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2-157 (Original)

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author,male,Light, William,50 addressee
Narrative Discourse
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Ward, 1969
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2-157.txt — 4 KB

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18 DEC. [1836]. - At half-past nine got under way for the harbour; at six we entered the first reach and came to anchor, and the Tom O'Shanter got under way for the harbour; about eleven she struck on the edge of the western sand spit, after passing the shallowest part, not being sufficiently to windward, and the flood tide catching her on the weather bow canted her on the sand, from which she might have been hove off in a short time, for not half her own length from where she touched there were three fathoms water. The only hawser they had was an old coir one, which gave way the first strain. She laid here till the 22nd, during which time all hands of both ships were employed in lightening her and pumping. On the 22nd, about four p.m. she was hove off, and both ships made sail for the higher part of the harbour, preceeding both ships in my hatch boat. It was really beautiful to look back and see two British ships for the first time sailing up between the mangroves, in fine smooth water, in a creek that had never borne the construction of the marine architect, and which at some future period might be the channel of import and export of a great commercial capital. We anchored for the night about six p.m, the Tam O'Shanter having taken the mud, laid till about midnight, when the flood tide having floated her off, she passed us and brought up till daylight. Having now got both ships up the harbour, I shall leave my narrative of the maritime part of this expedition and proceed to my work on shore.
Dec. 24. - Walked over the plain to that part of the river where Mr Kingston had pitched his tent, with a small party of the surveying labourers. My first opinions with regard to this place, became still more confirmed by this trip, having traversed over nearly six miles of a beautiful flat, I arrived at the river, and saw from this a continuation of the same plain for at least six miles more to the foot of the hills under Mount Lofty, which heights trending to the sea in a south-westerly direction, were there terminated about four or five miles south of the camp ground at Holdfast Bay, affording an immense plain of level and advantageous ground for occupation. Having settled tome matters for future proceedings with Mr Kingston, I left him and returned to the brig at six p.m, to make arrangements for finally leaving the ship.
Dec. 28. - I left the ship and pitched my tent near Mr Kingston's at the side of the river. I heard of the Governor's arrival, but having much to do, had not time to go to Holdfast Bay and meet him.
Dec. 29. - Employed nearly all day examining the plain, and looking out for the best situation for the capital. I was delighted with the appearance of the country, and the supply of fresh water we were certain of possessing; at four p.m, I had the pleasure of seeing the Governor and Mr Fisher, and we agreed on going the following day to look at the place I had selected for the capital.
Dec. 30. - His Excellency the Governor, arrived at half past nine, and we walked together that he might see the spot I had selected. His Excellency expressed his sense of the beauty of the place, but said it was too far from the harbour and after much reasoning on both sides, I agreed to walk with him by the river and see if another spot nearer the harbour could be found more convenient for trade although it might lose much in other points; we determined at last on placing the capital near the river, about a mile and a half lower down the bank. During examination Mr Fisher joined us, and expressed his gratification at seeing so fine a country. [171] On examining the following day some distance up and down the river, I saw evident marks of the river overflowing its banks, and this made me resolve on the first site I had chosen, my instructions from the Commissioners being peremptory as to the responsibility of this choice devolving upon myself - for although I was allowed to pay respect to the Governor's opinion, yet my own judgement on this point was to be paramount and conclusive.