PIONEERING FIFTY YEARS AGO.
[COPY OF JOURNAL OF WILLIAM TODD,
FROM JUNE 9, 1835,TO THURSDAY,
AUGUST 7, 1835.]
William Todd, a copy of whose Diary is given below, formed one of the party that proceeded to Port Phillip early in the year 1835, under John Batman; when Batman left there for Van Diemen's Land in June of that year, for a few months, Todd was left with some others, and kept a journal of the events that took place from the time of Batman's departure, until he was relieved m August, a period of two months. We publish it, thinking an account of the early settlement of Victoria may prove interesting to our readers. The most at- tractive feature in the journal is the
interview of the adventurers with Wm. Buckley, who, escaping from H.M.S. Calcutta in 1803, had lived like a white giant amongst the Victorian aborigines, in a wild state, for 32 years. Buckley was subsequently removed to Hobart, where, from his extraordinary height, he was a man of note. He was kindly treated by the Imperial Government, who provided him with a comfortable situation for life, and he died in Hobart a pensioner of the Crown after several years of faithful
1835. - June 9. - We landed on Indented Head (Victoria), with all our provisions, found water close handy, and chose a spot
to build a hut.
20. - Two men gone kangarooing, one digging a well, and remainder building a
11. - All hands employed in removing our provisions, etc, to a chosen spot; pitched a temporary tent until such time as we can find timber to build with. After we had secured our provisions, etc., from rain, four hands went kangaroo- ing.
12. - Got a long spar to hoist a flag, which we have erected close to the bay. Commenced grubbing and clearing the timber for a garden, marked out a piece of ground 90 yds, square for a garden.
13.- Jim Gum and three of the Sydney natives, left at 9 o'clock to go kangaroo- ing, fell in with the native huts about 10 miles from this, and tracked them from there to the Heads, being about 20 miles, the land being extremely good, and in parts thickly timbered and plenty of fresh water, not having taken any provisions, and being late in the day, they were obliged. to return home. Alick and I employed grubbing and clearing timber.
Sunday, 14. - All hands at home. Nothing particular happened - wet and showery all day. Alick and two of the natives went kangarooing; fell in with most beautiful clear ground, even superior to any that has yet been discovered, also some remarkable fine timber for sawing, within two or three miles from the hut. Catched a very large forester kangaroo.
Monday, 15. - Alick and I employed in grubbing, falling, and clearing the timber. Jim Gum measured out a spot for a house, 30ft. by 15ft.; not being able to find any timber to split handy, we are obliged to build it with sods. He also broke up a piece of ground and planted the onions. Rendered the blubber of the porpoise, and got a gallon and a half of oil. Caught two large kangaroo.
Tuesday, 16. - All hands at home; some employed grubbing, falling, and topping the timber; some in fencing the garden, J and others in breaking up the garden. Had the misfortune to break our shovel, which will hinder us from building a house as large as we intended.
Wednesday, 17 - Raining all the fore- noon; fencing the garden in the after- noon. The natives gone out duck shoot- ing; brought home seven ducks.
Thursday, 18 -Two hands fencing. Pigeon, Joe, and Bull gone to the Heads fishing for two days. Commenced sowing the wheat and finished this day, also planted carrots and parsnips.
19. - Alick and I employed in falling and clearing the garden. Jim Gum in breaking up the ground and sowing
20. - Fencing the garden, breaking up the ground and preparing beds for sowing parsnip seeds. Pigeon, Joe, and Bull returned from fishing, but had no luck whatsoever. Discovered a river apparently joining the head of Gellibrand Bay, and emptying itself into the sea coast to the westward of the bar of Port Phillip.
21.- Pigeon speared four flat-fish op- posite the flagstaff, being the first that has been caught since we arrived at Port Phillip; also some mullet and flounders.
22. - Four of the Sydney natives gone kangarooing. Bullet left at home to cook. Alick and I employed burning and clearing off the timber from the garden. Jim Gum gardening. About 2 o'clock Bullet went down to the well of water, and there fell in with the natives, which were in number five men, who followed him up to the hut and remained with us all night, during which time they behaved themselves very well. When Pigeon came home from kangarooing they were highly pleased to see him, and their joy was beyond anything when they saw them corroberying; their language quite different from those wo have seen before. They were singing most of the evening for us, and one of them sang a song the same as the Sydney natives do. N.B. - Jim Gum sowed some carrots, maize, lettuce, and raddish seeds; also some potatoes.
23. - Pigeon & Co. have just left this with the natives to catch kangaroo. Jim Gum has sown some broad beans and peas, and also planted some potatoes. Pigeon and Co. have returned with the natives from kangarooing, they caught one kangaroo, which pleased the natives much. Immediately after the dogs had caught the kangaroo, the natives run to the spot, made a fire, cut it open, drank the blood, eat the guts, and roasted the remainder, and brought it back with them, on their return they made a fire as a signal for their gins to come to them.
According to your orders we got them to make their mark on a tree, which I imitated on a piece of paper. They being by at the time, one of them made signals for me to give them some paper and a pencil. I did so. They then drew out a most extraordinary mark which filled up half a sheet of paper, which I have kept for your inspection. Their names we also got, which are as follows:- Gulgoring, Culmarodingy, Wolumdging, Dyberry, and Moniboring. We then dis- tributed the following to them, viz., 2 red shirts, 3 cotton shirts, 10 handkerchiefs, 6 knives, 6 pairs scissors, 6 tomahawks, and 1 blanket belonging to Jim Gum. They were much pleased with the above, singing and corroberrying most of the night.
24.- Monboring and Gulgoring gone to bring the women down, and have left the
other three with us.
Breaking up the garden and setting potatoes.
25.- Employed at the garden setting apples, peaches, oranges, cherries, and plums; also potatoes. Jim Gum, I, and Bullet went kangarooing. When we re- turned there was between 50 and 60 men, women, and children, which Maniboring has brought with him, some of which be- longed to the first mob that Mr. Rottman fell in with at Gellibrand Bay, they having some beads which you distributed
Jim Gum has given the following to them, viz.:- 100 handkerchiefs, 30 knives, 6 tomahawks, 64 scissors, 14 shirts, 5 looking glasses, and 12 tin pots, being all that we were possessed of. They re- mained highly pleased with these things, for that night Pigeon and Co. corroberied for them, which astonished them much. We remained up during the night.
26. - Baked 100lb. flour for them in small dampers, which they soon demo- lished, being very hungry; also caught a kangaroo for them. In the evening one of the natives and his wife beat the drum while 16 men corroberied, which was well worth seeing. They then had their supper, and returned to their huts for the night. They have consumed most of our potatoes. Two keep watch as usual all night.
27. - Natives still with us. Three hands gone to catch a kangaroo for them; returned with two; all very quiet and well satisfied, singing most of the evening. All hands keeping watch as usual.
28. Three hands gone kangarooing, and returned with two kangaroo. Baked a
cwt. more of flour for them, which we were obliged to do on account of their liking the bread so well. They have taken a particular fancy to our dogs, on account of which Jim Gum has given the king two of them (Ball and Spring) to prevent them from taking the remainder. After they had caught the first kangaroo Pigeon fired of his gun to get a light so as the natives might roast the kangaroo, which was returned by some sealers at the Heads. Remained with us all night. Kept watch as usual.
29. - Three hands gone kangarooing; as usual returned with a large forester. Natives still with us. Find it very diffi- cult to get them to leave us, they having taken such a particular liking to the bread. We are obliged to use none our- selves, on account of their distressing us, they being of such a greedy disposition that they would take it all from us. Stopped all night. Watching as usual.
30. - Tried all we could to got them to leave us, but find it impossible. Three hands obliged to go again kangarooing. All hands without breakfast, and so as to show them that we had got no more to give them returned home with two kan- garoos. Remained all night quiet and well satisfied, but seem to have no idea of leaving us, which makes us exceedingly uncomfortable, not being able to get a meal of victuals in comfort, and always obliged for our own safety to keep watch.
July 1. - Baked 60lb. of flour for them, to entice them to leave us, but after we had done so, three hands were obliged to go kangarooing, so as not to affront them in any way; they returned without any, the dogs being completely knocked up. At sundown Jim Gum went up to the king's hut, and requested him to leave one of his sons with us until such time as he returns from the bush, which he consented, and was much pleased with the offer. He is quite a young boy, but will be of great use to us in case any of the other natives come down.
2. - Denied them of any rations and tied up the dogs, thinking it would be the means of them leaving us, after which they con- sulted awhile together, and desired us to take care of the children while they went kangarooing, which we consented. Bul- ligan, the king's brother-in-law, offered Jim Gum one of his children, which he refused, not properly understanding what he said, which seemed to annoy him much, hanging down his head and looking very sulky, after which Jim found out what he meant, and consented for him to stop so as he might be company for the other, which pleased him highly. Re- turned from kangarooing, speared one kangaroo, which got away with the spear, seemed very mournful. Pigeon and Co. corroberied for them, which pleased them much, and they all retired to their huts for the night.
3. - Three hands gone kangarooing for them, and returned with two kangaroos, which pleased them much, being without provisions for two days. We have heard guns firing for the last three or four days in the direction of the Heads, but are unable to leave this to see who
4. - At 4 o'clock this morning all the natives rose up from their huts, saying they heard the natives coo-e-y-ing and whistling. At daylight they sent two men to see who it was, but they returned home without seeing them, which we imagined was no more than to frighten us. We told them we would not be afraid of 100 of them. The men have taken
their spears and gone a-hunting for the day (two of which have left us for good; we expoct they have gone to fetch down another mob) but returned without kill- ing any. About 9 o'clock in the evening they made another false report that the women had come down. Their motive in making these reports we cannot tell.
5. - All the men gone a-hunting as usual; stopped all day and returned at sundown with one kangaroo, which Spring and Ball caught for them. The women also were away on the forage most of the day, and all their children in our care. They seemed to be well satisfied, and retired for the night.
6. - All the natives and Pigeon are gone kangarooing. Pigeon fired twice and killed two kangaroos, which surprised the natives much. They returned home well satisfied. About 2 o'clock a white man came walking up to the native huts, a most surprising height, clad the same as the natives. He seemed highly pleased to see us. We brought him a piece of bread which he eat very heartily and told us immediately what it was. He also in- formed us that he has been above 20 years in the country, during which time he has been with the natives. Jim Gum measured his height, which was 6ft. 7in. or 8in. He then told us that his name was William Buckley, having the follow- ing marks on his arm:- W. B. and marks like a crab, half-moon, and small man. Being a long time with the natives he has nearly forgot the English language, but the native language he can speak fluently. We then brought him to our tent, clothed him with the best we had, and made him share the same as we. After he had got his dinner he informed us that he was a soldier in the King's Own, and a native of Macklesfield, in Cheshire, and was wrecked off Port Phillip Heads. The vessels name he has forgot, but she had come from England with transports, and was bound to Van Diemen's Land, being the first vessel that brought prisoners out for there. She struck on a rock and all hands perished with the exception of him and three others, who swam ashore, one of which was the captain of the vessel, who could not swim. Buckley carried him on his shoulders and swam ashore with him. He was 24 hours swimming before he reached the shore. When they got to the shore they were completely exhausted, with the ex- ception of the captain, whose life Buckley saved. Shortly after the captain left them, and proceeded where we cannot tell, not having seen or heard of him ever since. The other two died after a few days, and Buckley was left to himself to the mercy of those savages, expecting every hour to meet with them and be put to death. He travelled along the beach, living on mussels and roots for 40 days, and, to his surprise, at last fell in with them. They immediately gave him somo kangaroo, etc., to eat. He then joined their mob, and has remained with them ever since, never having seen a white man, and has only seen two vessels since he has been here. He ia quite rejoiced to see his own native people once more, never having expected to meet with any. The way he found out we were here waa through those two men that left this on the 2nd of June. As soon as he heard we were here he came and joined us immediately. He is determined to remain with us until the vessel comes down.
At about 8 o'clock all the natives came running down to our hut, and told us that there was a mob of blacks coming down to kill both us and them. Prayed for our protection, and made signals for us to shoot them if they came. We told them we should not let one of them be hunted, and Buckley cried out, "We shoot them. I'll shoot them." After they were quiet, Buckley explained every - to them. It was most astonishing to see how amazed and pleased they were. The report they made we learn was no more than to see whether we would be fright- ened or not, but they found it was all in vain, and returned to their huts for the night well contented.
July 7. - Three hands gone kangaroo- ing with the natives. Buckley remained with us at home; had a good deal of con- versation with, and were in great hopes. After a little time he will be able to speak the English language more fluently. He has tried all the means he can to get the natives to leave us, but it was all of no use. They seem determined to remain until such time as the ship arrives. We are obliged always to be on the look out, as we find they are a most pilfering set. We have denied them of any bread, and are determined not to give them any.
8. - This morning they again rose a report that there was a vessel in sight, for the pur- pose, we suppose, of getting us all down
to the water side, so as they might plun- der the hut. But they found their plan
of no avail. The men are gone, as usual, a hunting, and have returned with one. Buckley has again told the natives
in their own language that we have no more provisions for them, and they must retire in the bush until such time as the vessel arrives. They consented and re- tired for the night well pleased.
9. - The men have just started, and have left the women behind. Pigeon and Joe and Bunget are gone with them for a couple of days, As they were proceeding on their journey they fell in with 16 more natives who were coming this way, think- ing we would be frightened of them, they returned with them and brought the others also. We have now got upwards of 90 natives around us, but as yet they seem to be very quiet.
10. - Most of the men gone hunting. Buckley has informed those new hands that we are very short of provisions and cannot give them any, they seem to be very contented. We find Buckley to be a most valuable man to us. He seems to get more attached to us every day. Always keeping a sharp look out, he is a com- plete terror to the natives. Some of the women have left us for three days, so as to get roots for their husbands,
11. - The men went out this morning a hunting. Buckley has informed us of plenty of cedar here, which grows to a very large size, and can be got easily by land or water.
12. - Commenced building a sod house; got the frame of it up. Two hands gone kangarooing, and remainder mending the tent and cooking.
13. - Some hands gone a hunting, re- mainder at home. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon Buckley overheard one of them saying, in their language, that they should wait for an opportunity to get one of us going for water, so that they should spear us. He desired us to be on our guard, and keep sentry day and night. We told him we should act according to his wish. He then exclaimed, "I shall lose my own life before I'll see one of you hurted." The women which started three days ago have returned with a supply of herbs for their husbands.i
15. - Some hands keeping sentry over the tent, others building the house, and the natives gone hunting.
10. - Pigeon and Joe gone fishing, and returned after spearing 20 or 30 flatheads, which were a very large size. (Natives gone a-hunting, but seem to be much dis- satisfied on account of our denying them our provisions. Jim, Alick, and I em- ployed at the hut. Remained keeping sentry as usual.
17. - Sydney Vibray gone with the na- tives a-hunting. They seem to say they are going to leave us to-morrow.
18. - At daylight this morning Buckley spoke to them about starting, and told them that what provisions we had would not last ourselves until the ship arrives, and we could not possibly spare them any more. Pigeon, Joe, and Bullet proposed that if they would leave they would bring the dogs and go with them for a week or fortnight. They then seemed well pleased, consented to leave, and got their things ready, and all started with the exception of one man and his family. They parted from us all very friendly, and said they should return when the ship arrives. Two of us employed at the hut. Two cooking and watching the tent. One of the boys,
which Munidumuch gave Jim Gum, still remained with us, and seems much at- tached. He is a fine intelligent lad. We are quite rejoiced at their leaving us, for during the time they were here, we were always in the greatest misery, not being able to do any kind of work.
19. - This morning the man and his family, which stopped behind, have left us. Jim, Alick, and I employed at the house. About 2 o'clock the two men, which left us a fortnight ago, returned to us, but have not brought any mobs with them as we expected; they intend stop- ping to-night, and following the others in the morning.
20. -They left us at daylight this morn- ing; we are now clear of them altogether. But are still on our guard. Jim, Alick, and I employed in cutting rafters for the house, and commenced roofing it, Buckley and Bullet taking care of the tents and cooking.
21. - Employed roofing the house. About 10 o'clock Pigeon, etc., returned with one family of natives, which intend remaining here until the ship arrives. During the time they were out they never offered to molest them in the least. Pigeon states that he should not be the least afraid of going in the bush with them without arms. They all seem to be much attached to Pigeon, etc.
22. - Some hinds gone kangarooing, and remainder employed at the house and cooking; wet most of the day.
23. - Some employed roofing the house,
some cooking, and remainder gone hunt- ing, They have returned with one large forester. Natives very quiet and con- tented. Keeping watch all night as usual.
24 -Some employed at the hut, some hunting, and remainder taking care of
25. - Some thatching the house with sods, some hunting, and remainder cook- ing and watching.
26. - Finished the house, removed our goods, etc., and are now living in it. Alick and and Threldey gone kangaroo- ing. Pigeon, etc., fishing.
27. All the men gone hunting, but have returned without catching any.
28. - Buckley has informed us of a large fresh water lagoon about 40 miles from the Heads of Port Phillip (inland) to the westward. There is a small river runs right through it, extensive plains on one side, and thickly timbered on the other. He also states that the soil is remarkably good. We shall now give you an inven- tory of what things the natives have stole from us, viz.:- Four tomahawks, belong- ing to Pigeon, etc.; two axes, belonging to us; two throws, one wedge, one razor, one blanket, three shirts, four knives, two bags of potatoes, which we could not prevent them of taking without using rough means, which we did not wish to do, on account of your orders to us.
29. - Four hands gone hunting. Buckley states that the natives of this country are cannibals; they eat those which they kill in war; that he has never known them to eat a white man. They also eat dogs and
30. - Four hands gone kangarooing, and returned with one large forester. About 3 o'clock two men and their families came down to us; they were some of those that left us, and mean to stop with the others until the ship arrives.
31. - Raining most of the day. In the afternoon Alick, I, and Bullet went out kangarooing. Killed six wild dogs, but did not catch a kangaroo. Remained out all night.
August 1. - Returned home after walking between 30 and 40 miles with one joey; the dogs are completely knocked up. The bitch Jut has breathed her last this day, after a long and tedious illness, through the effects of a kick from a kangaroo.
2. - Nine natives of the mob that left us have returned to us again, some hands gone kangarooing, and some fishing, re- turned home with a few fish, but no kangaroo.
3 -Two hands gone kangarooing, four hands gone fishing and mussel-gathering; boiled the last of our pork. We are now without flour or meat; returned home with four flatheads, but no kangaroo. We have commenced eating roots the same as
the natives do.
4. - Jim Gum and two hands are gone again to try and catch a kangaroo, or shoot one. All the natives have left us
this day, with the exception of one boy who remained in our house. Jim Gum has returned with a large forester, which Jim shot, being very acceptable, not having caught one for the last week. I have neglected mentioning that the natives gave Pidgeon, etc., a young girl each for a wife for the purpose of getting what they could for them. After they found they had got all they had, they peremptorily took them away, which was very near being the means of creating much disturbance. At 8 o'clock last night Bull Bull came into the house, got his piece, and stated he would take his wife by force, or else shoot her. Jim Gum rescued the piece out of his hand, and Buckley then told the
natives that if they did not immediately leave this and take their children away,
that he would get themselves into trouble for deceiving our men. They immediately
consented, and on that account they have left us.
6. - Jim Gum goes kangarooing. At about 10 o'clock he saw the Rebecca sail- ing into the bay, which was a happy sight for us, not having expected a vessel for the next month.