Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Sunday, 9th July, 1837

As if it wasn't enough that I had to give money to Charlie Howard for the building of an Anglican church (and have yet to see any progress on that front, I might add), this week he was back at me asking for money for the building of a Wesleyan Church.

Just how many Churches does this man represent? He'll be raising money for a Temple to Diana if he gets half a chance. He wittered on in his usual pompous way about "those who dread the evil of our becoming a Sabbath desecrating, and consequently a Godless people, will readily contribute towards so desirable an object as the erection of a house of worship." and  I gave him five pounds just to get rid of him. He went on his way, as happy as a sand boy, but I cannot help but feel that the man is lining his own pocket.

He is certainly in a state at the moment, caught up in the Machiavellian intricacies of church politics. It appears that His High and Mightiness William Broughton of Sydney has decided that, as he rejoices in the title "The Lord Bishop of Australia" then Charlie Howard and what the Lord Bishop has graciously named "The Parish of the Holy Trinity" will henceforth come under his jurisdiction and what little property Charlie Howard has managed to collect for his church will become Broughton's property. What is more Charlie and his flock will pay money to Sydney for the privilege! Charlie has been informed that he is to consider himself Broughton's "surrogate" and will collect fees on The Lord Bishop's behalf,

Will he, bollocks!

The Lord Bishop has graciously let it be known that a marriage licence in Adelaide will cost three pounds, of which, two pounds will go into the coffers of the church in Sydney. This is the only example of the Bishop's parsimony Howard gave me, but I feel certain there are others. I do not doubt that every time a South Australian is hatched, matched or dispatched, the Church in Sydney will have their hands out for their fee.

I do believe that the Council will be communicating with the Lord Bishop of Australia in the near future so that we might offer him the use of one of Widow Harvey's largest saucepans so that he might go and boil his fat head!

Clearly his bed time reading has not included "An Act to empower His Majesty to erect South Australia into a British Province or Provinces and to provide for the Colonisation and Government thereof [15th August 1834] " whereas this delightful and instructive volume has been my constant companion for nigh on two years.

If he had given it the attention it deserves then he would know that His Majesty has given assent to the simple notion that "every person who shall at any time hereafter inhabit or reside within his majesty’s said province of South Australia shall be free and shall not be subject to or bound by any laws orders statutes or constitutions which have been heretofore made, or which hereafter shall be made ordered or enacted by for or as the laws orders statutes or constitutions of any other part of Australia but shall be subject to and bound to obey such laws orders statutes and constitutions as shall from time to time in the manner hereinafter directed be made ordered enacted for the government of his majesty’s province of South Australia." 

In short, not only has Our Gracious Majesty William of Hanover given royal assent to William Broughton boiling his fat head, but, given the opportunity, would probably put a pan of water on the fire so he could do it.

The Colony of South Australia has been established to make up its own mind, not be lectured by some jumped up cleric with delusions of grandeur who condescends from Sydney to tell us what we must do. Be buggered! We will make our own arrangements for ourselves and the great and mighty Sydney can go hang.

And, to be honest, the last person we need in South Australia is a man like William Broughton. A man who believes that the world is made up of two kids of people - the Anglican Church and the damned - is not what we want in our Colony. We have every brand of religion here in the colony you might imagine. Anglicans, Catholics, Jews, Scots Kirk, every kind of dissenter imaginable. (At last count we had five different sorts of Wesleyan, but that was a week or two ago and they might well have had another schism or two since.) I have heard that Joseph Bruce hopes to bring Mohammedan workers to the Colony and of course if Angas has his way we will have Lutherans arriving before long. What a staunch member of the Established church might make of all this I cannot imagine.

And really, does his High and Mightiness really think that he can place a part of our colony under a separate jurisdiction without at least mentioning it to the Government. Which is to say, ME! He could have at least asked first. I would still have said no, but it would have been polite.

Besides, Charles Beaumont Howard, for all his faults, is private property, bought and paid for by the South Australia Company, Old Charlie might not be up to much, but he's ours and The Lord Bishop of Australia can keep his fingers off.

Extraordinary scenes this week as Fisher and his cabal attempted a coup!

Earlier this week I was informed in writing that the Council was to meet at Fisher's house at one in the afternoon. This, it transpired, was incorrect and the Council arrived at Fisher's house for the meeting at ten in the morning. It seems that everyone else's notes had the correct time written on the them, but mine had the nought left off. "10 o'clock" on everyone else's. "1 o'clock" on mine.

I am assured that this was a mere slip of the pen and an accidental oversight, but I am not convinced and suspect foul play.

Well, they sat about twiddling their thumbs for a time and when that lost the value of novelty, sat about twiddling each other's; then they took it into their heads that since I was clearly not attending the meeting they would procedd with the business before the Council without me.

Gilles at least had the good manners to send me a boy with a hastily scribbled note asking me if I was planning to come.

I was out in the garden planting potatoes and onions when the boy arrived and as soon as I read his message I hurried to the meeting. I had time to remove my gardening gloves, but not my boots and Fisher tut tutted about the mud on his floor. His dirt floor I might add.

Mud on his floor? I gave him mud in his eye! giving the lot of them a right bollocking! I told them that it was a most unwarrantable proceeding to take it upon themselves to undertake the business of Council without me and that I viewed it as an attempt to wrest from my hands the powers entrusted to me by His Majesty's Commission.

Well of course they all acted like schoolboys caught behind the sheds. Fisher tried to be as smooth as butter and assured me that no such disrespect was meant and that it was all the merest misunderstanding.

Well! I accepted their grovelling apologies but I shall continue the straightforward exercise of my appointed and important duties without reference to the conduct of these coxcombs. I do not intend to allow their tomfoolery to impede me in the conduct of public affirs and have written to London to tell them so. 

My plan to advertise for a replacement cook came to naught, I am afraid. There was only one applicant, who said that she was highly skilled as a cook: that she always endeavoured to give satisfaction, bur that her current employer was a tyrant and she was looking for a more reasonable position. Stevenson told her my generous terms of employment and we made a time for an interview. I suppose I should have guessed, but the only applicant was, in fact Widow Harvey. Lucrezia Borgia, the mad poisoner herself. 

Well of course, after what happened last time I attempted to hire a cook I decided I should best re-employ the mad woman, lest there be trouble from Mrs Hindmarsh. But the Widow had heard that there was more generous remuneration on offer and so I find myself paying sixteen pounds instead of ten for the same execrable food, I have gained the reputation of "a tyrant" and, to gild the lily, Lucrezia told Mrs Hindmarsh all about it and I am now made a figure of fun in my domestic circle, 

Damnation!

Young Bingham Hutchinson has published an account of his ascent of Mount Lofty. He will, no doubt, be surprised to read it as it bears little relation to his original draft.When I read his original I suggested to our editor at the Register that he soften it down a little. Hutchinson does have a tendency to get carried away at times.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sunday, 2nd July 1837



Poor old Light came in to see me during the week. He is not looking at all well and I fear he will not be making old bones.


He tells me he has been busying himself surveying the port and has completed a survey of twenty nine sections and laid out a settlement at Glenelg (in a grid pattern, I write without surprise)


But the poor sod finds himself up against it in no uncertain terms.


More and more tongues wag about him and the time it is taking him to complete the survey of the country sections. The settlers bitch and moan about him...


"We were promised on our arrival immediate possession of our property." 

"The surveys were all to have been completed, and ready for choice." 

"We have now been in South Australia for half a year and more, waiting with our servants, for our town acres and country sections."

"The town acres have been sited at a place so far from the sea, that it costs us more money to bring our goods from the beach to them, than from England to the beach."

"It took the Surveyor General and his Staff four months to survey 1000 acres for the town, how long will the survey of at least 100,000 acres, occupy the same party?"

"Ooooo poor old us! Ooooo, we're being inconvenienced! Ooooo, we're left with nothing to do except sit on our fat backsides day in and day out, while the servants bring us tea and scones. Oooooo! Are we not hard done by?"

God rot them for the miserable whining curs the lot of them are! 

I gave Light a drink or two and once lubricated he told me that the problem was that when he took on the job he understood that the Surveying Party would be sufficiently staffed to do the job properly. The reality was that those penny pinching fat heads - our admired Commissioners of the South Australia Company - understood that the Survey Party would be sufficiently staffed to do the job as cheaply as possible.

Light, wanting to do the job properly, has embarked upon a trigonometrical survey - accurate to be sure, but time consuming also. There are quicker, easier and cheaper survey methods but they simply aren't as accurate and when you've laid everything out in grids and boxes things need to line up properly or the thing is shot to Sodom.

He has also sent Kingston back to England. Perfectly understandable to anyone who has spent longer than ten minutes in the same room as the little oik, but it has depleted his staff by one (By two, if you ask Durward) with the result that there are now even less men working with Light to get the survey done. 

Light tells me that the horrid man was not just sent back to London for the sake of peace and quiet, but to plead with the Commissioners for more surveying staff to be sent out so that the job might be expeditiously completed.

My advice to the man was simple. "Let them all go to buggery and to Hell with the Pope!"

We are, after all, trying to build a colony for the ages and an inconvenience of a few months is as nothing to a job done properly for a few hundred years. If these Moaning Minnies of settlers don't appreciate what Light is trying to do then they can bring their complaints here to me at Government House and I will personally shove them so far up their arses that they will be chewing on them for days.

Walter Bromley came during the week and spent an hour with me telling me, solemnly, that he had discovered that the natives have no taste for porridge. I must admit I sat and waited for him to get to the moment when he revealed that this was all a joke, but he went on at great length and with an ever more serious tone about the natives and porridge. I am now more fully informed upon the subject than any man has a right to be. He also told me that he approached Jeffcott for judgement on the matter of the native dog that was killed last month and our noble judge - "a Daniel come to judgement" - told Bromley that the thing was not in hid jurisdiction and that "the Governor is the only man who can deal with the matter". 


I took a piece of paper and scribbled in pencil: "Walter Bromley may obtain a new dog for the injured party." and the man went away as happy as a sandboy.

Widow Harvey seems set fair to achieve her long held goal and actually kill someone.

During the week it occurred to me that brewing some beer would be a sensible thing to do.


It would certainly be better tasting than the water from the Torrens River, which is developing a brackish quality now that more and more people are watering live stock in it and using it for the disposal of night soil.


It would be healthier than drinking water as beer is both nutritious food and cooling drink. Even the Widow's baby brat would grow rosy cheeked and fat -well, fatter - with a little beer each mealtime.


And finally,by laying in a good supply of beer in the winter months when water is plentiful we would have a decent supply of drink during the Summer, when, if last Summer is anything to go by, the river is reduced to a chain of muddy waterholes.


Bobby Cock, who has the happy knack of seeming to be able to sell you anything you want has offered to supply me with a decent quantity of dried hops. Barley, of course, is pretty much unobtainable, but there is wheat to be had at a reasonable price and no-one I know ever objected to a good wheaten beer.  In one of the outhouses I found a number of empty barrels from the Buffalo that held, I believe, sauerkraut, so I can put them to good use. And I can certainly pitch Widow Harvey's washing out of the copper to boil up a mash.


A test batch in the next week or so would demonstrate the efficacy of the exercise, especially to Mrs Hindmarsh, who seems to doubt my practical ability and has made disparaging remarks regarding the possibility of anything good coming of the enterprise.


It was at this juncture that Widow Harvey, with the inevitability of the tide, spoke up to share her wisdom with us. It seems that her "dear ole da", by which appellation I assume she means her father, made many a gallon of good strong beer using naught more than what he found in hedgerows. Haw berries, nettles, sloe, all made a decent drop. And if he could acquire (by which, I guess, she meant steal) enough apples or pears "of the right sort" then he might make scrumpy or perry. And she did not doubt that she could turn her hand to the brewer's art with all the success of dear ole da.


It fell to me to point out the flaw in her plan. We have no apples or pears of any sort and we are similarly ill supplied with hedgerows with a concomitant lack of the ingredients for dear ole da's foul concoctions. The Widow was undeterred. She was sure that there were plenty of berries and fruits "out there" that would make perfect substitutes. I told her that we had no idea of what the qualities of those fruits and berries might be. They might have the qualities of the finest strawberries. Or they might have the qualities of hemlock and kill us all.


'Well sir," she said, "we'll only learn through trial and error."


If she thinks she is going to be using me to test the poisonous nature of her experiments then I have news for her. And it is all bad.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Sunday, 25th June, 1837

The situation with Widow Harvey simply cannot continue. Not only do her woeful attempts at culinary blandishment become more and more inedible (the other night she served a soup that looked like Satan's piss and tasted worse. This was followed by - if I'm not mistaken - kangaroos testicles fried in a batter so stodgy that the things could have been shot out of mortars against the Little Corsican's army.)

And every room in the house seems filled with the woman's bubbies. (And by "bubby" I do not mean her baby.) The woman flops out the lacticular appendages at the drop of a hat. I wish someone would drop two hats so she could cover herself up.

The woman has no sense of what is appropriate in a Vice Regal abode. I walked into my office yesterday and she was in there with her back to me, apparently suckling her horrid brat. At the sound of the door opening she turned suddenly and I swear before God, nearly caught me across the temple with her great swinging dug. When a man can't enter his own room for fear of being battered by breasts then action must be taken.

Worse still, when her bosom flapped about my ears I was accompanied by the Reverend Charlie Howard, Master Criminal and Moral Arbiter of the Colony. And if the Gossiping Padre saw what was going on in my office, then no doubt by now every member of his congregation has heard all the milky details.

Therefore I have asked Georgie Stevenson to quietly place an advertisement in the next issue of the Gazette and Register offering a position of cook. No names, of course and enquiries to Stevenson's office. I am paying the Mad Poisoner ten pounds a year for the chance of having her murder me, so for someone halfway decent I am prepared to go as high as sixteen. We shall see.

Charlie had come to see me about an issue that has him in the sort of tizzy that only Howard can get himself into.

It seems that word has got about that Light made provision for a cemetery down in the south west corner of the city - by the corner of South and West Terraces. Of course, just because Light stuck it on the map doesn't mean that it is actually there yet. It is on my list of things to do but the list is currently up to six hundred and nineteen items and fixing up the grave yard currently stands at four hundred and nine.

But it appears that people just can't wait. We have had a few deaths here in the colony, both adults and children, and their relatives have decided to bury them in the proper place. Howard tells me that people have been digging graves by themselves and burying their loved ones themselves.

I'm not sure that Charlie's objection isn't that people doing it themselves means he doesn't get paid for his professional services, but the chief issue seems to be that people are being too damned lazy to dig the graves properly and to the right depth. It seems that the great beneficiaries of the grave yard at the moment are a large number of very well fed dogs who have started to frequent the area. And need I mention the offensive smell?

Well, I suppose we must set about finding a sexton and perhaps start to think about regulating the cemetery. Six hundred and twenty one it seems.

The half man half rabbit has managed to get it into his head that the trees need to be cleared from the city square. With an inefficiency typical of Fisher he has set about chopping away at anything that looks vegetative with little plan or little reference to any map. Light stepped in and told him what an arse he was when he start chopping down trees in the Colonel's beloved "park lands".

Eventually Brown and Mann took him aside and suggested he try cutting down the trees in the "roadways" that are to be seen nowhere else but on Light's map. Clearly Fisher thought this a topping idea because he's been wandering about the town with a pot of paint, marking trees that need to go, I heard a rumour that he's planning to offer all comers threepence a trunk in order to get the trees cut as quickly as possible.

My remaining Marines - who have been christened The Praetorian Guard by local wags - have decided to camp out now that the Buffalo has left. They have set up a campsite in the park lands on the banks of the stream at the corner of North and East Terraces and hold roaring entertainments there all through the night. To make themselves appear useful they have taken to wandering about the place, "arresting" any poor soul who has the misfortune to catch their eye.

Last week John Hallett, who is as deaf as a plank of teak, was going about his business in Hindley Street, when the Marines accosted him and demanded to know where he was going. It seems that the Marines had decided, for what reason God alone knows, that Hallett, as upright and respectable a man as ever wore shoe leather, looked suspiciously like a desperado. Of course, Hallett,bless his soul, didn't hear a word of what they said and just ignored them. He suddenly found himself bundled off to the Marines' camp where he was manacled to a tree and left there, out in the rain, over night. (Where they got the idea for this I do not know)

I have smoothed things over with Hallett and  - with more difficulty - Mrs Hallett, but really, the Marines must learn to use some commonsense.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Sunday, 18th June, 1837

Although I never thought I'd say it, but I do believe that I was sorry to see the old Buffalo depart for Sydney this week.

All that time on board in command on the voyage out here, then the time in Holdfast Bay, living on board with the Marines and the prisoners in jail. At the time I couldn't wait to be off the thing, but I must admit to a lump in my throat at it dipped over the horizon out of sight.

I suppose that at least some of that emotion was a sense of apprehension at what the Commissioners were going to say about the expense of keeping the ship and crew here. I don't doubt for a moment that they had some money making venture in mind and I don't doubt either that by keeping the Buffalo here I have spoiled those plans right royally.

I will be hearing more of it all, no doubt.

If truth be told I think that in the back of my mind was the fanciful notion that while the Buffalo was at anchor I always had the option of packing a few things in a bag, going on board and telling Master Wood "Get me the hell out of here!"  Now, it seems, my last hope of escape has vanished.

Also vanished are most of the Marines. I have kept a small band of the relatively less troublesome ones to act as my personal guard, but the rest are headed off on board the old Buffalo.

There were tears aplenty as they left and much sharing of anecdotes. "Oh Captain," they would say, with tears running down their cheeks, "do you remember when....." and trail of into some tale of disaster and disgrace that I was meant to find amusing.

The Marines as they saw themselves


Unfortunately I did indeed remember every incident - every single one - and also remembered the inconvenience and danger all of them caused. So instead of meeting the departing Marines with a "Well down thou good and faithful servants", there was a certain froideur about me as I waved them a Vice Regal farewell..

The remaining Marines are to be set to work as guards for prisoners. At present we have few prisoners in the Colony, but then we also have few marines, so swings and roundabouts.

I am loathe to mention it, but before they left the crew took inventory and surprised us all by finding the missing sail.

Damnation!

I have spent the past month or so blaming Charlie Howard and believing him to be a sneak thief and a hypocrite but it seems that his story of the sail for the church being given gratis by the Captain of -I think - the Cygnet might well have been true. In which case - I am loathe to say - I may have been wrong. Fortunately I have been sufficiently restrained in making my suspicions known that I have no need to apologise to the Padre, but I admit to feeling a little sheepish about the whole thing.

And speaking of sheepish. Those damned sheep I had from Archer in exchange from naming a street after him have vanished!

Of course - do I really need to say this? - the Marines were involved. Asking one of them to care for them was clearly a mistake. James Fish - a delightful young lad, but thick as Tewksbury mustard - was appointed "shepherd" and sent out with the fifty best Dorset. That he kept referring to them as "wooly dogs" might have been a clue to his lack of experience in management of livestock and I suspect he lost them by trying to train them to fetch sticks. At any rate, within a week young Jim Fish was in my office telling me that "all them fluffy hounds have run away".
Still, leave them alone and they will come home I suppose. Either that or the natives will dine on wooly wombats.

Mad Menge has been out and about again and says he has discovered a silver mine in the foothills near the base of what Gilles has been pleased to call "Mount Osmond". Of course no-one believes the German. Not after the rush he caused last week after he declared he had found a deposit of sapphires on Wakefield Street.

Widow Harvey came to me during the week and said that "it breaks my heart yah Rexellence, but I feel I need to apologise to you."

I was stunned! There was so much she needed to apologise for and I was fascinated to see where she might begin. I asked her to continue.

"Well," she said, "I cannot help but feel that with my wee sweet little mite Harriet in the house to care for I might well have let the standard of my cooking to slip from my usual high standards."

I admit to being gobsmacked.

"But sir," she continued, "you may be assured to yourself that my collations and niceties will soon return to their usual high degree of tastefulness and delectibilty."

And to prove  it that night she pulled out all the stops and produced what she referred to as "Rutland Ragout" (she pronounced it "Rag Out") Who would have thought that our smallest county might have given us such an enormous offense!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sunday,11th June 1837

Gilles came to me all in a tizzy this week. So upset, it seems, that he had sobered up from the shock.

He informed me that, as Treasurer, he had been borrowing money hand over fist from the Montefiore family (of whom Jacob Montefiore serves as one of our esteemed Colonial Commissioners) and as a result the Colony is in hock to the tune of several thousand pounds.

I have to say this came as no great surprise to me. All the talk by Wakefield - the old lecher -  and his acolytes about the colony being self funding through the sale of land always seemed to me to be rose-coloured bollocks. And I never supposed for a moment that getting old Mr Moneybags Gilles drunk and touching him for a few shekels was ever the only way the colony was funded. So to hear that we had been pawning the silverware to keep the place running was hardly a revelation.

However, Gilles didn't seem to think that this was the main problem at hand. When we named all the streets the other week we had forgotten to name anything after Montefiore. Every other man jack of the Commission seems to have their name set for posterity to recall, with a street or a park or a river or some such - good God! - we gave LeFevre an entire peninsula - admittedly a small one - Morphett kept sniggering like a dirty minded schoolboy saying "LeFevre's got a small peninsula" which, after the fifth brandy, seemed funny I suppose.

But Montefiore - nothing. Either we did name something after him and lost the slip of paper with his name on it, or we were just too squiffy to remember it. And if Pascoe Grenfell has a street named after him for doing nothing more than donating an acre of land for Charlie Howard to set up a church on, then not remembering the man that's keeping the whole shebang running with his family's cash (and giving us a favourable interest rate as well according to Gilles) could be seen as a slap in the face.

The problem, Gilles pointed out, was that there seemed to be nothing left to name. We had already done everything we could think of to give us enough namable bits and pieces and there really seemed to be nothing left for Montefiore to hang his name on.

And then I remembered a story that's doing the rounds about Light at the moment. According to the story, when they were doing the city survey, Light stood on a hill overlooking Adelaide, gathered his party around him, pointed out over the site and said "Boys - this is the place for a city,"

There's some disagreement about which hill it actually was - some people say it was the big hill across the river, opposite the church land and some people say it was down by the stock yards outside Light's hut.

And it appears that Durward Kingston, the unspeakable little tit, was going around the town before he selflessly set sail for England so that the rest of us wouldn't have to put up with him saying that in fact he was the one who stood on the hilltop and said "Truly I say unto you, this is the place for a city."(Kingston seemed to think it was the most important thing said on a mountain top since "Consider the lilies.")

I asked Light about it and he tells me that what actually happened was this. He did stand outside his hut with his survey party, all basking in the morning sunshine, mugs of tea in hand and he did say: "What a grand morning! This is the place for a city!"

Later that day, when they were on the big hill above the river Copycat Kingston pointed and said "THIS is the place for a city!" Light, seeing that Durward was facing Northwest, towards the Port, turned him around, pointed in the right direction and said "No Kingston you fool! The place for a city is over here."

However, whatever happened, the point is that we haven't named the hill yet! Well, we have, but we called it "That Big Hill over the River".  Montefiore Hill. It has a good ring to it.

Of course Gilles got all sniffy about it almost straight away. Would people accept, he said, a name that was, as he put it, "so obviously foreign"? And of course, by "foreign" he was dancing around the word "Jewish".

Well, this is just rank, narrow minded prejudice.And  there are two things that never fail to raise my ire - petty-minded bigotry and the French.

Given the choice between the certainties of  well run Jewish banking and faith in Christian Charity I know what I'd choose as a basis for funding the colony.

So I have decided that yes, I will be naming that big hill across the river after Jacob Montefiore and if any of our small minded, miserable galoots of colonists don't like having a Jewish hill then they can come and see me and kiss my Gentile, Naval arse.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Sunday, 4th June, 1837

I received this week a letter from Kingscote on the island informing me that:
due to his eccentricities of manner and his unreliability of method, the Company has taken the decision to dispense with the services of John Menge, who has hitherto been employed in the position of Company Mineralogist. 
When we mention that in carrying out the duties of a mineralogist Mr Menge has left us uncertain as to what the duties of a mineralogist might really be, you will, I hope, appreciate the unusual nature of the position we take with regard to Mr Menge and our action in "letting him go". 
We are unsure as to what Mr Menge's future intentions might be, but he has our assurance that we wish him nothing but good in whatever in God's name it is that he thinks he is doing.
Yours etc
I should add that the letter was delivered to me at Government House by none other than Herr Johannes Menge himself, so I feel pretty confident that I can solve the mystery as to his future intentions.

Mad Menge has been loosed upon the mainland!

He has, he told me, been in the settlement for only three days and already has identified two diamond mines and a coal field - all, apparently, on South Terrace and within easy walking distance of his tent.

When I first read his reports on the mineral wealth of Kangaroo Island I was prepared to give the man the benefit of the doubt. However, when none of the gems and ores he anticipated eventuated it became clear to me that Menge was nutty as one of Widow Harvey's fruit cakes and he receives no benefit from me - I have no longer any doubts.

And soon, it would seem, he is to be joined by another just like him. The mind boggles that there might be two the same, but there we are it seems.

Herr Menge tells me that arriving soon in the colony from Sydney will a close and good friend of his: Augustus Schmidt, who.has recently returned from Canton where, Menge tells me - at length - that he has been bringing the light of Christian Knowledge to the oriental heathen. Though, Menge says, he has met with "limited success": the which I take to mean that he has been a dismal and utter failure!

I might presume that now he is coming here to our shores to fail at bringing the light of Christian Knowledge to our local natives. I really do not see what they might have done to deserve this.

I am at a loss to know whether to be sympathetic or celebratory at the news to hands that Advocate-General Mann has been ordered to his bed by Doctor Cotter because he has scurvy.

Assuming first that we can trust a diagnosis by Cut 'em Up Cotter (and this is an act of faith that even Charlie Howard might find hard to swallow) then this demonstrates two salient facts.

One - any colonist (and there have been many) who has referred to Mann as a "scurvy fellow" and thought they were using merely an illustrative figure of speech was in truth speaking more accurately than they knew.

Two - I can only assume that Mann has been negligent in his consumption of sauerkraut. If that is so then I can only think the better of him. I am happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with any man who refuses to eat the foul, salty, slimy stuff. I now hold the chap in higher regard than either Fisher or Gouger, which might not be saying much for him, since I hold those two at nought.


Lucrezia Harvey's daughter is now comfortably ensconced in Government house. A baby of less than a year old, named Harriet - "after me own firs name, ya rexcellency" as the Widow was kind enough to point out.

This came as a surprise as it had never occurred to me that Widow Harvey might actually have a first name. In point of fact I believe in the past I referred to her in writing as "Mrs W. Harvey" - the "W" standing for "Widow". But now it transpires that she has the mellifluous name of "Harriet Harvey". But I shall still think of her as Lucrezia, the Mad Poisoner.

When I remarked upon her giving the child the same name as herself she said simply, "I couldn't think of a better one," An extra ordinary lesson in how the mind works:  that this woman -  so devoted to flights of fancy in which ingredients the less imaginative, quite rightly as it proves,would consider incompatible are effortlessly combined in the most bizarre and hitherto unthought of ways to produce meals only the most foolhardy would treat as "food" - didn't have sufficient invention to think of a new name for her child. God God! in the short time I had the brat under my feet I have thought of several But it seems that the Widow, touched by the muse in her ability to produce slop, was left without gift in all else.

Mrs Hindmarsh asked her why she had hidden the baby away from us and she said that she thought that if we knew she had a child we might - to quote her - "terminimate her employ". I assured her that we would hardly throw her out in the street for having a child when we already turned a blind eye to the many other reasons she had given us to dispense with her service. At this she told me I was "a terrible tease" and threw her head back and laughed so hard that we were able to see all four of her teeth.

When I first came upon the baby I thought Mrs Harvey had left a lump of bread dough out to prove, so pale and dumpy was it. Mrs Hindmarsh has either entered her dotage or is deliberately trying to torment me as she follows me about the house, carrying the brat and saying - in a bedlamite tone - utterances such as: "Look at the big silly navy man!". When I found her using the official colonial seal as a teething ring I suggested that the child might play with its mother in the kitchen outhouse, but to no avail.


The child has not yet been weaned and no matter which room I enter in the house Widow Harvey seems to have got there first and flopped out her bosom in order to feed her child. "Don't worry, ya rexcellency." she shrieks, "I'm not in the least embarrassed!" Obviously - in fact, ostentatiously -not!

She has also told me, with reference to her feeding the child, that she was a dairy maid back home in England (caveat emptor at the term "maid" I think) and "now I'm like a big old cow!" To my horror she added "But at least I'm a good milker!"

Which does give rise to a terrible thought. Lately for suppers we have been served up many custards, possets, blanc-manges and junkets. So many milk dishes! Surely not.....

Sunday, 28th May, 1837

Thursday last I was shaken at the sight of a drunken William Light standing on a table in Fisher's kitchen yodeling the name of our new colony.

"Adelai - hee - hoo! Adelai - hee - hoo!"

If this is the much vaunted "culture" that traveling through Europe brings then thank the Lord I chose not to.

The occasion for this extraordinary display was the end of the committee meeting for the naming of the streets of Adelaide.

The committee was made up of Myself, Jeffcott, Gouger, Hack, Morphett, Stephens, Strangways, Gilbert, Brown and Gilles and, of course (no circus without a clown) Fisher. Light was there as well, although I don't recall him being asked. However, he told us that it was his map and if he didn't get a say then he'd take it home and not let us use it, so we had little choice but to include him. Besides, having hi there would avoid last week's embarrassment of having the map facing the wrong way.

When we met we all had a view of what the street names should be. Colonists had submitted suggestions and the thing bode well to be a serious attempt to name the streets of the town.

However within moments the things was at sixes and sevens. Fisher still insisted (interminably) that the naming was his prerogative alone, while the rest of us insisted, politely, that he shut his cakehole.

It would appear that every man jack of the committee had used the promise of "a street named after you" as currency, gaining goods and favours from those colonists anxious to be commemorated and only too willing to donate something to ensure the committee's favourable consideration of their claim. Several of the committee had a sheaf of papers noting that they had committed to naming a street after some local in exchange for goods or service. I myself had obtained some sheep from a fellow named Archer on the promise that I would name something after him.

Gilbert, who, after all, runs the Storehouse, seems to have had enough people promise him a street name in payment for a new wheelbarrow or a pickaxe that we could have, in all probability, just named the whole place after him alone. Gilbert Sreet, Gilbert Road, Rue de Gilbert.

Added to that the determination of the committee to ensure that they themselves were properly remembered and the whole process began under such a welter of obligations that any thought of accommodating such ideas as Charlie Howard's "Names of the Old Testament" List (Bezaleel Boulevard, Jehoshabeath Mews) or my daughter's list of "Names from Gothic Novels" (Otranto Road. Udolpho Street. Vathek Place. Ambrosio Avenue. Indeed!) were immediately expunged.

In fact between us we had made so many promises to people that we decided we had best split the roads running East & West at King William Street, just so we could use up more names. Fisher said that we could say that it was a mark of respect to His Majesty that no roads crossed the street named after him, but I don't think for a moment that anyone will buy such an obvious pig in a poke.

With the streets only half as long as they were going to be, at least the street numbers will be easier to fit onto the envelopes, which will keep Rowland Hill happy. Such a good idea was this that we also decided to split the North and South Roads as well, with the result that Morphett Street now mysteriously turns into Brown Street for no good reason and Pultney Street suddenly, and completely arbitrarily transforms into Hanson Street. Still, it meant we could keep another couple of promises.

We began the meeting with Gilles making two suggestions. The first was - unsurprisingly - that we have a few tots of brandy as we worked. The second was that rather than write directly on the map itself (as happened last week, allowing Hack to make a right bollocks of it when he tried to rub out a mistake) we write suggested street names on slips of paper and place them provisionally on the map, allowing us to move them around until we were satisfied.

The upshot was, of course, that every time someone sneezed, or opened the outside door slips of paper blew everywhere and we had to spend time finding them and putting them back where they were. And thanks to Gilles other suggestion, as the meeting dragged on and we became more and more lubricated, we became less and less capable of (a) finding all the slips of paper and (b) remembering where they had been placed on the map.

By the end of the night, with our job finished and four bottles of Gilles's brandy inside us, Light leaped onto the table - nearly spilling slips of paper everywhere again - and regailed us with his aforesaid celebratory display of Swiss yodeling.

Adelai - hee - hoo!

This morning Light - who looked just as dog eared as I felt (how much liquor did Gilles pour into us?) - delivered the final draft of the map of the City of Adelaide and I am perplexed by some of its features.

I cannot believe, for example, that sober we would have named entire city squares after Wellington and Whitmore, whilst only bestowing street names upon Angas and Wakefield.

I yield to no-one in my admiration for the Iron Duke, but his connection to the colony is pretty damned slim. So too with William Whitmore - a man Lord Melbourne once called "the most affable waste of a seat in parliament I ever knew". So why we rewarded them with a Square each when we only gave Wakefield - who came up with the plan for the Colony - and Angas - the Chairman of the Company and hence the employer of most of the committee - a street I do not know.

I can only surmise that, when sober, we placed the names properly on the map, but as the night wore on we became less and less able to replace them whenever they blew away.

Even stranger, I note that, as expected, all the members of the committee have their own thoroughfare named after them. Jeffcott Street; Gouger Street; Morphett Street; Strangways Terrace; Gilbert Street; Brown Street and Gilles Street all appear as expected. But Stephens Street and Hack street I searched for in vain. True, we named Barton terrace and Hack is usually referred to by this name, but the man claims he named it after his mother. So he has at least something. But of Stephens street is there no sign.  How did this happen? That every other member of the committee is celebrated in a grand roadway and Sammy Stephens has nothing. (I admit that he probably deserves nothing, but still....)

Light thought that there might be some clue on the draft map we used on Thursday and sure enough, when we looked we discovered the answer. We had, in fact, assigned the name Stephens, not to a streets, but to a largish crease in the paper and we had just been too drunk to notice the difference.

I do not imagine he will be at all pleased, but Light thinks that with luck we can keep him drunk and he'll never notice.

Walter Bromley sent me a letter this week telling me that some damned fool by the name of Hill shot a native dog, skinned it and sold the pelt for three shillings and sixpence. The buffoon didn't seem to take into account that the dog actually belonged to one of the natives and was a devoted companion. Bromley tells me that the native canine fancier is greatly exasperated at the loss, as well he might be. We may need to either find the man another dog to replace the one that was shot or else give him some sort of recompense. I have suggested that we pay him three pounds and give him either the three and six or the actual pelt back. 

Why people do not try and consider the feelings of the natives as if they were what they are: our fellow human beings, I do not know. Hill is a blight! I don't know what I need to do to impress upon the idiot colonists that there are an awful lot more of the natives than there are of us and if we upset them and they stop being friendly we'll find ourselves being speared back to London.

After much hint dropping by me people finally seemed to have recalled that it was my birthday last week. No gifts, but Mrs Harvey made a cake. So I was doubly disappointed.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sunday, 21st May, 1837

I was left flummoxed this week in council when the final cost of the building of the Government Hut was tabled for approval.

The cost? Four thousand, six hundred and twenty six pounds and tuppence.

As I sit here in my cosy office writing up my diary I look around and can certainly see where the tuppence was spent. But for the life of me I cannot image how they spent over four and a half thousand pounds on this hovel.

At a stretch I suppose that shipping the cottage that proved useless might have cost six hundred pound, but that still leaves four thousand pounds to be accounted for. I noted that the account stated that part of the cost was for furnishing, but since we brought our own I cannot see this as correct. And even if the sum was for other public buildings, a few bark huts about the place seem unlikely to have cost that much.

I can only imagine that the cost of the beer and spirits the Marines consumed whilst building the thing might have been added to the total, in which case I can begin to see where the money was spent.

But just in private I suspect that someone might have had their fingers in the till. An inflated account here, a few pounds extra there. It all adds up.

I have my suspicions and they rhyme with Ham Snuggery Heavings. No.. Unevens. Odds and evens. Oh damn it: Sam Buggery Stephens.

Wouldn't put it past him.

I cheered myself up this week however, with the news that the Colony is now certified entirely free of Durward Kingstons. It appears that Light had some urgent errand in London - I'm not sure what... shoes to be collected from his maker? A cake left in the oven? A candle left burning in his parlour? Whatever it was, the surveying party decided unanimously that the only man they could spare was the pestilential Kingston. And so Durward finds himself on his way back to England with his instructions in his hot hands and the rest of us find that we are left to carry on with out him as best we can.

So. Happy days all round I think.

We have a new hospital in the colony. Up until now Dr. Tom (Thomas Cotter, Colonial Surgeon) has been operating in a tent across the road from us here at Government House. An old piece of canvas strung between two trees has afforded little protection for patients in all weathers, there is dust and mud everywhere and a lack of even basic sanitary conditions. Dr Tom has been seen standing outside the tent during the day accosting passersby in the street and begging them for donations of money for hospital supplies. I think many people have preferred to take their chances with illness rather than take their lives in their hands and report to the Colonial Infirmary. 

Dr Tom has hardly endeared himself to the sick either. He is not a man to suffer malingerers and many of the brave souls who have mustered the courage to go to the infirmary have been met with little sympathy from Dr Tom and received a pre-emptory order to bugger off and not waste his time. He seems to be a great believer in the healing powers of moving the bowels, advice he dishes out to all he deems to be malingering. 

These arrangements have hardly been satisfactory and so the Company has bought a new building for the care of the sick.

It is a small thatched cottage located further down North Terrace towards the corner. The building cost seventy one pounds and there has been talk about town that this seemed unduly extravagant. Since they pay Tom Cotter the princely sum of one hundred pounds a year and he is expected to buy his own medical supplies, I think they are getting a bargain, but the colonists are all as tight as a dolphin's arsehole

I was surprised to hear the Dr Tom has also made clear.his displeasure about the building. What with a dirt floor and a scantily thatched roof Dr Tom and his patients have found themselves ankle deep in mud for much of the time and with no cooking facility or privy, there is some discontent. 

Well, it will be an incentive to stay healthy I suppose.

For the past week we have been meeting with regard to finally naming the streets and parks of the City. Or rather: write names on the map Light has drawn up because to be honest you'd be hard pressed at present to actually distinguish and streets, named or otherwise, from the uncleared scrub. So far we have managed to name South Terrace and West Terrace and East Terrace. There was some discussion over what to name the northern extremity, because Light, with his mania for straight lines and in order to follow the line of the stream made what might otherwise be "North Terrace" as crooked as a dog's hind leg. Some thought that, bent as it was, we should just pretend it was all one road and call it North Terrace while others thought that each short section should have a different name.

It was at this point that we realised that we had the map facing in the wrong direction and it was actually East Terrace that was crooked and we had written South Terrace on West Terrace, East Terrace on North Terrace and West Terrace on South Terrace.

Brown thought this a huge joke and suggested that we just leave it the way it was and give future generations something to puzzle over. I couldn't help but think that it would just give future generations a chance to think we were buffoons and, to be honest, there's probably more than enough evidence of that already, so I insisted that common sense prevail and that we change it.

Fortunately we were only writing on a rough copy in pencil because that damned fool Hack tried to erase our error by spitting on his shirt sleeve and rubbing the paper vigourously. Of course all he did was cause a great smudge which rendered much of the thing unreadable. We gave up after that and just named the damned thing east Terrace to be done with it.

It has also been decided that since the settlement is to be named "Adelaide" - with the gracious permission of our beloved Queen, Old Eagle Beak - the wide road that runs through the centre of the town should be named after His Majesty and so King William Street it is.

Someone - I suspect Morphett - rather crudely (and unnecessarily) opined that "it wouldn't be the first time King William had gone up the middle of Adelaide" but I quickly put a stop to that kind of smut.

And I am afraid that that is about as far as we have got. Four Terraces and a road down the middle. Three meetings and that's all we've agreed to. We are supposed to be meeting on Tuesday to finalise the plan and I don't hold out much hope.

Fisher, of course, stuck the knife in. He suggested that two of the public squares be named after Light and myself which we thought was a most magnanimous gesture and agreed to gratefully. Then he said, "Of course I am quite modest and have not the need of such public recognition as you two do." and named one of the squares "Hurtle" after, he said, "an old family name". Old family name my eye! It's the sod's middle name and is every bit as obvious a bit of recognition as Hindmarsh Square or Light Square. But he has to be smarmy and clever.

Of course once Light and Fisher and I had places named after us it was a free for all and I suspect that our naming committee will end up naming streets principally after each other; secondly after any Company Commissioners back in England we are trying to toady to; thirdly then after just about anyone else we can think of.  Jeffcott, for instance, has decided to give Miss Kermode, his fiancee in Hobart, a wedding gift by naming a street after her. This seems no satisfactory way to establish a city! I fear Tuesday is going to be a most undignified business.

I have discovered why Lucrezia Harvey has been sneaking out at night. It appears she has a daughter. Mrs Hindmarsh is rallying round and sees a cause in it. No doubt the poor child will be the victim of my wife's charitable attention. I pity her.

I also record that it was my birthday yesterday. I  might as well record it, because no-one else remembered it!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sunday, 14th May, 1837

What a miserable, filthy little pig Fisher is.

I have seen more likeable blood sucking leeches and rat turds with greater charm.

I am astonished by his latest treachery.

In Council this week - held in Light's hut -  he had the unmitigated gall to announce that "Officers of the Government were dependent upon him for the payment of their salaries". Dependent upon him, if you please! According to this upstart, "Officers of the government" - myself included - are to line up and tug our forelocks and be grateful when he doles out our allowances.

As if I - the King's representative - am going to allow myself to be dependent on some twopenny lawyer who, in London, would have been hard pressed to be instructed in a case pf petty theft, but who has ideas above his station here in the colony.

The thing smacks of treason and of republicanism! The Royal representative - and by extension, the King - expected to come cap in hand to him so that we can be paid a few pennies to live on. The man thinks he is Cromwell and wishes to place me in the Charles Stuart role. Well, I won't be needing two shirts to stop from shivering! I'll shiver him, the bastard!

I have let him know that I have written to London and expressed my displeasure at his conduct in strong terms.

In retaliation he has asserted that the land used by the Buffalo Sailors to build outhouses and to lay out a garden for Government House was not a part of the land set aside by Light for that purpose and hence I have encroached upon - a polite way Lawyers have of saying "stolen" - public lands and should be charged with trespass. And again - the Kings's representative putting Crown Lands to good use. The jumped up pillock!

And then he tried to block me on the Proclamation of Port Adelaide.

I had prepared a proclamation declaring the port to be a legal port and describing and naming its boundaries. He has come out and declared that I have no right to name any part of the colony or any land within the Province and that he would devise names for the port and that I could stick it in my pipe and smoke it,

To which I replied, with quiet dignity, that if  he thought that I was about to tolerate a know nothing land lubber ignoramus such as him making an utter mishmash of describing an ocean port when a sailor of forty years experience, a naval hero and a friend of Nelson (I meant myself) had already, with one hand behind his back, done a better job of it than he could dream of doing then he was a complete arse and a fool to boot.

I told him that I had written to London once and could do it again and I would seek instructions from the Colonial Office as to who was in the right and whose plan for the port was the proper one.

At which point he snatched up pen and paper and scribbled out a note stating that it was his intention to resign his position, then flounced out of the hut, shouting "I just cannot work under these conditions. I am surrounded by amateurs!"

Well, what of that? I had the miserable man's resignation, was rid of him and wished him a sailor's farewell - goodbye and be buggered!.

Well, clearly when he got home Mrs Fisher had a word in his shell like, because a day or two later I received word from him that his letter only stated his intention to resign and was not an actual resignation and since he had now changed his mind he now intended to resume his position.

Well, I wasn't having any of that! I had the miserable sod's resignation and that was good enough for me. I called upon Mann, the Advocate General and asked for legal advice. Of course I should have consulted Jeffcott, but Mann is, after all, the Chief Lawyer in the colony. Mann concurred with Fisher that the letter only stated that he intended to resign and was not a resignation. I said that having learned of his intention then the resignation was implied, but apparently Mann thought this would not stand up in Court. I couldn't help thinking that if I slipped Jeffcott a couple of pounds then it probably would, but reluctantly instructed Gouger to send Fisher a letter notifying him of my decision to graciously overlook his rash foolishness and allow him to return to his position. I also included a paragraph or two expressing my opinion that because I chose to overlook his resignation he was included in Council at my behest and I expected some signs of gratitude in future. I chose not to rub it in, but I did just point out the facts.

I have since learned that Gouger gussied the letter up somewhat, omitting much of what I wrote and telling him that I would appreciate Fisher's wise counsel and advice and ready assistance despite me specifically saying that such slop was not to be included.

And so the foul excrescence is back in the  Council and we are no further along to naming anything or proclaiming a damned thing.

The little turd.