State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 3 April 1969


Reminiscences of john Pascoe Fawkner

Fawkner's manuscript reminiscences, held in the collection of his Papers in the La Trobe Library, are published for the first time to mark the centenary of his death on 4 September 1869.
Twas Sixty ago—or In the Year of Grace 1802 the first attempt was made to settle at Port Phillip. The project was sanctioned by the British Ministry of the day And was commenced and carried on under their auspices. But at the Public cost of somewhere about 150 thousands of Pounds And all this money expended on a Miserable failure.
The Second attempt was made by six individuals not Government officers, carried out at their own cost, they not drawing one shilling from the Public treasury, I was one of that Six, and the success of our efforts can be seen by every colonist present this day.
The first attempt to settle at Port Phillip was projected Sixty Years past and it originated in the Secretary of State's Office In London Some time in the first half of the Year of Grace 1802. The projector was a Mr. Capper Chief clerk to Lord Hobart the then Secretary of State. It was in this wise. Lord Hobart was in want of something to excite him to Action, and Mr. Capper proposed that the Lord Hobart should ‘found’ a colony, the chief city of which should continue his title to future times, as the Metropolis of a Crown Colony founded under his auspices and at the expense of the State. Lord Hobart coincided with the proposition and at once set to work to carry out the idea thus suggested. A Governor was wanted. Capt David Collins R.M. who had held office in Sydney as Judge Advocate, and had lately returned from New South Wales, was applied to and he accepted office as Lieut: Governor of the incipient Crown Colony, and Port Philip Bass’ Straits, having been lately reported to the department as an eligible site wherein to found a new State, Port Philip was fixed upon by Lord Hobart and assented to by Brevet Lt. Col: D. Collins.
The Governor in embryo, was deputed to fix the number of officers, civil and Military, that he would consent to carry out the undertaking with, and also the number of Marines required to maintain order and ensure safety to the free population: and duly enforce Order upon the prison population.
The laborers were to be taken from the Prison population of England, and no provision of animal labor other than manual was made.
Governor Collins selected One Commissary Leonard Fosbrooke Esqr. One surveyor George Prideaux Harris Esqr. One Mineralogist—W.H. Humphries Esqr. One Chaplain Revd. Robert Knopwood,
(formerly Chaplain of a ship of war). Three surgeons, Messrs. Robt. I. Anson chief, Mathew Bowden and John Hopley subs:.
The Military officers were, 1st Lt. Sladen Brevet Capt. and Messrs. Anderson, Johnson, and Edward Lord, Subalterns, with some forty odd marines. On Ed. Lord, subsequently devolved the Governorship, on the death of Lt. Gov. D. Collins, several of the Marines were married men, with families. One Serjeant was married at Portsmouth just before we left, and brought his wife with him. She made herself very notorious for immorality, both on ship board and subsequently at Hobart Town, but as she has children now living I withold the name. The rest of the lower Civil officers were Messrs Robt. Collins, Superintendent (he had been in the mercantile navy) Thos. Clark Agricultural Superintendant, James Paterson, town Overseer, John Ingle, Overseer, and Richard Parish Assist. Overseer.
There were also 12 male settlers, freemen with Eight female settlers (six wives and one widow) and a sister of one of the married settlers, making eight females with eight boys and seven girls and of the prisoners there were between 350 & 360 of which number there were fifteen men whose wives came on board having with them 4 Boys and 2 girls, who volunteered to go with their Husbands and Fathers into banishment to the New Colony. We had also one missionary—Mr. Croke [late of Melbourne undertaker now at Sydney] to visit the Aborigines, he had a wife and one son; making a total of nearly 480 souls.
To take these people to the New Country Lord Hobart provided one of H.B.M.'s ships of war the ‘Calcutta’ of 1200 tons burthen and carrying 50 Guns. She had been an East India ship, and purchased for the Royal Navy. The “Ocean” store ship of 600 tons (Commanded by Capt Mathews) was hired to carry stores and passengers. The ‘Calcutta’ was commanded by Capt. Woodruffe, with a sloop of war's crew of sailors and marines. This you will bear in mind was in the time of the short peace of Amiens, made Oct. 1801 and the War broke out again May 14th 1803.
The Authorities provided provisions for all the people: free settlers, Officers, Marines and prisoners, for three years, after which time, it was computed that we could in part support ourselves. [The stores failed and we suffered great privations.]
Stores of all kinds (at that time thought necessary for founding a new settlement) were provided under the direction of Lt. Col. Collins, who it was supposed, would know what was required, he having been some years at the then newly formed settlement at Sydney, but known better as Botany Bay.
The ‘Calcutta’ was at the Nore and shortly before Christ mas 1802 she took in part of her prisoner passengers, at that place and then passed round to Portsmouth to fill up her complement of men, and receive on board such Officers and passengers, as were to benefit by her large and superior accommodations. (She lost a midshipman on this passage. He fell from the Mizen top to the deck, and was taken to Haslar Hospital where he died in a few days). Our friends being well acquainted with the Clerks of the office of Lord Hobart, applied to know when it would be necessary to embark on board the ‘Calcutta’ and were told early in Jany 1803, “You must proceed to Portsmouth immediately”. My mother in reply, said a letter she had just received, stated that the ‘Calcutta’ in passing from the Nore, had turned down the wrong street and found herself in Plymouth. The Clerks in the Secretarys office enjoyed a hearty laugh, at the idea of a ship turning down a wrong street. Being present with my Mother at the time, I recollect this very well, being then turned of ten years old.
I came to the Colony with my Father
Mother and sister, and we came on board the ‘Calcutta’, from London on the tenth day of February 1803 and although hurried on board from the Office we left Spithead on the 23rd April and St Helens on the 25th April. We finally left England on the 25th April 1803, a period of ten weeks and upwards was thus wasted on Shipboard. We were told that no feather beds would be allowed on board, and thus were sadly distressed and needlessly inconvenienced on the passage and afterwards, for there was no such order on ship board to prevent bringing them.
By the middle of April all the stores were on board, The Prisoners, their wives and families, the settlers also were all on board—only waiting for the ‘Ocean’ storeship—I may here remark the ‘Ocean’ was a very very dull sailing craft.
But at length all arrangements were completed and to Sea we put on the 25th April 1803. We had scarcely got into Blue Water before gross immorality in high places broke out, the which conduct had a very injurious after effect in Van Diemans Land. The Governor had a Wife and family in England. He left them behind again as he did when he first went to Sydney and the ship was not out of sight of Land, before he took for his paramour one of the prisoners wives a Mrs. P—r, and we found some two years after his Sydney wife sent to him a Son and daughter. Thus the Polygamist Governor had three wives and eventually a fourth, and three families. His example was followed by others, and even the Parson was compromised. But these things will be given more at large in my written reminiscences of the founding of Hobart Town.
We steered for Teneriffe and refreshed there and also at Rio Janeiro, and then finding that the Calcutta with topsails lying on the Caps. could outsail the ‘Ocean’ with all her sails set, It was resolved to part company and Capt Mathews of the ‘Ocean’ was directed if he lost sight of the Calcutta to make the best of his way, as direct as possible to Port Philip. The ‘Calcutta’ then pushed on for the Cape, and we anchored in due time in Simons or False Bay. We were much amused by the dutchman taking our penny pieces for two pence each. Very cheap goods we found here, and were quite surprised to find sheep with tails weighing twelve Pounds and upwards, which tails were almost one lump of solid fat. The meat here generally was very lean. At both Ports Cape & Rio.
News of the war arrived whilst we were in Port and the Dutch Port Admiral demanded of Capt. Woodruffe, the surrender of himself Crew & his ship he (Capt. Woodruffe) sent a true Jack tars answer. It was simply “Come and take me”. Our fifty Guns were chiefly in the hold (as we left England during the Peace of ‘Amiens’). But all hands were piped up and the two master's mates Messrs Gammon & Buick were sent down amongst the prisoners, to invite such of them as knew any thing of fighting to join the sailors and marines, and all those who had been either Sailors or Soldiers, Volunteered. By the time that the ship had got into fighting order the Dutch Admiral had changed his mind and sent word that as the ship was loaded with prisoners, he would not capture them to burden his country. [Captn Woodruffe going home fought etc., etc. Mother saw him in London afterwards.] We then pushed on for Port Philip Bass' Straits. I use these terms because all cases and packages on board that were intended for the new Colony bore these marks or words at full length.
On the 9th or 10th October 1803 we entered Port Philip and found the “Ocean” storeship at anchor. The Lt. Govr a marine officer being of the Nature of a square peg to a round hole, instead of causing a survey of the whole Bay, in order to find the most elegible site for a town, sent a gang
of men ashore, to clear a place to erect tents for the whole population: on a narrow neck of sandy land some 4 or 5 miles within the heads on the Nepean Point side, where the sea was constantly breaking on the west beach about 1¼ miles across, from the Bay, the roar of the surf was a constant annoyance. No fresh water except what was obtained by sinking casks with holes in the bottom of them in the sand just above high water mark, and thus the water was filtered through the sand, half salt, or Brackish. 6 Casks were sunk for the supply of the whole of the people—One for the Officers only—Padlocked the other 5 for the commonalty.
The people were landed as fast as room could be made for them, and tents erected [Timber felled to make room for Tents—All tents.] and on the 19th Oct. 1803, I first landed on the shores of Port Philip. I became 11 years of age the next day—October the 20th 1803.
The folly of Great Britain in entrusting a Marine Officer to form a settlement in a wild and distant country was eminently shewn here. The Governor would not send round the Bay to search for a more elegible site. He would not look for water although the bad water was fast sending into the Hospital our largest and ablest men or useful timber; (and boards and other sawn timbers were in great request. Our sawn timber we had to go 14 miles for, viz to Arthurs Seat).
The officers of the Calcutta found water at Arthurs Seat, and took the vessel opposite the spring and watered: and then pushed off to Sydney. Many prisoners ran away from the settlement. Some (Irishmen) professing to be bound overland to China, others (runaways) started for Sydney. Only one that I can remember came back. [He settled at Launceston reared a large family and became a good citizen.] He reported having found the Yarra river, but the Governor would not send to examine it. And in digging the Garden at the Yarra falls part of an Iron pot was found about 8 inches under the grass. For he had made up his mind to leave this country, and having communicated with the Sydney Govt through the ‘Calcutta’, the sloop Lady Nelson was sent around to inform him, that he might go to Van Diemans Land; a small party under Lt. Bowen having been sent there in the August of that year (1803). Before this news arrived Govr Collins had sent over to Port Dalrymple a Boat Crew under charge of Superintendant Collins—with Uriah Allender (well known at Kangaroo Point, River Derwent, as a Boatman) as the coxwain of the cutter—as open sixoared boat. They also took Mr. Clarke the agriculturalist with them to examine the land. The report made by them on their return was, “a most difficult river and very poor land. The banks of the Tamar were not very tempting as farm Land, nor are they at this day. And the tide made the River seem dangerous. [Whirlpools Rise 15 to 17 feet.]
The Govr then engaged Capt. Mathews at a certain sum pr month, to take the people and the various stores to the river Derwent V.D. Land and the first trip left Port Philip about the middle of January 1804. [This man made the Two trips to occupy Five Months Jany 15 to June 16th 1804.] The Governor in the Sloop Lady Nelson and half of the prisoners, some marines and most of the settlers, were in the first trip, amongst others our family went and we suffered dreadfully on this trip from the want of cooked food, We were told that it was a forty eight to fifty hours passage, and accordingly baked bread for three days—our stores of biscuit were exhausted, and flour was issued to all classes there were no sutlers, nor bakers from whom to purchase supplies, and after our bread was done, there being far more
persons on board, than the cook had means of supplying food to, and we in common with others suffered, very severely, for we were on board till Feby 16th when we (at Suulivans Cove) landed to form Hobart Town.
Here let me observe, The Home Government found, men, stores, clothing tools and goods and cash to a large amount, for we had 3 years provision for all persons. Three years clothing for Prisoners and Marines, & three years pay for those receiving pay: in all reckoning the ‘Calcutta's’ expenses, some £150,000, and yet Govr D. Collins could not form a colony at Port Philip—But on the contrary pronounced the place as totally unfit to form a settlement upon.
One reason may have had some weight with him, He was promised 500 Guineas extra (Guineas were then the correct coin) If he was forced to leave the first place he settled at and form a new settlement. [Good. Penal Colony. This Gold Countryfree.]
Myself and some 5 humble individuals without the aid of one penny from the Govt formed a Settlement here. The city of Melbourne I founded: Now in 27 years from my landing in 1835 contains upwards of 100000 Souls
The Colony contains, and maintains, upwards of half a Million of people, A free colony formed by free men, and without cost to the parent state or to the sister colonies.
After a lapse of upwards of 31 years namely from Feby 1804 to March 1835, I formed an association to try and settle at Port Philip. I had for some time been engaged collecting information about this country. My own recollections of 1804 were strong I had read Captn Sturts journey through the Country, and down the Murray and Murrambidgee And traced the line of Country given by him in his Map to lake Alexondorina. I collected information from the Sealers and from the Mimosa bark gatherers at Western Port, from the whalers and Stockmen of the Messrs. Hentys, then engaged at Portland Bay, and also I and others were stimulated to pass away from V.D. Land, By the tyranny of Govr Arthur, a Despot whose iron will was the law of the land, he employed some thousands of the inhabitants of V.D. Land to form a cordon across the Island to drive the whole of the Black Aborigines to a Peninsula and thus catch them. The Govr compelled ticket of leave men to go and morally forced all who expected favors from him and all the British Troops, the Inhabitants doing their duty whilst absent.
I then foretold in my Journal “The Launceston Advertiser” that it would prove a failure, and it did, the blacks passed through the line whenever they chose, But the cold weather, the snow on the Mountains, and losing their way occassionally cost the lives of many of the line men, and some £30,000 or upwards in money,—and only one black man caught,—a dear bargain!!! [Irresponsible Power and a toady Council.]
The Govr and his council, men nominated by himself, removed, and others appointed at his pleasure, passed in 1833 or 34 an Impounding Law, which forbid any but his friends & the friends of his councillors to graze stock on the waste Lands and the Government toadies who were the holders of the bulk of the land then around the Two principal ports—Hobart Town and Launceston, The Derwent and the Tamar rivers.
There were large portions of grazing land unsold around all the then towns and Villages throughout the Country, and many industrious families of limited capital kept their two or three or ten or a dozen cows on those lands and supplied milk & Butter to the Public. The Governor's select council, their relatives and friends held all
the lands, in the best portions of the habitable country for a considerable distance, and they found that the poorer people could supply butter, Milk &c &c cheaper than they considered they ought to sellconsequently they got an Impounding Law passed in 1833 or 34. In fact the Messrs Willis's the Archer's, Ashburner's Swanston's &c passed this law.
The consequence they wished followed, The Poundkeepers hunted up all cattle of the poorer classes There were no less than 70 Poundkeepers, I have all their names 7 of them are here now I believe The favoured mens brands were known (and were no doubt sent to these harpies) (all these Poundkeepers were not alike malicious) none of their cattle were meddled with whilst all The others were all impounded, and good Milch Cows, worth (before this Vile Act was passed) from £8 to £10 or £12, fell to, from 10/- to 18/- or 20/- ea, and before I left Tasmania to proceed to Port Philip viz in 1835, I had to pay for milch cows of ordinary quality £ 15 each.
I should not enter into this explanation which belongs to my written account of Tasmania, but that that act was so very ruinous to hundreds of industrious people and acted so strongly upon my mind that I think it quite applicable to the point of, How, and why, we left Tasmania to form a new settlement on the Shores of New Holland.
In March 1835 I made up my mind to venture across the Straits and commence the world again, and by subdividing an Orchard of 9 Acres, that I had in the town of Launceston, and selling it I provided together with other monies, a few thousands of Pounds to enable me to proceed.
During March and April I searched out & found five persons in Launceston willing to venture across with me as their guide. Their names and occupations were as follows, 1st John Lancey (dead) Pilot had commanded one of the Colonial vessels. 2nd Robert Hay Marr (left the colony) Carpenter and builder. 3rd Samuel Jackson, architect and builder. (He is a squatter of large means and is with his brother.) 4th William Jackson, also a carpenter, (Now in England—as I am informed—on a visit) their stock is somewhere near Portland I am told, and 5th George Evans Plaisterer, now residing in Melbourne—as soon as these men had agreed to join me, I desired my broker Mr. John Charles Underwood of Launceston to purchase for me a vessel (not to exceed a fixed sum) wherewith to transport over the straits our good persons and stock and all things required by us to form a New Colony. The Broker did contract for a Schooner of 55 Tons with a Mr John Anderson Brown of Launceston—The vessel was then at Sydney employed carrying coals from Newcastle to Sydney and Mr. J.A. Brown directed the vessel to be sent immediately to Launceston. But his Sydney agent had before the order arrived entered into a Contract to deliver a certain quantity of Coals at Sydney, and thus the vessel was delayed of delivery until July 18th 1835.
Thus our voyage was delayed and in the latter end of April, It was rumoured that Messrs. Joseph Tice Gellibrand Ex Att. Genl. of V D Land; and thirteen others had agreed to seize upon a large portion of land in the Neighboroughood of Port Philip and on the Bay side. On the plan that had before this been adopted in New Zealand—by Messrs. Wentworth and others viz: to buy the land nominally from the sable aborigines and to get them to sign a deed of grant—in a language they were entirely ignorant of—and for a paltry consideration, such as is set forth in a deed of Grant.
A deed of Grant was prepared by Mr. J.T. Gellibrand—one deed—but after the return of Mr. Batman, a second was produced—Taking in the whole of
Indented Head—I obtained copies of both these deeds—But unfortunately—One of the Copies is lost.
The names of these 14 partners should by rights be handed down to posterity, and I therefore give them with their additions in the course of my remarks. Upon my party finding that Mr. J. Batman had chartered the “Rebecca” of 15 Tons, to carry him from Launceston to Port Philip—they agreed that I should ask him to let me at least if not three of our party pass over with him to explore the Land. I went out 45 miles to Benlomond, Mr. B's residence on this errand, but he peremptorily refused to let anyone go with him except the men in his own employ giving me to understand that he and his party were countenanced or patronized by the Lt Governor—George Arthur Esq., then and openly stating that he would take care to secure all the best land, and that the refuse of his Compys. purchase would not be worth any ones acceptance.
Immediately on receiving this answer, I applied to the Capt of the “Sally Anne” Schooner then about to convey stores to Portland Bay—the Whaling and stock station of the Messrs. Henty Brothers. The Captn. of the Sally Anne agreed to take me and 4 of our party over for a certain sum, and leave us within the harbour and sold me one of the Whaleboats, with Oars, sails &c. to enable us to carry our provisions and water with us whilst exploring the Bay to fix upon the site of the New Township—To this the Messrs. Henty objected as the deviation from the course of the voyage would be fatal to their Insurance should any accident happen to the Vessel or the Cargo embarked But offered on our paying certain monies, as insurance &c for loss of time, to permit our transit. But the adventurers when consulted upon it by me preferred the cheap passage they would get from me and agreed to wait for the schooner ‘Enterprize’ which I had bought. I fancied the name was symptomatic of our undertaking. We (the six) could have been put across by Capt. Cain whose vessel lay in the Tamar, but this expence the five would not agree to make, and we had to wait.
I think the “rebecca”, under the command of Captn. Harwood took on board Mr. J. Batman and his 5 or 6 sable Sydney aborigines and prepared to pass over the Straits. [May 12th.]
Mr. J. Batman had with him besides the Sydney blacks, Three Europeans, Gumm, Todd, and Thompson—But a foul wind rising when they got to sea, they put into Port Sorrell, and I saw a letter from Capt. Harwood which he wrote to his wife, then living with my family—dated Port Sorrell May 26th or 28th—and this is very important, because even if it was the 26th there was only 10 or eleven days between the time of leaving Port Sorell and the day the deeds profess to have been signed and the one passage across was to be made and then time was lost at Indented Head and also loading at several places on the West side of Port Philip Bay, and one day spent with some of the native women who were met with by Batman and his party at or near the Ck or Werribee, where some beads and looking glasses were given to those sable beauties, and a day passed in their company.
On the 5th June, the ‘Rebecca’ was lying off the point of Williams Town that now is, and Mr Batman together with his Sydney Blacks and the men, Gumm, Todd & Thompson, started by land to take a view of the Country, the Sydney men saw the smoke of the Aborigines fires, somewhere about the Merri Creek near what is now called Northcote, they then at once pushed on towards the smoke and found the (so called) salt water river, in their way.
The Sydney Blacks swam across it with the food and clothes of the whites, and
also assisted to take the Europeans over.
They made for the fires and found a few of the Aborigines of Port Philip. Opened a communication with them, gave them some presents and prevailed upon them to take pen in hand and make sundry marks upon One of the deeds prepared by Joseph Tice Gellibrand Esqr. Ex: Att: Genl. of V.D. Land and the next day Mr. J.B. and his men returned to the ‘Rebecca’ grog was produced, a good quantity imbibed and Mr. John Batman was proclaimed King John the first; of Port Philip, the largest landed proprietor in the World.
This I can vouch for, as a correct version, for I had it from more than one of the Actors therein and I also obtained a copy of the deed. This copy, I believe was abstracted or stolen from me But as I copied it myself I can state the boundaries and some of the names of the sable Vendors. It set out that the land bought was bounded by the Yarra Yarra from its mouth to three miles above the falls (not stated where but supposed to be where Dights Mill now stands) then by a line North West 50 miles thence West 50 Miles thence by a line drawn direct from that point to Geelong—some Eighty miles and thence by the waters of the Port Philip Bay to the Mouth of the Yarra Yarra, and the deed set out that the trees along these Lines were marked by the Black Vendors according to the Custom of their Tribe, the whole distance.
The length of this line was six miles at least from the Mouth of the Yarra Yarra, to the point three miles above the fall, then 50 miles N.W. Then 50 Miles due west then 80 miles more to Geelong to the Barwon 186 miles and for Mr. J.B. to return to his vessel off Wms. Town another 34 miles at least, Thus, if JB. had really done as the deed of Grant stated; he and his party and the sable vendors must have travelled 220 miles between the time they left the “Rebecca” on the 5th of June and the evening of the 6th of June, when the whole party returned to the ‘Rebecca’ and boasted of their great achievement (Here read from Bonwicks Port Philip—Batmans account).
—The buying from the poor simple aborigines of nearly 1,000,000 acres of land, for a few paltry Knives, Slops, scissors, looking glasses &c &c &c.
Messrs. Batman and party did not go into Geelong Harbour, nor make any bargain with the Black Aborigines there. Yet some days after his return to Launceston he produced a second deed; claiming thereby to have bought the whole of Indented Head. But foolishly he put most of the names of those blacks he had met with at the Merri Creek, and who never travel to the Geelong district, but by special agreement, the Tribes being separate Tribes and frequently at War, and as a plain proof, that they had not seen the land, but only the description from the Maps their deed of which I obtained a true copy (for I copied it myself) never mentions the Barwon river or the wide lake-like waters it forms, but describes the marking of the trees by the natives (according to the Custom of their Tribes) along this line said to be South from the Bay of Geelong to the Head of Port Philip about 10 miles. The copy of the deed is here and the map, drawn and divided into Shares by a Mr Ferguson the Surveyor of the Company.
I think it right here to mention that I intend to write out the whole of my reminiscences and Print them, If the friends I consult on the occasion think it right so to do. Therefore, I shall not give anything like a complete consecutive account of what took place—or my whole tale would be forestalled.
I may premise that the Shareholders were 14 in number, and that three shares were reserved by these Honest Wiselike
men to be presented to the British Ministers to induce them by a share of the spoil, to legalise the so called sale of land from the so-called Chiefs to the Messrs. of the Compy. through their travelling agent Mr. John Batman—himself Sydney born. Land had been bought of the New Zealand Aborigines by Messrs. Wentworth and others and this Company inaugurated under (if not by) Lt. Col. Arthur Lt. Govr. of Van. D. Land, and it is thought the plan originated with Govr. Arthur, and that one Share which stood in the name of Hy. Arthur Esqr. was really the property of the Lt. Govr. The compy. formed a strange medly, Government Officers—under Col: Arthur one or two members of his Select Council, His Postmaster The Sheriff, Dep: Sheriff—Chief constable of Launceston—Overseer of Convicts of Launceston, one of Lt. Govr. Arthurs Police Magistrates and some traders or shopkeepers their names were:
Charles Swanston Esqr. Member of Govr. Arthurs Council
— Bannister Esqr. Sheriff of V D. Land
Jas Simpson Esqr. (Deceased) Police Magistrate do.
Jas: Tice Gellibrand (Do) Esqr. Ex: Att: Genl: do.
Henry Arthur Esqr. Coll: of Customs Launceston Nephew of Govr.
J and W. Robinson. 1 share drapers Hobart Town
John Hilder Wedge Esq. Surveyor under Govr. Arthurs rule.
John Thomas Collicott Postmaster Hobart Town
Antony Cottrell chief Constable Launceston
W.G. Sams Under Sheriff Launceston
Michael Connolly Shopkeeper do.
Major George Mercer, of the Indian Army
John Sinclair—overseer of Convicts—Launceston
And: John Batman, settler; protegé of Lt. Gov: Arthurs
of these 14—9 were receiving pay under the rule of Lt. Govr. Arthur, and the tenth was one of his protogees, who furnished him with reports of all matters, coming under their cognizance in the neighbourhood where they resided or wherever they visited—a Kind of Spy.
The return of Mr. John Batman and some of his party—for he left some two or three men on Indented Head—The site he fixed on for he did not see the Yarra Yarra at any time during his first visit—(when he first found it, I was living on its banks) —nor attempt to settle on or near it, but ordered his men to build near Queenscliffe that now is.
He returned to Launceston on or about the 10th of June & put forth a very flowery account of the country, and boasted of the large quantity of land he had bought. This made our party very anxious to get across. The Enterprize returned from Sydney early in July, was duly paid for, and handed over to me, and we at once prepared to push over to Port Philip.
I put on board the necessary provisions we had agreed upon, besides which I put on board goods of all sorts for the use of the Settlement and of myself. Grain of all sorts—ploughs, Harrow Garden Plants & Seeds 2500 Choice Young fruit Trees and 3 Horses, in order to commence cultivating the promised land—On the 18th July took possession of the schooner Enterprise of 55 Tons. [This does not tally with the Misrepresentation lately put forth against me by an Anonymous writer in the Age.]
Monday 20th commenced taking in Cargo—Crew consisted of Peter Hunter master—1 mate 1 Seamen and a Cook— 21st July finished taking in goods, and started towards the Heads—22nd Sent 2 of my men with 3 Horses to George Town to be shipped there. We then proceeded by our own boat to overtake the Schooner.
The members of the association present were, myself, Robert Hay. Marr George Evans and his Man Evan Evans & Wm Jackson, Captn Lancey went down with Captn. Hunter of the Schooner.
I took with me, Thos Morgan shoemaker, Charles Wise, Ploughman, James Gilbert Horseshoer and general blacksmith, his Wife as Servant of all work—25th July took on board the 3 Horses at George Town and on the 27th put to sea. Just one week from the delivery of the vessel to me, We loaded & passed down the Tamar, a difficult river, and got out to Sea in two more days—On the 28th and 29th we were beating about with a heavy sea and foul wind and we put about and run back to George Town on the 30th.
I found myself too unwell to venture to sea again so I landed one of my horses and after writing full instructions for the guidance of the members of the Association reading them over and explaining them, I put the land party and instructions under the charge of Captn. John Lancey—one of the Six associates, directing them to visit Western Port first—laying down rules for their guidance on each days exploration, and insisting that a permanent stream of good pure running water was a Sine-qua-non—that no safe settlement could be successful otherwise.
Finding myself rather worse on the 3rd Augt. I took leave of my friends, and people engaged on the Enterprize, wishing them a safe and prosperous passage, and urging them for our joint welfare, to attend to Captn. John Lancy as my representative, and to faithfully follow the instructions I had carefully prepared for our joint guidance and benefit.
This all parties pledged themselves to do.
On that day, I returned to my wife and home at Launceston. The next day the ‘Enterprize’ again put to sea. I had omitted to state on our first attempt to cross—a small decked vessel called the ‘Endeavour’ that we learned was chartered by Mr. John Aitken (since deceased) followed the ‘Enterprize’ to sea, and returned with us. We heard afterwards that having no one on board capable of navigating the Vessel, they followed our track, confiding in the skill of Capt Hunter of the ‘Enterprize’.
This vessel the ‘Endeavour’ also put to sea the second time with our vessel and being a faster sailing craft kept constantly near, until we made Western Port, but upon our putting out to enter Port Philip she also entered with our craft. But once there Mr. Aitken took his own devious course, and the two parties, did not meet for some days. On the 14th of August late in the day the ‘Enterprize’ left Western Port and on the 15th entered the noble bay of Port Philip. The whole party including the servants of the expedition were delighted and astonished with the Scenery that opened upon them, after they had passed through the terrors of the entrance with a fair wind but opposing tide. The roll of waters on the Bar is frightful at times.
On Saturday the 28th of August, the ‘Enterprize’ was duly moored to the growing trees close to the shore opposite to a Hill on which my men pitched their first tent and called by them Pleasant Hill, this hill subsequently by Mr B's toadyism, finding Milk, Butter, eggs and Poultry &c to the ruling powers that arrived in 1836 got changed to Batmans Hill. It was dusk on Saturday (says Capt Lancys Journal which I now hold in my hand) when the ‘Enterprize’ reached Pleasant Hill and on Sunday the 29th Augt. he (JL.) says “we landed the Horses much to their satisfaction”. I may here state the Horses had been on board the vessel from the 25th July until the 29th Augt. a period of 5 weeks. One of them had continued standing the whole time, never had he laid down for 5 weeks no doubt he was very well satisfied to get on firm land. [Read Lanceys 28 &
29th pages to 42nd.] I therefore date the commencement of the Town,—first named Glenelg—but the Sun worshippers changed it when Lord Melbourne came in and à la Capper tried to immortalize Lord Melbourne in this hemisphere.
Mr. Batman & Party (vide Bonwicks book) came here to settle his 7 daughters, (where are the Batmans now?) and to stock the country not with men but with Sheep and cattle (vide 45th page of Bonwicks Batman) There were two brothers John & Henry Batman. John had a wife and 7 daughters and one son. Henry had a wife and I think four if not five children. They were dissipated men. Where are they now? How many of them are left?, few, very few. I cannot hear of more than two, out of the 16 or 17 of the two families.
I may here state that we have agreed to plot out 60 acres, amongst the six adventurers and to sub-divide these into 6 Lots at 10 acres each and each one was to draw lot for his ten acre plot.
The land was measured off by Lancey, and the lots were drawn, and my lot fell to take the Eastern side of Pleasant Hill and extended to the flat, where the Messrs. Langlands Foundry now is.
There a garden was formed, the plants and trees were put into the ground, garden seeds sown, and 5 Acres of ground ploughed, harrowed and sown with wheat—in the early part of Sept 1835.
Whilst this was going on [100 Bushels in Jany 36] under and by aid of Mr Lancey & Chas. Wise, my other man; the sailors of the schooner and Mr. G. Evans man Evan Evans, put up a shanty for themselves to live in after the vessel should leave, and also a hut to store the provisions and goods I had sent over.
Our party had been only a few hours settled at the New Township when, one of the Batman Compy.: Mr. John Hilder Wedge Govt. Surveyor at V.D.L. with some of Mr. J Batmans sable aborigines made their appearance. They had been out some days trying to find our party in order to warn them off their domain as they called it. But Mr. J. H. W. under a pretence of being glad to see some fellow countrymen, obtained their confidence by pretending he had nothing to do with Batman or his co-partners.
He thus wormed out the plan of proceeding of our party, obtained ample refreshment for himself and boats crew, and after stopping one or more nights, upon going away he handed to Capt. Lancey as the manager—a written notice, sorry I am that Lancey did not retain it. It would have been a curiosity. Now in this notice he warned our party off the land, claiming the whole country for himself and brother squatters. Lancey's reply was more brusque than polite, he told him to take it with him, when next he had occasion for waste paper, adding, you are no gentleman, whatever your claims, for you distinctly lied to us yesterday.
If what this paper conveys is true, you distinctly stated that you were not concerned in the Compy; obtained food for the time, and a supply to enable you to return to the heads, and here you distinctly deny your yesterdays assertion, and after serving your turn of want out of our resources; you order us off the waste lands of this free country!!
Tell your confederates that Jack Lancy and his party treat your pretensions with contempt, and Now be off, for fear your untruthfull conduct tempts us to give you the deserts your lying tongue deserves.
I find on returning to a diary kept by Capt Hunter, Sept. 2nd All hands employed on shore thatching the store hut. 3rd proceeded down the Yarra, but not having fully sounded it, the vessel grounded on the rocks near the South side where the Yarra and the Saltwater river meets.
The way this stream obtained its name will be recorded. It was an interesting incident in the early settlement. 4th Sept. Enterprize took in stone ballast and proceeded to the bay below the bar. 5th, vessel started to return to Launceston taking over Messrs. Robt. H. Marr & Wm: Jackson. Sept. 7th Pilot came on board at George Town and at 7 P.M. brought up at Mr Reids on the Tamar below Whirlpool reach. 8th Arrived at Launceston at 4 P.M. 9th Came to the wharf—discharged 3 men—Capt & Mate on board. 11th, carpenter employed repairing Windlass: commencing shipping boards &c for new settlement.
Took in Bricks and shingles; employed till the 21st putting the rigging in order; making berth for cattle and receiving and stowing owners goods of all kinds, not only for his own use but to provide for those who in all countries contrive to neglect to bring those very things they most frequently want. 22nd Cleared out and got over the bar at Launceston; took in two Cows and one Calf and 25 Galls of Gin. 23rd Septr. Put on board two horses, and myself and wife, with Wm. Watkins a Lad we had brought up and John Scott, John Wilkins and Thos. Morgan as Servants, the two last did not eventually cross over with us. Mrs. J Lancey and three children came with us and shared our accommodations. Having a very indifferent pilot who got the vessel ashore 3 times, we did not reach Kelso's Bay until the 27th.
On the 30th put to sea with a light but fair wind—this soon changed to a storm from the W.N.W., and the next day returned to our last anchorage, and did not finally start until the noon of the 6th of Oct. and made Port Philip on the 9th but entered on the 10th.
I went on shore where the first settlement had been attempted in 1803, found the spots on which ourselves and other settlers had built our Bush huts. The butts of the chimneys formed of limestone, were still standing and where each hut had been. There was a depressure in the form of a saucer, and the cask sunk in the sand to supply water were all there, one nearly perfect, the other five more or less destroyed by fire and by natural decay—revived my recollections of Old times of scenes and of people, and devoted some hours to the revival of Old Tales. What we grew there; who succeeded best, who stopped behind and took all the profits &c &c &c (?)
On the 11th Oct made the Bar of the River in what is now termed Hobsons Bay. There were no steam tugs in those days, no Buoys nor Beacons except those tea tree poles put up at my expense by my men on the first attempt to get up to the Basin of the Yarra.
It took until the 14th in consequence of foul winds to get up to the junction or entrance of the Yarra, it took us two more days to warp up.
On the 16th of October we got up to the landing place at the Basin. It was just about the place where there are steps to go down, opposite the Yarra Hotel—Here at once we landed the two Horses, the two cows, and two cows; (One calved on board). The next day all hands were employed getting spars for building. We found that since the “Enterprize” left the new settlement, Henry Batman brother of John Batman had upon the order of Mr. J.H. Wedge removed from Indented Head with all their men but one up to the site fixed upon by our party. But Lancey being in the minority until my arrival, had kept Hy. Batman in good temper by means of a little supply of Gin and I therefore found all serene between our party and the formidable 14 monster Squatters. I need not say how delighted I was with the scenery of this noble Bay the fine deep water approach by the lower Yarra after the Bar's were passed the deep water at
the banks, facilitating the landing of all Sorts live or dead stock or goods, the beauty of the scenery around Melbourne that is; was most exhilerating the fine open country to the West—the plenty of Timber for all common purposes on the East, the fine land, the quantity of native herbage, & the vast variety and annoying quantity of bushflowers. The numberless assemblage of birds, Swans, Geese, Ducks and Teal on the flats on the east bank of the Yarra all up the River, on the large Lagoon lying west of the Town, and in fact on every pond of water we visited gave us great hopes of a supply of wild fowl for the table, Kangaroo & Emu were plentiful and the Pack of dogs I brought over soon found & killed a jolly old man Kangaroo, on the site of Melbourne a little above where Princes bridge now spans the Yarra. Emeu were not very frequently caught, because they are not only very swift of foot, but few dogs will attack them a second time if they receive one Kick from the Emu. In fact one kick is in many cases a life discharge. Very often one kick destroys life in the largest dogs used for this purpose. I found a numerous body of Aborigines at the settlement on my arrival and Mrs. F and our friend Mrs. Lancey were much alarmed at first for they had been told by many persons in Launceston that the whole of us would be killed and eaten by these sable gents. And the repitition of this foreboding had strong effect at first, for by reason of the highth of the bank close to the river, and the lowness of the land further in, we could not see our tents or the men in them. And the borders of the stream were literally lined with Aborigines.
We learnt subsequently that Buckley who had joined Batmans party at Indented Head in August, had by directions of Mr. H. Batman, sent out messengers to the Blacks to come to the Yarra—in order to let Mr. J. Batman, who was hourly expected; see their number.
King Batman required a muster of his sable subjects. I may here state at once, that within a few days of my arrival I found upwards of 300 of these children of the wilds, brought in from the Goulbourn river on one side Western Port, on the other and from Geelong, the Barabool Hill Tribe, and whilst myself and men were busy, (all hands sailors and all) building a weather boarded house for myself and dependents, The Goulbourn, Western Port & the Barrabool Hill tribes, planned to murder us all by tomahawking us on the Head with their stone Axes, and this they could have done easily, for we had no suspicion of them—We fed them well with biscuits potatoes—and many little presents of clothing that I purchased and brought over to give to them. Fancy 9 or 10 persons all employed in carrying materials to; or putting up some part of the building—some sawing, some nailing, some wattling between the Posts—all earnestly engaged—These sable gents allowed at all times to pass in, amongst, and about us, some occassionly aiding to carry or lift pieces for us, their plan was for one or two of their warriors to attach themselves—or keep close to each of us. We, mind, left our Arms of all sorts on board the Schooner with the Women and children, and the sick mate and cook, therefore if they failed at the first blow to kill any of us, we should have had to run the Gauntlet from the rear of the present Custom House—down to the Basin before we could have got our arms to defend ourselves.
I do not believe that one of us would have escaped. But fortunately for us the Melbourne party of Aborigines were favorable to us. They felt thankful for the things we gave them, and the lad Wm. Watkins that belonged to us, took kindly to the Blacks and they to him, he taught them words of our language and very readily learnt theirs, and two of these
sons of the soil, named Baitbainger and Derrimart formed a friendship with him and the latter told Watkins of the plan to murder the whole party, in order to possess themselves of our goods &c &c &c.
Watkins could not make out the words used by Derrimart, who appeared much excited, I therefore called Buckley to explain what the information the boy Watkins could not make out. Buckley having been 32 years with these blacks understood their language fully, and he at once declared that the Aborigines had agreed to murder all the White people by getting two or more of their fighting men alongside of each of our people, and upon a given signal each of us were to be cut down by blows on the head with their stone tomahawks, and the half savage Buckley declared that if he had his will he would spear Derrimert for giving the information.
The fact was Buckley would sooner have lived with the Aborigines than with the Whites, for whilst with them he had two Aboriginal Women as Wives, or more properly Slaves to work for, and attend upon him.
I at once called the whole of the men from work and armed them quite quitely and upon examining the Aborigines, it was found that they had sent out of sight their women and children and were all armed with their Stone tomahawks hidden under the skin rugs, that they wore as cloaks, and each one we found had a spear with him, some had the spear hidden in the long grass near the hut, and were dragging it along with their toes. As soon as they found Derrimert passing from them to the white men, they threw one or more spears after him but he eluded them, the Aborigines then clustered together in two lots some hundred Yards from our Building and seemed to be holding a Council of War, as to whether it would be prudent to attack us openly.
To shew them, that they were within our reach, I loaded one of my muskets with Buck Shot, and leveling to strike the boughs of one of the trees they were debating under I fired into the Head of the tree, and when they heard the shot rattle, and found the pieces of wood falling about their heads they ran away uttering loud cries. I kept my people under arms all that day; and on the next day, I, with Hy. Batman's help got Buckley to tell these murderous blacks that they must quit our Huts and cross the Yarra, they consented to do so, and Batman found one man, and I found another to work my two boats, and we thus transported nearly the whole of these savages, across the Yarra. Myself and others stood armed, as did Batman's Europeans, whilst this deportation took place.
One of the Western Port Blacks, a stout hardy looking man, very nearly brought on a fight, he for some time refused to cross the water with his party, and had a bundle of spears under his arms, and approached the Vessel where the women and Stores were, and upon being ordered away by the man posted in his road put his spear into a throwing attitude. I saw this and desired the man Chas. Wise to watch carefully, and not to fire except the savage advanced upon, or attempted to throw the Spear. In either of which cases I directed him (as I did all the men on this very momentous occassion) to make sure of hitting him, for as they had declared they would take our lives, we must defend ourselves to the best of our power And if it was found we did not hit them, when we fired, their numbers might encourage them to rush upon us, and we should no doubt have all perished.
We destroyed all their bark canoes that we could find, and out of gratitude to Derriemert, gave him clothes & food not only then, but have continued so to do until the present time. Derriemert yet lives;

John Pascoe Fawkner by William Strutt, 1853. Oil on canvas; 27¾″ × 18 ¾″. Purchased, 1936.

the only man that we found grown to Manhood that is now living I believe.
I also encouraged him, by taking him in my boat when going out shooting, or down to the Bay, to the shipping and he together with Baitbainger, Negrinouli and Benbow formed a crew with which I frequently assisted to lighten the ‘Enterprize’ to enable her to get over the Bar at the entrance to the Channell near Williams Town.
Derriemert soon learnt to shoot game for us; Kangaroo, Swans Geese, ducks &c &c &c.
This attempt at murder delayed our building very much. I was anxious not to let them stray away from each other and from the vessel where our arms, ammunition and stores were. But upon Derriemert informing me that he was certain that the Goulbourn the Western Port and the Barrabool Hill Tribes had really departed; we set to work and in one month from the day of landing at Melbourne, I had a four roomed weather boarded house completely floored with deal boards, with pannel doors, and glazed windows ready and fit for use. Having no Bricklayer with us I in conjunction with my blacksmith as laborer built a good brick chimney.
Up to this time Mr. Batman behaved middling well, but I constantly found that either himself of Wife were in ill health, and required to make regular visits to my spirit store, and when I found it necessary to check this constant inroad; Ill language and petty annoyances were the order of the day, and this was very much more difficult to avoid, for Mr. J H Wedge, as it appeared, had directed Batman to build the Company's Huts in close proximity to where we had fixed upon, so as to be ready to make us as uncomfortable as they possibly could. We felt this very sorely when the Vessels came over bringing Sheep & Cattle; for Hy. Batman generally contrived, by the aid he could give with the boats, and the crew of Sydney Aborigines, to persons landing stock He generally managed to get a quantity of spirits, and when the Sydney black got a share of this, annoyances to us and to the well disposed were the order of the day and night too.
June 7th Friday 1862.
J P Fawkner

Fawkner gave these reminiscences no title. The manuscript is in Fawkner's hand only for the first half-page, the final line and date, and marginal notes. Most of the marginal notes have been incorporated in the text in square brackets; a few, which add nothing or are confusing, have been omitted. The text is otherwise unedited, except that punctuation has been amended or supplied and grammatical errors and errors of transcription have been corrected when necessary to avoid confusion. The manuscript consists of 38 loose foolscap pages, numbered 1 to 40 (with pp. 9 and 37 accidentally omitted when paginated). There are other Reminiscences in the Papers which are described in the following article.