Thursday, 17 May 2018

Sunday, 4th March 1838

Last week the Widow Harvey, Poisoner to the Gentry, managed to get her hands on Young Bingham Hutchinson's giant melon.

She assured me that she would make something memorable out of it. Well, she came through in Spades, because the meal she prepared will live long in the annals of culinary infamy.

She grated the thing, mixed it with flour, water and what she decribed as "secret ingredients" and fried the resulting mess as fritters. It was, she told me, "mock fish".

Exactly what  terrible offence the innocent piscene denizens of Neptune's deep have given to deserve such cruel  mockery I do not know, but it seems both needlessly harsh and undeserved.

Mock fish? We went well beyond the realms of mockery and seemed to reach savage satire. I could only slowly shake my head at the inhumanity of it all.

Then I nearly broke a tooth on something sharp and hard. It appears that Lucrezia the mad poisoner had not bothered to remove the skin from the gourd before cooking it. I questioned her about it and she said that she had done it that way deliberately. "The skin is where the goodness is!" she told me.

Clearly the woman has a different view from most as to what constitutes "goodness".

Dear Lord! We have met the new Advocate-General, Mr George Milner Stephen. In fact we seem to have become infested with the new Advocate-General, who seems to treat Government House as his personal pied a terre. As a result I find him everywhere I look and between him and Widow Harvey's brat of a child I can say that the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Governor of South Australia hath not where to lay his head.

Other than a talent for drawing and playing the flute and the guitar I see nothing else that might recommend Mr Milner Stephen as a legal talent. He, however, seems to think that he is the finest legal  mind since Blackstone himself. Well, I admire his confidence, but remain to be convinced that his high opinion of himself is grounded in some semblance of reality.

I note that he is adept at charming the womenfolk. He has smarmed all over Mrs Hindmarsh, which suggests some strength of character, but also seems to wish to work his charms on my daughters as well. Well, we shall see.

I did feel sorry for the man when he was introduced to the delights of South Australian politicking when Mr Fisher's fiddling blew up in his face. 

After the meeting Fisher held without notice a week or so ago, where he attempted to influence the selection of land to his own and his cronies' advantage, a group of colonists went before the courts and had an injunction granted them by Milner Stephen halting Fisher's plans.

Fisher has been getting about the place saying that there was no legal action against him which is a remarkable claim given that there clearly was one. And in fact, Milner Stephen has show remarkable fortitude by replying to Fisher that "There WAS a legal action against you because I granted it!"

There was a degree of Fisherite huffing and puffing when Milner Stephen dropped some very dark hints about Contempt of Court and what might happen to a man bound over to keep the peace who did not keep to the terms of the injunction granted by the Court.

Fisher has since changed his tune to be "There was no Injunction against Mr Fisher. The injunction was granted against the actions of the Land Committe." which is a nice distinction, given that Fisher formed the Committe, chaired the meetings and stacked the membership with people who would vote as he directed. 

I swear the man is making it up as he goes along.

I have a reasonable swathe of land and, as a private land owner, wrote to FIsher asking for assurances that the value of my land would not be decreased by his actions. Well, if it gave Mr Fisher a few moments discomfort then it brightened my day.

Instead Fisher is now claiming that I am, as Governor, interfering in the proper workings of the Commissioner's business and that the Crown (meaning me) has no right to expect an answer.

Well, that seems rich! The number of times I issued a Proclamation and had Fisher declare it none of his business and hence not Government business! And now, when I enquire AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN he starts sqealing like a stuck pig about interference.

The man is out of control and I cannot help but feel that one of us will have to go!  

Monday, 14 May 2018

Sunday 25th February,1838

Mountaineer, explorer and the Kiss of Death to Judges, Young Bingham Hutchinson has added yet another string to his bow, namely that of champion melon grower.

It appears that a melon was picked in Hutchison's garden that weighed 18 pound and was 29 and a half inches long and 33 inches in circumference. Hutchinson has, inevitably, been bragging about the town, saying that no man in the colony has grown one has big as his. 

My sister Anne seemed quite deflated when she learned he was referring to a melon.

Damn fool woman! "What else did you think it would be?" I asked her, but it appears that she has hold of the wrong end of the stick.

He presented it to the Widow Harvey, who has promised to "prepare something delicate with it", a promise which does not fill me with confidence.

Hutchinson himself has been pointing out to all who will listen, or even give the appearance of being about to do so, that this gargantuan gourd was raised without the application of manure. Personally, I cannot help but feel that the air round Hutchinson's house is so thick with braggadaccio that it does the job of manure of the richest kind.

This dashing individual was brought up before the court earlier this month having challenged Fisher to a duel.

At the beginning of February, in the "Gazette" yet another letter from "A Colonist" was published suggesting that when it came to the Company accounts Fisher was fiddling like Nero over the burning Rome. The last time "A Colonist" published Fisher threatened all and sundry with every form of legal action from slander to breach of promise.

This time "A Colonist" has outdone themselves with a series of questions for Mr Fisher. I attach a cutting from the newspaper below.

Is it true that the whole expense of bringing up the emigrants' baggage to Adelaide from Glenelg and the Port has been paid by Mr. Resident Commissioner Fisher on public account?

That no public tender or contract has been made, but that his sons, Messrs, Fisher Brothers, have been employed as the carriers to the total exclusion of the colonists generally? 
Is it true that the Colonial Treasurer has refused Mr. Fisher's order to pay Mr. ex-Emigration Agent Brown's salary since the date of his sus-pension? 
Is it true that Mr. Fisher refused to pay salaries to certain officers appointed by the Governor in council on the grounds that he had received no official notification of their appointment, or that he had no authority in the Commissioner's instructions to make these or similar payments? 
Is it true that he has had no official notification of the appointment by the Governor in council of Mr. Samuel Smart as Sheriff of the province; butthat he has paid him regularly his salary? And is it true that Mr. Smart was the active agent of the newspaper committee, of which Mr. Fisher is theleading member, in getting published in Van Diemen's Land articles abusive of the South Australian Gazette and the Colonial Government of thisprovince? 
Is it true that the public has been saddled by Mr Fisher's orders or consent with no less than two additional surgeons, at a salary of £11 a year and rations, under the name of "Medical Officers of the Survey;" and the colony thus has had to pay three medical men, while the fact is, there is not employment in all the public departments combined for one?
Is it true that Mr. Fisher has no authority from the Commissioners to pay Dr. Wright £6 a year and rations; and that Dr. Wright's salary is nevertheless paid out of the public purse? and that in fact Dr. Wright, who was refused the appointment of Colonial Surgeon by the Commissioners is betterpaid by Mr. Fisher, with £20 a year and rations, than the successful candidate for the office of Colonial Surgeon, Mr. Cotter, with £16 a year only? 
My stock is not exhausted, but your space and your readers patience may be.So I rest,
You and The Public's Faithful Servant
Hutchinson decided that he wanted no more to do with such sharp and shady practice but had the difficulty of having recently been recommended by Fisher in a letter to Lord Glenelg in London. Hutchinson vows and declares, hand on heart, that Fisher did this off the top of his head, unsolicited from Hutchinson and, whats more, seems to believe that people are going to think for one minute that this is even likely.

So Hutchinson, of whom it may be said that he gives his all to a cause, no matter how stupid it may make him look, took it into his head to resign as Emigration Agent in order to be under no obligation to Fisher and also, as he said, so that he would be able to deal with him man to man and not as Superior to Employee.

That being done he then fired off a letter to Fisher telling him he was no gentleman and not to be trusted and  that Hutchinson would be happy to meet with Fisher at a place of his choosing if Fisher wished to have satisfaction for the insult.

Well Hutchinsion might have seen himself as some eighteenth century gay blade, duelling with rapiers at dawn, but Fisher was having none of it. To be honest I see his point. Having chaps wandering the town using other chaps as pin cushions is not what I want for the Colony. I want to see the back of Fisher as much as the next man but I have to draw the line somewhere and having him perforated seems a step too far. Anyway, he leapt in action by forwarding the letter to me and demanding that Hutchinson be dealt with by the law. 

Well, Henry Wrigley is the Resident Magistrate and this seemed to be a good chance for him to earn his keep. Accordingly I sent the Marines around to invite Fisher and Hutchinson to appear at Government House at heir earliest convenience. Well, my earliest convenience really, as they were on my doorstep within the hour.

Wrigley heard their stories and promptly called upon the two of them to enter into recognizances of £lOOO each and two sureties in £500 each to keep the peace towards each other and all her Majesty's subjects for twelve months from this date.

"Fat chance" I would suggest. I give it a few weeks before one or the other of them takes some offence and it will, once again, be on for young and old.

And sure enough almost immediately word came to me of yet another of Fisher's cheats. 

On Tuesday last Fisher called a meeting of Preliminary Landholders - those entitled to selections of land once the survey is finally completed. Of course he did not bother to advertise such a meeting  to the general public - there was no announcement of the thing in the Gazette - and his intention was clear. The meeting was called to decide upon the order of selections. Obviously Fisher and his cronies hoped to force others to make their selections first, since, with the Durvey still not finished only the lands close in to the town would be available to select. Then, once the rich lands along the Murray and the Southern Lakes were surveyed Fisher and friends would be abe to say "Oh, is no-one else left to have this land? Oh well, I suppose I must have it!"

The man has no scruples to speak of. I am tempted to let Hutchinson loose on him after all.

I suggested to Sam Smart that the recent silence from the Van Diemonian Crime Gang might be evidence that the recent crime wave had ended. 

"Ah no!" he said. "If they are quiet then they are planning something. And I think we might expect it to be something big!"

I wish I had never thought to employ the man. 

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Sunday, 18th February, 1838

[Editor's Note - In the original diary two newspaper cuttings had been pinned to the top of the page. They are transcribed below]


WHEN Mr. R. GOUGER was appointed Colonial Secretary to the Province of South Australia, a remark was made to one of the present officers of the colony by a gentlemen who knew and appreciated Mr. Gouger thoroughly, which the conduct and fate of the man has impressed strongly upon our memory

" It is an unfortunate appointment I admit," said Mr. ——— "but he has worked for some-thing of the sort for nine years; yet such is the emptiness of the fellow that you will see he wants ballast to keep his office nine months." 

This prophecy has been verified almost to the letter. After a few months swagger in office, during which time he contrived to sicken with his insolence almost every person with whom he transacted business, and to disgust those whom he dared not openly insult, 

Mr. Gouger committed a most disgraceful and unprovoked assault upon the person of the Colonial Treasurer in the public streets of Adelaide, and was suspended from his office by the Governor in opposition to the opinions of Mr. Fisher, the Resident Commissioner, who desired to "hush the matter up." and who evidently did not think Mr. Gouger's conduct sufficiently disreputable to disqualify him as a brother councillor, and of Mr Mann, the then Advocate General, who was, in fact, particeps criminis —the individual who led Mr. Gouger into the scrape. These gentlemen, however, failed in persuading the Governor that a ruffian-like attack such as the one committed by the Colonial Secretary could be passed over with a reprimand. 

His Excellency suspended Mr. Gouger from his office, and was applauded for doing so by every right thinking and unprejudiced man in the colony. The ex-Colonial Secretary departed from the colony with the melancholy consciousness of not having left one real friend behind him, or of having done a solitary act deserving public gratitude. He had exerted himself to bring the Governor's administration into disrepute, and might have been successful had not his designs been suspected and frustrated. From the first he was the tool of the petty clique, whose names we shall presently exhibit, and after his well-deserved suspension he became their pet. 

It was impossible to raise the poor fellow from the dirt, so they magnanimously resolved to lie down beside him. The following letters, which we find in the Launceston Advertiser, convey to us and to the public of South Australia the first intelligence of the astounding fact that a sort of certificate of character had been secretly got up to give Mr. Gouger an
apology for venturing to look Lord Glenelg or Colonel Torrens in the face.

To the Editor of the Launceston Advertiser. 
Launceston, December 2, 1837. 

Sir: l am induced by some passages in a leading article on South Australia which appeared in your journal of the 30th ult. to send you a copy of a protest against my suspension from office by order of his Excellency Governor HINDMARSH, contrary to the advice of the other members of council present, and also of a letter addressed to Colonel Torrens, chairman of the South Australian commission, by gentlemen of the highest repute in the province, a duplicate of which was placed open in my hands on the day prior to my departure for England. 

I am exceedingly reluctant thus to obtrude myself upon the notice of the public, and particularly to be led into any justification of my own character. Seeing however that the absence of a free press in South Australia precludes any attempt at vindication there, and feeling that the public position I have occupied has not had the effect of steeling me against the opinion of the virtuous part of the community, I venture to request you to publish the papers which I now enclose.


Adelaide. August 28,1837.


We cannot allow Mr. GOUGER to relinquish his situation of Colonial Secretary of this province without expressing our deep feeling of regret that he should so summarily have been suspended from an office which he has filled with a degree of zeal and ability which few could have surpassed, and without expressing the sincere respect and esteem we feel for his character. 

In looking forward to the future we strongly feel that the loss to the public service of one so well qualified to assist in carrying forward the great principles upon which this colony has been formed must greatly retard the rapid progress which it has hitherto made; and further, that the security and confidence we have felt that the best measures would be adopted for the public benefit have been much lessened by the treatment of one who has laboured so much and so unremittingly for the colony.

 As landholders and as individuals who have vested their whole interests in South Australia we have felt it our duty to lay before you our sentiments on this important occasion, and trust that the appeal we feel compelled to make to you will not be without its effect. 

We have the honor to remain, &c. &c. &c. 

John Barton Hack. 

John Morphett. 
Stephen Hack. 
Charles Mann. Advocate General, &c. 
Charles Brown Fisher. 
James Fisher. 
Henry Jickling. 
T. Young Cotter. Colonial Surgeon. 
Alfred Hardy. 
Thomas Gilbert. Colonial Storekeeper. 
W. H. Neale 
Charles Berkeley. 
Edward Wright, M.D., Medical Officer to the Survey Department. 
John Brown, Emigration Agent. 
William Light, Surveyor General. 
J. H. Fisher, Colonial Commissioner. 
R. K. Hill. 
John White. 
Charles Nantes. 
Samuel Stephens, Colonial Manager of South Australian Company. 
Edward Stephens, J.P.  


So this is what Fisher meant by "Mr Mann's Mission" in Tasmania!

It has been brought to my attention by young Johnny, who is still in Hobart Town, that the press in Van Deimens Land has published a copy of a letter sent to Colonel Torrens in London.

The intention, clearly, is to spread rumour and scuttlebutt regarding my Governorship and to gather sympathy for Gouger. And if sympathy for Gouger allows sympathy for Fisher to spread in London then I imagine that Fisher imagines that such will be all the better.

But look at this letter. We have more than two thousands of people here in the Colony as I speak. And all Fisher could manage to gather to sign this silliness was twenty-one names. Twenty-one out of two thousand! The thing is pathetic.

And many of those twenty-one can be held at a discount. Henry Jickling assured me that he signed the letter out of feeling for Gouger, whose life has been very dark this past twelve months, and not out of any agreement with Fisher. He further assured me that several others had signed out of similar feeling.

Of course the Fisherites all signed the letter. Mann, Gilbert, Brown, Hack, Ted Stephens. If you wanted to fit them all in a matchbox you'd fit Fisher inside first and the rest would crawl up his backside.

Dear Lord! they got Sam Stephens to sign! Stephens, who would sign away his life if you gave him a half sovereign! Do they expect people to take this nonsense seriously? Because if they do putting Sam Stephens on show will put a dent in people's belief in them!

And have they no shame? James FIsher! Charles Fisher! The man found two of his own children to sign the paper! And even then he could only persuade two out of the several dozen he could have chosen from.  

I remarked to George Stevenson - and I expect he will print it as his own - that It is a singular specimen of Gouger's damned cheek, as well as an outrageous libel upon the great body of colonists to call the rapscallions who figure in these monkey shines "gentlemen of the HIGHEST repute in the colony" and "the VIRTUOUS part of the community". Be buggered! 

I'd like to know how these paragons of virtue themselves feel under Mr. Gouger's description of them? Blushing embarrassment I would say, although they might net even recognise themselves. The virtuous part of the community! Hack, Mann and Brown! 

Well, at all events I hope the public will not believe Gouger's statement that the these gentlemen monopolise the entire "virtue" of the colony. Gouger's word is not to be depended upon in the slightest. The poor man evidently labours under a disease which incapacitates him for telling the truth on any occasion, or under any circumstances. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Sunday, 11th February, 1838

After last week's hi-jinks, what with burglaries, harassed Germans and everyone treating everyone else as a suspect in the crime of the century, it was clear that something needed to be done. We can't go on together with suspicious minds.

In Council this week Gilles made the surprisingly sensible suggestion of organising a police troop. Of course the last time we tried something of this sort, about a year ago, it ended badly; seeing themselves as slighted, the Marines turned on the police in fury and beat them to a pulp. [See diary entry for Sunday, 2nd April, 1837 - editor's note]

But since then many, if not most of the Marines have left the Colony and if we can find a dozen or so strong and fit young lads to volunteer they would certainly prove a match for the Marines that remain. More than a match if we can find a dozen who are sober.

I have written to London asking permission to form a Police Force and shall proceed forthwith. Gilbert has produced from his Aladdin's Cave of a store a dozen blue shirts, so we can at least have uniforms. And Robert Cock tells me "he knows a man who knows someone in Sydney" who can procure a selection of sabres at only double the price of what we might pay in London. Still, a sabre would not only afford an air of military authority, but would provide some protection against inebriated Marines.

There was some suggestion of forming a troop of Mounted Police, but with the shortage of horses available in the place this seems to be something for the future. In the meantime I shall prepare (or, which amounts to the same thing, get Strangways to prepare) a flyer, advertising the need for some volunteers.

I heard Fisher mumbling about the need to pay for all this and where was the money coming from? I can see trouble ahead if the foul excrescence sees a chance to twit me over this matter.

In the meantime Sam Smart has received what we believe to be a threat upon his life. I was surprised that he had only received one, given the manner in which he has been carrying on. If he keeps it up he might yet receive one from me. He had been following the trail of the Vandemonian thieves and told me that he believed them to be hiding in a hut down by the river, but "was getting too close".

I asked him why the inhabitants of the area had said nothing.

Smart snorted derisively.

"It is a low neighborhood, full of rumpots, your Excellency," he said. "They are used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions."  

I have no truck with drinking to excess and I have made it a rule in life to avoid it. I said as much now: "Drink is certainly a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!"  

Smart was rather more forgiving, it seemed. "They may be drinkers, your Excellency but they're still human beings."

I reminded him that several firearms had been stolen from the Government Store and that drink and armed thieves were an explosive combination.

Once again he showed his derision. "I trust you do not believe that I shall allow myself to be influenced by the guns these desperadoes may be waving around. I have taken guns from boys before; so we'll have no trouble there."

I wish I shared his confidence.

Charlie Howard is doing the rounds cap in hand. He decided to build his church in stone and not wood but possibly did so before he had sat down with the ledger and worked out how much it would cost. Having finally done so he has sunk into a blind panic, realising with a shock that he needs to raise yet more money so that he can pay for the thing. What with raising money for the building and raising money for the hymn book he might yet be reduced to the status of Mendicant Priest.

Wyatt has also taken it into his head to start building, having decided to build a school for the Native Children. What the Native Children think of this idea is yet to be determined.

Since we seem to have more settler's children than school places, the idea of diverting money to building a school for the Natives will be a hard sell to those colonists who want to get their brats off their hands for a few hours a day.

I made the mistake of suggesting to Wyatt that as well as teaching the native Children about our ways we could also ask them to teach us some of theirs. They are, after all, expert at living in the land we hope to prosper in and it struck me that they might offer us a few pointers on how to succeed.

Wyatt looked at me as though I was a madman and assured me that "the sole purpose of the school would be to teach the Natives about Salvation through Christ Jesus and loyalty to the Queen." I replied that I was unaware that we did gain Salvation through Christ Jesus and loyalty to the Queen and he went away shocked at my irreligious levity.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Sunday, 4th February 1838

I had occasion to speak with Charlie Howard during the week and it seems he is to take on the mantle of author once again.

"An author, Reverend?" I said. "What, a three volume novel?"

He looked at me severely.

"Do not speak slightingly of the three volume novel, Your Excellency. I read one myself in younger, more frivolous days."

I was unaware that Charlie had ever had any younger, more frivolous days and said so.

"I put both the days and the novels behind me once I found religion. One must choose in life, Your Excellency, choose to be good or bad. The good end happily, the bad unhappily. That is what religion means."

These pleasantries aside, Charlie told me what he had come for. He was, it seems, concerned with the lack of quality in the hymn singing at Sunday services. It was, he said, "dreary". Well, I could have told him the reason for its dreariness. His insistence that the hymn be sung immediately after the sermon meant that the choir and the people were expected to sing lustfully when they had only just woken up.

Charlie, however, seems to be of the opinion that the hymns are the problem. He proposes to collect a selection of hymns and publish them "for the benefit of the people". I let that slide.

He reminded me that his collection of sermons entitled, if memory serves, "Climbing the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire", was published as a result of public subscription by a grateful parish, a story to which I have always found it difficult give aught credence.

And then it dawned on me what he was edging around. He was after some money. He wanted the public purse to foot the bills. "Printed by Vice-Regal Patronage" was his dream. Well, sod that for a game of soldiers! If Charlie thinks I'm taking the blame for inflicting what will, no doubt, be a collection of threnodies and dirges on an unsuspecting public then he can think again.

I nodded sympathetically, wished him well, gave him five pounds and hustled him out the door.

The next to stroll in was Sammy Smart with news of his investigations. He has, it seems several new lines of enquiry to follow. His current thinking is that the culprits are recent arrivals from Van Dieman's land - Vandemoniuns, as they are known around the town.

He became pensive and then spoke. "It seems to be a series of quite clever crimes," he said. "But every clever crime is founded ultimately on some one quite simple fact—some fact that may seem in itself mysterious. But the mystification comes in the attempts to discover what the fact is, when men's thoughts look everywhere but directly at it."

I admit I had no idea what he was talking about, but in all fairness I do not think he did either.

He stood and walked thoughtfully about the room. "Some cases are simple and some are complicated," he said. "But all are of interest because all, you understand, rest solely on what you have heard about town regarding the character of the participant."

"And what have you heard?" I asked.

A sad, sly smile played about his lips.

"This is just a dirty little village in the middle of nowhere. Nothing that happens here is really important. But one does see so much evil in a village,' murmured Mr Smart in an explanatory voice.

"And what is your plan from here Mr Smart?" I asked.

"I shall retire to consider the facts I have gathered," he said. "I shall sieve, I shall discard. And when I have eliminated the laughable, whatever remains, however impossible, must be the truth."

And with that he left. I was grateful for small mercies.

Of course, it was the work of moments for word to get about that there were convicts from other colonies loose in the town creating havoc. By Friday we had what I can describe as Vandemoniun Pandemonium. People clearly decided that any person they saw in the streets who was not immediately recognisable must be held in suspicion of being criminal. Now, in a town with as small a population as ours you would think it difficult not to know every blessed soul in the place, but in fact all that we seem to have proven is that most people barely even glance at their fellows until they need to and then, when they do, they are mystified.

Two German settlers, over from the island for a short while on business, found themselves the brunt of much disdain. Since absolutely no-one had ever laid eyes on them ever before, poor Christian and Maria Wallschlager (for such were their names) found themselves surrounded by a crowd of people all accusing them of being thieves and had to be rescued by Morphett, who happened to be passing. To mollify them, I had them up to Government House and offered them tea and scones and (since they were German) a glass of my beer and sent them back to Kingscote with, I imagine, many stories to tell about the insanity of the English.

Susan and Mary have been helping at Howard's Sunday School and have heard of the Rev's plans for his hymn book. They presented me with some hymns that they have written with the plea to use my influence to have them included in Howard's collection.

I append them here without comment, but in the certain knowledge that they are destined only for the fireplace.

Hymns by Susan and Mary Hindmarsh

I'll ride my pony for Jesus
I'll sit straight in the saddle for Him.
Let the Lord hold the reins
And I'll jump Satan's chains
And clear all the fences of sin.


Pretty little dapple pony
Who made you so dear?
Jesus made you lovely
To remind me he is near.

Pretty little chestnut pony
Who made you run free?
Jesus made you beautiful
To tell me He loves me.

Pretty little light bay pony
Who made you run and win?
Jesus made you gallop
To keep me far from sin

I'll ride my pony on the highway of life
Through thickets, over hedges, through swards
And when I die
I shall ride him on high
And Jesus will present me with my Heav'nly reward

Give me my heavenly trophy dear Jesus
Give me your ribbon of blue
Engrave my name on your heavenly honour board
Let me ride in God's Pony Club
Riding with You

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Sunday 28th January, 1838

I have discovered that there was a most distressing mix up that has had the gravest of consequences.

In December Mrs Hindmarsh was pressing me to move the township to Encounter Bay as it " had greater picturesque possibilities". I thought it a damn silly idea. We've gone to all the trouble of setting up shop here on the banks of the Torrens and the trouble and expense of packing everything up and decamping to the Bluff seems more effort that it is worth. 

However, I had the excellent idea of establishing a new settlement there while keeping the Capital here in Adelaide. A triangle with Kingscote, Adelaide and the Bluff at its corners seemed like a jolly decent bit of planning. 

However, Mrs Hindmarsh insisted that I move the town and for a while it looked as if there might be trouble at home until I decided on a plan that might manage to keep the peace. 

I drafted two letters to Lord Glenelg, one outlining my plan for the triangle arrangement and asking permission to establish a new Encounter Bay settlement an the other asking for permission to move the Capital in line with Mrs Hindmarsh's wishes. I intended to instruct Strangways to post the first letter to London and I would show the second to Mrs Hindmarsh before I quietly placed it in the rubbish. Mrs Hindmash would be appeased and when Glenelg wrote back the matter would be closed and domestic peace would reign.

The inevitable happened of course. 

I discovered this week that Strangways, like the incompetent he is, sent the wrong letter to London. Glenelg will believe that I want to move the Capital, Mrs Hindmarsh will feel she has scored a victory and worst of all, Light has heard the rumour that I have decided to usurp his authority and now, in high dudgeon, he has threatened to resign. The fool Strangways is a great liability to me and the thought of him marrying into the family - as he seems to think he is about to - does not fill me with unbridled pleasure. 

And even worse still there is wild talk around the town that I will be playing Moses and leading an Exodus into the Wildness to a new Southern Promised Land by the sea.

Encounter Bay

Lord knows I have suffered as many plagues as Moses had. A plague of Fishers. A plague of Marines. A plague of bad cooking. A plague of Browns and Lights and dancing and whalers. A few frogs and some locusts and I think I might even outdo him.

Well, at least if I do have to lead the chosen to Encounter Bay there'll be a well worn path for me to follow. With Morphett, Hutchinson and Strangways all heading there, along with Light, FIsher and Samuel Stephens a week or so ago it seems like the road from Adelaide to Encounter Bay is as busy as Pall Mall.

If we were to move to Encounter Bay the question would arise, "What are we to do with the current inhabitants?" And but that I mean, not the Natives, who would, I think, be right as a trivet if we dealt with them with understanding and careful attention, but the whalers. And, to be more particular, those whalers at Blenkinsop's fishery. Well, what used to be Blenkinsop's since he drowned with Judge Jeffcott.

If Encounter Bay is the Promised Land then the Whalers are the Canaanites in the ointment. Many of them were here before our Colony was established. which at least means that they are none of our responsibility. 

Low scum all of them, mostly old convicts who may (or, indeed, may not) have served their time and been pardoned in New South Wales, they lack morals, decency and humanity. Riddled with pox  and pickled with cheap grog, their only concern is the pursuit of whale oil and money.  Detested by the natives - whose wives and daughters they steal for their sordid purposes and infect with disease - they are unfit for common society.

And so, now a plague of whalers to add to the list. 

And if that was not enough I have had the annoying presence of the Reverend Howard darkening my door.

He had finally managed to cobble together enough money to get work started on his Church Building. It had been sent out in pieces from England by some who, it seems, wished to encourage the man. The Society for Propagating Christian Boredom, perhaps.

So a few weeks ago Charlie had some men try and finally put the thing together and then it was discovered that some parts of the assembly had warped from sun and rain, some had been eaten by insects and some were not of much quality to start with. 

At that point he decided to take the bull by the horns and build in stone, not wood. Reasoning that he had a goodly sum of money from donations in his purse he decided to make a start and trust to the good Lord for the rest.

Well, all I can say is that the Good Lord had best cough up the cash soon, because on Friday I was called upon to step on down to North Terrace and lay the foundation stone for the new building. I made a short speech, hoping that Charlie would follow my  example, and gave them a few uplifting words about the benefits of religion and the blessings of the Almighty. Nothing special, but good enough for the occasion. Everyone clapped politely and I slopped a bit of mortar about and we all thought we were done.

Except that we heard a hemming and a hawing and then Charlie burst into action. A hour or thereabouts on Nehemiah chapter 2, verse 20 "The Lord of Heaven he will prosper us, therefore we his servants will arise and build.

And just when we thought we might had got off lightly.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Sunday 21st January, 1838

Samuel Smart has taken to the role of investigating criminal actions with alacrity. He has developed the habit of accosting people in the street like a crazed fortune teller and telling them what he has observed about them. One person told me that he sat down next to them and told them that:

Beyond the obvious facts that you are a left handed blacksmith, a drunkard, that you smoke shag tobacco in a meerschaum pipe carved in the shape of a Turk's head, that you are recently widowed and that you are lately returned from India I can deduce nothing else.

That he was speaking thusly to the Reverend Howard might have caused some men to be down hearted and question their abilities, but not Smart, who seems to believe that in these matters close enough is good enough. "My method," he said to me, " is founded upon the observation of trifles."

I had to speak with him when a number of people he had "observed" according to his "method" complained that he was a positive nuisance and a menace to the populace. He was contrite and admitted that perhaps his skills needed some refinement. "I fear I possess but two out of the three qualities necessary for the ideal detective. I have the power of observation and that of deduction. I am only wanting in knowledge." Knowledge, intelligence and good manners I might have thought, but there we are.

But by the end of the week any sign of contrition had vanished and he was seen clomping about the vegetable patch of a house that had been burgled with a large magnifying glass offering the sage statement that "In the solving of crime there is nothing so important for the officer of the law as the art of tracing footsteps."

I fear the whole thing has gone to his head.

In the meantime we have had the Company store entered and food taken, two more houses broken in to with jewellery and money stolen and two more pick pocketting incidents.

It occurs to me that we have a very busy thief and I mentioned this to Smart.

"There seems to be a great deal of crime", I said, "for just the one thief to be doing. A thought strikes me... So dreadful I scarcely dare give it utterance... "

Smart stopped me, shaking his head ruefully. "You seek to form a theory," he said. "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has facts. Without facts one begins to use prejudices to build theories. With facts one may select those that bring theories and prejudice together."

"But what if there is more than one thief?" I said. "What if we are dealing, not with an individual, but with a gang?" 

"Well," said Sam Sart, calmly and firmly, nonchalantly adjusting the brim of his hat. "I do not mind a reasonable amount of trouble."

Nothing compared to the amount of trouble he seems set to afford me.

I have been given notice that Mrs Hillier, wife of John Hillier, intends to open a School for Young Ladies. In her prospectus and also in her Newspaper Notice she says

MRS. HILLIER begs to inform her Friends and the Public of Adelaide that she has opened a SCHOOL for a select and limited number of YOUNG LADIES, and from a long experience in the arduous task of Education, Mrs. HILLIER flatters herself that her system of instruction and unremitting attention to her pupils cannot fail to be approved by the Parents of those young ladies entrusted to her care. Pavilion Cottage, near the Gilles Arcade, Currie Street.

I cannot help but think that she does indeed flatter herself if she thinks her select school is to be conducted in Pavilion Cottage. I know that the room at the Western End of the Cottage is empty and this, I assume, is where Mrs Hillier intends to instruct her select and limited ladies. But the Eastern End of the cottage is filled with Phillip Lee's Coffee House. I cannot feel convinced that the louche young men and women of the town lolling about drinking coffee and nibbling biscuits whilst discussing contemporary art ( a cove by name of J. M. W. Turner is, I believe, their current idol) will be any great influence on the virginal blossoms of girlhood that Mrs Hillier will attract. And Mrs Hillier will most certainly need to give her unremitting attention to her pupils, since Pavilion Cottage is next door to the Southern Cross Hotel. The drunken antics of the denizens of that establishment may give the girls an education, or at the very least, a vocabulary that is not entirely to be desired. Still, it is our first school and is to be encouraged. Though perhaps Mrs Hindmarsh could be given the delicate task of counselling Mrs Hillier regarding location. 

I informed Widow Harvey that we had called for tenders for the new kitchen at Government House. "Ooh yer Rexcellency!" she giggled, disconcertingly, "They won't be as tender as the concoctions that come out of that new oven! You'll be calling for more tenders once I get going!"