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IN THE EARLY DAYS.
MAKERS OF THE STATE.
THE PIONEER EXPLORERS.
. (By the Rev. John Blacket.) '
Again the season of the year has com« wheir the minds of South Australians in' stinetivcly revert to the past. We go back, in imagination, to pioneer times. We think of the fine body of men who helped to layj the foundations of the State, and or the
peculiar conditions under which they labor-' ed. Amongst those men the three of wyborn we have to speak occupied a prominent/ .>
place. The first discovered, mapped out, * and named the coast of South Australia; tlie other two dealt more especially with' the interior. Last year, in the columns o£ Tue Advertiser, we followed Captain Mat-
thew Flinders on his voyage of discovery to - , Terra Australis, and sailed with him around the south coast. We then saw Capta'a Charles Sturt in his whaleboat, sailing down the Murrumbidgee, shooting into a noble river that eye of white man hadnever pieviously teen, and then sailing on for hundreds of miles into the heart of an ab- solutely unknown country. In the last chap- ter of our history, which appeared in The Advertiser, we saw the same gallant ex- plorer trying to lift the veil from the centre
of the Australian continent. We also foi- '*
lowed the heroic Edward John Eyre as j ' .he fought his way against fearful odds from
Southern to Western Australia. ' -¿ '< . " .
These-are some of the men-grand, gio« nous men-who not only took a prominent'
part in the founding of South Australia, but - «ho also helped to make the Empire. _ The,
reader would like to-know something more*" res,peeting them. Who were their parents?
Wheie were they born? What was their ,.' history before they came to the great Lone Land? Where and how did they end their days? These are questions which we are constrained to ask, and the answers are mil of thrilling interest. .Verily "truth i* stianger than fiction.''
Captain Matthew Flinders.
Captain Flinders came from a race of surgeon". It was to this profession that his father belonged. Mat then was born on Maich 16, 1774, at Donington, Lincolnshire. How often the career of a man is affected, by what he reads in his youth. It was so-
in ihe_case of young Flinders. He read' , Robinson Crusoe, and this book sent him, to sea. Drugs and the anatomy of the latinan body had no charm for him-they,,
were ,too prosaic-the height of his ambi-.. tiou was to sail over imknowrn seas. He
gave himself to the study of geometry and ' nagivation, and then set sail upon the' ocean. Young Flinders Was on board the Bellerophon when Lord Howe won his sig- nal victory over the French on the first of June, 1794. He next sailed with Captain Bligh on a voyage to the South Sea Islands. After this trip we find him on board the Reliance, as midshipman, bound for tl^a young settlement on the eastern coast of Sew Holland. It was "his passion for ex-
ploring new countries" that '"led him to em- -x , brace an opportunity of going out upon ,t
station, which, of all others, presented the
most ample field for his favorite pursuit." . Such i* his testimony. It was in September,
! 1795, that the Reliance rode into Port Jack- ,'*
son. Xew South Wales. , ?
The surgeon of the vessel was a young
man named George Bass. Like Flinders, he * was thirsting for adventure. While the '_
Reliance was anchored at Port Jackson"; these two young men secured a boat, oniy¡ S ft. long, which they christened the Tom Thumb. . In this small craft, with only a
lad to assist them, they spent some time ',
in exploring the Australian coast. It wa3 , a risky experiment, but full of romance. They fairly revelled in it. for were they| not sailing where boat of civilised man had never been? Sometimes they were, in dan- ger of wreck, and at least on/one occasion they were at the mercy of the blades. Their supply of water was getting low. The Tom/Thumb was anchored, and they pro- ceeded to examine the 'coast. Soon tbey¡ were surrounded by natives, but Flinders created diversion for them in a singular
way. One or two of these blacks Had1 " been brought into contact with whites be- fore and had had their hair cut. Othera now wished to attain the same distinction, so, whilst his powder was drying, Flin- ders took a large pair of scissors and sec' to work "upon the eldest of four or five chins presented to him.'" He says:-''As great nicety was not required the shearing of a dozen of them did not occupy, me
long." Everything "being prepared for a_-> retreat, it was not without stratagem that
we succeeded in getting down to the en-V trance of the stream, where depth of water
placed us out of their reach." On tliia ?' trip Flinders discovered indications of the coalfields that have made New South Wale* famous.
For a time the two young adventurers
were separated. Bass took a whaleboat v and Set out on a voyage of exploration. He sailed for about 600 miles along the coast, and from what he saw surmised the exis- tence of a strait separating Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) from the Australian con-' tinent. In after years, speaking of th'S trip, Flinders said:-"This voyage, ex-,
pressly undertaken for discovery in an open* _ boat, and in which 600 miles of coast, most« '' ly in a boisterous climate, was explore'd, *
lias not, perhaps, its equal in the annala % of maritime history."
The Governor of New South Wale3 fur-
nished Flinders with a sloop of 25 tons to i further explore the Australian coast, and to look for the strait, the existence of
whieh Bass had surmised. In this expe- . dition Bass was associated with Flinders. . They circumnavigated Van Dieman's Land, ' and the strait separating it from the main .land has ever since been known and mapped as Bass' Strait. t
After their return to Port Jackson Ba«3 . sailed for England, and Flinders went or» another exploratory tour around the Aus-> traban coast. Bass had a mysterious end. He returned to England, and then sailed
at;ain for New South Wales in the Venus. , The vessel arrived safely, at her destination. On the return voyage both the Venus andl
her crew mysteriously disappeared. What-" became of the adventurous Bass rio one knows. The Reliance was ordered to Eng- land, and Fbnders returned in the vessel to his native land.
Hitherto the south coast of Australia was unknown. There was a desire aftong the authorities in the old land that it should be explored. The Admiralty took
the matter up; a man-of-war was fitted oi and Flinders was put in command. With ti expedition we dealt last year in The A vertiser. Wc there took leave of Fl: dera at Encounter Bay. Thence be P' ceeded to Port Jackson, New South Wal After spending some time in port, he s sail examining the east and north coast
Australia, sailing right round the Austi
A Shipwrecked Mariner.
Having accomplished, all that be desire Flinders determined to sail for the old lan The Investigator was found to be unst Worthy, so the Porpoise was secured.
was the desire of Flinders to sail home England as a passenger. This would gi him time to prepare the results of his vc age for the Admiralty. Command of ti Porpoise was given to Lieutenant Fowlc No doubt his distinguished passenger aa old commander, was looking forward to safe, speedy, and pleasant voyage. B; 6uch was not to be. From this time mi fortune dogged Flinders' steps. (The « sel struck on a reef. There were two oth ships in the wake of the Porpoise. One these also struck, and three persons we drowned. The valuable collection, of An traban plants that Flinders was conveyii to England was lost, with other euriositii which he had collected. In the mornii the shipwrecked party found shelter ' abo*\ high water mark, and water and pro-visioi were secured from the wreck. TI cutter was then made ready, and Flinde sailed back to Port Jackson for help. G vernor King's surprise can be imagine when he again saw in the flesh one whom 1 thought to be well -on his way to the _ol land. The Rolla, a vessel bound for Chin and two smaller ships, were sent to resci the wrecked mariners.
Governor King offered Flinders the us of the Cumberland, a vessel of 29 tons bu den, with which to get to England if po Bible without delay. On September 2! 1803, he sailed out of Sydney harbor. O arrival at the scene of the wreck, the whol party were found to be well. Flindei then chose ten officers and men to sail wit him in the Cumberland to England. Th remainder of the party went on board th Bolla, bound for China; or on the other tw vessels, which were to return to Port Jacl
Imprisoned at Mauritius.
' ' Poor Flinders! One misfortune after ai
other overtook him. The Cumberlan ' seeded repairs. Flinders was not awai
that there was war between France an England, so he called in at Mauritius. Her i'he and his crew were taken prisoners. Bun
ing with anxiety) to reach England, and i make known to the world the results of hi explorations, his position was desperate ' He tells how he was conducted to a larg
houije in the middle of the town, an through a long dark entry, up a dirty staii case into a room. The chamber centaine two truckle beds, a small table, and tw rush-bottom chairs. He stripped, and go into bed, but not to sleep. Between th mosquitoes above and the bugs below, a .well as the novelty of the position, it wa . nearly daybreak before he fell asleep.
Later oh he says:-"We, who were shu np in the middle of the town, and fron having been three months confined to ¡ vessel of 29 tons, were much in need o i exercise. The heat and want of fresl 'air were not the worst evils. Our unde
fended'pallet beds were besieged by swann p£ bugs and mosquitoes, and the bites o these noxious insects upon bodies ready ti fcreak out with scurvy produced effect; more than usually painful. Being almos covered, with inflamed spots, some of whicl had become ulcers in my legs and feet, J wrofe to the captain-general requesting th< - assistance of a surgeon."
" Mr. Aken, of the Cumberland, was re pleased. He took with him to England
several dispatches from Flinders. Aftei " about three'years of imprisonment Flinders
,;wrote-'The state of incertitude in whicb I remained after nearly three years oi anxiety; brought on a dejection of spirits which might have,proved fatal, had I not Bought, by constant occupation, to force my mind from a subject so destructive to its repose. I reconstructed some of my charts .on a larger scale, and completed for the ' ^Admiralty an enlarged copy of the Investi i gator's log book. The study of the French I language was pursued with increased appli-
cation. But w"hat assisted most in dis Î»e}ling the melancholy was a packet of
etters from England, bringing intelligence »of my family and friends, and the satisfac- tory information that Mr. Aken had safely .reached London with all the charts, jour ? frinls, letters, and instruments committed to .Jhia charge." One after another prisoners
.were, exchanged and released, but poor . Olinderst remained.
In June,' 1810, through the good offices " of Mr. '?Hope, commissary of prisoners,
¿Flinders was released on parole, after an 'imprisonment of nearly seven years. To '.add to his misfortunes efforts were made
¡by some of the French to deprive him of | the* honor of his discoveries on the South tlAnstrahan coast. When he reached home he spent the remainder of his life in pre- paring for publication his "Account of a (Voyage to Terra Australis." He died just about the time that it was published ,on July. 14, 1841. The ruling- passion of his life was strong in death. Among his last -?words were these-"I know that in future days of exploration my spirit will rise from the dead and follow the exploring ships." 4 Captain Charles Sturt.
- Captain Sturt was a man beloved by the South Australian > pioneers. Long as the province endures his memory will be vene- rated- He was born in India in 1795. His father was a judge. In early life Charles »was sent to England. He was educated at Harrow, and was "fag" to the Duke of Dorset. On one occasion this aristocratic youth sent him to the top of a high tree to rob a rook's nest, and then thrashed him because one of the eggs was broken in his descent. Young Sturt replied by¡ throwing a brickbat at his persecutor.
. In 1813 Sturt joined the army as ensign, and saw active service on the Continent and 'in Canada. For some time he served in .' Ireland. Here he passed through some stir * ring experiences in connection with the Whiteboy organisation, which sprang into berng as the result of numerous evictions, 'and spread rapidly through many counties,
for a time establishing a reign of terror. Sturt was called one night to defend a farm .house attacked by the Whiteboys, and his experience on this occasion was such as to destroy all sympathy with Irish agitators. He found among the ruins of a farmhouse the dead bodies of a beautiful girl and of other members of the family.
Sturt in Australia.
In 1825 Sturt wa* gazetted captain, and a
year later he sailed for New South Wales,
in cominarid"5î"à detachment of his regi- ment. For some time he acted as Gover- nor Darling's private secretary. He then led an Oiploring party into the interior, 'and discovered and named the River Dar ling.% Later on he discovered the lower Murray aud Lake Alexandrina. He took note of the surrounding country, and helped lo prepare the way for the founding of South Australia. Returning to New South ?-Wales he was sent on military service to "-Norfolk Island, a convict settlement, where
he had some exciting experiences, and suc- ceeded in stamping out at mutiny. In ill health, and threatened with blindness, Cap- tain Sturt sailed for Rngland. - Here he published an account of his explorations, and retired from the army. Returning to Nçw South Wales, he began sheepfarming. South Australia had been founded, and Captain Sturt's love for adventure led him to undertake the leadership of an overland expedition with cattle for the new settle- ment on the banks of the Torrens. At this time South Australia was not four years old. Among those to welcome Sturt was Edward John Eyre.
Captain Sturt went back to New South Wales. The position of Survevor-General of South Australia was offered to him, wh:ch he accepted, selling his cattle sta- tion, and removing with his wife and family to Adelaide. His next appointment was that of Registrar-General. In 1844 he made an heroic attempt to reach the centre of the Australian continent, and arrived ?within a short distance of it. About three veaxs later he went on leave of absence to England, and received the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Two years afterwards he returned to Adelaide. When the partially elective Council was formed in , 1851, Captain Sturt was appointed Colonial
Secretary. A few years later he retired from the Government service on a pension of £600 a year, in recognition of the ser- vices rendered to the State. Captain Sturt had a -great love for South Australia. Said he-"Wherever I may go, to whatever part " of the world my destines may, lead me, I
shall yet hope one day to return to my adopted home, and make it my resting place between this world and the next." It .may interest the South Australian reader to know that Captain Sturl's home was at the Grange, near the seashore, a few miles to tlie west of Adelaide. Speaking of it he said-"The Grange is a most healthy spot. *It has fine, lofty, umbra- geous trees, like oaks, the moisture having drawn their limbs horizontal. It is the most English-looking place in the pro-
In 1853 Captain Sturt again sailed for England, and he died suddenly there on June 16, 1S69. Captain Sturt was designated for the honor of knighthood, but died be- fore it was conferred, nis widow survived him many years, and bore the title of Lady Sturt. The name of this pioneer will be handed down to future generations by the district of Sturt, south of Adelaide, by Sturt-streel, and by the small river that
bears his name.
What has specially impressed the author, as he has followed Captain Sturt from place to place, has been his unwavering confi- dence in God-his recognition of an over- ruling Providence.
Edward John Eyre.
Edward John Eyre was a man of heroic, determined spirit, who for many years led a most eventful life. Eyre came from an old and honorable English family. He was the son of a clergyman, and was born in Yorkshire in 1S15, the year of the battle of Waterloo. It has been said of him that he was "a grave, quiet, self-centred, composed boy; remarkable only for the dogged resolution with, which he pursued any amusement, study, or ocupation he had once begun." He was sent to the Louth Grammar School, at which Alfred Tenny- son, the poet-laureate, liad been educated. Young Eyre was a hard worker at school,
and must have had some literary talent, i as one of his masters predicted that some day he would be "a blazing star in the lite-
rary horizon." Arithmetic and algebra - seem to have been his favorite studies; he ¡ also acquired some knowledge of chemis- > try and astronomy. In his childhood Eyre was not without adventures, and on
two or three occasions narrowly escaped i drowning.
Tlie Cost of a Banquet.
At the age of 17, with £400 in hi pocket, Eyre sailed for the young settle ment of New South Wales. Here he. be gan life as a sheepfarmer in 1833. Fxvt years later we first meet with him in thi history of South Australia. He cara< overland from New South Wales to Ade laide with a herd of cattle. On the wa] he discovered a lake, and named it Hind marsh after the Governor. Returning t< New South Wales he made a second trii in 1839, bringing with him 1,000 sheep anc 600 head of cattle. It was shortly aftei this journey that we find him ir the pioneer court. It was in. this way:-The overland trips ' in tin early days , were difficult ami dangerous. For months those engagée
were away from civilisation. There "jva:
no clearly defined route. The pioneer had to travel through unknown country Day by day they had to grope their wa} through mallee scrub, and gum tree forests In summer the heat was intense, and som* times the dust bunding; in winter the cole was biting and the rain drenching. Ai night they hobbled their horses and out spanned their oxen, A rude shelter wa¡ made. The fire was lit, and the pot boil ed. The party then sat down to dampei and mutton, j The meal over one or two would keep watch while the others unroll ed their bedding and lay down to rest There was very little change of diet, and ir summer it was sometimes difficult to fine1 water. They were liable to attacks fron hostile blacks, and there was the possi- bility of the party Josing their bearings. When the journey was successfully ended, and they reached the little settlement or the plains of Adelaide, is it any wonder if .they sought a little recreation. Aftei this second journey Eyre and some othei overlanders had a banquet. Evidently they did not count the cost first. The banquet was osffr and the bill came in. It amounted to £180. Eyre and his fellow overlanders refused to pay the high price demanded, regarding the charge as extor- tionate. The case came before the pioneer court, and a verdict was given for the pay- ment of £151. This incident is. indeed a sidelight upon the social lue of our pil- grim fathers. It furnishes us with a clue to the prices charged by some of the pio= neer caterers. There were sox hams. £7
17/6; six roast geese, at £1 each^two legs mutton, £1; sixteen chickens, ."5S3 12/; twelve pairs fowls, £8 12/; eight pairs of pigeons, at 10/ a pair; three dozen tongues, £7 16/: twelve'dozen eggs,'at'6/ per dozen; thirty-six pounds of butter, at 3/6 per lb.; twenty pounds of jam, £4. Other articles in the same proportion soon brought: the bill up to £180. It was neces- sary to charge extortionate prices when one of the cooks was paid £1 per "day.
The Educated Bushman.
Of the overlanders Alexander Tolmer, himself an old pioneer, has said:-"This class of colonists were mostly in the prime of youth, and of good families, but finding no outlet for their enterprise and love of adventure in England, sought it at the antipodes Amongst them, therefore, was found a degree of pohsh and openness rare- ly to be looked for in such a mode of life and, in the distant bosh one wofcld unex- pectedly stumble on a finished gentleman m the bushman's garb of blue shirt, soiled cabbage tree hat, with, broad black rib- bon, booted and spurred, and with the indispensible stock whip in his handj and last, not least, a short, blade clay pipe in his mouth. Yet many .of these worthies had been educated at Eton and Cam- bridge."
Not long after the'events narrated Eyre and his party set out to explore the in- terior. He returned in July, 1841, and a banquet was tendered to him. He was then appointed resident magistrate at Morrundi, on the River Murray- The object of the appointment of a magistrate was to try to bring about a better understanding between the blacks and the whites. Eyre was emi- nently successful, for he obtained the con- fidence and goodwill of the natives, and had great influence over them. He travel- led alone from würbe to würbe, and from tribe to tribe up the Murray and the Darling. Said he:-"I have gone almost alone among hordes of fierce and blood- thirsty savages, as they were considered, and have stood singly among them in the remote and trackless wilds, when hundreds were congregated around, without over re- ceiving the least injury or insult. In my first visits to the more distant tribes 1 .found them shy, alarmed, and suspicious. But soon learning that I had no wish to injure them they met me with readiness and confidence. My wishes became their law; chey conceded points to me that they would not have done to their own people, and on many occasions cheerfully, underwent hun- ger, thirst and fatigue to serve me."
In 1844 Eyre retired from his position as magistrate at Morrundi. Two years later he was appointed láeutenant-Governor in New Zealand in association with Sir George Grey. This position he held for six years, giving full satisfaction to the Imperial authorities. Here his love of adventure led him into danger, in company with some Maories he climbed a high snow- capped mountain. In the descent one of the Maories fell a depth of 1,500 ft. Eyre had a narrow escape, but his presence ot mind saved him. His foot slipped, but dashing his iron-shod alpenstock into the snow he maintained his position. The whole night was spent on the mountains on the brink of destruction. The descent was safely negotiated the next day. Alter spending his full term in New Zealand he returned to England, and was appoinbed Lieutenant-Governor of St. Vincent, in the*
West Indies. Here he remained for six
Eyre in Jamaica.
One of the most difficult positions in the service^ of the Crown was the Governor- ship of Jamaica. To this Eyre was ap- pointed Here an insurrection broke out, in which a mulatto named Gordon, an
educated man, and member of the Legis- lature, seems to have played a prominent part. At Moranfc Bay hundreds of negroes, armed with muskets, bayonets, cutlasses, fish spears, and long poles, wich billhooks attached, rose against the whites. The volunteers were overpowered. Several were killed. The remainder, in company with some promiuent whites (among whom was the rector and his sons), took refuge in the courthouse. The negroes held a consulta- tion, and then seb fire to the courthouse. The inmates succeeded in making their escape to the schoolhouse. This, too, was set on fire. As the burning roof fell in tile victims tried to escape. Some were shot by the negroes, some cut down with cut- lasses, and others killed with sticks. The tongue of the rector (che Rev. J. Her- schell) was cut out. Flushed and mad- dened with their success the rioters then proceeded to stir up all the negroes in the colony, and thus to create a general insur- rection. As soon as Governor Eyre heard of
the outbreak he called the Executive to- gether, proclamed martial law over the disaffected district, gathered a force, and set out for Morant Bay. Paul Bogle, the leader of the Morant Bay massacre, was captured. The rebels were hemmed in, and the insurrection crushed. Gordon was arrested, eourt-mariialled, and hung on the ruins of the courthouse. Many negroes were put to death, some were flogged, and hundreds of their hut« were burned. When the news reached England Gover- nor Eyre's action was resented by a sec- tion of tile community. A Royal Commis- sion was appointed to enquire into his con- duct. The finding of the Commission was that whilst the Governor had acted .with skill and promptitude, the punishments in- flicted were excessive. The Imperial authorities wrote to Governor Eyre that while they appreciated his prompt action in checking the insurrection, they consider- ed that it "would be wise if some gentleman who had not been obliged to take sid^s in the recent trouble should be encnisted with the duty of inaugurating a new con- stitution for the island. This was the Governor's recall.
The 'British Government granted Mr. Eyre a pension, and he retired to Devon- shire, where he passed away in December, 1901, in his 87th year.