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, 


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.