Sunday, 23 June 2013

Part Two - Governor of the Colony

Editor's note : With his arrival in the South Australia and the establishment of the new colony Hindmarsh entered a new phase of his employment and life. Inevitably his diary reflects this change in both its form and its content.

Heretofore Hindmarsh had kept his diary daily, assiduously writing out his thoughts and the happenings in his life as well as recording the progress of the ship under his command.

With the completion of the voyage the need (and indeed, the opportunity) for such scrupulous record keeping changed dramatically.

Under the circumstances of government, Hindmarsh's writing of his diary quickly fell into a pattern. Each week (usually on a Sunday evening) he would write up the events of the past seven days in one large diary entry, creating a form of "news digest". He also included clippings from the newspaper (when it was published) and from time to time wrote reflective essays on characters and issues in the colony.

It would appear that this new practice was intended to allow the Governor to clear his mind and order his thoughts as he attempted to manage the new colony as best he could.

As usual, the diary was for Hindmarsh's eyes only and contains a level of frankness not normally associated with government records.

Another point of difference between his ship board diary and his diary in Government is to be found in the degree of revision and rewriting Hindmarsh undertook in the weekly digests and especially in the character essays. The manuscript shows that Hindmarsh returned to his writing as he gained further information, changed his mind or reflected further on the subject.

The forthcoming scholarly edition of the diary will, naturally, contain a complete variorum apparatus tracking these changes, but in the current, popular edition, intended for the general public, these variants have been collated and a single, regularised text has been created.

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