George Worgan | State Library of New South Wales

George Bouchier Worgan (1757 - 1838)

George Worgan was probably born in 1757. He was appointed as surgeon on the Sirius in November 1786. His journal extract covers the brief period from 20 January - 11 July 1788 only and is attached to a long, descriptive letter to his brother, Richard, in England. Worgan makes references to a fuller journal which he is keeping and also to his `rough’ journal from which these entries have been copied out but these have not been located.

Worgan, who seems to have been an amiable, good natured man, describes his life in the colony enthusiastically, even boyishly to his brother. He undertook several expeditions to the Hawkesbury and Broken Bay areas.

He returned to England in 1791 in the Waaksamheid. He died in March 1838, his death certificate says by apoplexy.

The acquisition of the journal of Surgeon George Worgan is the most curious of all. Found among the personal belongings of a deceased aunt, the journal was donated to the Library by her family in 1955.

Get the latest Flash player to view this interactive content.

Get Adobe Flash player

Transcript: George Bouchier Worgan, Journal kept on a voyage to New South Wales with the First Fleet, with letter written to his brother Richard, 12 - 18 June 1788

Partial transcription (12-18 June 1788)

[page 1]

I think I hear You saying, "Where the D—ce is Sydney Cove Port Jackson"? and see You whirling the Letter about to find out the the Name of the Scribe: Perhaps You have taken up Salmons Gazetteer, if so, pray spare your Labour, and attend to Me for half an Hour

- We sailed from the Cape of Good Hope on the 12th of November 1787- As that was the last civilized Country We should touch at, in our Passage to Botany Bay We provided ourselves with every Article, necessary for the forming a civilized Colony, Live Stock, consisting of Bulls, Cows, Horses Mares, Colts, Sheep, Hogs, Goats Fowls and other living Creatures by Pairs. We likewise, procured a vast Number of Plants, Seeds & other Garden articles, such, as Orange, Lime, Lemon, Quince Apple, Pear Trees, in a Word, every Vegetable Production that the Cape afforded. Thus Equipped, each Ship like another Noah's Ark, away we steered for Botany Bay, and after a tolerably pleasant Voyage of 10 Weeks & 2 Days Governour Phillip, had the Satisfaction to see the whole of his little Fleet safe at Anchor in the said Bay.

As we were sailing in We saw 8 or 10 of the Natives, sitting on the Rocks on the South Shore, and as the Ships bordered pretty near thereto, we could hear them hollow, and observe them talking to one another very earnestly, at the same time pointing towards the Ships; they were of a black reddish sooty Colour, entirely naked, walked very upright, and each of them had long Spears and a short Stick in their hands, soon after the Ships had anchored, the Indians went up into the Wood, lit a Fire, and sat Around about it, as unconcerned (apparently,) as tho' nothing had occurred to them. Two Boats from the Sirius.were now Manned and armed, and the Governor, accompanied by Capt Hunter, and several other Officers, went towards the Shore, where they had seen the Natives, who perceiving the Boats making towards the Beach, came out of the Wood, and walked along, some distance from the Water-side, but immediately on the Boats landing, they scampered up into the Woods again, with great Precipitation. On this, the Governor, advised, that we should seem quite indifferent about them, and this apparent Indifference had a good Effect, for they very soon appeared in sight of Us, When, the Governor held up some Beads, Red Cloth & other Bawbles and made signs for them to advance, but they still were exceedingly shy & timid, and would not be enticed by our allurements; which the Governor perceiving, He shewed them his Musket, then laid it on the Ground, advancing singly towards them, they now seeing that He had nothing in his Hands like a Weapon one of y oldest of the Natives gave his Spears to a younger, and approached to meet the Governor, but not without discovering manifest tokens of Fear, and distrust, making signs for the things to be laid on the Ground which, the Governor complying with, He advanced, tooke them up, and went back to his Companions; Another, came forth and wanted some of the same kind of Presents, which, were given to Him by the same Method, at length, after various Methods to impress them

[page 2]

with the Belief that We meant them no harm, they suffered Us to come up to them, and after making them all presents, which they received with much the same kind of Pleasure, which Children shew at such Bawbles, just looking at them, then holding out their Hands for more, some laughing heartily, and jumping extravagantly; they began to shew a Confidence, and became very familiar, and curious about ourCloaths, feeling the Coat, Waistcoat, and even the Shirt and on seeing one of the Gentlemen, pull off his Hat, they all set up a loud Hoop, one was curious enough to take hold of a Gentlemans Hair that was cued, and called to his Companions to look at it, this was the occasion of another loud Hoop, accompanied with other Emotions of Astonishment. In a Word, they seemed pretty well divested of their Fears, and became very funny Fellows.

They suffered the Sailors to dress them with different coloured Papers, and Fools-Caps, which pleased them mightily, the strange contrast these Decorations made with their black Complexion brought strongly to my Mind, the Chimney-Sweepers in London on a May-Day. - They were all Men & Boys in this Tribe.

I should have told You, that the Governor, left the Sirius soon after we sailed from the Cape of Good Hope; and Embarked on Board the Supply Brig & Gave up the Command of ye Convoy to Hunter, in order that he might proceed on before the main Body of the Fleet, but he arrived in Botany Bay, only two Days before Us. In this Time, He had obtained an Intercourse or two, with some Natives on the North Shore, but, as the Means which he took to gain their Confidence, and effect a Parley, were much the same as those, I have given you an account of, I shall only mention a few singular Circumstances that occurred in these Intercourses.

The Supply Brig, arrived in ye Bay about 2 °Clk in the Afternoon,of ye 18th January and at 4 O’Clock, The Governor, attended by several Officers, went in two armed Boats towards a part of the Shore where, 6 of the Natives, were, and had been sitting the whole time the Supply was entering the Bay, looking and pointing at Her with great Earnestness; When the Boats had approached pretty near this Spot, two of the Natives got up, and came close to the Waters-Edge, making Motions, pointing to another part of the Shore and talking very fast & loud, seemingly, as if the Part to which they pointed, was better landing for the Boats, they could not however, discern any thing unfriendly, or threatening in the Signs and Motions which the Natives made.

- Accordingly the Boats coasted along the Shore in a Direction for the Place, to which, they had been directed, the Natives following on the Beach. In the mean Time, the Governor, or somebody in his Boat, made Signs that they wanted Water, this they signified by putting a Hat over the Side of the Boat and seeming to take up some of the salt Water put it to his Mouth, the Natives, immediately, understood this Sign

[page 3]

and with great Willingness to Oblige, pointed to the Westward, and walked that Way, apparently with an Intention to show their Visitors the very Spot. The Boats steered towards the Place, and soon discovered the Run of fresh Water, opposite to which, they landed, and tasting it found it to be very good. The Natives had stopped about 30 Yards from ye Place where the Boat landed, to whom, the Gentlemen made signs of thanks for their friendly Information, at the same time offering Presents, and doing every thing they could think of, to make them lay aside their Fears and advance towards them, but this point was gained only, by the Methods that I have mentioned: and when they did venture to come and take the things out of the Governor's & the other Gentlemen's Hands, it was with evident Signs of Fear, the Gentlemen now having distributed all their Presents among them, returned on Board. Thus, was our first Intercourse obtained, with these Children of Nature.

- About 12 of the Natives appeared the next Morning, on the Shore opposite to the Supply, they had a Dog with them, (something of the Fox Species); The Governor and the same Gentlemen that were of his Party Yesterday went on Shore, and very soon came to a Parley with them, there were some of their Acquaintances among the Number, and these advanced first (leaving their Spears with their Companions who remained behind at a little Distance) as they had done Yesterday); They all of them in a short time became Confident, Familiar & vastly funny took any thing that was offered them, holding out their Hands and making Signs for many things that they saw, laughed when we laughed, jumped extravagantly, and grunted by way of Music, & Repeated many Words & Phrases after Us. The Gentlemen having passed about an hour with them, returned on Board, but could not induce any of the Natives to accompany them there.

A Party of Us made an Excursion up an Arm in the North part of the Bay, where we had not been long landed before we discovered among the Bushes a Tribe of the Natives, who at first did not discover such an inoffensive & friendly Disposition, as those I have spoke of, above; for these rude, unsociable Fellows, immediately threw a Lance, which fell very near one of the Sailors, and stuck several Inches in the Ground, we returned the Compliment by firing a Musket over their Heads, on which I thought they would have broken their Necks with running away from Us. about an hour after, we, in our Ramble, fell in with them again, they stood still, but seemed ready for another Start. One of Us, now laid down the Musket and advanced towards them singly, holding out some Bawbles, and making Signs of Peace; In a little time they began to gain Confidence, and two of them approached to meet the Gentlemen who held out the Presents, the Introduction being amicably settled, they all joined Us, and took the Trinkets we offered them; The same Emotions of Pleasure, Astonishment, Curiosity & Timidity, appeared in these poor Creatures, as had been observed in our first Acquaintances

-There were some Old and young Women in this Tribe, whom the Men seemed very jealous & careful of, keeping them at Distance behind some young Men, who were armed with Spears, Clubs &

[page 4]

Shields, apparently as a Guard to them. We could see these curious Evites peeping through the Bushes at Us, and we made signs to the Men, who were still with Us, that We wished to give some Trinkets to the Women, on which, One of their Husbands, or Relations (as we supposed) hollowed to them in an authoritative Tone, and one of these Wood-Nymphs (as naked as Eve before she knew Shame) obeyed and came up to Us; when; we presented her with a Bracelet of blue Beads for her obliging Acquiescence; She was extremely shy & timid, suffering Us, very reluctantly, even to touch Her; Indeed, it must be merely from the Curiosity, to see how they would behave, on an Attempt to be familiar with them, that one would be induced to touch one of Them, for they are Ugly to Disgust, in their Countenances and stink of Fish-Oil & Smoke, most sweetly.

- I must not omit mentioning a very singular Curiosity among the Men here, arising from a Doubt of what Sex we are, for from our not having, like themselves long Beards, and not seeing when they open our Shirt-Bosoms (which they do very roughly and without any Ceremony) the usual distinguishing Characteristics of Women, they start Back with Amazement, and give a Hum! with a significant look, implying. What kind of Creatures are these?!-As it was not possible for Us to satisfy their Inquisitiveness in this Particular, by the simple Words. Yes or No. We had Recourse to the Evidence of Ocular Demonstration, which made them laugh, jump & Skip in an extravagant Manner.

In a Tribe of these funny, curious Fellows, One of them, after having had His Curiosity gratified by this mode of Conviction, went into the Wood, and presently came forth again, jumping & laughing with a Bunch of broad Leaves tied before Him, by Way of a Fig-leaf Veil. - Before we took our leave of the Tribe that threw the Lance; they endeavoured to convince Us, that it was not thrown by general Consent, and one of them severely reprimanded the Man who threw it, and several of them struck him, but more to shew Us their Disapprobation of what he had done, than as a Punishment for it.

During our stay at Botany Bay, the Governor, had made himself well acquainted with the Situation of the Land Nature of the Soil &c. &c. which he not finding so Eligible, as he could Wish, for the Purpose of forming a Settlement, He determined, before he fixed on it, to visit an Inlet on the Coast, about 12 Miles to the Northward of this Bay which, our great Circumnavigator, Captns Cook, discovered, and named, (in honour of one of the then Commissioners of the Navy) Port Jackson accordingly, the Governor, attended by a Number of Officers went in 3 Boats, on this Expedition, and the third day, they returned, gave it as their Opinion, that Port Jackson was one of the most spacious and safe Harbours in the known World, and said they had already fixed on a Spot, on which the Settlement was to be formed. In Consequence of this Success, the Idea was entirely

[page 5]

given up, of establishing a Colony at Botany Bay, and three days after, the Wind favouring our Designs, the Fleet sailed for Port Jackson and in the Evening of the Day of our Departure, We arrived, and anchored in one of the many beautiful Coves which it Contains, which Cove Sir, the Governor has, (in honour of Lord Sydney), named Sydney Cove.

Though the Description given by the Gentlemen who first, visited this Port was truly luxuriant, and wore the air of Exaggeration, Yet they had by no means done its Beauties and Conveniences Justice, for as an Harbour, None, that has hitherto been described, equals it in Spaciousness and Safety, the Land forms a Number of pleasant Coves in most of which 6 or 7 Ships may lie secured to the Trees on Shore. It contains likewise a Number of small Islands, which are covered with Trees and a variety of Herbage, all which appears to be Evergreens. The Whole, (in a Word) exhibits a Variety of Romantic Views, all thrown together into sweet Confusion by the careless hand of Nature. Well, Dear Dick, now I have brought you all the Way to Sydney Cove, I must tell you what we have done, since, our arrival in these Seas, & in this Port - what we are doing, what has happened &c. & :c.

On the Evening of our Arrival (26th January 1788) The Governor & a Number of the Officers assembled on Shore where, they Displayed the British Flag and each Officer with a Heart, glowing with Loyalty drank his Majesty's Health and Success to the Colony. The next Day, all the Artificers & an 100 of the Convicts were landed, carrying with them the necessary Utensils for clearing the Ground and felling the Trees. By the Evening, they were able to pitch a Number of Tents and some Officers, and private Soldiers slept on shore that Evening. In the Interval of that time and the Date of this Letter, the principal Business has been the clearing of Land, cutting, Grubbing and burning down Trees, sawing up Timber & Plank for Building, making Bricks, hewing Stone, Erecting temporary Store-houses, a Building for an Hospital,another for an Observatory, Enclosing Farms & Gardens, making temporary Huts, and many other Conveniences towards the establishing of a Colony. A small Settlement has been established on an Island, which is about a Fort-night's sail from this place, and named by Cook Norfolk Island, the Intention of this Settlement I believe, is on account of the fine Pine Trees, of wh the Island is full, and to try what the Soil will produce.

We have discovered an Island in these Seas, never before seen by our Navigators, We have named it, Lord Eowe's Island It affords Turtle in the Summer Season, and the Supply Brig, brought away 18 very fine Ones, on which, we feasted most luxuriously, it also, abounds with Birds of the Dove Species, which are so stupid, as to suffer us to take them off the Bushes with our Hands. As this Island is not above 4 or 5 Days sail from Port Jackson, we hope, to have Turtle Feasts frequently: if this be the Case, I suppose We shall have a Ship-load of Aldermen coming out to New South Wales.

[page 6]

As I mean to annex to this Letter, a kind of Journal of each Day's Transaction and Occurrences, I shall pass over many things in this Narrative, and enter immediately on a rough Sketch of the Country of New South Wales, its Inhabitants &c. &c. as far, at least, as We have been able to learn. Botany Bay, Port Jackson, and another Inlet (8 Miles to the Northward of Port Jackson, which Captn: Cook calls Broken Bay,) lie between the Latitudes of 35° & 40° South. This Part of the Coast (which is as much as we have been near enough, to judge of) is moderately high and regular, forming small Ridges, Plains, easy ascents and descents.

It is pretty generally clothed with Trees and Herbage Inland; The Shore is rocky and bold, forming many bluff Heads, and overhanging Precipices. On approaching the Land which forms Botany Bay (but I shall speak more particularly to that which forms Port Jackson) It suggests to the Imagination Ideas of luxuriant Vegetation and rural Scenery, consisting of gentle risings & Depressions, beautifully clothed with variety of Verdures of Evergreens, forming dense Thickets, & lofty Trees appearing above these again, and now & then a pleasant checquered Glade opens to your View.

- Here, a romantic rocky, craggy Preipice over which, a little purling stream makes a Cascade There, a soft vivid-green, shady Lawn attracts your Eye: Such are the prepossessing Appearances which the Country that forms Port Jackson presents successively to your View as You sail along it.

Happy were it for the Colony, if these Appearances did not prove so delusive as upon a nearer Examination they are found to do; For though We meet with, in many parts, a fine black Soil, luxuriantly covered with Grass, & the Trees at 30 or 40 Yards distant from each other, so as to resemble Meadow Land, yet these Spots are frequently interrup: in their Extent by either a rocky, or a sandy, or a Swampy Surface crowded with large Trees, and almost impenetrable from Brush-wood which, being the Case, it will necessarily require much Time and Labour to cultivate any considerable Space of Land together.

To be sure in our Excursions Inland, which I believe have not exceeded 30 or 40 Miles in any Direction, we have met with a great Extent of Park-like Country, and the Trees of a moderate Size & at a moderate distance from each other, the Soil, apparently, fitted to produce any kind of Grain and clothed with extraordinarily luxuriant Grass, but from its Situation, and the Quantity of Wood, though in a moderate Quantity in Comparison with that in other Parts) It is the general Opinion here, that it would be a great Length of Time, and require a vast Number of Cultivators to render it fit to produce Grain enough to supply a small Colony.

About 50 Miles to the West, and North West Inland, there appears to be some mountainous Country and from our having seen Smoke on it, now & then, We are led to suppose that it is Inhabited. The Governour intends to visit these Mountains shortly, and I have his permission to accompany Him in this Excursion, but I don't think, he will go, before he has discharged, and dispatched all the Ships for England.

[page 7]

Here is no collective Body of fresh Water, that merits the Name of a River, except, perhaps, after heavy Rains What there is arises from Springs, and forms Swamps and small Rivulets, it is very good in kind, and there is a plenty of it, for two or three of these Rivulets empty themselves into most of the Coves. - In Digging Wells You succeed in some Parts, after having gone 3 or 4 Feet under the Surface, but this water it seems, is only from Drains in others, You shall dig a considerable depth and not meet with any Water. We have discovered a Soil in many Parts of the Country excellently adapted for making Bricks, and a Brick-Ground is already prepared, where 8 or 10 Convicts of the Trade are employed, and they say the Bricks are as good as those made in England. = Here is plenty of Materials for the Mason & Stone-Cutters to practice their art on; and they speak very highly of the Quality of the Stone, as being well-adapted for Buildings. As a Cement for these Materials, Nature has provided a whitish Marl, which, the Masons think will answer tolerably well; if it should not, they have no resource but in burning Oyster, & Cockle Shells, for no Stone has been yet discovered that will do for Lime.

Of the Vegetable Productions of this Country, and first, of the Trees, We have found three kinds that answer tolerably well for Building, the largest of these is lofty and thick some of Feet in Height before a Branch springs out, and are from in Circumference. - The Leaves and Twigs of this Tree have a warm, aromatic Flavour, and there exudes from the Trunk of them a red astringent Gum: On the Trees being Cut I have seen this Gum gush out like Blood from an Artery. = The next Tree for Magnitude is (they think) a Species of the Ma hogany. This does not grow so straight, nor to such a Height or Circumference by far, as the above Tree. = The third kind bears Leaves like a Fir, is remarkably straight and runs up free from a Branch to the Height of Feet, & from 3 to in Circumference, the Wood of it is heavy & hard, and they have discovered that it makes good Shingle, with which they have already covered a large Store-house, and find it to answer very well. It is from this Tree, the Natives strip the Bark for the making of their Canoes, but of the Manner of doing this, By & By. Cabbage-Trees abound here, it is a beautiful Tree, growing perfectly Straight to the Height of 70, 80 or 90 Feet. The Cabbage is at the lop, enclosed in a Fibrous Network, and about this, large Fan-like leaves spring out.

The Cabbage eats something like a Nut. the Wood of these Trees, (w! is very soft,) is of great Use to Us, for; cut into proper lengths and split in half, they serve for walling the Huts. = Unfortunately, none of this Timber cuts into good Beams or good Planks, it being for ye most part shattery, and full of Cracks; however, the Carpenters think it may be improved by taking the proper Methods, used for seasoning Timber.

- Here is a dwarfish Tree, bearing a long Rush-like Leaf, the Trunk of which yields a Quantity of a yellowish Gum, resembling in Taste, the Storax, the Natives use this Gum as a Glue for sticking the pointed Bone on their Fish-Gigs, it is something singular, that all, of this kind of Trees, and many others appear to have been partly burnt, the Bark of them being like charcoal. Of Fruits Trees we have found a small Fig, and Berries of unknown, species, One bears a Nut, which after some preparation, the Natives Eat, but one of the Convicts has been poisoned by it, in its crude State.

[page 8]

As to the Shrubs and Plants and Herbs of this Country "Tis beyond the Power, of Botanists to number up their Tribes. - Among the useful we have discovered, Balm, Parsley, Samphire, Sorrel, & a kind of Spinnage, but, all indifferent in kind a Shrub bearing a Fruit like a Sloe, and here is a Fruit which tastes exactly like the Currant when green, but these Fruits are scarce. The Woods are decorated with a Variety of prettily coloured Flowers, but there is not above 2 or 3 kinds that have any Fragrance I have seen a kind of Myrtle in some few Spots.

The Spots of Ground that we have cultivated for Gardens, have brought forth most of the Seeds that we put in soon after our Arrival here, and besides the common culinary Plants, Indigo, Coffee, Ginger, Castor Nut Oranges, Lemons, & Limes, Firs & Oaks, have vegitated from Seed, but whether from any unfriendly, deleterious Quality of the Soil or the Season, nothing seems to flourish vigorously long, but they shoot up suddenly after being put in the Ground, look green & luxuriant for a little Time, blossom early, fructify slowly & weakly, and ripen before they come to their proper Size. Indeed, many of the Plants wither long ere they arrive at these Periods of Growth, - but then this Circumstance must be considered, they were sown, the very worst Season.

I have, also, enclosed a spot of Ground for a Garden and make the Cultivation of it one of my Amusements. I put Peas, and broad Beans in, soon after I arrived, (February) the Peas podded in 3 Months, the Beans are still (June) in Blossom, and neither of the Plants are above a Foot high, and out of five Rows of the Peas each 3 Feet in length, I shall not get above 20 Pods, however my Soil is rather too sandy, and in some Spots I see Vegetation has a stronger Appearance. If there are any Plants that flourish better than others, it is thought, that these are Yam, Pompkin; -and ye Turnips are very sweet, but small. I opened one of my Potatoe Beds, & found 6 or 7 at each Root; Indian Corn, and English Wheat, I think promise very fair; But on the whole, it is evident, that from some Cause or other, tho' most of ye Seeds vegetate, the Plants degenerate in their Growth exceedingly.

The Plants which we brought here, from the Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope look tolerably promising, for ye most part, but some of these have perished, and others appear to be withering. - From the short time we have been here, 'twill be unfair to speak positively on the Climate or the Soil, a Round of y Seasons will decide this Issue.

Having now given You some Account of what these Wildernesses are formed, I'll say a Word or two of their Inhabitants, and first of the Human Species, of which, (though we haved obtained many Intercorses with them) We have been able to learn but little.- They are of a moderate Height, few reaching up to 6 Feet,rather slight than Robust their Complexion is of a reddish, Blackish Soot Colour, filthy & dirty to Disgust; Men Women and Children go entirely naked, scorning a Veil as big as. a Fig-leaf, I cannot say their Features are very irregular such as they are, their Lips are rather thick, their Teeth sound, but yellow, dark dingy Eyes, broad, short Noses with wide Trumpet Nostrils which are plugged up with dry drippings, their Hair is black and softish, and has more of a Touselled than a curling appearance

[page 9]

That on their Head has the appearance of a full-bottom'd black scratch Wig put on with the Hind part before. - The Men walk very upright, the Women stoop forward a little, are very active & strong, there is something singular in their Manner of sitting and standing, when they have a Mind to stand in an easy Posture it is by resting on one Leg, and fixing the Foot of the other flat on the Inside of the Knee of the Leg on which they are standing, throwing their right Arm obliquely behind them, and taking hold of it with their left hand put across their Back.

When they sit, they rest upon their Posteriors and their heels, the Knees sticking up to their Chin; This Position with the Women, when sitting in their Canoes makes a convenient Cradle for the Child, which they lay across their Lap while they are fishing with a Line. In activas they are active The Generallity of them, Men & Women, have Scars in different parts of their Body, which in some, seem to have been cut in particular Lines by way of ornament.

— Many of the Women, Old & Young, Married & Unmarried have had the two first joints of the little Finger of the left Hand cut off, this Custom being apparently, practised indiscriminately, We do not know what to conjecture of it. - Almost all the Men have had one of the Fore-teeth extracted, but from being so universal we are equally at a Loss as to ye Motive of this Custom, they will sometimes thrust their Fingers into your Mouth to see if you have parted with this Tooth, the Governor happens to want this Tooth, at which they appear somewhat pleased & surprized.

We have seen but few with a Bone thrust through the bottom of the Division of the Nose, they likewise want to know if we have the hole in that part, a Fellow picked up a Quill one Day, and was trying whether he could poke it through my Nose, and two or three other Gentlemen's, who were with Me, then shewing Us that he could not wear it in his own, & shaking his Head. - Animals Teeth & Bones stuck in the Hair with Gum ' is another of their elegant Ornaments. When we have taken hold of these Decorations to admire them, several good-natured Fellows have immediately pulled them off, and presented them to Us.

Among two or three Tribes, with which we have had a Parley, there have appeared 18 or 20 stout young Fellows, seemingly chosen out by way of a Guard to the Women, who always are observed to be at a distance behind them, these Men are besmeared with Red and white Clay, and in such Lines and Circles as to resemble ye Belts, Sashes, & Ornaments of our Soldiers, they are armed with Spears, Clubs, Wooden Scimitars, Sc Shields, & these peculiarities give them the Appearance of Warriors.

CapPn Hunter, in one of his Excursions up the Harbour met with a Tribe of ye Natives, among whom, were a Number of these Warlike Heroes, and while One or two of y e Elderly Civilians advanced towards Him, These, stood at a Distance drawn up in somewhat a regular Disposition, each having a green Bough in his Hand (an Emblem of Peace among these People).

[page 10]

Captain Hunter had invited them to come and take some Bawbles which he held out, but he refused to give them to the old Men who had come up to Him, making Signs, that he wished to give them to the Women, (whom, he saw a small distance behind the Warriors), the old Fellows finding he would not give the Presents to them, hollowed to the Women in a stern Voice, on which, a young, attended by an old Woman (after being called to 3 or 4 times) came forth, but showed evident signs & Emotions of Shyness & Timidity in advancing to take the Presents from Cap." Hunter's hand.

They suffered, (but not without trembling exceedingly,) the Beads to be tied about their Necks & Wrists, this being done, they retired back behind the Guard. Notwithstanding this apparent Shyness & Timidity when in your Reach, Yet, the young Baggages, when at a Distance from Us, make all the wanton significant signs imaginable.- It does not appear that these poor Creatures have any fixed Habitation, sometimes sleeping in a Cavern of a Rock, which they make as warm as an Oven by lighting a Fire in the middle of it, they will take up their abode here, for one Night perhaps, then in another the next Night, at other times (and we believe mostly in ye Summer) they take up their Lodgings for a Day or two in a miserable Wigwam, which they make of the Bark of a Tree, (in ye form annexed), these are dispersed about the Woods near the Water, 2. 3. 4 together some Oyster, Cockle & Muscle Shells lie about the Entrance of them, but not in any Quantity to Indie ate, that they make these Huts their constant Habitations. We met with some that seemed entirely deserted, or left for any other Tribe, that might want another Lodging, indeed, it seems pretty evident, that their Habitations, whether Caverns, or Wigwams, are common to all, and alternately inhabited by different Tribes. ^ In the few that we saw, while they had Lodgers the whole stock of Furniture consisted of a Bundle of Spears, 3 or 4 fishing Lines, Shields & Baskets made of ye Bark of a Tree.

They associate (we have reason to think) in Family Tribes, the Eldest assuming a Direction & Government over the Rest, each Tribe, according the number, have 6, 8, or 10 Canoes, in these contemptible Skiffs (which display very little art or Ingenuity) they paddle, (with two things like Pudding stirrers) from one Cove to anothereven up and down the Coast, keeping as close to the Rocks as possible. The Women make much more Use of them than the Men do, for they get into them only when they want to cross from one Cove to the other, which having reached, they land, leaving the Women in them to fish with a Hook and Line, while they walk along the Rocks close to the Water, and strike the Fish with their Spears, and at this, they are very dexterous, seldom missing their Aim, which indeed is not to be wondered at, for Fish, being their chief Subsistence and their Hooks & Lines not being very plenty, They are obliged

[page 11]

to practice this art of taking them daily; When they have caught enough for a Meal, and feel hungry, The Men, call the Women on shore, and haul up the Canoes for them, They then gather up a few dry Sticks, light a Fire under a shelving Rock, (if there is one near,) or a Wigwam, here they sit down and broil their Fish, when it is just warm through, they take off the Skin & Scales, then eat the Fish, Entrails, Bones and all, if not very large. - We have observed, that they chew a Fern Root at the time they are eating the Fish, but this, they spit out, having chewed it with with 6 or 8 Mor-sells of Fish, they eat some kind of Fruit like a Fig, too.

-We have given Birds to them which having bearly plucked, and warmed through they devour refusing no part of it. One or Two of them have ventured to taste our Salt Beef & Pork, which they liked so well, that they made signs for more,- The principal Articles on which the Subsistence of these poor Creatures depend, consist of Fish, Water and Fire;

Their Canoes, Spears, Lines $amp; Hooks are necessary for procuring the first Article - Their Weapons, of Defence consist of a Spear about 14 Foot long and terminating in a sharp point of Bone or hard Wood (whereas their fishing Spear has four Prongs tipped with Bone) they have a hooked Stick for throwing the Spear; a heavy Club, a piece of hard Wood in the Form of Scimitar, and a Shield made of a broad bit of the Bark of a Tree, seem to make up the whole of their warlike Instruments.

- Their Canoes are made of the Bark of the Tree, which I have said, somewhat resembles the Fir in its Growth. The manner of taking the Bark off for this Purpose is nearly as follows. After having made a circular Incision through the Bark, beginning 3 or 4 Feet from the Bottom of the Tree, they, by the help of Notches, climb up as high as they mean the Length of the Canoe shall be, where, they cut ye Bark through as at the Bottom, after this is done, they divide it in a straight Line from the top Incision to the bottom, and they contrive that this longitudinal Division of y' Bark shall run through the middle of the Notches, which they had cut to climb up by, so that they prove no detriment to the Bark for the Purpose that it is intended. It being cut through to the Body of the Tree, they thrust in sticks between it & the Bark, by way of Wedges, to separate it from the Tree, they then leave them in this Manner 'till the Bark will strip off without using any Violence that might split it. having got it off, they pucker up the Ends and tie them with a tough stringy kind of Bark; & in order to strech it open we suppose that they place sticks across,
and keep them there till the Bark takes the form of a Canoe.
-The Article in which, I think they discover the greatest Ingenuity is their Hooks &: Lines, the Hooks are of a pearly shell, ground to this shape, - the Lines are of a fine Bark nicely shredded & twisted very close and neatly: I have seen some of the Men with Net-Bags, made of this line. - There is one of their Arts which we have not, as yet, been able to come at the Knowledge of. I mean that, of producing Fire so quickly as they seem to do, a Stone appears to be one thing necessary for this Purpose, but we cannot find out what else they use.

[page 12]

As to the Article of Dress I have hinted before they strictly follow the primitive Simplicity of the Adamites and the Evites and it may be said of these rude children of Nature, as of them, "they are naked and not ashamed", and I may add, they are nasty and dirty and not ashamed

They are wonderfully expert at the art of Mimickry, both in their Actions and in repeating many of our Phrases, they will say-"Good Bye" after us, very distinctly, The Sailors teach them to swear. They laugh when they see us laugh, and they appear to be of a peaceable Disposition, and have a Generosity about them, in offering You a share of their Food. - If you meet with any of them, they will readily offer You Fish, Fire, & Water, they seem to be easily offended, and quick and fatal in revenging an Injury.

In a Word, to sum up the Qualities Personal & Mental, (those at least we have been able to discern) They appear to be an Active, Volatile, Unoffending, Happy, Merry, Funny, Laughing Good-natured, Nasty Dirty, Race of human Creatures as ever lived in a State of Savageness.

They seemingly enjoy uninterrupted Health, and live to a great Age. We have seen One or Two deformed in their Backs & Legs, a poor Fellow showed us a crooked arm he made signs that he broke by falling from a Rock.-

      We have reason to suppose, they burn their dead, and throw the Ashes into a Heap; for we have met with 2 or 3 of these Heaps resembling in shape our Graves, One of which we examined and found Pieces of the Human Bone that were not quite consumed.

Only two of Them have ventured to visit our Settlement to whom the Governor gave many presents, and did every that he thought might Induce them to stay, or to come again and brig their, Companions; The Objects which must have been entirely new to them did not excite their Curiosity or Astonishment so much as one might have expected. They just looked at them, with a kind of vague Indifference.

Of all the Things that have been given them the Axes (Fishing hooks & Lines, or any spare Instrument or Food seem to please them most. The Drum was beat before them, which terrified them exceedingly, they liked the Fife, which pleased them for 2 or 3 Minutes. Indeed Music of any kind does not attract their attention, long together, they will sometimes jump to it, and make a grunting Noise by way of keeping Time to the Tune. I have now given You most of the Particulars relating to the Customs and Manners of this rude Race of Creatures, that we have been able as yet to learn, which must necessarily be very little from their Language being such an inarticulate, unintelligible Jargon.

The other kinds of Inhabitants of these Wildernesses, and first of the Species of Quadrupeds that We have either shot, taken or seen are Dogs, Kanguroos, Opossums, the Pole Cat, Rat & Mouse Species. The Natives have frequently Dogs with them, and

[page 13]

the Governor has procured one of them. In Colour and Shape it resembles the Fox Dog, but the Tail is not so bushy, it has become very tame and domestic. The Natives set one of these Dogs at a Man, whom the Governor employs to shoot Birds and other Animals, and as He found himself in Danger of being Bit, He shot Him dead on the spot, the Natives were extremely terrified at this, and took to their Heels with the greatest Precipitation.

- The Animals which Captain Cook describes in his Voyage to New South Wales under the Name of Kanguroo are very numerous here: They feed in Herds of 12-20 and even 50 together, the Animal does not run, but jumps along on his hind legs, We have shot a great many of them the largest that we have killed, weighed 139 Pounds; ye Tail 17 Inches round. the Flesh, when the Animal is young eats something like Veal, as some think, but for my own part I am puzzled to know what it eats like. -

The Opossum, Pole Cat, &: Rat Species are in great plenty, many of each sort have been caught &: shot, they are very destructive to our Eggs & Poultry, they have snapped the Head off, two or three of our Hens & Chickens, and then sucked their Blood. - Three or four kinds of flying Squirrels have been shot. Some of the Convicts reported that they saw a Tyger one Evening, but we believe it was one pictured by their own creative Imaginations, You know, to a timorous Man a Bush in the Dark might be easily mistaken for a Tyger

Birds are of various kinds here: the first, for Size and Food is the Emew, this Bird answers the Description given of it by naturalists very well, 3. 4. 6 of these Birds have been seen in the Woods feeding together, but they are extremely shy, and run with incredible Swiftness. - Our Grey-hounds got sight of One but could not come near to Him in running, however, the Governors Game-procurer by great chance got a Shot at one of them with a Ball and killed Him. It resembles the Ostrich in most particulars; The Flesh of it eats like young Beef, and one of its Side Bones was more than enough for four of our Dinners. Quails, Pidgeons, Doves Plover, Cockatoos, Beautiful Parrots, Loriquets, Crows, Hawks, and a variety of other kinds of Land Birds have been shot by our shooting Parties. Many of these Birds are beautiful in their Plumage, but There are none that sing half so sweet as our Chaffinch.

Of Water Fowls Ducks, Teal, Heron, Cranes, have been shot, and one Black Swan has likewise been shot, many of these last Birds have been seen, but they are extremely shy, as indeed may be said of all the animals here, which has led us to think that they are harrassed by the Natives. Our Gentlemen sometimes go out for a whole Day, and are not able to get a shot at a single Bird.

- I was one Day on a shooting Excursion and fell in with a Tribe of the Natives, while I was with them, a Crow settled in a Tree that was within shot, on levelling my Gun at it, one of the Natives run up to Me in a hurry clapped his Hand over ye Muzzle of the Piece and cried out several times, Bail Bail Bau Bau!