Monday, 16 July 2018

Sunday, 15th April, 1838

When I said last week that I had hopes that the Marines could deal with collecting Bushranger Morgan from Encounter Bay I was, in the end, proven half right.

With frightening speed and efficiency and a precision that might almost pass as military to the unfussy, the Marines rode to Encounter Bay, making good time and getting lost hardly at all.

The morning after they arrived they shackled the prisoner and, making him march before them, set out for Adelaide. 

The problem made itself felt when they decided to stop for elevenses. It became perfectly apparent that whoever had packed the rations had miscalculated. The rations had been packed on the basis of six Marines taking two days to travel to Encounter Bay and two days back.

But the true fact of the matter was that there were seven people on the return leg of the journey not six and that seventh was on foot, meaning that the journey was likely to take a two and a half or even three days. Add to these difficulties that Private Fish had eaten rather more cake than was truly his share on the Southern trip and the direness of the situation will be appreciated. 

However,  like an answer to prayer, a solution presented itself and though some might cavil at its ethics, none can criticise it for a lack of boldness. 

They simply chained Bushranger Morgan to a sizeable tree, tossed him Fish's leftover cake and left him there, explaining that they were going to get more food and would be back for him.

They rode off and without Morgan to slow them made good time. Such good time that they decided that there was no need to hurry and, on the second day, to feel that they deserved an extra long lunch. By eating their supper rations as well, they made it into quite the slap up, drawn out affair. As a result it wasn't until dark that they rode down North Terrace and back to camp, exhausted after their exertions. They fell into bed and of course the next morning they slept in, meaning that it wasn't until nearly eleven that they reported to me to tell me of their clever idea and that Morgan was chained to a tree on the side of a hill in the wilderness, somewhere north of Encounter Bay.

Astonished, I immediately organised a rescue party, made up of sensible and reliable people who, taking  the least Spaniel like Marine as guide, rode South like furies, eventually,  after a deal of trouble, finding poor Morgan four fifths dead from heat, thirst, starvation and terror, having spent four days and nights in all weathers, fearful of native attacks and repelling wild dogs by kicking them on the snout. The search party unchained him and set about reviving him as best they could before bringing him up to town.

In the mean time I found an old slipper and a rolled up newspaper and made my way to the Marine's camp, where I gave some disciplinary training to my red spaniels. And a hard lesson it was.

Mr Hawdon has written me a detailed and informative report regarding his Overland Expedition down to Adelaide from New South Wales. I read it with keen interest.

The next time Bingham Hutchinson gives me some of his usual blatherskite I might present him with a copy of this as a model for him to follow. 

Fisher has announced that an advertisment will be placed in the next issue of The Gazette announcing the sale of trunks and stumps felled by his pauper labourers about the town. And no ordinary sale, where you come in, put down your shilling and take away your stump. Oh, no, no, no! Having produced the items for sale at cut rate prices, he is now determined to milk as much cash from the public as possible in the sale of them by selling them at Auction. Highest bidders only thank you and terms, cash only. Is there no bottom to the gaping maw of the man's mendacity?

There arrived in port today the Lord Goderich with some 150 souls on board and there are already extraordinary stories circulating about the town regarding their six month voyage out. I cannot imagine how anyone might take six months to make the voyage, but there are tales of violent disagreements between the Passengers and Captain Andrew Smith. 

Details are scarce, but there are tales doing the rounds of a mysterious evening in March with scenes of drunken debauchery resulting in the death of one of the party. So great were the disagreements between Captain and Passengers that they put in early, before reaching Rio, at Bahia, in northern Brazil, to calm things down. The ship then continued on to RIo with  Lt Edwards of H.M.S. Samarang in charge. The arguments were deemed so serious that it appears, on reaching Rio, that Hesketh, the English Consul, took control of the situation and placed Mr Wethem, the Master's Assistant on board H.M.S. Lyra in charge. 

I am told that the disagreements continued throughout the rest of the voyage and ill feeling ran so high that already, with less than twenty four hours in the Colony, there is talk of Court Cases and litigation and all the fun of the fair! 

I look forward to months of entertainment from these new arrivals and I imagine the rest of Adelaide agrees with me. Go it lads! Have at them!

Newspaper Clipping found between the pages of Hindmarsh's diary


His Excellency the Governor has directed the following letter addressed to him by Mr. HAWDON, to be made public for general information:

 Adelaide, April 5, 1838.

In accordance with your Excellency's wish, I take the earliest opportunity to lay before your Excellency an account of my journey across the interior of the country from New South Wales to this colony. 

In proving the practicability of bringing stock from the sister colony by land, I have been singularly fortunate, having brought with me more than three hundred horned cattle in excellent condition, losing only four animals by the journey. 

The cattle were driven from their station on the River Hume to the Port Phillip mail establishment on the Goulburn River, at which place they were met by the drays conveying supplies for the journey, from Port Phillip, on the 23rd of January. My intended route was to follow the course of this river to the point where Major Mitchell left it on his last expedition, and from thence to cross over to the River Yarrane, hoping that its course would take us to the westward, and thus avoid both the risk likely to be incurred by watering cattle at so large a river as the Murray, and also the danger of passing through the hostile tribes of natives said to inhabit its banks.

Following the course of the Goulburn in a north direction, we discovered that it joined the Hume three days' journey before we fell on Major Mitchell's track going to the south ; its supposed junction at Swan Hill, as afterwards ascertained, being merely a branch of the Hume running out and again joining the main channel. On arriving at the Yarrane, we were disappointed by finding its channel dry, and only a small quantity of water remaining in the holes where Major Mitchell constructed the bridge. 

The flat country to the westward affording no prospect of obtaining water, we were under the necessity of following down the channel of the Yarrane, which took us almost in a northerly direction back to the Hume. Passing its junction with the Murrumbidgee, we followed on the south bank of the Murray to within three miles of the junction of the River Darling, when we crossed over, fording both rivers without difficulty. At the junction of the Darling, we found a bottle buried by Major Mitchell on the 30th of June, 1836. 

On the third day after leaving the Darling, we were following a flooded branch of the Murray, which we found joining the River Rufus within a mile of a beautiful lake about forty miles in cir-cumference, out of which the Rufus takes its rise. The large body of water which flows down this river appears to be supplied entirely by springs rising in the lake, the bed of which is white clay, and discolours the water. We named this Lake Victoria, in honor of her present Majesty. We afterwards passed another lake about twenty miles in circumference, the water of which was impregnated with nitre, a large quantity of which was lying on the edge of the lake. I named this Lake Bonney, after my friend Mr. Charles Bonney, who has accompanied me and shared the difficulties of this undertaking. 

Leaving the river about the latitude of Adelaide, we were compelled by the ranges to go more to the south, and thus passed near to Mount Barker. In that district, we passed over a beautiful and extensive tract of grazing country, especially that lying between Mount Barker and Lake Alexandrina, which equals in richness of soil and pasturage any that I have seen in New Holland. 

The valley through which the Murray flows from the junction of the Murrumbidgee varies from one to upwards of five miles in breadth, and is in many places well adapted for the cultivation of grain ; but the country on either side of the valley consists of red sand generally covered with bush. 

In passing through the tribes of natives, we were extremely fortunate in keeping up a friendly intercourse with them by means of ambassadors sent from one tribe, to another. The tribes are very numerous, and we have frequently counted as many as two hundred in one tribe. On one occasion, when near the Darling, we passed three tribes in one day. 

My party consisted of nine men ; but I should consider this too small a number to travel with safety to the stock over the same country again. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, Your Excellency's obedient humble servant, 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Sunday, 8th April, 1838

We had more news from Encounter Bay this week regarding our famous bushranger.

It appears that not only is the bushranger no myth but that his name is none other than Morgan! Bill Morgan, bushranger bold! 

Now need I add that William Morgan was the accomplice to the shooting of Sherrif Sam Smart, and who escaped into the bush and who we were rather hoping never to hear of again?

Instead, this desperate villain had been captured and detained by the whalers at Encounter Bay, probably because he hadn't eaten for days and felt surrender was a small price for a square meal and a round of toast. 

What is it about the whalers that they have a perfect obsession with taking people prisoner? They held Samuel Stephens captive, they captured Black Alick and insisted he face the full penalty of the law and now they have captured a bushranger and are holding him prisoner.

It is almost as if they hope to put their own sins and crimes in a better light by making others look bad. Or perhaps hope to distract attention. A few days detective work and I imagine that most of the whalers could be put on a boat back to Sydney as either undesirables or escapees. 

At any rate,  Marines were dispatched to travel the fifty miles on horseback and bring the wild thieving outlaw back to the Courts and Justice. 

I went on down to wave them off. For all their drunken idiocy I am fond of the lads, in the same sort of way as you might look kindly on an endearingly stupid and troublesome spaniel. Dumb chums all. And now here they were heading off on their own, on horseback, like proper grown-ups, on a task of some responsibility 

Were these really the same lads as nearly took Mrs Stevenson's eye out when they tried to fire the musket salute at the Proclamation only a year ago? How they grow. Sunrise, sunset. Where does the time go? I was certain they were up to the task.

Or at least hopeful.

There is an interesting rumour about our man Smart. It is whispered that the shooting he endured, for all his bandaging and bravery, actually did not wound him at all, but merely grazed him, leaving him with just a gunpowder mark on his cheek and ear. The blood, it is said by some, came from him bumping his head as he fell. If true this means that when he has been swanning about declaring "No, no, it was nothing!" He may have been telling the absolute truth!

The prisoner McGee, it appears, is not only Irish, but, as if that was not enough, of the Popish persuasion. As a prisoner he is, of course, entitled to the comforts of visitation from a priest of his faith, but when it comes to Romish Priests,  the cupboard is bare. 

I was going to ask Charlie Howard to pop along and offer what succour he could, but since, only last week, Howard preached on "The Anti-Christ of Rome" taking Revelation 17:1-6 as his text:

(1) And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: (2) With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.(3) So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (4) And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: (5) And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. (6) And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

and offered McGee as an example of the moral turpitude of "those who worship in Babylon"  I felt that Charlie might not be the best source of comfort.

Instead, a fellow Catholic, a wheelwright or stonemason or some such labourer of the lower sort, has offered to wield Veronica's handkerchief to the prisoner and has met with him two or three times in the past week. 

A date has finally been set for the distribution of land in the country survey. On the 12th of May  Holders of the first 437 land orders are all going to troop along to Fisher's office and select our land.

And, in a surprising development, no less a figure than Sammy Stephens is offering to advise people on their choices, for the exorbitant sum of 5 guineas!

Sam's attempted murder trial has been dropped. It was clearly making no progress after Jeffcott's death and it was felt that there was only room for one trial of that nature at a time. With McGee taking up most of the available brain power, Jickling and Milner Stephens declared that there was insufficient evidence in the trial to allow the prospect of a conviction and so Sammy found himself a free man.

Exactly how there was "insufficient evidence" when there were two whale boats' full of witnesses no-one has thought to ask, but the legal genius of Milner Stephen is not to be sneezed at.

And the agricultural genius of Sam Stephens is similarly sternutation proof. He has, it seems, a reputation for sound good sense and sensible judgement when it comes to the potential possibilties of a piece of land. "Capability Stephens" we should call him. 

Of course, closer inspection suggests that rumours of said reputation were started and fostered by Sam himself and have little grounding in truth. This is, after all, the man who thought Nepean Bay was an admirable place for a city. And why Sam should have sound good sense and sensible judgement in  this matter and be a complete drunken ninny in all others is a question few seem prone to ask. Instead people are queuing up to plonk down their 5 guineas and good luck to them. I think 5 guineas bet on a nag at Mr Fisher's picnic races might have more chance of a profitable return, but once again i am in the minority.

Last Tuesday (3rd April) just about sunset a Mr Hawdon rode into town, having left over 300 head of cattle and horses down in the Onkaparinga Valley. He assures us that all are in excellent condition after travelling nearly one thousand miles from New South Wales via the Murrumbidgee, the Darling and the Murray Rivers. 

He found abundant feed along the way and has done excellent work in the establishment of a stock route from Sydney to Adelaide, particularly since he also brought with him two bullock drays, thus demonstrating the practical nature of the route. No doubt he will be rewarded handsomely with the sale of his stock as there are people here keen to purchase. 

He also tells us that there are other parties on the way, one of them being led by Captain Sturt. If Sturt is involved I cannot help but think that they could end up anywhere and take any amount of time, but we shall see. 

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Sunday, 1st April, 1838

I have news to hand of a "Bushranger" terrorising the Encounter Bay District.

It has also been brought to me attention that today is All Fools Day and I feel the two facts are not unrelated.

Some poor devil probably did no more than wave an empty pistol about and steal a few potatoes for his supper because he was hungry and the result is that he's Robin Hood, Blackbeard, Rob Roy and King Rat in the Pantomime rolled into one terrible Dick Turpin.

I imagine I will have to dispatch a couple of Marines to the South Coast to deal with the matter of this, no doubt, ambitiously named "bushranger" or at the least appear and look fierce. Probably appearing sober would be enough of a challenge for the lads, but one can only hope.

Mr. Fisher's Pauper Labourers have continued to work about town. They have been busy chopping down trees in Brown and Morphett streets and, if anything, have made the streets even less passable since they have left both the fallen trees and the stumps to lie where they will. A number of people have attempted to help themselves to the wood for home purposes and have been repulsed by Fisher who has told them that the fallen trees are the property of the Company and are to be sold in a forthcoming sale.

They join the growing number of people who have been repulsed by Mr. Fisher. Indeed there is a rumour about the town that letters have been delivered to him from England advising him of his recall as Resident Commissioner. I doubt that they are true as I would have been also notified, but the fact that such rumours are welcomed and repeated is an indication of the depths of his repulsiveness.

The McGee case rattles on. The trial is set down for the coming week, barring unforeseen circumstances, and many will see it as an entertainment and attempt to get seating in the courtroom. Jickling, showing a hitherto unacknowledged exhibitionism, has suggested holding the trial in the open air "for the pleasure of the mutitude", but I have hit that idea on the head pretty quickly. 

And speaking of repulsive, Widow Harley's brat Harriet,  who continues to infest the house, spoke her first word this week. It was, and I shudder as I write this, "Governor"!  At least that is what Mrs Hindmarsh and Lucrezia aver. Since the infant lump had a mouth full of bread and milk at the time it sounded to me more like an incoherent mumble or, perhaps, a belch. But as I had, co-incidentally, walked into the room just as she uttered it then "Governor"  it was.

Mrs Hindmarsh,  as a result, is like a cow in a nursery rhyme and "over the moon", calling the "Dear little thing" "our First Grandchild"! The whole thing smacks of a child saying of a dog, "It followed me home. Can I keep it?" but I keep my own council. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Sunday, 25th March, 1838

The mayhem surrounding the shooting of Sammy Smart seems to have subsided slightly. McGee is held prisoner, chained to a log at the prison tent, Morgan has high tailed it to the hills and is beyond mortal ken. With luck he will make his way back to New South Wales and be no longer our problem.

Smart himself is wafting about the town, drawing discreet attention to his elaborately bandaged ear and basking in the attention of all who say "Oh Mr Smart, how brave you were! And how terrifying it must have been!" which gives Sam a chance to say, with all the appearance of modesty, "Brave do you call it? I was merely doing my duty." to the admiration  of all. I say "all". I think he is a pompous, self aggrandising arse, but I am in the minority at the moment.

Anyways, he was appointed Sherriff for a year and his time is up next month, so let him have his moment of glory I suppose.

The problem comes with the question of "What to do with McGee?" He has been charged with "Attempted Murder" and unlike Stephens, whose similar charge is currently in abeyance due to it being carried out on the high seas and thus currently outside our jurisdiction, McGee is firmly within our sights. There can be no question of his guilt, since Smart has identified him as his assailant and he was found with the pistol covered in blood from where Smart grabbed it.

And so I expect he will be found guilty and in the normal order of things he would be given the death sentence and be taken down to be hung. Which raises the question, "Taken down to where?"

We are simply not equipped to be hanging people. We have no appointed hangman. We have no gallows. We have no real prison. Dear me! I'm not entirely sure that we have a decent length of rope of sufficient thickness going spare. But, justice must be seen to be done.

We cannot commute the sentence to life imprisonment, since our prison would hold him for, if we are lucky, an hour at most. We could, at a pinch, sentence him to transportation, but somehow putting him on a boat and sending him off to Sydney smacks more of the holiday excursion than "durance vile".

Well, we shall see. But I cannot help but think that I will be placing a notice in the Gazette soon: 

"Position available for hangman. 

A chance to meet interesting people briefly. 

Own rope an advantage."

And then, after two days of high drama, as sure as night follows day, Fisher can be depended upon to bring the place back to normality without even breaking a sweat.

Let it be noted that the Emmigration Agent is once again Brown, since Hutchinson resigned in order to go a-duelling with Fisher. And let it be noted that one of the tasks of the Emmigration Agent is to interview new arrivals in order to ascertain their skills and abitilties - their names, numbers, trades, or occupations, - and these are to be made public in order to facilitate their employment usefully in the Colony.

Well, it is the constant complaint of all and sundry that this knowledge is never made public, but held tight by Fisher as some sort of secret mystery only available to initiates.

The result is that ship after ship after ship arrives in port, all packed to the gunwhales with newcomers looking for work. And yet people are crying out for workers. Skilled builders, carpenters, stone masons are at a premium and those who can manage to find one are paying 12/- a day to secure their services. Even labourers who spend an hour or two leaning on a shovel watching others work can earn 5/- a day, whilst labourers who actually bend their backs and use an axe or a hoe effectively can demand six. 

Which means that there should be no-one in the Colony without employ and short of a few extra guineas. And certainly, then, there should be no need for the scheme Fisher has set up to support Pauper Colonists.

What "pauper colonists" forsooth? Who exactly is there who cannot find employment when the maimed and the halt and the blind can make £1 a week just by leaning on a shovel?

Yet Fisher has a scheme where the destitute newcomer can gain employment from the Company for a pittance.

So here is Fisher's entire scheme. 

(1) Skilled newcomers arrive in the Colony (2) Fisher learns from them their trade and abilities (3) Fisher keeps this information to himself meaning (4) that no-one in the Colony offers the new comers employment. (5) Because no-one is offering the skilled newcomers employment Fisher offers them "Destitute Labour" at a fraction of the cost they might otherwise make and meanwhile (6) the Colony falters through lack of skilled tradesmen and (7) Fisher has a private army of labourers and (8) saves a fortune!

I have no objection to a man making a shekel and if rules need to be bent a little, well, like Hamlet I am "indifferent honest". But to make money at the expence of an entire Province of the Crown seems to be overdoing it somewhat.

And how does he get away with it?

Henry Jickling was telling me, when we were discussing the McGee case, that since he has been Judge in the Supreme Court he has sat in six cases. And five of them have been actions for libel brought by Fisher agaist someone who has complained about him. The sixth was brought by  Brown, but supported by Fisher. against Gilles for refusing to continue paying Browns wages after I dismissed him.

So there we are. Anyone who makes a public statement about FIddle Fingers FIsher and his Fancy Finances stands in danger of finding himself in the dock defending a charge of criminal libel while FIsher uses the money he saves on labourers to employ what we ironically term "the finest lawyers in the Colony".

I have even heard whispers that Fisher is making moves to have me removed as Governor. There have been letters to London, secret messages, all the usual paraphernalia of cloak and dagger skullduggery.

Well, to be honest, if I am removed, then I am not sure that I will be too upset. Let them get someone else to come out and try and clean up the mess left by Mr Fisher. I can be well out of it and back in London while the rest all go to buggery!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Friday, 23rd March, 1838

Dear Lord! The last night and today have been a crazed circus!

Last night, while I was getting ready for bed, there came a knocking so frantic it threatened to bring the door down entirely. To be honest, the door is so flimsy that any but the gentlest tap presents a danger, but this was apt to tear the thing off its hinges!

I threw on a gown and opened the door to discover William Williams, Sam Smart's deputy. almost beside himself with panic 

"They shot the Sherriff!" he cried.

"But not the deputy," I replied. "So calm yourself and tell me what has happened."

He managed to get control of himself and told me that two men had broken into Smart's home and had shot him in the head!

I asked if the shot was fatal, but Williams was unsure. I immediately sent one of the duty Marines to Tom Cotter's hospital so that the doctor could get down to Sammy and see if he needed to move his bowels (Tom's certain cure for everything, including, probably, bullets to the head.)

The other Marine I sent off the Marine camp on East Terrace to rouse the rest of the troop and get onto the hunt for the culprits. Pausing only to scribble a note to Mrs. Hindmarsh to tell her where I was going, I rushed with Williams to Sam's hut. 

When I arrived I enterd the room, expecting to find Smart's lifeless corpse with the few brains he had spattered across the walls.

Instead I entered to find him sitting in a chair, complaining to any who would listen about the inconvenience of being shot. It transpired that "shot in the head", whilst technically true, may have been an exaggeration. Although the culprit did indeed aim a pistol at Smart's head and pull the trigger, his aim was so bad that all he did was hit Smart in the earlobe. An advantage, I suppose, of having ears like the two open doors of a Hansom cab.

On asking Sam what had happened he told me that he had been sitting writing reports when two men burst into the room. The men were known to him by name: Michael McGee and William Morgan.

McGee sneered and said, "You know too much, see, Sherriff! You're turning into a threat to our business!"

Smart was not shaken. Rather, he spoke to the men fiercely, saying, "People lose teeth talking like that. If you want to hang around, you'll be polite."

McGee patted his waistcoat pocket. "Be careful what you say. I have a pistol and I will use it if I need to."

Smart decided to bluff and let an icy smile play about his lips. "The house is under surveillance by the Marines. The Governor has promised me his protection and declared that you will be taken prisoner."

McGee sneered once more. "I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"

Morgan, who had been silent up to that point, suddenly yelled, "Finish him Mick and stop his talk!" and McGee reached inside his waistcoat, with a cry of: "Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!" 

Smart dived for the desk drawer where he kept his pistol just as McGee fired his own, striking Smart in the ear. 

Smart, despite his wound, turned and grabbed the pistol from McGee, burning his hand on the hot barrel, and then grappled with the man. Morgan pushed Sam away and then the pair, deciding that their work was done, fled from the scene.

Williams, who was in the police hut next door, heard the shot and rushed out in time to see the two men running from the crime. He went in to see Smart lying on the floor bleeding and rushed to tell me what had happened, getting it wrong in the process

The Marines captured McGee surprisingly quickly, but then he was at his own hut, where he had returned to collect his belongings before fleeing, so they hardly needed to look too hard. Even so they caught him on their third attempt, havig bailed up both Philip Lee and Mrs Stevenson, both of whom they mistook for the swarthy Irishman. Morgan has disappeared into the bush. Dr Tom bandaged up Smart's ear and gave him a purgative to ensure his recovery.

I fell into bed at about four in the morning and was awoken by Henry Jickling, who came to Government House at about nine in order to discuss the details of McGee's trial. 

What with those solemnities to deal with and the Marines rushing hither and yon chasing their own tails on fruitless reports of Morgan being sighted by every man woman and child in the town and Tom Cotter arriving to give me reports three times during the day on Sam's progress ("I believe his bowels have sounded, your Excellency") I have barely had time to scratch myself.

There will be more of this to come. And Fisher has not involved himself in it yet. When he does, no doubt he will make it even more frantic!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Note found between the pages of Hindmarsh's diary, dated Thursday, 22nd March, 1838


My Dear Susannah;

Good God all mighty! Sam Smart has been shot in the head!

I have ordered out the Marines to try and capture the culprits.

Am going out to direct the operation. Will return later!


Sunday, 18th March, 1838

I met today with John Oakden, who recently returned from an expedition to the River Murray, He travelled North to the Para River, then east through the valley called by Light "Lyndoch" and then on to the river.

Here he did excellent work, meeting with a group of natives, befriending them and exchanging gifts of food and spending time with a party of more than fifty of them. It is of interest to speculate whether these natives are of the same tribe as our local aboriginal population. Oakden suggests not, as they seemed to speak a different language and were expert in the use of river canoes, something we have not seen so much amongst the Adelaide tribe. 

And speaking of the Natives, those brave hearts who were all for rounding up a gang of vigilantes and heading down to the Native camp to deal out some firm justice after the killing of Enoch Pegler the other week found themselves having to eat humble pie and like the taste this week. 

Joe Lee, the wheelwright and an Africaine man went out with friends and the lot of them bent their elbows with a few jars right royally. "A few jars" did I say? Man alive! They got themselves completely Osmond Gillesed!

Staggering home they came to the challenge of the wooden bridge across the Torrens. The bridge is barely stable at the best of times, and the men were hardly stable at all. And of course they decided to do a few stunts, walking on the railings and such like. One thing led to another, skylarking led to rough and tumble and before long Joe Lee had fallen into the Torrens. In his inebriate state he soon disappeared below the water. Truth to tell, he was unlucky, as he had fallen in to one of the few ponds along the river deep enough for a man to drown in.  

It took some time for the rest of his drunken friends to realise that something was wrong, but once the knowledge penetrated their skulls into their sozzled brains they sprang into action and promptly fell over again. One of them, either by inattention or design, ended up diving (or perhaps falling) into the pond as well. And while he might have intended to rescue Lee, the upshot was that he too was soon in need of rescue from a watery grave.

At this point a group of Aboriginal men appeared on the scene, took one look at the drunken incompetence of the white men and dived into the water, retrieving both the drunken rescuer and the lifeless body of Lee. Lee had only been, perhaps, ten minutes in the water, but it was long enough to end his life and no effort to revive him was successful.

Meanwhile, the natives went and got help and took the drunken men back to their camp where they sat them by the fire and got them warm.

So, last week the Natives were "vicious" and had "no respect for human life" and "were waiting for the chance to slit all our throats". This week they are out rescuing and nursing drunken ne'er-do-wells unable to walk themselves home safely. And will they get credit for it? Or will they still be spoken of as "murderous savages"? Sadly, I believe I may know the answer.

I had high hopes of the Injunction against Fisher and his land committee, hoping to see the half man half rabbit fall flat on his face. But the man who brought the action against him has gone soft and is offering conciliatory words and an olive branch to boot. And the name of this olive branch bearing soft hearted man? None other than my prospective son-in-law, Thomas Bewes Stangways.

For it was, indeed, he who brought the original action against Fisher before the courts. And now he seems set on saying "If Mr Fisher promises to do the right thing..." and "for the good of the Colony I have no doubt that he will see reason,,," and so on and so forth.

And of course Fisher has put on a look as pure as driven snow and said "Why of course I have nothing but the colonist's interests at heart" and "Of course I will do the right thing..." and so Strangways has taken him at his word and dropped the legal action.

Of course, Bewes Strangways is a dove amongst serpents and the biggest, nastiest snake of them all is that creeping. crawling thing, Mr. Fisher. He has put the innocent Strangways in a trance with his glittering, mesmeric eye and has convinced Strangways to eat of the forbidden fruit. He has promised Strangways not to be a naughty boy in the future and to do the right thing always. Of course, Strangways has believed him!

I predict that with days we will hear of some new disgrace performed by the Serpent Fisher.

Samuel Smart has been to see me. He discovered a message wrapped around a rock. It appears that someone was intending to throw it through his window. But on discovering that Smart's slab hut has no windows they waited until he came outside and then threw it at his hat. Since he was wearing his hat at the time is it just as well that they missed, but for all that, Sam Smart has the message.

It reads:

Stay away Smart. You is getting too cloze

I assume from the poor grammer and spelling that we are dealing with an ignorant, uneducated labourer, probably Irish, given the lamentable handwriting. So either an ignorant, uneducated Irishman or possibly a capable, intelligent person who has been to an English school. 

I asked Smart what he planned to do. He chuckled. "I do not know what I shall do.I do not yet know what I shall tell them. It will prove to be pretty close to the truth. What ever I do, when it's done I want people to say: "You cleaned this town up. You made it fit for women and children to live in." "

I reminded him that no-one actually seemed to be in danger and really all the thieves had done was steal a few trinkets.

He shook his head slowly. "First a few trinkets," he intoned, "then a few lives. These things have a way of getting bigger."

I gave him a troubled look. "Don't try to be a hero!" I said. "You don't have to be a hero, not for me!"

A brief smile passed across his lips.

metimes, Governor, one can do good by being the right person in the wrong place."
And with that he turned and left.

Ah, gives a person a good feeling knowing he's out there doing his job. While he's out there, he's not in here with me.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Sunday, 11th March, 1838

Well, Mr. Fisher has received a fair belting this last week. A blow like a boot to the dangly bits.

He appeared in the Supreme Court in order to persuade the Judge Trickling Jicking to sanction a departure from the instructions of the Commissioners by means of the sharp dealing that Milner Stephen has already granted  an injunction against.

He stood in court and waffled on with all the same legal precision and expertise that left him a laughing stock in Sammy Stephens's attempted murder trial.

He carried on huffing and puffing and moved for the "immediate dissolution of the injunction" in the apparent belief that using long and impressive words was nine tenths of the law. All the old chestnuts were wheeled out including, I am told, Portia on "The Quality of Mercy" and Iago's "Who steals my purse steals trash". The only way it could have been more ludicrous is if when Fisher intoned "The quality of mercy is not strained" the court called back "Oh yes it is!" so that Fisher could reply like Mr Punch "Oh no it isn't!" "Oh yes it is!"

But perhaps he reached his apotheosis when he declared, in ringing tones, that "Public lands have been surveyed to an extent of above 100,000 acres." Members of the surveying party were in the gallery and I am told that the look on their faces when they heard how much land Fisher was sure they had surveyed was a picture!

It is in the nature of the job of surveying that the surveyor has a pretty clear idea of how much land he has surveyed. That's rather the point of the exercise. And to see them in court open mouthed in wonder or sniggering gives a pretty good idea of exactly what Mr. Fisher's declaration is worth.

Perhaps Finniss stood on the summit of Mt Lofty and looked across the plains and said "That must be damned near 100,000 acres", but that's about as much surveying as I'm prepared to accept.

And when Fisher, of all people, gravely intoned "persons making a statement to the courts should be very careful that they are only stating the truth." it wasn't just the survey party who were open mouthed. Even Fisher's own supporters found it difficult to suppress their gasps of wonder and amazement that their leader, who couldn't lie straight in bed, should make such a statement and expect it to be given credence coming from his lips.

You do have to admire Fisher for the extent of the bare faced effrontery he brings to the courts. This a world beating level of impudence. Single handedly Fisher has thrust the Colony into the forefront of liars everywhere.

Fortunately even so fluff brained a Judge as Henry Jickling seems to have, for a wonder, sided with common sense and confirmed the injunction and denied Fisher his desired sanction.

Fisher has, of course, been muttering about "dark forces arrayed against him",but so far as I can see the only thing against him is himself.

Terrible news this week as it became known that one of the Colonists has been speared and killed by an Aboriginal native.

Last Friday William Williams was down at the Company Store when he was told that a man had been found dead on the other side of the river. Williams, who still fancies himself as a Policeman, despite an experience on the beat where a whistle was forcibly shoved where the sun doesn't shine, started asking all and sundry and was told that the man had indeed been murdered - speared by two natives called William and George. Of course no-one knew who  William and George were, or even if they really existed, but what we did know was that Enoch Pegler lay dead with two spear wounds in his chest.

I did not know Pegler as he arrived in the Colony as a labourer only last December and here were are in March and he is dead!

At the Inquest on Friday and Yesterday it became clear that Pegler went down to the Aboriginal Campsite on Thursday Night to watch their singing and dancing. his has become something of a regular pastime amongst the settlers and the Natives have welcomed them with open arms, on the understanding that the Settlers are the guests of the natives and expected to behave as such.

Pegler, it seems, did not behave as such. He generally made a nuisance of himself, got himself drunk, tried to make free with the Native women and, when the Natives made it clear that he was no longer welcome, refused to leave and tried, once more, to sit amongst the womenfolk. When the dancing was over, the Natives once more invited him to leave and he staggered off a short distance before lying down on the ground and going to sleep.

At some time during the night he was speared through  the heart and killed.I have heard talk that he was killed in retaliation for the killing of native dogs. (and did I not say that there would be trouble  because of that practice?) It may be that Pegler was involved in the killing of dogs or no, but he has certainly paid the price for it. And his outrageous and drunken actions towards the women of the camp cannot have endeared himself to the Native men.

The result was that by the morning Pegler was dead, speared twice through the heart. And a group of natives, it is said the same William and George, whoever they might be, hurled a spear or two at Cpt Burns of the Giraffe as he travelled up from the Port. Whoever our spear throwers may be (and several of the natives who speak some English have been quick to suggest that they were men of the Tribe that live at the Head of the Gulph) they have disappeared and tomorrow I expect the Coroner to bring in a verdict of "murder by persons unknown".

Of course there has been talk around the town that us colonists should be heading down to the native camp and taking our revenge, that we should "teach them a lesson" to make sure this doesn't happen again. Well, this just will not do.

Before we left London a couple of years ago there was a dinner held in my honour and plenty of speeches were made about the hopes for the new colony. The speeches were written up and published and I dug out my copy. Because one speech sticks in my mind. A man named Higgins, the Secretary of "The Society for the Protection and Benefit of the Aborigines of the British Colonies" said this:

The history of colonization is a history of the operations of the worst passions of the human heart: every page is the record of some atrocious crime; oppression and bloodshed have almost universally attended the progress of colonization in ancient and in modern times. ... A spirit of retaliation,on the part of both settlers and aborigines, has thus been excited, so violent, that a deadly feud commonly exists between them, and death is the almost certain fate of a straggler from either party.

Well, not if I have any say in the matter. And, as it happens, since I am the Queen's Representative I do have a say in the matter. So Yesterday I had a Proclamation circulated about the town. It reads:

By His Excellency John Hindmarsh, Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelpuie Order, Captain in the Royal Navy, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Province of South Australia. 

WHEREAS I have heard with painful regret that an inquest was held yesterday on the body of a man who it is strongly suspected has been murdered by one of the Aborigines, and likewise that a person was yesterday speared by another of them : And whereas there is reason to believe, after the long and friendly intercourse that has subsisted between the Colonists and the Aborigines, that these outrages have been induced by some previous aggression on the part of certain colonists, at present unknown: Now, therefore, I, the Governor, do strictly command and warn all her Majesty's subjects within this Province to abstain from any hostile measures whatever against the said Aborigines; and especially not to use or threaten to use fire arms; but to remember at all times, that the native population are under equal protection of the laws, and are to be regarded and treated, and are liable to the same punishment in all respects, as her Majesty's other subjects. The advantages which may be derived by treating the Aborigines with kindness, notwithstanding what has recently occurred, must be evident; for, by retaliating injuries with a race of beings who never discriminate when seeking revenge, the unoffending may suffer for the wrong-doer. But I, the Governor, will nevertheless adopt every measure, and afford the Colonists all the protection in my power to preserve their lives and properties : and the Colonists may therefore repose with confidence in the exertions and pro-tection of her Majesty's Government. 

Given under my Hand and Seal of the Province aforesaid, at Government House, Adelaide, 
this Tenth Day of March, A.D. 
One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-eight. 
J. HINDMARSH, Governor. 
By His Excellency's command, 
Colonial Secretary pro tem. 

Not surprisingly this has not gone over well. Not because I am stopping the bully boys forming a gang and going out to extract rough justice, by rather because I refer to "certain colonists" and Fisher is convinced I am referring slightingly to him. No doubt he will threaten legal action in due course.

To mollify the crowds I also had the following promulgated.


IN reference to the Proclamation this day issued by the Governor, I am commanded by his Excellency to request, with a view to prevent unnecessary collision with the Aborigines, that the Colonists will, in every instance of an Aborigine committing a fault or any act of impropriety, report the circumstance to William Wyatt, Esq., the Protector of the Aborigines, or to Mr. James Cronk, the Interpreter; in order that measures may be taken to prevent repetitions of such conduct, by an uniform system of punishment. 

And his Excellency hopes that, for the general good, no such conduct will in any case be over, looked; but that, nevertheless, the Colonists will never attempt themselves to punish the offence, even though by the slightest chastisement. 
Colonial Secretary pro tem. 
Colonial Secretary's Office, 
Adelaide, March 10, 1838.

Let them stick that in their pipes and smoke it.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Sunday, 4th March 1838

Last week the Widow Harvey, Poisoner to the Gentry, managed to get her hands on Young Bingham Hutchinson's giant melon.

She assured me that she would make something memorable out of it. Well, she came through in Spades, because the meal she prepared will live long in the annals of culinary infamy.

She grated the thing, mixed it with flour, water and what she decribed as "secret ingredients" and fried the resulting mess as fritters. It was, she told me, "mock fish".

Exactly what  terrible offence the innocent piscene denizens of Neptune's deep have given to deserve such cruel  mockery I do not know, but it seems both needlessly harsh and undeserved.

Mock fish? We went well beyond the realms of mockery and seemed to reach savage satire. I could only slowly shake my head at the inhumanity of it all.

Then I nearly broke a tooth on something sharp and hard. It appears that Lucrezia the mad poisoner had not bothered to remove the skin from the gourd before cooking it. I questioned her about it and she said that she had done it that way deliberately. "The skin is where the goodness is!" she told me.

Clearly the woman has a different view from most as to what constitutes "goodness".

Dear Lord! We have met the new Advocate-General, Mr George Milner Stephen. In fact we seem to have become infested with the new Advocate-General, who seems to treat Government House as his personal pied a terre. As a result I find him everywhere I look and between him and Widow Harvey's brat of a child I can say that the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Governor of South Australia hath not where to lay his head.

Other than a talent for drawing and playing the flute and the guitar I see nothing else that might recommend Mr Milner Stephen as a legal talent. He, however, seems to think that he is the finest legal  mind since Blackstone himself. Well, I admire his confidence, but remain to be convinced that his high opinion of himself is grounded in some semblance of reality.

I note that he is adept at charming the womenfolk. He has smarmed all over Mrs Hindmarsh, which suggests some strength of character, but also seems to wish to work his charms on my daughters as well. Well, we shall see.

I did feel sorry for the man when he was introduced to the delights of South Australian politicking when Mr Fisher's fiddling blew up in his face. 

After the meeting Fisher held without notice a week or so ago, where he attempted to influence the selection of land to his own and his cronies' advantage, a group of colonists went before the courts and had an injunction granted them by Milner Stephen halting Fisher's plans.

Fisher has been getting about the place saying that there was no legal action against him which is a remarkable claim given that there clearly was one. And in fact, Milner Stephen has show remarkable fortitude by replying to Fisher that "There WAS a legal action against you because I granted it!"

There was a degree of Fisherite huffing and puffing when Milner Stephen dropped some very dark hints about Contempt of Court and what might happen to a man bound over to keep the peace who did not keep to the terms of the injunction granted by the Court.

Fisher has since changed his tune to be "There was no Injunction against Mr Fisher. The injunction was granted against the actions of the Land Committe." which is a nice distinction, given that Fisher formed the Committe, chaired the meetings and stacked the membership with people who would vote as he directed. 

I swear the man is making it up as he goes along.

I have a reasonable swathe of land and, as a private land owner, wrote to FIsher asking for assurances that the value of my land would not be decreased by his actions. Well, if it gave Mr Fisher a few moments discomfort then it brightened my day.

Instead Fisher is now claiming that I am, as Governor, interfering in the proper workings of the Commissioner's business and that the Crown (meaning me) has no right to expect an answer.

Well, that seems rich! The number of times I issued a Proclamation and had Fisher declare it none of his business and hence not Government business! And now, when I enquire AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN he starts sqealing like a stuck pig about interference.

The man is out of control and I cannot help but feel that one of us will have to go!  

Monday, 14 May 2018

Sunday 25th February,1838

Mountaineer, explorer and the Kiss of Death to Judges, Young Bingham Hutchinson has added yet another string to his bow, namely that of champion melon grower.

It appears that a melon was picked in Hutchison's garden that weighed 18 pound and was 29 and a half inches long and 33 inches in circumference. Hutchinson has, inevitably, been bragging about the town, saying that no man in the colony has grown one has big as his. 

My sister Anne seemed quite deflated when she learned he was referring to a melon.

Damn fool woman! "What else did you think it would be?" I asked her, but it appears that she has hold of the wrong end of the stick.

He presented it to the Widow Harvey, who has promised to "prepare something delicate with it", a promise which does not fill me with confidence.

Hutchinson himself has been pointing out to all who will listen, or even give the appearance of being about to do so, that this gargantuan gourd was raised without the application of manure. Personally, I cannot help but feel that the air round Hutchinson's house is so thick with braggadaccio that it does the job of manure of the richest kind.

This dashing individual was brought up before the court earlier this month having challenged Fisher to a duel.

At the beginning of February, in the "Gazette" yet another letter from "A Colonist" was published suggesting that when it came to the Company accounts Fisher was fiddling like Nero over the burning Rome. The last time "A Colonist" published Fisher threatened all and sundry with every form of legal action from slander to breach of promise.

This time "A Colonist" has outdone themselves with a series of questions for Mr Fisher. I attach a cutting from the newspaper below.

Is it true that the whole expense of bringing up the emigrants' baggage to Adelaide from Glenelg and the Port has been paid by Mr. Resident Commissioner Fisher on public account?

That no public tender or contract has been made, but that his sons, Messrs, Fisher Brothers, have been employed as the carriers to the total exclusion of the colonists generally? 
Is it true that the Colonial Treasurer has refused Mr. Fisher's order to pay Mr. ex-Emigration Agent Brown's salary since the date of his sus-pension? 
Is it true that Mr. Fisher refused to pay salaries to certain officers appointed by the Governor in council on the grounds that he had received no official notification of their appointment, or that he had no authority in the Commissioner's instructions to make these or similar payments? 
Is it true that he has had no official notification of the appointment by the Governor in council of Mr. Samuel Smart as Sheriff of the province; butthat he has paid him regularly his salary? And is it true that Mr. Smart was the active agent of the newspaper committee, of which Mr. Fisher is theleading member, in getting published in Van Diemen's Land articles abusive of the South Australian Gazette and the Colonial Government of thisprovince? 
Is it true that the public has been saddled by Mr Fisher's orders or consent with no less than two additional surgeons, at a salary of £11 a year and rations, under the name of "Medical Officers of the Survey;" and the colony thus has had to pay three medical men, while the fact is, there is not employment in all the public departments combined for one?
Is it true that Mr. Fisher has no authority from the Commissioners to pay Dr. Wright £6 a year and rations; and that Dr. Wright's salary is nevertheless paid out of the public purse? and that in fact Dr. Wright, who was refused the appointment of Colonial Surgeon by the Commissioners is betterpaid by Mr. Fisher, with £20 a year and rations, than the successful candidate for the office of Colonial Surgeon, Mr. Cotter, with £16 a year only? 
My stock is not exhausted, but your space and your readers patience may be.So I rest,
You and The Public's Faithful Servant
Hutchinson decided that he wanted no more to do with such sharp and shady practice but had the difficulty of having recently been recommended by Fisher in a letter to Lord Glenelg in London. Hutchinson vows and declares, hand on heart, that Fisher did this off the top of his head, unsolicited from Hutchinson and, whats more, seems to believe that people are going to think for one minute that this is even likely.

So Hutchinson, of whom it may be said that he gives his all to a cause, no matter how stupid it may make him look, took it into his head to resign as Emigration Agent in order to be under no obligation to Fisher and also, as he said, so that he would be able to deal with him man to man and not as Superior to Employee.

That being done he then fired off a letter to Fisher telling him he was no gentleman and not to be trusted and  that Hutchinson would be happy to meet with Fisher at a place of his choosing if Fisher wished to have satisfaction for the insult.

Well Hutchinsion might have seen himself as some eighteenth century gay blade, duelling with rapiers at dawn, but Fisher was having none of it. To be honest I see his point. Having chaps wandering the town using other chaps as pin cushions is not what I want for the Colony. I want to see the back of Fisher as much as the next man but I have to draw the line somewhere and having him perforated seems a step too far. Anyway, he leapt in action by forwarding the letter to me and demanding that Hutchinson be dealt with by the law. 

Well, Henry Wrigley is the Resident Magistrate and this seemed to be a good chance for him to earn his keep. Accordingly I sent the Marines around to invite Fisher and Hutchinson to appear at Government House at heir earliest convenience. Well, my earliest convenience really, as they were on my doorstep within the hour.

Wrigley heard their stories and promptly called upon the two of them to enter into recognizances of £lOOO each and two sureties in £500 each to keep the peace towards each other and all her Majesty's subjects for twelve months from this date.

"Fat chance" I would suggest. I give it a few weeks before one or the other of them takes some offence and it will, once again, be on for young and old.

And sure enough almost immediately word came to me of yet another of Fisher's cheats. 

On Tuesday last Fisher called a meeting of Preliminary Landholders - those entitled to selections of land once the survey is finally completed. Of course he did not bother to advertise such a meeting  to the general public - there was no announcement of the thing in the Gazette - and his intention was clear. The meeting was called to decide upon the order of selections. Obviously Fisher and his cronies hoped to force others to make their selections first, since, with the Durvey still not finished only the lands close in to the town would be available to select. Then, once the rich lands along the Murray and the Southern Lakes were surveyed Fisher and friends would be abe to say "Oh, is no-one else left to have this land? Oh well, I suppose I must have it!"

The man has no scruples to speak of. I am tempted to let Hutchinson loose on him after all.

I suggested to Sam Smart that the recent silence from the Van Diemonian Crime Gang might be evidence that the recent crime wave had ended. 

"Ah no!" he said. "If they are quiet then they are planning something. And I think we might expect it to be something big!"

I wish I had never thought to employ the man.