Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Sunday, 8th October, 1837

Deeply saddened this week to receive, by post from London, the news that our King, His Majesty, William IV of the House of Hanover, known as "The Sailor King", has died.

Well, to be completely honest, he died back in June and it has taken this long for the news to reach us, which means that the King's Birthday Ball we held back in August appears now to be in the poorest of taste, since the poor old devil was a month cold in his grave while we were all singing "Long live our Gracious King!" and drinking to his health.

I have recorded it in these pages, but I was presented to him before sailing for the Colony. A singularly unimpressive chap I thought, though I was struck by seeing how his wife's nose was startling in its prominence.

I am told that when the Commissioners were planning the Colony they begged permission to name the Capital City after the King - thinking they might call it Williams Town or Williamston or some such. Accordingly they petitioned the King to allow them to call the city after him "as he saw fit." See fit he did, and they received a note from the Palace informing them that "His Majesty would be greatly pleased to have the Capital of the new Colony of South Australia named in honour of Her Majesty the Queen." And so Adelaide it was.

In his youth, when Duke of Clarence, he had a multitude of illegitimate children by a well know actress, but produced no living heir by the Queen. And so his niece, the young Princess Victoria of Kent, is now our sovereign. 

Just 18, a mere chit of a girl, I can't see her lasting. At the moment she'll no doubt be the puppet of Lord Melbourne, who'll be the real power behind the throne and soon they'll probably marry her off to some Prussian or Dane or Swede and we'll all end up in a joint Kingdom or some such.

Her coming to the throne does solve one problem here for us though. When we were naming the streets we gave the large square at the centre of the plan the name "Victoria Square" after Princess Victoria, the heir presumptive. To be honest, the name hasn't really taken. Light himself still refers to it as "The Great Square" and everyone else seems to call it "that big space in the middle". Naming it after a little princess was hardly conducive to having settlers remember what it was called on the map.  But since it is now named after Her Gracious Majesty then I'll wager a turd to a shilling that all will remember to call it by its proper name. Victoria Square. 

Well it is good to know that we need expect no more problems with that space.

If we had more lawyers in the place they'd all, of a certain, be raking in the cash just at present. 

Gouger is still talking loud and long about his ten thousand pounds damages for wrongful imprisonment and is intending to return to London to pursue the case with the Commissioners.

I have put the kibosh on that plan by discovering that two thousand pounds that were in his keeping are missing and unaccounted for from the public funds. I have sought legal opinion (from Mann, so I don't hold out much hope) regarding these funds and if it is within my power to stop Gouger from leaving the Colony until said funds are recovered.

Fisher is still telling all and sundry that he will sue for libel regarding the anonymous letter published in the Gazette and Register.

I am pursuing a charge of seditious libel against Fisher for the handbill he published.

Fisher has a counter claim of libel against Stevenson for publishing my proclamation, claiming that it impugned his professional reputation as Resident Commissioner.

He also threatens to sue Gilles if OG pays Hutchinson a salary as Emigration Agent when, according to Fisher, Brown is still in the position.

Gilles is still threatening to pursue a charge of assault against Gouger, Morphett and Mann over the beating he received at their hands.

Black Alick is still being kept in a barrel by McLaren until Jeffcott returns and sorts out his Murder trial.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Black Alick decided to sue McLaren because he wanted a nicer barrel.

Well, when the Judge returns from Hobart Town he'll have his work cut out for him. And the best of luck!

I was greatly pleased and gratified to receive notice of a public meeting held two or three weeks ago in which colonists gathered in Bob Cock's sale room and voted unanimously to say that Brown was an arse, Fisher a cheat and I was the loving father of the colony and held the colonists gently in my loving bosom.

That, at least, was the gist of their meeting.

They also sent me a delightful address in which they expressed their indignation at the manner in which I have been treated at the hands of the villains that surround me and not only made clear their gratitude for my expulsion of Brown, but also urged me to remove Fisher from office as soon as possible.

Of course, there is nothing I would like more than to remove Fisher from office, but sadly the thing is not within my power and I can only refer the matter to the powers in London and see what those particular fatheads might do.

It was pointed out to me the other day that under the Marriage Law, for a marriage to be legal, Banns must be read aloud in the Parish church of both parties for the three Sundays before the wedding. Since we have no Parish churches, to the strict letter of the law any marriage solemnised in the Colony is invalid.

 And so, when, in my darker moments, I talk of "the bastards who fill this colony" and mean it simply as a figure of speech; within a generation this expression might be no more than the simple truth!

Rectifying the situation would require a change to the Marriage Act and I can only imagine the howls of protest if I attempted that piece of quixotery.

No doubt the Howler in Chief would be The Reverend Charles Howard.

Under the act, for a marriage to be valid (unless you're something exotic like a Quaker or a Jew or Scottish) you must be married by a Minister of the Established Church. Since Charlie is the only such we have he has a monopoly on the marriage business sewn up.

And whilst he would no doubt counter a change to the Act with sound theology, one can not help but feel that him charging 5/- a skull for his services might be an influence.

Now, as delightful as a wedding service by Charlie Howard undoubtedly is (his sermon on "The Mysterious Sanctity of the Marriage Bed" drawing on Old Testament examples is said to be ninety minutes of rollicking hilarity) it might well be that a young dissenting couple - Baptists or Weslyans for example - might well prefer their own Minister of Religion to marry them rather than Charlie Howard. But to allow Dissenters to marry as they want would require a change to those Marriage Laws and I just don't have the stomach for it.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Resolutions and Address to His Excellency Governor Hindmarsh, K. H. agreed upon at a Public Meeting of Emigrants. Held at Mr. Cock's Sale Room on Monday the 18th September last, GEORGE MANTON, Baker, in the Chair.

Cutting from the Gazette and Register
14 October 1837

The following resolutions were unanimously agreed to.

Moved by G. Wills, seconded by J. Hart, -

That the delay in erecting the frame cottages sent out by the honourable Commissioners in the Coromandel, and other vessels, for the emigrants, whereby great suffering and inconvenience were sustained, is mainly to be attributed to the supine inattention of the Emigration Agent, and the Colonial Commissioner.

Moved by T. Wellbourn, seconded by T. Black, -

That it is the opinion of this meeting that the high price of provisions has been chiefly occasioned by the conduct of the Colonial Commissioner in selling the Stores to the Company, and adopting a system of favouritism to his own labourers, while the supplies were refused to other Emigrants.

Moved by R. Black, seconded by J. M. Glashan, -

That this meeting consider the inhuman conduct of the Emigration Agent, in refusing to give orders to have the body of the deceased emigrant, George Trollope, decently buried, is consistent with his neglect and conduct towards the emigrants generally, and they consider him unfit for any superintendence over them.

Moved by G. Emers seconded by R. Flack, -

That the Thanks of this meeting be respectfully offered to His Excellency the Governor for his promptness in suspending the late Emigration Agent, and for his unceasing kindness to Emigrants on all occasions.

Moved by G. Wills, seconded by W. Nash

That a petition be presented to his Excellency the Governor that it is the opinion of this meeting that the Colonial Commissioner is altogether unworthy of the situation he holds, and praying his Excellency to remove him, being not only prejudicial to the welfare and interests of this colony, but also a mover of sedition.

Moved by G. Wills, seconded by R. Black. -

That a petition be drawn up, and a deputation appointed to present the same to His Excellency the Governor, and signed by the Chairman on behalf of the meeting.

Moved by G. Emery, seconded by R. Black -

That the Thanks of this meeting be given to Mr. Robert Cock for the use of his room.

Moved by R. Black, seconded by G. Emery -

That the Thanks of this meeting be given to Mr. Manton for his able conduct in the Chair.

In compliance with the above resolutions, the following address was prepared and presented to his Excellency the Governor, by a Department of Emigrants.

To His Excellency the Governor:
With feelings of the deepest regret, we are compelled to approach your Excellency to solicit that attention which is denied us by those whose bounden duty it is to attend to our interests. We cannot find terms sufficiently strong to express our indignation at the manner in which your Excellency and the most honourable part of your Council have been treated, and by those persons who should have assisted you in your fatherly considerations for the benefit of the inhabitants of South Australia.

We, therefore, being the majority of the Emigrants under your Excellency's Government, cannot rest content with merely expressing our approval of your Excellency's decision in the removal of Mr. John Brown from his office as Agent of Emigration, but respectfully urge the expulsion of James Hurtle Fisher from his seat in your Excellency's Council, and finally from his occupation as Resident Commissioner in this colony, our unanimous opinion being that he is not only unfit for the responsible situation he now holds, but is a sower and cultivator of sedition.

In conclusion your petitioners beg to call your attention to the fifth and sixth resolutions, contained in the fourth column of the sixth page of the accompanying Gazette.
And your Petitioners will ever pray, &c.
Signed on behalf of the Meeting of Emigrants,
Adelaide, September 18th. 1837.

To which Address His Excellency was pleased to transmit the following reply:

It has been, and ever will be my care that the interests of the emigrants be attended to. Upon their good conduct depends the prosperity of the province. To secure their welfare, has been the main object of His Majesty's Government, and of the Colonisation Commissioners, and I feel it to be my duty to see their views carried into effect, by all means in my power.

I trust you will enable me to do so by a continuance of that orderly, peaceable, and industrious behaviour which, I am happy to acknowledge, has been, in so remarkable a degree, the characteristics of your conduct since your arrival in the province.

In suspending Mr. John Brown from his office of Emigration Agent, I believe I have only performed a painful duty.

The proceedings of the Resident Commissioner with regard to that officer will be submitted to the consideration of His Majesty's Government, with whom the power of removal from office rests, as well as to the Colonization Commissioners in England, who, I feel assured, will never sanction disrespect to the constituted authorities of the province by any individual acting under their instructions.


Friday, 14 October 2016

Sunday, 1st October 1837

Word has arrived that Jeffcot is taking ship from Hobart Town very soon and will be arriving shortly here in the Colony. I have no doubt that when he arrives he will have nothing but compliments for me regarding my handling of the recent Brown fiasco.

My proclamation answering Fisher's piece of treachery has been printed and distributed about the town and will appear shortly in the next edition of the Register.
I was rather pleased with it.
Hindmarsh's proclamation as it
 appeared in the Newspaper.

I was even more pleased with my first draft, but Stevenson made some nimminy pimminy objections to some of my expressions, calling them "admirable in their enthusiasm, but possibly ill advised." And so my references throughout to Fisher as "a bastard son-of-a- whore" were deleted as was a passage in which I suggested that Brown was not to be trusted either with money or sheep. This is a pity, as I felt that my joke that "he would fiddle with either" was particularly witty. But no place for humour, it seems, in official documents and we are the poorer for it.

Fisher, who has heard, no doubt, of my intention to take action against him for seditious libel, has been acting with unaccustomed smoothness towards me. "As smooth as a bucket of snot" as I said to Strangways. (And once again he recoiled in a way that suggested to me that he will find it difficult to find a place in the familial bosom.) Fisher has written to me to assure me that he acted "without the least intention of personal disrespect towards your Excellency, but as a matter of imperious duty on my part."

Imperious fiddlestick!

His only intention towards "your Excellency" is to get rid of him so he can run the colony for himself and to his own advantage. I fear that increasingly he sees himself as a Robespierre - or worse, as a Bonaparte - and hopes to have a republic here before too long.

Well, I helped to defeat the real Napoleon and I have no fear of this poor impersonation.

On a lighter note, it appears that Mad Menge, the German Rockhound has disappeared. As recently as three weeks ago he announced the discovery of a huge deposit of coal under Victoria Square, but since his increasingly fantastical discoveries have been greeted with ever greater scepticism, no-one seems to be taking all that much notice of him any more.

I trace this disbelief back to his announcement in July of the world's largest iron ore deposit in Hurtle Square. A group of investors, certain of making their millions, quickly formed a consortium and began digging furiously, but when they discovered not a thing and had nothing to show for their money save a large collection of shovels, they turned on Menge and denounced him for a charlatan.

I was forced to step in and explain that Menge was no charlatan. Rather he was a Lunatic and not to be held responsible. SInce that time people have simply been ignoring him and letting him harmlessly draw his company salary. I understood that he had been dismissed from the company, but it seems that due to Sam Stephens's ineptitude he was dismissed, but not removed from their payroll.

And now he has disappeared entirely. Perhaps he has gone back to whatever world he came from for I cannot believe that he was of our natural order.

And speaking of the unnatural, Widow Harvey's daughter Harriet has taken her first steps. Mrs Hindmarsh was in a transport of excitement at "our baby walking". I have a suspicion that the lazy pudding has been able to walk for some time, but just couldn't be arsed. I have never seen a child who so resembled a blob of bread dough in my life. Soft, white and shapeless. Broad at the base and coming to a point at the top. 
Little Harriet Harvey in a
skin tight smock.

I believe that the only reason I have not yet placed the brat in the oven by mistake is that every time I go near her she screams like a banshee from the deepest pits of Hell. And then Mrs Hindmarsh inevitably appears screeching "What have you done to that child now?" as though I would touch it with a barge pole. And then we get "Don't you like the big silly Navy man? Don't you? Don't you? No, you don't! Do oo! Do oo!"

The woman has taken leave of her senses.

I can assure her that the child's dislike for me is as nothing compared to my distaste for the squealing, puking unholy terror.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sunday, 24th September 1837

When, oh when will I learn that the moment I write "I can rule a line under that incident", or, "I expect that all will be quiet now", it is almost certain that Pandemonium is about to break loose all about me?

Earlier this week I was just settling down to a post luncheon nap at my desk when Strangways burst into the room, brandishing a printed broadsheet. The boy is very sweet on Jane, my daughter. Indeed, he has asked for my permission for her hand and since I was too shocked to say "no" he now considers himself her intended. But if he intends to be my son-in law then he had best learn to knock and see if I am sleeping before he thunders into my office again.

He seemed most excited and thrust the broadsheet into my hands. I looked at it and uttered an oath. Well, a number of oaths really and from the look on Strangways's face I gather they were oaths he had not heard before. Something else he had best learn about if he is intending to marry into the family.

The sheet was printed by the order of no less than James Hurtle Fisher and told - no, commanded the Colonists of South to ignore any Vice-Regal order of which they might have intelligence and continue to treat Mr John Brown as Migration Agent for the colony.

Ignore a Vice-Regal order!

Well this is nothing but sedition and republicanism and reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. And I presume we understand what that unfortunate movement led to? 

I have instructed Gilles to stop Brown's pay from the date of his dismissal. Fisher has threatened Gilles with legal action if he does so and if he starts paying Bingham Hutchinson. 

I'll give him bloody legal action!

Jeffcott has not yet arrived back from Hobart Town, where he is, no doubt, dallying with his fiance, Miss Kermode and so I have demanded from  Mann, the Advocate General, that a writ of seditious libel be served on Fisher -  the Jacobin Revolutionary! Ignore a Vice-Regal order indeed! And encourage others to do the same! The miserable, traitorous bastard! 

No doubt he sees himself as some kind of Robespierre and me as King Louis, but in truth he is nothing but an impudent puppy and I will be the one to rub his nose in it. I have made inquiries with Mann to see if Naval Discipline might not be invoked? A taste of the cat would surely put the miserable Mr Fisher back in his place! Sadly, Mann seems doubtful, but I might ask Jeffcott when he returns.

Now I know how poor old Bligh felt in Tahiti. And no doubt Fisher sees himself as Fletcher Christian and is looking for an open boat to cast me adrift in. He'll be setting up a Republic next. Or worse still a dynasty and populate the government with his own loathsome offspring. No wonder he has bred up so many of the foul whelps!

Didn't this sort of thing happen a few years ago in Paris when barridades were set up in the street and students kept demanding to know if you could hear the people sing? I will not have Victoria Square turned into the miserable Rue Sainte Martin.

I have issued a Proclamation of my own confirming Bingham Hutchinson as Migration Agent and I will not brook argument from the Hurtle Fisher camp! I will have his resignation as a man unfit for office and if necessary will have a gaol built specially to hold the rebellious creature. Perhaps his multitude of children can be pressed into service as a workforce to build the thing!

I also asked Mann for a legal opinion regarding Fisher's immediate dismissal as a Magistrate. Mann has hummed and ahhed about the legal niceties of a "presumption of innocence" and needing to test the case before a jury, which is just typical!  More humming and ahhhing has been produced regarding the nature of Brown's appointment. It seems that he was originally appointed by the Company, but then the Crown, knowing what a slimy, miserable, slippery piece of work he is, included his name amongst the lists of Crown appointments, as so that they could dismiss him more easily if needs arose. So I have a perfect right to dismiss his as I please, but Robespierre Fisher has decided otherwise.

Well, we wiill see about that!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Sunday, 17th September, 1837

After last week I was very worried to hear that Fisher has declared that he has found the solution to what he says is "the greatest problem that the colony faces at present".

Since it is pretty clear that Fisher thinks the greatest problem faced by the colony is me it is understandable that I was, to say the least of it, concerned at what he meant.

But it seems that Fisher actually means that the great problem faced by the colony is the lack of horses. Naturally this comes as a relief to me and he does have a point. My arm is still sore after I fell off that damned donkey and a few more decent horses about the place would be most welcome. And anyone who has pushed a handcart up from Holdfast Bay would hardly argue that more horses is a bad idea.

But of course FIsher cannot allow himself to do something without doing it to excess (For proof try and count the number of his children) and plans to solve the issue in one fell swoop by chartering a ship from McLaren and the Company and have it sail to Timor where he will fill it with as many Timor Ponies as he can cram on board and bring them back to the colony.

A Timor Pony

It seems to me to be one of those plans that appears well on paper, but is attended by such a multitude of impracticalities that in reality it cannot succeed. To begin with, it is all very well saying with insouciance "I'll charter a ship from the company", but the company is not so flush with ships that it can afford to lose one for six months or so while Mr Fisher uses it to go shopping. And where is the money for all this coming from? And how is he planning to ensure the safe and healthy passage of dozens of ponies? 

No, the whole thing seems like a joke to me, but Fisher will not be told.

Surely there are horses to be had more easily in Van Dieman's Land? Why not bring in a few mares and a stud horse and breed ourselves some horses. It might be a slower process than playing Noah's Ark in Timor, but given Fisher's green thumb when it comes to breeding (Once again, for proof try and count the number of his children. If not his thumb then some part of him is green.) we would have horses enough in a few years. 

But not content with being half man half rabbit, Fisher now seems to have notions of being a sort of Easter Hare and appear with gifts for all.

I am delighted to say that Brown has been removed from his office as Emmigration Agent and good riddance to him. Bingham Hutchinson, the alpine explorer, has accepted my suggestion that he take up the position, so I believe that I can rule a line under that trying episode in Council.

Jeffcott has headed over to Hobart Town to sort out some private affairs, leaving the various magistrates to deal with any legal matters in his absence. Since most of the magistrates have less legal knowledge than Widow Harvey's backside they are ill equipped to deal with the case that will soon come before them.

It is alleged that at Encounter Bay a Native, known to the locals as "Black Alick" (though his real name seems to be something like "Repping Jerry") has killed one of the whalers at the station there.

The Whaling Station

Now I have met a few whalers in my time and "scum of the earth" does not begin to describe them. Indeed, I believe that the scum of the earth have let it be known that they wish to disassociate themselves from whalers for fear of the damage such association might make to the scum of the earth's reputation.

So by causing the world to have one less whaler in it, Black Alick could be said to have done a public service. Certainly I do not doubt that if he killed the man then it was not without provocation and the whaler was as much to blame as the native. 

Since the natives seem to make a practice of swift and certain retribution amongst their own when a life has been taken, I suspect that if the dead whaler's companions had biffed Black Alick on the noggin with an axe handle on discovering his guilt then his relatives would have considered it quite in the way of business and thought no more of it. 

But oh no! For once in their lawless lives they decided to "do the right thing", lay charges and have him arrested. 

God damn them and their rum pickled, pox ridden souls! From whence comes this mania for doing the right thing amongst men who wouldn't know a moral scruple if it bit them on the arse?

Where the hell do you keep a prisoner at Encounter Bay? The answer, of course, is "nowhere" and so the man was put on board ship and taken to Kingscote. God knows what the poor chap felt - having probably never been further than a few miles from where he was born and having done nothing wrong, at least, nothing wrong by his native ways - to be bound hand and foot and hauled off by strangers to Heaven only knows where.

In fact, he made his feelings pretty clear by breaking his bonds three times and trying to escape at every opportunity.

Of course there is nowhere to keep a prisoner - particularly one who does not want to be kept - at Kingscote either, so McLaren declared that he would be kept on board ship.   But even here he remained difficult and tried to escape several times.

McLaren devised a scheme for keeping Black Alick restrained. He found a large barrel, placed the native inside, put on the lid and kept him in there, passing food in through the bung hole.

I doubt that I am alone in finding this a less than completely humane solution to the problem that Black Alick presented. Add to that the bill McLaren has presented to the Council for 20 shillings a week for the care he is providing to the prisoner and I find it all more than a little over the fence.

But these are just minor problems compared to the legal challenges that the native presents. We have declared that the natives are British Citizens and are entitled to the protection of British Justice. I stood under a gum tree nine months ago and proclaimed just that to all and sundry. So, since he was arrested, Black Alick is entitled to a fair British trial. And there is the problem.

If we're going to try him the he needs to swear the Oath "so help me God".  How do we get him to do that when we aren't even sure if the natives have a God of their own, let alone know about the Saviour. Only the other week old Charlie Howard was happily preaching (at length) to us that the natives live in the darkness of ignorance about God and his scriptures. So do we seriously expect Black Alick to put his hand on the Bible he knows nothing about and swear an oath to a God he is ignorant of that he will tell the truth? It is not going to stand in a court of law I fear.

Even greater is the problem that the fair British trial Alick is entitled to requires him to say his evidence and then be questioned on it and defend himself.

Need I add that since Black Alick understands not a word of English this sems impossible to achieve? 

And a fair British trial requires the evidence of sworn witnesses. When I say that the only two witnesses to the alleged murder are two native women who also speak no English then the problems of giving our barrel dwelling native the fair British trial he is entitled to seem insurmountable.

Let us hope that Jeffcott has some ideas when he returns or else Black Alick may be spending much time in his barrel.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Sunday. 10th September 1837

Well, no sooner had I written the words "a quiet week and long may it continue such" last week and all Hell broke its gates and tumbled forth!

Let it be noted here at the start for any future reader that we have a Migrant Camp in the colony, situated in the Parklands opposite the end of Currie and Waymouth Streets. Here the new arrivals to the colony come and stay while they find somewhere to live and find work to do.

And the man in charge of this place is one John Brown, who revels in the title of Colonial Emigration Agent.

Three nights ago, just as I was preparing for sleep, Tom Gilbert arrived from West Terrace to say that there was trouble at the Hospital.

Colonial Emigration Agent John Brown.
The place, he said,  was in an uproar "because of the dead trollop.". Having nothing else to do at eleven at night I pulled on some trousers and boots and a coat and headed down the road to see for myself what was happening. Hearing the words "Trollop" the two marines on duty at the Vice-Regal palace decided that it might be best if they came along with me as well.

When we arrived at the Hospital I immediately realised what the problem was. A migrant - named Trollope - had died earlier that day I was told. It seems that the man had no relatives and no money so no-one could be called to collect the body and deal with it. And to be honest, I'm not sure if Dr Tom Cotter had much experience with people dying in his hospital. He barely manages to deal with the sick, so a corpse would almost certainly be well outside his field of expertise. 

I ordered the Marines to get a handcart and move the body down to the cemetery where they took turns keeping watch on it through the night.

The next morning I wrote to Brown to tell him that an indigent migrant had died in the hospital and directed him to arrange for the decent internment of the body. A simple enough request I thought and supposed that I would hear no more about it.

But oh no! This colony is infested with impertinent monkeys and Brown is another of them!

I get a letter back from him telling me that only paupers were entitled to a funeral at public expense and since the man had money owing to him from Colonel Lipson there was no money in the public purse available to bury him.

No money?? The poor dead man barely cold (though warming rapidly lying out in the sun) and Brown wanted to talk accounting! I sent him another note directing him to do the decent thing and bury the man.

He would, he replied, refer the matter to the Resident Commissioner and await instructions. He seemed to be of the opinion that it was his job to see to the welfare of the living and the impoverished migrants, and since the unfortunate Trollope fell into neither category then he was none of Brown's affair.

Meanwhile, at the cemetery, the flies were having a field day, no doubt organising picnic races on the flatter sections of the corpse, with perhaps a jumps course over his nose and ears.

I was about to send another letter to Brown telling him what I thought of him in the fullest terms, when a letter arrived from Lipson, informing me that not only did he owe the dead man exactly zero pounds; in point of fact, the dead man owed the Captain money since the Captain had advanced the dead Trollope wages back in London, which had never been repaid and which Trollope had squandered on tobacco, whiskey and wild, wild women in Rio on the voyage out.

Clearly there was indeed money in the public purse to pay for a funeral, and the moment he knew that he would certainly be paid, Tom Gilbert was keen to volunteer for the burial duty on West Terrace.

So off went Tommy, bucket and spade in hand, to put six feet of earth between our noses and Trollope and just as he was going out the door, like in a play, another came in bearing a letter from that a pillar of the community, James Fisher.

Fisher made it clear that the whole thing had nothing to do with him and he wasn't going to be ordering Brown about telling him to bury bodies. It seems obvious that he is in high dudgeon over the loss of Gouger on the Council and is just refusing to co-operate. 

Well, I have decided that Brown must go. We cannot have a man so devoid of charity and good spirits that he would turn a dead man into a hot potato for the sake of politics in the role of Emigration Agent.

The whole purpose of the role is to care for and assist migrants newly arrived in the Colony to set themselves up after they arrive. If Brown thinks he can fulfill that role by leaving the dead ones to lie out in the sun for the magpies to eat then he seems to be missing a few essential points. 

As with Gouger, the pest, at the next Council meeting I will state the matter plainly and will expect to see Brown relieved of his duties as Emigration Agent.I am certain that Fisher will be livid,  but I am determined to get the jump on him, the snot drivelling bastard. If Brown goes then perhaps Fisher might consider his position and decide that the time has come to spend more time with his family. Or indeed, father a few more of them. 

At home my wife this week declared that Widow Harvey was the best of companions,  a confidential comrade and a cook of rare sensibilites, refinement and taste. The only explanation I can give for this statement, which I must say speaks of depths of depravity that I did not suspect existed in Mrs Hindmarsh's bosom, is that the woman had been drinking the metal polish.

Mrs Hindmarsh might believe that Lucrezia is a cook of rare sensibilities, but might I point out that only last week she served Gigot D’Agneau Pleureur, the which  she made with cockatoo, as lamb was unavailable. "Rare", indeed!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Sunday,September 3rd 1837

Some time ago I recorded in these pages that Fisher, in his enthusiasm to clear the city land, was offering a cash payment to all comers who cut down trees about the place. I predicted at the time that this would come back to bite him in the arse and to be sure, it has. First it has become clear that he had no authority to offer payment for such a thing and questions are being asked regarding exactly what he thought he was doing.

And of course, once money starts changing hands for cutting down trees, every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to get their slice of the pudding and trees have been felled left, right and centre, whether they needed to be cut down or not. I notice that Bingham Hutchinson is offering five pounds reward to find out who cut down a tree on his land and is proposing to take the man and his chopper to court and throw the book at him "to the utmost rigour of the law". 

Truth to tell with Judge Jeffcott in charge, "the utmost rigour of the law" is neither all that rigourous or particularly utmost, but good luck to him, I say.

Apart from this, Fisher seems to have pulled his head in now that Gouger has been sent packing. There was talk of Gouger and Mann taking legal action against me and suing for some exhorbitant sum because they had suffered "wrongful imprisonment". I take this to mean that they were invited to sit on my sofa for a half an hour after they were caught beating the bejesus out of Gilles. The rest of the Colony took it that way as well, and they dropped all talk of action after they became something of a laughing stock.

All in all a quiet week and long may it continue such!

Of course a quiet week officially can only mean trouble at home. The recent celebration of His Majesty's birthday has, I fear, whetted Mrs Hindmarsh's appetite for (I shudder as I write this) dancing. And need I add that where there is one dancer, there must inevitably be a partner! And that, naturally, means me.

I think it fair to say that I am not naturally gifted in the Terpsichorean Arts, nor do I move with sylph like grace. In fact I have not really danced since I was a cabin boy on the old Bellerephon. But that is not about to deter Mrs Hindmarsh.

How Mrs Hindmarsh thinks we look

And so I have been spent my time being trained in the Quadrille, English Country Dances, the Scotch Reel and the Cotillon. All hands have been called to man the pumps and so I have found myself being partnered with my wife, my daughters and even, to my horror, though to her evident delight, Widow Harvey. 

I must admit that many toes have been trodden upon, much furniture overturned and a number of vases and dishes broken. But Mrs Hindmarsh seems to think that we are as graceful as the ballet at Covent Garden and has been in transports of delight. 

How I fear we look.

She has taken to inviting friends and acquaintances for "Salons de dance". I cannot imagine that these friends and acquaintances are enthused by their receipt of the invitation,but when Mrs Hindmarsh insists what choice do they have?

My daughter Mary plays the piano with her usual abundant enthusiasm and minimal talent and there is much clomping about the living room and graceless hilarity. 

The men of the party have enjoyed my latest batch of beer. Since I obtained some rum barrels and have been using them instead of sauerkraut barrels the flavour of my drink has improved marvelously  Our men guests have all commented on how delicious it is and have not held back in their consumption of it. In fact, some of them have given it quite a nudge and have made rather an untidy mess of themselves.

This has resulted in Mrs Hindmarsh's "salons de dance" becoming somewhat more bacchanalian that polite society in London might deem proper, especially when Mr Gilles is a  member of the party and brings a supply of his own of brandy.

Mrs Hindmarsh has been kept busy making lists of people not to be invited again and I fear that most of the colony will soon be disallowed.

My daughters of course have also wanted to take things too far and have begged us to allow the Waltz at these evenings. This dance, unsurprisingly popular on the Continent and, I suspect,  invented by a Frenchman, is a prodigy of licentiousness and voluptuous immorality. When I say that the waltz involves the dancers clasping each other front to front then it will be readily evident that it is indeed far removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. Of course, my daughters, who are now beseiged by suitors, want nothing else and say that their evening will be incomplete without waltzing. I was surprised to hear that my sister Anne was of the opinion that we "could at least try it and see where it led".

A group of beer sozzled men embracing young ladies and moving rhythmically about the room with them? Oh I think we can predict where it might lead and I do not think I need to be encouraging that sort of thing with a Vice Regal imprimatur. 

The mad poisoner has offered to prepare a selection of "niceties and finger foods" as she calls them. I do not know exactly what "finger foods" might be, but I fear that she will demand a supply of fresh fingers.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Sunday, August 27th, 1837

Well, I must needs say that after an extra-ordinary two or three weeks I can now sit down and record what has happened, now that it is over.

It started with an insult and ended with Osmond Gilles being hit about the head and shoulders with a heavy club. It was nothing other than astonishing!

Some weeks ago an "anonymous writer" penned a letter to the Gazette demanding that Saint James the half rabbit explain himself to the colony about the way he has been running it. 

Naturally Fisher and his cronies did not take this well and have been on the hunt to discover who that anonymous colonist might really be. And the name that they arrived at was Osmond Gilles.

Of course they were wrong. I know for a certainty that it was not him who wrote the letter. Do I know who DID write the letter? People might think that, but I, of course, could not comment.

Robert Gouger, a man who would crawl up Fisher's arse if Fisher wanted it, made his opinion clear regarding Gilles at the time when I appointed the man a Magistrate. Gilles, I don't doubt is an increasingly difficult man, especially when he's had a jar or two and his public outbursts of outrageous temper, bad language and irascible behaviour  have become the talk of the town. But he needs to be kept on the right side of us all since his purse is about the only thing keeping the wolf from the door. If I can tickle his pride with a seat on the Magistrates Bench then it seems a cheap investment.

Be that as it might, some time ago old Gilles was in the Secretary's office when Gouger decided to express his opinion of the man freely and fulsomely. Topics on the agenda seem to have been Gilles's parentage; hygiene; bibulous habits; flatulence; intelligence; business practices; taste in clothing and dubious relationship with his sheep. I was unaware that Gouger was capable of such invective and admit to looking at him with new admiration now that I have heard this philipic.

Impressive as it was I couldn't help but feel that it was not good policy for the Colonial Secretary to be giving it fairly fruitily to the Colonial Treasurer. Particularly when we rely on the good graces of the Colonial Treasurer to keep the place afloat.

So. I suggested to Gouger that he apologise to Gilles. I doubt that he took this well, but take it he did and said that he would indeed pocket his pride and offer his mea culpa to old moneybags.

Thinking that I had cleared the matter up I heaved a sigh of relief and sat back in my chair, only to be told that Gilles wasn't having it! The insult had been made in Government House within the His Excellency's hearing, said Gilles and by God the apology needed to be made under the same conditions.

Gouger even went to him and offered his hand but Gilles held firm - the apology needed to be made in the presence of the Governor.

God's wounds and onions! Do I have nothing better to do than to listen to a couple of squabbling school yard brats kiss and make up after they called each other names?  Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

As it turned out I didn't need to worry myself.

Wednesday a week ago (the 16th) I was sitting at home, quietly snoozing, when Ted Stephens bursts into the room and he yells "For the love of God Governor! They're beating the tripe out of each other behind the feed store!" I had no idea what he was talking about, but once he had calmed down a bit and told me that Gouger, Mann, Morphett and Gilles were bare knuckle fighting in the streets, I found the soberest of the Marines, tidied him up a bit and sent him down to arrest the monkeys.

Which he duly did - surprisingly effectively for a marine - and brought them back to Government House and parked them on my sofa. Well I read the riot act to them, bound them over to keep the peace and told them to bugger off.

It appears that Mann found old Gilles wandering about the streets and invited him to come along with him to meet with Gouger.  He led him out to the yard behind Coltman's Stores and then it seems it was on for young and for old. From what I can make out it ended with Mann holding Gilles whilst Gouger whaled away at him with a shillelagh about the head and shoulders, ending only when the cudgel broke across Gilles's head,and all the while Morphett stood by offering encouraging words like "Go it Gouger! Give him one for me!"

It has been suggested that old Gilles has become so corpulent and round of late that Mann was holding on to him simply because if Gouger had given a good hit with the club, Gilles would have just rolled off and bounced off the stable yard wall, and the whole thing would have become a sort of crazed billiards.

But no matter the reason -  there we are. The Chief Law Officer of the colony holding down the Treasurer while the Chief Executive of the South Australia company, cheered on by the Company Land agent, beats the bejesus out of him.

I am certain such scenes do not happen in Westminster, Or if they do it is behind closed doors and not in a stable yard with half the town watching!

Of course I had to do something and I eventually managed to make the Council dismiss Gouger as Colonial Secretary. There was much shilly shallying from Fisher and Mann about whether or not I had the power to do so and whether it was the right thing to do or perhaps we could just let it all pass - "least said soonest mended" - but I really had no choice if I was going to make this look like a Government and not like a travelling circus troupe. "Roll up! Roll up! Try your luck with the bareknuckles Colonial Secretary!" A pretty picture.

Some have suggested that Gilles was just as much in the wrong and that he too should have been dismissed. Which is probably true, and it is undoubtedly unfair that Gouger alone lost his position. But the truth is that we don't owe Robert Gouger nine and a half thousand pounds, which we do Gilles. And if Gilles drops his bottom lip, starts to sulk and calls in his funds then we're all on the next boat back to Portsmouth and the natives can have their colony back.

Still, there we are. Gouger is dumped and Strangways appointed in his place. Gilles is happy and all's right with the world. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Sunday, 20th August, 1837

That tribune of the people, the Gaius Gracchus of Adelaide; that saint who walks amongst men; that moral paragon whose good deeds shine out in a naughty world - I speak of James Hurtle Fisher, Resident Commissioner of the South Australian Company - has once more had his rectitude upheld.

A public meeting was held a week or so ago where the friends and supporters of Fiddlefingers Fisher all pottered along to prove their friendship by supporting him. All present expressed their outrage that a man of the unsullied reputation of Fisher might be insulted and benighted by the outrageous suggestion that he explain his actions to the populace he serves.

Fortunately Fisher's friends and supporters were able to prove to the satisfaction of Fisher's friends and supporters that he was as white as the driven snow and purified with hyssop. He had toiled unceasingly for the good of the Colony and its Colonists and it was merest co-incidence that money had come his way. At one point, I hear, someone offered to table the Company books to prove the poor man innocent, but such faith did the assembled throng of friends and supporters have in the saintly Mr Fisher that they held up their hands in  horror and scorned the suggestion. "We would not hear of such a thing! Tempt us not with the suggestion that we need anything so gauche as PROOF! Do we need to place our hand in his side and our finger in his hole? We believe!"

And so, of course the half man half rabbit comes out of it all without stain on his escutcheon and will go his merry way. And in the meantime, without surprise, somehow it seems to have been sheeted home to yours truly. 

It seems that the friends, supporters and apostles of Saint James have decided that the South Australian Gazette is to blame for impugning the reputation of the dear man. And of course, they feel that the South Australian Gazette too closely follows my opinions and whims. So clearly it follows as night does day that the Gazette's attack on St James must have started at my desk.

As if I would say a word in public against the hideous blot on the colony; the whited sepulchre; the carbuncle on the colony's arse; the foul little gibbering marmoset! Not a word have I uttered!

So now the friends and supporters of Mr Fisher have decided that they will start their own journal of news and opinion. And the Colony, a place that barely produces enough gossip to fill one edition a month of one broadsheet will find itself with two; one to present the views of St James the half rabbit and the other to present, it seems, mine.

What piffle the lot of it is!

I must record my eternal admiration of my Sister Anne. She is acting almost as a missionary to the people of the colony, helping those who are down and out. I have had many young men of the working class speak to me of the comfort that the touch of my sister's hand has brought them.

Her most recent project is the Marines who, God knows, are about as down and out as it is possible to be. And certainly they need as much help as they could possibly receive.

My sister, bless her, has spent long hours at the Marines camp, providing them with what succour she can. A pot of tea here, a button sewn on there, a kind word and a smile: these are, it seems, what my dear sister provides to those young men and how much they must appreciate it!

I note with shock and horror that Mr Lee and his Coffee Pavilion are stocked with cakes and fancy buns baked by Mrs Whittle. MRS WHITTLE!!! Who used to be Mary-Jane Murray, that paragon of the cooking skillet who used to cook my breakfast until Mrs Hindmarsh lumbered me with Lucrezia, the Mad Poisoner. I purchased a sticky bun there and silently wept as I ate it. 

Then went home and found that the Widow Harvey had prepared something called Northumberland Hasty Fritters. Well I certainly wouldn't be in any haste to go to Northumberland if those God awful fritters were anything to go by,

Sunday, 27 March 2016


Editor's note: The following newspaper cutting was inserted between the pages of the Governor's diary.


In taking upon you the office of ad interim Protector of the Aborigines, to which office you have been appointed. His Excellency the Governor desires to acquaint you with his views of the course which he wishes should be adopted towards the Aborigines of this Province, with a view to their peaceful residence among us, and their instruction in the arts of civilized life. 

The leading principles which should guide you are alone prescribed in this paper, the details you will find are not filled up, and they have purposely been left untouched, in order that you might follow those plans, which may seem most desirable to yourself, for the accomplishment of the proposed ends.

The objects to the attainment of which His Excellency is desirous your attention should be devoted, are:—

 1st. To ascertain the number, strength, and disposition of the different tribes, more especially of those in the vicinity of the settled districts.
 2nd. To protect them in the undisturbed enjoyment of their proprietary rights to such lands as may be occupied by them in any especial manner. 
3rd. To encourage as much as possible the friendly disposition towards the emigrants which at present exist.  
4th. To induce them to labour, either for them-selves or the settlers.  
5th. To lead them by degrees to the advantages of civilization and religion. 

With a view to the attainment of the first of these objects, and to faciliate intercourse between yourself and the Aborigines generally, you are authorised to engage an interpreter, who will take instructions solely from yourself, and whose whole time will he considered at your disposal. By sending or accompanying him into the interior, you will be able to ascertain the strength and disposition of each tribe in the vicinity, a point of great importance, not only with regard to the safety of the parties engaged in the country surveys, but also to those settlers whose business may compel them to reside in the interior. 

You are recommended to endeavour to attach one or two of the most docile and intelligent of the natives particularly to your person, who should habitually accompany you in your excursions. If, on becoming acquainted with the habits and customs of the Aborigines you should find that in any part of the country they are in the practice of making use of land for cultivation of any kind, or if they have a fixed residence on any particular spot, or if they should be found to appropriate any piece of land to funereal purposes, you are required to report such fact to the Colonial Government without loss of time, in order that means may be taken to prevent its being included in the survey for sale. 

It is essentially necessary that the natives should be convinced that on all occasions they will meet with full and impartial justice. Your interpreter will explain to them that the laws protecting the whites extend also to them, and he should make it his business to assist you, who are appointed to be their guardian, in preventing any aggression or outrage being committed by the settlers upon their persons, property, or rights, and when committed, in bringing the perpetrators to justice. 

His Excellency considers it a general rule, the observance of which is most important, that no gifts of any description should be made. Particular circumstances may render occasional deviations necessary, and in cases of extreme hunger, illness, during infancy, or in old age, it may be your duty to see that they are furnished with food and clothing. But experience has shown, that for a trifling recompense they will perform works not requiring skill, and their docility and willingness have been found in many instances, useful to the Colonists. You will best encourage this disposition by refusing supplies of any kinds, excepting for some labour performed, and you will encourage the settlers in engaging and employing the natives, taking into account instances that intoxicating liquors are most strictly prohibited from being given to them, and that the performance of every contract be duly regarded. 

To reclaim the Aborigines of South Australia from an erratic to a settled life, to raise them from their low scale of human existence to a state combining the advantages of civilization and religion, can only be effected by steady perseverance in a conciliatory and judicious line of conduct. 

With a view to attract them, you will find it expedient to enclose a piece of land in a convenient position, and to provide there shelter and food for such as choose to apply to you for admittance, and who are willing to work. Perfect liberty of ingress and egress should be allowed the natives, but it will be a matter of consideration for yourself, whether or not the same liberty should be ex-tended to the settlers generally. In this location you will carry on gardening, the preparation of wood for building purposes, and perhaps some other works, the object of which will chiefly be, by exciting in their minds interest in your proceedings, to induce them to assist in these operations. But you will not compel any to perform even the slightest labour. By way of stimulating them, you may probably find it desirable to distinguish by badges any who are particularly well behaved and industrious, and in all cases it will be your design to encourage by rewards, rather than repress by fear. 

No time should be lost in acquiring a knowledge of their native tongue, and it appears also desirable that the Aborigines, and especially their youth, should learn the English language. By communicating with them in their own tongue, and by giving them a knowledge of our language, you will readily enable them to appreciate our modes and habits, our moral and political laws, and our intentions towards themselves. His Excellency does not point out to you any plan for accomplishing this important object; he is rather desirous of leaving you to follow your own course respecting it, but he wishes yon to consider it an end he is desirous should be speedily obtained. 

His Excellency further requires from you a monthly report of your mode of treatment of the Aborigines, and the results of its application. 

By His Excellency's command, 
Colonial Secretary.   
Colonial Secretary's Office. 12th August, 1837.