The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson Part 14


The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson

The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson Part 14

On Tuesday, March 6th, 1804, the Lady Nelson left the Derwent on her return voyage to Sydney. By that time all the Port Phillip settlers and half the establishment had arrived in Tasmania, and the Ocean was about to put to sea again in order to convey the stores and stock remaining at Port Phillip to Sullivan's Cove. Collins's settlement at this place, and the original colony at Risdon, were then fast becoming united. A little later, Bowen's settlement was moved, by Governor King's orders, down the river to Sullivan's Cove and the two establishments really became one, Colonel Collins retaining for it the name of Hobart, and Bowen with his officials returned to Sydney.*

(* Sydney Gazette, August 26th, 1804. On Friday arrived the Ocean Captain Mertho, from the Derwent with Lieutenant Bowen, Commandant of the settlement at Risdon Cove, which has become part of Lieutenant Governor Collins' settlement, being only six miles from Sullivan's Cove. In the same ship came Lieutenant Moore with a detachment of the New South Wales Corps on duty at Risdon, Mr. Jacob Mountgarrett, surgeon, Mr. Brown, naturalist, and several persons who composed the settlement. The Ocean arrived at Sullivan's Cove from her second voyage to Port Phillip on June 25th after a tempestuous voyage of 32 days in which most of the stock for the colony was lost.

Lieutenant Bowen was on his way from Sydney to the Derwent at the time of Collins' arrival in Tasmania. He seems only to have voyaged as far as Port Dalrymple in the Integrity for he returned to the Derwent in the Pilgrim (Sydney Gazette, April 22nd, 1804). Eventually he came, as stated above, to Sydney in the Ocean. (See Historical Records of New South Wales volume 5 pages 451 and 676.)

The Lady Nelson reached Sydney on the 14th of March after a pa.s.sage of eight days, and no sooner had she anch.o.r.ed in the harbour than Governor King instructed her commander to refit and prepare to embark yet another colony of settlers. These he proposed to send to Newcastle.* (* Or Kingstown, as it was then called, in honour of Governor King; shortly afterwards he renamed it Newcastle.) Hitherto only some colliers and a guard had been stationed there, in order to ensure a supply of coals for Sydney and for the Government ships, but now the Governor directed that the spot should be raised to the dignity of a settlement. The colonial cutter Resource, and the James sloop, belonging to Mr. Raby, were ordered to sail with the Lady Nelson. The three vessels got under weigh to sail to Newcastle on Tuesday, March 27th, having on board all the persons appointed by the Governor, to proceed there. Embarked in the Lady Nelson were:--

Lieutenant Menzies, Commandant.

Mr. Mileham, Surgeon.

Mr. F. Bauer, natural history painter.

Mr. John Tucker, storekeeper.

One overseer, two carpenters, three sawyers, a gardener, a salt bailer and sixteen prisoners.

In the Resource were one sergeant and four privates of the New South Wales Corps:--

Mr. Knight, superintendent.

Twelve convicts.

In the James:--

Mr. George Caley and three miners with implements, and stores and provisions for six months.

In consequence of a north-east wind, the ships were not able to leave Sydney harbour on that evening, but were obliged to anchor in Lookout Bay until the following morning, when they again weighed and in a short time cleared the Heads. They arrived at Newcastle safely on the day after their departure, and disembarked the little colony. All three vessels were then loaded with coals and cedar for Sydney, the Lady Nelson receiving on board "twenty-six fine logs of rich cedar." The homeward voyage was unfortunate, as the James was lost off Broken Bay. Leaving Newcastle in a very leaky condition, and encountering a gale, the water gradually gained fast upon her and stopped her progress. Two days afterwards the pumps became choked, and the five men who composed her crew had to bale with buckets. Eventually they stood on to a sandy beach where their vessel, being nearly full of water, was dashed to pieces by the tremendous surf. The crew were picked up on the north head of Broken Bay by the Resource and brought to Sydney.* (* For this portion of the Lady Nelson's story no log has been available. The material has been derived from the columns of Sydney newspapers.)

The voyage of the Lady Nelson to Norfolk Island in April and May, 1804, was one of the most tempestuous the brig ever experienced. She sailed with the Francis on April 30th, but the two ships soon parted company.

Their cargo consisted of stores and a quant.i.ty of salt staves and hoops for the purpose of curing pork, a supply of which was greatly needed for the colony. For eighteen days continuous gales buffeted the ship and drove her so far northward that she could not make her port of destination. Besides bad weather, she had to contend with further misfortunes, for three casks of water in the hold--part of the supply for the voyage--were found to have leaked entirely away, and the allowance of fuel ran so short that her Commander was forced to cut up one of the top masts for firewood.

Situated thus, Lieutenant Symons decided to bear away for New Zealand and to return later to Norfolk Island, when it was hoped the weather would have moderated sufficiently to enable him to land his pa.s.sengers. On the 3rd of June he made Three Kings Island, and two days afterwards North Cape. He then steered alongside as far as Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands. On coming to an anchorage in a small bay on the north-west side of the River Thames, nearly two hundred natives surrounded the brig and were welcomed on board. They brought with them potatoes, and other vegetables, as well as mats and native curios to barter for nails, b.u.t.tons, etc. At sunset they left the vessel. On the following morning the Commander went on sh.o.r.e and the natives following him quickly found him a watering place. On being offered a pig by one of the Maoris in exchange for a new razor, he accepted it, but a chief afterwards requested him to return the animal (as it had been a present from Captain Rhodes)* (* Captain Rhodes of the Alexander South Sea Whaler, traded with New Zealand.) and it was immediately given back to its former owner. Next morning the New Zealanders flocked on board in such numbers that Lieutenant Symons decided to quit the bay.

On the 9th a strong breeze necessitated anchoring in Cavalli Bay* (* So named by Cook.) where the natives were no less friendly and came to trade with the crew. On the 12th a strong gale and heavy sea drove the Lady Nelson four lengths towards the sh.o.r.e. Her commander was forced to cut the cable after beating for two hours, weathered the land and bore up to run between Cavalli Island and the mainland. Eventually the Lady Nelson arrived at Norfolk Island on June 22nd, when it was found possible to land the officers of the New South Wales Corps and to embark others from the same regiment for Sydney, among them being Ensigns Piper and Anderson. The brig sailed on the 29th, and in pa.s.sing the entrance of Hunter's River, on the evening of July 8th, she sent a boat off to the settlement at Newcastle, where it was reported that all was well. She arrived in Port Jackson on July 9th. She was then overhauled, and on September 8th sailed for the Hawkesbury in order to fetch a cargo of wheat for Sydney.


J. SYMONS, Acting Lieutenant and Commander,

Port Jackson, New South Wales.

Sydney to Norfolk Island.

"Monday, 30th April 1804. P.M. Left the Heads. Winds variable. At 4 North Head of Port Jackson 4 leagues. At 8 the Francis in sight. At 1 A.M.

light breezes and clear. At noon the Francis in company.

"Tuesday, 1st May. In company with the Francis at 5 lost sight of the Francis.

"Friday, 4th May. Fine clear weather: at 5 A.M. saw How's Islands upon the weather bow bearing north-north-east distant 5 leagues, Ball's Pyramid bearing north-east 1/2 F. distant 6 leagues. At noon abreast of How's Island east: distant 3 leagues.

", 5th May. Tacked ship and stood in for How's Island.

"Sunday, 6th May. P.M. Hard squalls of rain. How's Island west by north 7 leagues.

"Monday, 7th May. P.M. Still blowing hard: at 6 took in the fore-top-sail: at 4 split the main-sail and fore-top-mast stay-sail. At 9 fine pleasant weather: employed about a new main-sail and bending a fore-top-mast stay-sail.

"Tuesday, 8th May. P.M. Fresh breezes and fine clear weather: at 4 bent new main-sail: at 10 bore away for New Zealand. Have but 2 casks on board and no wood.

"Tuesday, 29th May P.M. Cloudy weather with squalls.

"Wednesday, 30th May. Small breezes and fine weather. At 8 A.M. tacked ship: at 9 split the fore-top-gallant-sail and carried away the main-top-gallant-yard.

"Thursday, 31st May. Moderate winds and cloudy weather. At 7 set up the main-top-gallant yard and set the sail: at 4 A.M. set the lower and fore-top-mast studding sail. At 8 carried away the fore keel pendant and lost the keel, at 10 took in the studding sail.

"Friday, 1st June. Small breezes. At 3 calm, light breezes and fine weather.

", 2nd June. Cloudy with squalls of wind and rain. At 5 took in the main-top-gallant-sail.

"Sunday, 3rd June. P.M. Fresh gales with squalls and bad sea from east-south-east. At 2 saw the Three Kings being south-west by west 3 leagues.

"Monday, 4th June. P.M. Bore away to leeward of the Three Kings and in search of wood and water, sent boat ash.o.r.e, lost 4 oars overboard. At 7 P.M. the boat came on board with wood.

"Tuesday, 5th June. At 1 made sail close under sh.o.r.e of New Zealand.

"Wednesday, 6th June. Land distant 2 leagues: came to anchor in bay on the east side of New Zealand: went ash.o.r.e, got some wood and water: at 6 A.M. went on sh.o.r.e again and got some water: at 9 A.M. got under weigh and bore away for the River Thames.

"Thursday, 7th June. P.M. At 6 came to anchor in a small bay to the northward of River Thames. At 7 went on sh.o.r.e, found it a bad landing: could not get water: got some wood. At 9 got under weigh and stood round for the mouth of the River Thames.

"Friday, 8th June. P.M. At 3 came to anchor on the north-west side of River Thames with the bower anchor in 11 fathoms water and sent boat ash.o.r.e for wood and water. At 11 weighed anchor and made sail out of the river on account of the natives being so numerous on board.

", 9th June. Cloudy weather: all sail set standing along the coast. At 12 A.M. Cavill's Island bearing north-west distant 10 miles. At daylight made all sail into the bay bearing west: tacked occasionally: at 11 shortened sail and came to in 10 fathoms of water with best bower anchor.

"Sunday, 10th June. Moderate breezes: at 2 sent boat ash.o.r.e: at 6 returned with wood and water.

"Monday, 11th June. Got some wood and water: at 10 wind north-north-west--hard squalls of wind and rain.

"Tuesday, 12th June. At 6 the boat came on board with wood and an account that James Cavanagh a prisoner who was sent to cut wood had run into the Brush and that a party of men had been in pursuit of him and could not find him and he was left behind: at 1/4 past 9 a heavy squall: gave the vessel more cable: found her driving in sh.o.r.e very fast: the gale continuing and a heavy sea. Set the top-sail, main-sail and fore-top-stay sail and cut the cable, not being able to get anchor on account of vessel driving so fast: the anchor was lost, 120 fathoms of cable. 1/4 before 10 tacked ship, 10 past 10 began to run between Cavill's Island and mainland, not being able to work out of the bay, up keel and fore-sail down jib and main-sail. At 11 being quite clear of land shortened sail and hove to.

"Wednesday, 13th June. P.M. At 9 more moderate. Lat.i.tude by observation 33 degrees 8 minutes.

"Thursday, 14th June. P.M. Fine clear weather: at 8 took one reef in the main-top-sail and set the stay-sail.

"Friday, 15th June. P.M. Light airs, clear weather: set the fore and main courses: at 9 fresh breezes: took in top-gallant sails: at 10 strong breezes and squally: at 12 A.M. tacked ship and close reefed top-sail, furled the jib and main-sail and sent down top-gallant yards.

", 16th June. P.M. Fresh breezes and clear: at 1 got main-top-gallant yard up and set the sail.

"Sunday, 17th June. Light airs from northward. Set the square main-sail: at 12 tacked ship.

"Monday, 18th June. P.M. Light wind and clear weather: at 8 wore ship.

"Tuesday, 19th June. P.M. At 12 saw Norfolk Island bearing south 1/2 east distant 7 leagues.

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