Journeys in Time
1809 1810 1811
1812 1815 1818
1820 1821 1822


Project Overview

Historical Background

Chronology 1809 - 1822

ALL Project

Wednesday 18th. Decr. 1811.
At 4 a.m. the Lady Nelson weighed anchor and dropped down the River with the Tide and the assistance of the Boats towing her; the Wind still continuing to blow directly up the River and against us.---

At 1/2 past 8 a.m. we anchored near Middle Island, the Tide of Ebb being spent; distance from last anchorage being about 9 miles.---

At 9 a.m. Mrs. M. & myself, accompanied by Capt. Antill and Lieut. Maclaine, with materials for our Breakfast, set out from the Lady Nelson in the Whale Boat for York-Town, which we reached at 11 a.m.; the distance being about six miles, three of which is up Western Arm, at the head thereof York-Town is situated on the Right Bank of a very pretty little stream of Running Fresh Water; a few Houses remain still standing in this miserable barren spot but no Inhabitants but the Guard, and the Gardner [sic] left to take care of the Government Garden. ---It appears extraordinary that any man of common Judgment or understanding should have formed the Chief Settlement here, as there is nothing to recommend it for such a purpose excepting this little Stream of Fresh Water; it being impossible for large Vessels to enter Western Arm at any time of Tide, and even small Boats not being able to come up to the Town at Low Water.---

On our arrival at York-Town our Port Dalrymple Friends met us at the Landing Place at a Point a mile from the Town, from whence we walked to the Government House; where we Breakfasted and afterwards walked in the Garden, which is very tastefully laid out on the Bank of the Rivulet. ---Having sufficiently surveyed this deserted dessolate [sic] Village, we took our departure from it at 1/2 past 1 p.m. attended by the Port Dalrymple Gentlemen in their own Boat, and bent our course for Outer Cove; where we arrived and landed on a very pretty Bank on the West Side, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and had our Tent immediately Pitched on a fine level spot, open to the Cove and near the River that falls into the Head of it; distance from York Town being about Five miles.---

This being the Ground intended for removing the Chief Settlement of Port Dalrymple to, in case it should appear on examination to be an eligible situation for it; I proceeded immediately on landing to explore it, attended by Mr. Meehan the Surveyor, Major Gordon, Doctor Mountgarrat, &c. &c. We first examined the River as far as the Tide flows up it, which it does for about 300 yards, where the water becomes fresh, issuing from a variety of Springs along both Banks of the Rivulet. ---We discovered and tasted two Copious Springs on the Right Bank of it, containing most excellent water and in considerable abundance; and on the Left Bank also there appeared many small Springs which only require opening and clearing to afford a good supply of fresh water. ---From the River we explored the Grounds to the Northward & Westward for about a mile in each direction, and found the Soil very good for both Pasture and Garden Ground and likewise fit for Building on, being perfectly dry and firm in all parts. ---There is also from the appearance of the Ground, and the great number of Tea Trees growing on it, every reason to believe that plenty of Water is to be procured here for the use of Man and Beast by sinking Wells a sufficient depth. ---On a review of all these circumstances, the contiguity of OuterCove to the Sea, and the safety of its Harbour for Shipping, I have come to the resolution of removing the Chief Settlement of Port Dalrymple hither as soon as such an important measure can conveniently be carried into effect.---

In pursuance of this Plan, I have resolved to erect a new Town here according to a well digested regular Plan, and to name it "George-Town" in honor of our beloved Sovereign; and to name this Cove (which has hitherto been called Outer Cove) York-Cove -- and the Rivulet York-River -- in honor of His Royal Highness The Duke of York. ---The Town to extend to both sides of the Cove, but the larger Portion of it to be on the west side of the River, on account of the Ground there being so much superior to that on the East Side. ---I gave orders to the Surveyor to make a Compleat Survey of the Ground for a mile on each side of York-Cove, explore it minutely, and endeavour to discover whether there be any freshwater Lagoons or more Springs within that distance; reporting to me early tomorrow the result of his researches. ---At 6 p.m. we returned from our excursion -- and in half an hour afterwards the Lady Nelson arrived and anchored in York-Cove. ---At 7 p.m. Our Dinner having been Cooked on board, and brought on shore, we dined very comfortably in our Tent, and drank prosperity to George Town, shortly intended to be erected here. ---The Evening being very fine Mrs. Macquarie and myself Slept on Shore in our Tent, which was Pitched on the future scite [sic] of the new intended Town, and probably on that part of it in which the principal Square will be erected and formed.---

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