Showing posts from June, 2014

Bass Strait Traders #5: The Wreck of the 'CHILDREN'



1. Official Summary (Incomplete and Inaccurate)
Register of Wrecks: Serious Casualties to Shipping within the Ports and upon the Coasts of Victoria and King's Island from 1835 to 1858, Department of Ports and Harbours, Victoria, 21st February, 1859
Date. Dec...
Name of Vessel / Where Belonging. Children, Launceston.
Rig. Barque.
Tons. 280.
Men. ...
From Bound To. Launceston to Adelaide.
Cargo. ...
Wind Direction / Force. W. 10.
Weather. Clear.
Master or Mates passed Examination. ...
Vessel's Age and how classed at Lloyds. ...
Vessel / Estimated Loss on / Insured for and where. ...
Hour and Time of Tide. 11 pm.
Number of Lives Lost. 14.
Site of Casualty. Bold Projection.
Remarks. Ran ashore through an error in reckoning and a bad look out. Became a total wreck.
Authority. ...

2. Arrivals and Departures in Colonial Waters
Shipping Arrivals and Departures Tasmania 1834 - 1842 and Gazetteer 1803-1842, 1984, Ian Hawkins Nicholson, Roebuck No 33, Canberra [ab…

Hard Men #5: Van Diemonian Sea-Wolves

Sealers and Whalers 1800-1850

Van Diemonian Sea-Wolves

1. Conventional criticism
The sealers along the southern coast of Australia in the first half of the nineteenth century have a bad reputation. They have been portrayed as "rude, rough, wife-snatching" brutes, "wreckers, pirates, freebooters, slave-drivers, murderers, rum-swillers, sea-wolves, and sea-rats -- ragged drunken beasts" [Leslie Norman, 1946, Sea Wolves and Bandits, Hobart]. This negative and still quite current view is largely consistent with contemporary accounts.

W. Stewart, Letter to the colonial secretary, HRA, series 3, volume 2, 575-576
"There is a custom...of whale boats from 25 to 30 feet long, who clear out from the Derwent [Hobart] or Port Dalrymple [Launceston] each with two or three people on board, and after their departure amount to six or seven in number, then go equipped with arms and dogs to hunt for their living, and save the kangaroo skins as well as what seal skins the…

Hard Men #4: Captain Dutton

Sealers and Whalers 1800-1850

Captain Dutton

1. Pioneer at Portland Bay
Sworn statement signed by Willam Pelham Dutton at Portland on February 11, 1873
Published in Hamilton Spectator on September 23, 1874
Reproduced in Noel Learmonth, 1834, The Portland Bay Settlement, pp. 30-31

"I was born in Sydney on August 31, 1811; my parents emigrated to that town from England. About the year 1813 I went with them to Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land. I was brought up in Hobart Town until I took to the sea.
I first visited Portland Bay in the month of December 1828, in the schooner Madeira Packet, Captain McMullen. We were on a sealing expedition; we landed a boat's crew (myself among them) at Blacknose Point, a little on the south of the bay. We remained in this neighbourhood until the middle of January 1829.
In July 1829 I returned in the schooner Henry, Captain McLean; we were again sealing. I was captain of a boat, and was landed at Whaler's Point or Single Corner, where the c…

Hard Men #3: The King Island Girls

Sealers and Whalers 1800-1850

The King Island Girls

1. The sealer 

Hobart Town Gazette, March 25, 1826
"It is evident that the Legislative Government must enact a law to prevent the fishery for seals at improper seasons; else this most valuable source of colonial export will soon be lost. There are two species of seals in these seas. The early kind brings forth its young from 25th November, to the latter end of December, and the reefs and banks should be left undisturbed until May following, when the increase will be grown up, and the skins well furred. The black seal, which is the most valuable, is a month later. The unthinking sealers, harass these useful animals at all seasons, and the consequence is, that many reefs are deserted, and inferior skins have been procured from animals too young, and imposed on the merchants.
John Scott, who has long been an inhabitant of the Straits, and has cohabited there with a black woman, by whom he has three children, declares that he ha…

Hard Men #1: Portland Bay

(Sealers and Whalers 1800-1850)

Portland Bay

1. 'Convincing Ground' 1833-1834
Ian Clark, 1995, Scars in the Landscape: A register of massacre sites in western Victoria, 1803-1859, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra ACT.

"The earliest recorded massacre, at the Convincing Ground, on the coast near Portland, is believed to have taken place in either 1833 or 1834...
PLACE NAME: Convincing Ground
LOCATION: on the coast between Portland and the Surrey River [Narrawong]
DATE OF INCIDENT: 1833 or 1834
ABORIGINES INVOLVED: Kilcarer gundidj [clan], Dhauwurd wurrung [language group]
REPORTED ABORIGINAL DEATHS: all but two young men from the Kilcarer clan [Pollikeunnuc and Yarereryarerer. Typical extended family groups ranged from 30-50 individuals including children]...
The earliest [written] reference to the Convincing Ground locality is an entry in Edward Henty's diary dated 18 October 1835, where he noted that he 'walked to the convincing ground&#…