EARLY SETTLEMENT OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
EXPERIENCES OF A PIONEER.
By J. B. Hack.
We published in April last a brief but very interesting autobiography by Mr. J. B. Hack, one of our oldest colonists. His account of some of the now historic events of the early
days of South Australia appears to have been much appreciated by not a few, and be has by request enlarged upon them in the follow ing articles, adding considerably to the fund of information regarding the opening up of the colony. Mr. Hack kept a diary for some time subsequent to his arrival, upon which he has largely drawn in this fuller version of the part he played amongst the honoured band of pioneers. . Emigrating in 1836.— Voyage to Tasmania. — Laun- ceston in 1837. — Buying Farming Stock. — News of South Australia.— Voyage Thitner. —Losses en route. — Rush Huts at Rapid Bay. — Arrival at Glenelg.— Pleasant Prospects. In the year 1836 I had determined, as stated in the previous sketch of my colonial life, to seek health in a warmer climate, and, being much interested in the projected new colony of South Australia, I was induced , to become one amongst the first immigrants who were preparing to settle there. I was introduced in London to Captain Hart, who was loading the barque Isabella for Laun- ceston, Van Diemen's Land, and agreed to take the two stern cabins and other berths for my party, and to join the vessel at Ports- mouth on September 1, on which date I arrived with my party, consisting of myself and wife, six children, my younger brother Stephen, and a German and his wife as ser- vants, also as passengers Miss Dixon, return- ing to Launceston, and a young lady, Miss Carter, who was recommended to our good offices by friends at home. We had also Mr. Henry Jones among the passengers, to whose friendship I had been introduced in London. We laid a day at Spithead, and received on board late in the evening Sir John Jeffcott, : who was going out as Judge in the new colony, and who was quite an unexpected passenger. We had a great disappointment in finding the ship filled.up, and some van- loads of goods we thought indispensable shut out. We could only induce the captain to take the packages containing our two Manning houses and cabin effects. I had to send the remainder to London to await another vessel. While at Spithead, I bought a boat and fittings, supposing we should be located near some navigable water, which proved to be of no service. I had to pay £5 for its freight. By way of precaution, I took with me a few hundred sovereigns, which should have been dollars, which were at a premium when we arrived at Launceston, Our voyage was a tolerably fine one, having very little really bad weather, and only the usual incidents of a sea voyage. I give here some extracts from a journal kept by me during the early part of our colonial expe- rience, which may show somewhat of the first experience of a colonist in a new country:— January 1, 1837— A fino lunar to-night, after several days of hazy weather. We expect to see King's Island by daybreak. 2nd — We were aroused by the captain coming down the companion, crying, 'Land ahead; turn out. Most of the passengers were soon on deck, and we found ourselves about seven miles from King's Island. After the recent cold weather the climate seemed delightful. Ther. 65°. 3rd — A showery morning. We made a signal for a pilot off Port Dalrymple, who came on board about 8 a.m. We passed close under the lighthouse, which is a very handsome building. The entrance into the Tamar is very intricate. We seemed to be surrounded by shoal reefs. The views all down the river were very beautiful. Sir John Jeffcott compared the scenery to some in the County Wicklow. The reaches in the river often assumed the appearance of lakes, surrounded by hills wooded to the water's edge. We were able to get up within six miles of Launceston, when we grounded. After dinner the captain and the gentlemen passengers went up to Launceston. We floated off at 5 p.m., and went on to within two miles of the town, when for want of water, we remained there all night. 4th— Arrived at the anchorage below the bar about 10 a.m., and soon after I, my wife, and two boys went on shore to look for lodgings. We found several very kind people who assisted us in our search, but were unsuccessful. At 3 p.m. I called on Mr. Lewis Gilles, Manager of the Tamar Bank, who sent a clerk with us, and we obtained some rooms in an unfurnished house, which we took at a guinea per week. We shall try and hire some furniture. Cap- tain Dixon, brother of our fellow-passenger, Miss Dixon, seems very anxious to give us all the information he can, and his expe- rience must be of great advantage to us. 5th — Some vessels have been here from South Australia, but they bring no account of the Buffalo, with the Governor and his party. A sloop was about sailing for South Australia, and I wrote by her to Mr. John Morphett. who was to act as our agent. Found Captain Dixon lodging at an upholsterer's, with whom I agreed for the re- quired furniture. There is a very large ex- port of sheep going on from this port to Port Phillip on the other side of Bass Straits, where very fine land has been found for grazing' ; 45,000 have already been sent over, and 60,000 more are being shipped. Two or three schooners a week are running, which take over 500 or 600 each. Owing to this and an expected demand from South Australia there has been a great advance in sheep ; 31s. to 40s. is now asked for ewes. The increase, during the last season in Port Phillip was 100 per cent. 7th— Occupied in landing our goods from the ship. The Isabella is laid on for South Australia to sail in this month, so that our captain will go with us to our new home. Our heavy packages will not, therefore, have to be landed. By. the paper I see that the John Pirie has arrived at Hobarton, and that the Buffalo had been met beating up the Gulf. Most of the settlers had landed on the coast opposite Mount Lofty. 8th— Stephen went with Captain Dixon to the farm of Mrs. Lette to enquire about stock. The arrange- ments under which Miss Carter came to Van Dieman's Land not being satisfactory to her, she will remain with us as one of the family, which will be an inexpressible comfort to my wife. 9th — I went to the Australasian Bank to lodge our gold. Mr. Charles Henty, son of Mr. Thomas Henty, who came from our neighbourhood in Sussex, is Manager, and received me very cordially. Stephen met Mr. Thomas Henty, sen., in the town, who wishes us very much to go to his house down the river. I find we shall have to pay 20s. for our drafts on England. Obtained from Mr. Griffiths, owner of the Isa- bella, the terms on which he will take our stock into South Australia. 10th.— 10th— Agreed with Mr. Jones for ten barrels of pork at £6 10s. He is doing very well with his mercantile venture. Went to look at some mares : and agreed with Griffiths for freight, keep of stock on board, the freight of sheep not landed to be allowed, Rode over with Stephens to call on Mr. Thomas Henty and his wife, and were very kindly received. Purchased two mares and foal for £92. 11th— Stephen and I rode over to Mrs. Lette's, ten miles, through a beauiifnl country ; in one of her paddocks of 700 acres there were 6,000 sheep. The wool she said last year realized 2s. per lb., the highest price obtained in Van .Diemen's Land; she netted £3,000 for her clip. Captain Dixon took his sister home ; she lives about thirty miles from Launceston. Arranged with two men who are well ac- quainted with bushwork, at £30 each with board. 13th-Got to Mrs. Lette's, and found Stephen in the midst of the fold. There were 2,200 lambs about eight months old, a very fine lot. We bought 350 at 50s., out of 400 turned out, and we rejected fifty of the number ; also bought eight bullocks, well matched, at £35 per pair ; six heifers at £10 each. She is to take my draft on England in payment. Ordered a bullock-dray and cart, and a colonial plough, &c 14th— Stephen is of age to-day, I find the Isa- bella will be quite full with sheep, stock and passengers. Stephen went over to Mrs. Lette's to mark 350 lambs and forty-five wethers. I am informed to-day that a good harbour, with 2½ fm. on the bar at low water, has been found on east - side of St. Vincent's Gulf. This is just what was waited to ensure success. The natives are reported very peaceable. 16th— We found that a good sheepdog will fetch £10 ; so we were right in providing ourselves. 18th — Stephen rode with Mr. Jones to see some sheep, which he proposes to ship to South Australia as a speculation. 19th— Called on Mr. L. Gilles respecting sheep for the South Australian Company, which Griffiths will put on the William, brig, if 800 are promised. Making up mail for the Arabian. Completed our pur- chase with Mrs. Lette, which amounted to £750. 24th — Getting our goods on board Isabella. Stephen went over with Keeper, our sheepdog, to bring down the sheep ;bought another pair of bullocks, a Timor pony, and a very handsome Devon bull from Mr. Manley. 25th— Buying poultry, pigs, goats, and packing up. Pfender, our German man, made an application for an advance, which we de- clined, and told him he was at liberty to quit if he pleased, but he did not seem to be prepared for that step. 27th— Have taken a severe cold, and have applied leeches, &c. Am lying in bed to recruit., Pfender, as I expected, de- cided not to go on with us, and engaged a man, Joseph Hill, and his wife in their place. The man is a good bush carpenter and sawyer. We go on board to-morrow. We shall be glad to be away. Stephen has gone about eight miles up the river, as the sheep and cattle can ba better put on board there.
Weather very wet. Our party went on board ship. 29th— The Isabella got away about 7 p.m. yesterday. I am lying in my old cabin with a blister on my chest. Several of the crew have struck work, and although, we hava a fair wind are compelled to lie at anchor. Settled all my accounts in Launceston yesterday. We ought to be off George- town to-night if we had the crew right. 30th— Our noble bull was nearly drowned in hauling off to the ship. We have Mr. Lewis Gillen and Mr. Jones as passengers besides our own party. Willie fell over- board, but was caught on a rope and escaped with a fright. 31st— Lying all day about fifteen miles from Launceston in a beautiful reach of the river; wind strong against us. Stephen went on shore and brought off a black goat in milk. February 2 — Under weigh at 8 a.m., and have cast anchor about two miles from Georgetown. While the ship was being towed along we rowed about the river in our boat. Cattle all well. 3rd— At 10 a.m. went out of the river with a fine easterly breeze, but it soon fell calm, so we had to lie quiet till evening. 4th— A westerly wind, raising a heavy sea. Cattle in the hold badly off, three or four bul- locks loose, and several sheep dead. All of us are very sick, though not so bad as in the English Channel. 6th — A foul wind con- tinues this morning. We are beating about Wilson's Promontory and are drifting east- wards each tack. We lost one of our finest bullocks this morning. Twelve of our sheep are dead. As Grffitns insured them the loss is not ours ; but to see them go over board is not cheering. Jones, who has 400 on board, has suffered more than we have, though the loss of the bullock may be against us. It is clear that without a change of wind we shall not soon see Kangaroo Island. 7th —Better spirits this morning, for although the wind is light it is fair for us. Thirty five sheep have been thrown overboard during the westerly gale. 8th— Outside Cape Otway, but fairly at sea, with plenty of searoom. 9th— Very little wind; but at 1 p.m. the wind came to the south at dark off Cape Northumberland. 10th— Fine wind all night, and in evening sighted Kangaroo Island, but lay off till morn- ing in a heavy sea. 11th— After round- ing Cape Jervis about 2 we came in sight of some rush houses in Rapid Bay. A boat was lowered, and the captain took us on shore, but the houses were tenantless, though only recently vacated. It was curious to see the construction of the huts— the sides of long reeds and thatched with grass. The little gardens were flourishing, so we took a parcelof greens on board when we returned. It seemed a good omen that the settlers had found a better place. With a good breeze we ran aloag the coast for about thirty miles, and long after dark we anchored and fired a gun. Not very long after a boat came along side, and we were told that there were lying in Holdfast Bay the Corromandel, Buffalo, Rapid, John Renwick, and Cygnet. We were lying some distance ahead. The Tam 0' Shanter had grounded on the creek or harbour ten miles north, of the Bay, and the Africaine and William Hutt were safely in the harbour. The river is not yet buoyed off, The site for Adelaide is not yet completely surveyed. We could realize on our stock a very handsome advance on cost, as there is yet no stock here— only a few wethers, a pair of bullocks drawing a sled, two horses,and a mule, the property of the Govemor. We shall camp for a time at Glenelg near a lagoon until we can get to the city.