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27 July 1818 - 9 August 1818

Sydney, Monday 27th. July 1818.
Embarked on board the Government Brig Elizabeth-Henrietta commanded by Mr. David Smith at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, under a Salute from the Battery; our Party on board consisting of Mrs. Macquarie and our dear Lachlan, Revd. Mr. Cowper, Major Antill, Lieut. Macquarie, Ensn. Roberts, Mr. Meehan, Serjt. Whalan & his son Charles, and Female (Mary Rouse) and four male Servants (Joseph [,] Butcher, Jack Moore, & the cook) and Six Sailors as a Crew for my Barge -- which I have taken with me on board the Elizabeth Henrietta. -- At 4 p.m. we made sail down the Harbour and cleared the Heads of Port Jackson by 5 p.m -- the wind being quite fair and blowing a smart Breeze. ---

We dined at 5 p.m -- but some of our Party were already Sea-Sick, particularly poor Mr. Cowper. ---

Tuesday 28 July --
We arrived off Newcastle between 2 and 3 o'clock this morning and lay-to the rest of the Night, Newcastle Light being in sight. At 7 a.m. Capt. Wallis the Commandant came off to us, with the Pilot and several Boats, the Brig being then about Four miles off from the Entrance of the Harbour; blowing directly out of it, and a heavy sea running.

At 8 a.m. our own Barge being hoisted out, we embarked in her to go on shore as the Brig could not go in till the afternoon Tide of Flood makes. -- We landed at Newcastle at 9 o'clock, and were most kindly and Hospitably received by Capt. Wallis, who had an excellent Breakfast prepared for us. -- After Breakfast, we walked about the Town and viewed some of the New Buildings now in progress. -- Dined between 4 & 5 o'clock and went to Bed at an early Hour. The Elizabeth Henrietta came to anchor in the Harbour at 4 p.m. ---

Wednesday 29. July !
Wishing to explore some parts of the Interior, and the three principal Branches of Hunter's River, arrangements were made for that purpose, and at 11 a.m. I set out in my own Barge attended by Capt. Wallis, Capt. Antill, Mr. Meehan, Lt. Macquarie & Ensn. Roberts, accompanied by 5 other Boats having our Provisions Tents & Baggage on board, with 52 attendants of all descriptions - four of whom were musicians and formed our little Band. Mrs. Macquarie not feeling herself sufficiently strong for undertaking so fatiguing a Tour, remained at the settlement with our dear Boy Lachlan -- and the Revd. Mr. Cowper. The sight of our six Boats so well manned with the Band Playing, and the Brigs Eliz:-Henrietta and Lady Nelson saluting had a very fine and gratifying effect. ---

At 4 p.m Landed on Raymond Terrace close to the entrance of the First Branch and encamped there for the Night; this first stage being about 20 miles from Newcastle. A number of Fires were made immediately -- the Night being very cold. -- We dined at 6 o'clock on a very good Dinner and went early to Bed. There was a very severe hard Frost during the Night.

Thursday 30th. July.
Got up at Day-break and Breakfasted immediately so as to prosecute our Journey up the River. At 1/2 past 7 a.m. I set out ahead of the heavy Boats with Capt. Wallis in his small light Gig accompanied by Mr. Meehan, leaving orders with Capt. Antill to proceed with the Heavy Boats up the 3d. Branch and encamp at "the Burying Ground" (or Schanks's Plains) on the Right Bank of the River. At 10 a.m. we arrived in the Gig at Point Reception, and at the confluence of the 2d. & 3d. Branches of the River. -- We proceeded up this Branch to the Farms some time since permitted by me to be occupied by 6 well behaved Convicts and two Free men. Arrived at the first Farm (young Tucker's) at 1/2 past 11 o'clock, distant about 9 miles from Point Reception, where we landed and walked about for some little time examining the improvements and nature of the Soil, which last is most excellent. We then proceeded to view the rest of the Farms on both sides of this beautiful River -- finding the soil of all of them very good -- and much more ground cleared & cultivated than I had any idea of. -- After we had explored most of the Farms, we quitted the Boat entirely and walked across the Country to the 3d. Branch -- leaving orders with the Gig to meet us next day at Reception Point on our way back. -- The Country between the two Rivers thro' which we travelled was principally fine open Forest Land, very fit for grazing but not for cultivation but we also passed through some very close thick Brush Country and indifferent land. -- At 1/2 past 3 p.m we reached the left Bank of the 3d. Branch (or main River) after a walk of about 7 miles, and were fortunate enough to find the Boats were very near us; my own Barge having come up to the Reach of the River we had arrived at in about a Quarter of an Hour afterwards -- two other Boats having passed on before her. -- I called this Junction Reach. -- We embarked in my own Barge -- and prosecuted the remainder of this day's journey in her to the Burying Ground, whither we arrived at 6 o'clock -- it being then quite dark -- and still three of our Boats a great way astern of us. -- This delay was occasioned by a great Fresh in the main Branch of the River -- which rendered the progress of the Boats very slow and tedious. -- By 7 o'clock, however they all arrived at our Camp, and by 8 o'clock we were all very comfortable with a great number of fine Fires around us, and we sat down to a good and plentiful Dinner. -- We did not go to Bed till 11 o'clock. --

Friday 31. July !
We all got up early -- and Breakfasted exactly at 8 o'clock this morning. At 9 a.m. set out with Capt. Wallis in his Gig, accompanied by Mr. Meehan, to explore the River some miles up it, and also the Lands on its Banks; directing all the other Boats, with the exception of my own Barge, to set out on their return down the River to Raymond Terrace as soon as the Baggage should be packed up; but my own Barge I ordered to wait at the Burying Ground till my return. -- We rowed up the 3d. Branch or Main River for 9 miles, to the Head nearly of a very fine long Reach of it about 3 miles long (which I named "Macquarie Reach") on both Banks of which there was very fine Land. -- I named a very fine tract of Forest Land on the Right Bank of the River near this Reach "Wallis's Plains" in honor of Capt. Wallis. -- Having examined the Land of both sides of this River which appeared to be of excellent quality both for cultivation & grazing, we returned down the River to the Burying Ground where we arrived at 1/2 past 1 p.m -- We then changed into my own Barge and proceeded down the River; landed a little way below the Burying Ground to look at the "Large Fig Tree" -- which is the finest and tallest I ever saw -- it measuring round the Base near the Trunk no less than 24 yards in circumference! -- We also landed on the Left Bank of the River, about a mile below the Burying Ground, to look at and examin[e] the Cedar Ground, where there is at present a gang of 15 men under an overseer cutting Cedar for Government; there being a military guard of a Corpl. & 3 Privates to protect them from the Natives. We found a considerable Quantity of Cedar Logs ready cut on the Bank of the River, and we walked for about a mile into the woods to look at the Cedar growing, and from which distance they are at present bringing it after being cut into Logs to the Banks of the River. ---

Left the Cedar Party at 1/2 past 2 p.m and pursued our way down the River; picking up Capt. Wallis's Gig at Point Reception, where it had waited for us since yesterday. -- We arrived at Raymond Terrace at 1/4 past 6 o'clock -- it being then Dark. -- We reckon it at least 30 miles from the Head of Macquarie Reach to Raymond Terrace -- which is the distance down besides the 9 or 10 miles we went up this Branch above the Burying Ground. This is a very beautiful and Picturesque River, and has sufficient depth of water in it as far as I have gone up it for a Vessel of 50 Tons Burthen, and the Land on its Banks being excellent, it is in every respect fit for establishing Settlements on. ---

We found our Camp Pitched -- fires lighted -- and Dinner ready -- on our arrival at Raymond Terrace -- where we sat down to a most excellent Dinner at 7 o'clock, retiring to Bed at ten o'clock. ---

Saturday l. Augt. !
Being desirous to explore a few miles up the 1st Branch of Hunter's River, and to look at the Lands on both Banks thereof, I got up at Day-break, and set out with Capt. Wallis in his Gig, accompanied by Mr. Meehan, at 7 o'clock. We rowed up for about Nine miles, passing through several fine long Reaches -- but the Land on both Banks for the first six miles were either low, swampy -- or very thick Brush. At 7 miles distance the Lands improved very much -- into open Forest and Hilly Country, -- the Soil appearing to be very good and the Timber also pretty large, and fit for useful purposes. -- Having rowed up about 9 miles, we put about and returned to Raymond Terrace, our last night's ground, where we arrived at 10 o'clock -- finding Breakfast quite ready for us. -- As soon as we had Breakfasted I went in search of the Tree marked by our dear departed Nephew Lt. Jno. Maclaine in January 1812, when his aunt & myself with our Suite Breakfasted on this same ground on the 4th of that month. -- Having searched about all the Trees now standing near our Encamping Ground, I fell in at length with a large Tall Blue-Gum Tree which is the one marked by our poor dear John with the initials of my name -- L.M. 4 Jany. 1812, and his own initials -- J.M. on the other side of the Tree. -- Trifling as this circumstance was, I was deeply affected with the recollection of the activity, manliness, and warm affection of this noble youth displayed on all occasions during our tour above alluded to. ---

Having now fully accomplished the several objects of my excursion up the several Branches of Hunter's River, I gave orders for our Baggage and Provisions being packed up, and the Boats to return to Newcastle; and wishing to arrive there as soon as possible and before the Tide of Ebb (now flowing) should fail us, I set out with Capt. Wallis in his Gig, accompanied by Mr. Meehan, at 1/2 past 11 a.m. and arrived at Newcastle at 5 mins. past 2 p.m. where we found Mrs. M. Lachlan and Mr. Cowper, all in good Health -- and agreeably surprised at our early arrival; having been only absent in all 75 hours. -- Capt. Antill, with our other friends, and the remaining Boats arrived at Newcastle at half past 3 p.m. ---

We dined between 4 and 5 o'clock this afternoon. -- I find the Govt. Brig Lady Nelson sailed for Sydney on Thursday morning the 30th ulto. the day after we set out on our excursion.

Sunday 2. Augt. 1818 !
We had Divine Service performed this day in the new Church erected by Capt. Wallis on [word missing] Hill, Mr. Cowper having Preached a most excellent appropriate Sermon on this solemn occasion; he being the first regular Clergyman who has ever performed Divine Worship at Newcastle, and of course the first in this church, which has only been completed a few weeks ago. I have named it "Christ-Church" at the recommendation of Capt. Wallis the Founder thereof. The Congregation on this occasion consisted of between 5 and 600 persons, the Church being quite full. Mr. Cowper also performed Divine Service in the afternoon to a smaller Congregation. The Day altogether was spent here in a very decent decorous and solemn manner. The Prisoners, amounting to about 450, Paraded in a very clean neat orderly manner at the Church before they went in, and I took this occasion to muster them -- and expressing my satisfaction at their clean orderly appearance.---

Monday 3d. Augt. !
Early this morning the Govt. Boat called the Antelope arrived here from Port Stephens, whither she had been sent on Wednesday last from Sydney in search of 3 Boats with Runaway Convicts that had made their escape from Sydney on the preceding Day in those three Private Boats -- amounting to the number of 21 or 24 men. -- It being supposed those Pirates intended to cut of[f] some small colonial Vessels lately gone to Port Stephens for Cedar, the Antelope was directed to proceed thither to apprize them of their eventual Danger, which she accordingly did -- but has seen nothing of the Pirates.-- The Antelope is commanded by Mr. Murray the Pilot, and has a Party of Soldiers belonging to the 48th Regt. on board commanded by Serjt. Burrowes.---

This forenoon Mr. Cowper married Ten Couple, and Baptised 30 children in the new Church; the first ceremony of the kind ever yet performed at Newcastle. -- On this occasion I directed the whole of the Convicts to be exempted from work, and to receive an extra Ration of Fresh meat -- on account of the Holiday. ---

Tuesday 4th. Augt. !
The Antelope sailed at 8 o'clock this morning on her return to Sydney, and to search all along the intermediate Coast for the Pirate Convicts lately escaped from Sydney. ---

At 11 a.m. I inspected Capt. Wallis's Company, and found them in very clean good order. -- I directed an extra allowance of Rum to be issued to the men as a Donation.

At 1 p.m I went along with Capt. Wallis to look and examin[e] the channel dividing Coal Island (Nobby) from the South Head of Newcastle Harbour, with the view of filling it up entirely by constructing a strong mound or Causway between the Island and the Main for the purpose of deepening the main channel or Entrance into the Harbour. -- We landed on the Island and sounded the channel between it and South Head -- which does not exceed 7 feet in depth at low water and only about a quarter of a mile in Breadth. -- after examining both sides of the channel, it was finally determined to commence forthwith filling it up by constructing [a] strong Causeway of 30 feet Broad from South Head to Coal Island. After deciding on this important work, we went to visit the new Jail, the new Hospital, the new Guard-House, the Battery & Light House, and the several work-shops. -- We did not return Home till after 5 o'clock, soon after which we sat down to Dinner.

Wednesday 5 Augt. !
Soon after Breakfast Mrs. M. myself and Lachlan, set out in the Barge accompanied by Capt. Wallis, to visit the Govt. Farm and the Lime Burners; the former being about one mile and the latter six miles from the Town of Newcastle. -- We found the Farm in very good order, with a very neat cottage on it. ---

I travelled over the grounds where the Lime is burnt from the shells collected on the shore. -- I mustered the Lime Burners Gang consisting of an overseer & 54 men as Labourers, guarded by a Corpl. & 3 Privates. We returned from our Water Excursion about 2 o'clock -- Capt. Wallis's Band having attended & played for us in another Boat during our Excursion.

At 4 p.m accompanied by Capt. Wallis, Revd. Mr. Cowper, Major Antill, Lt. Macquarie, Ensn. Roberts and Mr. Meehan, I went to the shore of the channel dividing Coal Island from the South-Head, for the purpose of laying the Foundation and first stone of the Causway or Pier to be constructed across from the Main to the Island; and the stone being cut and ready, with an inscription, it was laid accordingly with all due Form in presence of the Artificers & Labourers to be employed in the construction of it; and Capt. Wallis having proposed that it should bear my name it was accordingly called after me "Macquarie Pier" -- which [with] the present year 1818 -- was cut and inscribed on the Foundation Stone. After the Foundation Stone had been laid, the artificers and Labourers were served with an allowance of Spirits to drink success to the undertaking -- which they did with 3 hearty cheers.---

On my return Home I called at the Provision Store to inspect it, and found it in good order and well supplied with Provisions. I also called at the Watch on the Beach recently erected by Capt. Wallis -- and was much pleased with the neatness and appropriate situation of it. -- We then returned Home to Dinner at 5 o'clock, well pleased with my Day's work! ---

Thursday 6. Augt. !
Bespoke a vessel to be built of 60 or 70 Tons Wm. Santos has promised to launch in 8 mo[nth]s.

After Breakfast Mrs. M. Lachn. and myself attended by Capt. Wallis & Major Antill went to see the Seine Hauled on both shores, caught some Fish & were much amused. -- Between 12 and 1 o'clock, the Lady Nelson arrived from Sydney and I recd. some Letters by her from Mr. Secry. Campbell & Major Druitt. We returned Home from our Fishing Excursion at 2 o'clock.

At Night Jack, al[ia]s. Burigon King of the Newcastle Native Tribe, with about 40 men women & children of his Tribe came by Capt. Wallis's desire to the Govt. House between 7 & 8 o'clock at Night, and entertained with a Carauberie in high stile [sic] for Half an Hour in the grounds in rear of Govt. House. -- I ordered them to be Treated with some Grog and an allowance of Maize.

Friday 7. Augt. !
Mrs. M. & self visited the Pier before Breakfast. Having now completed the several objects of my Tour to Newcastle, I ordered all our Baggage &c. to be shipped on board the Eliz:-Henrietta immediately after Breakfast, and that she should weigh & drop out with the Tide of Flood at 1/2 past 1 p.m the Wind being at S. East, which tho' rather scant, will do for us once we got a sufficient offing.

At 3 p.m the Elizabeth Henrietta, and also the Lady Nelson, having got out sufficiently far in the offing, we embarked in Capt. Wallis's Gig, accompanied by him, with two other Boats with our Suite & Servants, and another with the Band, under salutes from the Batteries; the Troops -- and working gangs being also drawn out in honor of our departure, and proceeded on board the Eliz-Henrietta, which we reached by Half past 3 -- when she immediately made sail (the Lady Nelson being in company) for Port Jackson. -- Capt. Wallis remained with us till at 5 o'clock and then took his leave of us; Lt. Macquarie and Ensn. Roberts having returned with him on shore to pass ten or Twelve Days more with him at Newcastle at his own particular request.---

The Wind heading us soon after we had made sail, we made very slow Progress during the Night. --- There was a heavy swell & jumbling Sea all night which made several of us sea sick -- particularly poor Mr. Cowper.---

Saturday 8. Augt. !
At Day-break we were out of sight of Newcastle, and about 20 miles to the Southward of it. From this time till 1 p.m it was almost a dead calm, and consequently we made little progress; but at Noon we found by the observation we had got on about 31 miles from Newcastle towards Port Jackson, which we attributed to a strong current running in our favor. -- An Easterly Breeze springing up a 1 p.m we began to make better way and to get on at the rate of about 4 Knots an Hour. -- By Sun-down we were within about 15 miles of the Heads of Port Jackson, which were visible from the Mast Head -- but the Breeze continuing good, we hope to get in by Eleven o'clock.
-- As however it would be then too late to land, we have resolved on sleeping on board.

At 1/2 past 11 o'clock we arrived within the Heads. -- It soon afterwards becoming almost calm, and the Wind having changed to the westward, it took the Brig the remaining part of the Night to work up to Garden Island, abreast of which she anchored at Half past 2 o'clock the following morning.---

Sunday 9. Augt.
At Day-break, we got up and prepared to Disembark. Left the Brig at 7 a.m. and landed at Mrs. M's Stairs at 1/4 past 7 o'clock, under salutes from the Battery & Shipping. ---

The Mermaid Cutter Lt. King had arrived on the night of the 29th of last month from her Cruize (sic) and Survey. -- We also found in the Cove The Foxhound whaler Capt Watson, which had arrived only last night in Sydney Cove. ---
The Lady Nelson came in to the Cove between 9 & 10 a.m. The Indian whaler Capt. Swaine arrived between 10 & 11 o'clock this Day from the Fisheries; the signal for her having been made as we were landing from the Elizabeth Henrietta. ---

N.B. The Revd. Mr. Cowper, and Major Antill landed this morning at 1 o'clock at Sydney -- Mr. Cowper being extremely ill from Sea Sickness.


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