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Antill 1809


Journal of a Voyage
to New South Wales

On Board His Majesty's Ship Dromedary
at Sea, Latitude 39° 21' South. Longitude 63° 24' East.
November 7th. 1809. —

These sheets I dedicate to two
of my sincerest friends I have in the world; to
thee my Sister, and my dear Mary, nor can I
begin them on a better day than this day, being the
united Birthday of both: and though tossed
as I am at the present moment on the wide
troubled ocean, I will endeavour as far as my
memory will assist me to collect and record
the events that have happened to me since
the beginning of the present year, and during
our long voyage thus far, and I hope
to be able from time to time to carry them
on till I have the pleasure of seeing you both
again; in the meantime take the wish of

my heart, sincerely do I hope you may both enjoy
many and happy returns of this day, may
that Kind Providence who ruleth over all his
works, guard and keep you in virtue, health
and Happiness. —

You know, my dear Eliza, I have
long promised to keep a journal for your
amusement, but until now have neglected
to do so, since I am therefore likely to be
deprived of the happiness of seeing you for some
years to come, I will now endeavour to fulfil
this promise, and should these sheets afford an
hour's amusement to my friends
the end I have in view will be fully answered
and will recompense me for any little trouble
I shall have been at in writing them. —

In the peaceful retirement of
the City of Glasgow in Scotland where I had
been stationed for some time on the Recruiting

service, and where I was enjoying the delights of
Friendship in the company of a few select families;
I received an order about the latter end of December
1808, from the Head Quarters of the Regiment
then quartered at Perth, to hold myself in readiness,
with the Party under my command, to join
my Corps at the shortest notice as intimation
had been received of its being ordered on Foreign
Service. This order as being wholly unexpected,
created not a little surprise and some anxiety
in my mind, as I fully expected we should
have been exempted from foreign duty for some
time to come as the Regiment had but two
years before returned from the East Indies
where it had been for the last seven and
twenty years; and I well knew we were still
very weak and unfit for service, and was
uncertain what destination they could intend
us for, besides I had promised myself the

happiness of a long leave of absence in the spring
that was then commencing, for the purpose
of crossing the Atlantic to pay my long wished
for visit to those relatives so dear to my heart,
but as I had made the resolution of murmuring
as little as possible at the events of this
life, convinced with Pope that "Whatever is,
is right," I went to work with all haste to
prepare to obey the order I had received,
and on the 3d. of January 1809 having paid
what small debts I was due, and taking
leave of my friends, I sent my trunks by
the Carrier's Waggon, and took a seat in the
Coach for Edinburgh, to which place I had
previously sent my Party, and where I arrived
the same evening, a distance of forty
two miles. I found the Regiment had arrived
two days before me, and were in Barracks
in the Castle till the small vessels that

were to carry us to England could be got
ready for our reception. —

I shall not dwell on the regret
I felt at leaving Glasgow. It is needless to describe
to you the pangs of parting with friends we
love and esteem; mine were sufficiently acute
to draw a tear even from the eye of a Soldier
you may both smile at the Idea, but let me
ask you why a soldier should be denied the
luxury of a tear! is his heart to be harder than
anothers because his way of life is so? I trust
neither of you are of this way of thinking, for
after the kind attention I had received
from those friends, it must have been a hard
heart indeed that could have parted from
them with indifference. —

As I stated before, on my
arrival at Edinburgh I found the
Regiment expecting to embark every hour

on board four Berwick Smacks, which had
been provided for us, and was informed
that our destination was the distant
Colony of New South Wales, that upon our
arrival in England two large ships
of War would be in readiness to receive
us, and that we should sail as soon
as arrangements could be made for that

You may naturally suppose
my dear friends, that my reflections
were not the most agreeable at the prospect
of so distant a voyage of upwards
of sixteen thousand miles to a place
so little known; my regrets were, I think
in some degree natural, but as I was determined
to dwell upon the subject as little
as possible, I was resolved to be thankful
it was no worse, and to look forward with

hope to a future day however distant, when
I might return to my Native Country, where
retired from all my toils and troubles I
might "weep o'er my wounds and deeds of
valour done," and with a small competency
enjoy for the remainder of my days the society
of those friends I have been so long separated
from – this hope, my dear Eliza has taken
full possession of my mind, and by the
blessing of God I trust I may see it realized.
But to proceed, after remaining for a week
or two at Edinburgh Castle, we Embarked at
Leith, and after a tedious and stormy
passage of upwards of a month, arrived
safe at Portsmouth. —

At the season of the year we
embarked from Scotland the passage
is very dangerous, and tho' our ships were

very excellent ones, we were twice very near
lost, the wind blowing mostly from the S.W.
in strong Gales with very cold weather, we
changed our ships at Gravesend and were
removed to two Transports, which, though
larger vessels, were not such good sea boats
as those we had quitted.

On our arrival at Gravesend
we learnt with much satisfaction that
the Government had thought proper to give
us a second Battalion, which promoted me
and two other brother subs to Companies,
so the old Proverb was verified in this instance
"that evil seldom happens without
some good attending it" to add to my good
fortune on my arrival at Portsmouth
I received a letter from my Commanding
Officer, Colonel Macquarie, stating that

the Governor appointed to New South Wales
had applied to very him to recommend an officer
to be his Aide de Camp from any of those
of the Regiment he thought capable of
filling the situation, and that in consequence
of this application he had mentioned me
as one he thought would answer, that
if I had no objection to the situation
I had his permission to come up to Town
to pay my respects, and return thanks
to General Nightingall for the honour he
had done me. —

In this instance I had once
more to admire the good fortune, or more
properly speaking the kindness of Providence
that had then attended me through life;
I was here without any merit of my
own, taken by the hand and promoted

to a situation every way to my wish, how
thankful ought I to be, and indeed I am
so, to those friends who had been so kind
and attentive to my interests. I immediately
wrote a suitable reply to the letter
I had received, and prepared to proceed
to London as soon as the Regiment should
be landed, which they were in a few days
afterwards in the Isle of Wight, I then
returned to Portsmouth, took a seat in the
Coach the same night, and arrived without
any accident worth mentioning by
nine OClock the next morning in London.

In the course of the day I
Called upon Colonel Macquarie and was
by him taken and introduced to General
Nightingall, who received me with much
politeness, and was told by him that as

his appointment to the Government of New
South Wales had not yet taken place, mine
of course would not either. I was however
permitted at my own request to remain in
Town by leave from the Commander in Chief
and I immediately took lodgings in Suffolk
Street Charing Cross. —

From this time till the latter
end of March I remained in Town occasionally
visiting my friends at Black-Heath
where I always met with the kindest reception;
of this my dear Mary you need not
be told, as you so largely contributed to
the happiness I there enjoyed, and I hope
you and your amiable family will not
refuse in this place the tribute of a grateful
heart. —

These visits I generally made

on foot, walking down to the Heath on the
Sunday morning to Breakfast, and returning
to town on the Monday to attend
to any little business the General might
have for me to do. I made it my duty
to call upon him every morning but except
a few trifling commissions he gave me
to execute I had nothing to do, as he had
not yet received any further intimation
from the Government respecting his appointment;
this delay appeared strange as the
Ships had been reported some time back
ready to receive the Troops, but I afterwards
understood that this delay was
occasioned by the desire Government
had of receiving accounts from the Colony
which they were in daily expectation would
arrive; during the interval General

Nightingall was attacked with so violent a
Rheumatism that when the expected accts.
did arrive and we were ordered to Embark
and proceed with all expedition, he found
himself under the necessity of applying
for a short delay, which, as it could not
be granted, he was obliged from the ill
state of his health to decline the situation
altogether as no Person was immediately
nominated to succeed him, I had every
reason to suppose there was an end to
all my bright prospects and that I
should be obliged to put up with my loss
I had incurred in making up Staff uniform
I therefore with a heavy heart took leave
of the General, and the rest of my friends
in Town and took my departure to join the
Regiment but before I left London

I was desired by the friend who had recommended
me, not to despair, and was led
to hope from these words, that I might
expect to regain the situation I had lost
under Genl. Nightingall under the person
who should succeed him, little did I think
that he would be that person himself.
I of course the moment this was made
known to him which was after I had
returned to the Isle of Wight, received
notice of it with the fulfillment of the
promise he had made, but that it could
not take place till our arrival at our
destination, with this you may be sure
I was well content, and again returned
to Town to make a few arrangements
where I remained a few days, and then
joined my Regiment once more. —

In this place my dear Mary
I think it necessary to give you my reasons
for taking leave of you and my friends at
the Heath as I did by letter instead of
personally. —

Just before I left London, I
received a letter from my dear Aunt, and
though I be ever thankful to her
for her kind approbation of my conduct
yet I thought from some part of the
contents it was her wish I should take
my leave in the manner I did, perhaps
it was better I did so, and I hope you
have long ago forgiven me any seeming
neglect, I generally find I can make
mes adieux better on paper than by word
of mouth; on these occasions I have
seldom a word to say for myself. —

It was a considerable time
after I returned to the Isle of Wight before
the Regiment embarked, there were so
many things required for so long a voyage
that a long time was required to supply
them; during the stay of the Regiment
at Colville they were so scattered about
and uncomfortably accommodated that
I was glad for many reasons when I
saw the two ships arrive in which we
were to embark on the 5th.. of April off
Yarmouth, and orders issued to prepare to go on board.

On Sunday May 7th.. the Regiment
being assembled on the Parade at
Colville Barracks marched down to
Yarmouth, where 15 officers, 451 Rank
and file, 90 Women, & 87 Children embarked

on board H.M. Ship Dromedary, Mr.. John
Pritchard Master; and 10 officers, 406 Rank
and file, and 97 Women and Children on board
H.M. Ship Hindostan, Captn.. John Pasco – both
large roomy Ships – the two following
days were employed in receiving the baggage
belonging to the officers and men, which done
we weighed and made sail for Spithead
but had hardly got half way before
we struck on a place called Old Castle
Point, but fortunately soon got off again
without receiving any damage, and came
to anchor in the evening; the next day
weighed and anchored at Spithead in 16
fathom water, about 4 miles from Portsmouth,
we remained there till the 19th..
when we again moved our station down
to St.. Helen's and receiving here Colonel

Macquarie the Governor, his Lady, Mr.. and
Mrs.. Bent, the Judge Advocate, with their Servants
and Baggage, and in company with two Transports
bound for the Cape of Good Hope, took our
departure from Old England, perhaps to be
absent from it for some years.

During our stay at St.. Helens we found
from the number of Men, Women and Children,
on board that we were too much crowded,
application was in consequence made and
39 men were sent on board the Hindostan,
and 2 Officers, 50 Privates, and 41 Women
and Children were sent on shore at Portsmouth
to follow in the first Convict Ship. We
likewise took down all the Standing berths
which had been fitted up for the Troops,
and issued out Hammocks, as being both
better calculated to keep the ship sweet and

clean, and affording considerably more room
every day during the voyage before 8 OClock
in the morning every man's Hammock was
brought upon deck and stowed away in the
netting, the decks were washed and scraped
and no person permitted to remain below
when the weather would allow their remaining
upon deck we regulated the men likewise
into three watches, each watch commanded
by an officer who took his rotation of duty on
deck with the watch he belonged to. —

Wednesday 24th.. May Light Breezes and
pleasant weather, the Hart [?] Point about four
Leagues, exchanged numbers with H.M. Ship
Amathyst, [sic] and likewise with H.M. Ship
Swallow. —

Thursday 25th.. Exchanged numbers
with H.M. Ship Hero. Lat. 48° 32'. N, Lone. 8.°. W.

Friday May 26th.. at 4 OClock P.M. two
strange sail in sight, bore up towards them,
signal from Commodore to prepare for battle,
shortly after another strange sail in sight, as
they continued their course without taking
any notice of us, we did the same, we thought
we observed a signal from one but was
at too great a distance to make out what
it was. Late.. 48°. 6' N. Longe. 9..°. 47' W. —

Saturday 27th.. Another strange sail
in sight, continued our course without
ascertaining what she was, she bore E by N. —

Monday 29th.. The wife of William
Monogan was delivered of a son, punished
six Privates of the Regiment for sleeping on
watch, particular orders had been given
to prevent this dangerous practice, and it
was necessary to make an example at the

beginning of the voyage to prevent a repetition
of it in future, a strange sail in sight, signal
from the Commodore for us to give chase and
examine her, as we had much the advantage
of her in sailing, soon gained on her, and fired
three guns to bring her to – hoisted French
Colours and fired four more guns shotted;
at 5 P.M. being come up with the chase
shortened sail, haul'd down French and hoisted
English colours, when chase struck hers,
French over Sweedish, [sic] lowered the Boat and
sent 2 Midshipmen with some seamen, and
an officer & 10 Privates on board; she proved
to be the Gustavus, from Charles Town, bound
for Liverpool, J. Bartlet, Master, captured
by a French Privateer five days before, sent
the Prisoners on board the Commodore.

Thursday May 30th.. Chased a strange

sail, fired 3 guns to bring her to, at six OClock
P.M. came up with and boarded the chase
she proved to be the Prozzle, schooner, from
Guernsey bound to Malta, laden with sugar
at 3 OClock this day parted with the Prize
retaken yesterday, sent her to England in
charge of an Officer from the Hindostan
wrote letters by her to my friends to tell
them we had got thus far in safety. —

Thursday June 1st.. Strong gales
with rain, chased and brought to an American,
the sea too high to board her, she said
she was from Madeira bound to Gottenburg.

Saturday June 3d.. exchanged Nos.
with H.M. Ship Ocean strong gales and a
very heavy swell which is generally the
case in crossing the Bay of Biscay.

Sunday June 4th.. Commemorated

the Birth day of our gracious Sovereign.
Fresh breezes and cloudy with a heavy sea,
exchanged numbers with H.M. Ship Magician [sic]
the sea running very high and blowing very hard
in her endeavouring to communicate with
the Commodore her boat was upset, and
the Boatswain and one man lost, a man
of the Hindostan behaved in the most
gallant manner, on seeing the accident
he jumped overboard, and through his
exertions saved two men.. he was rewarded
by a Subscription raised on board the
Hindostan; departed this life – Mcdonald
Seaman, lying to under the Mizen and storm
Stay sail. Late. 42°.. 38' N. Longe. 11°.. 14' W.

June 5th.. Gale still continues
lying to as before, strange sail in sight, fired
a gun to bring her to, proved to be a sloop

from Gibraltar. Late. 42°.. 38' N. Longe. 10°.. 51' W. —

Thursday June 8th.. showed our number
to a cutter, chased a strange sail, came up
and boarded an American from Teneriffe
bound to Cowes. Late.. 38.° 25' N. Longe.. 11.° 36' W.

Sunday 11th.. twenty minutes after
10 A.M. saw the land of Porto Santo.

Monday 12th.. at 5 OClock A.M. came
to anchor with the small bower in Funchall
roads, Island of Madeira, in 45 fathoms water
in the evening arrived H.M. Ship Magician, on
making the land the morning before, we mistook
the Island of Disertis [?] for that of Madeira in
consequence of which we got so much to leeward
before we found out our mistake, that we
were obliged to beat up all night. —

The Town of Funshall, [sic] in the Island
of Madeira, is in Latitude. 32°–37' – Longitude

17°– 5', and has a most beautiful and romantic
appearance from the Roads, being situated at
the bottom of the Bay, the ground behind rises
at first with a gradual, and afterwards with
a very steep ascent in the form of an amphitheatre,
and is covered with vineyards, villas
and Convents. The Town loses much of its
beauty on a nearer approach the streets
being narrow and dirty. —

This being too early in the
season for fruit, very little was to be had,
this was a great disappointment to those
who expected to feast on the grapes for which
the Island is so famous, the cultivation of
the vine depends much upon the soil exposure
and supply of water. – One or more walks about
a yard or two wide intersect each vineyard
and are inclosed by a stone wall two feet

high, along the walks which are arched over
with laths about seven feet high, they erect
wooden Pillars, to support the lattice work
of bamboos which slope down on each side;
the vines are in this manner supported
from the ground; and the people have room
to weed underneath, and likewise to cut
off the grapes. The gardens produce peaches,
apricots, quinces, apples, Pears, & & together
with some tropical fruits such as bananas,
guavas & pine Apples. —

All the common domestic animals
of Europe are to be found in Madeira, and
their Mutton & Beef though small is very well
tasted; Report says there are no snakes on
the Island, and that if brought to it they
immediately die. Our stay here was too short
to make many observations for after watering

and procuring what little refreshments could
be had, we saild [sic] on the evening of the 19th.. June
but made little progress during the night, as
the Island could be plainly seen the next
morning from the Cabin windows. —

Tuesday June 20th.. Strange sail
in sight sent in chase, proved to be a Portuguese
from Oporto bound to Brazil, moderate breezes
and cloudy. Late.. 31.°.. 46' N. Longe.. 17.°. 20' W.

Wednesday 21st.. Palma one of the
Canary Islands, in sight this morning at day
light, passed it about ten OClock distant
15 or 20 miles; Robert Watt, a man of my
Company departed this life during the night,
this poor fellow was perfectly well a few
days before, and died of a fever. Strange
sail in sight, sent in chase, she proved to be
a Spanish brig from Malaga bound to Vera Cruz.

Sunday June 25th. Fresh breezes and
cloudy, Performed divine Service for the first
time, the service read by Mr.. Bent, the Judge
Advocate, passed the Tropic of Cancer, in Longitude
20°. 1' W. with a fine steady trade wind
going at the rate of 7 knots an hour under two
and sometimes three topsails, our usual number
and obliged to keep under this easy sail to
avoid going ahead of the Commodore who
with one and twenty and sometimes four and twenty
sails could scarcely keep pace with us. Latitude
20° 58' N. —

Wednesday June 28th.. light breezes and
Cloudy saw the Island of Sall at day light
on our larbourd [sic] quarter distance 5. or 6 leagues,
and at 11 the Island of Bonavista bearing
S:S:W. —

Thursday. 29th. at 8 OClock saw

the Island of Mayo N.W. 6 leagues and at
2 P.M. came to anchor in Port Praya roads
Island of St.. Jago, with the small Bower in a
¼ less 7 fathoms about a mile from the shore. —

This part of the Island has
a most barren appearance, tho' I was told
the interior is fertile; the Capital is about
12 miles inland, and is Called St.. Jago, but the
port where the shipping anchor is called
Port Praya and is a most wretched place.
The Town, if it can be called such, consists
of one wide Street with a row of miserable
huts on each side, situated on the brow
of a steep bank leading down to the sea.
The appearance of the inhabitants corresponds
with the Town, and partakes of the battered
condition of their habitation, they are so
badly off for all kinds of Clothing, that you

have here an excellent market for all
your old cast-off Cloths, preferring this kind
of barter to money, for an old Coat, hat
or sword, you can procure fruit, vegetables
and poultry; the Military appear in little
better condition than the Town or inhabitants
they have to defend; and have to perform
this duty, with muskets, some without barrels
and others without locks, with old cocked
hats and tattered regimentals make a
most ludicrous turn out, we only remained
here twenty four hours, and of course could
procure but little refreshments in that
time, and were not sorry to leave a place
that had nothing striking or interesting
about it.

Friday 30th.. in the evening weighed
and stood out of the Harbour. —

Sunday July 2d.. Performed divine
Service this day and every Sunday when
the weather would permit. —

Monday 3d.. Calm weather and
cloudy, departed this life, Mrs.. Ann Murray
and a Child of Evan Davis's. —

Tuesday 4th.. Light airs and squally
with thunder, lightning and rain. —

Wednesday 5th.. A Strange sail in
sight to windward, gave chase and fired
2 guns to bring her to, she appeared suspicious
on at first in not hoisting her Colours, stood
to our quarters, on coming up with her she
proved to be an American from Philadelphia
bound to Canton.

Wednesday 26th.. The wife of Thos..
Miller delivered of a daughter, signal from

the commodore for seeing Land, the Island
of St. Pauls, not seen by us, suspected he must
have seen Cape flyaway, as we were distant
from it more than 100 miles. —

Saturday 29th.. at 1. OClock crossed
the Equator in Longitude 34°. 7' with a
fine steady breeze. Captn.. and Mrs.. Pasco
of the Hindostan, Captn.. & Mrs.. Murray and
Captain Glenholme dined on board yesterday. —

Tuesday August 1st.. fell in with
and gave chase to a small Portuguese
sloop from Buenos Ayres bound to St.. Salvadore.

Thursday 3d.. chased another
strange sail, she proved to be a Portuguese
brig from the Coast of Guinea bound to
Rio de Janeiro with 436 female slaves on

board, these poor wretches we were told
were confined in the hole of this small ship
and were dying by dozens, and the monster
who commanded frequently threw them
overboard the moment they were taken ill
that the infection might not spread to
the rest, this I should hope for the sake
of human nature was not true. —

Friday 4th.. Moderate breezes &
Clear weather; drawing towards the American
Coast, sounded but found no bottom
with a line of 75 fathoms. Latd. 22°.. 31', Long.
38°. 53' W. Thermometer 75°. —

Saturday 5th.. Light Airs and Cloudy
sounded in 95 fathom sandy bottom at 5
P.M. saw the Land bearing W.N.W., and
on the 7th.. came to anchor in the Harbour

of Rio de Janeiro in 20 fathom water about
two miles from the Town. —

Rio de Janeiro, a Portuguese
settlement in South America, lies in
South Latitude 23°. 31'. West longitude
43°.. 51'. St.. Sabastian [sic] is now the Capital
of their Settlements in this part of the world
and the residence of the Prince Regent
of Portugal. The Bay of Rio is very extensive
and secure, the entrance is between
two forts about ½ mile across, on passing
which the harbour opens to more than
4 miles, and extends upwards of thirty,
and is large enough to contain the whole
Navy of Britain, and perhaps of the world –
it is interspersed into Islands and
surrounded with lofty mountains, which

give it a most romantic appearance,
at the foot of one of these on the left after
you enter, is the Town of St. Sabastian, [sic]
it has a very good landing place, built of
stone and one also for watering the
shipping, abundance of fruit and other
vegetables are to be had her, especially
oranges, which abound in such plenty
that they can be purchased for little
or nothing and afford a most grateful
refreshment to the ships, the Beef is
poor and not very good but there is
plenty of most excellent fish. — The town
is large and pleasantly situated, but
like all other Portuguese settlements
the streets are narrow and dirty, — the
Palace of the Prince Regent is near

the Landing Place and forms three
sides of a square, but has nothing in
its external appearance to deserve notice.

On Sunday the 20th.. The Jolly
boat of the Dromedary was missing
in the morning at daylight having been
taken away by two men of the 73d.
Regiment, who had taken this opportunity
of deserting, in the evening the
boat was brought back by some
Portuguese who reported they had
found her on the beach some way
up the harbour but had seen nothing
of the soldiers. —

Wednesday 23d. Early in the
morning weighed and stood out of
the harbour after remaining here

sixteen days, sent Mrs.. Jones, Mrs.. Macquarie's
servant maid, on shore at her own request,
we had a fine breeze which carried us out
of sight of land before next morning, course
S. by E.

Sunday 27th.. This day was married
Mrs.. Watts widow of the late Robert Watts
Private in the 73d Regt.. to one of the sailors
of the ship, this woman's husband had
not been dead more than two months. —
we experienced a severe gale of wind
that lasted the whole of this day and
part of the day following.

Friday September 1st.. at 2
P.M., hove to having lost Chas.. Tomkins
overboard, lowered the boat but without
success, as nothing could be seen of him —

the alarm was given that he was missing
as he had been sent over the ship's side
not half an hour before to calk in one
of the scuttles, he refused to be secured
by a rope and it was supposed he had
dropt [sic] from the ship's side, the ship
was going nine knots through the
water, at the time. This is a melancholy
instance of the uncertainty of life and
a warning to us how necessary it is to
be prepared to meet that death which
in a moment like the present instance
may overtake us; this poor fellow
went merrily over the ship's side not a
quarter of an hour before, and little
thought of the awful summons that
awaited him – he was, I believe, a

quiet well-behaved man.

Septr.. 9th.. S[t]eady breezes the wind
nearly aft; running down three degrees of
Longitude a day; very cold, sometimes rainy.

Septr.. 13th.. wind shifted to the
eastward against us much hard motion
in consequence Latitude 35°. 52'. S. Long. 2°. 43' E.
Thermometer, 51°.

Septr 18th.. Sent a boat on board
the Hindostan, all well on board —

Septr.. 19th.. Wind ahead very
great swell and much motion in
consequence, within ten miles of the Latitude
of the Cape steering N.E. by E. made a
small stand for my writing desk and
fitted it up near one of the Cabin windows
found it to answer very well.

At day light on the morning
of the 23d of September came in sight of the
Cape of Good Hope the land distant about
30 miles, and came to anchor at noon
with the small Bower in Table bay in
7 fathom's water about 2 miles from the
Town, found H.M. Ship Charwell a small
ship with the Admiral's flag on board
here, moored ship.

Table Bay is situated in Latitude
34°.. 29' South, Longitude 18°.. 27' East.
The Town is handsome, regular and well
built and kept remarkably clean, the
streets wide and airy, it is built at the
foot of Table Mountain, with the Devil's
Mountain on the right, and the Lion's
head and rump on the left; the bay

though spacious, is not safe at all times
one half of the year blowing with violence
from the N: W into the Bay and the other
half from the S. E. out of it, the latter
is of course the safest, as a ship can
always cut and run out to sea with it;
with the other should a Ship drag her
anchor she must go on shore, ships therefore
at the commencement of that season
generally go round to Simon's bay, about
60 miles to the Northward [sic] where they
can ride in safety. — Between the Town
and the Table Mountain are scattered
over the Plain a number of neat houses
surrounded by Plantations and Gardens,
fruit of all kinds is extremely scarce and
the article of fuel still more so, a single

Cart Load of it will sometimes sell for
seven dollars – in most families slaves are
kept for the purpose of collecting fire wood
they ascend the Table Mountain every
morning, and return in the evening with
two small bundles of faggots the produce
of six or eight hours Labour, swinging at
the end of a bamboo carried across the
shoulders. — The mountain is directly
behind the Town, is a horizontal line of about
2 miles in length and is reckoned to be
3,502 feet above the sea. —

Monday r.. 25th.. fresh breezes
and cloudy with a heavy swell into
the Bay, on shore not able to get off
to the ship; dined on shore with Genl.
Wetherall, a very pleasant and agreeable

family. The vice-Admiral hoisted his Flag
(Blue) on board H.M.S. Hindostan, as the
Charwell was to sail the next day with
Provisions for the Squadron off the Isle of France.

Wednesday October 4th.. Fresh
gales and cloudy, with squalls and
showers of rain, hoisted in the launch
being stove along side during the night,
Struck lower yards, and lower top Gallant
Masts on deck, braced the yards to the
wind and made all snug blowing
very fresh. —

Thursday 5th.. received 115
live sheep on board for the Troops and
sailors, went on shore and took a walk
with Mr.. Shepperd the gunner to the Top

of Table Mountain, we found it a most
fatiguing undertaking being three hours
ascending the path way up very steep
and rugged, overtook one of the slaves
going for his daily allowance of fire
wood, and he undertook to be our
guide, this man was accustomed to
mount the hill almost every day, and
from custom thought nothing of it, while
we were toiling and labouring and
obliged to stop every ten or dozen
yards to rest. When we reached the
summit we were fully compensated
for our labour, by a most delightful
prospect of the Country, and the
Town lying at our feet, we amused
ourselves for a few hours, took a biscuit

and a glass of grog, and returned to the
ship in the evening, quite knocked up
with our walk.. we were the only two
belonging to the ships that would venture
the journey.

Friday 13th.. having completed
our watering, &c. weighed and stood out
of the Bay, received here a Mr.. John
Thos.. Campbell, whom the Governor had
promised to do something for in the
Country we were going to.. he had the
appearance of being a Gentlemanly
well informed man. — we remained
here twenty-two days.

Sunday 15th.. a strange sail
in sight, sent in chase of her; she appeared
to be a large ship, she hoisted all

sail going before the wind, we kept in
chase till after dark, and was nearly
out of sight of the Hindostan, and evidently
gained upon the stranger, but the
Commodore burning a blue light, the
Captain mistook it for a signal of recall,
not being over anxious I believe to come
to close quarters, we gave up the chase
and shortened sail to wait for our consort
who gave our brave Commander a
good rowing for mistaking a blue light
to show us where he was, for a signal
to give up the chase, when a couple
of hours more would have made her
our Prize. — at 10 OClock the next
morning, in consequence of sailing so much
to the N. W. found ourselves in sight

of Table Mountain, and not being able
to double it, tacked and stood to the
southward, fine healthy weather. —

Novr.. 10th. Calm made little or no way.

Novr. 11th.. fine steady breeze and
clear weather. From this date to the
end of the month we had in general
fine weather with a steady breeze, with
occasional gales of wind, with a moderate
wind we could keep up with the Hindostan
with 3 sails only, she having
generally 15 or more set, our carrying
so little sail, made us labour much more
than we otherwise would have done —
the weather evidently getting warmer
as we approached the Coast of New

South Wales frequently sounded but
found no bottom with a great extent of

December 9th.. light airs, sent
ahead this morning to look out for land,
Governor Kings Island at the mouth
of Bass's Straits, at 12 OClock thick
weather could get no observations, lay
to in the evening till the Hindostan
came up who spoke us in passing very
near.. found that the current had
carried us twenty miles more to the East:
ward than the log gave us. —

Sunday , Decr.. 10th.. wind against
us all day both ships lay along side
each other, the Commodore sent his
boat on board for Spirits and other

articles that we wanted.

Monday, 11th.. fine weather and
clear, the wind
blowing from the very
point we wanted to steer.

Wednesday 13th.. Thick misty
weather all the morning not able to see
two lengths of the ship, lost sight of the
Commodore about 7 OClock fired a gun
to let him know where we were, supposed
by the one returned in answer that he
was about two miles off, at 11 fired
another which not being answered fired
another about half an hour after, Commodore
fired 4 guns, and shortly after
two more, a signal to bear away two
points S. E. in the evening it cleared up
on a sudden and the Commodore was seen

upon our larboard bow about a mile to
windward, made the signal to bear up one
point more to the eastward. —

Thursday 14th.. fine clear weather
with a steady breeze, about 8 OClock sent
ahead to look out for land saw something
like it about 2 P.M. but at too great a
distance to be certain, a signal of recall
was made by the Commodore, and we
lay to till 6 for him, some large whales
seen about the ship yesterday and to-day.
Our Latitude was 39°.. 38'. S. 80°. 27'
East. Thermometer was at 50°.

Friday 15th.. a fine steady
breeze and cloudy weather, sent ahead at
day light to look out, at 7 hove to and
sounded, no bottom with a line 160 fathom

at ¼ past 10 saw the land bearing nearly
ahead, supposed to be the south point of
New Holland. It is impossible to describe
the sensations this sight occasioned to all
hands on board, after a Passage of seven
months from England and nine weeks
from the Cape thus to have the hopes
of a speedy termination to our long
voyage in health and safety. I can
venture to say that I believe there was not
a sad countenance on board out of
600 souls, and I trust we all had thankful
hearts. Hove to and sounded found
bottom at 77 fathom coral and sand. The
Commodore passed close along side
and congratulated us on the first
sight of the land of our destination.

December 15th.. at ½ past two
the Commodore hove to being some
distance astern, and lowered two boats,
in about three hours when he had
come up with us, we learnt the melancholy
circumstances of his having lost
one of his best men overboard, the
poor fellow had been sent up to the
mast head to look out, where it is
supposed he had fallen asleep, and
as he fell from the top the ship
must have gone over him as he
was never seen after, it is serious
to think how frequent these accidents
happen, and it is from their frequency
I suppose that so little is thought
of them. I know of nothing that

could give a more serious cast to the
mind of a thinking being than to see a
poor fellow creature, one moment alive
and well and the next launched in
eternity with all his imperfections on
his head; may I ever be reminded of
these circumstances when about to
commit a wrong action and reflect upon
the consequences. —

Friday 16th.. at 10 OClock came
in sight of the South West point of
Van Diemens Land called de Witts Island
the next land we passed was the Mew
Stone, then Pedro Blanco, and the Eddy
stone, where we could see the sea break
over them in a dreadful surf, the last
land in the evening was St. Adment's

head, the South Easternmost part of
Van Diemens Land, and we sailed
Passed [sic] it with a fine breeze, and the
evening being clear could easily see the
main land behind, sounded at 10 OClock
77 fathom Coral, course E. N: E. our Latitude
was 43°. 27'. S'. Longitude 148°.. 40' E.
Thermometer 65°.

December 17th.. rainy weather
the wind more ahead steering north
not far from Cape Pillar, which was
discovered when the weather cleared
up, about 5 miles astern, at ½ past
8 wore ship and stood off from the
Land S: E. stood on till one A.M.
this evening a bird like a dove but
larger flew aboard and a man

attempting to lay hold of it, pulled out
the whole of the feathers of its tail and
it escaped, signal to steer north; going
before the wind with a fine breeze.

Wednesday, 20th.. 7 OClock fresh
breezes and cloudy, going about 7 knots
under two topsails lowered down on the
Caps, the Commodore astern having
carried away his top mast studding-
sail boom, made sail again at 11 OClock
fine clear weather the rest of the day
had a good observation, and found we
had made ourselves 46 miles nearer
to Sydney than by the observation.
Latitude 39°. 32' S: Longitude 152°.. 15' E.
Thermometer 60°. distance from Sydney
or Port Jackson 337 miles. —

Thursday, Decr.. 21st.. about 10
OClock saw Cape Howe, N: W: distant
about 25 or 30 miles, displayed the Colours
of the Regiment on the Poop, the Band
Playing God save the King, fine clear
weather and steady breezes. —

Friday, 22d. Calm with clear
weather we evidently find it getting
warmer as we approach the land
and have the regular land and sea
Breezes, very busy in preparations for
landing, issuing the Arms, accoutrements
and Clothing, got up the awning
and sent a boat to the Hindostan with
Clothing, &c. land in sight all day
passed Cape Dromedary. —

Saturday, 23d. about 10 OClock

the wind came ahead which obliged
us to stand off and on all day and
part of the night, when the wind changed
again in our favour, much vivid Lightning
in the evening but attended with
little Thunder. —

Sunday, 24th.. at 7 OClock the
weather pleasant and going before a
fine breeze, in the early part of the
morning the Clouds looked heavy and
threatened rain, but it cleared up.. at
night observed a large fire on shore
distant about 25 miles the first sign
of Inhabitants we had seen since
our arrival on the Coast. The
breeze increased during the day
to fresh gales, going under top sails

at 12 OClock 136 miles from Port Jackson.

Monday Decr.. 25th.. fine steady
breeze and clear weather, no land in
sight. Paraded at 10 OClock in complete
marching Order, found the men in very
good order. This being Christmas
Day served out an extra allowance
of grog to the Soldiers and ships
company, the Ladies and Gentlemen of
the Cuddy dined with us, our Fresh
Provisions being quite expended for
some time past, nothing to give them
for dinner but salt Beef and Pork, and
part of an old goat which was killed
for the occasion.

Tuesday, 26th.. at 8 OClock in the
morning close in with Botany Bay

the wind against us, a fine bold shore
with high Table Land, fine weather, stood
close in to the shore, and wore ship about
12 stood off an on the rest of the day,
and towards night it grew perfectly
calm and very hot and close thick
weather. —

Wednesday, 27th.. a fine fair wind
which sprung up about one OClock, sailing
some distance from the land about
3 knots an hour, spoke the Commodore
and sent a boat on board. Mr.. Worthington
the 3 officer sent before the mast for
insolent and mutinous behaviour
to his Commander, Mr.. Cleaveland and
Mr.. Gray the 1st.. and 2d. officers in
arrest for the same crime. —

Thursday 28th.. Decr.. the wind
shifted yesterday evening to all points
of the compass blowing a hurricane with
very severe thunder and lightning &
heavy rain, stood off an on all night
sometimes very near the land, about
7 OClock in the morning saw the Flag
staff at the Head of Port Jackson, made
signal for a Pilot, blowing a fresh
gale, and at 10 OClock came to
anchor within the heads, the wind
being against us could not work up
the harbour. Thus have I brought
the Journal of our voyage of seven
months and six days from leaving
the Land's End, and within a few days
of a twelvemonth from leaving Scotland to

a conclusion we remained at the Heads
till the 30th.. the wind being against us
on the morning of the 30th.. it changed, and
we weighed and stood up the harbour
and soon after anchored in Sydney
Cove. The Governor landed the next
morning with all due ceremony, the
Regiments being drawn up both on
board and on shore, and the ship
firing a Salute. The next day the
Regiment landed, and there not
being room in Barrack for them
they marched out to Gross [sic] Farm about
3 miles from Town and Encamped,
and remained there till the 102 Regiment
embarked for England. —

F. I: N: I. S.

H. C. A.

Now 40 years back
The 28th.. Decr. 1849 —

Top of page

ANTILL, Henry Colden. Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales 1809.
Original in Mitchell Library, Sydney. Used with permission.
ML Ref: Safe 1/20a pp.1-61 [Microfilm CY 265].

The internal evidence indicates that Antill commenced his journal on the 7 November 1809 at the midway point on his passage between Cape Town and Sydney. At that time he would have been in that region of the Indian Ocean often referred to as the Roaring Forties, and near to the tiny island of St. Paul.

There are annotations at the end of the manuscript indicating that on 28 December 1849 Antill made a final review of the content of his 1809 journal. Also at this stage it seems likely that he added the marginalia relating to parts of his 1815 journal associated with the artist J.W. Lewin.

Henry Colden Antill's 1809 Journal has been transcribed and published before. The earliest complete version appeared in 1914 as:
ANTILL, Henry Colden. Early History of New South Wales: two old journals: being the diaries of Major H.C. Antill on the voyage to New South Wales in 1809, and on a trip across the Blue Mountains in 1815. Sydney: W.A. Gullick, Govt. Printer, 1914.
[see: Sydney Teachers College. Education Society. Records No.18].

There is a transcription available through the State Library of NSW online catalogue PICMAN, as well as a full digital copy of the original manuscript. However the transcript needs to be used carefully, as a comparison with the original indicates various discrepancies and errors in the associated online transcription.

See: State Library of NSW: Original and Transcript

The Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie Archive (LEMA) transcription is a separate publication, but is made available with the full permission of the State Library of NSW. Any errors or omissions are attributable to the editors of the LEMA Project. The only editorial addition to the original text has been the introduction of bold headings for the individual date headings for the days 7 May - 28 December 1809. The original line breaks have been retained throughout to assist with comparison between the original 1809 Journal and the LEMA transcription. The individual pages are indicated by numbers in square brackets [*].

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