The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson Part 12


The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson

The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson Part 12

"Tuesday, November 16th. At 4 A.M. tacked to southward, set top-gallant-sails and stay-sails; no land in sight. Lat.i.tude observed 29 degrees 07 minutes 28 seconds south.

"Wednesday, November 17th. At 4 P.M. tacked to south-west.

"Thursday, November 18th. At noon fresh clear wind at north-north-west and a high confused sea on, set all sail we could.

"Friday, November 19th. Saw land bearing west by south distant 4 or 5 leagues this I take to be Smoaky Cape, if it is, a strong westerly current must have run, for by account when I made the land our lat.i.tude was 30 degrees 46 minutes 39 seconds south 3 miles to the westward of Smoaky Cape but our longitude deducted from yesterday's time-keeper 153 degrees 50 minutes 00 seconds east 40 miles to the eastward of it which makes the current to have set us west 28 miles. At noon Smoaky Cape bore west 1/2 south distant 6 leagues.

", November 20th. At noon what I supposed to be the Brothers bore west-south-west distant 6 or 7 leagues.

"Sunday, November 21st. Fresh breezes and cloudy, latter part variable wind and thick weather. No land in sight.

"Monday, November 22nd. At 5 A.M. the north head of Port Jackson...bore south-west distant 4 leagues. At 8 A.M. the north head bore West distant 1 league. At 40 minutes past 10 A.M. came to with the bower in Sydney Cove abreast of the Governor's wharf, found lying here H.M.S. Buffalo which was returned.

"Tuesday, November 23rd. Winds all round the compa.s.s with much thunder and lightning. Employed preparing for sea."

[Facsimile signature Jno Murray]





On Murray's return to Sydney on November 22nd, 1802, after his parting with Flinders, he learned that Commodore Baudin's ships had left the harbour four days previously. The French vessels had made a lengthy stay in port. The Geographe entered the Heads on June 20th, 1802, during the absence of the Lady Nelson at the Hawkesbury, and for that reason we find no record of her arrival in Murray's log; eight days afterwards the Naturaliste came to Port Jackson for the second time, and joined her consort at the anchorage in Neutral Bay.

In consequence of foul weather, Hamelin could not double the South Cape of Van Diemen's Land, and the meeting of the ships at Sydney, after their long separation, gave great satisfaction to those on board. The French officers and sailors were most hospitably received by the Governor, although England and France were still supposed to be at war, and many of the French officers were soon on friendly terms with the chief residents and officials. The news that peace had been concluded between the two countries, which arrived shortly afterwards, Peron says "could add nothing to the friendly sentiments of the English at Port Jackson but was a subject of rejoicing on the part of our companions."

At Sydney Baudin became aware of the full extent of the English discoveries on the southern coast. Not until then could he have known all the results of the explorations of Grant and Murray in the Lady Nelson, for up to the time of the arrival of the French at Sydney, only two ships had ever visited Port Phillip. One of these was, of course, the Lady Nelson, the other the Investigator under Captain Flinders.

Flinders had, as we have seen, met Baudin in Encounter Bay, when the commander of the Investigator was himself ignorant of the fact that Port Phillip had been discovered and entered by Murray. At this interview Baudin informed Flinders that the Geographe had "explored the south coast from Western Port to our place of meeting without finding any river, inlet or other shelter which afforded anchorage.--This statement of Baudin's is contradicted by Peron in his history of the voyage, who says, that on March 30th Port Phillip was seen from the masthead of the Geographe and was given the name Port du Debut, "but," he adds, "hearing afterwards that it had been more minutely surveyed by the English brig Lady Nelson and had been named Port Phillip we, with greater pleasure, continued this last name from its recalling that of the founder of a colony in which we met with succour so effective and so liberally granted." Louis de Freycinet also states that the entrance to the Port was seen by those on board the Geographe. A drawing of Port Phillip afterwards appeared under the name Port du Debut on his own charts.* (*

Through the kindness of M. le Comte de Fleurieu some extracts from Baudin's journal have been placed in the writer's hands. From these it would appear that the Geographe pa.s.sed Western Port without recognising it, and in continuing to voyage westward saw a port which those on board imagined to be Western Port, but which possibly was Port Phillip.) Freycinet denied that the map had been plagiarised, as was generally believed in England, by the unlawful use of Flinders' charts,* (* See Atlas, 1st Edition Voyage de Decouvertes aux Terres Australes, 1807. F.

Peron and L. de Freycinet. Freycinet was not in the Geographe when she met the Investigator, he was then in the Naturaliste. He acknowledged that the drawing of Port Phillip in the Terre Napoleon was taken from a ma.n.u.script chart made on board the English ship Arniston and found among the papers of the Fame captured by the French in 1806 (Voyage de Decouvertes 3 430). The Arniston was one of a fleet of ships under convoy of H.M.S. Athenian which was sent to China via Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island.) and there is no reason to disbelieve him; but it is quite possible that Flinders did show Freycinet either his own chart of Port Phillip, or one made by Murray, during the stay of the French at Port Jackson.

When Baudin sailed westward along the south coast from Wilson's Promontory towards Encounter Bay--before his meeting with Flinders--he bestowed French names upon places that had been already discovered and named by the English, giving to Cape Patton (of Grant) the t.i.tle of Cape Suffrein, Cape Albany Otway (of Grant) that of Cape Marengo, and Cape Schanck (of Grant) that of Cape Richelieu. Portland Bay, also named by Grant, became Tourville Bay; Montaigne Cape took the place-name of Cape Solicitor; Lady Julia Island became Fourcroy Island; Lawrence's Island, Dragon Island; and Cape Bridgewater, Cape Montesquieu. In this manner nearly the whole of Grant's discoveries were rechristened.* (* Some writers give the French name of Cape Desaix, bestowed in honour of one of Napoleon's famous generals, to Cape Albany Otway. Pinkerton's translator of the History to Southern Lands, however, states that the French named Cape Otway, Cape Marengo.)

The presence of Baudin's expedition in Australian waters may be said to have considerably hurried on the British colonisation of Tasmania.

Although Ba.s.s and Flinders had in 1798 circ.u.mnavigated the island, adding extensive discoveries to those already made by Furneaux, Hayes, Bligh, and other British seamen, it was realised in Sydney that the French might lay claim to some portion of the island.

During Baudin's visit his officers surveyed the eastern coast more thoroughly than any previous navigators, although they must have known that Tasmania was then regarded by the British as their territory.* (*

The commission of Governor Phillip, read publicly when he landed at Sydney in 1788, had proclaimed him ruler of all the land from Cape York to South Cape in Tasmania.) Baudin's enquiries elicited as much from Governor King at Sydney. It was natural therefore that after the departure of the French ships, when King heard a rumour that they intended to take possession of a port in Tasmania,* (* Baie du Nord.) he should send Acting-Lieutenant Robbins in the c.u.mberland after the vessels, who, finding them at anchor at King Island, immediately hoisted the Union Jack there and daily saluted it during their stay. It was upon seeing the British flag flying on this island that Baudin is said to have observed "that the English were worse than the Pope, for whereas he grasped half the world the English took the whole of it."

Commodore Baudin afterwards wrote to Governor King a.s.suring him that the rumour as to his intentions was without foundation, but, he added, "Perhaps he (Robbins) has come too late as for several days before he hoisted the flag over our tents we had left in prominent parts of the island (which I still name after you) proofs of the period at which we visited it." This insinuation evidently raised King's ire, as he made a note on the margin of the letter, "If Mr. Baudin insinuates any claim of this visit the island was first discovered in 1798* (* King writes 1799 in the chart.) by Mr. Reid in the Martha and afterwards seen by Mr. Black in the Harbinger and surveyed by Mr. Murray in February 1802." Baudin seems to have totally ignored what could not have been a secret at Port Jackson, namely, the fact that the Lady Nelson had surveyed King Island from Cape Farewell to Seal Bay.

To return to the story of the logbooks. After another voyage to Norfolk Island, whither the Lady Nelson conveyed troops to relieve the men there, Murray was forced to resign his command, the Governor being informed, in despatches from the Admiralty, that he had sent them an erroneous statement of his services. In writing to Secretary Nepean, King remarks, on April 12th, 1803, "I had the honour of receiving yours respecting the discovery...about Mr. Murray's statement of servitude which appeared in his pa.s.sing certificate at the Cape of Good Hope, in consequence of which he has been superseded in the command of the Lady Nelson and goes home a pa.s.senger in the Glatton. He promises himself being able to clear the point up to their Lordships' satisfaction. Should he be able to accomplish this, I consider it but doing common justice to his perseverance and good conduct while in command of the Lady Nelson to say that his future services in that vessel would be very acceptable to me and beneficial to the service that the vessel is employed on. In consequence of Mr. Murray's being superseded from the Lady Nelson, I applied to Captain Colnett for a person to command her not having anyone who can be spared, either from the Buffalo or Porpoise. He has appointed the master's mate of the Glatton, Mr. George Courtoys,* (* The name is spelt Curtoys in the Commander's own log.) who is pa.s.sed and appears equal to the charge of Acting-Lieutenant and Commander of that vessel."

Murray's charts and the journal of his discoveries were sent home to the Duke of Portland by Governor King. They were committed to the care of Lieutenant Mackellar, who embarked in an American vessel named the Caroline,* (* Historical Records of New South Wales volume 4 pages 734 and 764.) which left Sydney on March 29th, 1802, and we know that they reached Whitehall safely. After his arrival in England, Murray seems to have been able to clear up satisfactorily his misunderstanding with the authorities, for shortly after his return he was appointed an Admiralty Surveyor, and his name is found upon several charts of the Home Coasts executed by him in 1804, 1805, and 1807.

In 1803 the Governor gave orders to the Commanders of H.M.S. Porpoise and of the Lady Nelson to embark the first colonists and proceed with them to Tasmania. The Lady Nelson, under the command of Lieutenant Curtoys, and having on board Lieutenant John Bowen,* (* Lieutenant John Bowen, R.N., came to Sydney in H.M.S. Glatton and was a son of Captain John Bowen and nephew of Lieutenant Richard Bowen, R.N., Admiralty Agent on board the Atlantic, which visited New South Wales in 1792.) the Commandant of the new establishment, as well as several other persons chosen by Governor King to accompany him, left Sydney early in June, while the Porpoise followed a few days later. Both ships returned without being able to make their port of destination. The Porpoise was seventeen days out and foul weather compelled her to return to Sydney, which she reached on July 3rd, while the Lady Nelson came back the next day, having been unable to proceed farther than Twofold Bay, where she waited for a change of wind.

Upon putting to sea again, her main keel was carried away and she was then forced to abandon her project.

Governor King chartered the Albion whaler 326 tons, Captain Ebor Bunker, to take the place of the Porpoise in the next attempt to send colonists to Tasmania, and both ships reached Risdon safely, the Lady Nelson arriving on the 7th of September and the Albion, with Lieutenant Bowen on board, five days later.* (* Risdon (afterwards called Hobart by Lieutenant Bowen) was so named by Captain John Hayes of the Bombay Marine, who, in command of two ships the Duke of Clarence and the d.u.c.h.ess, visited Tasmania in 1793. The name was given in honour of Mr.

William Bellamy Risdon, second officer of the Duke of Clarence. Captain Hayes also named the River Derwent.) The people were safely landed, but unfortunately much of the stock in the vessels was injured during the gale that raged after leaving Sydney. Many eligible places for a settlement presented themselves, and the Commandant eventually chose Risdon, because there the best stream of water ran into the cove and also because there were extensive valleys behind it. A few natives were seen when the Lady Nelson came into the harbour, but they quickly retired into the woods. The delay in the Albion's pa.s.sage was caused by Captain Bunker putting in to Oyster Bay to avoid the bad weather. He stayed three days in the bay, where his crew killed three large spermaceti whales.



"Friday, 10th June (1803). P.M. Moderate and cloudy. Came on board Lieutenant Bowen, 10 convicts and 3 soldiers for Van Dieman's Land: at 6 A.M. hove short; 1/2 past fired a gun and made signal for a pilot, at 1/2 past weighed and made sail out of the harbour.

"Wednesday, 15th June. Fresh breezes and cloudy: at 8 squally, bore up for Twofold Bay the wind seeming to be set in from the Southward and likely to blow hard.

"Friday, June 24th. Moderate and clear at 5 and found the Bay at 5: came to with best bower and moored ship 1/2 cable's length from the sh.o.r.e.

Employed making a raft of our spars and main keel: sent the carpenters on sh.o.r.e to build a punt.

", 25th June. Down long top-gallant mast and up short ones.

"Sunday, 26th June. Sent empty casks on sh.o.r.e.

"Monday, 27th June. Employed setting up the lower and top-mast rigging: received wood and water.

"Tuesday, 28th June. Saw a sloop in the offing standing in to the Bay made signal for all persons to return on board.

"Wednesday, 29th June. Got all ready for sea: unmoored and shoved further out. A.M. Strong breezes; made signal for the sloop to come down--proved to be the John of Sydney.

"Friday, 1st July. Light breezes; at 3 weighed and stood out of the Bay; at 3.30 reefed top sails: at 11.30 saw part of the main keel go astern: bore for Port Jackson.

"Monday, 4th July. Moderate and clear: running along-sh.o.r.e; at 11 standing into Port Jackson.

"Tuesday, 5th July. Moderate and clear weather: at 2 came to above the Sow and Pigs: at 3.50 weighed and made sail up the harbour. Came on board the Pilot: at 5 got on sh.o.r.e on Bennilong's Point; carried away the fore foot and fore keel: at 6 came to in Sydney Cove. Moored in Port Jackson.

"Monday, 29th August. Fresh breezes and cloudy: at 5 got under weigh, tacked occasionally--at 7 South Head west by north 5 miles.

"Tuesday, 30th August. Fresh breezes and cloudy weather. 3.20 wore round on starboard tack.

"Wednesday, 31st August. Moderate and cloudy; at 4 carried away the fore top-mast: at 5.30 carried away the gaff.

"Thursday, 1st September. Fresh gales and cloudy; at 11 saw the land about the Eddystone Point: Noon, fresh breezes and cloudy.

"Friday, 2nd September. Fresh breezes and clear; all sail set.

", 3rd September. Fresh breezes and cloudy, at 2 handed the top sail and hove to, at 11 set the fore-sail: at 10 Oyster Island north by west 7 or 8 miles.

"Sunday, 4th September. Light breezes and cloudy: at 2 down boat: at 4 got the sweeps out: carried one of them away. At 7 came to with the kedge in 29 fathoms, the tide setting us on an island: at 9, a breeze springing up, weighed and made all sail.

"Monday, 5th September. Light breezes and cloudy: at 4 calm, out sweeps to pull ahead: at 8 a breeze, made all sail up Frederick Henry Bay, at 6.30 out long boat, up main keel.

"Tuesday, 6th September. Ditto weather, at 1 hauled into the Bay: at 2.30 came to in Ralphes Bay in 8 fathoms.* (* Relph's Bay was named by Captain John Hayes in honour of Captain Relph, Bombay Marine, commander of the d.u.c.h.ess.)

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