Monday, 16 July 2018

Sunday, 15th April, 1838

When I said last week that I had hopes that the Marines could deal with collecting Bushranger Morgan from Encounter Bay I was, in the end, proven half right.

With frightening speed and efficiency and a precision that might almost pass as military to the unfussy, the Marines rode to Encounter Bay, making good time and getting lost hardly at all.

The morning after they arrived they shackled the prisoner and, making him march before them, set out for Adelaide. 

The problem made itself felt when they decided to stop for elevenses. It became perfectly apparent that whoever had packed the rations had miscalculated. The rations had been packed on the basis of six Marines taking two days to travel to Encounter Bay and two days back.

But the true fact of the matter was that there were seven people on the return leg of the journey not six and that seventh was on foot, meaning that the journey was likely to take a two and a half or even three days. Add to these difficulties that Private Fish had eaten rather more cake than was truly his share on the Southern trip and the direness of the situation will be appreciated. 

However,  like an answer to prayer, a solution presented itself and though some might cavil at its ethics, none can criticise it for a lack of boldness. 

They simply chained Bushranger Morgan to a sizeable tree, tossed him Fish's leftover cake and left him there, explaining that they were going to get more food and would be back for him.

They rode off and without Morgan to slow them made good time. Such good time that they decided that there was no need to hurry and, on the second day, to feel that they deserved an extra long lunch. By eating their supper rations as well, they made it into quite the slap up, drawn out affair. As a result it wasn't until dark that they rode down North Terrace and back to camp, exhausted after their exertions. They fell into bed and of course the next morning they slept in, meaning that it wasn't until nearly eleven that they reported to me to tell me of their clever idea and that Morgan was chained to a tree on the side of a hill in the wilderness, somewhere north of Encounter Bay.

Astonished, I immediately organised a rescue party, made up of sensible and reliable people who, taking  the least Spaniel like Marine as guide, rode South like furies, eventually,  after a deal of trouble, finding poor Morgan four fifths dead from heat, thirst, starvation and terror, having spent four days and nights in all weathers, fearful of native attacks and repelling wild dogs by kicking them on the snout. The search party unchained him and set about reviving him as best they could before bringing him up to town.

In the mean time I found an old slipper and a rolled up newspaper and made my way to the Marine's camp, where I gave some disciplinary training to my red spaniels. And a hard lesson it was.

Mr Hawdon has written me a detailed and informative report regarding his Overland Expedition down to Adelaide from New South Wales. I read it with keen interest.

The next time Bingham Hutchinson gives me some of his usual blatherskite I might present him with a copy of this as a model for him to follow. 

Fisher has announced that an advertisment will be placed in the next issue of The Gazette announcing the sale of trunks and stumps felled by his pauper labourers about the town. And no ordinary sale, where you come in, put down your shilling and take away your stump. Oh, no, no, no! Having produced the items for sale at cut rate prices, he is now determined to milk as much cash from the public as possible in the sale of them by selling them at Auction. Highest bidders only thank you and terms, cash only. Is there no bottom to the gaping maw of the man's mendacity?

There arrived in port today the Lord Goderich with some 150 souls on board and there are already extraordinary stories circulating about the town regarding their six month voyage out. I cannot imagine how anyone might take six months to make the voyage, but there are tales of violent disagreements between the Passengers and Captain Andrew Smith. 

Details are scarce, but there are tales doing the rounds of a mysterious evening in March with scenes of drunken debauchery resulting in the death of one of the party. So great were the disagreements between Captain and Passengers that they put in early, before reaching Rio, at Bahia, in northern Brazil, to calm things down. The ship then continued on to RIo with  Lt Edwards of H.M.S. Samarang in charge. The arguments were deemed so serious that it appears, on reaching Rio, that Hesketh, the English Consul, took control of the situation and placed Mr Wethem, the Master's Assistant on board H.M.S. Lyra in charge. 

I am told that the disagreements continued throughout the rest of the voyage and ill feeling ran so high that already, with less than twenty four hours in the Colony, there is talk of Court Cases and litigation and all the fun of the fair! 

I look forward to months of entertainment from these new arrivals and I imagine the rest of Adelaide agrees with me. Go it lads! Have at them!

Newspaper Clipping found between the pages of Hindmarsh's diary


His Excellency the Governor has directed the following letter addressed to him by Mr. HAWDON, to be made public for general information:

 Adelaide, April 5, 1838.

In accordance with your Excellency's wish, I take the earliest opportunity to lay before your Excellency an account of my journey across the interior of the country from New South Wales to this colony. 

In proving the practicability of bringing stock from the sister colony by land, I have been singularly fortunate, having brought with me more than three hundred horned cattle in excellent condition, losing only four animals by the journey. 

The cattle were driven from their station on the River Hume to the Port Phillip mail establishment on the Goulburn River, at which place they were met by the drays conveying supplies for the journey, from Port Phillip, on the 23rd of January. My intended route was to follow the course of this river to the point where Major Mitchell left it on his last expedition, and from thence to cross over to the River Yarrane, hoping that its course would take us to the westward, and thus avoid both the risk likely to be incurred by watering cattle at so large a river as the Murray, and also the danger of passing through the hostile tribes of natives said to inhabit its banks.

Following the course of the Goulburn in a north direction, we discovered that it joined the Hume three days' journey before we fell on Major Mitchell's track going to the south ; its supposed junction at Swan Hill, as afterwards ascertained, being merely a branch of the Hume running out and again joining the main channel. On arriving at the Yarrane, we were disappointed by finding its channel dry, and only a small quantity of water remaining in the holes where Major Mitchell constructed the bridge. 

The flat country to the westward affording no prospect of obtaining water, we were under the necessity of following down the channel of the Yarrane, which took us almost in a northerly direction back to the Hume. Passing its junction with the Murrumbidgee, we followed on the south bank of the Murray to within three miles of the junction of the River Darling, when we crossed over, fording both rivers without difficulty. At the junction of the Darling, we found a bottle buried by Major Mitchell on the 30th of June, 1836. 

On the third day after leaving the Darling, we were following a flooded branch of the Murray, which we found joining the River Rufus within a mile of a beautiful lake about forty miles in cir-cumference, out of which the Rufus takes its rise. The large body of water which flows down this river appears to be supplied entirely by springs rising in the lake, the bed of which is white clay, and discolours the water. We named this Lake Victoria, in honor of her present Majesty. We afterwards passed another lake about twenty miles in circumference, the water of which was impregnated with nitre, a large quantity of which was lying on the edge of the lake. I named this Lake Bonney, after my friend Mr. Charles Bonney, who has accompanied me and shared the difficulties of this undertaking. 

Leaving the river about the latitude of Adelaide, we were compelled by the ranges to go more to the south, and thus passed near to Mount Barker. In that district, we passed over a beautiful and extensive tract of grazing country, especially that lying between Mount Barker and Lake Alexandrina, which equals in richness of soil and pasturage any that I have seen in New Holland. 

The valley through which the Murray flows from the junction of the Murrumbidgee varies from one to upwards of five miles in breadth, and is in many places well adapted for the cultivation of grain ; but the country on either side of the valley consists of red sand generally covered with bush. 

In passing through the tribes of natives, we were extremely fortunate in keeping up a friendly intercourse with them by means of ambassadors sent from one tribe, to another. The tribes are very numerous, and we have frequently counted as many as two hundred in one tribe. On one occasion, when near the Darling, we passed three tribes in one day. 

My party consisted of nine men ; but I should consider this too small a number to travel with safety to the stock over the same country again. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, Your Excellency's obedient humble servant, 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Sunday, 8th April, 1838

We had more news from Encounter Bay this week regarding our famous bushranger.

It appears that not only is the bushranger no myth but that his name is none other than Morgan! Bill Morgan, bushranger bold! 

Now need I add that William Morgan was the accomplice to the shooting of Sherrif Sam Smart, and who escaped into the bush and who we were rather hoping never to hear of again?

Instead, this desperate villain had been captured and detained by the whalers at Encounter Bay, probably because he hadn't eaten for days and felt surrender was a small price for a square meal and a round of toast. 

What is it about the whalers that they have a perfect obsession with taking people prisoner? They held Samuel Stephens captive, they captured Black Alick and insisted he face the full penalty of the law and now they have captured a bushranger and are holding him prisoner.

It is almost as if they hope to put their own sins and crimes in a better light by making others look bad. Or perhaps hope to distract attention. A few days detective work and I imagine that most of the whalers could be put on a boat back to Sydney as either undesirables or escapees. 

At any rate,  Marines were dispatched to travel the fifty miles on horseback and bring the wild thieving outlaw back to the Courts and Justice. 

I went on down to wave them off. For all their drunken idiocy I am fond of the lads, in the same sort of way as you might look kindly on an endearingly stupid and troublesome spaniel. Dumb chums all. And now here they were heading off on their own, on horseback, like proper grown-ups, on a task of some responsibility 

Were these really the same lads as nearly took Mrs Stevenson's eye out when they tried to fire the musket salute at the Proclamation only a year ago? How they grow. Sunrise, sunset. Where does the time go? I was certain they were up to the task.

Or at least hopeful.

There is an interesting rumour about our man Smart. It is whispered that the shooting he endured, for all his bandaging and bravery, actually did not wound him at all, but merely grazed him, leaving him with just a gunpowder mark on his cheek and ear. The blood, it is said by some, came from him bumping his head as he fell. If true this means that when he has been swanning about declaring "No, no, it was nothing!" He may have been telling the absolute truth!

The prisoner McGee, it appears, is not only Irish, but, as if that was not enough, of the Popish persuasion. As a prisoner he is, of course, entitled to the comforts of visitation from a priest of his faith, but when it comes to Romish Priests,  the cupboard is bare. 

I was going to ask Charlie Howard to pop along and offer what succour he could, but since, only last week, Howard preached on "The Anti-Christ of Rome" taking Revelation 17:1-6 as his text:

(1) And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: (2) With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.(3) So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (4) And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: (5) And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. (6) And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

and offered McGee as an example of the moral turpitude of "those who worship in Babylon"  I felt that Charlie might not be the best source of comfort.

Instead, a fellow Catholic, a wheelwright or stonemason or some such labourer of the lower sort, has offered to wield Veronica's handkerchief to the prisoner and has met with him two or three times in the past week. 

A date has finally been set for the distribution of land in the country survey. On the 12th of May  Holders of the first 437 land orders are all going to troop along to Fisher's office and select our land.

And, in a surprising development, no less a figure than Sammy Stephens is offering to advise people on their choices, for the exorbitant sum of 5 guineas!

Sam's attempted murder trial has been dropped. It was clearly making no progress after Jeffcott's death and it was felt that there was only room for one trial of that nature at a time. With McGee taking up most of the available brain power, Jickling and Milner Stephens declared that there was insufficient evidence in the trial to allow the prospect of a conviction and so Sammy found himself a free man.

Exactly how there was "insufficient evidence" when there were two whale boats' full of witnesses no-one has thought to ask, but the legal genius of Milner Stephen is not to be sneezed at.

And the agricultural genius of Sam Stephens is similarly sternutation proof. He has, it seems, a reputation for sound good sense and sensible judgement when it comes to the potential possibilties of a piece of land. "Capability Stephens" we should call him. 

Of course, closer inspection suggests that rumours of said reputation were started and fostered by Sam himself and have little grounding in truth. This is, after all, the man who thought Nepean Bay was an admirable place for a city. And why Sam should have sound good sense and sensible judgement in  this matter and be a complete drunken ninny in all others is a question few seem prone to ask. Instead people are queuing up to plonk down their 5 guineas and good luck to them. I think 5 guineas bet on a nag at Mr Fisher's picnic races might have more chance of a profitable return, but once again i am in the minority.

Last Tuesday (3rd April) just about sunset a Mr Hawdon rode into town, having left over 300 head of cattle and horses down in the Onkaparinga Valley. He assures us that all are in excellent condition after travelling nearly one thousand miles from New South Wales via the Murrumbidgee, the Darling and the Murray Rivers. 

He found abundant feed along the way and has done excellent work in the establishment of a stock route from Sydney to Adelaide, particularly since he also brought with him two bullock drays, thus demonstrating the practical nature of the route. No doubt he will be rewarded handsomely with the sale of his stock as there are people here keen to purchase. 

He also tells us that there are other parties on the way, one of them being led by Captain Sturt. If Sturt is involved I cannot help but think that they could end up anywhere and take any amount of time, but we shall see. 

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Sunday, 1st April, 1838

I have news to hand of a "Bushranger" terrorising the Encounter Bay District.

It has also been brought to me attention that today is All Fools Day and I feel the two facts are not unrelated.

Some poor devil probably did no more than wave an empty pistol about and steal a few potatoes for his supper because he was hungry and the result is that he's Robin Hood, Blackbeard, Rob Roy and King Rat in the Pantomime rolled into one terrible Dick Turpin.

I imagine I will have to dispatch a couple of Marines to the South Coast to deal with the matter of this, no doubt, ambitiously named "bushranger" or at the least appear and look fierce. Probably appearing sober would be enough of a challenge for the lads, but one can only hope.

Mr. Fisher's Pauper Labourers have continued to work about town. They have been busy chopping down trees in Brown and Morphett streets and, if anything, have made the streets even less passable since they have left both the fallen trees and the stumps to lie where they will. A number of people have attempted to help themselves to the wood for home purposes and have been repulsed by Fisher who has told them that the fallen trees are the property of the Company and are to be sold in a forthcoming sale.

They join the growing number of people who have been repulsed by Mr. Fisher. Indeed there is a rumour about the town that letters have been delivered to him from England advising him of his recall as Resident Commissioner. I doubt that they are true as I would have been also notified, but the fact that such rumours are welcomed and repeated is an indication of the depths of his repulsiveness.

The McGee case rattles on. The trial is set down for the coming week, barring unforeseen circumstances, and many will see it as an entertainment and attempt to get seating in the courtroom. Jickling, showing a hitherto unacknowledged exhibitionism, has suggested holding the trial in the open air "for the pleasure of the mutitude", but I have hit that idea on the head pretty quickly. 

And speaking of repulsive, Widow Harley's brat Harriet,  who continues to infest the house, spoke her first word this week. It was, and I shudder as I write this, "Governor"!  At least that is what Mrs Hindmarsh and Lucrezia aver. Since the infant lump had a mouth full of bread and milk at the time it sounded to me more like an incoherent mumble or, perhaps, a belch. But as I had, co-incidentally, walked into the room just as she uttered it then "Governor"  it was.

Mrs Hindmarsh,  as a result, is like a cow in a nursery rhyme and "over the moon", calling the "Dear little thing" "our First Grandchild"! The whole thing smacks of a child saying of a dog, "It followed me home. Can I keep it?" but I keep my own council. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Sunday, 25th March, 1838

The mayhem surrounding the shooting of Sammy Smart seems to have subsided slightly. McGee is held prisoner, chained to a log at the prison tent, Morgan has high tailed it to the hills and is beyond mortal ken. With luck he will make his way back to New South Wales and be no longer our problem.

Smart himself is wafting about the town, drawing discreet attention to his elaborately bandaged ear and basking in the attention of all who say "Oh Mr Smart, how brave you were! And how terrifying it must have been!" which gives Sam a chance to say, with all the appearance of modesty, "Brave do you call it? I was merely doing my duty." to the admiration  of all. I say "all". I think he is a pompous, self aggrandising arse, but I am in the minority at the moment.

Anyways, he was appointed Sherriff for a year and his time is up next month, so let him have his moment of glory I suppose.

The problem comes with the question of "What to do with McGee?" He has been charged with "Attempted Murder" and unlike Stephens, whose similar charge is currently in abeyance due to it being carried out on the high seas and thus currently outside our jurisdiction, McGee is firmly within our sights. There can be no question of his guilt, since Smart has identified him as his assailant and he was found with the pistol covered in blood from where Smart grabbed it.

And so I expect he will be found guilty and in the normal order of things he would be given the death sentence and be taken down to be hung. Which raises the question, "Taken down to where?"

We are simply not equipped to be hanging people. We have no appointed hangman. We have no gallows. We have no real prison. Dear me! I'm not entirely sure that we have a decent length of rope of sufficient thickness going spare. But, justice must be seen to be done.

We cannot commute the sentence to life imprisonment, since our prison would hold him for, if we are lucky, an hour at most. We could, at a pinch, sentence him to transportation, but somehow putting him on a boat and sending him off to Sydney smacks more of the holiday excursion than "durance vile".

Well, we shall see. But I cannot help but think that I will be placing a notice in the Gazette soon: 

"Position available for hangman. 

A chance to meet interesting people briefly. 

Own rope an advantage."

And then, after two days of high drama, as sure as night follows day, Fisher can be depended upon to bring the place back to normality without even breaking a sweat.

Let it be noted that the Emmigration Agent is once again Brown, since Hutchinson resigned in order to go a-duelling with Fisher. And let it be noted that one of the tasks of the Emmigration Agent is to interview new arrivals in order to ascertain their skills and abitilties - their names, numbers, trades, or occupations, - and these are to be made public in order to facilitate their employment usefully in the Colony.

Well, it is the constant complaint of all and sundry that this knowledge is never made public, but held tight by Fisher as some sort of secret mystery only available to initiates.

The result is that ship after ship after ship arrives in port, all packed to the gunwhales with newcomers looking for work. And yet people are crying out for workers. Skilled builders, carpenters, stone masons are at a premium and those who can manage to find one are paying 12/- a day to secure their services. Even labourers who spend an hour or two leaning on a shovel watching others work can earn 5/- a day, whilst labourers who actually bend their backs and use an axe or a hoe effectively can demand six. 

Which means that there should be no-one in the Colony without employ and short of a few extra guineas. And certainly, then, there should be no need for the scheme Fisher has set up to support Pauper Colonists.

What "pauper colonists" forsooth? Who exactly is there who cannot find employment when the maimed and the halt and the blind can make £1 a week just by leaning on a shovel?

Yet Fisher has a scheme where the destitute newcomer can gain employment from the Company for a pittance.

So here is Fisher's entire scheme. 

(1) Skilled newcomers arrive in the Colony (2) Fisher learns from them their trade and abilities (3) Fisher keeps this information to himself meaning (4) that no-one in the Colony offers the new comers employment. (5) Because no-one is offering the skilled newcomers employment Fisher offers them "Destitute Labour" at a fraction of the cost they might otherwise make and meanwhile (6) the Colony falters through lack of skilled tradesmen and (7) Fisher has a private army of labourers and (8) saves a fortune!

I have no objection to a man making a shekel and if rules need to be bent a little, well, like Hamlet I am "indifferent honest". But to make money at the expence of an entire Province of the Crown seems to be overdoing it somewhat.

And how does he get away with it?

Henry Jickling was telling me, when we were discussing the McGee case, that since he has been Judge in the Supreme Court he has sat in six cases. And five of them have been actions for libel brought by Fisher agaist someone who has complained about him. The sixth was brought by  Brown, but supported by Fisher. against Gilles for refusing to continue paying Browns wages after I dismissed him.

So there we are. Anyone who makes a public statement about FIddle Fingers FIsher and his Fancy Finances stands in danger of finding himself in the dock defending a charge of criminal libel while FIsher uses the money he saves on labourers to employ what we ironically term "the finest lawyers in the Colony".

I have even heard whispers that Fisher is making moves to have me removed as Governor. There have been letters to London, secret messages, all the usual paraphernalia of cloak and dagger skullduggery.

Well, to be honest, if I am removed, then I am not sure that I will be too upset. Let them get someone else to come out and try and clean up the mess left by Mr Fisher. I can be well out of it and back in London while the rest all go to buggery!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Friday, 23rd March, 1838

Dear Lord! The last night and today have been a crazed circus!

Last night, while I was getting ready for bed, there came a knocking so frantic it threatened to bring the door down entirely. To be honest, the door is so flimsy that any but the gentlest tap presents a danger, but this was apt to tear the thing off its hinges!

I threw on a gown and opened the door to discover William Williams, Sam Smart's deputy. almost beside himself with panic 

"They shot the Sherriff!" he cried.

"But not the deputy," I replied. "So calm yourself and tell me what has happened."

He managed to get control of himself and told me that two men had broken into Smart's home and had shot him in the head!

I asked if the shot was fatal, but Williams was unsure. I immediately sent one of the duty Marines to Tom Cotter's hospital so that the doctor could get down to Sammy and see if he needed to move his bowels (Tom's certain cure for everything, including, probably, bullets to the head.)

The other Marine I sent off the Marine camp on East Terrace to rouse the rest of the troop and get onto the hunt for the culprits. Pausing only to scribble a note to Mrs. Hindmarsh to tell her where I was going, I rushed with Williams to Sam's hut. 

When I arrived I enterd the room, expecting to find Smart's lifeless corpse with the few brains he had spattered across the walls.

Instead I entered to find him sitting in a chair, complaining to any who would listen about the inconvenience of being shot. It transpired that "shot in the head", whilst technically true, may have been an exaggeration. Although the culprit did indeed aim a pistol at Smart's head and pull the trigger, his aim was so bad that all he did was hit Smart in the earlobe. An advantage, I suppose, of having ears like the two open doors of a Hansom cab.

On asking Sam what had happened he told me that he had been sitting writing reports when two men burst into the room. The men were known to him by name: Michael McGee and William Morgan.

McGee sneered and said, "You know too much, see, Sherriff! You're turning into a threat to our business!"

Smart was not shaken. Rather, he spoke to the men fiercely, saying, "People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you'll be polite."

McGee patted his waistcoat pocket. "Be careful what you say. I have a pistol and I will use it if I need to."

Smart decided to bluff and let an icy smile play about his lips. "The house is under surveillance by the Marines. The Governor has promised me his protection and declared that you will be taken prisoner."

McGee sneered once more. "I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"

Morgan, who had been silent up to that point, suddenly yelled, "Finish him Mick and stop his talk!" and McGee reached inside his waistcoat, with a cry of: "Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!" 

Smart dived for the desk drawer where he kept his pistol just as McGee fired his own, striking Smart in the ear. 

Smart, despite his wound, turned and grabbed the pistol from McGee, burning his hand on the hot barrel, and then grappled with the man. Morgan pushed Sam away and then the pair, deciding that their work was done, fled from the scene.

Williams, who was in the police hut next door, heard the shot and rushed out in time to see the two men running from the crime. He went in to see Smart lying on the floor bleeding and rushed to tell me what had happened, getting it wrong in the process

The Marines captured McGee surprisingly quickly, but then he was at his own hut, where he had returned to collect his belongings before fleeing, so they hardly needed to look too hard. Even so they caught him on their third attempt, havig bailed up both Philip Lee and Mrs Stevenson, both of whom they mistook for the swarthy Irishman. Morgan has disappeared into the bush. Dr Tom bandaged up Smart's ear and gave him a purgative to ensure his recovery.

I fell into bed at about four in the morning and was awoken by Henry Jickling, who came to Government House at about nine in order to discuss the details of McGee's trial. 

What with those solemnities to deal with and the Marines rushing hither and yon chasing their own tails on fruitless reports of Morgan being sighted by every man woman and child in the town and Tom Cotter arriving to give me reports three times during the day on Sam's progress ("I believe his bowels have sounded, your Excellency") I have barely had time to scratch myself.

There will be more of this to come. And Fisher has not involved himself in it yet. When he does, no doubt he will make it even more frantic!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Note found between the pages of Hindmarsh's diary, dated Thursday, 22nd March, 1838


My Dear Susannah;

Good God all mighty! Sam Smart has been shot in the head!

I have ordered out the Marines to try and capture the culprits.

Am going out to direct the operation. Will return later!