Friday, 30 June 2017

Thursday, December 28th, 1837

It is nearly midnight, but I have just returned from the most glittering of occasions, the Public Dinner given to me in commemoration of the the arrival of the dear old Buffalo and the proclamation of the Province of South Australia, Proprietor, Yours Truly. 

I toddled down to Light Square and arrived at the Court House at about four o'clock. This seemed like a damned early start, but I was assured by the organisers that so many well wishers wanted to make speeches to me that if we didn't start early then we'd still be going come New Year.

There were nearly fifty of the leading gentlemen of the colony there to greet me and they all queued up whilst I passed down the line with a pleasantry for each one. Bingham Hutchinson was in the line up and I greeted him with "Shouldn't you be home working on your report?" and when I reached Strangways I chaffed him and asked if he'd drowned any more Judges of late, which left them somewhat shamefaced. We all stood about chatting while good old Freddy Allen and a number of his lads from the Southern Cross Hotel pottered about see that we all had a glass of sherry to sip on.

All of the usual sort were there. I counted: Jickling; Wrigley;  Bingham Hutchinson and Bewes Strangways, (the daring explorers); Charlie Howard; Gilles, (still sober, though I didn't hold out much hope); Wyatt; Scoop Stevenson; Captain Lipson, (who had traveled up from Port Adelaide for the occasion); Captain Watts; Captain Nixon (of the 96th Regiment and recently arrived from England on board the Navarino); Captain Warming; and a number of others. Of Fisher and his crew of reprobates there was no sign. Well, the evening was for gentlemen.

Trickling Jickling had taken on the role of Chairman - after all, we were in his Court House, so fair dos - and called the meeting to order and asked that we be seated.

And then, wonder of wonders, a four course meal followed by dessert. I have not eaten so well in months and all memory of Widow Harvey's horror of a Christmas meal was erased from my memory. We had a White Soup, Pigeon Pie, Roast Duck, Roast Leg of Hogget and for dessert a port wine flummery. Plenty of food for all and it was washed down with some wines brought in from Sydney.

I did take issue with one aspect of the meal. Normally I might have expected any vegetables served with the meats to be placed in separate dishes so that those who did not wish to bother with such fripperies as vegetables, but concentrate instead on the essential parts of the meal, that is, roast meat, might simply ignore them. Instead, the duck arrived at table with a roast onion and some carrot pieces next to it and the hogget was served with roasted potatoes sitting on the plate. 

I spoke with Freddy Allen about this later and he assured me that serving vegetables actually with the meal was the latest trend in the best eateries in London. He then said something about "a sensory experience" that "took the dish on a journey to another level" and "put 100% of himself on the plate". I had no idea what he meant but gather that this sort of blather is common amongst professional cooks. I hope Widow Harvey does not take this up. The idea of her serving up some tasteless gruel and telling us about the "fusion of flavours on the plate" hardly bears thinking of.

Then Freddy and his boys cleared the table, pulled off the cloth and kept the wine flowing. Port and Indian Brandy were also available and quite a few of the colony's leading gentlemen availed themselves of one or the other. Or in Gilles's case, both, or whatever he could get his hands on.

Jickling then rose to his feet and proposed a toast to Her Majesty's health which received great acclaim as did a second toast to Her Majesty's Ministers.

Jickling then made a short speech about ME!!. He said things that were most complimentary and caused me to blush with modesty. I blushed even more when he proposed "the health of his Excellency the Governor" and was met with great cheers and loud applause that went on for some time. There followed much beating of hands on tables and stamping of feet as the assembled gentlemen unexpectedly called for a speech from me. Fortunately I had a few impromptu notes prepared and rose to my feet signalling for silence.

I gave them the usual flannel about the future looking bright and the achievements of us all showing what Englishmen can do in adversity and everyone signalled their approval. I went on to say (and I copy from my notes)  

"Much of the cordiality of this day I attribute to the circumstance which I am sure you all believe, and which, one day or other, will, in spite of misrepresentation, be the undisputed fact, namely, that I labour for the best interests of the province without any selfish view whatever. In my situation as Governor I have duties to perform to her Majesty and to the colonists, and I will always strive to do both to the best of my judgement. 
In these efforts I have always been assisted greatly by the support of many, I may say all, of you gentlemen present, and I rely on you all for a continuation of these meritorious exertions. The dissensions which have unhappily arisen despite my best and most considered efforts, I trust will be transitory; at all events they can not affect the progress of the settlement of our adopted country.
I know the Commissioners at home well; and I can safely say that they have never meant to separate their interests in the colony from those of the Sovereign and the people."

This was greeted with wild applause and cheering and I was clearly the darling of the multitude.

By this point the wines and spirits had flowed freely enough to loosen tongues and the people were popping up all about the room making toasts on anything that came to mind.

Someone proposed a toast to the Army and Navy, someone else Colonel Torrens and the Colonisation Commisioners, someone else "prosperity to South Australia", someone else "Mrs Hindmarsh and the ladies of the colony". 

It had reached the point where people were toasting " the ships of South Australia" when, before anyone could wrestle him to the ground Charlie Howard stood and started to give a speech of unfeasible length and dryness with many a Biblical illustration regarding the education of the children of the colony and how it was his great regret that we had not yet done enough for the young ones who were the future hope of us all. He was really just getting going after about twenty minutes when Stevenson, in a show of common sense, leaped to his feet and shouted "To the future!" to great acclaim and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as Charlie sat down, clearly frustrated at being cut off in his prime.

Since Stevenson was on his feet and not to be outdone by Howard, he started in on a speech about the natives and our relation to them, rejoicing that we had made them our friends and companions without the deleterious effects to native life found in the older colonies. "It is impossible", he said, "to overrate the importance to the colony of friendship with the natives; and I sincerely hope that the same judicious system which has been practiced from the first will be persevered in". He then produced a deal of froth about "taking the olive branch" and "bringing the blessings of civilisation" to which everyone gave mutterings of "hear hear!"

I was just thinking what one of the natives might have to say on the matter when Wyatt, clearly jealous of his position as Protector threw a cat amongst the pigeons by declaring that at next year's celebration he hoped to bring a native to join us and tell us exactly how grateful he was. 

At this point some damned fool proposed a toast to "civil and religious freedom" and Howard, seeing his chance, was in like a ferret up a drain. He was on his feet in a flash and spoke at great length  - GREAT length - in a sort of fantasia of themes which all revolved about the topic of freedom of religion without ever quite making contact. Eventually I think people stopped listening and just let Charlie drone away in the background while they got about the business of finishing all the available drink.  

By about a half past the hour of ten we decided to shut Charlie down and those still sober enough to walk steadily assisted those who were less stable out to the road and poured them into various donkey, horse and ox carts that were waiting. I hope I do not hear stories of some being poured into the wrong carriage. Who knows what level of hilarity (and in one or two cases, amorous hi-jinks) might ensue if they arrived at what proved to be the wrong wife in the wrong house.

A splendid evening had been had by all (well, most... I feel that Howard did not have the best time of it and while Gilles had had a delightful evening I suspect that tomorrow morning will not be quite so jolly for him) and we move into the second year of the Colony with, if not enthusiasm then at least determination.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Sunday, 24th December, 1837

A busy week ahead I fear. Christmas, of course, today and tomorrow. Then on the 28th it will be exactly one year since I stood beneath that bent tree at Holdfast Bay and read the proclamation of the State.

It would be at this point, I suppose, when I am expected to say such platitudes as "How time flies" and "It seems but yesterday", but in point of fact time has not flown and it seems exactly as if a long, weary year has passed.

We go tomorrow to Charlie Howard's Christmas service, which will, I have no doubt be as dull and as tedious you might expect. The Reverend Charlie has the gift of sucking the festive spirit out of a day like you might suck the juice out of an orange, leaving you with something dry, repellent and good for nothing.

And tomorrow we shall sit down as a family to a sumptuous repast prepared by the delicate hand of Lucrezia, the mad poisoner. We have been promised something "quite like goose" which I can only imagine will be parrot. If she serves it with sauerkraut my joy will be complete. 

In the evening some of the worthies of the Colony are gathering at the Courthouse for a Christmas SoirĂ©e. If Mrs Hindmarsh has any say over the matter there will be dancing. I imagine that several of the ladies of the Colony will chance their arm at singing, almost certainly with mixed results and no doubt, unless we can find some way of stopping her, my daughter will entertain us at the pianoforte, probably with more of her "contemporary music". She has discovered some cove named Mendelssohn who writes what is allegedly music, but sounds like a tomcat in distress. When I complained about it she told me to "keep up with the times" and called me an "old fogey", a term I did not understand. 

On the 28th we will be doing it all again for the first anniversary of the Colony. Down to the courthouse for yet another dinner and more speeches than might be reasonably expected. I am looking forward to it, well the food sections at any rate,  as it is being prepared by one other than the Widow Harvey and so threatens to be edible.

Our bold explorers Hutchinson, Strangways and Morphett crept back into town this week with the air of a dog that has made a mess on the carpet and is hoping to not be found out. I might have expected them to present themselves at Government House, but they are avoiding me, it seems, as they seem to be expecting some harsh words over Jeffcott's drowning.

As well they might. Bobby Cock, without all the hooplah and self regard associated with Bingham Hutchinson, quietly headed off with a party a few days after the South Coast Explorers and managed to cross the Mount Lofty Ranges, discover the plains beyond and reach the River Murray, then return home safely and did it all without drowning a single Whaling Captain or losing even one Judge of the Supreme Court. That's what I call exploring. 

I have sent word to Hutchinson that I expect a written report on my desk by week's end and will meet with him after that to discuss his discoveries. His losses; which I tally at 
  • One Judge
  • One Whaling Captain 
  • Two Sailors
  • One Hundredweight of Whalebone 
  • One Whaling boat
we shall also discuss. And for his sake I hope his discoveries outweigh his losses

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Sunday, 17th December 1837


Johnny's extra ordinary letter from Encounter Bay arrived here on Friday and to say that it put the cat amongst the pigeons is not the half of it. He appears to have survived two shipwrecks, an expedition in the wilds of the South Coast and a night with the natives. Most unbelievably of all it seems he has spent considerable time with none but David McLaren for company and not been bored to death!

The loss of Jeffcott is a great and unexpected blow. His good sense and knowledgeable opinion, as well as his readiness to side with me against the Fisherites mean that his passing leaves me in a pretty tight spot in the politics of the Colony. And his loss from the bench only serves to confirm Jickling as the inadequate he seems. I will miss him greatly.

He had become a great identity about the town, his habit of wearing trousers short enough in the leg to display a fair few inches of stocking caused great merriment and he had become known to the Colonists as "Mr. Jeff", a sobriquet of endearment rather than disrespect. 

He will, of course be missed in Van Dieman's Land as well, where he was considered Love Incarnate and Passion Personified by the dear Miss Kermode. I imagine it falls to me to write and inform the lady of her loss. I shall have to do so in as tactful a manner as possible and I am the man for the job. I consider myself to be, when need arises, the non pareil and sine qua non of discretion.

I have thought to begin my letter with "Dear Miss Kermode; Have you yet purchased your wedding gown? If not, I have news which might save you considerable expense." which I think strikes a proper tone and will soften the blow to follow. I will probably get Mrs Hindm rsh to glance over the thing once it is drafted to get the feminine viewpoint.

I must say that the feminine viewpoint around here has been less than complimentary regarding Johnny's letter. I have been told that Jeffcott's drowning, the wreck of the South Australia and the death of a whaler, Johnny's blistered feet and the digging of two graves were all somehow my fault and, what's more, I should have known about them before they happened so that I could have stopped Johnny from going on the trip and experiencing them.

Even more I have been told that (and I quote directly) that "if whatever it was that woman rubbed on his feet is poisonous and the boy's toes wither and fall off then it will be on your head!" It has been intimated that if even one toe is so much as damaged I will never be spoken to again. At this point I can't help but be on the side of the native woman. Johnny can get by with nine toes just as well as ten and if it means a little peace and quiet then "toes away!" I say.

Great talk about the town over the issue of schools for the children. At present children learn at their mother's knee, although of course there was a school set up at Kingscote by Bromley where children paid a penny a day to come along and sit under a tree and have dear old Walter tell them Bible stories and teach them their ABCs.

At present, I am told most of the children are either schooled in their home by their parents or run wild in the streets where, I have no doubt, they learn many skills that will help them through their lives. 

I remember my own school days - I was on a Naval ship by the time I was eight and I learnt most of what I know of the ways of the world below decks from the Jack Tars of the Bellerophon.

However a group of do-gooders back in London such as Rundle, Currie and Hindley have decided that we need to spread the knowledge of Jesus, England and Empire (though not necessarily in that order) and raise children to be useful members of a moral British society.

I wish we could teach a few adults here in the Colony to be useful and moral, but I suspect they have missed the boat on that account. But that is by the by.

Our zealous educators, led by none other than George Fife Angas have great plans. They have begun, in that most English of manners when action is called for: by forming a committee. The committee has sprung into action and, with the speed and flair of a startled tortoise, produced a report. (I believe a law has been passed in the Parliament making it illegal to form a committee that does not include the membership of George Fife Angas)

They intend to have set up several different types of schools in the colony.  For childen up to the age of eight they will have infant schools "on the English model", the English model, if I recall, being Bible stories and thrashing.

A School "on the English Model"

The survivors will then progress to schools that teach a bit of reading and writing as well as Bible stories and thrashing and, as they say in the report, "a small, unoppressive portion of labour". Exactly why a group of businessmen and merchants would want to see a captive force of children carrying out a "portion of labour" I leave to others to judge, as I leave the question of how "small and unoppressive" such labour might be.

Any of these seasoned workers who manage to reach the age of twelve would then, according to the committee plan, be enrolled in schools "on the plan of Dr Fellinberg". I had to ask around, but it seems that Fellinberg is a Swiss shower who set up schools that were half academy, half farm. The children learn how to run a farm, yodel, put the holes in cheese and so on and in between times hear Bible stories, read and write and receive a thrashing or two.

Having weeded out the weak and inform, those left at the age of sixteen who have heard all the Bible stories, would be able to take on an apprenticeship so that, at the age of twenty-one, after five more years of thrashing, they can, according to the committee, make themselves into valuable and productive members of society.

The report states that "The whole of the schools to be conducted on the soundest principles of moral and religious education.": the thrashing for morals and the Bible stories for religion I imagine.

For myself, I cannot help but feel that if we let children learn the needful things at their mother's knee and then go out and play in the fields then they'd learn just as much. They might not be able to tell you what Melchizedek said to Abraham or what colour fabric Lydia sold, but they'd be thrashed a good deal less and probably grow up happier. And if some of them ran about the streets calling gentlemen names and shying at their hats with pebbles is this so terrible? Particularly if the gentleman in question is Fisher.

Anyway, the whole scheme depends on money. As is the way of these things the Committee is calling on public subscriptions from like minded child thrashers and will only come alive once people have dug into their pockets deeply enough. So I think that the children can run free for quite a while longer.

Friday, 23 June 2017

A Letter found between the pages of Hindmarsh's Diary

Encounter Bay
14th December

Dear Pa;

I am writing to you to tell you that I am well and that no mishap has befallen me. But I also need to tell you that the Judge, Sir John, is dead.

Well, the exact phrase I suppose would be "missing, presumed dead" as we have been unable to find the body, but I am pretty sure that he is drowned.

Shall I tell you the whole story of what happened after we left Adelaide? It would be the best thing if I did I suppose.

You will remember that the plan was to head to Kingscote in order to meet with the Hartley before sailing to Launceston. Sir John had borrowed Captain Lipson's cutter for the trip. You'll laugh when I tell you that I don't believe Captain Lipson was best pleased, but did not have much say in the matter when Sir John told him that his boat had been borrowed.

On our arrival at Kingscote we were told that the Hartley was not ready to sail and might not be for several days so Sir John suggested that we sail over to Encounter Bay and see how the whalers were getting on and also to see if there might be a ship there sailing to Van Dieman's Land. So the next day (the 4th) we sailed over to the whaling Station, arriving at The Bluff late in the afternoon.

On our arrival we were soon told that there was no ship ready to sail, but Captain MacFarlane told us that we were welcome to stay on board the South Australian, which was anchored in the lee of the Bluff whilst the crew prepared barrels of whale oil for shipment on board the Solway, which was due to arrive in a few days.

We were pleased to find Mr McLaren on board and we spent the evening speaking with him about the company and about his plans for the future (of the which I will tell you more when I see you).

The next day Sir John found himself called upon to act in his official capacity. A sailor had died and Sir John ran an inquest. You would have been pleased to see me acting as Sir John's assistant in the business which resulted in a finding of death being due to "delirium tremens, brought on by excessive drinking". This will, I fancy, confirm you in your opinion of the whalers, which I know is not high. The man was buried on the Bluff and Sir John acted as parson.

On Friday (the 8th) the weather turned bad and a storm blew in from the South East. That night after we had gone below decks to bed, thinking we were moored in a safe harbour, we were awaken by a sudden lurch of the ship. One of the seamen who was below decks with us shouted, "She's dragged her anchor!" and ran up to the deck. It seemed that in the storm the ship had parted its mooring lines. I don't think I will forget in a hurry the moment when the Captain came down to us and said that "as life was the most important thing he would try to get us all landed in a boat" before turning and hurrying back on deck. At that point there was a mighty crash and we had clearly hit something. We rushed up on deck and as unsteady as we were from the storm we could see from the breakers that we had struck the reef that lies off shore. We had struck stern first and were held there for a while by the heavy swell. Then there was a grinding noise as the ship was carried over the reef into the calmer waters nearer shore, but the damage the reef had caused proved too much and she started taking water below decks. 

It is a tribute to the Captain that he did, indeed, manage to get us all ashore, with our belongings and even though the ship was driven ashore and wrecked entirely, no hands were lost or injured.

The Judge and I intended to take the next day for a rest day after the excitement of the ship wreck, but late in the evening the Judge told me that "we had a choice to make." He said that we could take Captain Lipson's boat and head back to Kingscote and wait for the Hartley to be ready to sail. But Mr McLaren told us that with the wreck of the South Australia it might be a week before the Hartley sailed while it waited for new goods from Adelaide to take to Launceston. Or, he said, we might head to the lakes and do a little exploring.

I expect that you know that Mr Strangways, Mr Morphett and Mr Hutchinson were exploring the area. They had arrived at Blenkinsop's whaling station further around the Bay on the 1st December and had been spending the time exploring the area. They had borrowed the whaling station's whale boat in order to explore the further reaches of the lake. Now Captain Blenkinsop wished for the return of his whale boat before, as he said, "those three monkeys make a mess of it!" 

Mr Hutchinson's party had said that they would camp near the mouth of the river and Captain Blenkinsop proposed that we head to the lake and meet them at their camp site and then sail the whaleboat back to Encounter Bay. 

This certainly sounded like a more diverting way to pass the time than a week in Kingscote and so early the next morning the Captain, the Judge, a native guide and I set out on foot along the beach front to the river mouth. The trip took much of the day, but by late afternoon we found the campsite and also found Strangways lounging by the river. He was naturally surprised to see us and when Mr Hutchinson and Mr Morphett returned there was much merriment.

We spent the next two days sailing about the lake in the boat (named The Currency Lass). We sailed around a large island which Captain Blenkinsop named "Hindmarsh Island". He said, with a twinkle in his eye that "everyone will think the thing is named after the Governor, but we'll know Johnny, that you were the one here and who it's really named after!" So now I have my own island!

On Tuesday Captain Blenkinsop decided to take the Lass out through the river mouth into the sea and sail it back into Encounter Bay. Having seen the waves crashing into the beach and having already been in one shipwreck I thought this was a bad idea and when the two whalers who had sailed the boat over with the explorers said that they had been unable to sail the boat in, but had towed it in by hand, my mind was made up and I decided to go overland to the Bluff.

The Judge, however, announced that he had eaten enough kangaroo and wanted to get back to Encounter Bay as quickly as he could. And so Blenkinsop, the Judge, Mr Hutchinson, Mr Strangways and the two crew got into the boat to attempt to sail it out into the ocean.

Mr Morphett and I sailed with them as far as the mouth, stopping at Hindmarsh Island to raise a flag and load the boat with a quantity of whale bone that had been stashed on the beach. As we sailed Mr Morphett said to me "Johnny, you've been around boats much more than I have and your father has salt water for blood. If you say not to sail with them then that's warning enough for me." 

We two then went ashore on the mainland, climbing the dunes so we could wave them off. We watched as they sailed out over the rollers. Morphett said that the surf was the worst he had ever seen. And so it proved. The boat sailed out perhaps three quarters of a mile when a giant wave nearly tossed the boat over. Loaded with whalebone, she was riding low and began to flood with water. I was told later that the Judge cried out, "Lord save us! We shall all be drowned!" as the boat fell off the top of the giant wave and was struck by the next. The Judge and the two crew were thrown into the sea. Captain Blenkinsop clung to the mast while the Judge managed to grab hold of an oar. The others caught hold of the boat and clung on for dear life. The waves proved too much for the Captain and the Judge though and they were torn from their safety. Captain Blenkinsop was lost in the sea at once, while the Judge surfaced just once, made a desperate grab for a rope and then disappeared below the waves once and for all.

Morphett and I ran down on to the beach where we were joined by our native guide and some of his fellows. We waded out into the sea and dragged Strangways and Hutchinson ashore. The boat was broken up by the waves.

I cannot imagine how they did it, but within what seemed like moments the natives had a fire blazing for us to warm ourselves by and soon we were joined by more who brought food and water. Our guide, who spoke a little English, told us that the natives could not believe that we had tried to take a boat out in those waves and that they thought that white men must be either very brave or very stupid.

We spent the night on the beach by the native's fire. My feet had become badly blistered by the walking and one of the native women rubbed them with leaves she had crushed which had the surprising effect of easing the pain.

The next morning we found Captain Blenkinsop's body on the beach, but of the others there was no sign. We buried the Captain on the beach and used what we could salvage of the boat to cover the grave. We then walked back to Encounter Bay where I am now. Tomorrow Mr Mclaren has offered to sail Captain Lipson's boat back to Kingscote with me and from there I will continue on to Launceston as we agreed and Mr Mclaren will arrange for someone to sail the boat back to Adelaide and deliver this letter.

This has, I fear, been a greater adventure than I had hoped for and the outcome not as cheerful as I would have like. However, after all I remain

Your loving son
John Hindmarsh 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Sunday 10th, December, 1837

I had my hopes up that I could get some things done without interference while Fisher was away in Van Dieman's Land, but no sooner had the thought crossed my mind than it crossed Fisher's as well and he hurriedly returned to town, leaving Mann to travel on to Hobart alone.

Since then he has be bustling about the place trying to look busy and indispensable. He has made his opinion of Henry Jickling very clear and  his opinion of me even clearer. He has also been muttering darkly about "Mann's mission" and dropping hints with all the subtlety of a builder dropping bricks that he has a plan that will settle my hash once and for all. Well, we shall see about that.

In the meantime all plans I had for doing things without Fisher's interference have disappeared like will o'the wisps with two exceptions.

Whilst the half man half rabbit was away I did manage to get started on arranging for the building of a gaol. Well, I believe the polite phrase is "house of correction", but be jiggered about correction. I just want somewhere to put naughty lads and lasses so that they are out of sight and mind. 

When we first arrived here prisoners were kept in the hold of the Buffalo and spent most of their time offending Mrs Hindmarsh by scaring Tiddles the cat and getting drunk with the Marines. Once the Buffalo sailed we became one of the few places in the world to have a gaol made of canvas, as we are currently using a tent as a prison. This is probably not the most efficient or effective of systems and when any prisoners yell at the Marines on guard the traditional boast of "These walls won't hold me!" they speak no more than the simple truth. I myself have seen the looks of disappointment on the prisoner's faces as they try and rattle their pannikins against the bars of the cell. The effect is just not the same when all they can rattle them against is the tent flap.

In an act of some desperation we have been left with the stratagem of chaining prisoners to logs in order to keep them from escaping. Fortunately, after Fisher's carry on chopping trees down like there was no tomorrow, logs are something we have plenty of.

Clearly this cannot continue. If we're going to take the trouble to catch felons it seems a pity not have somewhere to put them. Just letting them escape as soon as our back is turned seems a little of a wasted opportunity.

Sometime in the New Year we will call for tenders and see if we can get the thing built. And we will have to see if we can get that cunning monkey Hack to keep his money grubbing paws out of the process.

Some months ago Hack tendered for the building of the canal at Port Adelaide and submitted a costing far lower than any other. Despite my warning that he was doing the old trick of tendering low and charging high the company, all businessmen filled with financial acumen, charged at his quote like a gull on crumbs, blinded by the sparkle of the coin they were going to save.

And what happened? The canal was finished (or so we were told) and the final bill arrived. It was double the original tender and more expensive than any other price we were quoted. So no, Hack will not be asked to submit a quote for any new gaol being built. 

My other accomplishment while Fisher was away was something of a personal triumph. I ordered a new kitchen for Government House. Fisher would have opposed this of a certainty and called it an unnecessary luxury and waste of public money, but damn him! I will have a decent place for my food to be cooked!  

The mad poisoner Lucrezia has, up until now, been cooking on a fire built on the dirt floor of an outhouse. I have ordered to be built a kitchen with chimney and oven attached to the house. The Widow Borgia will not know herself! 

Of course I need hardly add that the largest kitchens of the great houses of England would be of no avail in the effort to produce niceties if they are under the management of a mad woman. No matter the quality of the kitchen, the quality of the food depends on the quality of the cook. Here, I fear, is the fly in the ointment. Or rather, as happened just tonight, the fly in the gravy.

When I informed her of the new kitchen project she was mightily pleased and disconcertingly grinned a grin from ear to ear, showing her two upper teeth.

"Oh lawks! Ya Rexellency! If you thought I was a good cook before, you wait till you see what I might do with a new kitchen!'

As it happens I did not and I dread to think what she might do with a new kitchen.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sunday, 3rd December 1837

Well I can only imagine that I am in for a farago of tall tales and true in the next few weeks.

Young Bingham Hutchinson, having conquered Mount Lofty, has set his sights on new challenges and greener pastures. Gathering together Bewes Strangways and John Morphett he has set off to explore Encounter Bay and ascertain the truth or otherwise of Whaler Walker's claims regarding a great harbour at the true mouth of the River Murray.

Of course he's been putting it about the town that who knows what wonders he might find whilst exploring and that his life will inevitably be in danger in the unknown terrors to be found in the wild desolation of the Fleurieu Peninsula. 

The result was that when the party left town a sizable crowd assembled to wave them off. Not, I think, because they were well wishers, but because the people had heard more than enough of Hutchinson's braggadocio and wanted to see that the blowhard really was leaving so that they could get a month or two of peace and quiet. It is true what they say - if you give the people what they want then they'll come out for it.

Leaving town seems to be all the rage at the moment. First Jeffcott, then our intrepid explorers and I have also been told that no less than Mann and Fisher have taken passage to Van Dieman's Land. Surely they cannot be subject to the siren song of Miss Kermode as well? Good God! What charms this woman must have!

In fact Fisher and Mann heading for Hobart is shrouded in mystery and the purposed is not to be spoken of! I suspect they too are off to consult the sharp legal minds of the Hobart Judiciary in order either to learn about the laws of the High Seas or to gain legal ammunition that they may fire against no less than yours truly.

Well, whilst the rat is away the cat may play and with Fisher out of the colony and Strangways risking life and limb in the wilds of Encounter Bay the Council will consist solely of Trickling Jickling and myself. So at last I might have the authority I was promised back in England with no interference from the damned South Australia Company. I have a list of reforms that might be carried out while I have the chance.

The God awful Menge has turned up again. It seems that he disappeared some time ago in order to travel north and has now returned with stories of lush, fertile valleys which could prove to be the food basket of the colony and extensive plains that could grow all the wheat we might need. I made the mistake of asking to see any maps he might have made of his travels. He became most offended and declared "I keep no maps save those in my head!" which is all well and good, but damn all use to anyone.

One of the Marines approached me during the week (despite my repeated instructions not to do that) and asked to speak to me "on a matter of some delicacy". He asked if it were possible for me to keep my sister Anne away from the Marine's camp as, he said, "her attentions are tiring out the lads." I have to admit, I did not quite understand what he meant, as I understood my sister to be spending time lending a helping hand, sewing on a button or cooking a pot of soup.  

This Marine - James Fish by name - explained that at first the men had welcomed my sisters ministrations as "they were always up for a bit of fun", but they had realised that they were "not able to keep up with her" particularly when she came down to see them in "the small hours".

Well, this is just typical of the Marines. My sister puts herself out to provide them with a few small comforts and the touch of a woman's hand on their affairs and their response is to say that they find it all a bit tiring. I imagine that Anne did indeed provide them with a "bit of fun". Her singing voice is delightful and she is quite talented on the guitar. 

I am disappointed at the ingratitude of the Marines and shall certainly say nothing to my sister for fear of hurting her feelings.  

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Sunday, 26th November, 1837

Dear Lord All Mighty, Charles Mann has resigned as Advocate General!

He is a person of much promise and potential, but he is a firm believer in "the democratic spirit" which, it need hardly be said, puts him at enmity with me, the representative of the Monarch.

In February when there was much discussion regarding the site of the capital he took it into his head that I was vehemently opposed to Light's choice of location and the silly bugger gave numerous speeches in the Council twittering on about the rights of man and the need to stand against tyranny (by which he meant me) and declaring for Light and Fisher's right to represent the people and the company. 

All hogwash, of course. I had no objection to planting the city where it is now, but was simply trying to keep the peace at home, since Mrs Hindmarsh had made it clear that she wanted a more thrilling and picturesque site.

But having got it into his head that I was one of the dark forces of feudalism he has spent the rest of the time here in the colony opposing me at every turn and siding with Fisher, convinced that I was doing all I could to undermine the forward thinking principles of the Colony's founders as laid down in the Foundation Act.

Utter balderdash of course, but once Gouger was sacked and Brown dismissed he could read "mene mene teqel" on the wall and cut his losses. 

On Monday his letter of resignation was delivered to me and he is now no longer Advocate General of the Colony.

Fortunately Jeffcott has told me of the possibility of a very able replacement to be had in Van Dieman's land. Mr Alfred Stephen has recently resigned from his position as Attorney-General in that Colony following the death of his wife. Jeffcott told me that he would be a most suitable replacement for Mann and would add much to the Colony and, more importantly, side with me against Fisher.

I shall write immediately to Sir John Franklin in VDL and ask if he could not use his position as Lieutenant-Governor to influence Alfred Stephen to take up Mann's now vacant position. 

Speaking of Jeffcott, the man has scarpered.

Last week he sent me a letter explaining his difficulties. The Stephens murder case has continued to exercise his mind it seems. He seems to think that the question of whether the case can be tried in South Australia when we have no law governing crimes on the high seas is a real one. And since we do have a law that states that colonists in South Australia are not subject to the laws of any other Colony we cannot try them in Sydney or Hobart. 

Of course he is really running to the arms of the fair Miss Kermode who must either be "the extremely fair Miss Kermode" or be possessed of some other talents that mean that Jeffcott can not be removed from her side for longer than a month at a time. (and if she has such talents I suspect they are not culinary in nature)

Be that as it may, Jeffcott has folded up his tent and stolen away to meet with the Hartley which sails for Launceston from Kingscote within a few days. I have granted him leave and he has, as I suspected, suggested Jickling as a replacement. (Great laughter the other night when my daughter accidentally referred to the man as "Henry Trickling".) 

Young Johnny has decided to venture down to Encounter Bay with him, much to his mother's distress, but the boy the boy is seventeen and needs to spread his wings and stand on his own feet. By the time I was seventeen I had served in three different naval battles and Mrs Hindmarsh won't let our son go on a bit of a sea trip.

A set to when I called a Council meeting in order to officially appoint Jickling as Acting Judge. Fisher and Strangways were in attendance. I explained the situation: that Jeffcott had need to travel to Van Dieman's Land for consultation and since there were legal duties to be performed in the meantime it was imperative that an interim appointment be made.

Fisher promptly dug his heels in and said that he could agree to nothing without Jeffcott's correspondence being tabled and made available to the perusal of the Council members. Well, be damned to that! I don't need to be making letters addressed to me open to the sticky beak prying eyes of Mr Fisher! Of course Fisher put on a high tantrum and a sulk and declared Jickling "unfit and unqualified for the position", the which, if I was pressed, I would probably agree with,though I would never tell Fisher that. Besides, even if he is unfit and unqualified all others in the Colony are even more so and a poor choice is better than none at all.

Fortunately Strangways could be counted on to vote with me and so Henry Trickling Jickling was appointed as Acting Judge with Mr FIsher dissenting.  

There is, it goes without saying, a goodly chance that Jeffcott will fall prey to Miss Kermode's charms and not return, in which case we will apply to London for a more suitable replacement. But in the meantime Jickling it is.

The lump of dough that haunts Government House - I speak of Widow Harvey's baby - learned to walk about a month ago. Or so it was claimed. I have yet to see the brat move under her own sail, since she prefers to loll about and wait to be carried around either by her mother or by my wife and daughters. Strangely though, although I have yet to see her move, she seems to always have food about her. I suspect that she is actually remarkably speedy, moving in the blink of an eye to grab food and return to her favourite lolling spot in the few moments when everyone's back is turned. I believe that if no-one was looking she would be a sure fire thing in a foot race.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Sunday, 19th November, 1837

Twice this past week I have been asked to deal with incidents that prove in my mind the utter bollocks of Wakefield's nonsense of a plan for settlement.

Wakefield (when he wasn't chasing child heiresses, the dirty old devil) was wont to opine that we would establish a colony that would be a Paradise. Each man and woman would be free to be whosoever they wanted, to worship as they wanted and to own the land they needed. Because all had purchased land all would work together for the common good, embracing the beauties of the pursuit of the artisan, free from overcrowding and its concomitant social problems, each man supporting the other.

Also free travel to Fairyland to see Titania and Oberon I imagine. 

The difficulty with chaps like Wakefield is that they work things out on a piece of paper, sit back and say, "I've solved the problems of the Nation! Oh what a clever chap I am!" and then find themselves being disappointed when people get involved. They forget that the real world has a way of ignoring what seemed so clear on that damned piece of paper.

Twice this past week I have been approached by colonists complaining that they have had livestock shot by their neighbours. It seems that their pigs, and in one case a cat, wandered onto neighbouring properties and started digging up the kitchen gardens.

The result was that after trying to shoo the swine out of the place, with no success, the neighbours fetched their fowling piece and started taking potshots at porky.

So much for a paradise where each man supports each other. To begin with, it was clear that the problem could have been avoided right at the start if the owners had just housed their livestock properly. A few proper fences and some decent pens and the pigs wouldn't have been off roaming the streets.

But do the owners want to take any responsibility for this? Of course they do not! Their swine should be able to wander free and unfettered, doing what they please and causing what trouble they like and everyone else should be saying "Oh, look at the sweet little things!" And when they are dealt with the owners moan and groan and cry out "Oh why has this happened to me? Why is life so unfair?"

The silly sods! If they bothered to take some responsibility for themselves then there wouldn't be a problem in the first place.

And then there's the neighbours. Do we have so much livestock here in the colony that we can afford to be shooting the animals that turn up in the wrong place?  Are we ankle deep in pigs? "But they are on my land," says our gun happy colonist and starts using the pigs for shooting practice. No thought about "the good of the colony" or "all working together". Be buggered! "They're on my land and by God I'll deal with them!"

And this is where Wakefield is left standing. "The common good" will lose out every time to "every man for himself".

And in the meantime we're short of a sizeable portion of our pigs.

I sat down with Mrs Hindmarsh during the week and worked out with her the situation with my land holdings. With money borrowed from Angas I bought five allottments before I left London and when they were made available I chose four acres in the city and one at Port Adelaide. At the subsequent auction I purchased another fourteen acres, many in North Adelaide, though some to the south of the river. With land in the city realising between six and eight hundred per cent upon the original outlay (and improving in value) I can see that my original spending of less than one hundred pounds should soon produce around one thousand.

In addition to the land I have at present I am entitled to country sections of land when the survey is complete. These will each be about 130 acres in size and I certainly see where there might be a profit to be made in that. Mrs Hindmarsh and I are, for once, in agreement, that our future appears to be assured.

Young Johnny is pressing me and his mother pretty hard to go on the expedition to seek out Whaler Walker's harbour at the mouth of the Murray. I do not imagine that there will be much of any note occurring on that argosy and so I will not doubt give my permission and allow him the pleasure of exploration. And much joy may he have of it,