AN UNIDENTIFIED HUNTER VALLEY MANUSCRIPT CIRCA 1832-1833
This manuscript account of a settler’s life in the Hunter Region was donated to the University of Newcastle’s Archives by Julie Baird, at the Newcastle Regional Museum in June 2008. The manuscript, which has now been dated as being penned during 1832, and at least July 1833 is, by an as yet unidentified author.
The manuscript was originally donated anonymously to The Tweed River Historical Society Murwillumbah Museum a few years prior to 1998. No records were kept of the transfer and part of the original manuscript was subsequently lost. In December 1998, after preliminary enquiries, and due in part to the importance of the manuscript to the Hunter Region, the Society transferred the manuscript to the custodianship of the Newcastle Regional Museum who, through its curator Julie Baird, on the 20 June 2008 transferred it to the care of the University’s Cultural Collections (Archives) as an item better suited to documentary research.
The manuscript is a portion of a larger work written by settler on the Hunter River, presumably around the Maitland district, from July 1833. There are 41 leaves of hand written text divided into sections and chapters. What has come down to us are chapters 2 sections 4 and 5; Unknown chapter sections 2 and 3; Unknown chapter sections 2, and 3; Chapter 3 sections 4 and 5; Chapter 4 sections 1 and 2. The order is still being ascertained with some of the leaves. The final two are badly damaged and may have originally formed part of one of the sections dealing with servants. We also know that parts of the manuscript were lost while in the custody of the Murwillumbah Museum. There is a partial transcription, which was made at the Tweed River Historical Society that contains missing words from the two final leaves, which is tantalising as it means that it was at some stage this portion was readable and complete. Only pages 46-54 of this transcription have survived.
|Chapters||Section 1||Section 2||Section 3||Section 4||Section 5|
Dating the Manuscript
We can say with some certainty that the date at which it least part of it was penned was around July 1833. The author (who only refers to himself as ‘the writer’) makes a statement relating to two steamers plying the river and the building of a third. This statement allows us to target a potential date for the manuscript. The Sophia Jane was in operation by November 1831. The William IV was launched in the same month, but did not begin its run until the 15 February 1832. The ‘third’ being built on the Williams was the ‘Experiment’, which was not completed until May 1832. He also makes reference, “at the time of writing” to a story published in the Sydney Herald about a runaway convict, the exact quote has been traced to the edition of the 8th July 1833 p.3. He appears unaware of the severity of the floods in the district, especially the one in 1826 prior to his arrival in 1830. A severe flood occurred on the 24 March 1832, clearly in the time he was in residence, so one could possibly surmise that parts of the text were probably written before 1833, perhaps sometime around February/early March 1832 as well.
Description of Contents
The author begins with a discussion between native-born people and emigrants. What he means by ‘native’ is not as we understand as ‘Aboriginal people’ but white people born in the colony. He begins by describing the differences between those who emigrated here refer to themselves, as ‘Sterling’ while those who are native born are known as ‘currency’. He goes on to speak about a range of topics including the nature of life in the district, the landscape, shipping along the river, flooding, agricultural matters, female convicts and women in general, the legal system, pigs, the relationships between settlers, emancipists and free settlers (exclusives) and bushrangers.
Identity of the Author
The identity of the author remains unidentified. However, we do know is that he was a free settler on the Hunter River (presumably in the Maitland district), who arrived some time around 1830; he posseses a great sense of humour, especially when discussing the trials and tribulations of swine. The section of the manuscript concerning pigs and the trouble they cause between the settlers is hilarious. He describes the quality of life in New South Wales (Australia) in general terms, and breaks off into local examples based largely in the Maitland district. He is also an apologist for the emancipists’ cause.
Who our mystery writer was remains a mystery for now. Hopefully someone will recognise the handwriting ,or the writing style, and may be inspired to search him out. Any corrections to the transcription below are also welcome. At this point we are happy to open the debate.
The manuscript was originally online on our Flickr site – http://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157606149684304/
Gionni Di Gravio
University of Newcastle
July 2008 (with updates July 2013, May 2018)
Note: We wish to thank Mr Ron Madden and http://www.jenwilletts.com/Steamers.htm for information on the Steamers and when they were operating, as it greatly helps in dating this manuscript. (April 2011)
Transcription – Cap 2 (4) (i) Recto Cap II ( 4
The usual distinction in all new countries exists in New South Wales between those who have come from the mother country and those who are born in the Colony – like the monkey who had seen the world the Emigrant asserts his superiority and denominates himself Sterling whilst those who first see the light in the bush are called currency. But never were terms more misapplied – a [pronounceable portion] of the Sterling population consist of those who have left home in consequence of the unhealthiness of the climate in the neighbourhood of the old Bailey and Newgate, whilst many of their progeny who are designated Currency have been brought up with a degree of morality that does credit to their parents whether it is that there is no scope for the extreme immorality and laxity of principle possessed by their fathers in this new country, or however depraved an individual may be in himself, he still retains so much feeling as not to communicate his evil principles to his offspring or from that other cause of not easy to determine. But the currency lads and lasses possess many of the best qualities of human nature, and would do credit to a community that has arisen from less exceptionable sources. They are generally open hearted, honest and above all things hospitable. The men are shrewd and intelligent although uneducated and have a restless activity which stimulates to enterprise, their inclination leads them to the sea and our whale fisheries are likely to have a great accession of strength from our Australian youths. The females are generally handsome, chiefly with fair complexions and dark hair, and there are forms to be met with in the bush that Canova would not have distained to study. It has been said that chastity is not one of the chief of their virtues – this must be taken with considerable modification. They have constantly dissolute manners before their eyes, without much religion or morality to check their propensities, they are naturally [mild] tractable and like most ladies in a warm climate inclined to luxurious habits – Therefore failings are as frequent with them no doubt as with others
Transcription – Cap 2 (4) (ii) Verso
but the stranger will be pleased to find as many happy wives and excellent mothers in New South Wales as in any other country, perhaps still more, for in the solitudes of Australia there are more of the garish attractions of the old world to lead the female mind astray, but in all her feelings propensities and inclinations nature is her guide and with such a tutor who can err. All seem extremely anxious to acquire knowledge, and it is far from uncommon to find persons of the age of thirty assiduously study rudiments which at home are put in the hands of children. Those who have acquired any education are mostly indebted for it to themselves – Schools even of the lowest description have hitherto been very rare and it has only been within the last few years that academies have [started] into existence which of course the next generation of native born children will benefit by. The school master has found his way here and the march of intellect will doubtless be the more rapid in [proportion] as it has been eagerly desired – Females usually show the marks of age at an earlier period than at home, in fact, there is a general precocity in the human being in this climate. This may be partly attributed to the change of place and atmosphere on the constitution not yet acclimatised and partly to the climate itself. The offspring of all imported animals arrive at maturity at least one third sooner than in England. And the seeds [placed] in this country from imported vegetables experience a still more rapid progress.
Formerly it was customary on the marriage of any of the native born lasses for the Government to make them a grant of land as a marriage portion whilst none others obtained the same advantage. This regulation was founded on good policy so far as it held out a [permission] to marriage but why those who were born in the country should be precluded from advantage which were freely conceded to strangers appears one of those deep political secrets which time alone can unravel. The native born youths being of course accustomed to the climate and for the most
Transcription – Cap II (4) (iii) Recto
part a hardy enterprising race were considered unfit to cultivate the immense tracts of Rich Country which the interior holds forth to the hand of industry. On the other hand settlers bringing out wives and families were not distinguished from those who come without any, so that the man who offered the best pledges to the community for his industry namely ringing a family to provide for was obliged to commence his arduous undertakings with precisely the same degree of encouragement as one who might be a mere bird of passage.
The native born population especially the males pass much of their time on horseback and are consequently adepts; horses can now be procured at a low rate and almost every one has his stud at least they have a beast with three or four legs according as they have the means of procuring it. The horses for the most part are light and indefatigable, having a strong cross of the Arab. There are many animals that would not fetch 40/ in Smithfield that will carry the traveller fifty miles a day without baiting. There are no road side houses in the bush and the horseman must travel from one station to another whether it be 40, 50, or 60 miles without stopping unless he is inclined to go to grass with the kangaroo or partake of a delicious repast on gum leaves with the opossum. Our currency lads on horseback are indefatigable although like Mamelukes rather lazy when on their own legs – They are inclined to be litigious but manly in their resentments and taken as a whole are as fine a body of hardy enterprising people as can be met with in any of the old countries.
If land were distributed with a less [assuring] hand amongst the natives of the Colony and new emigrants it would soon lay the foundation of extensive back settlements, and be the [precuus] of fostering a hardy and enterprising race in the interior, and become the groundwork for raising Capital in flocks and herds, At present no land is granted, every location must be purchased from the Government ere a tree can be fallen or an acre sown; the process of obtaining land is tedious and vexatious, the applicant must first scour the country to select land suitable to his purposes, he must then send in a proposal to purchase to the Colonial Secretary, the land
Transcription – Cap II (4) (iv) Verso
selected is advertised for sale for three months and is then sold to the highest bidder 5/- [shillings] per acre being the upset price; so that an individual proposing to purchase must in the first place spend several months in travelling about the country and combating the intrigue and cunning of the old settlers who are all jealous of new comers settling in their neighbourhood and restricting their cattle runs. He must then go thro the forms of a correspondence with the Official Gentlemen and after a lapse of several months may be enabled to ascertain whether his selection has already been appropriated or whether it is worth the while of the old settlers in the neighbourhood of the land he has selected to outbid him, after ascertaining these interesting facts he will be at liberty to prosecute his enquiries still further if he has not already exhausted his patience and purse. It is true in the old settled countries there are portions of land which in the hands of the Government the sale of these lands contributed largely to the finances of the country, let there lands still be sold for the benefit of the community for there are the only lands worth more than 5/ [shillings] per acre, but let the back countries of rich Savannah and fine grazing land be thrown open to the selection of emigrants as free grants. New South Wales will never be like the Canadas, an Agricultural Country. The latter consists chiefly of thick forest and rich land which must all be cleared before any return can be made to the cultivation. There is a ready market for its grain and consequently the growth of this produce is the most lucrative pursuit for its inhabitants. New South Wales, on the contrary, consists of but a small proportion of rich alluvial land and a very large one of fine forest pasture with very little timber- It is an immense distance from a market for grain and cannot
Transcription – Cap II (5) (i) Recto
compete with other Countries in the quality of its farinaceous productions. It must of necessity become a pastoral country in a greater extent than agricultural. Then why not throw open the back country to Emigrants as free grants, who would very soon make the interior produce wool, hides, tallow and salt beef at a low price. A very long period must necessarily elapse ere the land in the interior can attain any intrinsic value. The common calculation is that a sheep requires one acre per annum for its sustenance in New South Wales, nor can a price at present be given for its support, but if the back countries were once located, a population would gradually arise as the flocks and herds increased and then as in the old settled countries the rich cultivation lands will acquire a value. It has been long generally acknowledged that there is not a more promising speculation in the Country at the present price of its wools than for a settler to migrate with a sufficient establishment and about 3 or 4000 sheep several hundred miles into the interior, taking care to have a sufficient number of working oxen and drays to take his wool twice or [oftener] in the year to the nearest port and to bring back supplies. Any one who would have sufficient enterprise for the undertaking with a sufficient knowledge of the management of sheep and an adequate capital might calculate on realising a large sum in a few years. By this method he would avoid the scab which is the pest of the colony, he would ensure the best and most wholesome food for his flocks in abundance, and if he fixed his station on one of the rivers which have lately been discovered in the interior might ensure himself a plentiful supply of water and fish. But to carry this scheme into effect, he must first enure himself to the mode of life of the settler. He must be contented with a log hut covered with bark, but the climate is so false that this will be the least of his privations, he must be indifferent
Transcription – Cap II (5) (ii) verso
to the enjoyment of all the little luxuries and comforts of life and be contented with salt beef and damper occasionally changed for a slice of kangaroo or a river cod, both [dishes] by the by require not even the sauce of hunger to make them palatable.
A short period will accustom him to the mode of life in the bush – wherever he goes he will find settlers with numerous flocks and herds and large establishments living in log huts which are pervious to every blast with no other covering than a few sheets of bark to shelter him from the rain. His household furniture consisting of a stretcher mattress and blanket an iron pot frying pan and a few pannikins – his occupations are to multifarious that if he attends strictly to the duties his situation imposes, there can be but little time for him to reflect on its discomforts. It is true that the change at first appears astounding to a person who has recently quitted the comforts and luxuries of civilised life – but in the calm of a country life and the active and pleasing occupations of a farm he soon forgets that he ever had other wants than the common necessaries of life – health attends his days and peace his slumbers, and amidst his farming occupations he can occasionally find time for the sports of the field – [Coursing] the kangaroo or Emu shooting and fishing. Many old settlers have now erected very good dwellings, but those who are prudent carefully avoid the outlay of any capital that will not make an immediate return of profit and consequently the major part with the exception of those who have families are not better accommodated than mentioned above. Let not emigrants therefore come out in the expectation of finding a paradise where their daily wants will be supplied by [dame] nature – For the Old
Transcription – Cap II (5) (iii) Recto
lady has done very little more for New South Wales than any other country, she has scattered at random over the face of the earth a sufficient material to accommodate the necessities of all her children but she has left them also the arduous task of collecting and arranging them to supply them real or fictitious wants. She has given them a splendid climate fertile country woods abounding with game and rivers teeming with fish, every day the researches of the industrious bring to light fresh resources from the forest and mountains – and wherever the country is cleared the lovers of the picturesque may gratify their taste – But on the other hand a new settler is something like our common father when turned out of paradise obliged to earn every the most trifling enjoyment by the sweat of his brow and his own ingenuity.
There can be no stronger proof of the fertility of the soil and the extreme bounty of nature, than the lazy apathy of many of the old settlers, who go on from year to year in the same course of inactive unenterprising life finding that working one day in the week will supply their wants for the remainder, whilst on that one day they content themselves with working their ground with a hoe, instead of opening the treasures of the soil by a more rapid and effectual mode of culture – These are people instead of endeavouring to amend their fortunes by industry sometimes complain bitterly that the old times are gone by when even the little exertion above alluded to, enabled them to spend a considerable portion of their time at a grog shop – whilst a little more exertions and a few trifling inexpensive improvements would enable them still to indulge in that consummation most devoutly to be wished –
Transcription – Cap II (5) (iv) Verso
Active enterprising and sober people of the labouring classes arriving in this Country without any capital without any capital would soon find themselves enjoying a competency – Mechanics ear 30/ [shillings] per week by tune and many can double that amount working by the [piece]. Sawyers frequently earn 1 [Guinea] per day, the usual price for sawing is about 9/ [shillings] per hundred feet, and two expert hands can saw three hundred in one day without much exertion – field laborers can obtain readily from 12-20 £ per anum besides a good ration in proportion to their utility. The natural consequence of these high prices is, that the major part of the mechanics and laborers are [old] dissolute fellows, attached to no place but rambling about the country in search of what they will never find an honest livelihood, squandering in one day the earnings of months and listlessly [rescuing] their occupations again to run the same course – there can be no stronger proof of the results of industry than that the richest individuals in New South Wales are emancipists who have avoided the prevailing vices of the country – There can scarcely be a country where there is a wider field for the exercise of honest industry in every branch And emigrants such as these would more enrich themselves and the community than many of the individuals who come out with capital, and who never grow wise until they find the necessity of exertion, these latter may tend to enrich a few [coseners] , but industry is wealth and the former will not only enrich themselves but be the means of giving occupation to and enriching others-
Cap [?] (2) (i) Recto 2
At about a distance of three miles from Maitland is the St Michael, originally a store ship for the supply of the settlers but within the last three years four extensive stores have been formed besides a number of shops. The St Michael is now the starting port for our Steamers of which there are two now plying once a week between it and Sydney. The usual time occupied in the voyage is about 12 hours – This steam navigation which is exclusively enjoyed by the Hunter forms a most prominent feature in the advantages to be derived from a location on that River – The facilities it affords for speedy communication with the Capital with the ready means it offers of transmitting both large and small produce at little risk to the great [part] of the country will of themselves alone point out the Hunter as the most eligible district for a new settler. Steam boats are expected shortly to come up the river as high as Maitland, but hitherto this course has not been adopted in consequence of the river between the St Michael and Maitland which in a direct line is only 3 miles taking a meandering route thro a course of 26 miles, but the while distance is not only navigable but deep and capable of floating ships of large burden – Another probability exists that vessels will reach Maitland shortly by a nearer cut, for nature has made a canal more than half the distance in the shape of a lagoon which bears the appearance of having been originally the bed of the river, and a little labor well applied might turn one of the tributary streams of the Hunter in this direction, so as to make a navigable canal without a single lock-
The tide flows as high as Maitland a distance of about 30 miles from the mouth of the River so that the fall of the river in that distance cannot be much more than fifty feet the main channel of the River thro out is very deep varying from three to seven fathoms; the only impediments to its course are a few trees thrown into it by some of the settlers on the banks who have rather consulted their [oure] convenience in thus getting rid of an encumbrance, than the necessity of sacrificing a little labor for the public good-
Cap [?] (2) (ii) Verso
The only difficulty in the navigation is about four miles above Newcastle where there is a large expanse of water which is very shallow and the channel navigated by shipping very intricate, here the water when low sometimes shoals to less than six feet. The skippers of the steam boats now know its sinuosities so well that they venture thro it at half speed. The banks of the river are covered with thick bush except where clearances have been made for farms. The strong deep and thick bushes with their variety of foliage and beautiful blossums rising on the almost perpendicular banks of the stream form a particoloured screen to the deep smooth river, and produce an awful sensation of quiet on the mind of the stranger, where there is nothing to break the repose of the scene except occasionally a few black swans, or a solitary kangaroo half swimming half wading across the stream, but even these are gradually disappearing since our steamers have picked up a few of these solitaries in their aquatic excursions and taken them a much longer voyage than they at first contemplated when they entrusted themselves to this treacherous element.
From Maitland to Sydney a distance of about 129 miles by land there is now a road formed, which is unquestionably a most stupendous undertaking, nearly fifty miles of it runs thro a chain of mountains and the road is cut out of their sides occasionally in parts that are nearly perpendicular, for the lovers of the picturesque this road has a thousand charms, but it is to be feared that the years of uncaring toil and the immense sums which have been [expended] on it, have been spent in [vain] since Steam Navigation has opened so much speedier and convenient a course for this traffic of this district of the Colony.
Cap [?] (2) (iii) Recto
Twelvemonths since four days were usually occupied in the journey overland to Sydney by this road, but now two steam vessels take goods and passengers to Sydney in twelve hours, and another steamer is shortly expected from England to add to the facilities of conveyance from the Hunter – At first it was supposed that one steam boat could not find employment, but Captn Biddulph the commander of the first steamer that reached the Australian shores soon taught these skeptics that he could obtain ample remuneration for his enterprise and cut out work for another which was shortly afterwards built on the Williams River, one vessel has made work for two, and it is expected two will for three-
The Hawkesbury has been so frequently described in former works that it is unnecessary to repeat here what has been said by others to repeat here what has been said by others. Bathurst and Argyle are situated to the South West of Sydney and being chiefly on the high Table land of the interior possess a cooler climate altho the land for the greater part is extremely rich. A description of one district is nearly a description of the whole country as regards the qualities of soil, for in all there is great variety but in these counties the water is sometimes severe, and [skaiting] is far from an uncommon amusement. Whilst along the [shore] [snow] is only known by the White summits of the mountains in the interior which are visible from the coast, but sometimes even here they experience frost early in the mornings yet the atmosphere is so free from vapour that a frosty morning has the most exhilarating effect on an European.
Agriculture is as yet in its infancy, and a few tools suffice for its operations, therefore, let not the emigrant encumber himself with the improved implements now in use in England, unless he intends to establish an exhibition to astonish our native youths – There are very few farms
 The Sophia Jane was in operation by November 1831. The William IV was launched in the same month, but did not begin its run until the 15 February 1832. The ‘third’ being built on the Williams was the ‘Experiment’, which was not completed until May 1832..
Cap [?] (2) (iv) Verso
Sufficiently cleared to admit of the operation of the finely constructed implements of home manufacture and even should an emigrant be sufficiently fortunate to meet with one of them, he would neither find men or cattle capable of turning his instruments to their proper use – The Common Scotch Plough is in most general use, and is usually built very strong and heavy to meet the continual shocks of roots stumps and stones which it will require a long course of husbandry to eradicate, oxen are almost invariably the only beasts used on a farm either for the plough or the dray – A good strong colonial plough pair of harrows also heavy a few hoes bullock chains and yokes constitute the material of a farm; and a few hulk [saws] small churn cheese oats and cheese cloths that of a dairy. Anything else will surly add to the perplexities of a new settler, and until he can bring his establishment under a good system of management which cannot be expected for at least three or four years, and in the mean time the capital that should be required for improved instruments might be better employed.
The most adviseable method for a new settler on his first arrival in the country is to rent a small farm in the neighbourhood of some township, where he will have the double advantage of meeting with a ready market for his small produce whilst his own land in the mean time may be made a stock station and undergo progressive improvement, preparatory to his taking up his residence there. Farms may be easily obtained at a trifling rent but let the new comer be very cautious in entering into an engagement to rent a farm, for our worthy Colonists always act on the common mercantile principle that a thing is worth as much as it will fetch, and consequently invariably demand five times as much as their farms are worth – Whilst the emigrant having no ready opportunity in consequence of the want of funds and the population being to widely scattered of ascertaining the intrinsic value of the land for which he bargains falls an easy prey to the [designs]
Cap [?] (3) (i) Recto 3
Above all things let him wait patiently for the chances of the market in purchasing his stock, which by renting a farm in the neighbourhood of a township he can the more conveniently do, as it is in towns that all sales by auction take place, and it is also here where cattle, sheep and all kinds of produce are brought when the up country settlers want a little cash – by adopting this system the writer has purchased cows at 7/ per head for which he would have otherwise been obliged to pay £3 and fine improved breeding ewes at 3/ for which he would otherwise have paid 20/- Another reason which renders it imperative for the new settler to rest on his oars, is that the present regulations respecting the sale of land require that the portion he may select shall be advertised for sale for three months previous to its being sold, which will leave him out of profitable employment during that period unless he rents a farm as above recommended.
Upon entering on his own land his first object should be to grow such crops as will be necessary for the consumption of his establishment for the first year, this will consist of wheat, maize and a small quantity of tobacco. Each of these productions thrive well on new land and the latter has hitherto proved more than a renumerating crop. But the prices of produce are so fluctuating that a settler will do well to enquire into the state of the market before he commences operations. If in each year he can find time to plant a few acres [of oine], he will be more certain of deriving adequate renumeration from this crop after the lapse of three years, the former productions all come to perfection in six months, and according to their rate in the market the settlers grow them; the latter takes a long period to arrive at an age for production, and having once attained that point they progressively improve every year, whilst those persons who have not commenced planting at the same time with yourself will be for a long period in you [rears]
Cap [?] (3) (ii) Verso
After the very excellent work of Mr Atkinson on the Agriculture of New South Wales, it would be absurd to treat of the common productions of the Country. The reader is therefore referred to him for information on common agricultural topics, but with regard to tobacco, the atmosphere in which [J.W ] Atkinson [resides] not being congenial to its growth he has not [noted] it so fully as the subject deserves. At present the greatest portion of the tobacco of Australia is grown on the Hunter the rich alluvial soil and temperate climate of which best suit it – It has been ascertained that the sides of lagoons which are exposed to occasional inundations produce the best tobacco. The seed is usually sown about June in shaded beds and transplanted in September the soil is first well worked and pulverised twice ploughed and twice harrowed and the plants are placed three feet apart each way, when set out they are usually shaded from the sun for tow or three days. The land should be be kept clear of weeds, and when grown to a sufficient height should be topped so as to leave 7 or 8 leaves on each plant. They should be gone over every day to pull away the offsets, and when ripe which is ascertained by their becoming slightly speckled the plant is cut off near the root and hung up to dry in a shed, the root commonly yields two or sometimes three cuttings in a season – The average crop is about 700 lbs to the acre and one man is sufficient to attend to that quantity – The leaves should be sweated twice are manufactured. The fig tobacco made from the growth of the Colony is rapidly improving in quality and bids fair to equal the Virginia for one or two seasons, it has been ascertained to be much improved – This article alone will speedily
 James Atkinson (1795-1834) An Account of the State of Agriculture & Grazing in New South Wales … (London, 1826).
Cap [?] (3) (iii) Recto
become one of our principal exports especially if the home duty on Australian tobacco is lowered. The colonists can produce it at [/6] per lb in leaf and have at this price a handsome return for their labour. At present they depend chiefly on colonial consumption as a vent for this produce but should the home market be opened by a reduction of duty fifty times as much tobacco could be grown in the first year – The consumption of the colony is however very great in itself, for the pipe is the only solace of the lower classes, and the cigar of those who consider a yard of clay beneath their dignity. It has been very justly said that in Australia a mans estimation of himself may be measured by his pipe – Not even Jonathan himself is a greater adept at blowing a [cloud] them all [bipeds] in Australia, even our chaste importations from Bilingsgate and Cork renew their acquaintance with their old friend on arriving in this Country with redoubled fervor, not even the all engrossing rum bottle has power to divert their attention from the infatuating vapour of the pipe, but the latter like Bardolphs nose to Sir John Falstaff served as an ignis fatuus to lead them the way when the fumes of the former have darkened their perceptions – The very blacks have caught the contagion as the first salutation from them is invariably, you gottit bacca massa, gib me smoke massa – Whilst for a whiff of this precious herb they will procure first ducks or any thing you require only taking care as in all other transactions in the mercantile world not to pay too soon, although your payment be but smoke-
The climate of Australia as far as it is known, is decidedly most salubrious, the air is clear pure and exhilarating, this may be attributed in a great degree to the strong westerly winds, which prevail the greater part of the year especially in the winter season. These strong winds purge the atmosphere of the [mephitic] vapours that usually arise from tracts of wood and savannah with both of which the interior abounds – Altho the changes of the weather are in some years very uncertain, April and August are
Cap [?] (3) (iv) Verso
considered as the rainy months the former falling very opportunely for the winter crops, the latter for the summer- The rains are usually very heavy and sometimes last without interruption for several weeks, one of the most remarkable phenomena is that the heaviest rains come from the NW whilst the hot winds and several frosts are both occasioned by the same wind – Whenever rain comes from the southward the barometer rises unusually high and can only be accounted for by the South wind meeting the regular tropical winds which take either an easterly or westerly course according to the season and [occasioning] the atmosphere in these latitudes which are but a little south of the trades to form a dense column to the southward of the tropical winds – The heats of summer are sometimes intense in January Fahrenheit frequently reaches 110 degrees in the shade, but the hottest weather is seldom accompanied with that close and smothering sensation experienced in the heat of other countries, the hottest weather is usually accompanied with a strong wind from the NW and the only inconvenience is excessive perspiration – The hot days are usually succeeded in the evening by a sea breeze or more commonly by a cool and bracing air from the southward, and occasionally a dense dry bank of clouds arise from the westward which precludes a heavy gale from that quarter which is sometimes heard roaring over the trees for half an hour before it arrives – The lightning on all changes of weather or temperature is very vivid but as the electric fluid follows the chains of mountains which are frequent in all parts of the country very few accidents occurs and its broad and vivid flashes only serve to add a wild grandeur to the solitudes of Australia.
The wet seasons are frequently accompanied by floods in the rivers, but now the banks are gradually clearing of the thick brushes which formerly covered them a [freer] scope is given for the water on all sides and floods occasion but little injury – An old settler at Maitland still points to a mark in a gum tree near his house to which he said his boat was moored in a flood. Some ten years since, this mark is about 50 feet high but since that time the tree must have grown much higher or the river sank much lower for since that period it has rarely been known to overflow its banks, and consequently the only inconvenience attending the old boys flood is that no one will believe in it –
Cap [?] (2) (i) Recto 2
by custom and could sue and be sued which gave them a standing in society, and many of the more industrious acquired a considerable portion of property – The present measure has proved to be as impolitic as in equity it is unjust – Ticket of Leave holders for a long series of years have enjoyed the right of acquiring property – And consequently many of them exerted their industry to the utmost to gain an honest competency by depriving them of this customary right they are at once driven to their former shifts which were disused when success depended on their character, but not forgotten now that character can be of no use to them-
In some parts of the country Ticket of Leave holders form nearly a third of the population – They have frequent dealings amongst themselves and are the best labourers the settler can engage – [Finding] that they cannot enforce a just claim either against each other or the emancipists or emigrants they become idle and consequently dissolute and roguish – And since the work of their hands may not be compensated, they engage their heads in their labour and live by their wits – Before the late Act of Parliament they were continually under the surveillance of the Police, and were subject to arbitrary punishment by the magistracy, their circumstances were sufficiently galling to men, who were taught to believe that they had acquired by their good conduct the first glimpse of liberty
Cap [?] (2) (ii) Verso
and these measures were surely sufficient to keep their evil propensities in check. But now the only privilege they acquire by a ticket of leave is that of working for themselves, without the power of recovering their wages or even of demanding the common receparies of life – A prisoner is entitled and can enforce the delivery of his rations and clothing – but a ticket of leave man can do neither – nor can he raise a crop for his own subsistence for the law has refused to protect him in the possession of it – Were the Law as it stands cruelly enforced – the whole of this most meritorious class of the prison population would petition to be made prisoners of the crown again
Another most impolitic regulation which has been established lately has occasioned universal dissatisfaction both amongst the settlers and their servants – upon recipt of an assigned servant the settler has now to pay 1 pound nominally for his slops to the government – but the prisoners say it is the price paid for them – this of course occasions great dissatisfaction altho it puts it in the power of the servant to punish his master by compelling him to return him to the government and pay 1 pound for another man – There can be no motive for this direct tax on the settler when the revenues exceeds the expenditure. The
Cap [?] (2) (iii) Recto
State of agriculture is already so depressed that it is with the utmost difficulty settlers can obtain a subsistence – if funds are required to be raised why levy a poll tax and why throw the onus of payment on a part of the community least capable of bearing it – The great evil arising from the present [incarures] adopted towards the convict population is that a system has been introduced founded on a maudlin sensibility for the sufferings of prisoners, prosecuting a due severity being used towards the reprobates for misconduct, and on the other hand depriving the more useful class of the benefits to which their good conduct fairly entitles them – If there is any occasion for punishment, it should be severe, then its severity alone would restrain the master from imposing it, and teach the culprits to avoid offence, but above all things let a bonus be held out for good conduct, and suffer those who have extracted their former guilt, by subsequent good conduct to return within the pale of society, and by degrees to recover that standing in life which their talents or industry may attain –
The female prisoners taken as a class are by far the most depraved, and yet there is no adequate punishment for them, the worth they can receive is solitary confinement, they are most commonly sent to the 3rd class of the factory which in itself is not a punishment, for altho they are compelled to work, they there meet with old friends and acquaintances, who share all they possess in common – Most of them have [section omitted] doors, who supply their wants – those who are destitute of such friends participate in all things with the others who are more fortunate –
Cap [?] (2) (iv) Verso
Any free man by application at the factory backed by a recommendation from respectable persons, may obtain a wife from these, and it was customary sometimes since for these applicants to walk into the factory like a Grand Segnior Sultan and throw the handkerchief to the fair lady of his choice – To such an extent was this custom carried, that a settler on the Hunter when proceeding to Sydney was requested by a free man in his employ to bring him a wife the free man stated that he should lose too much time on going to Parramatta for the purpose – The master objected that he did not know his taste and therefore might have some difficulty in selecting a suitable damsel – This man told him that he knew his taste [or tarte?] very well and should be very well satisfied with his choice, at all events he added – I can take her a month upon trial and if she wont answer I’ll turn her in again rather than the marriage tie should be made a mockery, it would be better to turn the females lose upon the world, where they might form connexions suitable to their tastes. In that case tis true a few might live in a state of prostitution, but the greater part might ensure husbands – At present the utmost vigilance of the matron cannot prevent the damsels in her charge from indulging their passions – Restraint produces the same effects in a factory [omitted from the manuscript] – and the consequences is most of the females live in a kind of legal prostitution whether married or not –
Cap [?] (3) (i) Recto 3
The judicial Establishment of New South Wales consists of a Supreme Court which is at once a court of Common Law of Equity and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction – There are three judges and an Attorney and Solicitor General – This error of the three branches necessarily introduces some absurdity and much incongruity- The is also a Commissioner of the Court of Requests, who travels to the remote parts of the Country twice a year and holds his court Monthly in Sydney – The present Commissioner also acts as a barrister, and frequently presents the Anomaly of a judge working against time, adjudicating 2 or 300 cases in one day in order that he may appear in a new character tomorrow – Tis true all the world’s a stage and this is not the only farce presented on the boards of New South Wales – In the Court of Requests the effects of cheap law are deplorably visible – One half the cases that are brought there are merely speculative, and consequently require a due modicum of perjury to give them some weight, the result is that in about one third of the cases the two parties themselves who are examined on oath as well as their witnesses swear point blank in the teeth of each other – Our worthy Commissioner has directed several prosecutions for perjury, but these again are to be determined by [dint] of hard swearing, and the innocent man is as likely to become the victim as the perjurer – This evil arises chiefly from the observance of the solemnity due to a Court of Justice – professional men by a late act of Council
Cap [?] (3) (ii) Verso
are excluded from practicing in the court, and consequently no close scrutiny is made of the evidence adduced – and a confident hearing will invariably cover the grossest perjury where the witness does not undergo the ordeal of a cross examination –
In the Supreme Court all civil cases except upon special application to the court, are decided by two assessors, who in fact are the jury – This system in many instances has opened a door to the greatest injustice – friends of the litigant parties have been known to attend as assessors and even where this palpable evil does not exist in a circumscribed society such as Sydney now presents, the merits of every case to be tried are canvassed in public and although the assessor may not be altogether a partisan he must necessarily go into court with a biass on his mind, which it is not easy to obliterate – The assessors are taken chiefly from the merchants of Sydney who from their connexions with the business part of the community are the most unlikely to give a fair and impartial verdict – [Juries] when such are granted by the Courts are taken from the body of the country – Merchants and settlers equally, and although the system is as yet but in embryo it works well – Trial by jury has long been most strenuously sought by the country and promised by the home Government but from some strange misapprehension of the state of the Country and its capabilities, the boon of trial by jury is [doled] out piecemeal, and the Mother country seems to forget that by keeping
Cap [?] (3) (iii) Recto
her battling too long under a state of strict tutelage it may eventually become [restive] and break from her apron strings – Is a country possessing more than 60000 free inhabitants [inscribe] for trial by jury, is a country whose exports exceed its imports and whose income exceeds its expenditure unfit for trial by jury – Is a country whose internal resources are developing themselves ever faster than her population is increasing still to be deemed a penal settlement – and to be deprived of trial by jury and a house of assembly – The only feasible reason for withholding the Englishmans birthright is that he has just put himself without the [pack] of society by his crimes, why then are the honest and industrious to suffer for the iniquities of others – Two thirds of the population are free therefore let them have the freeman’s birthright and let there be a code for the convict population also.
In criminal cases the jury [lately] consisted of seven officers of his majesty’s army or navy – men above all others the least adapted for such a duty – Officers are generally men of high and honourable feeling and accustomed habitually to military subordination – but their education and pursuits does not lead them to deep investigation or to that minute attention to keeping events which constitute the an of business – They look with disdain on the culprit who is placed at the bar, and form their judgements more from appearances than from the long and tedious chain of circumstances produced in evidence – besides they are too [ lavish] as a body and then military prejudices too frequently supply the place of judgement. Added to all these, the abhorrence an Englishman entertains of martial law, renders them in the capacity
Cap [?] (3) (iv) Verso
of [jurors] the most unwelcome visitors the mother country can send – these and other similar impositions of old England have tended to raise a party spirit in this colony which will grow with its growth and strengthen with its strength, at present, that spirit has not manifested itself in any formidable shape, but the seeds are sown, and if these evils will take such strong hold of the very entrails of the country that not even the overwhelming partiality at an emigrant and his descendants feel for their fatherland will stop its progress – It is expected that trial by jury will soon become universal, but it has been often expected before – and like most other expectations it keeps the word of promise to our ear and breaks it to our hope –
All cases of the Quarter Sessions were also tried by a Military jury and in remote parts of the country where these courts are held quarterly their attendance entails a heavy expense on the public funds which might will be dispensed with were there no other objection to them – For a good an respectable jury can now be assembled in every part of the territory where court are holden. The home government would do well to recollect that places which at one period would scarcely afford sufficient inhabitants to constitute a jury after the lapse of a twelvemonth might produce 3 or 400 – with such surprising rapidity does the free population concentrate on particular points that are considered advantageous for townships – Whilst the slow and [churning] hand with which the necessary institutions of a free country are doled out to us can never reach the wants which progress so rapidly in a new country
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Many futile attempts have been made to make cheap Law for the colony – The people have taken upon themselves to regulate the fees of the practitioners of the courts without mentioning their own salaries – The Court of Requests has been established to take cognisance of all cases under the value of £10 at an espense to the public of nearly 3600 £ – Whilst the whole judicial establishment costs the public nearly £15,000 – If this is the way to render law cheap to the colony we have it in perfection, it is more than probably that all the practitioners in the country net but little more than two thirds of this sum – Yet there is cheap Law, and men who have been brought up to a liberal profession, and received an education fitting them to hold high stations in life, may barter the experience they have attained by a long course of study with any other huxters that vend their cheese [parings] and candle ends, or if these commodities should not suit their taste, there are plenty of auction marts where they will find a more profitable scope for their eloquences – Why not begin with the beginning – If one profession is to be made a sacrifice to the economy of the times let all be equal, cut down fees and cut down salaries, also cut down sinecures and gratuities which are already beginning to rear their heads in this new land, Lest the merchant be contented to take his 25 per cent profit instead of 100 Let the medical man take one half the fees usual at home instead of double the amount. In short let all things be equal in the scale of reduction; but who is there to tax the merchants, the surgeons, the butchers and bakers
Cap 3 (4) (ii) Verso
bills – Then why attempt to interfere with the profets of one particular branch of one profession – Why not leave the public to judge whether it is better to remunerate their lawyer who should be a man of honor and education or keep a procureur an underling promoter of litigation in its employ – Cheap law has always proved the worst mode of prosecuting litigation – Why not try courts of consiliation – They have been said to work badly in some countries but in Sweden and Denmark it is believed that two thirds of the cases that have gone before them have been adjusted –
Another circumstance which occasions general dissatisfaction amongst the colonists, is that of having military men for police magistrates – General Bourke although himself of that profession seems thoroughly impressed with the impolicy and absurdity of the measure of appointing officeis from the different regiments whose tour of duty may bring them to our shores, as arbitrary judges in most classes where the prison population are concerned to say nothing of their want of proper knowledge of the laws of the country in [oures] relating to free persons – Many of their military gentlemen are appointed and ordered off to their district the very moment they land, and are consequently entirely ignorant of the acts of [Council] and Government orders which affect prisoners – as well as utterly unconversant with the modes of proceeding and rules of evidence in Courts of Justice – The natural consequence is they are feared for their despotism and laughed at for their ignorance, the least that can be expected is that the purpose as was once gravely proposed for the French judges, but no! These gentlemen who possibly have attended some few Court Martials at the utmost, have [Burns] Justice tucked under one arm and the Acts of Council and Government orders smugly tucked under the other and thus marched off in regimentals to [distiose] arbitrarily of the liberties and welfare of their fellow creatures – A military man who has been
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some time a resident and coho has become conversant with the peculiar customs of the country, especially if he has been a settler might perhaps become a fitting person as a Stipendiary Magistrate, his [succeedaneain] is seldom if ever resorted to , but [Tyro’s] are ordered off in their [uniforms] and of course their sword to cut the Gordian knots of conflicting evidence, and all the niceties of legal distinctions which pursue our men of wisdom in old England – Some rumours have even bee afloat, attributing this scheme to [J. W. Bobbett], who has been so long labouring after political perfectibility, surmising that it is only an experiment on a small scale to ascertain how far the fences of civilised life may be broken down with impunity to admit his more [speedy] and efficacious political machinery – Whilst a sagacious Scotch woman remarked, that the pure things were only set up on high by the rulers as worrie-cows seeing that a late act of [Sessions] had taken awa their Scourges and their power over the [puir] folk.
Military magistrates answer well for a mere penal settlement where order and due subordination can only be preserved by an act of the lush and a prompt application of it, and cohere from the clearest recepity, it is better that two innocent men should suffer, than a guilty one escape – but why continue such a bugbear in a country where the greater proportion of the population are free emigrants, and who have been induced to adopt this country as their own upon the representation of the home government that the institutions they leave behind will be found also in their [own] homes – The only efficient way in which military can be employed is as mounted police – They are and should be called Gendarmes – We have small bodies of these troops stationed in different parts of the country commanded generally by a [subaltern] officer of the regiments on duty in Sydney and it is in this instance, that their services are truly effective, [these] it is supposed out of delicacy to the feelings of the English emigrants are [designated] Mounted Police – but their powers are much the same as the Gendarmes. In a country like New South Wales where the forests are interminable and afford an immense shelter for desperadoes, the Mounted Police are the only body who
Cap 3 (4) (iv) Verso
are capable of keeping runaways in check – and the natural consequence if that a bushranger seldom exists more than two or three months – The police know the country better than the runaways, and can easily entrap them, whilst from their being well armed and well mounted, it would require a large body of bushrangers to oppose even a few of them – Great credit is certainly due to this body for their activity and seal and as most of them are men picked for their intelligence as well as activity, they seldom commit aggressions on the liberties of the public, whilst of late very few prisoners have been taken the bush and those who [then] set their evil fortunes at defiance have soon been apprehended – Much ridiculous misapprehension has existed in the Mother Country with regard to bushrangers. Many wonderful stories have been circulated with more of imagination than judgement – the life of the bushranger even if he should escape apprehension for a short time is full of misery, they dare not hurt themselves even to the prison population, who have everything to expect for apprehending them – They find no food in the bush, such as a European can subsist on, they may occasionally obtain a few precarious supplies from the outstations – Whilst the booty they may obtain from their depredations amounts to nothing, for no settlers have any portable articles of value at their establishments, the bushrangers consequently lead a life of extreme misery penury and anxiety, and it has been invariably found the best antidote for the [taste] for [wandering] to allow a man who has taken the bush to converse with your servants –
The greatest robberies are always committed in the neighbourhood of Sydney, and it is well known that the robbers far from being bushrangers are sheltered and many of them domiciled in Sydney itself – Here they sometimes have an opportunity of acquiring a considerable booty and have ready marts to disbuse of it. They are bushrangers at nights and peaceful citizens by day-
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The absurd misrepresentations that have been made at home, of the frequency of robberies by bushrangers, have doubtless deterred many persons from emigrating to this colony. At present such an [event] is scarcely ever heard of, and is fully as absurd as the Parisians calling Londoners a city of suicides without looking into their own Morgue, where they would soon find the suicides of Paris exceed those in London – Whilst Botany Bay has the eyes of the world fixed on it as a Penal Settlement and if some desperate character amongst the many thousand culprits sent there happens to break his bonds and commit some trifling depredation to support his existence, the Press teems with wonderful stories of this Graour or Corsair and the whole prison population are considered in arms and [anarcky] established – On the contrary there is scarcely a country in the world where the citizen or [husbandman] can [hoe] in greater security than in the wilds of Australia – The writer has been about three years settled on the Hunter and during that time with the exception of a Barbers apprentice who ran away from his Lawful master at Sydney and appeared on the Hunter on horseback with a black face, robbing a few hen roosts and one dray of a keg of rum, he has not heard of one single depredation committed by a bushranger in that district – Whilst the only runaway who has succeeded in hiding himself from the police is a man of the name of Barber – who lives with the black natives beyond the range of civilised society – This man has by some artificial means made his skin resemble that of the blacks and has adopted all their habits of life, and very surely shews himself amongst his old comrades – but his life is perfectly innoxious for the settlers have nothing to fear from him, nor is it believed than many of them would lead to his apprehension – Whilst writing the above a paragraph in the Sydney Herald confirms the opinion above given with regards to the impracticability of runaways subsisting
Cap 3 (5) (ii) Verso
in the bush it is as follows
“Another ill [fated] [being] a runaway convict from a road gang was found near Belabala some sixty miles in the bush dead, apparently from the effect of cold and hunger, a termination of existence which it can hardly be doubted, is the lot of many of the misguided men who abandon themselves to misery and destruction by taking the bush”
The fact is so well substantiated by many other similar circumstances, that it appears next to an absurdity to anyone acquainted with New South Wales how so many nursery tales of robbers and bushrangers should have crept into credit amongst the more enlightened at home. Tis true outrages have sometimes been committed but where have they not?
Cap 4 (1) (i)
Dr Johnson has somewhere very tersly observed that respect is paid in proportion to the demand – Nowhere perhaps is the dictum of our moral philosophers more fully exemplified than in the Society of a new country which is congregated from all parts of the world [consisting] of individuals entirely divested of the character and rank they held on the [slahe] they have left, and loving their individuality and standing in life to assume a new character in a new world – it is a proverbial saying in New South Wales that everything is turned upside down this side of the globe, we see here a devant democrats growing daily more and more aristocratic as their purses [hang] there – Merchants who are ignorant of their mother tongue assuming an awkward sensiblance of the well informed London Merchant – Then who have sprung from nothing priding themselves on their extraction and rogues [turned] honest men – upon compulsion-
The Society of Sydney cannot easily be classified with the exception of the heads
 Sydney Herald. Monday 8th July 1833 p.3 See: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/12847215?searchTerm=%22runaway%20convict%20from%20a%20road%20gang%22%20&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc (Date Accessed 17 July 2013)
Cap 4 (1) (ii) -continued Recto
of [torn from page], who from the exclusives – Most of these [torn from page] families and upon that grounds alone would be [fal –torn page—stified] in being so tenancious with regard to their associations [ever] were there no other [assetiors] to a wider range – The Military as usual have their red coats for a [purpopoil] = with the exception of the elite these can scarcely [seem] to be any organised society in Sydney except amongst a few small circles who are all equally jealous of their associations And amongst the heads of Departments there are so many little misunderstandings and petty bickerings [stial] nothing like cordiality exists amongst them – but this is only a picture of society in other parts of the world although they [innoilingly] acknowledge it.The great evil in Society both high and low, is the deficiency of females to give a proper tone to it – The old [Leaven] of former days still works, private character is but little prized, and consequently many who from these and rank talents would be entitled to take a lead having voluntarily excluded themselves by leading a disreputable life – but the [Annecdotes] of the Court the Camp and the bar are better buried in oblivion, we only know such things are, and that they must gradually wear away or at least not be cursed to their present extent – Libertines will of course exist as long as the world, but time will teach it to wear a cloak as it has already taught the black natives to wear trowzers – it is a
lamentable tho a ludicrous circumstance that our black brethren should lead the way to respect outraged decency-
Society in the Country cannot be calculated on, since the constant employment of the settlers and their [wives] and the great interveining distances between neighbouring localities render the frequent intercourse which [constitutes] society next to impossible – The avocations of a good house wife are so numerous that even if she should venture on a trip to see her next neighbour her anxieties
Cap 4 (1) (iii) Verso
Soon occasion her return – Newc[ illegible torn page] [ride] on horseback, and amongst them a [illigible – torn page]acter exists, but even this limited approxim[illegible torn page] often is continually interrupted by the little [liasities illegible ton page] and mutual encroachments of near neighbours, and then petty quarrels are espoused by a whole district – A pig visiting a cornfield or an ox leaping the fence of a garden have occasioned as much animosity as the destruction of a province; Pigs in particular have excited more quarrels than all the other live and dead stock in the Colony put together – pigs should be excommunicated and put out of the pale of the law as they are in the West Indies where they are allowed to be shot whenever found trespassing – Our worthy settlers whenever they find a cause of dispute seem to acquire some of the character of the matter in question, if a quarrel arises about a pig, they must pertinaciously bore each other for years and [every] other mutual annoyances in the same insidious and indirect way in which [Mr Pork] approaches a cornfield and tho drivin from their position a hundred times still return to the same point of attack to renew their vexatious proceedings. If the quarrel arises about an ox or a horse it causes much tossing and kicking and occasionally a bellowing fit, and the evil is soon remedied by a reconciliation – But a pig that is the question and difference on such a subject will last long enough for twenty generations of the offender to be consumed, a pig is like a phoenix after being consumed it arises from its ashes never to be forgotten – A highly respectable young man a short time hence was tried for wilfully and maliciously shooting at a neighbours, and his life was put in jeopardy on a pig quarrel. If the dispute had arisin on any other grounds a reconciliation might have been
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immediately effected, but no the original cause of dispute was a pig and actions upon actions and prosecutions upon prosecutions arose out of this fertile ground – think of that ye legislators who are continually forming enactments for this young and thriving colony, The march of improvement [opsyhech] [past] [outruns] the leading [strings] made for it in every session think of that and pray let us have a pig act once a year at least
Both in Town and Country another and certainly more feasible ground of discussion exists in the distinction between the emancipist and free emigrant, amongst the latter it is considered highly disrespectable to have any intercourse with the former except in the way of business – The body of emancipists now in the colony form a most prominent class – Many of them are men of considerable capital and property and can produce a preponderating influence directly in all mercantile transactions and indirectly in all public measures which affect the community – Yet the recollection of their former [Clemerits] leaves a strong line of demarcation betwixt them and their neighbours, an emancipist is tolerated as a man of business, and in every place except the [drawing] room he is in a great degree on a footing of equality with others, but should he presume to place himself in contact with the emigrant in his hours of festivity or amusement, he has the mortification to find that his company is considered as a contamination – Why should the brand of infamy be eternally fixed on those who have [sinned]; there are many amongst the emancipists who are men of education and talent and also possessed of considerable property, why should not a door be left open for them to be reinducted into the grade they have lost
Cap 4 (1) (v) Verso
when their conduct warrants it – Are men who commit moral deliquencies at home in themselves more heinous to the man of feeling, then the acts of many of our emancipists have committed and which have made them exiles and outcasts, looked upon in Society in the Mother Country as unfit associates for [even] of the world! Quite the contrary, their vices have been sanctioned by fashion or custom and they are well received although their crimes are enormous when compared in strict justice with many [ which/that ] have peopled the shores of Australia and which have been produced by [necessity] or arisen from chance – It is merely because these men have not had sufficient ingenuity to evade the strong arm of the law that they are forever to bear the mark of infamy on their forehead and never to have it effaced by subsequent repentance and strict integrity? Does the religion we profess require that the sinner shall never be forgiven? Or looking at the question in another light would it not be better policy to receive those again within the pale of society who by their industry and integrity have acquired a respectable standing and thus do away with the insidious distinction of free emigrant and emancipist, which at present is the watch word for almost all the discord now existing in New South Wales.
Most of those who have been enabled by their industry to raise themselves from the mire of their former fall, are men of ardent and active minds and finding that they still are subjected to the ban of Society, turn their energies to other pursuits, and because they are made to feel a sense of inferiority by their fellow citizens are determined if possible to command their respect by their riches, the natural consequence is that the wealthiest classes are amongst the emancipists, and in fact there are some of them who from small beginnings have made themselves millionaires – The influence of this class is truly dangerous to the community, they have it in their power at any time to make a monopoly of the luxuries as well as the necessaries of life – and it
Cap 4 (1) (vi) recto
is believed exercise a considerable influence in al transactions affecting the community – Money is power at least they find it so – And there are very few public or private affairs in which they have any interest that their influence is not visible – But it should be added and it is a fact that [redounds] much to their credit that although they expect great punctuality from those with whom they have money transactions, they have almost invariably shewn great forbearance and liberality to the unfortunate –
In all parts of the country the emancipist is the most active and industrious, and consequently the most thriving class – from the discipline they have undergone whilst serving their sentence they acquire new habits and become inured to the climate – When their sentence expires or they obtain the indulgence of a ticket of leave they find they have everything to gain – they know that by honesty they will gain character and by industry wealth and in a short time they find character will do as much as capital – The free emigrant unaccustomed to the climate, and having large wages for little labor, becomes indolent, he gradually indulges in the vices of the country and knowing that he has no character to gain, becomes indifferent on this most essential point and by degrees becomes linked with those clever people who live by their wits – The natural consequence is, that emancipists are generally preferred as employees whether in Town or Country – and keen holding Tickets of Leave are preferred to all others, owing to the great power the magistrate may exercise over them, and the well known fact that they have all to gain – The most serious evil arising from the insidious distinction of the free and the emancipist is the want of morality amongst the females of the latter – The distinction already adverted to excludes these from associating with those who have had the benefit of a moral education, brought up amidst the outcasts of the Mother Country, they are not taught
Cap 4 (1) (vii) verso
to place a restraint on their passions nor have they the force of example to point out to them the advantages of morality, venerating as they naturally must all thou who possess a tact or gently degree of cunning than themselves, they become [formed] on the models of the outpourings of Fleet Street or other resorts of the virtuous – they see women of this cast sought after and married even by persons of respectable standing in society Can it therefore be wondered at that the looseness with which they are reproached should exist? Is it not rather a reproach on Society at large that some measures should not be adopted to inculcate better principles on the [rising] generation, or at least some [opening] left for those who are not grossly vicious to form better [thugs/peoples]? But no the free emigrant is the more ingrossing consideration of making money to think of the thousands of young females who are yearly rising around him many uncontaminated by the crimes of the Mother Country, and vicious only for want of moral instruction and good example – In speaking however of the females born of emancipist parents I would not be supported to mean that there are no exceptions, far from it, there are many who are educated with as strict attention to the morals and conduct as at home, there are bad subjects in every grade and in every class, but the general laxity of morals in this colony gives a greater proportion of females of every virtue there are produced even in the manufacturing towns of England –
Two of the chief causes of depravity amongst the females, are the disproportion of women attached to virtue in the lower order as well as in the middling classes – One would be induced to suppose from the preposterous matches which take place that our men choose a wife upon the same principle that they would select a cow, for her
Cap 4 (2) (i) Recto 2
good breeding qualities – instances often occur of females bringing to their [looming] Lords, what Liston in Apollo Belvi calls a ready made family – And there are many instances amongst our middling and higher classes of matches being concocted after the parties have had long and intimate knowledge of each others good qualities – but it may be observed in proportion as the population increases, that better views and [nicer] distinctions are being made, at least if virtue be not loved for itself alone, it becomes estimable from the importance attached to it by the admirers of good order
As soon as a prisoner obtains his ticket of leave or becomes free by servitude his first object is to procure a wife, and without considering whether she is virtuous honest or industrious he boldly pops the question to the first female he happens to encounter – He merely wants a wife and her being useful is an unnecessary question in a country where he can support his wife and family by working two days in the week – A farming man who can fence or put up rough buildings of wood can easily earn about £3.10 per week and find time to cultivate a small patch of land as well – He grows his two or three acres of maize and an acre of wheat – keeps his pigs and poultry, and his wife if disposed to be industrious may milk her cows – and this small produce will perhaps be worth with common care 30/- or £2- more – His outgoings are almost nothing – and with common care and industry, he may lay by all his earnings – But not one in a thousand do so – he no sooner becomes possessed of a little money, than he takes it to the public house which is never left until the last farthing is spent – The improvidence of the lower classes is astonishing – there is no care to the morrow, because necessity is unknown to them – There is no sense of improvement in their circumstances because they will spend their time in idleness and debauchery to day lest their wives or friends may rob them tomorrow – The Grog bottle is the fertile source of almost all the evils which now attend the lower as well as the higher classes – Ask any
Cap 4 (2) (ii) Verso
Individual who has been unsuccessful in the country the cause of his misfortunes – if he gives and honest answer they may be all summed up in the word Rum – the duty alone on the importation of spirits forms three forths of the revenue of the country – Vice was the origin of the Colony – vice is now the main support of its Government – And the same vice will extend its noxious influences to ages yet unborn – An attempt has been made to introduce temperance societies, at Hobart Town it has partially succeeded, and it is most devoutly to be wished, that their progress may be as certain the not so slow as in America – Nor is this prevailing vice confined alone to those whose courses in the Mother Country were originally vicious – The emigrant especially if he is a mechanic and settles in a town, soon becomes a victim to drunkenness – he finds that the necessaries of life are easily procured, and from the force of example and heat of the climate is gradually led into that most beastly of all habits, drinking – All kinds of mechanics are much in demand and well paid – the wages of the operative are about one third more than he can obtain in England and the price of provisions being about one third of the English rate, he may consider that his earnings are doubled even if he should after arriving in Australia continue to be a mere [serving] man – But an honest and industrious man thoroughly conversant with his business who in the mother country for [earning] of capital would never rise above this grade may easily in Australia, without any funds commence business on his own account. Of he is a skilful workman, in a circumscribed society, his ability will soon be known, and business will flow upon him in an endless stream – many of the first mechanics in Sydney, were men who commenced business without capital and some even without character, yet there are many amongst them who in the [course] of a few years have amassed large fortunes
Cap 4 (2) (iii) Recto
All the useful arts are as such in demand and [sutterly] from the increasing wealth of the community many of the ornamental are also much in request – At present almost all manufacturing are derived from England – Pottery of every description even the [coarsest] is imported, with the exception of a few attempts to construct the commonest earthenware which have generally failed for want of skill in tempering – No iron foundry has yet been opened and yet the consumption of cast and wrought iron is immense – No manufacture of cloth except of the coarsest description, and yet the finest wool is produced – No cotton weavers, and yet the soil and climate are well adapted for its growth In fact to avoid being tedious there are no factories in Australia for the primary or secondary processes of the arts – And the [cost] [now] of our negligence appears to be that although the sand on the shore of the harbour of Sydney has been ascertained to produced the finest plate glass – yet we have not a glass manufactory, but ships returning to England, make this very sand a portion of their cargo – Necessity has not yet taught us to exercise our ingenuity but a general inertness pervades all classes, a stupor and listlessness characterise the population whether from the Mother Country or native born – The country seems to suffer from plethora, and requires the [lash] of adversity to flog it into activity – If one visits the shops in Sydney, instead of meeting with [civility] and an apparent wish to acquire custom, you are treated with the utmost [insouciance], and the worthy shopkeeper acts and speaks as tho he were conferring a favour by selling his goods rather than receiving one! With the exception of a very few houses this may be considered as a general rule, and the brusque et fier boutiquier lords it over his unfortunate customer, as the astrologer of former says, who only condescended to answer his querists by [nods]
Cap 4 (2) (iv) Verso
or half uttered sentences. This [assiduously] agrees [with] a superabundance of wealth and an indifference to its acquisition, if the former there [were to be] ample room for others of the same class, if the latter, that the modes of subsistence are to easy, as to require little energy or activity to attain them – It is for the reader to determine which is the most probable, and for the emigrant to draw conclusions which will meet his views on either hand – If the most trifling piece of handicrafts is required – Your patience is taxed to the utmost by unseasonable and unreasonable delays, the master workman is indifferent and his journey men are lazy and negligent, and more frequently to be found at the public house than the workshop – This is a grievance which will and must be amended – A few skilful active and industrious mechanics of every class would soon drive the drones out of the hive where they have made their honey – And a little of the civility and punctuality of the London tradesmen would command the attention and custom of the public – A person proposing to settle in this country as a shopkeeper of any description, would do well to bring out a full assortment in his line of business – The retail trade always yields a handsome profit, but the settler bringing out a consignment of goods, being ignorant of the usages of trade at home and here, will most probably gain little or nothing by his venture for independent of the trade deductions at home which he will not obtain, on his arrival in this country he will be in the hands of the merchants, who readily form a cabal to prevent any profit being made on goods which do not pass thro their hands – A system of monopoly is kept up amongst this class, and as there are many large capitalists amongst them, individuals are completely at their mercy – These monopolists are one of the greatest curses of a circumscribed society our tea sugar bread salt beef and all necessaries are constantly made the subjects of their speculations The necessaries of life are these [ Stock exchange/trade] market in which they speculate and gamble, and only regarding self
|(Image-041.jpg) badly torn page
Cap ? (?) Recto
The greatest difficulty an [rest of page torn]
An undeviating cause of steady, mild but firm conduct towards them will do more in arousing the latent good qualities than any other course, and a system of internal rewards and punishments by giving or withholding indulgences will have more effect than corporal punishment.
Flogging should never be had recourse to until every other method has failed.
The writer had had several men of this description who have laughed at the greatest degree of corporal punishment, while the methods which I have outlined produced much better results. (Approx. end of original manuscript)
———- denotes text from partial transcription presumably made at Tweed River Society Murwillumbah Museum.
Cap ? (?) Verso
[rest of page torn]
The rewards that may be held out to your servants are tea, sugar and tobacco, in case of their behaving well, and above all things invariably recommending those who have behaved tolerably during their period of probation for the indulgence of a Ticket of Leave – The prospect of this intermediate degree of liberty has more effect upon them than any other inducement that can be held out, and if a master once refuses to recommend a deserving servant, he may calculate on the whole establishment being in a state of mutiny – whilst on the other hand one who never omits a recommendation where it might be justly claimed, will find all his men who are not utterly destitute of reason, performing their duties with the greatest alacrity and willingness and even exerting themselves on extraordinary occasions with as much readiness as a paid labourer
Unfortunately a late act of [rest of page torn]
—————–Text from partial transcription
Partial Transcription (pages 46-54) presumably made at Tweed River Historical Society Murwillumbah Museum. Inserted are our image numbers in bold, leaves (recto or verso) and square brackets denoting those leaves as they appear.
041 recto [violent dispositions are aroused, and they never forget or forgive an injury.
An undeviating cause of steady, mild but firm conduct towards them will do more in arousing the latent good qualities than any other course, and a system of internal rewards and punishments by giving or withholding indulgences will have more effect than corporal punishment.
Flogging should never be had recourse to until every other method has failed.
The writer had had several men of this description who have laughed at the greatest degree of corporal punishment, while the methods which I have outlined produced much better results.] (Approx. end of original manuscript)
042 verso [The petty rogue who is always pilfering may benefit from the lash, but the daring and hardened offender prides himself in his capability of endurance, and opposes a reckless and hardened indifference to all attempts to subdue his spirit by hard means.
The rewards that may be held out to your servants are fear, sugar and tobacco in case of their behaving we and above all things, invariably recommending those who have behaved tolerably during their period of probation, to the indulgence of a ticket of leave.
The prospect of this intermediate degree of liberty has more effect upon them than any other enducement that can be held out, and if a master refuses to recommend a deserving servant, he may calculate on the whole establishment being in a state of mutiny.
On the other hand, one who never omits a recommendation will find all his men who are not utterly destitute of reason performing their duties with the greatest alacrity and willingness, and even exerting themselves on extraordinary occasions with as much readiness as a paid servant.]
021 recto [The judicial establishment of New South Wales consists of a Supreme Court, which is at once a court of common law of equity and ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
There are three judges and an attorney and solicitor general. This union of the three branches necessarily introduces some absurdity and much incongruity. There is also a commissioner at the court of requests, who travels to the remote parts of the country twice a year and holds his court monthly in Sydney.
The present commissioner also acts as a barrister and frequently presents the anomaly of a judge worker against time, adjudicating two or three hundred cases in any one day, in order that he may appear in a new character tomorrow.
Tis true that all the world’s a stage, and this is not the only farce presented on the boards of New South Wales. In the Court of Requests, the effects of cheap law are deplorably visible.
One half of the cases which are brought there are merely speculative, and consequently require a due modicum of perjury to give them some weight.
The result is that in about one third of the cases the parties themselves, who are examined on oath as well as their witnesses, swear point blank in the teeth of each other.
Our worthy commissioner has directed several prosecutions for perjury, but these again are determined by dint of hard swearing, and the innocent man is as likely to become the victim as the perjurer. This evil arises chiefly from the want of observance of the solemnity due to a count of justice. Professional men, by a late act of council]
022 verso [are excluded from practising in this Court, and consequently no close scrutiny is made of the evidence adduced, and a confident bearing will invariably cover the grossesh perjury when the witness does not undergo the ordeal of a cross-examination.
In the Supreme court all the civil cases except upon special application to the court are decided by two assessors, who in fact are the jury.
This system in many instances has opened a door to the greatest injustice; friends of the litigant parties have been known to attend as assessors, and even where this palpable evil does not exist, in a society such as Sydney now presents, the merits of every case to be tried are canvassed in public and although the assessors may not be altogether a partisan he must necessarily go into court with a bias on his mind, which it is not easy to obliterate.
The assessors are taken chiefly from the merchants of Sydney, who form their conscious with the business part of the community and are most unlikely to give a fair and impartial verdict. Juries, when such are granted by the courts are taken from the body of the country – merchants and settlers equally, and altho the system is as yet but in embryo, it works well.
Trial by jury has long been most strenuously sought by the country, and promised by the … Government, but by some strange misapprehension of the state of the country and its capabilities, the boon of trial by jury is doled out piecemeal, and the mother country seems to forget that, by keeping]
024 verso [ of jurors – the most unwelcome visitors the mother country can send, these and other impositions of old England have tended to raise a party spirit in this colony which will grow with its growth and strengthen with its strength.
At present that spirit has not manifested itself in any formidable shape, but the seeds are sown and if these evils are not promptly remedied, the ivy of discontent will take such strong hold on the very entrails of the country that not even the overwhelming partiality an emigrant and …. Descendants feel for their fatherland will stop its progress.
It is expected that trial by jury will soon become universal, but it has often been expected before and like most other expectations it keeps the word of promise to our ear, but breaks it to our hopes. All cases at the quarter sessions were also tried by a military jury and in remote parts of the country where these courts are held quarterly their attendance entails a heavy expense on
the public funds, which may well be dispensed with were there no other objection to them. For a good and respectable jury can now be appointed in every part of the territory where courts are held.
The home government would do well to recollect that places which at one period would scarcely afford sufficient inhabitants to constitute a jury, after the lapse of a twelve month might produce three or four hundred – with such surprising rapid does the free population concentrate on particular points that are considered advantageous fortunately.
Whilst the slow and churning had with which the necessary institutions of a free country are doled out to us can never match the wants which progress so rapidly in a new country.]
023 recto [After battling too long under a state of this it may eventually become restive, and break from her apron strings.
Is a country processing more than 60,000 free inhabitants unripe for trial by jury? Is a country whose exports exceed its imports and whose income exceeds its expenditure unfit for trial by jury? Is a country whose internal resounds are developing themselves even faster than her population is increasing still to be deemed penal settlement – and to be deprived of a trial by jury and a house of assembly?
The only feasible reason for withholding the Englishmans birthright is that he has put himself beyond the pal of society by his crimes, wny then are the honest and industrious to suffer for the iniquities of others?
Two thirds of the population are free, therefore let them have the freeman’s birthright, and let their be a code for the convict population also.
In criminal cases the jury, lately consisted of seven officers of his majesty’s army or navy – men above all others the least adapted for such a duty. Officers are generally men of high and honourable feeling, and accustomed hal…… to military subordination – but their
educational and pursuits does not lead them to deep investigation, or to that minute attention to keeping events which constitute a man of business. They look with distain at the culprit who is placed at the bar, and form judgements more from appearances than from the long and tedious chain of circumstances produced in evidence – besides, they are too clannish as a body, and military prejudices too frequently supply the place of judgement.
Added to these, the abhorrence an Englishman entertains of martial laws renders them in the – (HERE A PAGE APPEARS TO BE MISSING)]
017 recto [Many of the more industrious (TICKET OF LEAVE MEN) have acquired a considerable portion of property.
The present measure has provided to be as impolitic as in equity it is unjust.
Ticket of leave holders for a long service of years have enjoyed the right of acquiring property – and consequently many of them exerted their industry to the utmost to gain an honest competency.
By depriving them of their customary right, they are at once driven to their former shifts, … which were discussed when success depended on their character, but not forgotten now that character can be of now use to them.
In some parts of the country ticket of leave holders form nearly a third of the population.
They have frequent dealings amongst themselves, and are the best labourers the settler can engage. Finding that they cannot enforce a just claim against each other or the emancipists or emigrants they become idle and consequently dissolute and roguish, and price of the work of their hands may not be compensated, they engage their heads in their labours and live by their wits.
Before the late act of parliament they were continually under the surveillance of the police, and were subject to
arbitrary punishment by the magistracy. These circumstances were sufficiently galling to men who were taught to believe that they had acquired by their good conduct the first glimpse of liberty.]
039 recto [All the useful arts are high in demand, and from the increasing wealth in the community, many of the ornamental are also much in request.
At present almost all manufactures are derived from England. Pottery of every description, even the coarsest is imported, with the exception of a few attempts to construct the commonest earthenware, which have generally failed for want of skill in tempering. No iron foundry has yet been opened and yet the consumption of cast and wrought iron is immense. No manufacture of cloth except of the coarsest description, and yet the finest of wool is produced. No cotton weavers, and yet the soil and climate are well adapted for its growth.
In fact, to avoid being tedious, there are no factories in Australia for the primary or secondary processes of the arts, and the cost now of our negligence appears to be that although the sand on the shore of the harbour of Sydney has been ascestained for produce the finest plate glass, yet .. have not a glass manufacturing, but ships returning to England make this very sand a portion of their cargo. Necessity has not yet taught us to exercise our ingenuity, but a general inertness pervades all classes, a stupor and listlessness characteristic of the population, wether from the mother country or native born.
The country seems to suffer from plethora, and requires the lash of adversity to flot it into activity.
If one visits the shops in Sydney, instead of meeting with civility and an apparent which to acquire custom, you are treated with the utmost insouciance, and the worthy shop-keeper acts and speaks as though he were conferring a favour by selling his goods rather than receiving one.
With the exception of very few houses, this may be considered as a general rule, and the brusque …. …. boutiquier lords it over his unfortunate customer, as the astrologer of former days, who only condescended to answer his querists by nods] 040 verso [ and half uttered sentences. It is a product of acquiring a super abundance of wealth and an indifference to its acquisition.
If the former, these should be ample soon for others from the same class – if the latter, that the modes of subsistence are so easy as to require little energy or activity to attain them.
It is for the reader to determine which is the most probable, and for the emigrant to draw conclusions which will meet his views on either hand.
If the most trifling piece of handicraft is required, your patience is taxed to the utmost by unseasonable and unreasonable delays.
The master workman is indifferent and his journeymen are lazy and negligent, and more frequently to be bound at the public house rather than the workshop.
This is a grievance which will and must be amended. A few skilful and industrious mechanics of every class would soon drive the drones out of the hive where they have made their honey – and a little of the activity and punctuality of the London tradesmen would command the attention and custom of the public.
A person proposing to settle in this country as a ship keeper of any description would do well to bring out a full assortment of his line of business.
The retail trade always yields a handsome profit, but the settler bringing out a consignment of goods, being ignorant of the usages of trade a home and elsewhere will most probably gain little or nothing of his venture – for independent of the trade deduction at home, which he will not obtain on his arrival in the country, he will be in the hands of the merchants, who readily form a cabal
to prevent any profit being made on goods which do not pass through their hands.
A system of monopoly is kept up amongst this class, and as there are many large capitalists]
End of Partial Transcription (pages 46-54) presumably undertaken at
The Tweed River Historical Society Murwillumbah Museum.
A researcher who wishes to remain anonymous has sent (via email to Gionni Di Gravio received 30 April 2019) the following notes with reference to possible authorship:
“The authorship of the Unidentified Hunter Valley Settler Manuscript will be determined primarily by textual analysis… in particular by comparing the text – that refers to Canada, pigs and tobacco cultivation – with
— George Wyndham entry in the ADB that also refers to Canada and tobacco cultivation.
— George Wyndham published Diary 1830-1840 with its extensive gardening notes and ref to making pig stys (October 1830)
— George Wyndham published Diary 1830-1840 with its references to his friends, members of the Ogilvie / Bundock family, who overlanded from Merton near Denman to northern N.S.W. during the years 1840 – 1845,.. preceding and perhaps leading to George Wyndham party’s trek by armed wagon train to northern N.S.W. c 1845..(see ADB and Georgina Arnott ?)
— Northern N.S.W. Wyndham Bukkulla farming / cattle records 1839+ … Wyndham Archives relating to the Inverell district 1839+… held at Newcastle University Archives.
(This needs to be double checked – with respect to overlanding beyond the Liverpool Range, I recall from an earlier reading that the Settler’s Manuscript presciently refers to settlement beyond the Liverpool Range…)
It appears that the Manuscript was prepared for publication in London as an Australian settler’s account of the Colony of New South Wales and written mainly between the years c 1827 – 1832.. If textual analysis leads to the conclusion that the Australian settler and author was George Wyndham there may be additional reason to suggest that the text was indeed the work of George Wyndham.
— If George Wyndham was the author, it appears that the Manuscript was never published in London as it’s pretty clear from George Wyndham’s Diary 1830-1840 and from other sources referred to above that from 1828 G W was fully occupied becoming established as a successful settler and making a living for himself and his growing family. Busy surviving the 1840’s depression by overlanding to northern N.S.W., and after that running two (Dalwood and Bukkulla) if not three properties, G W had little if any opportunity at least before 1850 of travelling to London to present the 1827-1832 Manuscript to a publisher…. Following settlement after 1827 beyond the Liverpool Range, following the dramatic changes of the 1850’s goldrushes, and possibly because of reforms in criminal justice, the 1827-1832 manuscript would have been out of date by 1851, and for that reason probably unpublishable as a profitable publication.
— Although George Wyndham is not known to have published in London, he did publish at Maitland two works of contemporary relevance – at the time of the goldrushes and labour shortage.. The Impending Crisis 1851.. and following the passing of Free Selection Acts ..On the Land Policy of New South Wales 1866
— As for the history of the Manuscript, it would have been at risk during George Wyndham’s two year absence from Dalwood c 1845-1846 .. during his wagon train trek to and through the north of N.S.W…. During those two years it’s possible that the Manuscript was lost, abandoned, or given as reading matter to his friends the Bundocks and Ogilvies who’d settled in the bush in northern N.S.W.
— it’s possible, too, the Manuscript may have been amongst early Wyndham records stolen from the Cessnock Wollombi Museum during the 1970’s – but not recovered following the Museum break in and theft – a document that has strayed from other Wyndham records at that time.. those other Wyndham records having since been recovered, photographed, and transferred by the Cessnock Library to Newcastle University Archives about 1980.
— Whatever can be speculated about the authorship of the Hunter Valley Settler’s Manuscript, and whatever can be speculated about the Manuscript’s history and travels through time, it’s known that it was handed in during the 1990’s, in an incomplete state, by an unknown person to the Museum at Murwillumbah, just south of the Gold Coast.. many hundreds of kilometres from the Hunter Region..
Don Seton Wilkinson’s Response to “Anonymous” (Email to Gionni Di Gravio, received 6 May 2019 9:50pm)
“Many thanks for sending this through to me.
To begin with, I read it through for content and to get a ‘feel’ of the author’s underlying attitudes and values.
It was only when I reached the notes at the end and read the suggested authorship, that I understood why
you wanted me to examine it more closely to see if Wyndham could have been the author.
I see why the author of the note suggested the possibility of Wyndham as the writer.
The preliminary notes suggesting that the writer may have arrived in the colony about 1830, if correct, would rule out Wyndham. He arrived 26 December 1827 and bought Dalwood 15 January 1828, which predates 1830 by about 3 years.
The reference to flood levels in Maitland is an interesting clue. Wyndham is on record as pointing to the height of a flood which had inundated West Maitland when people started building there, instead of East Maitland, to show the inadvisability of building there. It is also known that he took a particular interest in flood levels, and was well aware of the flood heights prior to his arrival, no doubt having the evidence pointed out to him by the local indigenous people. That is a clue which points toward someone else being the writer.
The other circumstantial clues relating to his travelling north to the Richmond River, where he and his family stayed for a couple of years, plus his good friendship with the Ogilvie family make sense. During that time he also established a run in the Wide Bay area, and travelled to Sydney from both Moreton Bay and Grafton in the local steamer. Whilst he was a ‘very busy boy’ establishing himself at Dalwood, Mahngarinda,Colly Blu, Bukkulla, Nullamanna, Keelgyrah and Wide Bay, he may have had time to write.
The key is an analysis of the handwriting. The photocopy of a page from his Diary for 1832 is of poor quality, so I am not prepared to rely on it. I do have a copy of a five page letter he wrote in 1828, somewhere. When I rediscover it, that should tell me if the handwriting is the same or not.
My initial impression doesn’t fill me with any confidence that it is written by Wyndham. If it is written by Wyndham it will add a whole new perspective to the man, as well as be incredibly valuable for my thesis. I shall advise you as soon as I am able to reach a conclusion.
PS. Thanks for scanning the cricket team photo and showing me the collection of Wyndham/Glennie books from Wollong. In the notes with the above mentioned manuscript, mention was made of a robbery at the Wollembi Museum. I was unaware of that, and realise that the Wilkinson artifacts which I saw in the Museum in the 1960s, but were not there last year, were most likely stolen at the same time.
“Anonymous” responds (by email to Gionni Di Gravio 10 May 2019 6:20am) with additional notes:
“As you know, the Manuscript covers a wide range of topics … New South Wales class system – who was talking – and not talking – to whom… champions emancipists and their offspring… advocates migration and development of pastoral, farming, manufacturing, service industries… crtiically surveys the legal system and courts of New South Wales…
From its contents it appears that the Manuscript was intended for publication in London as .. A Description of New South Wales and an Emigrants’ Guide..
In accordance with my previous notes, it’s believed that George Wyndham of Dalwood is probably the author of the Manuscript.. George Wyndham arrived in Sydney in 1827, and the following year acquired legal title from the Government to Dalwood on the Hunter River.
It appears, however, that according to the Manuscript its author settled in New South Wales “about three years” before the year 1833.. The following note (1-3) reconciles that apparent disparity..
… (1) ABOUT three years is a rubbery expression that could mean four years, maybe five years..
… (2) It’s consistent with George Wyndham’s history that in 1833 he could say that he’d settled “ABOUT three years” earlier.. When Wyndham acquired legal title to Dalwood in 1828 the site was still – as some would say – a wilderness… According to his Diary, it would be another two years – early 1830 – before his house at Dalwood was ready for occupation..
… (3) There’s a third reason why George Wyndham, if he was the Manuscript author, might want to state that he’s settled ABOUT three years before the year 1833.. As it’s highly probable that the Manuscript was intended for publicaton and sale in Britain as an Emigrants’ Guide, the published information provided for sale to intending emigrants would need to appear to be as recent and up to date as possible..
If Wyndham was the author of the Manuscript, his published Diary shows that he possessed a remarkable range of well placed and highly placed contacts whom he could draw on for useful and reliable information across a wide range of subjects. For example, he was probably assisted by his eminent lawyer neighbour and friend, Robert Scott of nearby Glendon*, with the well informed and highly critical survey of the New South Wales courts and legal system…..* (From memory, see Georgina Arnott, chap. 1)
Other members of the Scott family, particularly the enterprising Alexander Walker Scott, may well have assisted his friend George Wyndham with ideas and material on the need for colonial manufactures – pottery, china, textiles, iron production and iron products..
Likewise it was probably major landholders and friends like William Ogilvie of Merton near Denman, and Archibald Innes of Port Macquarie, who may have stimulated George Wyndham’s thoughts on expanding the pastoral industry into the vast untapped interior districts – the fertile Liverpool Plains , and the high country of New England…
If George Wyndham was the author, it may seem odd that, as a vigneron, he didn’t (as far as I recall) promote viticulture and wine making .. With a restricted market for Australian wine in the 1830’s, perhaps Wyndham decided prudently to keep this industry and its trade secrets to himself..”
Gionni Di Gravio
Chair, Hunter Living Histories
2 thoughts on “An Unidentified Hunter Valley Settler’s Manuscript circa 1832-1833”
I’m not sure if I’m in the right spot? I have been researching and writing my families story for many years now. I am in a great position to do so as the male line is easy to trace as all males have kept the middle name of Russell way back to first settlement. I think that the above manuscripts are from this line with it being either Captain Bourne Russell (my GGGG Grandfather) or his son William Bourne Russell Watson. This is for a few reasons;
* The handwriting is very similiar.
* The style of writing is very similiar.
* They were both very active in the Maitland area being both members of Parliament, business people and original coal mining operations.
* Previously the ships captain of the Lady Rowena. The family settled in Maitland from around 1828. There have been Russell Watsons living continously in the Hunter ever since.
* There are many other great stories from the family history i.e Watsons Softdrinks etc and purchasing Ravensworth Homestead from the Bowmans and sold in 1882.
I would like to pursue this further if anyone has time to meet with me.
Hi Stephen, Thanks for making contact, could you send an email to email@example.com and we can discuss further. Regards, Gionni