founded settlements in 
Van Diemen's Land, viz., Hobart, 471 ; Port Dalrymple, 
301 ; total, 772. Lord Hobart's despatch ordering the 
deportation of the settlors was dated June, 1803. If it 
had taken more than three years to move eight settlers, 
how long would it take to remove 700 ? The Colonial 
Office was beginning to grow impatient, especially as news 
had arrived tliat there was once more a bad harvest at 
Norfolk Island. 

Accordingly, in December, 1806, the Secretary of State 
wrote a peremptory despatch on the subject to Governor 
Bligh, who had succeeded King as Governor of New South 
Wales. In this despatch Lord Norfolk recapitulated the 
reasons which had led Lord Hobart more than three years 
before to decide on the evacuation of the island. He 
remarked with dissatisfaction that the measures hitherto 
taken had had little effect in pi'omotiug the object of 
freeing the Government from the expense of an unpro- 
ductive settlement ; that it was plain that the crops were 
less satisfactory each year, while the expenses were ever 
increasing ; that Port Jackson would soon be self-sup- 
porting, while Hobart Town and Port Dalrymple appeared 
to have everything to recommend them in regard to 
climate and fertility. It was now evident to the Govern- 
ment that no advantage covxld arise from the partial 
evacuation of Norfolk Island, and he therefore gave orders 
that measures were to be taken forthwith for the with- 
drawal of all settlers and stock and their i-emoval to the 
new settlements in Van Diemen's Land, on the terms 
recommended by Foveaux nearly two years before, with 
certain modifications. The settlers were to be com- 
pensated for what they had to leave behind, the money 
compensation not to exceed £1000, and they were to have 
grants in the proportion of two acres only to one acre of 
cultivated land surrendered. On the other hand they 
were to have houses erected of value equal to those given 
up ; were to be victualled for two years at the public cost ; 
those of the better class were to be allowed the labour of 
four convicts for nine months and of two for fifteen 
months, those of less desert being allowed lesser privileges. 
The deportation now began in earnest. H.M.S. For- 
■poise, the armed tender Ladi/ Nelson, and the Estramina 
were to remove the people and their stock. Governor 
Bligh gave the settlers their choice between Port Dal- 
rymple and the Derwent. Most of then) chose the latter 
settlement. He then gave Collins notice to be ready to 


receive 120 settlers and theii' families, 386 souls in all, 
and at the same time sent him seven mouths' supplies. 

The first vessel to arrive (28th November, 1807) was 
the armed tender Lady Nelson. She was already well 
known at the Derwent. In 1803 she had brought to 
Risdon a portion of Bowen's party, and had as.sisted at 
the founding of Hobart by Collins in February, 1804, 
and she now brought the first detachment of settlers 
deported from Norfolk Island. They consisted of 15 
families, comprising 34 j^ersons. Three months later 
(17th January, 1808) came the Par foist with 43 families, 
altogether 187 persons, -and on the 2nd March the 
Nelson brought a further instalment of 50. Another 
three months saw the Estramhia arrive with an addi- 
tional 62. Thus in little more than six months Collins 
had had 330 people thrown on his hands with but little 
means to provide for their wants. Many of them were 
in a most wretched condition, and immediately applied 
to Collins for clothing and bedding, which it was not in 
his power to give them. They had come with the ex- 
pectation that all their wants would be provided for by 
the Government. All Collins could do was to billet the 
majority amongst the inhabitants. Some few he assisted 
to build houses for themselves. Some few he found 
svifficiently skilled to be employed at wages on the works 
he had then in hand, the principal of wdiich was the large 
brick store which still stands at the bottom of Macquarie- 
street. Some of the new arrivals received their grants 
of land in the neighbourhood of the settlement at Sandy 
Bay, but the greater part were fixed some 20 or 30 miles 
up the river, at a new settlement which, in memory of 
their old home, was called New Norfolk. The sudden 
accession of over 300 people to a small community which 
did not number 500 was a great strain on Collins' re- 
sources. His supplies were scanty enough, and when 
he learned that still more people were coming, and that 
he was to have thrust upon him more than double the 
number which Bligh had led him to expect, he was loud 
in his complaints both to the Home Authorities and to 
Sydney at the want of thought with which he had been 

In the meantime a little revolution had taken place in 
Sydney. Governor Bligh had been deposed by the 
officers of the New South Wales Corps, and the govern- 
ment had been assumed by Colonel Johnston. The work 
of removal from Norfolk Island was then pushed on even 
more rapidly. Colonel Johnston chartered the City of 


Edinhu/f/h. a vessel of 500 tous, to remove the rest of the 
settlers. The deposed Bligh, in his despatches to the 
Secretary of State, protested strongly against the folly 
of crowding a host of people into a settlement so ill pre- 
pared to receive them, a proceeding which must, he fore- 
saw, involve the whole population at the Derwent in great 

Already there were loud complaints from the Norfolk 
Islanders of the hardships they had had to endure, so 
different from what they had been led to expect from the 
representations made to them when they left the island. 
Many of them were in the most destitute condition, and 
were glad to compound their claims against the Govern- 
ment by taking a few live stock as compensation for the 
houses and effects they had left. Probably, however, 
their own improvident habits were their worst enemy. 
Foveaux states that a ship named the Rose, belonging to 
Campbells, of Sydney, had touched at the Derwent on 
her way from England. Tn direct contravention of his 
orders from head quarters, Collins allowed the Captain 
to land several thousand gallons of spirit for sale. He 
further permitted it to be sold to the new arrivals, who 
parted with their little store of salted pork to the Govern- 
ment store to raise money to purchase the spirits. Thus, 
many in a few days dissipated the whole of their small 
means of subsistence. 

The City of Edinhitrgh sailed from Sydney to remove 
the rest of the settlers on the 26th May, 1808; she met 
with a sixccession of heavy gales, and was repeatedly 
blown off the island, so that she did not complete her 
loading for more than three months ; she sailed from the 
island on the 9th September, cairying 226 people to the 
already overcrowded settlement at the Derwent, where 
she arrived ovi the 2nd October. The unfortunate people 
suffered much on the long voyage of nearly a month, and 
complained that they had been plundered on the way of 
much of their small property. The greater number 
were in a most destitute state — almost naked — and their 
arrival necessarily increased the prevailing distress at 
Hobart. The population of the settlement had been more 
than doubled by the 554 people who had come from Nor- 
folk Island, and now stood at over 1000. Floods on the 
Hawkesbury in New Sovith Wales had destroyed nearly 
the whole crops in March, 1808, and the Governor at 
Port Jackson could spare nothing in response to Collins' 
urgent appeals for help. 


It is true that the Norfolk Islanders had brought some 
store of provisions, but a quite insufficient supply, and the 
Derwent settlement, as yet, produced practically nothing. 
In view of his probable necessities Collins sometime before 
had made an agreement with Campbell, of Sydney, to 
bring him 500 head of Bengal cattle from India, but 
Lieut. -Governor Foveaux had set aside the contract as 
too costly, which was perhaps wise, as the shipment would 
have cost the English Excheqvier some £20,000. 

The Derwent settlement was now in great straits for 
food. The ration of salt meat had long since been reduced 
to one-half. There were only a few weeks' full rations in 
hand, and starvation was staring them in the face. 
Collins got some few stores from the rare vessels which 
touched at Van Diemen's Land, but this was a mere trifle. 
His only resource was to fall back on what the bush 
yielded. He, therefore, issued an order offering Is. per 
lb. for all the kangaroo meat brought into store. 

For the next year or two it was a struggle at Hobart 
Town for bare existence, and the people were on the verge 
of absolute starvation. 

Lieut. Edward Lord, in his evidence before a Com- 
mittee of the House of Commons in 1812, said that the 
whole settlement for a considerable time lived on 
kangaroo, not having a bit of other provisions. 
He says: — "During the gi'eat scarcity, when we 
lived for" 13 months, except at small intervals, 
upon 2 lbs. of biscuit per week, we had not a 
single death. We were living on the wild game of 
the country. The people certainly suffered inconvenience 
and very great privations from want of provisions. I 
have often myself been glad to go to bed from want of 
bread, and have often been without the little comforts of 
wine and sugar. " 

Kangaroo meat brought Is. 6(/. per lb. Later the 
Sydney was chartered to bring wheat from India, but she 
was wrecked. The Venus, Capt. Bunker, was then 
despatched. She was more fortunate, arriving in 1810 
with a cai-go of wheat, which at last relieved the inhabi- 
tants from their dread of famine. Wheat sank from £4, 
or even £6 per bushel, to 12»-. 

With respect to Norfolk Island, it was found unde- 
sirable, if not impossible, to abandon it entirely. There 
was still a herd of cattle and also some 3000 sheep which 
could not be at once removed. A small party was to be 
left to look after the stock and to try whether it was 
possible to cultivate coffee Captain Piper reports, 30 



Sept., 1808, after sailing of the City of Kdinbiirgh, that 
tliere were still 250 persons on the island. 

From the report of the Parliamentary Committee above 
quoted it appears that in 1812 the Island ^vas not wholly 
deserted. There were still a few settlers and some 
soldiers. A Return, dated 30 April, 1810, shows 98 free 
persons (of whom 61 were men) and 26 convicts, ihe mili- 
tai'y and officers numbering 53 ; total, 177. 

The settlers from Norfolk Island were given lands at 
New Norfolk and Sandy Bay, at Pittwater (Sorell), and 
Clarence plains in the South, and at Norfolk plains on the 
Northern side of the island. These grants were at fii-st 
small, seldom exceeding 40 acres. A certain proportion 
of the Norfolk Islanders— especially the marines and 
sailors w^ho came out with Governor Phillip in 1788. and 
went to the island with King, and some of the crew of the 
Sirius — ^who had prospered in Norfolk Island, prospered 
also in Van Diemcn's Land, and their families have con- 
tinued to hold respectable and honourable positions in 
this Colony. But, as a rule, the Norfolk Island settlers 
did not add much to the welfare and progress of the 
settlement at the Derwent. 

The great majority, idle and improvident in their old 
home, did not improve by removal. They were content 
to draw their rations from the stores so long as that privi- 
lege was allowed them, and then 
grants for a trifle, to sink out of 

bartered away their 
sight in poverty and 

An Account of the Settlers, Free Persons, and Prisoners 
received into this Settlement from Norfolk Island from 
29th November, 1807, to 1- October, 1808 : — 

S 2 

~ v 

Timo received. 


what conveyance, 




a OS 

3 > 

^ 'S 

i^ 3- 




■^s » 

OJ i. 







Nov. 29tli, 



Brig LaJy Aelson 



Jan. l/tli, 



Siii]) Porpoise 






Marcli l.«t 


Bfig Ladt/ Nelson 






June 7th 


II. M. 


Colonial schooner 






Oct. 2n(l 


C'iti/ of Ef/inhiirf//i 












Leonard Fosbrook, Depvty Cotnmmidant. 




The modern era of maritime discovery may be said to 
begin with the work of Prince Henry of Portugal, sur- 
named "The Navigator" (1394-1460). Prince Henry 
devoted his life to the furtherance of geographical dis- 
covery. He was inspired by the hope of finding the sea- 
route to the East, and winning for his country the rich 
trade of India and Cathay. During forty years he sent 
out from Lagos fleet after fleet bound for the exploration 
of the coasts of Africa. Further and further south, into 
the unknown and dreaded Atlantic, his caravels pushed 
their way. until, at his death, in 1460, his captains had 
reached the mouth of the Gambia beyond Cape Vei'de, and 
had colonised the Azores. The discoveries made under 
this Prince's inspiring influence were the stepping-stone 
to the great voyages which marked the close of the cen- 
tury. Following the initiative of Henry, the bold genius 
of Columbus conceived the splendid idea of finding the 
East by sailing west; and, in 1492, when he fell upon 
America, he believed that he had reached the further 
shores of India. Five years later, Henry's countryman, 
Vasco da Gama, in a voyage almost as important as that 
of Columbus, doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and opened 
the gates of the sea-way to Calicufc and the East. Pope 
Alexander the Sixth, by his famous Bull, apportioned the 
world between the discoverers — allotting the western half 
to Spain, and the eastern to Portugal. From that time 
the gold and silver of the West were poured into the lap 
of Spain, while Portugal gathered in as her sole property 
the rich profits of the coveted trade of the East. For well 
nigh a century the two nations enjoyed a practical mono- 
poly of the regions which the daring of their sailors had 
won. Spain, in particular, through the wealth she 
acquired from her American possessions, became the 


dominant powei' in the world, and the mistress of the sea. 
Her fail from that high eminence was dvie to her arrogant 
greed for universal dominion, and her attempt to crush a 
free nation of traders. 

In the 15th and 16th centuries the Netherlands — the 
Low Countries of common English parlance — were the 
most prosperous nation in Europe. While other nations 
exhausted themselves in war, they devoted themselves to 
the arts of peace. In agriculture they were far in ad- 
vance of all other countries of the time. The Flemish 
weavers were the first in the world, and their looms sup- 
plied England and all Europe with the best linen and 
woollen fabrics. In an age when salted provisions were 
almost the sole winter diet of all classes, the fisheries of the 
North Sea were nearly as important as the manufactures 
of Flanders. These fisheries were well nigh monopolised 
by the Hollanders, and were a rich mine of wealth to the 
northern towns, while they trained a hardy and daring 
race of sailors. In addition to their manufactures and 
their fisheries, the Dutch had become the traders and car- 
riers of the European world. It was Dutch ships and 
Dutch sailors that distributed throughout Europe the 
treasures brought by Spanish and Portuguese fleets from 
the East and West Indies. 

The Netherlands were an appanage of the Spanish 
Crown. But the rich manufacturing and trading cities 
of Flanders and Holland enjoyed considerable liberties and 
powers of local self-government, granted to them from time 
to time by their over-lords in exchange for heavy annual 
payments. It was the attempt of the Spanish King 
Philip the Second to abolish the charters of their towns, 
to stamp out their liberties, and to suppress the Reformed 
Religion by means of the Inquisition, that led to the rise 
of the Dutch Republic, and the long and cruel war with 
the revolted Provinces, which lasted eighty years (1566- 
1648), and finally resulted in the humiliation of Spain. 

The Dutch revolt forms one of the most striking epochs 
in history. It was the first blow struck in modern times 
for human freedom and liberty of conscience against the 
despotism of kings and the intolerance of priests. The 
power of the strongest empire in the world was put forth 
to crush the revolted citizens. Treachery, torture, and 
massacre were freely and ruthlessly employed. The but- 
cheries of the Duke of Alva still stand out pre-eminent 
in the bloody annals of tyranny and persecution. The 
story, as we read it in the graphic pages of Motley,, 
bristles with deeds of ferocious cruelty and blood. 


The struggle would have been hopeless, but that their 
extremity taught the Dutch to find their strength upon 
the sea Powerless before their enemies on land the 
pa riots took to the ocean. In small vessels their hardy 
sailors cut off the Spanish supplies, made daring descents 
on sea-coast towns, and, m process of time, set thZ'ehel 
to work to strike Spam in her most vulnerable paTthez- 
Sr" Th'^'' """^ ^Vorld, from which .he Sre^ S 
Zlthv. ? ^^gg^^^ of the Sea, as the Dutch rovers 
sty ed themselves, became the terrors of the richly-laden 
ga leons and haughty fleets of Spam. Not only c fd ?hev 
cut off the supplies of gold and silver from the New World 
on which the Spanish King depended, but in tlTe spoil 

whit ,t"^^ '^''''"^ ^^^"^ '^'' '^'^'y- ^^d ^^ tiie ?ade 
which they were contmually extending, they found the 
means for their country to carry on the conflict. England 
almost equally m danger from Spanish designs made 
common cause agamst the enemy. Even when th; c^un 
tries were not at open war, Drake and the English seamen 
acknowledged no peace with Spain beyond the Line Zt 

Z^ f ^r' '^"P' ""^ '""'^'^ 1^^^- settlements on the 
Spanish Main^ returning home laden with treasure 
Foiled m his disastrous attempt to conquer England mth 

^ffnS'T' f T^'^^'.^^^^^P ^^^ ^^"^lly unsuccersfu in h 
efforts to destroy the Dutch commerce. In vam did he 

Tvam d?/hf f "^':" '^r ^^-^^"^^ ^^'^^^ his doiiinions 
in vam did he, from time to time, lay embargoes on thpir 

ships and send thousands of her sJilors to^languish ^ 

the dungeons of the Inquisition. The bold Hoi anders 

only replied by vigorous reprisals. They mocked at his 

prohibitions, and continued to carry on an ever-tncreasit 

and enormously-profitable illicit trade. Dutch anS EnS 

pnvateers triumphantly swept the seas, and hanted^the 

Spaniards at their pleasure. Subjugated Flanders had 

countfv ' it r^ P'°P^' ''^'' '^^^'^^^^ '"^ ^ desolated 
counti>. But the unconquered United Provinces of the 
north were actually profiting by the war, and every da v 
growing richer and more powerful ^ ^ 

The long struggle on the seas, and its successful issue 
roused, both m England and Holland, an insatiabl S 

11 nriv^ r'" ^" ^"^^'"^' '^'' ^P^r^t found its outle 
m privateering or piratical exploits, such as those of 

t^arorPaTpf .^^n ^- "' ^" ''"^''''''^ expeditions, such a 
ment t? n? ^ o Guiana ; and led, m its ultimate develop- 
EmpL ^^^'-^^'^^hment of our Colonial and Indian 


In Holland, the adventurous spirit received a strong 
stimulus from the blind and stupid policy of the Spanish 
King. For a hundred years — ever since the discovery of 
the Cape route to the East Indies — Lisbon had been the 
great centre of the eastern trade. It was thither the 
Dutch traders came to bring wheat, fish, and other pro- 
ducts of Northern Europe, and to carry away, in return, 
and distribute, the spices and merchandise of the East. In 
1594, Philip — who had some time before acquired the 
crown of Portiigal — closed the port of Lisbon, and pro- 
hibited Dutch and English ships, even under a neutral 
flag, from trading with any part of his empire. The blow 
not only failed of its effect, but recoiled on the striker. 
It ruined Lisbon, crippled Spain, and made the Dutch 
East Indian Empire. With a sagacious daring, the Hol- 
landers immediately formed the steady resolve to find these 
eastern treasures for themselves, and wrest the trade from 
their enemies. 

Their first attempt to reach the Indies was discouraging. 
It was a favourite idea in those days that a short and prac- 
ticable route to China and India could be found by the 
north-east passage round the north of Europe. To find 
this pasage, and take^the Portuguese in the rear, was the 
object of the first Dutch enterprise. The expedition 
proved disastrous, getting no further than Nova Zembla. 
Two subsequent expeditions in the same direction met 
with no better fate. 

Baifled in their efforts to find a passage through the 
frozen seas of the North, the Dutch turned their attention 
to the old route round the Cape. The merchants of Am- 
sterdam formed a company, under the quaint name of 
" The Company of Far Lands," and fitted out four vessels, 
the largest 400 tons, and the smallest only 30 tons burden. 
The httle fleet sailed from the Texel, 2nd April, 1595. 
After a fifteen months' voyage, it reached Java, and laid 
the foundation of the Dutch eastern trade. From this 
time new companies were formed in Holland; every 
year fresh fleets left for the east, many of them returning 
with rich cargoes, and making enormous profits. In spite 
of the violent attacks of the Spaniards and Portuguese, 
the Dutch steadily pushed their way in the Eastern Archi- 
pelago, and made reprisals on their enemies with telling 
effect. Their humane and prudent conduct contributed 
greatly to their success in establishing trade relations with 
the native princes, by whom the Portuguese were detested 
for their cruelty, arrogance, and overbearing behaviour. 


The English had now entered into competition with the 
Dutch in the India trade, and, in 1 600, the first English 
East India Company was founded. But the English 
company found their rivals too powerful. In 1602, the 
various companies in Holland agreed to cease their mutual 
competition, and unite. This was the beginning of the 
famous Dutch East India Company, which, on 20th 
March, 1602, received from the States-General a charter 
for twenty-one years, giving it an exclusive monopoly of 
the trade with the East. The company had a capital of 
six and a half millions of florins, or £550,000, more than 
eight times that of its English rival. It was managed 
by a body of seventeen directors, known as the Council of 

The Dutch had already (1602) established themselves 
permanently in Java. Here they founded the city of 
Batavia, which became the centre of their trade, and the 
residence of the Governor-General of their Eastern pos- 
sessions. They established factories in Malabar, 
drove the Spaniards from Amboyna, and took pos- 
session of the island, v/rested Malacca from the Portuguese, 
and expelled the same nation from the Moluccas, or Spice 
Islands. In 1621, less than twenty years after its founda- 
tion, the Company had a practical monopoly of the trade 
in cloves, nutmegs, cinnamon, and other products of the 
Archipelago. The Portuguese had been driven out, and 
England only waged an obstinate but unsuccessful rivalry. 
In 1638, the Dutch supplanted the Portuguese in Japan, 
and, in 1656, got possession of the island of Ceylon. 

In a work by Sir Walter Raleigh, entitled, " Observa- 
tions touching Trade and Commerce with the Hollanders 
and other Nations," presented to King James in the year 
1603, we find a striking picture of the commerce of the 
Netherlands as compared with that of England. 

Raleigh attributes the sudden and astonishing rise of 
the Netherlanders, among other causes, to the " embargo- 
ing and confiscating of their ships in Spain, which con- 
strained them, and gave them courage to trade by force 
into the East and West Indies, and in Africa, where they 
employ 180 ships and 8700 mariners." (This, it should 
be noted, was only seven years after the first Dutch vessel 
had reached Java.) Sir Walter gives a number of inter- 
esting particulars respecting the extent of Dutch trade. 
He says, "We send into the. Eastern kingdoms [df 
Europe] yearly but 100 ships; the Low Countries 3000. 
They send into France, Portugal, and Italy, from the 
Eastern kingdoms, through the Sound and our narrow 


seas, 2000 ships; we, none. They trade with 500 or 600 
ships into oixr country ; we, with 40 ships to three of their 
towns. They have as many ships as eleven kingdoms of 
Christendom, let England be one. They build yearly 
1000 ships, having not one timber tree growing in their 
own country, nor home-bred commodities to lade 100 ships, 
3'et they have 20,000 ships and vessels, and all employed." 
In shipbuilding and seamanship, also, the Dutch sailors 
in those days were the superiors of the English, for Sir 
Walter says that, while an English ship of a hundred tons 
required a crew of thirty men, the Hollanders would sail 
a ship of the same size with ten men. 

We are accustomed to dwell on the naval exploits of 
Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher, on the enterprise of the 
Elizabethan sailors and merchant-adventurers, and on the 
marvellous success of our own great East India Company. 
We have good reason to feel pride in the deeds of the gal- 
lant English seamen of those days, and in the trade which, 
in later times, has carried the English flag into every sea. 
But we are apt to forget how comparatively recent is the 
predominant position of England in commerce and in 
naval power. In the 17th centviry, it was the Dutch who 
were the sailors, and the merchants of the wox'ld, and the 
masters of the sea. Not London, but Amsterdam, was 
the great emporium for the products of East and West, 
the centre of the world's trade, and the richest city on the 
globe. The commerce of Europe and of the world was 
in the hands of the merchants of the Low Countries, who 
had a hundred ships afloat for every one owned by English- 

I. Youth and Early Voyages, 1603-1638. 

It was in the ^nidst of the Eighty Years' War, in the 
year after the foundation of the Company in whose ser- 
vice he was to win his fame, and in the same year that Sir 
Walter Raleigh presented to King James his memorial 
on the trade of the Hollanders, that Abel Janszoon 
Tasman stepped on to this world's stage. He was bom 
ill the little inland village of Lxiytjegast, in the province 
of Groningen, in the year 1603. Groningen is the most 
north-easterly province of Holland, and formed part of 
the ancient Friesland. It is flat, even for proverbially 
flat Holland. The highest hill, the Doeseberg, rises to a 
height of only 35 feet above the level of the ocean, and 
some of the country lies even below the sea-level. It is 
protected from the furious inroads of the North Sea by 
magnificent dykes of timber and stone. Behind these 


massive ramparts stretch wide and fertile fields and 
meadows, rich in agricultural and dah-y produce. The 
cultivators, who hold their laiids under a species of tenant- 
right, are at present the richest and most prosperous 
peasant farmers in the whole of Europe. In Roman times 
the Frisians occupied the country from the Elbe to the 
Rhine, including the extensive tract now covered by the 
Zuyder Zee, over which the sea burst so late as the thir- 
teenth century. They were sea rovers as well as cattle 
herdsmen, and were distinguished for their fierce indepen- 
dence and indomitable love of liberty. They were one 
of the tribes that took part in the conquest of Britain. 
At this day the Frisian language, spoken by a handful of 
people, is the most nearly related of all Low German dia- 
lects to the English, and the men are nearest to the 
English in blood. The Frieslanders are of a different race 
from the inhabitants of Holland proper. The typical 
Dutchman is squat and short-legged ; the Frieslander, 
tall, yellow-haired, blue-eyed, and of powerful build. We 
may fairly believe that Tasman belonged to this tall, bold, 
and impetuous race, who supplied no small portion of the 
hardy fishermen and sailors whose daring made Holland a 
great sea-power. 

We have no information as to the Tasman family, but 
it is to be presumed that its social status was a humble one. 
How Abel came by the surname which is now world-re- 
nowned is a matter of dispute. In the Luytjegast district 
family names were unknown until the beginning of this 
century. The son added to his own Christian name the 
Christian name of his father ; thiis, Abel, the son of John, 
became Abel Janszoon, and by this name simply Tasman 
is often designated in the old records. A nickname was 
often acquired, derived from some pej'sonal peculiarity, 
from a trade, a sign, or a ship. It has been conjectured 
that either Abel Jansz or his father took tlie name Tasman 
or Taschman from a boat or vessel named the Tasch (bag 
or net), belonging to the family.* 

Of young Abel's early life in the flat polders or 
meadows of Luyjegast there is no record. The boy would 
see little or nothing of the horrors of the war which, for 
forty years, had been desolating a great part of the Low 
Countries. The most desperate part of the struggle was 
over with the death of Alexander of Parma. The gloomy 
bigot and tyrant, Philip the Second, was dead. Flanders 

* In the Archives of Hoom there is a document relating to 
a ship called the Tasch, of which the skipper was Cornelis 
Gerritszoon Taschman. 



had fallen, and had become an obedient and desolate 
Spanish province, under the rule of the Archduke Albert 
and his wife, Isabella of Spain ; but the United Provinces, 
under Prince Maurice of Nassau, son of William the 
Silent, were not only holding their own against the 
Spaniards, but were daily growing in prosperity and 
power. When young Abel was six years old, they had 
succeeded in wringing from their exhausted enemy a 
twelve years' truce, with the acknowledgment of the Re- 
public, and of its right to carry on the India trade. The 
boy's imagiiiation must have been often stirred by tales of 
the daring deeds of the Beggars of the Sea, and the heroic 
resistance of Hollanders and Zeelanders to the mighty 
power of Spain. Not less must his spirit of adventure 
have been stimulated by the stories that drifted to his 
quiet village, telling of the I'iches of India, of the Spice 
Islands, and of far Cathay. Small wonder that the old 
sea-roving Frisian blood asserted itself, and that Abel 
Jansz, like the majority of Hollanders in that age, found 
his vocation as a sailor. That he had managed to acquire 
some education is evident from the fact that he had at 
least learned to write, a somewhat i-are accomplishment 
in those days for persons in his humble station. 

It is not unlikely that in the fisheries of the North Sea. 
that nursery of daring sailors, he served his first appren- 
ticeship to the ocean. But the adventurous spirit was 
strong within him, and it was natural that he should soon 
find his way to Amsterdam, the centre of 
the commerce of the world, eager to seek his 
fortune in the rich eastern lands which his country- 
men had won. He had man-ied yovmg — either in his 
native province or in Amsterdam — and his wife, Claesjie 
Heyndricks, had died, leaving him an only daughter. 
When we get the first definite information respecting him 
he was a v/idower, living in the Terketelsteeg (Tarkettle 
Lane), one of the poorest quarters of Amsterdam. Here, 
on the 27th December, 1631, he married his second wife. 
Jannetjie Tjaers.* He was not encumbered with pro- 
perty, — at least, his name does not appear in the contem- 
porary register of assessment for the half per cent. tax. 

* The following is a translation of the entry in the Register 
of the Amsterdam Church, dated 27 Dooemher, 1631 : — Abel 
Janss. of Lutticjast, sonman, aged 28 years, living in the 
Terketelstccc'li, widower of Claos.jic Heyndricks; ;»nd Jannetie 
Tjaers, of Atnstcrdain, aged 21 years; her sister (Jccrtie 
Tjaers being prosont, living in tlic I'alni-strcet. [In the 
margin.] Dirckie Jacobs, tbo mother, consents to the said 
marriage, as Jan Jacobs attests. 


His wife was not greatly his superior in social position, 
and could not sign the marriage register. She belonged 
to a working-class family, — her father being a powder- 
maker, and her brother a sailor, like her husband. The 
family were not, however, altogether without means. 
They were owners of one, if not two, small houses in Am- 
sterdam. The young couple began life in a more respect- 
able locality than Tarkettle Lane, setting up house in 
the Palm-strewt. It cannot have been long after his mar- 
riage that Abel Jansz, then 28 or 29 years old, made what 
was probably his first voyage to the East Indies, in the 
service of the Dutch East India Company. That shortly 
after this time he was in the service of the Company in 
the Eastern Seas we know from independent evidence. 
Mr. Heeres has found in the old Colonial archives two de- 
clarations, signed by Tasman in 1634, which inform us of 
his rapid rise, during the space of two years at most, from 
the position of a simple sailor to that of master of a ship. 
In May, he was mate of the ship Weesj) ( Wasp), trading 
from Batavia, in Java, to Amboyna, in the Moluccas. In 

July, the Governor of Amboyna appointed him master 

"skipper" was th^ term in those days — of the jacht* 

Tasman was, therefore, employed in the spice trade, the 
chief centre of which was the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, 
and especially Amboyna and the Banda Isles, the native 
home of the nutmeg and the clove. In these days it is 
difficult for us to understand the value which our fore- 
fathers, even down to the end of the 17th century, set 
upon eastern spices — pepper, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeo-, 
and especially cloves. It has been remarked that, at 
banquets in England, in the Middle Ages, a place next to 
the spice-box was more coveted than the proverbial place 
above the salt. This may, probably, be explained by the 
fact of the little variety of food possible during the Middle 
Ages, when (in the winter especially) all classes had to live 
mostly on salt provisions — especially salt fish — and had 
hardly any fresh vegetables, until the Dutch taught 
Europe how to grow them. Before the discovery of the 
route round the Cape, a pound of spice was often wort.h 
as much as a quarter of wheat. After Da Gama's voyage 
the trade remained for a century in the hands of the Por- 
tuguese, and the monopoly yielded them enormous profit, 
sometimes as much as fifty-fold. The hope of getting 
possession of this coveted trade was the chief incentive to 

* " Jacht," a small ship of from 100 to 200 tons burden. 


Dutch efforts to reach the Indies. Pepper, ginger, and 
cinnamon were too widely grown to enable them to com- 
mand a monopoly, and in these articles the English East 
India Company was able, with more or less success, to 
divide the trade with the Dutch. It was otherwise with 
the more valued spices, such as nutmeg and cloves. These 
were limited to a few of the East India Islands. Cloves, 
in particular, grew nowhere but on two or three islands 
of the Moluccas. To secure the monopaiy of these, the 
Dutch, accordingly, bent all their energies. In 1605, they 
succeeded in driving the Portuguese out of Amboyna, and 
obtaining the mastery of the whole of the Moluccas. The 
English Eastlndia Company kept up an obstinate rivalry, 
but the Dutch met them with determined hostility. They 
attacked the English factories on small pretext, captured 
their vessels, and, after the massacre of a number of 
English traders at Amboyna, in 1623, finally excluded 
their rivals from all share in the trade. This contest for 
the spice trade was the origin and chief cause of the long 
and bitter enmity between the two nations. To such 
lengths did the Dutch go that, some years later, they ruth- 
lessly rooted up the clove plantatiom on all the islands of 
the Moluccas, except Amboyna and Banda. Here, alone, 
did they allow the clove to be produced, in order that they 
might enhance the price, and make certain of preserving 
their monopoly. 

But to return to Tasman. It is evident that his singular 
capacity had soon made itself evident to the colonial au- 
thorities, for. in August, 1635, we find the simple sailor of 
three years before, now as " Commandeur Abel," cruising 
at the head of a fleet of small vessels (kiels), to protect the 
jealously-guarded monopoly from foreign intrusion, and, 
generally, to harass the ships of hostile European rivals 
in the waters of Amboyna and the Banda Sea. In Sep- 
tember, 1636, he was on his way back to Batavia, the 
centre of Dutch rule, and the residence of the Governor- 
General of the Indies. On his arrival, he found himself 
involved in difficulties with his crew. They cited him be- 
fore the Chief Magistrate's Court, complaining that, while 
cruising in the Banda Sea, he had, presumably in the 
interests of his own pocket, stinted them of their neces- 
sary allowance of rations. As he was acquitted by the 
Court, which was sufficiently experienced in such matters, 
we may conclude that he was unjustly accused ; at least, 
we may g^ve him the benefit of the doubt. 

He was now bent on revisiting the Home country, and 
to acomplish this he was ready to accept, for the time, a 


subordinate post, and, accordingly, shipped as mate on 
board the Banda. Tlie Bauda was the flagship of a home- 
ward-bound fleet {retour vloot) of several sail Her 
skipper was Matthys Quast, a bold and capable sailor of 
whom we shall hear more presently. When on the point 
of sailing, on 30th December, 1636, the ofiicers and crew, 
111 m number, were required to make a declaration 
which IS interesting as illustrative of the troubled state of 
the times, of Uie dangers of war, and the prevalence of 
privateering. It also shows the survival of the ancient 
usage— a part of the old maritime law of the 13th centui-y 
the Roles d'Oleron— which gave to the ship's Council, and 
even to the common sailors, a voice in the control of the 
voyage. By this declaration— to which the whole 111 ■^e^ 
their signatures or marks— the Governor, skipper mer^ 
chant, mates, officers, soldiers, and seamen, presently ap- 
pointed and sailing on the ship Banda. solemnly promised 
that m view of the Spanish men-of-war and the privateers 
ot JJunkirk, they would in no wise pass through the 
Jinghsh Channel, but would hold their course round Eng- 
land, Ireland, and Scotland, so that they might in safety 
make the harbours of the Fatherland. 

The Bcmda arrived at the Texel on 1st August 1637 
after a seven months' voyage. Tasman remained at Am- 
sterdam for some months with his wife Jannetie, who had 
recovered from an illness so serious that she had made her 
"^ Vq.u i'" ^^^} '' '^'^^ "' existence. It was drawn up 
on 18th December, 1636, by the Notary, Pieter Barcman 
it recites that the worthy Jannetje Tjercks, wife of Abel 
Jansz Tasman, citizen, was then lying ill in bed. but was 
ot good memory and understanding. Her residence was 
at the corner of the Palmcross-street, on the Braeck 
Should the testatrix die without issue, then, after certain 
bequests to the poor, she constituted her sister, Geertie 
Tjercks her sole legatee. There is no mention of her 
husband or of the little step-daughter, Claesjen. We need 
not, therefore, assume that there had been any quarrel 
between the married pail^ The absence of Abel in the 
Indies from which return was so uncertain, may explain 
why the wife should leave her property to relations on the 

Meantime, Abel and his brothers-in-law appeared be- 
fore the Amsterdam magistrates, with the object of selling 
the family house in the Palm-street for 500 florins Fo? 
some reason, the contract was cancelled, and the family re- 
tained the house until 1650, when Powels Barentsz in his 


own name, and as attorney for his brother-in-law Tasman. 
who was then in the Indies, conveyed the property to 
Andries Barents. 

After a stay of some nine months in Amsterdam, Abel 
Jansz once more set his face eastward. He entered into 
a new ten years' engagement with the Company, and, in 
consideration of this, he was allowed to take his wife with 
him — the Council of Seventeen having just passed a new 
regulation whereby the chief officers were permitted to 
take their wives to the East Indies, provided they were 
lawfully wedded, were of good lives, and conld show good 
credentials. Tasman was put in command of the fly- 
ship* Enge] (Angel), fitted out by the Amsterdam 
Chamber. The Eugel sailed from the Texel, 15th April, 
1638, and arrived at Batavia on 11th October following. 
The skipper's pay was 60 gviilders (£5) per month. On 
arrival at Batavia, he was continued in his post for three 
years, at an increased pay of 80 guilders (£6 13s. 4^.) per 

II. Voyages in Japan Seas, &c.. 1639-1642. 

It is in the year following his return to Batavia, some 
six years after his first voyage thither, that we find Abel 
Jansz first chosen to take a prominent part in a discovery 

The enterprise of the early Dutch governors in their 
efforts to open up new trade for theii- Company was cease- 
less. Jan Pieterszoon Coen, Governor-General between 
1618 and 1629, was the most illustrious, and the one who 
did most to consolidate the Dutch power. He it was 
who built the fort at Batavia, and fixed the centre of go- 
vernment there. He it was who, in Java, baffled the 
English, and overmastered them in the Moluccas. During 
his rule, Dutch ships first made the coast of Australia. 
After Coen, the most famous governor — he who showed 
the greatest energy in his persistent search for new lands 
and new markets — was Antony van Diemen, the Governor- 
General who was in power when Tasman returned to the 
Indies, and with whom his fame will be for ever associ- 

Early in the career of the Dutch Company in the 
Eastern Archipelago, the Directors had cast longing eyes 
towards the powerful kingdom of the Great Khan — the 

* Fly-ships (ftuit) were long quick-sailing ships, of light 
draught, varying from 200 to 400 tons bTirdcn. Fly-ships 
were first built at Hoorn in 1594. 


Cathay whose wonders had been first revealed to Europe 
by the traveller Marco Polo, in the 13th century. Not 
many years after Da Gama's discovery of the Cape route 
(1516), the Portuguese had penetrated to Canton, and 
by the middle of the 16th century (1542) had established 
relations with Japan, where, for a time, they exerted a 
great influence, and carried on a lucrative trade. When 
the Dutch reached the East, they were not slow to follow 
in the footsteps of their rivals. Seven years after the 
foundation of the Company.they sent ships to Japan, and 
continued to trade there every year, in spite of the violent 
opposition of the Portuguese. Finally, they were allowed 
to set up a factory on Firando, an island to the v/est of 
Kiusiu, and this soon became one of the most profitable 
stations of the Company's trade. 

In 1635, a certain William Verstegen, residing at 
Firando, sent a letter to Batavia, stating that the Japanese 
reported that, many miles to the eastward, in latitude 37^° 
North, there was " a very great country or island, rich 
without measure in gold and silver, and inhabited by 
civilised and friendly people." This was just the sort of 
report to excite the imaginations of those early traders, 
who were constantly tantalised by dreams of a new 
Mexico or Peru to be discovered in the Pacific. It was 
known that, in 1620, the Spaniards had seai-ched in vain 
for this golden island ; but, undeterred by the former 
failure, Governor-General Van Diemen and his Council 
resolved to fit out an expedition to make the discovery. 
The scheme, through various domestic troubles, lay in 
abeyance for some years, but, in 1639, two ships wei-e 
fitted out for the adventure. Tasman's ship, the EngfJ. 
was one of the vessels chosen. The other was named the 
Gracht (Canal), and was under the command of an ex- 
perienced sailor and pilot, Matthys Hendrikszoon Quast, 
under whom Abel had sailed as mate in the Banda on the 
homeward voyage three 3'^ears before. Quast was chief 
and Tasman second in command. Tasman was now about 
35 years old; he had been but six years in the Company's 
sei'vice, and had not only risen from the grade of a simple 
sailor to that of captain of a ship, but was now entrusted 
with the second place in a difficult and important enter- 
prise. His rapid promotion proves that Quast and the 
Colonial authorities had recognised in him high qualities 
as a seaman and a leader of men. The ships sailed from 
Batavia on 2nd June, and made their way round the north 
of the Philippine Islands, keeping a north-easterly course 
until, on 20th July, they sighted some islands belonging 


to a group now known as tlie Bonin Archipelago. Thence 
they steered north-east, and then back to the Japan coast, 
searching for the land of gold. From this point they 
pushed out again into the great ocean further than any 
one before them, to a distance of some 2000 miles east 
from Japan. For two months longer they cruised back- 
wards and forwards in those far northern seas, between 
37^0 and 46° north latitude, straining their eyes in vain 
for some, indication of the golden island. They were in a 
wretched condition. Many of the crew had died, and 
the number of sick increased daily. The remnant were 
worn out with the hardships of the voyage, and barely 
able to do the incessant pumping necessary to keep their 
leaky vessels afloat. Their provisions were running short, 
and there was still no faintest sign of land. Disappointed 
and dejected, the commanders and ships' council reluct- 
antly resolved to give up a fruitless search. On the 25th 
October, they tui'ned their ships for Formosa, to obtain 
refreshment for the sick, and to refit. Taking the coast 
of Japan on their way, they came to an anchor on the 
24th November, before Fort Zealandia, on the island of 
Tayouwan or Formosa, then a Dutch possession. They 
had been nearly six months at sea, and out of a crew of 
ninety, had lost nearly forty men. No further search 
was ever made for the wonderful island. 

In the following year, Tasman made another voyage to 
Japan, this time for the purposes of trade, as skipper of 
the fly-ship Oostkappel (Eastchapei). The fleet with 
which he sailed consisted of eleven ships, carrying freight 
valued at £525,000 ; the Oosfkap2)e!'s cargo, alone, was 
worth £80,000. This gives us an idea of the value of the 
Japan trade. The Hollanders were now the only 
Europeans allowed to trade with the country. The Por- 
tuguese had, for nearly a century, carried on a most prof- 
itable trade, but their ari'ogance and, and, above 
all, the proselytising zeal of the Jesuit missionaries — who 
had made many thousand converts, and acquired an 
enormous influence — excited the jealousy and hostility of 
the Government. Christianity ^^■as suppressed. Foreigners 
were excluded from the Empire, and only allowed to trade 
with Firando and Nagasaki. In 1639, an insurrection 
led to a general massacre of the Christians, and the abso- 
lute expulsion of the Portuguese, under pain of death. 

The Oosfknppe/ arrived at Firando on 25th August, 
1640, and lay there for some three months. During her 
stay the Dutch got into serious trouble with the Japanese 


Government, and were compelled to demolish their fac- 
tory which was too much like a fort to satisfy the sus- 
ceptibilities of the Imperial Government. Mr Lauts 
has given us the resolutions of the Council of the Dutch 
Factory at Firando, in 1640. When the Imperial rescript 

tW) // ''"^'7' ? ''''^"" °^ ^^'^ commission as captain of 
the OnsfkajjpH, sat as a member of the Council, and simied 
Its resolutions. The situation was most periW 
but Fiancis' Caron. the president of the Council, returned 
he prudent answer: - AJl that His Imperial Maiesty is 
pleased to command, we will punctually obey - Still the 
IJutch were slow m proceeding with the work of demoli- 

,WA ^'l .'^'' ''""^ ''""'^^ ^"°^^^^' In^^erial rescript ar- 
nl' ^^ir^'T^ *° P"^ tl^e members of the Council to 
death if the order was not instantly obeyed, that the gi-eat 
stone actory-which had cost the Dutcli 100,000 guifder 
to build-was finally levelled to the ground. Thty wJre 
compelled to submit to the most vlxatious restrict ons 
and o put up with countless humiliations, in orde to 
maintain their position. But the trade was too valuab e 

Dut4 atnJ ^t"^^""'"'' ^"' ^y "^-^' submission the 
Dutch alone, of European nations, for more than 200 
years, managed to retain trade relations with Japan 
vntlf m I's"!' H '\^ J^P— -^d' "l^ke frogs in a w^ll ' 
!?• V h. I '• ^ American squadron, undei Commodore 
1 eiiy bioke m upon Japanese isolation, and paved (-he 
2t of '^r\^'^--kable revolution, the latest"^ develop! 
Japan and annr ''^^^ ''''' "^ ^^^ ^^"^ --' ^^^-- 
In May, 1641 Tasman sailed from Batavia to take in a 
nrnf f ,^^r'^' '^' '"P^^"^ ^^ Cambodia, and then to 
rime it iT''- ^^'' C^^-^'^odian Kingdom, at that 

Furthei S °''n \-^%'- P^^'^^^" of 'south-eastern 
J^urthei India now Cochin China. Its capital, Lauwek 

ant cities of the east; it was the centre of a great trade in 
furs, ivory, silk stuffs, and other merchandisf, which were 
brought from the interior and from China, and expoTted 
to Japan and other places. The Dutch, as the priSe of 
assistance given to the King m some of his wars,^had a 
Lauwek"' ^rr"^^' ^^^"^^^^ ^^^^^ ^° ^^t up a factory at 
tiade For this factoiy Tasman sailed in his ship the 
Oosa^lWl, and in July, came to an anchor in the^Lau! 
wek Roads. On his arrival, he found the Dutch and 
Portuguese m violent conflict. A few days before a Z 
pute had arisen between the crew of the Dutch fly-, ip 


Zaijer and the Portuguese, and this, through the over- 
bearing aiTogance of the latter, had grown into a fight, 
and had cost some of the Dutch their hves. The Direc- 
tors of the factory had appealed to the King to punish 
the offenders, but the Portuguese, having won him over 
by bribes, were only sentenced to pay a fine. This blood- 
money the Dutch refused with contempt, and, since 
neither by entreaty nor in any other way could they 
obtain a juster sentence, they resolved to exact satis- 
faction themselves. At this critical juncture Tasman 
made his ajjpearance at Louwek, and, as he lacked 
neither the courage nor the inclination to avenge the 
murder of his countrymen, he soon found an opportunity 
of inflicting an exemplary punishment on the enemy. "^ 

Since their expulsion from Japan, the Portuguese had 
contrived to keep a share of the trade by importing their 
wares under the Cambodian flag. On the OostlcajJijeVs 
arrival, a rich cargo of silks from Macao (the Portuguese 
settlement at the mouth of the Canton River) was being 
transhipped into two junks flying the Cambodian flag, in 
order to be sent to Japan. Tasman had express instruc- 
tions to attack and make prizes of all Spanish, Portuguese, 
and other foreign ships not provided with free passes from 
the Dutch Company, giving them permission to trade. 
He, therefore, rapidly discharged his cargo, loaded for For- 
mosa, and then weighed anchor, and cruised outside the 
river to look out for the Portuguese junks. A few days 
after leaving the river, the junks hove in sight, and Tas- 
man gave chase. He soon overhauled one of them, and. 
after a sharp fight, the junk surrendered, and her silks, 
worth 5500 dollars, were transferred to the Oosfkajjpel. 
The other junk (with a cargo worth 5000 dollars), aided 
by the gathering darkness, succeeded in escaping, and Tas- 
man, abandoning further pursuit, proceeded with his spoil 
to Formosa. His conduct in this matter did not, how- 
ever, meet with the approval of the authorities at Batavia, 
and Abel, for his alleged negligence in not capturing the 
second junk, was condemned to forfeit two months" wages. 
On leaving Formosa, the Oosfka-ppel was overtaken by a 
violent storm. She lost her mainmast, and was so dis- 
abled that the ship's council judged it impossible to pro- 
ceed with the voyage to Japan. The ship, therefore, made 
for Formosa, and, after a most perilous voyage, contrived 
to reach Fort Zealandia. Here the cargo for Japan was 

Voornionlon van Bookeren, p. 33. 



transhipped to the Zaijer, and the Oostkappel was suffi- 
ciently repaired to be able to sail, under jury rig. with a 
cargo of silks for Batavia, where she arirved on 20th De- 

Although Tasman, as we have said, was fined two 
months' wages for dereliction of duty in allowing the Por- 
tuguese junk to escape him, it would appear that this was 
but a necessai-y part of the rigid discipline of the Com- 
pany, and involved no real disgrace. His voyage with 
Quast, in search of the '' golden island,' had tested his 
qualities of hardihood and endurance ; his voyages to 
Japan had proved his skill and resource in seamanship ; 
his services in the Banda Sea, and his smart action at 
Lauwek (in spite of nominal blame), had shown his 
courage and capacity, and his zeal and determination as 
a stout upholder of the rights and privileges — not to 
say of the arrogant assumptions — of the Company. Van 
Diemen, ever on the watch for capable and resolute 
men who could further his plans for the extension of 
the Dutch supremacy in the East, had recognised Abel's 
great qualities. This is plain from the important enter- 
prises with which he was constantly entiiisted. So little 
did his failure to capture the junk affect his standing, 
that, within three or four months after the infliction 
of the fine the Governor-General offered him the con- 
duct of an important mission, in which not only his 
resolution, but his diplomatic skill would be put to 
proof. Amongst other countries in which the Dutch 
had eai'ly established themselves was the great island 
of Sumatra. They had soon elbowed out the Portu- 
guese, and now had factories at Acheen, Djambi, and 
other places. The most important of these was at Pal- 
embang (not far from the coasts of Java). This post 
commanded the pepper trade of the south of the island. 
The powerful Sultan of Palembang had long been on most 
friendly terms with the Dutch, but, through the machina- 
tions of a Chinese, named Bencki, who had fled from Ba- 
tavia in debt to the Company, and had managed to in- 
gratiate himself with the Sultan, these relations were 
seriously imperilled. The differences and misunder- 
standings which had arisen now threatened to end in war. 
It was with the view of bringing the Sultan to a better 
mind that Tasman was despatched to Palembang with a 
fleet of four vessels. He left Batavia on 23rd April, 1642, 
and, two or three days later, the little squadron cast 
anchor in the mouth of the river on which the Sultan's 
capital was situated. Here, by way of preliminary, Abel 


Jausz took possession of some junks loaded with pepper^ 
and, having transferred their cargoes to his own vessels, 
he sailed up the river to Palembang. His instructions 
wei'e to do his best to arrange matters by friendly means 
before having recourse to hostile measures. He, there- 
fore, sought an interview with the Sultan. To the sur- 
prise of the Dutch, the audience was not only gi-anted, but 
the ambassador met with a most friendly reception. Abel 
showed himself a skilful diplomatist. He disabused the 
Sultan's mind of the prejudices instilled by the Chinaman, 
and dwelt on the good disposition of the government at 
Batavia. He showed the importance, not only to the 
Company, bixt also to the kingdom of Palembang, of the 
maintenance of the trade and of the amicable relations 
hitherto existing. Finally, he virged, in forcible terms, 
the mischief that would ensue from a v.'ar between the 
two hitherto friendly powers. It is, perhaps, doubtful 
whether the diplomatist's words would have been as 
convincing if they had not been supported by the 
tangible argument of a squadron of ships, commanded 
by a man who, clearly, was not to be trifled with. 
But, however that may be, the Sultan was completely 
won over, and, without further hesitation, renewed* 
the treaty of friendship. Tasman's mission being thus 
successfully completed, he returned with his fleet to Ba- 
tavia, caiTying with him the obnoxious Chinaman, and 
was received by Van Diemen and his Council with the 
warmest acknowledgments for his services in having ex- 
tricated them from what had at one time threatened to 
be a very serious trouble. 

III. The Great Discovery Voyages to the Southland, 
1. The Unknown Southland. 
Tasman was now in his fortieth year. In ten years' 
wanderings and fightings in the service of the Company 
he had grown inured to hardships and danger. He was 
familiar with the great trade routes from Europe to India, 
with the intricacies of the waters of the Eastern Archi- 
pelago, and with the navigation of the Seas of China and 
Japan. He had sailed a thousand miles beyond the 
limits reached by any previous navigator into the unknown 
and mysterious regions of the cold and stormy North 
Pacific Ocean. In his many voyages he had proved him- 
self a keen trader, a capable and daring seaman, a bold 
fighter, and an able commander: He was now ready to 
undertake the great adventure, the crowning achievement 


of his adventurous life — that voyage to the Great South- 
land, which, as a Dutch historian says, " must specially 
immortalise him; the expedition which must ever give 
him an honourable place amongst the greatest navigators 
and discoverers." 

The Great Unknown Southern Continent — Terra Aus- 
tralis Incognita, or Nondum Cognita — had for ages been 
the di-eam of geographers. The ancient cosmographers 
had formulated a theory as to the existence of a huge con- 
tinent in the south, which they considered necessary to 
balance the large continents in the Northern Hemisphere. 
The discovery of North and South America only lent fresh 
weight to this conjecture, and it was commonly supposed 
in the 16th and 17th centuries — and indeed was almost 
an article of faith — that belov,r the Equator there was a 
huge continent which had still to be discovered and ex- 

It was in 1513 that the Spaniard Vasco Nunez de 
Balboa first saw the Pacific from a mountain in Panama. 
Ferdinand Magellan \\as the first to enter it. Leaving 
Spain, in 1519, with five small ships of from 130 to 60 tons, 
this heroic navigator felt his way through liie Strait which 
bears his name, and, crossing the great ocean, after 
months of suffering, reached the Ladrones. He himself 
was killed at the Philippines, but one of his ships, the 
Victoria, with a handful of men, returned to Spain, after 
a voyage lasting three years, having been the first to cir- 
cumnavigate the globe. Magellan's voyage was prompted 
by the desire of Spain to find a way to the Moluccas on the 
west, with the object of disputing the claims of Portugal, 
and wresting fron»her the spice trade. With a similar 
object, the Spanish Viceroys of Mexico and Peru de- 
spatched various expeditions to the Moluccas. In one 
of these voyages, in 1528, Saavedra, sent out by Cortez, 
sighted New Guinea, which had previously been seen by 
the Portuguese. In 1564, the Philippines were colonised 
by the Spaniards. In another voyage, in 1568, Mendana 
discovered the Solomons, and brought to Peru such a 
glowing account of their wealth that, in 1595, he was de- 
spatched with a fleet to found a settlement there. He 
failed, however, to find the islands, and unsuccessfully at- 
tempted to plant a colony on Santa Cruz. Fernandez de 
Quiros, his pilot on this voyage, was firmly persuaded that 
here, at last, was the great Terra Australis. He peti- 
tioned the King of Spain to be allowed to colonise it, and 
in his memorial " it is soberly affirmed to be a ten-estrial 
paradise for wealth and pleasures." He declares that the 
country abounds in fruits and animals, in silver and pearls. 


probably, also, in gold, and is nothing inferior to Guinea 
in the land of Negroes. In 1605, Qixiros set out from 
Pern with a powerful fleet to settle a plantation in the 
southern paradise. On a large island which he discovered, 
and which he took to be a part of the Southern Continent, 
and named Australia del Espiritu Santo — it is, in fact, one 
of the New Hebrides — he founded the short-lived and un- 
fortunate town of New Jerusalem. One of his com- 
panions, Luis Paz de Torres, separated from the fleet and 
steered westward, sailing through the strait which now 
bears his name, and skirting the south coast of New 
Guinea. The first Englishman to enter the Pacific was 
Sir Francis Drake. In his " Famous Voyage," in 1577, 
he stole through Magellan Strait, fell upon and plundered 
the Spanish settlements in Peru, and, following in Ma- 
gellan's track across the South Sea, made the Moluccas, 
and I'eturned to England laden with booty. In the latter 
part of the 16th and early part of the 17th centuries 
several Dutch navigators accomplished similar ciixum- 
navigations. All these expeditions crossed the Pacific 
near the equator, and though they discovered islands, they 
threw no light on the problem of the Terra Australis. 
More important was the voyage of the Dutch navigators 
Le Maii'e and Schouten, in 1616. They found a new 
passage into the South Sea, between Tierra del Fuego 
and Statenland. Sailing through this Strait of 
Le Maire, they reached the open ocean, doubled 
Cape Ilorn, and crossed the Pacific in a higher latitude 
than Magellan and Drake. Being so far to the south as 
17° S. lat., they confidently expected to fall in with the 
great Southland, but were constantljT disappointed, find- 
ing nothing but a few islands. Le Maire "s ships, on 
reaching Batavia. after their long voyage, were seized and 
confiscated by his countryman, Governor-General Coen, 
for having come into the Indies in violation of the charter 
of monopoly of the Dutch East India Company. This 
damped the ardour of explorers for many years, so much 
so that for nearly a century no Dutch navigator ventured 
again to attempt the circumnavigation of the globe. 

These various expeditions had somewhat circumscribed 
the possible area within which the Southland might be 
found. Still, the old cartographers found the idea of a 
sea full of islands so little in harmony with their prepos- 
sessions, that, in the cai-ly part of the 1 7th century (even 
so late as 1640), they boldly drew on their maps of the* 
world a huge " Terra Australis Nondum Cognita." This 
was depicted as surrounding the South Pole, and occupy- 
ing a very considerable portion of the Southern Hemi- 


sphere. In the South Atlantic, the Promontoriiim Terras 
Australis jutted northwards towards Africa. On the 
west, only the narrow Straits of Magellan and Le Maire 
broke its continuity with South America, and gave the 
sole means of passage into the South Sea. On the eastern 
side, this continent of the map-makers blocked all access 
to the Pacific. It extended in a solid but gradually nar- 
rowing mass from the Pole up to the very Equator. In 
this respect, the maps were a jumble compounded of dis- 
coveries, actually made but imperfectly known, fitted on 
to a baseless theory. It is pretty certain that Portuguese 
ships sailing from the Eastern Archipelago had, some- 
where between 1512 and 1542, seen the north-west coast 
of Australia, and that these discoveries were vaguely in- 
dicated on some of the early charts. They appeared on 
the cartographers' maps as the land of Beach, exceedingly 
rich in gold. New Guinea had been sighted by the Por- 
tuguese Maneses in 1511, and again by the Spaniard 
Saavedra in 1528; therefore, Nova Guinea appeared as 
the most northerly extension of the continent under the 
Equator — sometimes as an island separated by a narrow 
strait, sometimes as an integral part of the continent it- 
self. Beyond New Guinea it is probable that the reported 
discovery by the Portuguese of certain vagaie and impei"- 
fectiy-known lands, forming part of the coast of Australia, 
justified the delineation of the north-eastern shores of 
the continent. But, from the point where information 
failed, imagination stepped in, boldly carrying the coast- 
line from Queensland down in a south-easterly direction 
to Magellan's Strait and Cape Horn, and filling the South 
Pacific with an imaginary continent.* 

* The prepossession in favour of a Soutliern Continent was 
inveterate in the 17th and 18th centuries. When Tasman 
made the west coast of New Zealand lie was confident that 
at last ho had discovered the west side of the long-sought 
Terra Australis Incognita. So late as 1771, Alexander Dal- 
rymple — the Hydrographer to the Admiralty, and the jealous 
rival of Cook — published a collection of voyages to the South 
Sea with the express object of demonstrating the existence 
of a huge Southern Continent. The only part of the Pacific 
then unexplored was that lying between New Zealand and 
Magellan Strait. This gave nearly the area which, by 
elaborate calculation, Dalrymple showed was necessary to 
presence the equilibrium of land between the northern and 
southern hemispheres. He therefore concluded that thi.s 
space south of the Equator must be almost entirely solid land. 
Within four years of the publication of Dalrypmle's work, 
Cook, in his second voyage, by sailing over the site of the 
imaginary continent, finally dissipated the fable, and reduced 
the Terra Australis Incognita to the frozen mass within the 
Antarctic circle. 


When the Dutch had established themselves in the 
Eastei-n Archipelago, their spirit of enterprise and ad- 
venture, and their ambition to win new realms for the Com- 
pany's trade, were only stimulated by their unprecedented 
success. It became an object of ardent desire to the Home 
Dh-ectors, the Council of Seventeen, and to the successive 
Governors-General of the Indies, to explore the mystery 
of the Great South Laud ; if, perchance, they might there 
find a second Mexico or Peru, rich in gold and silver, or 
new spice islands, to increase the profits of their trade; 
or. at the least, to discover a direct way from their 
eastern possessions, by the Great South Sea, to Peru and 
Chili, which would make it easy for them to harass and 
plunder the Spanish ships and the settlements of Sovith 
America. It was in 1605 — only three years after the 
foundation of the Company — that the first attempt was 
made; and the object of this expedition was limited to 
the exploration of the regions lying to the east of the 
Banda Islands. With this view, the Diiyfke (Little Dove 
or D(iiJhiy) sailed fi'om Batavia, in 1605, visited the Is'and 
of Aru, sailed along the south coast of New Guinea, and 
reached Cape Keer Weer, in 13° S. lat., on the east side 
of the Gulf of Carpentaria — her captain thinking, how- 
ever that he was still on the west coast of New Guinea. 

For a number of years the want of suitable vessels 
which could be spared from the needs of the East India 
settlements, and the hostilities in which they were con- 
stantly involved with their European rivals in the spice 
trade, coupled with the necessity of consolidating their 
power in the Eastern Archipelago, jjrevented the Colonial 
authorities from engaging in distant adventures. The 
first Dutch discoveries on the west coast of Australia 
were not the result of design, but were accidental — or, 
at least, unpremeditated. 

When the Hollanders first made their way to the East 
Indies, they naturally followed the old routes taken by 
their Portuguese predecessors and rivals. After round- 
ing the Cape of Good Hope, they shaped their course either 
inside or outside Madagascar, and thence made their way 
as best they could — either north to India or east to Java. 
This route had many disadvantages. Numerous rocks 
and islands, the positionof which were imperfectly known, 
lay in the track, and were a constant source of danger. 
The south-east trade winds drove the ships to the north- 
ward, and. as they got into the tropics, they met with 
light, variable, and baffling winds, which delayed them 


for long weeks, so that it was no uncommon thing for 
the outward voyage to last thirteen months. Nor was 
the loss of time, and consequent damage to cargo, the only 
evil. Scurvy — the scourge of all early voyagers — pro- 
duced by the long and exclusive use of salt diet, attacked 
the crews. Many died, and the survivors arrived at their 
destination broken down by sickness, and often short of 
provisions and water. 

Bad as the Madagascar route was, the Dutch, for more 
than fifteen years, were unable to find a better. At last, 
however, in December, 1611, Commander Hendrik Brou- 
wer, who had sailed with two ships from Holland to the 
east, wrote to the Council of Seventeen, reporting his ar- 
rival at Java. After leaving the Cape, he had run due 
east, in about 36° S. lat., for some 3000 miles. He had 
kept a strong south-westerly wind for 28 days, and had 
reached Batavia, after a passage of less th^n seven 
months, having lost only two men from sickness. This 
was unprecedented; and he strongly advised that all 
outward-bound ships should be ordered to take the south 
route, by which they might make sure of short passages — 
seeing that if they failed to get west winds in 36° IS. 
they would be certain to do so if they ran to 40° or 
44° S. Although the long distance run to the south 
seemed a. disadvantage, it was largely compensated for 
by the gain of running down the easting in a high 
latitude. It was open sea all the way in this southern 
ocean, with none of the rocks and dangers which beset 
the northern route, and the coolness of the weather was 
of great importance to the health of the crews. 

In consequence of Brouwer's report, seconded by the 
recommendation of Governor-General Coen, the Directors 
ordered theu outward-bound ships to take the new route. 
Rewai'ds were offered for quick passages — 150 guilders for 
a passage under nine months, 600 guilders if they arrived 
within seven months. The superiority of the new route 
was soon apparent. Of three ships sailing at the same 
time from Holland, in 1614, the Hardt took Brouwer's 
route, and reached Batavia in *ix months, while the two 
others, by the Madagascar passage, were 16 and 18 months 
in making the voyage. It was in running far ea^t under 
the new sailing directions that, in 161 6, the ship Eendragt 
(Concord) first sighted the South Jjm\(\{i.e.jhe west roa-'^t 
of Australia), in 26° S. lat., at Shark Bay; her captain 
Dirk Hartog, landing on an island which still bears his 


name, and putting up an inscribed metal plate, which re- 
mained there up to the early part of the present centui-y. 
The voyage was not without danger, as an English ship, 
the Tryal, found to her cost ; for, following the new Dutch 
route, in 1621, she ran on to the Trial Rocks, in 20° S. lat., 
and was totally wrecked, only a few of her crew succeeding 
in reaching Batavia in the boats. 

From Hartog's ship, the new discovery received the 
name of Eendragt Land, and, in the next four or five 
years the captains of other ships on the same voyage 
sighted the west coast, amongst them Edel and Houtman, 
who, in 1619, made the South Land, in 32^" S. lat. — 
north of the present site of Perth — and sailed along it 
some hundreds of miles, giving it the name of Edel Land, 
and also naming Houtman's Abrolhos. 

Instructions were issued by the Directors, in 1620, and 
1621, that outward-bound ships leaving the Cape should 
keep an east course between 30^ and 40° S. lat. for 4000 
miles, or until they should sight the " New Southland of 
the Eendragt." With our modern notions, these instruc- 
tions appear extraordinary, but in the then existing state 
of navigation they were practical and well-judged. The 
appliances at the command of ship captains in those days 
were very imperfect. Without the sextant or the 
chronometer there was the greatest difficulty in determin- 
ing the ship's position. It is true that they could find the 
latitude by the cross-staff with reasonable accuracy, but 
they had no means of finding the longitude, except by the 
rude process of dead reckoning by the log. They had 
no reliable charts, and had to depend very largely either 
on their own personal experience of former voyages, or on 
the advice of pilots who had sailed the seas before. It 
was, therefore, no uncommon thing at the end of a long 
voyage for the captain to find himself some hundreds of 
miles out of his reckoning — sometimes even as much as 
400 or 600 miles. Thus Brouwer, in the voyage above- 
mentioned, made Sumatra, when, according to his esti- 
mated position on the chart, he was still 320 miles to the 
westward of the island. The object of the new instruc- 
tions was, therefore, to enable the ships to ascertain their 
position after their long run to the east. When they 
made the Southland, they ran to the noith, along the 
coast, until they reached the known point of Eendragt 
Land, in 25° or 26° S. lat. From this they took a new 
departure, and, by steering a N.N.W. course, could make 
pretty sure of striking the south coast of Java. The new 


plan led to several ships sighting various parts of the west 
coast of Australia in the course of the next six or seven 
years. Amongst others, the despatch jacht Leeuwin 
(Lioness), in 1622, doubled the Cape, to which she gave 
her name. Even by the new route, the voyage to the 
Indies was often very protracted, the Leeuwin, for in- 
stance, taking 13 months to reach Batavia. There was 
also the danger of overshooting the mark, as Pieter Nuyts 
found (1627), when, in the Guide Zeepaert (Goldtn Sea- 
horse), he ioxind himself at the islands of St. Peter and St. 
Francis, at the head of the Great Australian Bight, and 
had to coast back some hundreds of miles until he could 
round Cape Leeuwin. 

The new discoveries quickly attracted the attention and 
interest, not only of the Colonial Government, but of the 
Home Directors, and were a frequent subject of corre- 
spondence between the Council of Seventeen and their 
Governors-General. As early as 1618, the Directors 
wrote to Governor- General Coen respecting the discovery 
of a great land situate to the south of Java., reported by 
the ship Eendrayt. Commanders Houtman, Edel, and 
others, recommending that ships should be sent to examine 
it, and report on its inhabitants and resources, and the 
opening it might offer for profitable trade ; and, also, to 
try to find a passage eastward into the Great South Sea. 
Accordingly, in the next few years, several attempts at 
systematic exploration were made, but with little success. 
The only result was the discovery by the ships /V/r; and 
Arnheiu, in 1623, of a portion of the north coast of Aus- 
tralia (now part of the Northern Territory of South Aus- 
tralia), which was named Arnhem Land, and the naming 
of the Gulf of Carpentaria, after the Governor-General 

One further addition to the knowledge of the^e copsts 
was made by De Wit, whose ship, the Vianen, leaving the 
East Indies, in January, 1628, in the north-west monsoon, 
was driven on to the north-west coast of Australia, about 
the Kimberley District, and who named the country De 
Wit Land. 

The total resvdtof these various discoveries and explora- 
tions was that the coast of Australia, from Cape York on 
the north to the centre of the Great Australian Bight on 
the south, had been traced more or less continuously by 
Dutch ships in the twelve years between 1616 and 1628. 
This coast was now called by the Dutch " The Known 
South Land." to differentiate it from those unexplored 


and supposititious regions for which, with practical seiTse,. 
they retained the old appellation of " The Unknown South 
Land. ' Down to very recent times, the names of these 
early Dutch discoveries were retained on the maps of 
AVestern Australia. Half a century ago, when across 
the centre of Australia was written the simple word " Un- 
explored," almost the only names appearing on the 
Western Coast were those given 200 years before by the 
captains of the ships of the Dutch Ea<t India Company in 
the early years of the 17th cciitury. Beginning with 
Nuyts Land, in the Great Australian Bight, and going 
north, we had Leeuwin Land, Edel Land, Eendragt Land, 
De Wit Land, and Arnhem Land. A few names still 
remain as evidence of the Dutch discoveries — Cape 
Leeuwin, Houtmans Abrolhos, Dirk Hartogs Island, and 
the Gulf of Carpentaria. 

Such was the state of Dutch knowledge of Australia 
when Antony Van Diemen became Governor-General of 
I he Dutch Indies, in the year 1636. Van Diemen was 
one of the most notable of the many notable men who 
served the East India Company in the early years of its 
power. Being involved in debt, he had gone to the Indies, 
either to escape his creditors or to retrieve his fortunes. 
He showed so much capacity that he was appointed Secre- 
tary to Governor-General Coen. From this time his rise 
was rapid. In 1626, he became one of the Councillors 
of the Indies, and, after important services, he was ap- 
pointed Governor-General, in 1636.* 

He came to his government at a time when the Dutch 
power had been so firmly consolidated by Coen, Carpen- 
tier, Brouwer. and others of his predecessors in office, that 
the Dutch were undisputed mastei's of the Eastern Archi- 
pelago, and had a virtual monoply of the trade. Freed 
from the difficulties with the native powers and foreign 
rivals which had embarrassed his predecessors, he had the 
leisure and the means to prosecute new entei-prises. His 
ze;il for discoveries •'■liich might bring increased wealth 
and power to his Company was unbounded, and is shown 
not only by his frequent despatches on the subject to the 
Council of Seventeen in Holland, but by the expeditions 
which he planned and sent out during the term of his 
nine years' government. 

It will be observed that the first attempts at explora- 
tion from the Dutch East India Settlements were directed 
to the regions east of the Banda Sea, and had for theii' 

* Du Bois; Vies dcs (j(iuv( riirurs Gineraux. 



chief object the exploration of New Guinea, and especially 
the determination of the question whether New Guinea 
and the known South Land formed one continent, or 
whether there was a strait between them by which access 
could be gained to the Great South Sea. It was to the 
solution of this problem that Van Diemen first applied 
himself in the very year in which he received his appoint- 
ment as Governor-General, ignorant of the fact 
that the Spaniard Torres had already solved the 
problem by sailing through the ^:trait that now bears his 
name, in the year 1606.* 

In the year 1636. Van Diemen despatched two ships 
from Banda. under the command of Captain Gerrit 
Thomasz Pool, with instructions to proceed along the 
south coast of New Guinea. If, contrary to all expecta- 
tions, a strait was found between New Guinea and the 
South Land, Pool was to sail through it, and trace, if 
possible, the east coast of the Known South Land, cir- 
cumnavigating it, and returning home along Nuyts Land 
and Eendragt Land. If, however, as seemed most prob- 
able, New Guinea was joined to the Known South Land, 
he was to sail along the noi-thern and western coasts of 
Australia as far south as Houtman's Abroehos, searching 
all the way for any possible passage to the Pacific. More 
particularly was he to search the more northerly parts, 
as it was presumed that a strait was more likely to be 
found in that quarter than further south, where the South 
Land was, presumably, much wider. If Pool, with some 
of his crew had not been murdered by the savages of 
New Guinea, it is possible that he might have sailed 
through the strait already traversed by Torres, and have 
anticipated Captain Cook in the discovery of New South 
Wales. As it happened, however, the ships returned 
without having discovered anything of importance. In 
the same year, Van Diemen planned the expedition to 
search for the supposed " golden island," east of Japan, 
which, three years later, was undertaken by Quast and 
Tasman, with the result w^e have already seen. 

2. TliP Planning of the Great Discovery Voyage. 

Governor Van Diemens heart was aow set on a com- 
plete exploration of the Unknown South Land, in which 
he hoped to discover a new Peru, rich in silver and gold, 

* The discovery of Torres remained unknown until tlie 
English took Manilla in 1762, and discovered in the Archives 
a copy of Torres' original letter to the King of Spain. .Sfec 
Major; Early Voyages. 


or, at (he least, fertile countries inhabited by civilised 
people, in which might be found new and yet undreamed 
of commodities, to bring fresh wealth into the nlready 
overflowing coflFers of the East India Company. For 
some years domestic troubles and the want of suitable 
ships delayed the execution of his plans but, in the year 
1641, he writes to the Council of Seventeen :—" We are 
very desirous to make the discovery of the South Land. 
The fly-ship Ztehacn was intended for this service, but, 
through the strange delay of the ships from Persia and 
Suratte. Ave were compelled to employ this same Zeehavn 
for the last voyage to Tayoviwan and Japan. Moreover, 
we have kept here, in the harbour, idle, as much to his 
vexation as toourown, therenowiied pilot, FransVisscher, 
whom we intend to employ for the discovery of the South 
Land; however, this shall, as we hope, be yet effected, 
once for all." 

This same Frans Jacobszoon, aJiax Visscher, took an im 
port ant part as the adviser of Governor-Genera] Van Die- 
men in his plans for the projected voyage of discovery. 
Visscher was a native of Flushing, and had been for many 
years in the service of the Company. He had repeatedly 
made the outward and homeward voyages. In 1623. as 
mate of the ship Hoj),', he had sailed round the world m 
the celebrated Nassau fleet, under the command of 
L'llei-mite and Schapenham. He had traded in the East 
for many years, chiefly in the Japan trade, and was 
thoroughly acquainted with the coasts of Tonquin, China, 
and Formosa. In those days, when navigation had not 
been reduced to a science, and charts were either wanting 
or not to be depended on, the Dutch captains in the un- 
charted eastern seas had to place their chief reliance for 
safe and prosperous voyages on the personal experience 
of those officers and seamen who, in former voyages, had 
gained a knowledge of the coasts and rocks, the cun-ents, 
and the winds of the seas they were traversing. These 
pilots, for the most part, were jealous of theij- knowledge, 
and indisposed to make it public, notwithstanding the re- 
peated complaints and injunctions of the Company. 
Amongst these pilots, Visscher, from his long and varied 
experience, and from his skill and capacity, was one of 
the most renowned. His knowledge and experience were 
freely placed at the disposal of the Company, as is often 
made matter of honourable mention in the despatches of 
the Governor-General. He had made charts of the coasts 
and islands of the China Sena, of Formosa, the Piscadores. 
and Japan, and is continually referred to as one of the best 


chart-makers of his time. It was this man that Van 
Diemen consulted on the projected expedition, and, as we 
have seen, for this purpose he detained him — very much to 
Visscher's chagrin in those stirring times^ — for nine months 
in idleness at Batavia, for the benefit of his advice. 

In January, 1642, Visscher wrote a report to the Go- 
vernor-General on the proposed discovery of the Unknown 
South Land. This report is a masterly document, and 
§ives us a high idea not only of Visscher's practical ability 
and knowledge as a seaman, but, also, of his sagacity and 
sound judgment. The old pilot wastes no words on 
fanciful speculations about the mysterious South Land. 
He goes straight to the point, states the conditions neces- 
sary for success, discusses possible difficulties, and, in 
short and concise terms, lays down a clearly-defined and 
carefully-thought-out scheme — or, rather, choice of 
schemes — for exploring both the Unknown and the 
Known Sovith Lands, and, indeed, for obtaining a know- 
ledge of the whole Southern world. 

The report begins with a recommendation that the ex- 
pedition should leave Batavia in August, when they would 
have tlie most favourable winds, and have the whole of 
the summer before them, with long days and good 
weather. From Batavia the ships should first proceed to 
Mauritius, then a Dutch possession. As the expedition 
was intended to go to the east, this, at first sight, seems 
a strange recommendation. But there were good grounds 
for the advice. Visscher, as we shall see, had certain 
reasons for wishing to make the point of departure as far 
to the west as possible. Mauritius, moreover, was easily 
reached with the south-east trades, and, when there, the 
ships would have run down nearly 1000 miles of their 
southing, and would have a comparatively short distance 
to run to the south before reaching the region of the 
westerly winds, on which they must depend for success. 
Moreover, at Mauritius, and this is the only reason ex- 
plicitly stated in the report, they could conveniently take 
in wood, water, and other supplies necessary for the 

Leaving Mauritius, early in October, the ships were to 
get away south, as quickly as possible, to 51° or 54° south 
latitude, or until they fell in with land. From this point 
they should run due east upon the same 'atitude to the 
longitude of the east, end of New Guinea, and then steer 
a course north by west until they got New Guinea on 
board ; or else they might run further tx) the east to the 
supposed longitude of the Solomon Islands — or, perhaps, 


500 or 7uO miles beyond — then steer noi'th, explore those 
islands — where, according to all accounts, they would find 
many things worth their trouble — and return by the 
north coast of New Guinea to Banda or Amboyna. 

But Visscher had an alturnative scheme, or. rather, a 
combination of two schemes, by which a much more com- 
plete exploration could be made. If an exploring expe- 
dition was fitted out in Holland, the ships might make 
the Cape of Good Hope, and thence sail south to latitude 
54"^ S., or make Rio Janeiro, and begin from the east 
side of Staten Land, near Cape Horn ; in either case, run- 
ning east to the -longitude of the Solomon Islands, and 
making the homeward voyage as before. Such a voyage 
would give a knowledge of the whole Southern Ocean 
from Cape Horn to the Solomon Islands. Of course, if 
land was met with, the plans would be modified, but 
Visscher. apparently, had not much faith in the common 
belief in a huge Southern Continent, at least in the 
Atlantic and Indian Oceans. About the South Pacific 
he was more doubtful. Here the difficulty of 
exploration would be greater. The strong westerly 
winds prevailing in the latitude of Cape Horn would make 
it impossible for any ship to make the voyage to the west 
in a high latitude ; but if the Dutch had a settlement in 
Chili, the expedition might start from there, and run up 
into the Tropics with the south-east trades to latitude 12° 
or 15° S., crossing the Pacific in that latitude until it made 
the Solomons. If they could only be sure of getting re- 
freshment at the Solomons, this would be an excellent 
plan, for they could then sail south from the Solomons, 
and, getting into westerly winds, m.n back east to the 
Strait of Le Maiie and Cape Horn. 

By the accomplishment of these two voyages, says 
A'isscher. "You will be able lo explore the southern por- 
tion of the world round about the whole globe, and find 
outwhatisthere; whether it be land, or sea, or icebergs — 
whatever God has ordained to be there. ' The oW pilot's 
views as to the South Land, and the best means to search 
for it, show that he was in advance of his time, and free 
from many of the traditional prepossessions then common 
amongst navigators and geographers. If the Council of 
Seventeen could only have been induced to enter into 
Visscher's plans, the riddle of the South Land might have 
been solved in the 1 7th century, and the discoveries of 
Captain Cook anticipated by more than one hundred and 
twenty years 


These large schemes were beyond the province of the 
East India Government, but the plan Visscher had 
sketched far the expedition from Batavia was adopted in 
its entirety. Van Diemen, in his despatches, describes 
the \^oyage as having been projected on the advice of 
Visscher. The resolution of the Governor-General and 
Council, decreeing the expedition, is dated 1st August, 
1642. It begins by stating the great desire of both the 
Colonial and Home Governments for the exploration of 
southern and eastern lands, with the hope of opening up 
important countries for trade, or, «,t least, of finding: a 
more convenient way to the rich countries already known 
in Soutb America. The Governor then states that he 
has consulted divers persons of approved judgment in such 
matters, and especially the renowned and most experi- 
enced pilot, Frans Jacobsz Visscher, as to the explorations 
and the best way to accomplish them, and, in accordance 
with their written opinions, has decided to despatch for the 
discovery of these apparently rich countries tv>'o ships.* 
the Hccmskerck, with a crew of 60 men, and the fly-ship 
Zeehaen (Cormorant), with 50. The expedition to be 
under the command of the Hon. Abel Tasman, who is very 
eager to make the exploration ; with him are to 
be associated the said Pilot-Major Visscher, and other 
capable officers. 

The ships were ready for sea. The Heem-fkercl- had for 
skipper Ide Tjercxszoon, the Zeehaen Gerrit Janszoon. 
Tasman, as commander, and Visscher, as pilot-major, were 
on board the Heemskerck, Gilsemans, the merchant, or 
supercargo, on the Zeehaeti. In all Dutch discovery and 
trading expeditions, the merchant, or supercargo, was an 
important personage. He had the diiection of the com- 
mercial part — which in the Company s voyages was the 
chief part of the undertaking — and, consequently, had a 
large voice in the direction of tiie expedition. Gilsemans 
is spoken of as having a competent knowledge of naviga- 
tion, and as being also a skilful draftsman, and it is doubt- 
less to his capable pencil that we owe the vigorous 
sketches which illustrate the original journal of the voyage. 
The instructions to Tasman were printed by Swart, in 
1859, and are entitled. ' Instructions for the Captain- 
Commander, Abel Jansz Tasman, the Pilot-Major. Fran- 
choys Jacobsz Visscher, and the Covincil of the ship 

* The Hecmskerck was a jagt or small ship, perhaps 200 
tons. The Zeehaen was a fliiit or fly-boat, a vessel of light 
draught, built for quick sailing; she was smaller than tlio 


H eei)iskerc1i and fly-boat the /^'v^^rf."», destined fox- the ex- 
ploration of the Unknown and Discovered Southland, the 
South-east Coast of New Guinea, with the Islands lying 
round about." They begin with an elaborate exordium 
recounting the priceless riches, profitable commerce, useful 
traffic, excellent dominion, great might and power, which 
the kings of Castile and Portugal had brought tc their 
crowns by the discovery of America by Columbus, and of 
the Cape route to the Indies by Vasco da Gama ; likewise, 
what uncounted blind heathen had thus come to the whole- 
some light of the Christian religion. Yet, hitherto, no 
serious attempt had been made by any Christian king, 
prince, or republic, to explore the still unknown part of 
the globe situated in the south, which might be supposed 
to be as great as either the old or the new world, and 
might, with good reason, be expected to contain many 
excellent and fruitful countries, and also lands as rich in 
mines of precious metals as the gold and silver provinces 
of Peru, Chili, or Sofala. No European colony was so 
suitable for the stai-ting-point of such an expedition as 
the town of Batavia, situated in the centre of the known 
and unknown Eastern India ; therefore, the Governor and 
Council of India had resolved to take the discovery in 
hand, and to despatch for that service the ships Heems- 
kerck and Zreliaen. 

The instructions then prescribe the course which the 
vessels are to take, following exactly the recommendations 
of Visscher's report, except that, if the ship's council, for 
any sufTicient reason, thought it best, they might vary the 
route by making the east end of the known South Land, 
or the islands of St. Peter and St. Francis, at the head 
of the Great Australian Bight, and then, sailing due 
north, along the coast (which, it was presumed, would here 
turn to the north), to try to discover a passage between it 
and New Guinea. However, this was not recommended ; 
the course advised being to keep on south latitude 48° to 
54° until 400 to 800 miles east of the supposed longitude 
of the Solomon Islands, so as to be assured that there was 
a way through from the Indies to the South Pacific, which 
would give a short route to Chili. 

Minute directions are given for the survey and descrip- 
tion of lands discovered ; observation of winds, cun-ents, 
and weather; precautions to be taken in navigation; dis- 
cipline and rations of the crews; care in conciliating the 
natives, and avoiding any injury to them ; precautions 
to be observed against possible treachery when landing 
from boats; and injunctions to obtain information as to 


the resources of the countries visited, and the possibilities 
of trade with them. 

It must be remembered that this, like other Dutch ex- 
{jeditions, was essentially commercial. It was no scientific 
or adventurous thirst for discovei-y that prompted these 
old Dutchmen, but plain, practical business, and the hope 
of profit for the Company. The merchant to whom was 
entrusted the management of the commercial venture had 
a large voice in the direction of the expedition. Conse- 
quently, the instructions are specially precise in their in- 
junctions to enter in the journal full particulars of the 
productions of the countries, what sort of goods the people 
had for trade, and what they would take in exchange. 
For this purpose the ships were laden with a great variety 
of articles of merchandise. Gold and silver were specially 
to be sought for, but, says the Governor-General, with 
cynical candovir, " Keep them ignorant of the value of 
the same, appear as if you were not greedy for them ; and, 
if gold or silver is offered in any barter, you must feign 
that you do not vakie those metals, showing them copper, 
zinc, and lead, as if those minerals v,^ere of more value 
with us."' 

Tasman was to hoist his flag on the He t-nisk( re Ii as com- 
mander of the expedition, and was to pi-eside in the ship's 
council, consisting of skippers of the two ships. Pilot- 
Major Visscher, the chief mates, and the two merchants. 
The commander had a deliberative and a casting vote. 
In the administration of justice, the boatswains were al-o 
to be summoned, and have votes. But, in all matters 
which concerned navigation, such as courses to be steered, 
and discovery of lands, the Pilot^Major was to have two 
votes, and his advice to be held in proper respect, seeing 
that the voyage had been projected on his advice and in- 
formation. In these matters, too, the second mates were 
to have votes. 

In case of Tasmans death, the skipper of the Hecms- 
kerck, Ide Tjercxszoon, was to succeed to the command. * 

The Instritctions conclude : — " We commend you to the 
blessing of the Almighty, whom we pray to endue you 
with manly courage for the accomplishment of the pro- 
posed discoveries, and to bring you back in safety, to the 
increase of His glory, the reputation of the Fatherland, 
the service of the Company, and your own immortal 

They are dated Fort Batavia, 13th August, 1642, and 
signed by the Governor-General and his Council — Van der 
Lyn, Maetzuycker, Schouten, Sweers. Witsen, and Boreel. 


3. The Voyage of 1642. 

The next day (14th August), the ships sailed from Ba- 
tavic-s, and on this day Tasman's Joui'nal begins as fol- 
lows : — " Journal or description by me, Abel Jansz Tas- 
man, of a voyage made from the Town of Batavia, in the 
East Indies, for the discovery of the Unknown Southland, 
in the year Anno 1642, the 14th August. May it please 
Almighty God to grant his blessing thereto ! Amen." 

Sailing through the Sunda Strait, the ships carried the 
south-east trades with them to Mauritius, where they ai- 
I'ived 5th September, after an exceptionally quick passage 
of 22 days. An entry in Tasman's Journal shows us how 
hopelessly abroad the best sailors in those days were in 
regard to longitude. He says, " By our reckoning, we 
wei'e sti'l 200 miles to the east of Mauritius when we 
saw it." And he mentions the arrival, at the same time, 
of another ship, the Arent, outward bound, which had 
made the Island of Rodrigues, in the belief that it was 
Mauritius, because it lay in nearly the same latitude, 
though 300 miles to the eastward. 

They had other ditficulties to contend with. A letter 
from Van der Stel, the Dutch Commandant at Mauritius, 
to the Governor-General at Batavia, states that the ships 
arrived inavery bad condition, and wanting almost every- 
thing. The ZeeJiaen was partly rotten, and in need of 
extensive repairs. Both ships were leaky, their rigging 
was old and weak, their yards and other spars frequently 
giving way. To refit the ships, caulk the seams through- 
out, strengthen the rigging, cut the ship spare spars, took 
the crews nearly a month. Meantime, they took in sup- 
plies of water,- firewood, and other stores ; and added to 
their stock of provisions by shooting wild hogs, wild goats, 
and other game abounding in the woods. Van der Stel 
gave to Tasman journals and maps relating to the Solomon 
Islands, and vocabularies of the languages of those islands, 
and of New Guinea. The ships were ready for sea on 
4th October, but, through contrary winds, they could not 
get out of the harbour of Fort Fredrik Hendrik until the 
8th. Taking a departure from the south end of Mau- 
ritius,* Tasman stood to the southward, getting variable 
winds to 31° or 32*^ S., when he came into the westerly 

* As might be expected, Tasman's longitudes are' very in- 
exact. They are reckoned east from the meridian of the 
Peak of Teneriffe. His longitude for tlie soiitli point of 
Mauritius, when reduced to the meridian of Greenwich, is 3^^ 

33' easterly of tlie true longitude. Similarly, that of Batavia 

is 4° 23' too easterly. 


winds. Passing far to the west of St. Paul's and Am- 
sterdam, and between those islands and Kerguelen, he 
came, in 43° S., on floating seaweed and other indications 
of land. Tiie ship's council was called together, and it 
was resolved to keep a man constantly on the look-out at 
the masthead, and to offer as a reward to whoever should 
first see land three reals of eight and a niug of an-ack. 
On 29th October, three weeks out, he made 46° S. lati- 
tude, and, meeting with strong gales and fogs, thought it 
too dangerous to keep a southerly course, for fear of falling 
in with land. The course was, therefore, changed to 
nearly east. On 6th November, four weeks out, he 
reached his highest latitude, 49° 4' S., seeing many indica- 
tions of land, which kept him anxious. 

The Pilot-Major now delivered to Tasman an elaborate 
paper, in which he carefully discussed the future course 
of the voyage. He proposed that they should fall off to 
44° S. latitude until they had passed the 150th meridian,* 
when he judged that, if they had not made the Southern 
Continent, they would be in an open sea. Then they 
should fall off to 40° S., and sail east to 220° longitude 
(about 160° W. according to our reckoning), which he 
judged would bring them well to the eastward of the Solo- 
mons, and enable them to make these islands with the 
south-east trades — as, indeed, it would, seeing that this 
would be about 15° east of the true position of the Solo- 

This resolution was communicated to the Zeehaen by 
enclosing the paper in a wooden case, and floating it astern 
by a long line for the ZcflKten to pick up. The councils 
of both ships having given their approval, the course was 
altered accordingly, and, on 18th November, they passed 
the longitude of Nuyts Land (Great Australian Bight), 
the furthest known extension of the discovered South 
Land. Here they had heavy westerly gales, and gi'adu- 
ally fell off to lat. 42° 25 /, when, on the 24th November, 
they sighted their first land, which they called Antony 
Van Diemen's Land, after the Governor-General. 

This landfall v/as somewhere to the north of Point 
Hibbs, on the West Coast of Tasmania, probably near the 
entrance of Macqi'.arie Harbour — Mounts Heemskirk and 
Zeehanf being noticeable objects to the north-east. After 

* About 130° E. of Greenwich — nearly the longitude of the 
head of the Great Australian Bight. 

t Those mountains were so named by Flinders when he 
made the first circumnavigation of Tasmania in the Norfolk 
in 1798. 


standing oflf for the night, the 8hips next day made the 
land again, approaching within one Dntch mile (?>., four 
English miles) of Point Hibbs. By carefully comparing 
reckonings, the longitude was fixed at 163° 50',* and a 
new departure taken. The wind now came easterly with 
thick weather, so that they could not see the land. 
Rounding South-West Cape, they got the wind from the 
north, and sailed along the south coast. Tasman named 
the outlynig islands and some peaks on the broken coast, 
Avhich he mi-stook for islands, after members of the Council 
of India — -Wit, Maatsuykex', Sweers, and Boreel. Pass- 
ing between Pedra Branca and the main, and rounding 
the Friars (which he called Boreel Islands), south of Bruni, 
Tasman stood up for Adventure Bay, but was caught in 
a violent north-west gale, which drove the ships out to sea. 
From this incident, the bay received its well-known name 
of Storm Bay. Rounding Tasman's Island, on the 1st 
December, he came to an anchor off what is now known as 
Blackman's Bay, but, which Tasman called Fredrik Hen- 
drik Bay, in honour of the Stadtholder of the United Pro- 
vinces. His anchorage was ofi Green Island, near Cape 
Frederick Henry, on Forestier's Peninsula. Next day, 
Pilot-Major Visscher was sent in the Zerhaen's boat 
through the naiTows, to explore Fredrik Hendrik (or 
Blackman's Bay. On the 3rd, Tasman, with two boats, 
made for a little bay, now known as Prince of Wales Bay,t 
but the wind was so stiff from the south-east that the 
/jcehnen's launch, with Visscher and Gilsemans on board, 
had to run back to the ship. The Heemskerck's longboat 
with Tasman on board, made the bay, but the surf was 
too high to allow of landing. The carpenter, therefore, 
swam through the surf, and, planting the Prince's flag on 
shore, took formal possession of the newly-discovered 

On the 4th December, Tasman weighed anchor, intend- 
ing t-o sail northwards, along the coast, and take in water ; 
the wind, however, was unfavourable, blowing from the 
north-west, and, being unable to hold the land aboard, 
the ship's council resolved to stand a.way to the east. 
After naming Mai'ia Island, Schouten Island, and Van der 
Lyn (Freycinet Peninsula), he took his departure from "a 

*East from TenerifFo. 

t Mr. Gell thinks that this Prince of Wales Bay is the 
Fredrik Hendrik Bay of Tasman. 


high round mountain " — probably St. Patrick's Head, or, 
perhaps, St. Paul's Dome * 

Steering due east from the coast of Antony Van Die- 
men's Land, after nine days, he sighted land again (13th 
December). This was the west coast of the South Island 
of New Zealand, to the south of Cook's Strait. 

In an interesting paper by Dr. T. M. Hocken, of Dun- 
edin, on Tasman's discoveries in New Zealand, it is stated 
that " the great high land " that Tasman first saw is 
situated between Hokitika and Okarito. Further north, 
the low point described in the journal is Cook's Cape 
Foul wind, with its outlying rocks, the Steeples, near V/ est- 
port. North of this, the Karamea Bight, and the 
" furthermost point, which stood out so boldly that we 
had no doubt it was the extreme point," is Cook's Cape 

Coasting north-eastwards, he made a bay on the north 
coast of the South Island, where he anchored. Here the 
Maoris, in their war canoes, attacked one of the Zeehaen's 
boats, killed three of the crew, and mortally wounded a 
fourth man. Tasman gave this bay the name of Moorde- 
naars (or Massacre) Bay. He says, " This is the second 
land we have discovered ; we have given it the name of 
the Staten Land, in honour of Their High Mightinesses 
the Sta.tes General, ajid also because it may be that this 
land is joined to Staten Land (near Cape Horn), but this 
is uncertain. It appears to be a very fine country. Be 
lieving that this is the main continent of the Unknovvu 
Southland, we have given this strait the name of Abe! 
Tasman's Passage, as he has been the first to sail through 

Massacre Bay is near the western entrance of Cook's 
Strait ; it is now called Golden Bay, and tne scene of the 
tragedy, according to Dr. Hocken, lies to Parapara. 

Although Tasman noted a south-east current, and sus- 
pected that there must be a passage, the weather was so 

* Tasman's longitudes, reduced to the meridian of Green- 
wich are for Point Hibbs, 147° 11'; for the anchorage off 
Green Island, 150°, 51'. The true longitudes are 145° 15' 
and 148° 1' respectively. The first shows an error of 1° 56'. 
the second an error of 2° 50', thus making Tasmania too broad 
by nearly one whole degree of longitude. 

In the Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tas- 
mania for 1890, is a paper by the present writer, in which 
the localities mentioned by Tasman in his journal are identi- 
fied and described. 

t The English Admiralty has lately given to the sea between 
Australia and New Zealand the name of the Taamaii Sea. 


bad that he did not stay to look for it; if he had done 
so, he would have sailed through Cook's Strait, and cor- 
I'ected his idea that he had found the Great Southern 
Continent. However, he sailed north, along the west 
coast of the North Island, and sighted the Three Kings 
Islands, on which they would h;ive landed to get fresh 
water, but were deterred by seeing thirty or forty men 
of uncommon stature, who showed themselves in a threat- 
ening attitude. He did not land in New Zealand, partly 
on account of bad weather, and partly owing to the hostile 
attitude of the Maoris. After rounding the north of 
New Zealand, he steered north-east, after consultation 
with the ship's council, and found a great swell from the 
south-east, which must have made him doubt the exist- 
ence of the great Southern Continent. It did. indeed, 
assure him that here was a clear passage from-Batavia 
to Chili. Still holding a north-east course, on 21st Jan- 
uary, he came to several islajids, to which he gave the 
n?mes of Amsterdam, Middleburg, and Roterdam, now 
known as Tongataboo, Eooa, and Annamooka, part of 
the Tonga, or Friendly, Group. He was very hospitably 
received by the natives, and, after a few days' stay, he 
weighed anchor (1st February), and, after discovering 
Willems' Shoals, south-east of Fiji, by the advice of 
Visscher and the Council he stood north by west to 5° 
or 6° S. lat., and then west for New Guinea. He sailed 
along the north coast of Nbw Guinea, and arrived at 
Batavia on 15th June, 1643, after an absence of ten 
months, during which he had lost ten men by sickness, 
besides the four men killed by the Maoris. His journal 
concludes thixs : — " God be praised and thanked for a safe 
voyage! Amen." 

^.—The Voyage of 1644. 

Tasman had not, as Van Diemen had hoped, discovered 
any rich gold or silver mines, or, indeed, any rich trade 
for the Company, but he had circixmnavigated New Hol- 
land, or. as he called it on his chart, " Compagnies Nieuw 
Nederlandt," and had found a clear way to Chili, which 
opened up a good prospect for trade, or, at least, for great 
spoil, to be come at from the Spanish settlements in South 
America. From this last Governor-General Van Diemen 
hoped much. On 4th January, 1644, he wrote to the 
Home Directory that he contemplated fitting out a fleet 
in September to open up a Chili trade, and to plunder 
the Spaniards in Peru. He also intended to send two or 




three ships to make an examination of the newly-dis- 
covered South Land, which Tasman had not found pos- 
sible. For he hoped that such great countries must con- 
tain much that would be profitable to the Company, and 
esepcially gold and silver mines, as in Peru, Chili, and 
Japan. But, in the meantime, it would much facilitate 
the attempts on Chili and Peru if a shorter passage could 
be found between New Guinea and the Known South 
Land. This, the Governor-General announced, was 
to be immediately undertaken by two ships and a smaller 
vessel under the same commanders as before, viz. — Com- 
mander Tasman and Pilot-Major Frans Visscher; Gilse- 
mans was again to be merchant, or supercargo. 

On 13th January, 1644. by resolution of the Governor- 
General in Council, the ships Liinnien and Zeemeeuw (Sea 
Gull), with the little tender Bratsk (^Setter), carrying only 
14 men, were commissioned for the work. They carried 
a complement of 111 hands, and wei'e provisioned for 8 
months. On 29th January, the instructions for the voy- 
age were drawn up and signed. They were printed in 
England by Mr. Major, in 1859.* They contain a most 
interesting and valuable summary of former Dutch voy- 
ages and discoveries in the South Land. The vessels were 
to coast along the south and west coasts of New Guinea 
to the furthest discovery in 17° S. lat. {i.e., in the Gulf of 
Carpentaria), and endeavour to find a strait or passage 
into the South Sea. If a strait was found, which might 
be known by the south-east swell running through it, they 
were to sail through it, and thence as far to the south- 
east as the new Van Diemen's Land. From thence thej 
were to make the islands of St. Peter and St. Francis, and 
run along the coast of the Known Southland to De Wit 
Land, in 22° S. lat., when the Known Southland would 
be circumnavigated, and be found to be the largest island 
in the glolje. But if, as was to be presumed. New Guinea 
was joined to the South Land, forming one continent, 
then they were to run along the coast to 28° S. to the 
Land of Eendragt and Houtman's Abrolhos, and thence 
return to Batavia. 

The ships sailed from Batavia next day (30th December;. 
1644). The journals of the voyage are lost, and we have 
only the briefest notices of the expedition.! But Tas- 
man's chart shows the route of the ships. For some 

* Early voyages to Terra Australis. — Hakluyt Society, 1859. 

t N. Witsen : " Noord en Oost Tartarye," translated by R.- 

H. Major, in " Early Voyages to Terra Australis." pp. 9i-98. 

The journal has been sought for in vain 1 oth in Holland and 

"at Batavia, especially by Messrs. Van dcr Chiis and Norman. 

in 1862. 


reason or other, probably on account of the wind, Tasman 
and Visscher did not follow the instructions exactly. In- 
stead of sailing first to New Guinea, they made a straight 
course to the Land of Eendragt. From thence Tasman 
coasted northwards, and carefull)' charted, with sound- 
ings, the west and north coasts of Australia, including the 
Gulf of Carpentaria. He actually got into the mouth of 
Torres Strait, but did not discover the passage. Probably 
he was deterred from further examination by the multi- 
tude of islands and I'eefs that block the way, and was, 
moreover, ignorant of the fact that the Spaniard Ton-es 
had, in 1606, sailed through the strait from the east. 
Failing to find the strait, he returned along the south coast 
of New Guinea to Batavia, where he arrived in August, 

Van Diemen, in his despatch to the Home Directory, 
the Council of Seventeen (23rd December, 1644), reports 
the result of the voyage, and expresses his discontent and 
disappointment that the expedition had not discovered a 
strait between New Guinea and the Known South Land, 
but only a great bay or gulf, and, also, that they had done 
nothing but sail along the coasts, and had gained no 
knowledge of the country and its pi'oductions, alleging as 
a reason that they were not strong enough to venture lu 
land in face of the savages. This was very disappointing, 
since discoveries were of little use unless the countiy was 
explored at the same time. " For it is certain that, so 
long as we merely run along the coasts and shores, we 
shall very slowly open up anything profitable, it being 
well known to everybody that the coast people are 
ordinarily poor, miserable, and evil disposed ; therefore, 
we must go inland." (Letter: 29 Nov.) Yet, he says,' 
Tasman, in his two voyages, had circumnavigated the 
hitherto Unknown South Land, which was calciilated to 
have an extent of 8000 miles of coast ; and it was very 
improbable that, in so great a country, with such a variety 
of climates, there should not be found something of great 
importance and profit for the Company. There were, 
also, the great northern lands of America, which had 
been made accessible by the new discoveries, and every 
opportunity would be taken to explore them, from time 
to time, by vigilant and courageous persons; " for," says 
Van Diemen, " the discovery of new countries is not work 
for everyone." "God grant," he concludes, " that, in 
cither one or the other (i.e., in North America or the South 
Land), may be found a x'ich silver or gold mine, to the 
satisfaction of those engaged in the venture, and to the 
honour of the finders." 



It is plain that Van Diemen was dissatisfied with Tas- 
man. He had looked for immediate results in the ex- 
tension of trade, or, at least, for the finding of the New 
Guinea strait, and, disappointed in this, he could not ap- 
preciate the importance of the discoveries from a geo- 
graphical standpoint. 

Tasman's services were recognised somewhat grudg- 
ingly. By resolution of the Governor-General and 
Council (4th Oct.. 1644), his salary was raised to 100 
florins (£9 6s. Sfl.) per month, and the reasons are stated 
in measured language : — " In which two voyages (of 1642 
and 1644), he has given us reasonable contentment, in 
respect of his services, and the duties he has accomplished. 
It is, therefore, on account of this, at his request, and in 
consideration of his ability, also by reason of his having 
been again about six years in the country; and, 
moreover, that we find in him the spirit to render further 
good service to the General Council on like occasions in 
searching for rich countries and profitable trade." 

IV. Tasman's later Years, 1644-1659. 

Tasman's failure to find what the Governor-General 
and the East India Company wanted — immediate and 
profitable trade — seems to have brought him under a 
cloud. He remained at Batavia, but without any impor- 
tant employment. In October, 1644, he and Frans 
Visscher laid down a route for an expedition fitted out to 
attack the Spanish ships coming from America to 
Manilla. But Visscher only was employed on the 
expedition, and Martin de Vries in a subsequent one. 
Tasman was passed over. 

Governor-General Van Diemen died in 1645, and with 
him the era of great discovery expeditions closed. His 
successors in the Government were not animated by the 
same zeal for exploration and adventure, but devoted 
their attention to strictly commercial matters, and Tas- 
man found small opportunity for distinguishing himself. 
He was not wholly neglected. He was appointed (2nd 
November, 1644) a member of the Council of Justice at 
Batavia. It seems a somewhat inappropriate post for a 
sailor, but the special functions allotted to him may 
explain the appointment, for the resolution proceeds, 
•' Commissioning and qualifying the said Tasman to 
demand and search for the journals of all incoming ships, 
and to report to us therefrom what is proper." He stil"! 
held this post in December, 1646, but this did not prevent 


his occasional cinployniont on more important and, doubt- 
less, more congenial expeditions. Thus, in -September, 
1646, we find him sailing as Captain Commander in a 
mission to Djambi in Sumatra, and in Avigust, 1647, 
going to Siam charged with letters from the Company to 
the King. He still kept up his lelations with the Home 
Country, as there is mention on more than one occasion 
of his remitting sums of money to Holland. That he 
was a man of good repute amongst his fellow citizens is 
evidenced by the fact that in January, 1648, he was 
elected an elder of the Reformed Congregation at 

After four years of comparative inactivitj', he was once 
more entrusted with an important expedition. On 14th 
May. 164S, he took command of a fleet of eight ships, 
with 1150 men, which was to proceed to Manilla to lie in 
wait for the Spanish silver ships from America, to do 
what mischief it could to the enemy, and afterwards to 
sail to Siam. A further object was the suppression of 
the Chinese trade to Manilla and the extension of the 
Company's monopoly. The expedition was expected to 
accomplish great things for the Company. The Governor- 
General gave a dinner party to the officers on the eve of 
their departure, and the fleet left B:atavia confident of 
success. The resvilt did not justify their hopes. A 
descent was made on the island of Luzon (or Manilla), a 
number of villages and monasteries were pillaged and 
destroyed, and a rich booty carried off, but the main 
object of the enterprise was not accomplished. The 
Chinese trade was not suppressed, neither did the Dutch 
fleet capture the silver ships. One of the Dutch vessels 
was wrecked in a storm, and the Spanish ships contrived 
to escape. Tasman reached Siam in November, and the 
conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia, which brought to 
an end the Eighty Years War between Spain and the 
United Netherlands, pvit a stop to further hostilities. 

Th^ fleet returned to Batavia in January, 1649. An 
incident had occurred during the expedition which led to 
Tasman being tried before the Criminal Court, 23rd 

* The Churcli Consistory at Batavia was a body which exer- 
cised a great influence in the Dutcli East Indies. During 
the time Tasman sat as a member, a subject nuuli discussed 
by the Consistory was n proposal for tli(> suppression of 
Chinese idohitry, the destruction of all Chinese temples, and 
the punishment of tlie Priests. Tn j^pril, 164S, the Con- 
sistory sent a Missionary, Dr. Hambroek. to Formosa, where 
he was shortly afterwards killed by the natives. — (Lauts, p. 


November, 1649. It is interesting, as giving us one of 
the few personal glimpses we have of the man, and as 
showing the severity with which the Company visited 
the delinquencies of their most valued officei's, and 
vindicated the right of their meanest servants to a fair 
trial, even in war time. It must be confessed that the 
incident does not present our navigator in a favourable 
light. According to the statement of the Advocate 
Fiscal, or prosecuting counsel, the facts were as follow : — 
In Augvist, 1648, Tasman had landed at the Baviauw 
Islands with a military force, and had pitched a camp. 
He had issued orders that no one was to go outside the 
limits of the camp under pain of capital punishment. 
On the next day, '' after he and some of his officers had all 
day been making good cheer at a certain monastery," on 
their return in the evening they came upon one of the 
supernumeraries and another sailor rambling outside the 
camp. Tasman was furious. He ordered the dilin- 
quents to be seized, and sentenced them to be hanged on 
the spot. He himself prepared the rope, and put it 
round the neck of the supernumeraiy, and made his Vice- 
Commander Ogel, climb a tree and make fast the rope. 
This done, Tasman himself drew away the bench on 
which the man was standing, and left him hanging from 
the tree. He then made a rope ready for the second man. 
Luckily Ogel let go '' the patient," but only just in time. 
Tasman made bome defence, but the Court set it aside, 
and decided that not even the exigencies of war could 
excuse the Commander for hanging a man without a trial. 
The punishmeiit inflicted was exemplary. Tasman was 
sentenced to be suspended fi'om his office of Commander 
during the Governor-Geneial's pleasure, to pay a compen- 
sation of 1000 reals to the relatives of the sailor, a fine of 
150 reals, and the costs of suit. In addition to this, he 
was to stand bareheaded in open Court, and publicly 
declare that he had unjustly and unlawfully, without 
form of trial, of his own mere pleasure, and with his own 
hands, infamously executed the aforesaid innocent Coen- 
raad Janssen, of Amsterdam. It would appear that he 
was at the same time removed from his office in the 
Church Consistory — at least, his name does not appear in 
the list of elders for the ensuing year. 

The suspension from office lasted two years. In Octo- 
ber, 1650, we find him again employed as Commander, 
and on the 5th January, 1651, by a resolution of the 
Governor-General and Council of India, he was formally 


reinstated in his rank, his reappointment to date from the 
'24th September preceding, when it is said lie had again 
^ begtn to serve the Company. 

After this time we have little information about him. 
It would appear that he considered his services were not 
sufliciently recognised, or at least that he had grievances 
which he laid before the Council of Seventeen in Holland. 
In October. 1651, the Directors ordered that a letter of 
complaint from A.bel Jansz Tasman be enquired into and 
reported on, but the result of the inquiry does not appear. 
In January, 1653, he wrote again to the Directory, the 
Colonial authorities curtly noting in the margin, " Abel 
Jansz Tasman fails to pi-ove his rash assertions." What- 
ever his grievance was, it is evident that he failed to 
obtain satisfaction, and that it led to his retirement from 
the Company's service. The daily journal of Fort 
Batavia, two months later, records, under date 15th 
March, 1653, the arrival of Djapara of " Ex-Commander 
Tasman " in his own private vessel. 

Of his last days we know nothing, except that he was a 
substantial and well-to-do citizen of Batavia, living just 
outside the town on the Tygersgracht (Tiger Canal), one 
of the best and wealthiest quarter^;, and that he had con- 
siderable landed property. There were only a few larger 
landholders in the town, amongst them Francois Caron, 
Chief Councillor for India and Director-General, who has 
been mentioned as head of the Diitch Factory in Japan 
in 1640. Lauts found from a contemporary map of 
Batavia that Tasman owned a pleasure garden of neai'ly 
six acres in one quarter, and no less than 282 acres on the 
Tiger's Canal, where he resided. Nietiwhoff, who was in 
the Indies from 1654 to 1670, says that the handsomest 
buildings in Batavia were situated on the Tiger's Canal, 
which was planted on both sides with fine trees. 
Valentyn says: "The view of this straight canal, so 
beautifully planted, surpasses anything I liave ever seen 
in Holland." 

On 10th April, 1657, Tasman made his Will, which is 
still preserved in the Registry of the Probate Court of 
Batavia. It opens with the quaint old formula, " In the 
name of God, Amen ! " and states that the testator is up 
and al)0ut, sick in body, but having good memory and 
understanding, and being used to think upon the short- 
ness of life, that there is nothing more certain than death, 
and nothing more uncertain than the hour of the same, 
he has therefore resolved to make a solemn testament. 
First, he bequeaths twenty-five guilders to the poor of 


Luytgegarst, his native village ; secondly, to Abel 
Heylman, his daughter's son, living in Batavia, a gold 
cup and silver-mounted sword. All the remainder of 
his property he gives to his beloved wife, Joanna Tjercx. 
If, however, she marries again, half of her bequest is to 
go over to the children of his only daughter, Claesjen. 
If his daughter or her children dispute the Will, or 
require accounts from the widow, then their half-share is 
to be reduced to one-fourth (the ordinary legal portion of 
a child). After his widow's death the half is to fall to 
the children of Claesjen ; but, as to the widow's half, she 
may use and treat it as her own free property without 
contradiction of any. 

Tasman had no children by his second wife, Joanna 
Tjercx. Claesjen was the daughter of his first wife, 
Claesgie Heyndricks. Claesjen had been twice married, 
and had children by both husbands. The first, Philip 
Heylman, held an important office in the Fort ; the 
second, Jacob Breemer, was an officer of the Probate 
Court of Batavia. 

In October, 1659, the Will was deposited in the Pro- 
bate Court of Batavia ; so that Tasman must have died 
in that year, fifteen years after his second great voyage. 

The great navigators have seldom been long-lived. 
Magellan and Cook died at fifty-one, Vasco da Gama at 
fifty-six. Tasman reached the latter age. 

His widow, though forty-seven years old at her hus- 
band's death, did not long remain unconsoled. Eighteen 
months later, under date 5th February, 1661, the daily 
journal of Batavia records that permission was granted 
for the marriage of Jan Meynderts Springer, burgher of 
Batavia, to Madame Anna Tjerks, widow of the deceased 
Commander Abel Tasman, to be celebrated at her sick 
bed in consideration of her severe illness ; Springer to 
pay to the Church a hundred reals of eight for the 

It remains to mention the well-known story of Tas- 
man 's supposed attachment to a daughter of Governor- 
General Van Diemen, evidenced by his naming various 
places, e.g., Cape Maria Van Diemen, Maria Island, 
Maria Bay at Tonga. Flinders first suggested this 
little romance in his Voyage to Terra Australis, published 
in 1814. It pleased the fancy of the French geographer 
Eyries, somewhere about 1820, and has been repeated 
and enlarged upon for some eighty years. 

It is a pretty story, but, unfortunately for the romance, 
it has not the slightest foundation. In the light of recent 


investigations Tasnian appears as a twice-married man of 
middle age, with a grown-up daughter. But this is not 
foucliisive. Perhaps tlie next argument against the story 
is more cogent : Van Diemen had no daughter. If, how- 
ever, anyone is still unconvinced, we may clinch the 
argument with the express statement of Tasman attached 
to one of the drawings in his Journal: — "We have 
named this bay Maria Bay in compliment to the wife of 
Governor-General Van Diemen." If anyone after this 
requires further proof, let him consult the papers of the 
Dutch East India Company, or continue to write senti- 
ment on the ai'dent young sailor's unrequited love. 

To conclude. Tasman's discoveries, great as they were 
from a geographical point of view, bore no frviit for more 
than a hundred years. His tracks were marked on the 
charts, but as to the countries he discovered, his country- 
men in the East Indies, whose sole object was trade, felt 
no temptation to explore the wild bush of Van Diemen's 
Land, or to face the fierce tribes of Massacre Bay, or even 
to plant colonies on the barren and inhospitable shores of 
Western Austi-alia. peopled by naked savages. Only the 
Englishman Dampier in 1688, and again in 1699, visited 
the western coast, and was glad to leave what he described 
as the most miserable country on earth. Had Tasman 
but discovered the way through Torres Strait, it is pos- 
sible that New South Wales might have been colonised by 
the Dutch. . It was reserved, however, for an English 
navigator, more than a century after Tasman's voyage, 
to make the practical discovery of Australia as a land for 
European colonisation. W'^hen Captain Cook, in his first 
famous voyage in the Endeavour, on Sunday, 29th April, 
1770, cast anchor in Botany Bay, the Australian Con- 
tinent was first laid open to European enterprise ; 
eighteen years later Sydney was founded by Englishmen. 
W^ould that the first planting of these Colonies had been 
other than it was, and that the wise warning of Lord 
Bacon had been heeded ; for, says he — " It is a shameful 
and unblessed thing to take the scum of the people and 
wicked condemned men to be the people with whom you 
plant ; and not only so, but it sjjoileth the plantation, 
for they will ever live like rogues and not fall to work, but 
be lazy, and do mischief, and spend victuals and be 
quickly weary, and certify over to their country to the 
discredit of the plantation."' All which things were 
verified in the early history of these Colonies. But Aus- 
tralia '' has burst her birth's invidious bar, and grasped 
the skirts of happy chance ; breasted the blows of 


circumstance, and grappled with her evil star ; has made 
by force her merit known, and lived to clutch the golden 
keys." A hundred years' growth has now made Australia 
well nigh a nation ; but as yet it is a nation in the gristle 
only. When the petty jealousies of the Colonies are laid 
aside, and when the several States — as we hope may soon 
be the case — are united in one great Federation, we may 
feel a perfect confidence that, amongst the children of the 
old English mother, not the least important will be those 
dwelling in the island Continent circumnavigated by 
Tasman two hundred and fifty years ago, who will claim 
the title of Citizens of the Commonwealth of Australia. 

Maps of the Voyages, 1642 and 1644. 

Manuscri-pf Majjs. 

In the collection of Van Keulen of Amsterdam. A 
large and handsome map on Japanese paper, show- 
ing both voyages. Mr. Leupe thinks it to be the 
work of Pilot-Major Visscher. Australia bears the 
name of C'o)//2)"f/nis Nieu NederUtndt. This map 
was reprodviced in coloured facsimile in Mr. Swarfs 
edition of the complete journal published in 1860. 

In the British Museum. Sloaiie MSS, 5222, Art. 12. 
A large sketch map, roughly executed, showing 
both voyages. In the centre of Australia is written 
" This large Land of New Guinea was first dis- 
covered to joyne to ye South Land by ye Yot 
Lemmen as by this Chart Ffrangois Jacobus Vis. 
Pilot Maior Anno 1643." Mr. Major, who gives a 
reduced copy of this chart in his Early Voyages, 
thinks it to be a copy of a map by Visscher, and 
that it was made by Captain Thomas Bowrey, of 
Port St. George, about 1687. Mr. Alfred Mault, of 
Hobart, has made a facsimile of the original map, 
and this has been photo-lithographed for the Royal 
Society of Tasmania. 

In the India Museum, South Kensington. A coloured 
Chart of the coast of Van Diemen's Land, endorsed 
in an old hand: "■ A Draught of the South Land 
lately discovered, 1643. "' Mr. A. Mault found this 
chart amongst the Records of the India Office. He 


contributed to the Transactions of the Australasian 
Association for the advancement of Science, 1892, 
a description of this map, with coloured facsimile. 

Early Maps. 

In 1648, four years after Tasman's second voyage, the 
building of the new Stadhuis, or Town Hall of Amster- 
dam, was begun. The opportunity was taken to com- 
memorate Tasman's discoveries by showing them in a 
great map of the world in two hemispheres, cut in the 
stone pavement of the Great Hall (Burgerzaal) of the 
Stadhuis. This pavement has long since been boarded 

Mr. Major says that an outline of the coast visited by 
Tasman is given in Turquet's Mappemonde, published in 
Paris in 1647 ; also in the 1650 edition of Janssen's Atlas, 
and in the 1660 edition of J. Klencke's Atlas. The dis- 
coveries are also shown in Fredk. de Wit's map, published 
in 1660; and a representation of the hemispheres is given 
in the fine work describing the Stadhuis, and published in 
1661. The map in Thevenot (1663) is from the Stadhuis 
pavement, but with names added. Some of the published 
maps contain the names Hollandia Nova and Zeelandia 

Manuscripts of the Journal of 1642. 

Mr. Leupe describes three contemporary manuscripts 
which are preserved in Holland : — 

1. R.A. 1. In the State Archives at the Hague. Con- 

sists of 28 double folio leaves, bound in a volume 
which forms part of a collection made by Cornells 
Sweers. It is badly written and kept in a slovenly 
manner, probably by a young officer on board the 

2. R.A. 2. In the State Archives. In a large folio 

volume containing 196 pages, very neatly written, 
with a large number of charts and drawings, some 
coloured. It bears the autograph signature of Tas- 
man, and is apparently a fair copy of the official 
journal kept on board the Heemskerck. It is 
probably the manuscript used by Valentyn in 
compiling his account. He reproduced most of the 
maps and sketches. This manuscript, with the 
charts and drawings, is to be reproduced in facsimile 
in Messrs. Fred. Muller ik Co.'s forthcoming 


3. H. V. M. In the possession of Mr. Huydecoper van 

Marsseveen. In a folio vohime, smaller than R.A. 
2, contains 112 pages, neatly written, with three 
small charts and some sketches. It also is a copy 
of an original journal, and is not signed. It has 
some particulars not given in R.A. 2. It is from 
Cornelis Sweers' collection. 
The following manuscripts are also known : — 

4. Brit. Mus. 8946. Plut. C.L. xxii. D. In the British 

Museum. It is carelessly written, and contains 38 
charts and sketches. Probably a copy of R.A. 2. 
This manviscript was bovxght in London at Mr. 
Lloyd's sale, some time before 1776, for half-a- 
guinea, and was subseqiiently acquired by Sir 
Joseph Banks. In 1776 Banks employed the Revd. 
Charles G. Woide, Chaplain of the Dutch Chapel at 
St. James's, to translate it. Woide's translation 
was used by Captain Burney in his work. About 
1868 the late Mr. J. E. Calder published in the 
Tasmnninn Tiynes the account of the discovery of 
Tasmania taken from Burney. 

5. Amongst the hydrographical documents belonging to 

the publishing firm of Van Keulen of Amsterdam, 
there was formerly a manuscript copy of the 
Journal. It was probably a copy agreeing with 
R.A. 2, and, it is said, bore Tasman's signature. Mr. 
Swart printed the complete Journal from this copv, 

6. Mr. Lauts mentions that a manuscript copy of the 

Journal was bought by the bookseller Bom, of 
Amsterdam, in 1835. 

Printed "Works. 

Principal Collections of Voyages containing an abstract 
of the Journal of 1642. 

1. Nierop, Dirck Rembrantsz van — Een kort verhael 
uyt het journaal van der kommander Abel Jansen 
Tasman in 't ontdekken van t onbekende Suit 
Landt in 't jare 1642. (A short account from the 
journal of Commander A. J. Tasman on the dis- 
covery of the unknown South Land in the year 
1642). 4to. Amsterdam, 1669-74.* 

[The first published abstract of the Journal. 
Kos. 2 to 9, are translations of this.] 

* Works which the present writer has not seen are dis- 
tinguished by an asterisk at end of title. 


S.Hooke, Dr. Robert — Philosophical Collections. 4to. 
London, 1678.* 

3. Thevenot, Melchisedek — Relation de divers voyages 

curieux. Noiivelle edition. 2 vols., fol. : Paris, 

[The first edition 1663-72 contains the map only. 
The voyage was printed as a supplement, circa 

4. An Account of several late Voyages and Discoveries. 

8vo: London, 1694. 2nd edition, 1711. [Nar- 
broughs Voyage, &c.] 

5. Harris, Dr. John — Collection of Voyages and 

Travels. Fol.: London, 1702-05. 

6. Campbell, Dr. John — Navigantium alque itineran- 

tium bibliotheca, by John Harris. 2 vols., fol. : 
London, 1744-48. [With Notes and map.] 

7. Voyages de F. Coreal aux Indes Occidentales. 3 

vols., 12mo: Amsterdam, 1722: Paris, 1738. 
[The voyage is appended as a supplement.] 

8. Brosses, Charles de — Histoire des Navigations aux 

Terres Australes. 2 vols., 4to : Paris, 1756. 
[With Vaugondy's map of Australasia.] 

9. Callender, John — Terra Australis Cognita. 3 vols., 

8vo: Edinburgh, 1766-68. 

10. Valentyn, Fran9ois — Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indien 

(Old and New East Indies), 5 vols., fol : Dordrecht, 
1724-26. [A much fviller account taken from the 
original journal, with reproductions of many 
drawings and maps.] 

11. Prevost, L'Abbe Antoine Fran9ois — Histoire gener- 

ale des Voyages. 19 vols., 4to : Paris, 1746-70* 

12. Du Bois, J. P. J. — Histoire generale des Voyages. 

25 vols., 4to: The Hague, 1747-80. [De Hondt's 

13. De Hondt, Pieter — Historische beschryving der 

reizen. 21 vols., 4to : The Hague, 1747-67. 

14. Dalrymple, Alexander — Historical Collection of the 

several Voyages and Discoveries in the South 
Pacific Ocean. 2 vols., 4to : London, 1770-71. 
[The text is taken from Valentyn, collated with 
Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12.] 

15. Burney, Captain James — Chronological History of 

the Discoveries in the South Sea. 5 vols., 4to : 
London, 1803-17. [The narrative is takon from 
Sir Joseph Banks' m-finviscript mentioned above.] 

16. Eyries, J. B., and Malte Brun — Nouvelles Annales 

des Voyages. 44 vols., 8vo : Paris, 1819-^8.* 


Books and Articles relating to Tasiiian. 

Witsen, Nicolas — Noord en Oost Tartarye (Noi'th and 
East Tartary). 2 vols., fol. : Amsterdam, 1705.* 
[Contains some particulars of voyage of 164 4]. 

Du Bois, J. P. J. — Vie des Gourvernenrs Gener;iux, avec 
I'abrege de I'histore des etablissemens HoUandois 
aux Indes Occidentales. 4to : The Hague, 1763. 
[Contains life and portrait of Van Diemen]. 

Flinders, Captain Matthew — Voyage to Terra Australis, 
1801-3. 2 vols., 4to and atl. fol. London, 1814. 

Moll, Ger. — Verhandeling over eenige vroegere Zeetogten 
der Nederlanders. (Essay on some earlier voyages 
of the Dutch.) 8vo : Amsterdam, 1825. 

Siebold, Ph. Fras. von-- Documens importans sur la 
decouverte des iles de Bonin par !es navigateurs 
Neerlandais [Quast et Tasman] en 1639. 8vo 
pamph. : The Hague, 1843.* 

Swart, Jacob — Cook en Columbus . . . met bijvoeging van 
den Nederlandschen ontdekker A. J. Tasman — 
(Cook and Columbus, with an addition respecting 
the Dutch discoverer A. J. Tasman.) In Tindal 
and Svv^rt's Verhandelingen, &c. (Papers on 
^ Nautical Affairs). N.S., Vol. 3. 8vo : Amster- 
dam, 1843. 

Swart, Jacob — Instructie of Lastbrief voor den Schipper 
Commandeur A. J. Tasman in 1644. (Instructions 
or Commission for the Captain Commander, &c.) 
In Tindal and Swarfs Vez'handelingen, N.S., Vol. 
4. 8vo : Amsterdam, 1844. 

Lauts, G. — Abel Jansz Tasman. In Tindal and Swart 's 
Verhandelingen, &c. N.S., Vol. 4. 8vo : Am- 
sterdam, 1844. 

Gell, Rev. John Philip — On the First Discovery of Tas- 
mania in November and December, 1642. In 
Tasmanian Journal of Natural Science, Vol. 2 : 
London, 1845. 

Boekeren, G. R. Voormeulen van — Reizen en ontdek- 
kingstogten van A. J. Tasman, van Lutkegast. 
(Voyages and discovery expeditions of, &c.) 
16mo: Groningen, 1849. 

Calder, James Erskine — Some account of that part of 
Forestier's Peninsula, Tasmania, visited by A. J. 
Tasman in 1642. The Hohart Town Courier, 24th 
November, 1849. 
Siebold, Ph. Fras. von — Geschichte der Eutdeckungen im 
Seegebiete von Japan. (History of the discoveries 
in the Japan Seas.) 4to and atlas : Leyden, 1851- 


Yieupe, p. A. — Abel J. Tasman en Franchoys Jacobsz 
Visscher : 1642-1644. In Bijdragen toe de taal- 
land- en volkenknnde van Nederlandsch-Indie. 
(Contributions to the philology, geography, and 
ethnography of Netherlands-India.) Vol. 4. 
8vo : Amsterdam. 1856. 

Major, Richard H.- — Pearly Voyages to Terra Australis, 
now called Australia. 8vo : London (Hakluyt 
Society), 1859. 

Swart, Jacob — Journaal van de reis naar het Onbekende 
Zuidland in den jaar 1642, door A. J. Tasman. 
(Journal of the voyage to the Unknown South 
Land in the year 1642, by A. J. Tasman.) 8vo : 
Amsterdam, i860.* 

Chijs, J. van der, and Norman, H. D. L. — In Tiidschrift 
voor Indische taal- &c. kunde. (Journal of Indian 
philology, &c.), Vol. 12. 8vo : Amsterdam. 1862.* 

Leupe, P. A. — De Reizen der Nederlanders naar het 
Zuidland of Nieuw Holland in de 17e en 18e 
eeuwn. (The voyages of the Dutch to the South 
Land or New Holland in the 17th and 18th cen- 
turies.) 8vo : Amsterdam, 1868. 

Leupe, P. A. — De Handschriften der ontdekkingreis van 
A. J. Tasman en F. J. Visscher : 1642-1643. (The 
manuscripts of the discovery voyage of A. J. Tas- 
man and F. J. Visscher.) In Fruin's Bijdragen 
voor vaderlandsche geschiedenis, &c.) (Contri- 
butions for the history, &c., of the Fatherland). 
Vol. 7. 8vo; Amsterdam, 1872. 

Dozy, Chas. M. — Abel Janszoon Tasman. In Bijdragen 
tot de taal-&c., kunde, &c., 5th Series, Vol. 2. 
8vo: The Hague, 1887. 

Walker, James B. — The Discovery of Tasmania in 1642 ; 
with Notes on the localities mentioned in Tasman 's 
Journal of the Voyage. In Papers, &c., of The 
Royal Society of Tasmania for 1890. 8vo : Hobart, 

Mault, Alfred — On an old Manuscript Chart of Tasmania 
in the Records of the India Office. In Transac- 
tions of the Australian Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science for 1892. 8vo : Hobart, 

Heeres, J. E. — Abel Janszoon Tasman. In Groningsche 
Volksalmanak voor het jaar 1893. (Groningen 
People's Almanac for the year 1893). Svo : 
Groningen, 1893. 

Stamperius, J. — Abel Tasman. 8vo : Haarlem, 1893.* 


Hocken, Dr. T. M. — Abel Tasman and his Journal. 
Paper read before the Otago Institute, 10th 
September, 1895. 8vo, pamph. : Dunedin, 1895. 

Heeres, J. E. and Coote, C. H. — Abel Jansz Tasman's 
Journal of his discovery of Van Diemen's Land and 
New Zealand in 1642, with documents relating to 
his exploration of Australia in 1644; being photo- 
lithographic facsimiles of the original manuscripts 
at The Hague and elsewhere, with English trans- 
lation. Edited, with introduction, biographical 
and geographical notes, by J. E. Heeres, of the 
Dutch State Archives, and C. H. Coote, of the 
British Museum. 53 maps and designs. Folio: 
Amsterdam, Frederick Muller & Co. ''In the 



From Tasman's Journal, 1642.* 

■23rd NovEMBER.f — Good weather, and the wind S.W., 
with a fresh gale. In the morning found that our rudder- 
head was broken in two in the tiller-mortise ; whereupon 
lay to under shortened sail, aiad put a plank on either side. 
Noon found our latitude 42° 50', and longitvide 162° 51 '. 
Course held E., and sailed 25 (100) miles. Here found 
one degree north-westerly variation, which here decreases 
very rapidly. According to our reckoning had the west 
side of Noi'fi Gu'mi'a to the north of us. 

24th November. — Good weather and clear sky. Noon, 
found latitude 42° 25 ^ and longitude 163° 31'. Course 
kept E. by N., and sailed 30 (120) miles. The wind from 
the S.W., and afterwards S., with a gentle top-gallant 
breeze. Afternoon, about 4 o'clock, saw land. Had it 
E. by N. from us 10 (40) miles by our reckoning. It was 
very high land. Towards evening saw in the E.S.E. 
three high mountains, and in the N.E. also saw two 
mountains, but not so high as those to the south. Here 

* Translated from Swart's edition of the Journal, with 
notes, etc., published at Amsterdam in 1860. A strictly 
literal translation has been preferred, as giving a Jtetter idea 
of the quaiutness of the original. 

t The days are reckoned from midnight to midnight. The 
longitude is calculated from the meridian of the Pea^ of 


had a true pointing compass. In the evening, in the first 
glass when the watch* was set (8 p.m.), proposed to the 
council of our ship with the under mates, whether it 
would not be best to stand off the shore to sea ; and 
required their opinion, when they though L this to be most 
advisable. Whereupon unanimovisly approved after 3 
glasses (9 • 30 p.m.) to lie out from the shore and run from 
it 10 glasses (5 hours), when we should stand back to the 
land: all more fully appearing in the resolution of this 
date to which we refer. At night, after 3 glasses (1^ 
hours), the wind was S.E. Tacked from the ^hore, and 
sounded in 100 fathoms, clean white fine sand with small 
shells ; afterwards sounded again, and had black coarse 
sand with small stones. At night had the wind S.E. with 
gentle breeze. 

25th November. — Morning, nearly calm. Hoisted the 
white flag and the flag at the mizzen-top-gallant-mast, 
whereupon the officers of the Zeehan with their mates 
came on board us, when we called the council and resolved 
with them, as is to be seen by the resolution of this day, 
and is there set out at length, to which we here refer. 
Towards noon got the wind S.E.,and afterwards S.S.E. 
and S. Tacked for the shore. In the evening, about 
5 o'clock, came under the shore. Three miles (12) out 
fi'om the shore had 60 fathoms, coral bottom ; 1 mile out 
(4 miles) had clean, fine, white sand. Found this coast 
stretching S. by E. and N. by W., a smooth [bare] coast, 
and had reached latitude 42° 30 ^ and mean longitude 
163° 50'. Tacked again from the shore. The wind blew 
S.S.E., top-gallant breeze. When you come from the 
W. and find that you have 4° north-westerly variation, 
then you may look out for land, because the variation here 
decreases very rapidly. If it happens that you get rough 
weather from the westerly quarter, then you may well lie 
to, and not sail ahead. Here, on the coast, you have a 
compass pointing true. We have also the mean longitude, 
which we determined b}'^ each working out his reckoning 
and taking the mean. Wherefrom we find this land to be 
in the longitude of 16.')° ^)0'. 

The land is the first land in the South Sea (Zin/tzee) 
that we have met with, and is yet known by no European 
nations. So we have given this land the name of 
Anthoony van Diemenslandt, in honoiir of the Most 

• The first watch was from 8 p.m. to midnight. A half- 
hour sand-glass was used to measure tlie time. 


Honourable the Governor-General, our High Master, who 

sent us out to make these discoveries. The islands lying 

round about it, as many as are known to us, we have 

named after the Honourable Members of the Council of 

India, and may be seen on the small chart made thereof. 

[Here there are in the manuscript some sketches of 

land, of which two ai'e found in Valentyn, p. 48, 

No. 1a and No. 5e. The other. No. 5e, I have not 

found in the manuscript. — Jacob Swart.] 

26th November. — Had the wind easterly, gentle breeze, 
hazy weather, so that we could not see land. Reckoned 
we were about 9^ (38) miles from the shore. Towards 
noon, hoisted the flag at the main-top-gallant-mast, where- 
upon the Zeehaen immediately came up under our stern, 
when we hailed her people that Sr. Gilsemans should 
come aboard. Whereupon the said Gilsemans, without 
delay, came on board us, and we made known to him the 
matters which are mentioned in the undei'-written note, 
and are to be taken with him to his ship, in order to show 
the same to the Skipper, Gerrit Jansz, and also for 
orders to their mates. 

" The officers of the fly-ship Zeehnm shall in their daily 
log describe this land, which we saw yesterday and are 
now near, as in longitude 163° 50 ^ because, by mutual 
reckoning, we find it thus, and this longitude as settled — 
and begin to reckon the longitude afresh from thence. 
He who before this has longitude 160*^ or more, shall now 
make his reckoning from that land. This is therefore 
done in order to avoid all mistakes as much as is in any 
way possible. The officers of the Zet'haen shall give the 
same charge to the mates, and shall also observe it, because 
we find this to be fitting ; and the charts which here- , 
after made by any one shall lay dov/n that land in the 
mean longitude as before stated of 163° 50'. 
" Given on the Heetnskercq, date as above. 

" (Undersigned) Abel Jansz Tasman." 

Noon, reckoned we were in S. latitude 43° 36', and 
longitude 163° 2'. Course kept S.S.W., and sailed 18 
(72) miles. Had half a degree north-westerly variation. 
Got the wind N.E. Set our course E.S.E. 

27th November. — -Morning, saw the coast again. Our 
course was still E.S.E. Noon, reckoned we were in S. 
latitude 44° 4', and longitude 164° 2'. Course held S.E. 
by E., and sailed 13 (52) miles. It was drizzling, misty, 
hazy, and rainy weather; the wind N.E. and N.N.E., 
with gentle breeze. At night, after 7 glasses in the first 


watch (11-30 P.M.), lay to under shortened sail. We 
dared not sail on, by reason that it was so dark. 

28th November. — Morning, still cloudy, misty, rainy, 
weather. Made sail again. Set our course E., md after- 
wards N.E. by N. Saw land N.E. and N.N.E. from us, 
and stood straight for it. The coast here stretches S.E. 
by E. and N.W. by W. This land runs away here to 
the east, so far as I can observe. Noon, by reckoning in 
latitude 44° 12', and longitude 165'^ 2'; and course held 
E. by S., and sailed 11 (44) miles. The wind from the 
N.W., with gentle breeze. In the evening came under the 
shore. There are imder the shore some small islands, 
one of which looks like a lion. This lies about 3 (12) 
miles out to sea from the mainland. Evening, got the 
wind E. At night, lay to under shortened sail. 

29th November. — Morning, were still near the rock 
which looks like a lion's head.* Had the wind westerly, 
with top-gallant breeze. Sailed along the coast, which 
here stretches east and west. Towards noon passed two 
rocks, the most westerly looking like Pedra Branca, which 
lies on the coast of China ; the most easterly, looking like 
a high rugged tower, lies about 4 (16) miles out from the 
mainland. Ran through between these rocks and. the 
land. Noon, reckoned we were in latitude 43*3 53', 
longitude 1660 3'. Course held E.N.E., and sailed 
12 (48) miles. Still sailed along the shore. In the even- 
ing, about 5 o'clock, came before a bay.t It seeined that 
we would likely find a good anchorage there. Wherefore 
resolved with our ships' council to run into it, as appears 
by the said resolution. Were almost in the bay when 
there presently arose svich a violent wind that we were 
obliged to take in our sails and run back to sea under 
shortened sail, because it was impossible, with such a wind, 
to come to an anchor. In the evening resolved to stand 
out to sea for the night under shortened sail that we 
might not fall on a lee shore in rmch a storm. All which 
is to be seen more at large in the above-mentioned resolu- 
tion, whereto (to avoid prolixity) we here refer. 

Ultimo November. — ^Morning, at dawn, tacked to the 
shore. Had been driven off from the shore so fa** by wind 
and current that we could scarcely see land. Did our 
best to approach it again. Noon, had land N.W. from 
us ; tacked to the west, the wind northerly, but not serv- 
ing us to fetch the land. Noon, found latitude 43° 41'f, 

* The Mewstone. 

t Storm Bay, or, rather, Adventure Bay. 


longitude 168° 3'. Course held E. by N., and sailed 20 
(80) miles, with stormy and unsettled weather. Here the 
compass showed true. A little after noon tacked to the 
west, with hard unsteady breeze. Tacked to the north 
under shortened sail. 

Primo December. — Morning, weather somewhat more 
moderate. Set our topsails; the wind W.S.W., with top- 
gallant breeze. Steered our course for the shor^. Noon, 
found latitude 43° 10/, and longitude 1670 55' Course 
held N.N.W., and sailed 8 (32) miles, and was almost calm. 
At noon, hoisted the white flag, whereupon our friends 
of the Zeehaen came, on board, when we resolved together 
that it would be best and most expedient, if wind and 
weather but permitted, to get on land, the sooner the 
better, so as to obtain a nearer knowledge of its situation, 
and also to see what refreshments were to be had, as the 
resolution of to-day shows more at large. Afterwards 
got a little breeze from the eastward. Ran towards the 
shore to examine whether some good anchorage can be got 
hereabouts. About an hour after sunset let go the anchor 
in a good harbour, in 22 fathoms, between white and grey 
fine sand, good holding ground ; for which we must show 
thankful hearts to Almighty God. 

[Here in Tas man's Journal is the little map found 
in Valentyn, pp. 48, 49. The degrees of longi- 
tude in Valentyn differ one whole degree from 
those in Tasman's Journal. Also the two little 
ships of the latter are not found in the little map 
in the Journal. — Jacob Swart.] 
2nd December. — Early in the morning sent the Pilots- 
Major Francoy Jacobsz, with our long-boat {chaloup), 
with 4 musketeers and 6 rowers, every one provided with 
a pike and sidearms, together with the launch (praeutien, 
sloejj) of the Zeehaen, and one of their second mates and 
6 musketeers, to an inlet (imvijck), which was situated 
fully a long mile {i.e., over 4 miles) north-west of us, in 
order to see what useful things — such as fresh water, 
refreshments, timber, and other things — might be obtain- 
able there. About 3 hours before evening our boats 
returned, bringing various samples of vegetables, which 
they had seen growing in abundance, some not unlike 
certain herbs which grow at the CaJio dr Bona Esperance 
(Cape of Good Hope), and are fit for use as pot hei'bs. 
Others were long and saltish, which have no ill-likeness to 
sea-parsley. The Pilot-Major and the second-mate of the 
Zeehaen reported what follows, namely : — 

That they had rowed above a mile (4 miles) to the said 
point, where they had found high but level land with. 


herbs (not planted, but springing from God and nature), 
fruitful timber in plenty, and a running watering-place, 
and many open valleys; which water was good indeed, 
but very troublesome to draw, and running so slowly that 
it could only be taken out with a bowl. 

That they had heard some sound of people ; also a 
playing nearly like a trumpet or small gom [gong], which 
was not far from them, but they had not got to tee any- 

That they had seen two trees about 2 to 2^ fathoms 
thick, 60 to 65 feet high below the branches, which trees 
had been hacked into with flints, aj^d the bark peeled off 
in the form of steps (in order to climb up thereby and 
take birds' nests), each being full 5 feet from the other. 
So that they presumed that there were very tall men hero, 
or that they must know how to climb the said trees by 
some device. In one tree these cut steps seemed so fresh 
and green as if not four days had passed since they had 
been hewn. 

That they had observed in the earth footprints or 
scratchings of some beasts, not ill-resembling the claws of 
a tiger. They also bi'ought on board some dung of four- 
foote'd beasts (as they presumed and could observe), be- 
sides a little gum, fine in appearance, which drops out of 
the trees, and has a resemblance to gumlac [go7/i//ta lacca). 
That about the east point of this bay, having soiinded at 
high-water, they had found 13 to 14 feet; the ebb and 
flood there about 3 feet. 

That in the entrance of the said point they had seen a 
multitude of gulls, wild ducks, and geese, but none land- 
ward ; though they had indeed heard the noise of them ; 
and had observed no fish, but divers mussels sticking in 
sundry places on bushes. 

That the country is generally occupied with trees, 
which stand so thinly scattered that you may pass through 
everywhere and see to a far distance ; so that you could 
always get sight of people or wild beast in the country, 
as it is unencumbered by thick wood or underwood ; 
which should give great facility for the exploring of the 

That in various places in the interior they bad seen 
many trees which h;id been deeply burnt into above their 
roots. The earth was here and there beaten down and 
burnt as hard as stones by the lighting of fires on it. 

A little before our boats (which were coming on board) 
got within sight, we saw at times a thick smoke rising 
on the land, which lay about W. by N. from us. We 
therefore presumed that our people were doing it for a 


signal, because they were delayed so long in returning ; 
for they had their orders to come back to us with speed, 
partly in order to inform vis of their discoveries, or other- 
wise, if they saw there was nothing useful there, that they 
might go to examine other places, so that no time should 
be spent uselessly. Our people having come on board 
we asked them whether they had been thereabouts and had 
lighted fires, whereupon they replied that they had not, 
but that at divers times and places in the woods they also 
had seen smokes ; so that without doubt there must be 
men in this place, and these of an vmcommon ststure. 

To-day, had much variable wind from the eastward, 
but the most of the day a stiff steady gale from the S.E. 

3rd December. — To-day we went with the Merchant 
GiLSEMANS and our boats, as yesterday, with musketeers, 
the rowers being provided with pikes and side arms, to the 
S.E. side of this bay, whei'e we found water, but the 
land so low that the fresh water was made brackish and 
salt through the breaking of the sea, and the ground was 
too rocky to sink wells. Therefore, returned on board, 
summoned the council of our two ships, with whom we 
resolved and found to be good, as is shown by the i-esolu- 
tion of this date, where it is to be seen at leng.h and is 
set forth ; whereto for brevity's sake we here refer. 
Afternoon, we went with the said boats, together with 
the Pilot-Major Francoys Jacobsz, the Skipper Gerrit 
Jansz Isack Gilsemans, Merchant of the Zeehaen. the 
Junior Merchant Abraham Coomans, and our Chief 
Carpenter Pieter Jacobsz, to the S.E. corner of this bay, 
having with vis a pole with the Company's mark cut there- 
in, and the Prince's flag, in order to set the same up there, 
so that it may be evident to posterity that we have been 
here and taken the said land for a possession and property. 
Having rowed with our boats about half way, it began to 
blow hard and the sea to rise so high that the launch of 
the Zeehaen, in which were the Pilot-Major and Sr. 
Gilsemans, was obliged to return on board. We went 
on with our long-boat {chaloiif), coming close under the 
shore into a little bay which lay W.S.W. from the ships. 
The surf broke at such a rate that the land could not be 
approached without danger of the boat being dashed in 
pieces. We ordered the said carpenter to swim ashore 
by himself with the pole and Prince's flag, and remained 
with the long-boat lying to the wind. We made him 
set up the said pole with the flag at the top in the earth 
before a decaying tree, the lowest one of a group of four 
noticeable high trees standing in the form of a crescent 


about the middle of this bay. This tree is burnt just 
above the foot, and is indeed the tallest of the other three,* 
though it appears to be not so high, since it stands on the 
declivity of the cluster. It has at the top above its 
crown two high dry branches sticking out", so uniformly 
set about' with dry twigs and branchlets that it looks like 
the great horns of a stag. Moreover, on the undermost 
side there stands a very green and round well-crowned 
branch, the shoots of which, by their even proportion, 
made the said tree very elegant and like the top of a 
hirding pin. After the head carpenter had accomplished 
the matter above rehearsed, in view of me. Abel Jansz 
Tasman, the Skipper Gekrit Jansz, and the Junior 
Merchant Abraham Coomans, we rowed the boat as near 
to the shore as we dared venture, and the said carpenter 
swam back again to the long-boat through the surf ; when 
after accomplishing this matter, we rowed ba-^k again 
on board, leaving the above-mentioned as a memorial to 
posterity and to the inhabitants of this country, who did 
not show themselves, although we suspected that some of 
them were not far from there, and kept watchful eyes on 
our proceedings. 

We did not look for herbs, for, on account of the rough- 
ness of the sea, no one could reach the shore, save by swim- 
ming, so that it was impossible to bring anything to the 
long-boat. All' day the wind was mostly northerly. In 
the evening took observation of the sun, and found 3° 
N.E. variation. With sunset got a strong north wind, 
which rapidly increased to so violent a storm fi'om the 
N.N.W. that we were constrained to strike both yards 
and to let go our bower anchor. 

4th December. — With the dawning of day the storm 
abated. The weather moderate, and the wind being oS 
shore W. by N. Hove in the bower anchor again. The 
said anchor being hove up «ind got above water, saw that 
both flukes were so far gone that we got home nothing but 
the bare shaft. Weighed the other anchor also, and got 
under sail, in order to sail to the north between the most 
northerly islands, and to seek a more convenient water- 
ing-place. We have lain at anchor here in S. lat. 43*-', 
long. 167,',*^. Before noon the wind westerly. At noon 
found lat" 42° 40^ long. 168°. Course held N.E., and 
sailed 8 (^32) miles. Afternoon, the wind N.W. The 
whole day very variable winds. In the evening again 
had W.N.W. with strong wind, W. by N., and W.N.W. 

* Sic in original. 


Tacked about to the northward. lu the evening saw a 
round mountain N.N. W. of us about 8 (32) miles. Course 
close hauled by the wind northwards. In sailing out of 
this bay, and also the whole day through, saw away along 
the coast mvich smoke rising from fires. We should here 
describe the trend of the coast and of the neighbouring 
islands, but excuse the same in order to be brief, referring 
to the small chart that has been made of it, and is sub- 
joined herewith. 

[Here is probably meant the chart of which mention 
made in the conclusion of this Journal for 1st 
December.-^JACOB Swart.] 

5th December. — In the morning the wind N.W. by W. 
Still made our course as before. The high round moun- 
tain which we had seen the day before bore due W. of us 
6 (24) miles, from whence the land falls off to the N.W., 
so that we could no longer hold the land on board, because 
the wind was almost ahead. Wherefore we summoned 
the Council and second mates, who proposed, and it was 
therewith resolved — the officers of the Zteha?n having 
been spoken — to set our course due east, according to the 
resolution of the 11th ulto., and to run on this course 
Salomonis Islands, as may be more fully seen by the 
until we i*each the longitude of IQS'^, or that of the 
resolution of this date. Noon, reckoned lat. 41° 34'', 
long. 1690. Course held N.E. by N., and sailed 20 (80) 
miles. Set our course due east, in order to make further 
discoveries, and also in order not to fall into the variable 
winds between the trades and counter-trades. The wind 
N.W., fresh gale. At night the wind W., strong fresh 
gale and good clear weather. 

KER, F.R.G.S. 

In the year 1832 Messrs. James Backhouse and George 
Washmgton Walker, two members of the Society of 
Friends, arrived at Hobart from England. The objects 
of their visit to the Australian Colonies were philan- 
thropic. One purpose they had in view was an investi- 
gation of the condition of the prisoner population and 
the working of the penal system. Another was an 
enquiry into the treatment of the Aboriginal inhabitants. 
The various Governors afforded them every facility in 
their enquiries, and the reports which they made from 
time to time had a considerable influence in obtaining an 
amelioration of the condition of the large number of men 
then under penal discipline. 

In October, 1832, (just 65 years ago), they paid a visit 
to the aboriginal establishment at Flinders Island. Mr. 
Backhouse was an accomplished naturalist, a keen and 
accurate observer, and rendered good service to science by 
by his contributions to the Botany of Tasmania ; and his 
" Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colonies." (Lon- 
don, 1843), has given an account of the visit to Flinders 
Island, and has preserved a mass of information respecting 
the aborigines and their habits, which forms a valuable 
addition to our very limited knowledge of th's extinct 
race. On examining Mr. Walker's MS. Journal, which is 
in my possession, I found a vocabulary of native words 
and also some songs, which have never been printed The 
relics of the native language are so few, that this list of 
words, taken down from the *lips of the natives, has a 
distinct value ; m.ore especially so as it precedes by 
nearly fifteen years Dr. Milligan's well-known and more 
extensive vocabulary, which was complied many years 


after the blacks had come under European influences. 
In submitting these fragments to the Royal Society it 
seemed desii'able to take the opportunity of collecting 
Mr. V^alker's observations on the aborigines, although 
part has already been published in his Memoirs. (Lon- 
don, 1862). The accounts of the race are so meagz-e that 
even the smallest reliable details respecting it recorded 
by an independent observer will have a value for anthropo- 

The deadly fevxd between the natives and the settlers 
which raged between 1825 and 1830, led to Governor 
Arthurs military operation known as the " Black Line." 
In October, 1830, some 3000 men took the field, to 
sweep the island from north to south, with the view of 
converging on the Oyster Bay and Big River tribes, and' 
di'iving them into the cuJ de sac of Tasman's Peninsula. 
The march commenced on 7th October, 1830, and the 
line advanced southwards. But the blacks easily slipped 
through its straggling ranks, and when on 26th November 
it closed on East Bay Neck it was found that the prey 
had escaped. The total result of this levy cii masse, at a 
cost of £30,000, was the capture of one solitary aborigine. 
Some months later it was discovered that the supposed 
formidable force opposed to the 3000 men of the line 
was considerably less than a hundred naked savages. 

Consequent on the failure of Arthur's Militaiv Move- 
ments, efforts were made to capture, either by persuasion 
or force, the '" mobs " scattered over the Island with the 
view of removing them to a place of safely, where they 
would be under the care and protection of the Govern- 
ment, and powerless to molest the settlers further. By 
the end of 1830 some 56 had been captured. They 
were placed temporarily on Swan Island, in Bass Strait. 
This was only a desolate granite rock, and the blacks 
were soon x'emoved to Gun Carriage, or Vansittart 
Island. This also pi'oving unsuitable, they were finally 
transferred in 1831 to Flinders Island. As 'George 
Augustus Robinson, in his daring mission of conciliation, 
accomplished what the whole force of the colony had 
failed in, and persuaded other " mobs "' to surrender 
themselves, fresh captives were continually transported 
to the new settlement. For 15 years Flinders was the 
home of the miserable remnant of the native tribes of 
Tasmania, and for the greater part of them it was destined 
to become their grave. 

Messrs. Backhouse and Walker visited the settlement 
in the spring of 1832 (October), a few months after the 


blacks had been transported thither, and it is from a 
report made by them to Governor Arthur, at his request, 
and from the MS. journal of Mr. Walker, that I have 
gleaned a few particulars respecting the aborigines as 
they appeared when undergoing the process of civilisa- 
tion on Flinders Island. 

It was in September, 1832, that the frieads sailed 
from Hobart in the Government cutter Charlotte, placed 
at their disposal by Governor Arthur. The vesssel 
touched at Port Arthur, which had been established two 
years before as a penal station, and then proceeded on 
her voyage to Flinders Island. After running con- 
siderable risk of shipwreck in the dangerous navigation 
of the Straits, the Charlotte anchored under Green 
Island, and a boat took the visitors to the Aboriginal 
Station, three miles oflF, at " The Lagoons." They say: 
■' Though, according to their usual custom towards 
strangers, they at first seemed scarcely to notice us, yet, 
when spoken to by the Commandant, their cheerful 
countenances, hearty laughs, and good-natured manners, 
produced an agreeable impression." The visitors noted 
(perhaps with surprise) that " their countenances ex- 
hibited none- of that marked ferocity which has been 
ascribed to them." Further observation strengthened 
the first impression, and they came to the conclusion that 
the Tasmanian aborigines deserved the character of a 
good-tempered" race. 

There were at this time at the settlement 78 natives 
in all— 44 men, 29 women, and only 5 children. They 
looked plump and healthy, notwithstanding that they 
had been suffering from shortness of provisions. The 
arrangements for supplies had been shamefully deficient. 
The white people had for some time been living on 
oatmeal and potatoes, which were far from good. The 
blacks, who abhorred oatmeal, lived on potatoes and 
lice. Fortunately mutton-birds (Nectris hrevicandua) 
supplemented their scanty provision. A little while 
before, when left in charge of Surgeon M'Lacblan on 
desolate Gun Carriage, if it had not been for some 
potatoes they obtained from the sealers, the unfortunate 
blacks would have been actually stai'ved. 

The site of the settlement at " The Lagoons " was most 
unsuitable. It was a narrow sandbank running parallel 
with the shore, and producing nothing but fern and scrub. 
It was bounded on one side by the sea, and on the other 
side by a salt lagoon bordered with thick ti-tree, and 
cutting off access to the main. 


When first placed on the islands the blacks had been 
put under the charge of most unsuitable officers — 
ignorant men, quite unfit for the difficult and delicate 
task of managing savages fresh from their native forests. 
It was not therefore strange that at first there was much 
disorder, and that quarrels between members of different 
tribes were of frequent occurrence. At this time, how- 
ever, they were under the care of a commandant, vviio 
threw himself into the work before him with an unselfish 
enthusiasm. The commandant was Lieutenant William 
J. Darling, a young officer of the 63rd Regiment, a brother 
of Sir Charles Darling, who was afterwards (1863-66) 
Governor of Victoria. He was ably seconded by the 
surgeon, Archibald M'Lachlan. The self-denying exer- 
tions of these two officers for the welfare of the poor blacks 
cannot be too highly praised. To promote their advance- 
ment in civilisation the Commandant and Surgeon spared 
no pains. They treated them with viniform and patient 
kindness and consideration. They seldom sat down to 
breakfast or tea in their own little weatherboard huts 
without having some aborigines as guests, with the view 
of exciting in them a desire for improvement in civilisa- 

Yet the arrangements for the aborigines, well meant as 
they undoubtedly were, seem to have been singularly 
injudicious. They were lodged at night in shelters or 
" breakwinds." These " breakwinds " were thatched 
roofs sloping to the ground, with an opening at the top 
to let out the smoke, and closed at the ends, with the ex- 
ceeption of a doorway. They were twenty feet long by 
ten feet wide. In each of these from twenty to thirty 
blacks were lodged. The fires were made along the 
centre of the breakwind, and the people squatted or lay 
on the ground around them. Blankets were provided for 
them to sleep in. To savages accustomed to sleep naked 
in the open air beneath the rudest shelter, the change to 
close and heated dwellings tended to mate them sus- 
ceptible, as they had never been in their wild state, to 
chills from atmospheric changes, and was only too well 
calculated to induce those severe pulmonary diseases 
which were destined to prove so fatal to them. 

The same may be said of the use of clothes. In their 
wild state the blacks had gone entirely naked in all 
weathers, protecting their bodies against the elements by 
rubbing them with grease. At the settlement they were 
compelled to wear clothes, which they threw off when 
heated or when they found them troublesome, and when 


wetted by rain, allowed them to dry on theii- bodies. In 
the case of the Tasmanians, as with other wild tribes 
accustomed to go naked, the use of clothes had a most 
mischievous effect on their health. In their native bush 
the constant and strenuous exertion which they were 
compelled to make in hunting wild animals for necessary 
food kept them hardy and healthy. Cooped up in the 
settlement and regularly fed, they lost the motive for 
exei'tion, and sank into a life of listless inaction, in which 
they lost their natural vigour, and became an easy prey 
to any disease that attacked them. 

Mr. R. H. Davies, who has given us one of the most 
reliable of all the accounts of the aborigines, remarks that 
in spite of them having been treated with uniform 
kindness in their captivity, their numbers rapidly de- 
creased ; the births were very few, and the deaths 
numei'ous. ' This," says he, ' may have been in great 
measure owing to their change of living and food, but 
much more to their banishment from the mainland of 
Van Diemen's Land, which is visible from Flinders 
Island ; and the natives have often pointed it out to me 
with an expression of the deepest sorrow depicted on 
their countenances." In fact, the unhappy captives 
pined and died from '" home sickness." 

How to treat the poor remnant of the native tribes was 
a difficulty, perhaps an insoluble problem under the cir- 
cumstances. If they could have been left in possession 
of a portion of their ancient hunting-grounds — a reserve 
to which they could have been confined — tliey might have 
lived healthily and even happily for a long period of 
years, though even that would not have averted the final 
doom. But the feud between the two races had been too 
deadly to permit of their being left in proximity, and the 
seclusion of an island was imperative, as much for the 
pz'otection of the blacks as for the safety of the whites. 

To the credit of the authorities, it must be said that 
from the time Lieut. Darling took charge in 1832 evei-y 
possible effort was made to secure the u ell-being of the 
few survivors of the native tribes. They were well 
supplied with food, and they supplemented the ordinary 
supplies by taking mutton-birds and their eggs, and, 
while the game lasted, by occasional hunting excursions. 
Tea and potatoes were their favourite diet. Of tea highly 
sweetened they seemed to be able to drink any quantity. 
Milk they grew very fond of. Mutton and beef they 
preferred to salt meat, and even to kangaroo : but such 


rare luxuries they seldom had the opportunity of enjoy- 
ing. Their appetites were enormous. Davies states 
that a native woman at the settlement was one day 
watched by an officer, and seen to eat between fifty and 
sixty mutton-bird eggs — as large as those of a duck — 
besides a dovible allowance of bread. Whether this story 
is true or not, I do not venture an opinion. But it is well 
known that the Australian native, like other savages 
accustomed to long compiilsory fasts, has a boaconstrictor- 
like power of gorging himself far beyond the extreme 
capacity of a Eviropean. 

The blacks on Flinders also developed an extreme 
fondness for tobacco. When not occupied in cooking or 
in hunting they were rarely without a pipe. One pipe 
was made to serve several. After the husband had taken 
a few whiflFs it was passed to the wife, and then to others. 
If a stranger was present, nothing wovild please them 
more than he also should take a whiff from the pipe. 

The care of the authorities extended far beyond en- 
suring them plentiful food. No exertion was spared to 
drill these children of nature into the habits of a civilisa- 
tion unto which they were not born. If not apt, they 
were certainly docile pupils. Their good humour, which 
stinxck the French voyages as remarkable, is constantly 
referred to by the Friends. They say : " The oppor- 
" tunities we have had of forming an estimate of the 
" aboriginal character have strongly impressed us with the 
" opinion that they are not naturally a treacherous and 
" ferocious nor a vindictive people. Their uniform 
" cheerfulness and agreeableness of manner forbid the 
" idea of inherent ferocity. The treachery and outrages 
" they have experienced at the hands of Europeans 
" excited at one time a spirit of revenge, under the in- 
" fluence of which retaliation was made on some of the 
" innocent people of VanDiemen's Land as well as on the 
" guilty, a thing not vxncommon even in what are termed 
" civilised wars. Some of those on the Settlement, who 
" are known to have taken a part in avenging the wrongs 
" of their countrymen, have since proved themselves to be 
" men of kind and affectionate dispositions, and have 
" won the return of the same kindly feelings which they 
" have shown in their intercourse with each other." 

Instances of their good-natured readiness to please are 
related by the Friends. One woman, on the visitors 
expressing a wish to have a sample of the inside of the 
fern-tree, which was an article of ordinary food with the 


blacks, made a journey of some miles into the bush to 
procure it. Another collected a considerable quantity of 
fern root, and prepared it in the native manner, because 
one of the visitors had desired to see it in the state in 
which the blacks were accustomed to eat it. In their 
intercourse with each other they showed a like good 
nature. The Friends noticed that in the daily distribu- 
tion of food, though the division was often very unequal, 
there was no dissatisfaction because one got more than 
another. They showed the most pei-fect good temper 

The absence of disturbances or crimes of violence 
during their captivity on Flinders Island is of itself a 
susufficient proof that the idea, so commonly entertained 
at the time, of their untamable ferocity, was not well 
founded. Yet, the Aborigines Committee, in 1830, in 
their Report to the Governor, stated their belief " that 
the Aborigines of this Colony are insensible to kindness, 
devoid of generous feelings, bent on revenge." 

The tractability of the captive blacks at the Settle- 
ment was remarkable. They acted like good-natured 
children, and were as imitative as monkeys. Thus, at a 
religious service, at which some of them were present, 
they behaved with great decorum, and during prayer 
turned their faces to the wall in imitation of the v/hites. 
When they were presented with Scotch caps the young 
men drew themselves up in a line and imitated the 
manoeuvres of soldiers. They showed a great desire to 
copy the ways of their white instructors. The men were 
particularly anxious to be supplied with trousers, but 
resented the oflfer of yellow trousers, the usual garb of 
prisoners. They also wanted to have stools to sit upon, 
and tables for their meals, and to be supplied with knives 
and forks, like Europeans. 

Some of the women learned to make bread, to wash 
clothes, and to sew, and to use soap and water daily. 

The Friends remark : " The scrupxilous care they 
evince not to take anything that does not belong to them 
entitles them to the character of honesty. They are 
observing, and have retentive memories, affording very 
sufficient proofs that they are not deficient in intellect. 
Among other traits, we x'emarked less indisposition to 
personal exertion than is usually attributed to savages. 
The willingness and promptitude with which they per- 
form little services for those whom they consider their 
friends, as in bringing wood and water for daily use, show 
that they are not of a sluggish disposition when there is a 


sufficient inducement to labour. . In the morning, 

daily, they may be seen walking in procession, each 
bearing a lode of wood on his shoulder, which is cheer- 
fully deposited in the proper place. They are said to 
have taken great pleasure in cutting and bringing in the 
wattles and grass for building and thatching ; also in 
fencing, breaking up, and planting with potatoes the acre 
and a half of ground in front of their cottages [at Wyba- 
lenna]. The latter was accomplished almost entirely by 
their own unassisted efforts . . . They will genei-ally 
do anything they are required to do that is reasonable. 
It is kind treatment that ensures its performance." 

They showed all the usual improvidence of savages. 
Though they were finally led to take care of their tin 
plates and eating utensils and to keep them clean, it was 
at first difficult to prevent them throwing away these 
articles. They had been accustomed to a mutton-fish 
shell, or something as simple, as a drinking vessel, and 
could not understand the necessity of taking care of things 
adapted for permanent use. In hunting, they destroyed 
the game recklessly, and could not be restrained from 
killing the kangai-oo as long as their dogs would run. 
On an adjoining island, where there were large numbers 
of wallaby, the blacks, in three or four hunting excursions, 
killed over a thousand head. By this kind of wholesale 
destruction, kangaroo, once very abundant in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Flinders Settlement, soon became ex- 
tremely scarce. 

The Commandant found the greatest difficulty in 
inducing them to save the wallaby skins, it being the 
custom to throw the wallaby on the fire and singe off the 
fur. He explained to them the value of the skins, and 
the ai'ticles they could get in exchange. He gave presents 
to those who brought in skins ; but it seemed impossible 
to teach them any idea of barter, or, indeed, to get them to 
look beyond the immediate moment. 

In January, 1834, Messrs. Backhouse and Walker 
again visited Flinders Island at the request of Governor 
Arthur. They found the blacks x-emoved to a place 
called by the sealers Pea Jacket Point, then rechristened 
" Civilisation Point." about fifteen miles north of their 
old location. The village was named ' Wybalenna," 
signifying, in the language of the Ben Lomond tribe, 
'■ Blackman's Houses." There were at this time 111 
aborigines on the island — 55 males and 56 females. Of 
the whole number only 16 were children. Wybalenna 
was a much better location than The Lagoons. There 


was sufficient water, good pasturage, and land fit for 
cultivation as gardens. The officers of the establishment 
had weatherboard houses, and about twenty thatched 
wattle and plaster huts had been built for the blacks. 

The visitors found that in two years the aborigines 
showed progress in at least the outward appearance of 
civilisation. They now had a regular instructor or 
catechist, who tried to instil into their minds some ideas 
of religion. To aid in this work he had attempted a 
translation of the first three chapters of Genesis into the 
language of the Ben Lomond tribe ! The worthy cate- 
chist's version is obviously worthless from a linguistic 
point of view, whatever effect it may have had on the 
native mind in other ways. 

The catechist made most persevering efforts to instruct 
the blacks, and even succeeded in teaching some of the 
boys and younger men to read a little.* 

At the time of the Friends' visit to the Flinders 
Settlement in 1834, the health of the surviving abori- 
gines was good. A great mortality had occurred in the 
rainy season of the preceding year, chiefly among the 
men from the West Coast tribes, who had been the 
shortest time on the island. Between 1st January and 
31st December, 1833, out of some 140 at the Settlement, 
31 had died : of these, sixteen belonged to the West 
Coast tribes. Most of the deaths resulted from sudden 
and acute affections of the chest — pneumonia or phthisis. 
This kind of disease appears to have often made great 
havoc among them when at large in their own country. 
In the previous winter it had been more fatal among the 
few aborigines at large on the West Coast than amongst 
those at the Settlement on Flinders. It was proposed, 
as likely to conduce to the better health of the natives, 
that they should wear shoes ! 

* In 1834 five or six of the boys were removed from Flinders 
Island and placed in the Government Orphan School at New- 
Town, near Hobart. It is stated that some of them showed 
very fair intelligence. Mr. Walker mentions that two lads 
(Arthur and Friday) Avbo in 1832 were sunk in the barbarous 
habits of their race, showed considerable improvement after 
two years' instruction at the Orplian School. One of them — 
George Walter Arthur — had not only learnt to read fairly 
well, but also wrote a hand which would not have disgraced 
a European youth of the same age. The master of the school 
informed Mr. Walker that, with some exceptions, the 
aboriginal children were not inferior in capacity to the 
European children in his charge. 


Thus far I have followed Mr. Walker's account. The 
rest of the brief and melancholy history of the remnant 
of the Tasmauian aborigines is soon told. 

In 1835, George Augustus Robinson, who had just 
completed his mission by bringing in the last party of 
wanderers, was sent by the Governor to take charge of 
the Flinders establishment. In a speech which he made 
at Sydney some few years later, he gave a long account 
of his administration. He boasted that his efforts to 
lead forward the blacks in the scale of civilisation had 
met with flattering success. Their minds were beginning 
to expand. In their intercourse with each other they 
were affable and courteous. They were placed under no 
restraint, but enjoyed the fullest degree of personal free- 
dom. They were instructed in the Christian religion. 
Two services were held on Sunday, and others during 
the week. The services were conducted in English, which 
the natives well understood. Attendance was voluntary, 
yet all attended. He had established schools — a day- 
school for boys, a day-school for girls, an evening-school, 
and a Sunday-school. Periodical examinations were held, 
from which it appeared that the youths were able to 
answer questions in the leading events of Scripture, in 
Christian doctrine, arithmetic, geography, and several 
points of general information. Some of them could write 
very fah'ly. The girls were taught sewing and knitting, 
and could make clothes. The people had neat cottages 
and gardens, and conformed in every respect to European 
habits. He had formed an aboriginal police, and a coui-t 
composed of himself and three chiefs, who acted as con- 
stables. He had established a cu'culating medium, and 
also a market to which the natives lirought their produce. 
The men had in three years cleared a considerable area of 
ground, and had made a road nine miles long into the in- 
terior of the island. He concludes with the remark, 
" The only drawback on the establishment is the great 
mortality among them ; but those who survive are 
happy, contented, and useful members of society." 

A significant comment on his '' flattering success ! 
While Robinson and others were doing their best to make 
them into a civilised people, the poor blacks had given 
up the struggle, and were solving the difficult problem 
by dying. The very efforts made for their welfare only 
served to hasten their inevitable doom. The white mans 
civilisation proved scarcely less fatal to them than the 
white man's musket. Yet it would be wrong to estimate 



lightly the disinterested labours of the men who per- 
severingly worked for the fading race. Amongst these 
men the name of Mr. Robert Clark, the catechist, stands 
first. From the time of his appointment to Flinders 
Island in 1834 to his death in 1850 this estimable man 
gave himself with an absolute devotion to the care of the 
unhappy remnant of the captive tribes. The poor blacks 
on their part showed that they were not " insensible to 
kindness, or devoid of generous feelings." While Mr 
Clark lived they regarded him with a touching love anc^ 
veneration. When he died, after sixteen years spent iu 
their service, they mourned him as their one trne and con- 
stant friend, and to the last the miserable remnant of 
Tasmania's native tribes affectionately cherished the 
memory of their beloved " Father Clark." 

In 1838 the aborigines on Flinders, probably at the 
suggestion of Robinson, who had been appointed Pro- 
tector of the Aborigines in Port Phillip, petitioned 
Governor Franklin to be removed to that colony. The 
Home Authorities interposed and forbade the removal. 
On Robinson's departure from Flinders, Captain Smith, 
and afterwards Mr. Fisher, took charge of the Settlement. 
In 1842 Dr. Jeannerett received the appointment of Com- 
mandant from Sir John Franklin. Five years later, in 
1847, there remained only 44 individuals, viz., 12 men 
22 women, and ten children from 4 to 17 years of age. 
Some of the children were half-castes. 

In the face of considerable opposition from the 
colonists, the Government resolved to remove the few 
survivors to Oyster Cove, in D'Entrecasteaux Channel. 
Dr. James Milligan was appointed superintendent, and 
under his care the transfer was effected. Among the 
children thus reoioved was Fanny Cochrane (now Mrs. 
Fanny Smith), who is still living on her farm at Port 
Cygnet, the sole survivor of the Flinders Island settle- 
ment. At Oyster Cove the blacks rapidly deteriorated 
A new phase of civilisation was here presented to them 
in the shape of low whites and rum. The mortality was 
accelerated by the drunken habits into which many of 
them fell. A few lingered on — a disgraced and de- 
graded remnant. In 1854 there remained only three 
men, eleven women, and two children — sixteen in all. 
In 1865, Billy Lanne, the last male aborigine, died, and 
only four women remained. Truganini, the last survivor 
of her race, died in 1877. 

Such is the melancholy history of the native inhabitants 
of Tasmania. 


NoTBs FROM Mr. Walker's Journal. 

The Aborigines of Van Dienien's Laud are rather below 
the average stature of Englishmen. Both sexes are stout, 
and their limbs well proportioned ; a few incline to 
coi'pulency. They walk remarkably erect, assuming a 
dignified mien, and in all their movements exhibit agility 
and ease. Their complexion is very dark, almost black ; 
a few are of lighter hue, approaching to the colour of 
copper. The solee of their feet are as light as those of 
Europeans who go without shoes. The palms of their 
hands are also much lighter than their bodies. There is 
a considerable variety of features among them. 
Generally, thick lips and flat distended nostrils, are the 
characterists of the race. Many of their countenances are 
pleasing, and very few of them forbidding ; one man, 
with a black beard and moustache, had a countenance 
strikingly Jewish. Their hair is uniformly black and 
woolly, like the African negroes, whom, in many respects, 
they nearly resemble. In their savage state the men let 
their hair grow, and ornament it with grease and red 
ochre, or, as they tei'm it, balldoivinny. The women shave 
their heads. Neither sex wear any clothing, unless a few 
strips of fur, which are sometimes tied round the thickest 
part of their limbs, can be called such. Both sexes wear 
strings of shells as necklaces. The shells are of spiral 
form, varying in size from that of a pea to a horse-bean. 
In their natural state they are not remarkable for beauty, 
but when the outer coating is stripped off they show 
varied colours of considerable brilliancy. The aborigines 
prepare them for use by burning grass over wood embers, 
when the action of the pyroligneous acid removes the thin 
coating from the shell. Some of their necklaces were 
formed of kangaroo sinews, one twisted round another 
so as to resemble braid, and then dyed with red ochre, 
their favourite colour, and hung in several folds round 
the neck. They are fond of smearing their bodies with 
grease and red ochre, which enables them to bear with 
more ease the exposure to the weather. They make 
incisions in their flesh, particularly on the thighs, arms, 
and breasts. This is done with a sharp flint, so as 
generally to form longitudinal lines parallel to each other. 
The wounds are kept open by artificial means until proud 
flesh is formed, and a lasting protuberant scar produced. 
These marks are rendered more numerous by a custom 
which prevails among them of lacerating any part of their 


bodies aflFected with pain. This they suppose to be pro- 
ductive of relief. The bones of deceased relatives, which 
some of them wear about them as tokens of remembrance, 
are frequently tied on the affected limb for the same 
purpose. Roomeh-tymyenna, the wife of a chief, carries 
constantly on her bosom the skull of an infant. They 
connect some superstitious notions with the practice, 
evidently i^egarding it in the light of a charm. 

As soon as it was dark, on the evening of our arrival, 
preparations were made for a corrohherry, or dance, for 
joy at the arrival of the cutter. The men strip off their 
clothes, but the women, who occasionally join in the 
dance, make no alteration in their adopted dress. A nre 
of sticks, or boughs that make a lively blaze, was made, 
around which the men formed a circle, and began a kind 
of song or chant, consisting of expressions frequently 
repeated, and uttered in a drawling monotone. The 
subjects of these songs arc various ; sometimes tire 
pursuits of hunting, and the enumeration of the animals 
that become a prey to their dexterity ; at other times the 
feats of war, and their sanguinary conflicts vnth adverse 
tribes. A very common description relates to the habits 
of animals, such as the emu and kangaroo ; and, since 
they have become acquainted with Eviropeans, to the 
horse, the cow, &c. They acompany the words with 
significant gestures and actions. Thus, in the emu-dance, 
by bending forward an arm over the fire, and making a 
movement with the hand, like the motion of a bird's 
head, they imitate the bird in its peculiar habits. In 
the horse-dance, which they call barracoota * they lay 
hold of each other's loins, one following another, and 
imitate the prancing of the animal, while a woman stands 
by and imitates the driver, gently tapping them with 
a stick as they pass before her. They have also the 
thunder-and-lightening dance, in which they stamp with 
theii' feet and whirl round the fire. A frequent 
manoeuvre during their corrohherrys is to leap from the 
ground while running in a circle round the fire, and, in 
descending, to turn their faces to it, crouching at the 
same time to the ground on their haunches, and striking 
the earth with their hands. The exertion during these 
performances is often very violent, occasioning indi- 
viduals to drop out of the ring, bathed in perspiration, 
until they have recovered. The good humour they 

* Jorgenson gives as the equivalent for " horse," baircou- 
taua ; Norman gives parcoutenar. 


exhibit throughout the amusement, which genei-ally lasts 
for some hours, often till midnight, is remarkable, con- 
sidering the excitement that prevails. Sometimes one 
will jostle against another, and perhaps occasion a fall to 
both, which is sure to be succeeded by a general laugh. 
Though the nudity of the men must necessarily oflFend the 
eye of a European, there is not the slightest action or 
gesture that would offend the modesty of the most 

On another evening we visited their shelters or " break 
winds." From twenty to thirty sleep in each shelter. 
Hei-e they generally cook their food and eat their meals, 
and here, in the evening, they sit round the fire and talk, 
or one sings, while the rest listen with deep interest and 
attention, frequently applauding by a general shout. At 
the suggestion of Mr. Archibald M'Lathlan, the surgeon, 
they sang two of their songs for our benefit. The first 
was sung by the chief of the Port Dalrymple tribe. The 
same words were repeated many times in succession, 
accompanied by many impassioned gestures, and an 
exertion of breath almost painful to witness. Occasion- 
ally the singer gave a short sigh, as if his breath was spent, 
in which the rest united with one accord. The shout that 
succeeded allowed the perfoi^mer a moment's pause, when 
he resumed the song with great animation. During the 
course of the song the chief often became highly excited, 
pointing significantly with his finger, and showing 
remarkable expression in his countenance, as if the subject 
was most impoi'tant. the people listening meanwhile with 
profound attention. After the chief had concluded, the 
women began a song in chorus, which showed a greater 
knowledge of music. I was very much surprised to hear 
some sing tenor, while others sang treble. It was a 
hunting song, enumerating the animals that the young 
married women are wont to chase. I afterwards took 
down the words of the song from the lips of some of the 

The tribes now show little appearance of jealously. 
Many, when in the bush, were in a state of hostility ; 
but their animosities are merged in the general feeling 
of good-will which seems to pervade the settlement. If 
there is anything that betrays the remembrance of former 
feuds, it is hunting. They show a reluctance to hunt 
together if the tribes that compose the party have once 
been at warfare, unless the Commandant or Surgeon be 

* See p. 258, for song with intorlinoar translation. 


with them, when his influence is considered a sufficient 
guarantee against harm. 

Two men of the Western or Port Dalrymple tribe 
exhibited before us the manner in which quarrels are 
decided amongst them ; or, it may be described as the 
mode of giving vent to those feelings of irritation which 
amongst Englishmen, would end in a pugilistic encounter. 
The parties approach one another face to face, and, 
folding their arms across their breasts, shake their heads 
(which occasionally come into contact) in each other's 
faces, uttering at the same time the most vociferous and 
angry expressions, until one or other of them is exhausted. 
This custom is called by them growling, and, from the 
specimen afforded us by the Western lads, will not 
probably issue in anything worse than a bloody nose 
or lip. 

Quarrels are rare among the aborigines of the Settle- 
ment, but when they do occur some of their tokens of 
displeasure are odd and unaccountable. One of the men 
had a difference with his wife, because she had broken 
something which he highly prized. Instead of showing his 
displeasure by taking a stick and retaliating on the 
offender, he rose and deliberately cut the feet of seven who 
happened to be lying near him asleep, but offered no 
kind of violence to his wife. After this burst of rage, his 
anger was appeased, and they were reconciled. The 
Commandant, hearing of the circumstance, had the man 
brought before him, and told him that, as through his 
misconduct the women would be unable to bring their 
quantum of water from the well, the offender was required 
to bring all the water himself. Without saying a word or 
making the least difficulty, the man set about his task, 
which he soon completed, and there the affair ended. 

It is curious that the aborigines, on occasions of this 
sort mentioned above, do not generally show a disposi- 
tion to retaliate on the person who thus wreaks his 
vengeance upon them ; they rather endeavour to get out 
of his way. 

Another quarrel fell out thus : — A married woman 
had selected a certain tree, according to their practice 
when in the bush, which tree, in such case, is considered 
the representative of the person who makes choice of it, 
and is regarded as their inviolable property, at all times 
to be held sacred. Through some accident this tree, 
which had been selected by Roomtyenna, was pulled 
down or mutilated by a party of her countrymen, which 
she so violently resented that, snatching up a firebrand. 


she rau in amongst them and dealt her blows very freely 
around. Her husband, who was "of the party, at length 
struck her on the head with his waddy, and drew blood. 
When he saw that she bled, he was apparently as dis- 
concerted as she was, and would have gladly made it up ; 
but the lady was not so easily appeased, and it was some 
time before Trygoomy-poonauh could regain his wife's 

On a visit to the site of the intended new settlement, 
at a place named by the sealers Pea-Jacket Point, we 
were accompanied by the Commandant, four native men, 
and two of their wives. The history of the attachment 
that led to the union of one of these couples is somewhat 
romantic. Panneh-rooneh had long felt an affection for 
Pellouny-myna, but no persuasions of his could induce 
her to become his wife. One day they were crossing a 
river aloiig with many more of their countrymen, when 
Pellouny-myna was suddenly seized with an attack of 
illness, and became unable to support herself. The faith- 
ful lover was at her side. Seizing her in his arms, he bore 
her to a place of safety, and during her illness, which was 
tedious, he nursed her with the greatest attention and 
most affectionate assiduity. She at length recovered, 
when, overcome with gratitude, she declared that none 
but Panneh-rooneh should be her husband ; and from 
that time they have become united by the most inviolable 

On our return the day was very wet and boisterous. 
The aborigines are not fond of travelling in the wet, nor 
will they do so, except in cases of necessity. They show 
the same reluctance to travelling in the dark. As soon 
as it is dusk they take care to remind you that it is time 
to cracJcney, that is' to rest. It is well known that in 
their wild state they hardly ever encamped for two 
nights together in the same place, in consequence of 
their aversion to the dirt which accumulates about a 
camp. The number of fires which this custom has given 
rise to is perhaps one of the causes that the number of 
these people has been so greatly over-rated. I was sur- 
prised to remark their susceptibility of fatigue in going 
long distances. It does not appear that they have been 
in the habit of making long or forced marches. Each 
tribe confining themselves generally to a district seldom 
exceeding twenty to thu'ty miles in its widest extent; 
this peculiarity may be easily accounted for. Their 
principal journeys were those made in the summer season 
to the highlands from the lower tracks (the haunt of the 


game), which were their resort in the winter ; and these 
journeys did not generally require any extraordinary 

This short excursion has given us a further oppor- 
tunity of estimating the character of the aborigines ; 
and the favourable opinion we had previously foi-med of 
their disposition, and especially of their capabilities for 
improvement, is more than ever confirmed. They re- 
quire to be treated with much discretion and forbearance. 
They are more easily led than driven ; for, though they 
are very tractable and accessible to kindness, it is easy 
to perceive that they consider themselves a free people. 
If they do service for others, they do it through courtesy. 
There is nothing that is servile or abject in their 
character when they are not under the influence of fear. 
We are perpetually reminded that in their taste for 
amusement, and in some respects in their capacities, they 
are children, though more tractable than the generality of 
children ; but, in many things that occur within the 
range of their knowledge and acqixirements, they show a 
quickness of perception and powers of reflection that prove 
them to be a race far from deficient in intellect, and 
highly susceptible of improvement. 

From anything I have been able to learn, the aborigines 
do not seem to have any notion of a superior and benefi- 
cent Being who rules the world. They have some 
indistinct ideas of an evil spirit, whom they style '' the 
devil," especially when talking with Europeans, but of 
whom there is reason to believe they have had original 
notions, and for whom they have an appropriate name in 
their own language. All diseases and casualties are at- 
tributed to the agency of this malevolent power, who is 
also thought to preside over the elements, especially in 
the phenomena of thunder and lightning, of which they 
are, accordingly, much afraid. When one of A. Cottrell's 
party was asked what had caused the death of one of his 
comrades at the Hunter's Islands, he answered "The 
devil ! '" One of them imitated the symptoms that 
usually attend consumption in its last stages. There is no 
doubt that they entertained the notion before their inter- 
course with Europeans. An idea is becoming prevalent 
among them which looks like the recognition of a state of 
being after death. It is professed to be believed by some of 
them that they are transformed after death into white 
men, and that they return under this renewed form to an 
island in the Straits, where there is abundance of game, 
and where they have the pleasure of again hunting, and 


subsisting upou such animals as they killed in the chase 
during their lifetime ; but I am disposed to believe that 
this has not originated with themselves, particularly as 
they connect it with some vague idea respecting the 
deceased visiting England, or at least coming from beyond 
seas ere he inhabit the island in question. The want of 
knowledge of their language renders the information that 
can be gathered on these interesting subjects very vague. 

With regard to form of government, very little seems to 
have existed among the aborigines. A sort of patriarchal 
authority under certain limitations has been exercised by 
the chiefs of the respective tribes ; but they have been 
far fi'om exacting an explicit obedience to thek com- 
mands, and in many respects their authority appears to 
have been little moi'e than nominal ; few of the mob 
consisting of more persons than might be included in one 
large family, the influence of the chief, who is generally 
in years, has probably been of the parental kind. The 
people at the Settlement call their chiefs by the appel- 
lation of Father, and speak of the members of their own 
tribes as brothers and sisters. When a separation for a 
long period has happened, on meeting again they show all 
the attachment of relatives^ An instance of this occurred 
at Woolnorth, when two women, who had lived with 
sealers, were brought in. Jumbo, another woman who 
was present, called one of these her sister, having belonged 
to the same mob as herself. A. Cottrell informed me that 
their interview was very affecting. Neither spoke for 
some time, but, throwing their arms round each other's 
necks, they remained in that attitude, the tears trickling 
down their cheeks, until at length, these first emotions 
having somewhat subsided, they began to talk and laugh, 
and exhibit all the demonstrations of extravagant joy. 

The natives show a great dislike to allusions to the 
absent, whether the separation be caused by difference 
of situation or by death. If the name of the absent person 
be mentioned, it is customary with them, when with 
Europeans, to signify their displeasure by signs, as if they 
considered it unpropitious. 

Like all persons in a savage state, the natives eat 
more than would be convenient to a European. In their 
wild condition they were subject to a scarcity of food, 
which, being succeeded by the return of abundance, would 
induce them to fill themselves to repletion. They eat 
almost every animal that inhabits the woods, from the 
emu and kangaroo down to the kangaroo-rat. Mutton- 
birds and penguins are the principal birds used by them. 


emus being very scarce. There are some other birds that 
are considered good eating, as the swan and the duck ; 
but these they cannot often catch, unless it be the young 
swans. They are very partial to their eggs. The emu is 
considered a great delicacy, which may be one reason that 
emus are more numerous now than a few years ago, when 
the number of aborigines in the bush was greater. The 
roots eaten by the natives are extremely numerous and 
abundant, as the fern (a species much the same as that 
common in England), which is eaten either roasted or raw. 
The upper extremity of the stem of the fern-tree is also 
a favourite article of food, and a number of other things 
which I am unable to describe. There is a species of 
punk or fungus found on the trunks or among the roots 
of decayed trees, which contributes to the support of the 
blacks, as well as the white grub, which is also found in 
rotten timber. Of the latter the natives are extravagantly 
fond, eating them raw as well as roasted. A species of 
truffle, known in the Colony by the name of native bread, 
found in the vicinity of decayed wood, and of the order of 
Fungi, is a favourite article of food ; so also is a large 
lizard, often twelve or fovirteen inches in length, and 
called the iguana. 

A custom prevails amongst them for which I can 
assign no reason, nor do they seem themselves able to 
give any. Some will eat only the male of a particular 
species, others only the female ; and I am assured by 
those who know well their habits, that they will rather 
starve than infringe this rule. The morning we arrived 
at Pea-jacket, a wallaby was taken by Tommy, at a 
time when meat was by no means plentiful ; he, however, 
gave the whole of it away, nor could I induce him to 
taste it. It was a male, and the only answer I could get 
from him was that he never ate the male of that animal. 
The rest of the party partook of it. Butter, or food that 
is fat or gi'easy, they show at first an aversion to ;, the 
animals that inhabit the forest, especially the kangaroo 
and wallaby, are generally lean. 

They seem to have laeen acquainted with no other 
mode of cooking than that of roasting. Boiling was 
quite strange to them, and meat prepared in that way 
appears less agreeable to them than the other. The plan 
they adopt in cooking mutton-birds is, to throw the bird 
on the fire until all the feathers are singed off, when it is 
withdrawn and gutted. When several are prepared in 
this manner, they are spitted on a stick between two and 
three feet in length, one end of which is run into the 


ground, while the other enables the pei-son who is stand- 
ing by to turn the birds, or give them such a direction 
towards the fire as ensures their being properly cooked. 

The animals were cooked in the visual summary 
method ; first, by throwing them on the fire until the 
hair was singed, after which the entrails were extracted, 
and the carcase returned to the fire until sufficiently 
roasted. The eggs were also roasted among the embers. 
They cooked the shell-fish (Haliofis. or mutton-fish) very 
nicely, by jolacing them on the embers with the fish 
uppermost until they are roasted. The}^ then insert the 
end of a long stick into the fish, which readily leaves the 
shell ; and, were there no better fare, we should have 
thought them very tolerable food, though the large ones 
are apt to be tough. 

The blacks make very neat, or, at least, very useful, 
baskets of native grass, which the women plait in such 
manner as to render them strong and effective for holding 
the few articles they carry about with them. These are 
also used in fishing. The women are excellent swimmers, 
and are most expert in diving for shell-fish. These 
employments devolve almost exclusively on the females, 
though the men are generally practised in them in 
a degree. In diving for crayfish, the women take a 
basket in their hand, and, on reaching the rocks at the 
bottom, they dexterously seize the crayfish with their 
fingers, and putting them quickly into the basket, ascend 
to the surface. In the same way they procure mutton- 
fish, oysters, mussels, and several other kinds of shell-fish, 
a species of food they are particvilarly partial to. 

In Safety Cove, Port Arthur, we saw some of the 
aboriginal women dive for fish. They appear to be half 
amphibious, such is their dexterity in the water, and, 
what is more singular, they appear to float with their 
heads in an upright position above water, without any 
effort, and this in the midst of kelp and other seaweed 
that would terrify the generality of skilful swimmers. 
They put aside the weed with their hands, or lift it over 
their heads as it becomes wrapt round them, and 
fearlessly dive head foremost into the midst of it, passing 
the branches of kelp through their hands as a sailor 
would a rope. When they see a crayfish on the bottom, 
they seize it by the back and ascend promptly to the 
surface, where they readily disengage themselves from 
the kelp and weed, and throw their prey to their com- 
panions on shore. Sometimes they put their heads a 
little below the surface, and look along the bottom until 


they descry a shell-fish, when in a moment their heels. 
appear above the surface, and, diving to the bottom, they 
secure their prey. The men are said to be far inferior 
to the women in diving, as they consider it the province 
of the females to procure fish. The aborigines are 
excessively fond of shell-fish. 

On our visit to Macquarie Harbour, in May, j83'2. 
we observed traces of the aborigines in several places 
about Port Davey and the sea-shore near the mouth of 
Macquarie Hai-bour. There were numerous places Avhere 
they had had fires, about which the shells of mvitton-fish, 
oysters, mussels, crayfish, limpets, and periwinkles were 
scattered. Near \^'ellington Head there were the 
remains of some boats, formed of strips of Ihe swamp 
ti-tree of Macquarie Harbour (Mehileucd deciissata). 
We learned from the pilot (Mr. Lucas) that, about three 
months ago, he saw five of these, containing three or four 
persons each, inclusive of children, cross the Hai'bour 
from the northern shore. Each of them was drawn 
across by a man swimming on each side of the boat, 
holding it with one hand. He therefore concludes the 
number that visit that neighbourhood to be from twenty 
to thii-ty. He says they are shy, but have not committed 
any outrage. They exchanged a girl of about fourtsiu 
for a dog ; but the girl, not appearing to like her 
situation, she was taken back by them, and the dog 

We learned from A. Cottrell some further particulars 
respecting the aborigines. The Western tribes appear to 
have been generally in the practice of burning their dead. 
The body is placed in an upright posture on logs of wood, 
other logs are piled around it till the superstrvicture 
assumes a conical form. The pile is then fired, and 
occasionally replenished with fuel, till the remains are 
consumed to ashes. These are carefully collected by the 
relatives of the deceased, and are tied up in a piece of 
kangaroo skin, and worn about their persons, not only .is 
tokens of remembrance, but as a charm against disease 
and accident. It is common for the survivors to besmeai* 
their faces with the ashes of the deceased. Those who 
suflFer from the same complaint of which the dead man 
died, resoi-t to the same practice as a means of cure. It 
is also customary to sing a dirge every morning for a con- 
siderable time after the death of their friends. The chief 
relative takes the most prominent part on these occasions ; 
but it is not confined to relatives; many others join in 


the lamentation, and exhibit all the symptoms of un- 
feigned sorrow. Besmearing the face with the ashes of 
the deceased is generally an accompaniment ; and tears 
may often be seen streaming down the cheeks of the 

A singular idea prevails among the natives, that no 
one actually dies till the sun sets. If the parties are 
dead in point of fact, the survivors ^^rofess to regard the 
symptoms as mere indications that life will depart as 
soon as the sun goes down, and until that period they 
do not treat them as dead." 

Under date 9th November, 1832, Mr. Walker 
writes : — 

" There are, it is supposed, the remains of only four 
tribes at large on the island. Three of tlie?n freqvent 
the coast between Macquarie Harbour and Capr^ Grim. 
The fourth tribe frequent the district of Port Davey. 
It is the opinion of both G. A. Robinson and A. Cottrell 
that these tribes do not include more than a hundred 
individuals, although they are not among those whose 
numbei's have been thinned by coming into hostile 
collision with Europeans, with the exception of one tribe, 
that has on two or three occasions encountei'ed the Van 
Diemen's Land Company's servants. Individuals have 
in these encounters been killed on both sides, but the 
number is very limited on either. This strongly confirms 
the opinion we have for some time entertained, that 
ttie number of aborigines in the island has been greatly 
exaggerated. It does not appear (admitting that there 
are about a hundred in the four tribes yet in the bush) 
that the number now in existence in the bush and at 
the aboriginal settlement exceeds 220 or 230. Allowing 
that their numbers have been thinned by the warfare 
that has subsisted between them and the whites, and that 
disease has also tended to thin their ranks (which 
appears to have been the case, especially among the 
Bruny Island natives), it does not seem probable that 
the whole of the aboi-iginal population, from the time of 
the landing of Europeans to the present moment, has 
ever at one time much exceeded five or six hundred 

by james b. walker. 255 

Specimens of the Language spoken by the 
Aborigines of Van Diemen's Land : — Two 
Popular Songs. — Translation of Genesis, 
Chap. I. — Aboriginal Names of Men and 

15 October, 1832. — Several of the aborigines were 
invited into the Commandant's hut for the purpose of 
enabling me to take down a few words as specimens of 
the language. The plan I adopted was to point to 
different objects, which they named, several repeating 
the word for my better information. At a subsequent 
period, I uttered the words in the hearing of others with 
whom I had had no communication on the subject of their 
language. If these understood my expressions, and 
pointed to the object the word was intended to represent, 
I took for granted I had obtained with tolerable accuracy 
the word used by them for that purpose. When I read 
to them in their own language one of their native songs, 
they were beyond measure astonished and gratified, 
following the words with their voices, and frequently 
inten-upting me with shouts of approbation. Theii- 
language appears to me to be far from inharmonious, and, 
when accompanied by a chanting tune, as in the songs of 
the women, is pleasing to the ear. 

English sound of a, e, i, a, u — a (as in hall). * 

Tasmanian oi'thography, e, y, i, o, u — au. 
English, a (as in bar), e (as in left), long sound of a 

(as in pale). 
Tasmanian, a eh at. 

Other sounds according to English modes of spelling. 
The syllables marked with a long line above are those 
on which emphasis should be placed. 


Paninnywathinneh the head. 

Plennerreh warreh the ear. 

Lehpehneh the eyes. 

Minnerrehwarreh the nose. 

Kehmyneh the cheek. 

Kehmfinneh the chin. 

Tukkehkiilla the thigh. 

Yaneh the teeth. 

Myneh the tongue. 


Mon?h the lips. 

Kythiniieh the skin or hair. 

Nyieh the eyelash. 

Tehnyiieh the nail. 

BullL'hhynfh the bones. 

Looreniieh the leg. 

Lfingelineh the foot. 

Laiigehneh pyneh-writlnnneh the toes. 

Anneii mintieh the hand. 

Mekkeli thlnneh peppyneh.. the finger. 

Trelinytha vvfithinna the blood. 

Myneh I or me. 

Psyneh thon or you. 

Fanuinnolunny they or them. 

Nfirreh coopeh very good. 

Pynicketta quickly. 

Pfmeh peckinninneh a little boy. 

Lackyra fern root. 

T5pplete to walk. 

Pokerriikany to talk. 

Noongenneh wangen diinneh to run. 

Luiigt'liby nany to strike. 

Larny to beat. 

Crackny to sit down or rest. 

Niiigenneh to bring. 

Lyprenny a house. 

Lygunnyeh skin or exterior 


Trarty stupid. 

Kepehginneh to eat. 

Tringeginiieh to swallow. 

Gibleh to eat. 

Tyweh rattyneh the wind blows. 

Wakeh lenna the sun shines. 

Nuggeh tenna it rains. 

Lingenneh bfmneh a swan's egg. 

Wdomerreh wood. 

Coantanneh the ground. 

Wlber a black man. 

Ldobcrreh a black woman. 

Lodowinny a white man. 

Looneh woman or girl 

(white or black). 

Gadyeh plenty or many. 


Trymepa take it. 

INickeli this, the. 

Potya JNo. 

Alle ; alia; arpu 1 es. 

There are some objects, and these very numerous, 
for which every tribe, or " mob," has a different name. 
There are also some peculiarities (of dialect we may 
suppose) in the languages of tribes dwelling in remote 
situations that render them not easily, if at all, under- 
stood by each other.* Several individuals, particularly 
G. A. Robinson and his colleague, Anthony Cottrell, 
are able to converse with tolerable fluency in the native 
dialects, but I understand that no one has reduced the 
language to writing, which is to be regretted. 

Some of the aboriginal terras have a very indefinite 
and extended meaning, as in the words " dackny " and 
pomleh. The former means to be, to exist, to rest, sit 
down or lie down, to stop, remain, dwell, sleep, and I 
know not how many more significations. The latter is 
used in a variety of ways, but more particularly where 
art, or ingenuity, or an exertion of power is applied to 
the production of anything. Everything that has required 
any sort of manipulation has been pomleh, i.e., made, or 
put together, or called into existence. 

It is also remarkable that the aborigines have hardly 
any general terms. They have not even a term to repre- 
sent " trees " or " animals " generally. 

* It had been stated on a previous evening (by Dr. Lang) 
that Van Diemen's Land had formerly been peopled with four 
nations, who each held a particular portion of the island. 
This opinion must have originated in tiie circumstance of his 
(Mr. Robinson's) having stated that lie had necessarily 
learned four languages in order to make himself understood 
by the natives generally. But, as regarded nations, he could 
truly say that the island of Van Diemen's Land was divided 
and subdivided by the natives into districts, and contained 
many nations. Their divisions he intended at some future 
period to point out, as he intended to execute a map of the 
island on aboriginal principles, with the aborigines' names 
for the mountains, rivers, and localities. Maria Island and 
Tasman's Peninsula had also been inhabited ; but the different 
tribes spoke quite a different language ; there was not the 
slightest analogy between the languages. — Beport of the 
I'ublic MeftiiKj held on I9th October, 1S3S, at St/dncy, con- 
taining the speech of G. A. Robinson : Reprinted from the 
" Colonut " of 31.vf October, 1838 : Balh, 1865, p. 3. In 
another place Mr. Robinson states that he had become 
acquainted with sixteen tribes. 


Ahoiiginal Song sung by the Women in chorus, by various 
Tribes of the Natives of Va7i Diemen's Land. 

Nikkeh iiini>eli tibreh nickeh uiollyj^a pollyla... 
The marrieii woman hunts the kangaroo and wallaby... 
Nfmiu rykenneh trehgana... 
The emu runs in the forest... 
PVabeh thinninneh trehgana. 

The boomer (kangaroo) r-ins in the forest. 
Kehnaiieh kehgreiina... nyna!)ythiniieh... 
The young enju... the little kangaroo... 

tringeh gnggerra... pyathinneh... 

the little joey (sucking kangaroo).., the bandicoot... 
nynabythiuneh-koobryneh... inaieh terrenneh... 

the little kangaron-rat... the white kangaroo-rat... 
pyattiinueh pungoothinneh... lookSothinneh... 

the little opossum... the ringtailed opossum... 
mytoppyneh... tryn65iie.h... 

the big opossum... the tiger-cat... 

watherrunginna... mtireh buniia... 

the dog-faced opossum... the black cat. 

A popular song among all the aboriginal tribes, of 
which I ha 76 not obtained the meaning, it being involved 
by them in some mystery — 

Poppyla-renupg — onnyna — P5ppyla, &c. , Poppyla, &c., 
lemingannya — leuiingannya — leming, &c. 
Taukummingannya — 'J aukilmmiugtinnya, &c,., &;c. 
JSyna tepe rena p5nnyna — Nyna, &;c., Myna, &c. 
Myna nara pewilly para. Nynti nrua,&c.,Nyna Nrira,&c. 
JN'ara pewilly pallawoo ! pal la woo! 
Nyiiii nara pewilly para |)ewilly j)alIawoo ! pallawoo! 
Nyna nara, &e. Myna nara, &c , &c. 

[In Milligan's Vocabulary this song, with certain 
differences, is given. It is there entitled " Aboriginal 
Verses in honour of a Great Chief," sung as an accompani- 
ment to a native dance or Riawe — Facers of the. Royal 
Society of Tasmania, Vol. III., p. 273. Also by Davies, 
with other variations — Tasvianian Journal, II., p. 411.] 

8th December, 1833. Thos. Wilkinson, the Catechist, 
has attempted the translation of the first three chapters of 
Genesis, and has succeeded as well as could have been 
anticipated. It is extremely difTicult to come at the 
idiom, as every tribe speaks a different dialect, it might 


also be said a different language, and even among the 
individuals of the same tribe a great diffei-ence is percep- 
tible. The pronunciation is very arbitrary and indefinite. 
The literal translation is confined in great measui'e to 
the verbs and the nouns. It is not clearly ascertained 
Whether prepositions and conjunctions or anything 
analogous to the expletives in use with us are contained 
in the aboriginal tongue. T. W. has composed a con- 
siderable vocabvilary of words. 

December 10. — Thos. Wilkinson's Translation of 
Genesis, I. 

1. In the beginning God created the heavens 

tr5teh Godneh pomleh heaven neh 

and the earth, 

2. And darkness was upon the face of the deep. 

lywerreh craekny. 

3. God said, Let there be light, and there was light. 
G5d.neh kany, trytittyeh - trytittyeh craekny. 

4. And God saw the light that it was good. 
Godneh iapre trytittyeh - narreh co5peh. 

5. God divided the light from the darkness. 
Godneh dyvidneh trytittyeh lywerreh. 

11. God said, Let the earth brintr forth grass- 

.Godneh kany, coentanneh ninginneb rothinneh, 

and it was so. 

16. God made two great lights the greater light 
Godneh pdmleh cathehby well trytittyeh lackrenneh 

to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the 
wakehlenneh, lywerreh [inoonj : 

night : he made the stars also, 
narreh pomleh piiilenneh. 

17. God set them in the firmament of heaven 
Godneh propre narreh wyehticketteh 

to give light upon the earth, 
tringinneh trytittyeh. 


21. And God made great whales, and every living- 

Godneh ponileh lackreniieh [great], pynungyneh 

creature tiiat moveth which the waters brought 
[fish] gadyeh [plenty] pynungyneh. 

forth abundantly. 

26. And God made the beast of the earth, 

Godneh pdmleh packilleh [bullock] ilia [brush 

and he saw that it was very good. 
G5(lneh lapreli narreh coopeh. 

26. And God said, Let us make man in our own image» 
Godneh kiiny, myneh pomleh wibeh, 

after our own likeness, 
likeh myneh. 

27. So God created man in his own image. 
Godneh pomleh wibeli liUeh narreh. 

31. God saw everything that he had"] made, 

Godneh hipre gadyeh narreh pomleh, 

and behold it was very good. 

narreh kany narreh coopeh coopeh ! 

The aboriginal words are for the most part placed 
under the analogous English ones. Those commencing 
with an English syllable are such as the aborigines have 
none representing the idea in their own language. Thus, 
they seem to have had no idea of the existence of a 
creative jDresiding power, nor any term corresponding 
with such a sentiment, in their vocabulary. The English 
word has, therefore, been adopted by the translator with 
the native termination added, making " Godneh." The 
same with respect to several others. Several of these 
anglified terms are now in such constant use among the 
natives that they may be considered as incorporated in 
the language. The word " grassneh," for "grass," is 
much more frequently used among those at the settle- 
ment; than the original term given above. It is doubtful 
whether " myneh," for " me " or "I," may not be traced 
to the same origin. 


Names of Aborigines. 

Men. Women. 

Tobelahn^ta and Roomehtymyenna, 

Chief of Oyster Bay Tribe and his wife. 

Monnopellyatit and Meilonnehmetya, 

Chief of Big River Tribe and his wife. 

Troolpixneh and Legehnyminneh, 

Chief of Port Dalrymple (and Lanncestoii) Tribe 
and his wife. 

Trygooniypoonaneh and Rodintyeiuia. 

Pannehrooiieh and Pelionnytnyna. 

Koonehb5nneh and Mynalattiny. 

Labryehnynany and Mymehlannyehnany. 

Roolpanehny, a great warrior of the tribe 

Trengerehbeh ^ xt- / r-^ / i 

Lillehl5eh V Young men of the Port Dairy ..iple 

W- - i Tribe, 

awy ) 

Rame hlal56ne h ny , 

Munro's woman, ' Jurabo.' 





— ♦— 

The estimates of the aboriginal population of Tasmania 
before the advent of Europeans vary very considerably. 
G. A. Robinson always maintained that, in 1804, the 
number of the aborigines was from 6000 to 8000. Cap- 
tain Kelly, in his evidence before Colonel Arthur's 
Committee in 1830, estimated the native population at 
5000 ; but he supposed that the number was still very 
great in the unsettled parts of the Colony, which we now 
know was not the case. On the other hand, Backhouse 
put the number as low as 700 to 1000. Dr. Milligan 
says: "Assuming that the number of tribes and sub- 
tribes throughout the territory was about twenty, and 
that each mustered, of men, women, and children, 50 to 
250 individvials, and allowing them numbers proportioned 
to the means of subsistence within the limits of their 
respective hunting grounds, it does not appear probable 
that the aggregate aboriginal population did materially, 
if at all, exceed 2000." 

A like uncertainty exists as to their tribal divisions. 
Gr. A. Robinson, in a speech made in Sydney in 1838, 
shortly after he had left Flinders Island, states ' that he 
had necessarily learnt four languages to make himself 
understood by the natives generally. But, as regarded 
nations, he could truly say that the island was divided 
and subdivided by the natives into districts, and con- 
tained many nations. Their divisions he intended at 
some future time to point out, as he intended to execute 
a map of the island on aboriginal principles, with the 
aborigines" names for mountains, rivers, and districts." 

Unfortunately, this map — if ever made — has been lost 
with the I'est of Robinson's papers on the natives, and 
the information available is not sufficient to enable us to 
determine with any accuracy either the total number of 
the aborigines or the limits of the respective tribes. 


In considering the question of their numbers, it must 
be borne in mind that the parts of Tasmania capable of 
affording subsistence to a hunting people were limited in 
area. The West Coast is shut off from the Centre and 
East — for long the only settled parts — by a wide region 
of mountain and forest, extending throughout the whole 
length of the island. In the dense forests covering a 
large part of this region, the heavy timber is tangled 
with an almost impenetrable undergrowth, in which 
scarcely any animal or bird is found to disturb the 
silence. Where the forest gives place to bare mountain 
peak or to so-called " plain," the " button-grass "* or the 
stunted scrub constituting the sole growth, is not much 
more favourable to animal life. In places, wallaby and 
kangaroo are to be found, but, as a general rule, the 
" badger " (i.e., wombat) is the only game. It will 
be seen, therefore, that the native population Avas mainly 
confined to the sea coast, where they could obtain an 
abundant supply of shell-fish and crayfish, and to the 
lightly timbered and open lands of the central valley and 
of parts of the east and north-east, where opossum, 
wallaby, kangaroo, emu, and other game were moie or 
less plentiful. 

It appears that the blacks were accustomed to take 
considerable pains, by means of periodical burnings, to 
keep down the scrub and promote the growth of grass 
on their favourite hunting-grounds. Many open plains, 
especially in the north, which were formally known as 
favourite resorts of the blacks, subsequently became 
overgrown with forest through the .discontinuance of 
these annual burnings. 

They usually roamed the country in small groups or 
parties, probably composed of nearly related families 
living together. Their camps rarely contained more 
than 30 or 40 individuals — men, women, and children. 
At certain seasons of the year, however, large hunting 
parties were formed, in which the whole tribe, or 
possibly more than one tribe, joined forces to surround 
and drive the game. Such was, doubtless, the gathering 
of the Oyster Bay natives at Risdon in 1804, which was 
attended with such an unfortunate result. The number 
of natives, men and women, then engaged in driving the 
kangaroo, was variously stated at from 300 to 500, though 
it is probable that even the smaller number was an 

* The " button-grass " is a species of sedge ( Gymnoscoenus 
sphacrocephalus — Nat. Ord. Cyperacear). 


exaggerated estimate. Captain Kelly, in his evidence 
before the Committee, says that he saw a mob of 300 at 
Brown's River in 1806, and about a dozen instances of 
mobs numbering from 150 to 300 are reported between 
1804 and 1826; but all these statements must be taken 
with considerable allowance for exaggeration. 

The natives were in the habit of visiting the coast in 
the winter, it is said between Jvme and October, though 
some of the tribes in the interior may not have had 
access to the sea. Certain tribes must have lived on the 
coast almost constantly. • Knopwood says that he had 
understood that the natives cross the country from east 
to west in the month of March ; this would apply to the 
East Coast tribes only. Upon a consideration of the 
scanty available evidence and all the surrounding circum- 
stances, we may reject as exaggerated the conjectural 
guesses of 7000, or even 5000, as the original number of 
the natives. We may accept as the best approxima,tion 
to the truth that we are likely to obtain, Dr. Milligan's 
more moderate estimate that the total aboriginal popu- 
lation of Tasmania did not at any time exceed 2000 

Of the tribal organization of the aborigines practically 
nothing is known, and the limits of the tribal divisions 
cannot be laid down with any approach to certainty. 
G. A. Robinson and other writers use the word " tribe " 
with a good deal of laxity. Sometimes it is used to 
designate a small sub-tribe living in one community — e.g., 
the Macquarie Harbour tribe, numbering 30 souls only — 
sometimes to indicate a whole group — e.g.. the Oyster 
Bay and Big River tribes, which included several sub- 
tribes and a considerable population. As the whole 
group in some cases took its name from a prominent sub- 
tribe {e.g., Oyster Bay), it is often doubtful whether the 
group or the sub-tribe is intended. 

G. W. Walker says that the members of the same 
tribe " spoke of each other as " brother " and " sister." 
Kelly, in his Boat expedition, 1815-16, says that the 
chief, Laman-bunganah, at Ringarooma Point, on the 
North-East Coast, told him that he was at war with his 
" brother " Tolo-bunganah, a powerful chief at Eddy- 
stone Point, on the East Coast. The term translated 
" brother " must therefore have had a wide application, 
being used with relation to tribes or sub-tribes which 
were hostile, as well as to those which were friendly. 

In 1830, Robinson stated that he had been in commu- 
nication with sixteen "tribes." As this was long after 


many of the native hunting-grounds had been invaded 
by the whites, and the oi'iginal tribal organization had 
consequently, been much disturbed, it is probable that 
the number of tribes was originally greater. As we 
have seen, Milligan conjecturally puts the number at 
twenty. Although Robinson digniiies the tribes with 
the name of ' nations," they were known to the settlers 
by the designation of " mobs." This conveys a more 
correct idea of their numerical strength, which, in many 
tribes, was as low as 30, and probably in no case exceeded 
200, or at most 250. 

These " mobs " or sub-tribes group themselves into 
several broad divisions, more properly deserving the 
name of " tribes." In these larger divisions separate 
languages or dialects were spoken, the vocabularies of 
which were widely diflFerent, as appears from Milligan's 
Vocabulary. Minor differences of dialect must have 
been numerous, for Robert Clark, the catechist, states 
that on his arrival at the Flinders' Settlement in 1834, 
eight or ten different languages or dialects were spoken 
amongst the 200 natives then at the establishment, and 
that the blacks were " instructing each other to speak 
their respective tongues." 

Robinson, as already cited, says that there were four 
main languages. Of these, Milligan gives us the vocabu- 
laries of three; viz.: — (1) Soiith ; (2) West and North- 
West ; and (3) East Coast. To these we may add, (4) 
North-East tribes. 

We may now proceed to consider these fovxr main 
groups more in detail. 

1. Southern Tribes. 

'Tribes about Mount Royal, Brune Island. Recherche 
Bay, and the South of Tasmania." — Milligan's 

These Tribes occvipied both shores of D'Entrecasteaux 
Channel and the coast of the mainland as far as South 
Cape. The French voyagers in 1792, and again in 1802, 
had opportunities of observing these natives in their 
primitive state. They found them friendly and well- 
disposed. Labillardiere and Peron have preserved many 
interesting particulars respecting them. In the more 
southerly part of the district the mountains, heavily 
wooded, nearly approach the shore, and here the blacks 


must have been mainly dependent on the sea for their 
food. Further north, towards the mouth of the Huon, 
at Port Cygnet, North-West Bay, and North Bruny, the 
country was more open and favourable for game. The 
banks of the Upper Huon were too heavily timbered 
to afford much subsistence. The Bruny blacks were 
numerous, especially on the lightly-wooded northern part 
of the island, which was a favourite hunting-grovind. It 
seems to have been visited by the mainland natives, 
who crossed the channel in canoes. The natives were 
numerous on the west bank of the Derwent — at Black- 
man's Bay, Brown's River, &c. At the latter place 300 
were seen in 1806. In all this country wallaby, kan- 
garoo, and opossiim would be fairly plentiful. It cannot 
be determined how far these tribes extended to the 
northward. They may possibly have occupied the pre- 
sent site of Hobart, and even further up the western 
shore of the Derwent, but it is also quite possible that 
this country was claimed as a hunting-ground by the Big 
River tribe. There is nothing in the features of the 
ground to forbid either alternative, and there is no 
evidence to decide the point. Kelly (Evidence, Abori- 
ginal Committee) says that the Southern natives were a 
finer race than those in the interior, and also that they 
" took no part " with the latter. 

2. Western Tribes. 

'■ North-West and Western Tribes. " — Milligan's 

The natives on the west of the island must have been 
mainly confined to the sea coast, where they could draw 
their support from the sea, the country inland being^ 
generally unsuitable for game. Kelly, whose boat voy- 
age was made at midsummer, 1815, found natives at 
various places all along the coast, from a point opposite 
the Maatsuyker Islands off the south coast to beyond 
Cape Grim in the north-west. From the nature of the 
country we may conckxde that those to the east of South- 
West Cape belonged to the Western tribes rather than 
to the Southern group established at Recherche Bay. 
They were bold enough to cross to the Maatsuykers, 
which lie three miles out from the main, for Flinders, in 
1798, noticed with surprise that the scrub on the largest 
island had been burnt. There was a small tribe at Port 


Davey. and another at Macquarie Harbour, which 
(according to Stokes and Backhouse) numbered some 
thirty souls only. The latter had canoes of bark in 
which they crossed the hai-bour. They made an attack 
on Kelly's party. 

At Trial Harbour, near Mount Heemskirk, there are 
very large extensive shell mounds. Further north, on 
the Pieman and Arthur Rivers, there were either one or 
two tribes, probably near the coast, though here there 
are occasional tracts which would support game. In 
1832 Robinson speaks of four tribes numbering collec- 
tively 100 souls, between Port Davey and Cape Grim. 
It is not clear whether he meant to include the Cape 
Grim natives. The latter were a strong and fierce 
tribe. In 1815 Kelly fell in with a mob of 50 .on the 
largest of the Hunters' group, i.e., Robbins Island. 
They made a fierce attack on his party. It is said that 
the natives visited all the islands of the Hunters' Group 
by swimming, no doubt with the help of logs or canoes. 
They probably reached Albatross Island, seeing that 
they had a name for it, Tnngateina. Though the main- 
land is in many places densely timbered, there are open 
downs at Woolnorth and other spots where game would 
be fairly plentiful. 

There were tribes at Circular Head and at Emu Bay. 
Most of the hintei'land was covered with dense, almost 
impenetrable, forest, but the high downs of the Hamp- 
shire and Surrey Hills and Middlesex Plains were 
favourite resorts. Other patches of open country at 
intervals would probably afford to these tribes the means 
of inland communication with their kinsmen on the west, 
as well as the more circuitous I'oute by the coast. These 
open spaces were formally more numerous, being kept 
clear by burning. Many of them have become over- 
grown with timber since the removal of the natives. 

Hobs (Boat Voyage, 1824) says that the natives 
travelled along the coast between Circular Head and Port 
Sorell, keeping the country burnt for that purpose. This 
group of tribes may possibly have extended as far east 
as Port Sorell, though the Port Sorell blacks were more 
probably connected with the Port Dalrymple tribe. 

Kelly (Evidence, Aboriginal Committee) states that 
the West Coast natives were a finer race than the tribes 
in the interior, and had no intercourse with them. The 
southern and western groups appear to have been quite 
isolated from those on the eastern side of the island. 

by james b. walker. 269 

3. Central Tribes. 

" Tribes from Oyster Bay to Pittwater." — MUligan't 

The interior and eastern parts of the island were 
occupied by two powerful tribes — the Oyster Ba,y and 
the Big River. Their northern boundary may be 
roughly described as an irregular line beginning on the 
East Coast south of St. Patrick's Head, passing along 
the ranges to the south of the South Esk River to a 
point at St. Peter s Pass (north of Oatlands), and thence 
to the Great Lake. It was these two tribes who were 
the most implacable enemies of the settlers, and it was 
against them, almost exclusively, that Colonel Arthur's 
" Black Line " operations were directed. 

(a) — The Oyster Bay Tribe. 

The Oyster Bay tribe or group of tribes occupied the 
East Coast, and extended inland to the central valley. 
They took their name from Oyster Bay (Great Swan- 
port). The long extent of coast, following the inlets 
and peninsulas from north of Schouten Main (Freycinet's 
Peninsula) to Risdon on the Derwent, abounds in cray- 
fish and in oysters and other shell-fish, affording an 
abundant supply of their favourite food. On the East 
Coast the hills lie some distance back from the sea, and 
the country yielded a supply of game. Here the 
natives were numerous, especially at certain seasons. It 
is said that as many as 300 have been seen in one mob. 
Robinson mentions two tribes on the coast — the Oyster 
Bay proper and the Little Swanport tribes. Their 
canoes were seen at Schouten and Maria Islands. The 
latter was a favourite resort, and here Baudin's expedi- 
tion (1802) fell in with a large mob, who showed them- 
selves decidedly hostile. Marion came into collision 
with them at Marion Bay in 1772. They roamed as far 
south as Tasman's Peninsula, resorting to a spot near 
Mount Communication to obtain " flints." Tribes 
belonging to this group occupied the country behind the 
East Coast Tier — 'Eastern Marshes, Native Plains, and 
Prosser's Plains. They were numerous in the Pittwater 
district- — comprising Coal River and Richmond, Sorell, 
and South Arm. Mobs of 100 were seen at South Arm 
and also at Kangaroo Point (opposite Hobart), and 300 
at Risdon, in 1804. To this same group of tribes 
doubtless belonged the natives who occupied the fine 


hunting country in the Jordan Valley, about Bagdad, 
Green Ponds, and Lovely Banks, toward^^ the great 
central divide. The names Hunting Ground, Native 
Corners, Native Hut River, and others, indicate some 
of their ordinary resorts. Brodribb (Evidence, Abori- 
ginal Committee) says that the eastern natives did not 
go further west than Abyssinia, near BothweH. 

(b)—The Big Riixr Tribe. 

The country to the west of the Central and Jordan 
Valleys was occupied by the Big River tribe. They 
took their name from the Big River, the early name of 
the river now known as the Ouse. They occupied the 
valley of the Derwent — with its tributaries, Ouse, Clyde, 
and Shannon — and the elevated plateau of the Lake 
Country, 2000 to 2500 feet above sea-level. They 
travelled westward to Lake St. Clair and Mount King 
William, and probably still further west beyond Mount 
Arrowsmith. All this district abounds in game — kan- 
garoo, wallaby, and opossum. At Split Rock (near the 
Great Lake), at the London Marshes (near Marlborough), 
and at the Native Tier, on the River Plenty, they found 
stone suitable for their rude implements. From the 
great central plateau they seem to have made descents 
into the district between Bothwell and Oatlands. We 
cannot determine the boundary between them and their 
eastern neighbours, the Oyster Bay tribes. Brodribb 
(Evidence Aboriginal Committee) says that he con- 
sidered the Oyster Bay and Big River natives were one 
tribe, though the eastern natives did not go further west 
than Abyssinia. When harried by the whites the two 
tribes made common cause against the strangers, and 
finally the Oyster Bay natives took refuge in the Lake 
Plateau, where Robinson captured them, not far from 
Lake St. Clair or Mount Arrowsmith. It cannot, 
however, be concluded that they were not originally 
distinct tribes. They were hostile to the Northern 
tribes. Gilbert Roljinson (Evidence Aboriginal Com- 
mittee) states that either the Stony Creek or Port 
Dalrymple natives had killed many of the Oyster Bay 


There remain to be considered the tribes of the North 
and North-East. The language of the Ben Lomond 
tribe is described as a distinct dialect by Kelly, Walker, 
Backhouse, and others. Kelly (Boat Voyage, 1815) 


states that Briggs, the sealer, could speak the language of 
the North-East Coast tribes fluently. We may infer 
that this was the fourth language of which Robertson 
speaks, and it may have been common — with more or less 
variation — to the North-East Coast and Ben Lomond 
natives. It is dilhcult to determine the relationship of 
the tribes of the North Centre, the Port Dalrymple, and 
the Stony Creek tribes. The balance of probabilities 
inclines us to the belief that they were related rather to 
the Nor th-E astern group than to their Southern neigh- 
bours of the Oyster Bay tribe (with whom we know they 
were at feud), or to the tribes of the North-West. There 
is no mention of these tribes using canoes. 

(a) — The Stony Creek Tribe. 

The pastoral district known as " The Midlands," 
lying in' the centre of the Island, to the north of the 
Oyster Bay and Big River natives, was occupied by the 
Stony Creek tribe. They took their name from a small 
southern tributary of the South Esk, near Lewellyn, 
to the north of Campbell Town. They occupied the 
Campbell Town and Ross districts, going south to Black- 
mans River, Salt Pan Plains, and Antill Ponds, and up 
to the foot of the Western Mountains, probably including 
the valleys of the Macquarie, Isis, and Lake Rivers. 
A mob of 200 were seen on the Macquarie River in 
1819. It is stated that about 1829, under their Chief 
Eumarrah, they frequented Norfolk Plains on the Lake 
River. If so they must have been allies of the Port 
Dalrymple natives. The country they occupied abounded 
in game, being lightly timbered and well grassed. They 
had excellent " flint " quarries at Stocker's Bottom and 
Glen Morriston, to the south-east of Ross. In the 
Tasmanian Museum there is a fine collection of stone 
implements procured at Glen Morriston b}^ the late Mr. 
Scott. It is said that the Oyster Bay natives also 
obtained " flints " from the same localities. The Stony 
Creek natives were a strong tribe, and gave much trouble 
to the settlers. Part of their district was included in the 
" Black Line " operations. 

(6) — The Port DaJrymfle Tribe. 

The country to the north of the Stony Creek 
natives — including the neighbourhood of Perth, Evan- 
dale, Lavmceston, the North Esk, and probably both 
banks of the Tamar — was occupied by the Port Dalrymple 


tribe.* They are said to have mustered in large 
numbers on various occasions. Once 200 of them pro- 
ceeded from the neighbourhood of Launceston, by way 
of Paterson's Plains (Evandale) to the Lake River. 
Native Point, near Perth, a favourite haunt. Here 
they got stone for their implements. They probably 
roamed westward as far as Longford and ^Vestbury, if 
not further. The districts they occupied are some of 
the linest in Tasmania ; in its native state, a well grassed 
country with abundance of game. Their relation to 
other tribes is uncertain. They appear to have been in 
league with their Southern neighbours — the Stony 
Creek natives — and were, probably, also related to the 
North-Eastern group. The tribes as far as Port Sorell, 
and even as far as the Mersey, may have belonged to 
this group. But thei'e is no evidence to show how far to 
the eastward the North-Western group of tribes ex- 
tended. Possibly, the boundary may be placed in the 
forest country on the west bank of the Mersey. But it 
is uncertain to which group the Mersey and Port Sorel-l 
natives belonged. The evidence of language is not of 
much assistance. The Tamar was Pnnrahhel : the 
Mersey was Faranapple or Firinappl. The variation is 
hardly sufficient to establish either difference or consan- 

Kelly (Evidence Aboriginal Committee) states that 
the tribes of the North and East take part with the 
tribes in the interior. He probably means that the Port 
Dalrymple natives (North) were in league with those of 
Stony Creek ; and the Oyster Bay natives (East) with 
those of the Big River. 

(c) — The Ben Lomond Tribe. 

The Ben Lomond natives occupied the fertile valley 
of the South Esk, abounding in game. Their neigh- 
bours to the west were the Stony Creek tribe. They 
may have had access to the sea coast at Falmouth, by 
St. Mary's Pass, though this was a dense forest. They 
took their name from the great Ben Lomond range, 
rising to an elevation of over 5000 feet. The valleys of 
the mountain were probably too densely wooded to afford 
much game, but that they roamed over the highlands is 
shown by their having given the name of Meenamata to 
the lagoon on the plateau at the summit of the mountain 

* The settlements on the Tamar were at first known under 
tho name of Port Dalrymple. 


Perhaps the strongest proof of the separateness of the 
North-Eastern tribes — or, at least, that of Ben Lomond — 
is afforded by the variation in the word for " river." 
The South E*sk was Mangana lienta. Elsewhere the 
word was linah : e.g., Huon, Tahune. linah (South) ; 
Jordan, Kutah linah (S. interior). 

{d) — North-East Coast Tribes. 

We find mention of tribes or sub-tribes along the 
whole stretch of coast from George's Bay, on the East 
Coast, to the entrance to the Tamar (Port Dalrymple), 
on the North. On various occasions mobs were met 
with at George's Bay and George's River ; at the Bay 
of Fires and Eddystone Point ; at Cape Portland, in the 
extreme north-east ; at Ringarooma Point ; at Forester's 
River ; at Piper's River ; and on the east side of the 
mouth of the Tamar. In 1806, a mob of 200 natives 
came to the first settlement at George Town, just within 
the entrance to Port Dalrymple, on the east bank of the 
Tamar. In the north-east part of the island the country 
IS, in many places, open for some miles inland from the 
coast, and in such places there would be game. The 
interior is mountaiiious and heavily timbei'ed, and, very 
probably, was not occupied by the natives. 

In conclusion, to sum up the result of our inquiry, we 
find, (1) That the aboriginal population probably did not 
exceed 2000 : (2) that there were four main groups of 
tribes; viz. — (a) South; (6) West and North- West; 
(c) Central and East ; {d) North and North-East : 
(3) that these grovips were divided by strongly marked 
differences of language ; (4) that the southern and 
Western tribes were completely isolated from those on 
the eastern side of the island, and that a similar separa- 
tion existed between the North and North-Eastern tribes 
on the one hand, and those of the Centre and East on 
the other; (5) that within the groups each tribe and 
sub-tribe probably occupied a definite district which was 
recognised as its special territory ; (6) that the tribes 
within each group, though generally leagued together, 
were at times at feud with each other ; (7) that in later 
years, after the European occupation, the tribes — 
especially those of the east and centre of the island — 
laid aside their differences, and made common cause 
against the white intruders. 



To anthropologists the aborigines of Tasmania pre- 
sented an exceedingly interesting object of study. Pro- 
fessor Tylor had remarked that in the tribes of Tasmania, 
only just extinct, we had men whose condition had 
changed but little since the early Stone Age, and whose 
- life gave us some idea of the earliest prehistoric tribes of 
the old world, the Drift and Cave men of Europe. It 
is therefore much to be regretted that so little informa- 
tion remains respecting the Tasmanians in their wild 
state. The early voyagers, especially the French, did 
their best with the opportunities they had in casual 
meeting with the aborigines, and have left us exceedingly 
interesting and valuable accounts of their observations. 
But their visits were too short, and their acquaintance 
with the natives too superficial, to allow them to gain 
any intimate knowledge of native customs, or ways of 
life and thought. They could, at most, note down a few 
noticeable external characteristics. 

During the early years of the Colony, when the blacks 
were, on the whole, friendly, no one thought it worth 
while to take the trouble of studying their ways, or of 
making any attempt to investigate their tribal customs. 
If they had been as picturesque as the Red Indian or 
the Maori, we should probably have known a great deal 
more about them. But the scientific study of anthropo- 
logy had not then begun, and the blacks were so low in 
the scale of civilization that they were deemed unworthy 
of attention. For no one then recognised that it was 
the very fact of them being at the bottom of the scale 
that would have made a thorough knowledge of their 
ideas of such interest and importance. 

Even after the aborigines were imprisoned on Flinders, 
when such opportunities lay close to the hand of Dr. 
Milligan and others, it is sad to reflect how little was 
done. A vocabulary by Milligan, a paper by Davies, 
and some observations collected by Backhouse and 
others, are almost the sum total. 


G. A. Robinson was probably the only man who 
thoroughly understood the aborigines. He could have 
supplied valuable information as to their tribal usages 
and ways of thinking, yet, so far as I know, he has not 
left behind him even the briefest account of the people 
for whom he ran such risks, though there are still pre- 
served, in the Chief Secretary's office, very voluminous 
reports of his expeditions. Robinson told my father 
many years ago that he had a large quantity of MS. 
respecting the aborigines, which he intended to publish. 

I have in my possession a letter dated from Prahran, 
Widcombe Hill, Bath, England, March 19, 1864, written 
by Robinson to the late Mr. Witcomb, in which he 
says: — "I am now arranging my papers (the vocab- 
ulary included) for publication." The papers were 
never pviblislied. Robinson died at Bath, somewhere 
before 1870, I think; and there is, I suppose, not the 
least hope of recovering a MS., which would be highly 

The information which has been preserved respecting 
our native tribes is scattei'ed through scores of books 
and articles, including casual references in voyages, 
histories, public documents, and transactions of scientific 
societies. Many of these works are scarce, some of them 
almost impossible to obtain. The time and labour re- 
quired to explore these various sources would be greater 
than any one but an enthusiast could afford. It is true 
that West has given an excellent condensed account of 
the natives in his " History of Tasmania," but it is im- 
perfect, and he cites no authorities. Mr. Bonwick's two 
books " The Last of the Tasmanians " and " The Daily 
Life of the Tasmanians," deserve more than a passing 
mention. In these two works the author has collected 
a great mass of information respecting the history and 
customs of the aborigines. Every one must recognise 
the immense service he has done in preserving so much 
that would otherwise have been irretrievably lost. But 
excellent and valuable as is the " Daily Life " as a popu- 
lar and readable account of our native tribes in their 
original state, it cites no authorities, and does not pretend 
to strict scientific precision. Brough Smyth's account 
is more critical, but it is meagre. 

When, therefore, in 1890, Mr. H. Ling Roth published 
his work, " The Aborigines of Tasmania," he did no 
inconsiderable service to anthropology. Mr. Roth 
devoted infinite pains to ransacking in every likely corner, 


SO as to gather together every scrap of first-hand infor- 
mation, no matter how fragmentary, about the aborigines. 
At the end of his book he gives a list of some 114 works, 
from which he has made extracts. These extracts he 
has carefully digested and arranged according to subject, 
with references to the original authorities in all cases. 
The result is that the student has before him, in a care- 
fully systematised form, everything that is known about 
the Tasmanian Tribes, and one's first feeling is one of 
surprise that so much information could have been got 
together. The first edition was rapidly exhausted, 
and soon commanded a. greatly enhanced price. For the 
last nine years Mr. Roth has been engaged in making 
further inquiries and searches, and has, during that time, 
been able to amass a considerable amount of new matter, 
and to correct a number of defects in the book. He has 
now issued a new edition, handsomely illustrated, and in 
it we have at last a complete scientific account of our 
native tribes derived from the original first-hand sources. 
The work is faithfully and conscientiously done, and the 
book is in every respect an admirable one. It throws a 
new light on the aborigines, and adds largely to our 
knowledge of them, enabling us to fix more accurately 
than has hitherto been possible, their place in the scale of 

Mr. Roth's method of bringing together into a focus all 
the various statements with respect to any one subject is 
of great value, since it enables us to weigh these state- 
ments against each other, and, in so doing, to reject not a 
little which is either plainly erroneous or not supported 
by adequate evidence. This process of elimination has 
an interesting result. It tends to strengthen our idea of 
the extraordinarily low state of development which our 
Tasmanian natives had reached. We find that in popular 
accounts they have been credited with a skill and know- 
ledge in various matters, which it is now well-nigh certain 
they derived from contact with other races, and of which, 
in their original condition, they were ignorant. Some 
instances may be given of imported arts which Bonwick, 
West, and others, even including such a cautious writer 
as Brough Smyth, have accepted as originally known to 
the Tasmanians. I may mention the reputed manu- 
facture of ground stone implements, the use of handled 
implements, of the womera or throwing stick, and of 
bone-pointed or jagged spears, the making of diflferent 
patterns of baskets, the alleged use of the fire-drill, and 


the drawings attributed to them. In all these matters 
the evidence collated by Mr. Roth goes to show that any 
knowledge they may have had of these things was 
acquired after they had come into contact with Aus- 
tralians or Europeans. 

Several of these errors in attributing to the Tasmanians 
implements which they did not knovs' in their native state 
have arisen from the carelessness or ignoi'ance of 
observers, some of whom might have been expected to 
know better, notably G. A. Robinson and Dr. Milligan. 

Ground Stone Implements. — This is a typical instance, 
and will suffice to cover the whole grovind of implements 
distinctively Australian which have been attributed to 
Tasmanians. In Dr. Barnard Davis's collection are three 
gi'ound stone implements labelled " Tasmania. (G. A. 
Robinson)." They were presented by Robinson to Mil- 
ligan, and b}'^ Milligan to Dr. Davis. These are pre- 
cisely of the kind used by the Australian blacks, and Dr. 
Tylor has shown conclusively, in a paper read before 
the British Association, that they were made either by 
Australians, or by Tasmanians who had learnt the craft 
from them. The bringing over about 1819 of the Syd- 
ney black " Mosquito " (who acted such a mischievous 
part in leading our natives in their attacks on the settlers), 
and also the introduction of a " tame mob '" of Sydney 
blacks in 1822, sufficiently accounts, says Dr. Tylor, for 
this influence from the Mainland. The same influence 
accounts for handled stone implements, bone-pointed and 
jagged spears, womera, and various other Australian 
weapons which have been attributed to the Tasmanians. 
It may be taken as conclusively proved that the Tas- 
manians originally knew nothing of ground stone 
implements belonging to the Neolithic Australians. As 
Tylor remarks: — ''The Tasmanians were undoubtedly 
at a low palaeolithic stage, inferior to that of the Drift 
and Cave men of Europe." 

Baskets. — In his first edition Mr. Roth figures three 
patterns of baskets as made by the Tasmanians. One of 
these, presented by Dr. Milligan to the British Museum, 
is of the ordinary pattern of very simple construction, of 
which there are several examples in our Museum, and 
which are undoubtedly Tasmanian. The other two were 
presented by G. A. Robinson to Dr. Davis. They are 
of different and more complicated patterns, and of forms 
very common in Australia. Whereupon Mr. Roth 
remarks that these baskets are doubtless Australian : 


that Robinson was for some time protector of the abori- 
gines in Victoria, and was so unobservant that he did not 
distinguish between baskets of Tasmanian and Victorian 

Mode of ohtnining Fire. — A more interesting question, 
and one which must be considered as still open, is — How 
did the Tasmanians obtain fire 1 The early voyagers, 
seeing rough stone implements resembling flint at the 
camping places, jumped to the conclusion that the natives 
obtained fire by percussion of flints. This supposed 
method may be dismissed from consideration, and the 
question resolves itself into an inquiry as to how they 
obtained fire by the usual savage method of the friction of 
two pieces of wood. Mr. Roth, in his first edition, figures 
a fire-drill (p-xi.) from a specimen labelled as Tasmanian, 
and presented by Dr. Milligan to Dr. Davis. In the 
second edition he figures two fire-drills, viz., the one above- 
mentioned, and another presented by G. A, Robinson to 
Sir John Lubbock. Now, H. R. Davis, v/ho wrote a 
valuable paper on the blacks, whom he knew after their 
captivity on Flinders, states that he was informed that 
they used a drill for obtaining fire. The drill method, 
in which a drill is rapidly revolved between the hands, 
is in use among some Australian tribes, as it is, or was, 
among the South African Bushman tribes, but there is 
no direct evidence that it was ever known to the Tas- 
manians. There is evidence, however, derived from the 
statements of early settlers, that our blacks obtained fire 
by the friction of a stick rubbed rapidly up and down a 
groove in another piece of wood, in the fashion commonly 
practised in Polynesia. Mr. Roth discusses the subject 
in an appendix, and inclines to the opinion that 
probably the groove method was practised by the Tas- 
manians, and that if the drill method was ever employed 
by them at all, it was learnt from the Australians. 

Drawings. — Peron, in the French expedition of 1802, 
saw at Maria Island pieces of bark with marks like the 
gashes which the blacks made on their bodies. Dr. 
Ross says that at the Ouse he saw squares and circles 
cut on bark, which he, with some probability, attributed 
to the blacks. Robinson told Bonwick that on the West 
Coast, in 1831, he saw drawings of men and women and 
curious hieroglyphics. West speats of drawings on bark 
representing a bullock team and cart, made by natives 
in the North-West. This is apparently copied from 
Bunce, who states that one of the V.D.L. Co.'s servants 
reported having seen such a drawing on a bark hut or 


shelter of the natives. Calder, who is a most reliable 
authority for anything which he says he himself saw, in 
his account of a journey between Lake St. Clair and Mac- 
quarie Harbour, in November, 1840, states that on 
painter's Plain, near tlie Surprise River, he found two 
native huts recently abandoned, on the bark of which 
were some extraordinary drawings in charcoal of men, 
kangaroo, dogs, and other figures. Also a battle-piece 
— a native fight. (J. A. I., p. 21.) At first sight this 
seems conclusive evidence, but, on turning back to the 
previous day, we learn that he had then found several 
articles which indicated that a rvmaway party of con- 
victs from Macquarie Harbour had passed that way. 
In any case these drawings were found 40 years after 
the advent of Europeans. That the aborigines in their 
wild state had any skill in di'awing seems, therefore, to 
hang on a very slender thread of evidence. 

Cnnoea. — The native canoes were formed of bvindles of 
bark lashed together with grass oi' vegetable fibre. 
Several models of such canoes are preserved in our 
Museiim. It is generally stated in popular accounts, (and 
is quoted by Brough Smyth) that they had also catama- 
rans or rafts, formed of logs 30 feet long, and fastened 
by cross-pieces tied with bark. The only authority for 
this statement is Jeffreys, who says that, with the aid of 
paddles, they made these rafts skim over the water with 
amazing rapidity. No one else mentions either paddles 
or rafts. 

Fish. — Another point somewhat doubtful is whether 
the blacks ever ate scaled fish. It is known, of course, 
that shell-fish formed a considerable portion of their 
food at some seasons, and that they had no hooks or nets, 
or other method of catching fish, except spearing them. 
Lloyd says that they used to spear stingrays for sport. 
Cook (i. 100) relates that when fish, raw or cooked, was 
offered to them they rejected it. No remains of fish 
have been found about their camps or in their shell heaps. 
It seems more than probable that they never ate fish, but 
any information on the point would be valuable. 

Clothing. — The chapter on aboriginal clothing is very 
like the celebrated chapter on snakes in Iceland. The 
early voyagers describe the aborigines as absolutely un- 
clothed. It is true that some of the women carried a 
kangaroo-skin slung across their backs, but Cook (i. 101) 
thought that this was not for clothing, but simply as a 
means of carrying an infant more conveniently. After 


intercourse with Europeans, they used, at times, to wear 
skins as a covering. It is certainly strange that in a 
climate at times so severe as that of Ta.smania, with a 
plentiful supply of skins at hand, they had not learnt to 
use them as a protection from the weather. That they 
never learnt to sew skins together for clothing is one of 
the sti'ongest proofs of their low intelligence, and that they 
were on a lower plane than the palaeolithic Drift and 
Cave men of Europe, who had bone needles. Yet, 
though apparenty so absolutely wanting in originative 
or inventive faculty, they showed in their captivity no 
want of intelligence or capacity to acquire such com- 
paratively difficult accomplishments as reading and 

Imjjlements. — There is probably still something to be 
learned respecting the chipped stone implements of the 
aborigines. It has u.sually been assumed that they were 
of one general form, but I understand that Mr. J. P. 
Moir, of the Shot Tower, has a number of concave 
scrapers, and also of gravers, to which he gives the 
descriptive name of " duck bills." As these are 
apparently of forms hitherto unrecognised, it would 
be interesting to have them examined. A few 
weeks since I accompanied Mr. R. M. Johnston and 
Mr. Morton on their examination of a native quarry, 
which was discovered by Mr. Harold Bisdee on the 
Hutton Park estate, near Melton Mowbray. We found 
about an acre of ground covered with chippings of chert, 
showing that it must have been for a very long period a 
place resorted to by the aborigines for procuring their 
stone implements. An interesting circumstance was that 
we foixnd a number of rounded nodules of greenstone 
(mostly broken), which had evidently been used by the 
natives for splitting off the flakes of chert, that were 
afterwards, by careful chipping, shaped into stone axes. 
That the natives had stone implements other than those 
commonly recognised as such, appears to be highly pro- 
bable. Mr. Norton Smith has described to me large 
stones, discovered by him on the North-West Coast, 
which, in his opinion, bore evidence of human handiwork, 
but for what purpose they were shaped was doubtful. 
On oixr trip to Hutton Park Mr. Bisdee showed us an 
interesting relic of the aborigines still standing near 
Tedworth, Constitution Hill. This is a dead tree which 
still bears the marks of the notches which the black 
women were accustomed to make to assist them in 


climbing for opossums. I believe Mr. Morton intends 
to have this tx'ee removed to the Museum. 

Origin. — The question of the origin of the Tasmanians 
is still an open one. They appeared to belong to the 
most primeval races of mankind, and to be derived from 
the same original stock as the Papuans and Melanesians. 
Indeed, it has been suggested that from this primitive 
stock (perhaps resembling the Mincopis of the Andaman 
Islands), both the Melanesians on the one hand and the 
African negroes on the other, took their origin. It is 
surmised that they reached Tasmania by way . of Aus- 
tralia, and that this palaioiithic, woolly-haired, negritic 
stock once peopled the whole Australian Continent, 
until dispossessed, and probably annihilated, by the 
present neolithic Australians, characterised by their 
straight haii- and the possession of ground stone imple- 
ments, the boomerang, thro wing-stick, and shield. But 
on this subject my friend, Mr. R. M. .Tohnston, may 
probably have something to say. 

Languages. — In concluding these notes, I may mention 
that an interesting feature in Mr. Ling Roth's book is 
a full vocabulary of native words, reduced to a scientific 
method of spelling, in place of the anomalous and absurd 
fashion of spelling at present in vogue. It is to be hoped 
that Mr. Roths method will secure acceptance. I com- 
mend it to the notice of the Lands Office. 

Tribal 3fap.— The book also contains a map, in which 
the native names of places are shown in red, and an 
attempt has been made to indicate the main tribal divi- 
sions. This is, of course, to a certain extent, conjectural, 
but it is useful. 

The main object I have had in view in writing these 
notes is to get the members of the section to interest 
themselves in obtaining from old settlers and others 
information respecting the points referred to. That 
such an attempt is not. hopeless, even at the present 
time, I have reason to know. I recently obtained from 
two old settlers some most interesting particulars respect- 
ing the native method of obtaining fire, which go a long 
way towards solving the question, and it is quite possible 
that further inquiry in different parts of the Island would 
elicit more information. I should like to see the section 
form a collection of all the portraits of the Aborigines 
which are in existence. Such a collection would be 
valuable and interesting, more especially in years to 



HoMEK represents the earth as a flat surface, somewhat of 
the form of au oval shield, surrounded by the great flow- 
ing salt river Oceanus, called by Milton 'Ocean Stream." 
(See map to Gladstone's '' Juveutus Mundi.") The 
knowledge of the Ancients was almost wholly limited to 
the Mediterranean 'and its shores, with some vague infor- 
mation as to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Any ideas 
they had respecting the outer world were probably 
derived from the Phoenicians, the most adventurous 
mariners of those early ages. That they suspected the 
existence of a world beyond the great encircling river is 
shown by Plato's description in the " Timseus " of the 
island of Atlantis, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and 
exceeding in size the whole of Afi'ica and Asia. I quote 
from Jowett's translation : "In those days the Atlantic 
was navigable ; and there was an island situated in front 
of the straits which you call the Columbus of Hercules ; 
the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, 
and was the way to other islands, and fi'om the islands you 
might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which 

surrounded the true ocean Afterwards there 

occurred violent earthquakes and floods, and in a single 
day and night of rain, the island of Atlantis dis- 
appeared and was sunk beneath the sea. And that is the 
reason why the sea in those parts is impassable and im- 
penetrable, because there is sttch a quantity of shallow 
mud in the way, and this was caused by the subsidence of 
the island." — Jowett's Plato, ii. 521. Of more interest 
with respect to the Southern Continent is a curious frag- 
ment from an old Greek writer of about the same period, 
c. 350 B.C., which has been preserved for us by ^lian, and 
which is quoted by Major in his " Early Voyages to Terra 
Australis," p. iii. This writer, one Theopompus, narrates 
a conversation between the god Silenus and King Midas 
of Phrygia. '' Silenus told Midas of certain islands, 
named Europe, Asia, and Libya, which the Ocean Sea 
«ircumscribeth and compasseth round about, and that 


without this world there is a continent or parcel of dry 
land, which in greatness was infinite and unmeasurable ; 
that it nourished and maintained, by the benefit of the 
green meadows and pasture plots, sundry big and mighty 
beasts ; that the men which inhabit the same climate 
exceed the stature of us twice, and yet the length of their 
life is not equal to ours ; that there be many and divers 
great cities, manifold orders and trades of living ; that 
their laws, statutes, and ordinances are different, or rather 
clean contrary to ours." It must not be supposed that 
the Greek philosophers of the age of Plato and Theopom- 
pus still held Homer's opinion that the earth was a flat 
surface. The Greek intellect had early arrived at a true 
conception of the earth's form. Says Aristotle — " As to 
the figure of the earth, it must necessarily be a sphere." 
He estimated its circumference at 400,000 stadia. He 
further remarks : '' \\ e may judge that those personswho 
connect the region in the neighlTO\;rhood of the Pillars 
of Hercules with that towards India, and who assert in 
this way that the sea is one, do not assert things very 
improbable:" (Whewell, Hist. Ind. Sci. i., 161.) We 
have the works of several Greek geographers before the 
Christian era, of whom the best known is Strabo, who, in 
17 books gives a description of the whole known world. 
With the growth of the Roman dominion, knowledge of 
the earth's surface was necessarily largely extended. 
We have the result in the celebrated geography of 
Ptolemy (130 a.d.) containing a very careful typographi- 
cal account of the various countries. His work was 
illustrated by very tolerable maps, said to have been 
executed by Agathodemon. It is perhaps to be regretted 
that Ptolemy did not confine himself to known facts about 
the earth's surface. Unfortunately, where knowledge 
was wanting, he filled up with theory. Thus he aban- 
doned the ancient idea of the all-encircling ocean stream, 
and ventured on an assumption making the Indian 
Ocean an inland sea like the Mediterranean, and extend- 
ing Africa on the south and Asia on the east, as con- 
tinents of immeasurable extent. Ptolemy was the last 
of the ancient geographers, and for more than a thousand 
years he and his theories held supreme sway in geographi- 
cal matters. Some of these theories respecting the 
unknown parts of the world had a distinctly retarding 
effect on exploration, and were not disposed of until the 
great era of maritime discovery in the 14th century. 
During the Dark Middle Ages even Ptolemy was for- 
gotten, and men's ideas of geography grew chaotic. The 


flame of learning was kept feebly alive in the great 
monasteries, but the monks despised science, and devoted 
their care wholly to theological works. They sometimes 
illustrated these works* with a tuappaTuundi (mappa, 
a towel ; mundi, of the world, as their maps were usually 
drawn on linen). Such tnajjpae mundi have been pre- 
served in MSS. of Boatus' Commentary on the Apocalypse 
(776 A.D.). A facsimile of one of these, the original of 
which was di'awn about the time of the Norman Conquest, 
will show what a fantastic jvimble was made by these 
monkish cartographers, who grouped all the countries of 
the world haphazard round Jerusalem as a centre. The 
first advance in geographical knowledge came from the 
great religious movement which poured the hosts of 
Europe into the East during the period of the Crusades — 
1095 to 1270 — in the time of Wm. Rufus and Coeur de 
Lion down to Edward I. Immediately following the 
Crusades came the era of land travel, when Marco Polo, 
the Venetian, that prince of medieval travellers, made his 
way (1277, temp., Edward I.) to the Court of Kublai 
Khan in Pekin, and brought back to Europe marvellous 
tales of far Cathay (China), Zipangu (Japan), India, of 
distant Java, and the countries of the far East. Nearly 
a century later, in the reign of our Edward III., say 1350. 
when the mariner's compass came into use, and made 
distant voyages possible, the era. of ocean discovery began. 
In this the Genoese captains led the way. These Genoese, 
disregarding the theories of geographers, began to con- 
struct sea-charts — or as they called them " portolani " — 
from their own observations, and solely with a view to 
practical use in their voyages. It was then that carto- 
gi'aphy first began to make svibstantial advances. From 
1410 to 1460 — in the time of King Henry V. down 
to the Wars of the Roses — the Portuguese, under Prince 
Henry the Navigator, courageously pushed their caravels 
out into the mysterious Atlantic, called by the Arabian 
geographers the '' Green Sea of Darkness," in which the 
voyager was believed to be swallowed up in impenetrable 
fogs. They dared to pass through the tropic seas which, 
in the popular imagination, were always boiling under the 
fierce rays of tlie vertical sun. So they crept down the 
coast of Africa, and made the first step to the discovery of 
the outer world. By the time of Prince Henry's death 
(1460, contemporary with the Wars of the Roses) a carto- 
grapher, like the Italian Fra Mauro, could construct a 
map (1457-59) containing a fairly recognisable represen- 
tation of Europe, Asia, and Africa, surrounded by the 


ocean. Beyond this nothing was known. It remained 
for Columbus, in the closing years of the century — 1492, 
temp. Henry VII. — to lift the veil from the unknown and 
realise the ancient dream of a mythical Atlantis, by his 
discovery of America. In the earlier maps after 
Columbus we find the pex'sistent influence of traditional 
ideas. America is represented as an island closely 
approaching China and India; whence the name West 
Indies. Magellan's voyage across the Pacific in 1521 
(temp. Henry VIII.), revolutionised men's ideas, and 
from that time we find the cartographers depicting the 
world more or less in accordance with our modern notions. 
Columbus had given to the world a real America for the 
fabled Atlantis. The problem of the Great Southland 
was longer in being solved. The ancient myth died hard; 
in fact we find traces of it lingering for 300 years more, 
down to near the close of last century. I do not propose 
to enter on the thorny paths of the controversy respecting 
the earliest indications of Australia, or to decide on the 
rival claims of different nations. The subject has been 
fully discussed by Major, Delmar Morgan, Collingridge, 
and others, and in their works full information can be 
found. Suffice it to say, that somewhere between 1514-42 
(temp. Henry VIII. and Luther's Eeformation) the Por- 
tuguese, who had just discovered New Guinea, almost 
certainly, while cruising in the Eastern Archipelago, 
sighted some parts of the N.W. and possibly of the N.E. 
coasts of Australia, and wej find vagixe and inaccurate 
indications of their discovery in maps about 1540. (The 
Royal Society has a fine reprodviction of these maps). If 
to the Portuguese belongs the honour of having first 
sighted Australian shores, it is to the Dutch, and to the 
Dutch alone, that the credit is due of its actual discovery, 
i.e., if by discovery we mean a definite knowledge of its 
position. The Dutch claims have been much debated, 
and it has been sometimes asserted that their maps were, 
for the most part, copied from the charts or descriptions 
of Portuguese and Spanish navigators who had preceded 
them. Even Tasman's right to the discovery of Tasmania 
has been doubted, and he has been accused of appro- 
priating Portuguese discoveries. But of late years the 
Dutch claims have been abundantly vindicated by the 
publication, not only of old maps, but of original journals 
of discovery ships, which have been carefully treasured up 
in the archives of the Dutch East India Co. It will, 
therefore, be sufficient for our purpose, disregarding all 
other maps, to take the works of the Diitch cartographers 


in order to show how the mythical Terra Australis Incog- 
nita was displaced, and the actual Southland — New 
Holland or Australia — was gradually evolved in its place. 
It was during the 70 years war with Spain, and on the eve 
of the rise of the Dutch Republic, the period so graphi- 
cally desci'ibed in the pages of Motley, that the Dutch 
first appeared as explorers of unknown countries. It waa 
in " the spacious times of great Elizabeth," when Cecil 
and Walsingham seconded the efforts of Raleigh, Drake, 
Frobisher, and other great seamen to establish England's 
sea-power, and lay the foundations of her empire. But 
Holland was first in the field, and at the first was more 
successful. Her ships were the most numerous and the 
best, her seamen more skilful, her scientific geographers 
more accomplished. At that time Holland was not only 
the commercial, but also the intellectual, centre of Europe. 
As a natural result of the extraordinary development of 
Dutch commercial enterprise, there arose in Flanders, 
and also in Holland, a great school of cartographers, of 
which Antwerp and Amsterdam were successively the 
centres. The most celebrated of these map makers, 
indeed the only one whose name is at all familiar to 
English people, was the Flemish Gerhard Kremer, better 
known by his Latinised name of Gerald Mercator. In 
1541 Mercator produced his great globe, and in 1569 his 
great world map. It is to Mercator and his friend 
Abraham Oertel (or Ortelius) that we owe the first 
modern Atlas, both the thing itself and the name. In 
1570 (18 years before the Spanish Ai-mada) Ortelius 
brought out, at Amsterdam, his first Atlas. It was called 
" Theatrum Orbis Terrarum," or " Spectacle of the 
Countries of the Globe," and contained 53 maps. It was 
not until near the end of the century, 1598, after the 
death of Mercator, that the latter's Atlas was published at 
Amsterdam by his son, in conjunction with Hondius. The 
work of Ortelius (increased in later editions to 100 maps), 
and that of Mercator and Hondius, were the first 
examples of the modern atlas. The name was derived 
from the figure on the title-page of the giant Atlas sup- 
porting on his shoulders a celestial globe. The con- 
struction of a world map was by no means an easy task 
for these early cartographers to accomplish to their 
satisfaction. (1.) The countries that had been actually 
observed by competent navigators and travellers they 
could lay down with a fair approach to accuracy ; (2.) 
but in the delineation of the more distant and less known 
countries they were confronted by the difficulty due to 


uncertainty of longitude, which there was no means of 
ascertaining with even approximate accuracy. (3.) Then, 
the reasons vaguely indicated by the inaccurate and often 
misleading descriptions of old travellers, such as Marco 
Polo, had to be fitted in somewhere and somehow. 
(4.) They were all more or less dominated by the fear of 
deserting the traditionary ideas about what was abso- 
lutely unknown. (5.) And, finally, they had a horror of 
blank spaces, and liked to fill up the map, if only with 
something conjectural, or, if that was not practicable, 
with strange figures of land monsters, sea beasts, or 
(more innocently) of ships: The result is often a strange 
jumble of fact and fancy. The Ortelius world map of 
1570, in the first edition of the atlas already mentioned, 
is a fair example of this blending of knowledge and wild 
conjecture. The unscientific character of the map is 
evident at a glance. There is no attempt to distinguish 
by dotted lines or otherwise, as is the practice of modern 
times, between the purely conjectural and the known. 
Tiie Arctic and the Antarctic regions, the N.W . coast of 
North America (not explored until two centuries later), 
the interior of Africa, are all laid down in as absolute and 
definite lines as the shores of the Mediterranean. In the 
delineation of the Terra Austrtilis InrotjuHa we have a 
fine example of the method of the map-maker of the 
period. The one point of actual knowledge is the Strait 
of Magellan, and that side of the supposed Southland is, 
therefore, called ' Magellanica Regio."' New Guinea is 
shown as a large, round Island, some 15deg. too far lo 
the East, with a note that it is vmcertain whether it is an 
island or part of the Southern Continent, which is accord- 
ingly extended so as nearly to touch it. The reported 
discovery by the Portuguese of this Southern Continent 
in another longitude is shown by a prolongation to the 
south of Java to about the latitude of the Cambridge 
Gulf, but some 15deg. too far to the ^\' est, separated from 
.Java by a strait called Lantch idol Mare, (a mis- 
spelling of the Malay L?.ut Kidol, meaning "South 
Sea "). This northern promontory bears the name 
■' Beach '' (on many maps called " Regio Aurifera "), 
and aLso the words '' Luach " and " Maletur," with 
a statement that these extensive regions are known 
from the writings of Marco Polo and others. The actual 
fact being that the placing of the names is due to a mis- 
reading of M. Polo, who describes under somewhat similar 
names parts of Cambodia and the Malay Peninsula. 
Then, we have the remainder of the Southern Ocean up 


to nearly lat. 40 deg. S. filled up with a wholly imaginary 
continent called " Terra Australis Nondtim Cognita," 
with imaginary capes and promontories, such as " Regie 
Psittacorum," the Land of Parrots, and so forth ; while 
figures of strange and fearful monsters occupy the blank 
spaces of the ocean. Mr. Walker said that he had so far 
dealt with the mythical period of the cartography, but he 
hoped in a future paper to deal with the scientific period, 
and show the gradual development of the coast line of 
New Holland. 




MY 14 

AA 000 892 597 6