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Australian Colonial Intelligence

Watkin Tench Describes the Landing at Port Jackson


Dear Grandpa Pencil looks at early Australian development through journals, official reports and newspaper excerpts of the day. Readers should remember that these accounts are based on personal observations at the time and some have, since, been shown to be flawed.

Port Jackson

... The landing of part of the marines and convicts took place the next day, and on the following, the remainder was disembarked.

Business now sat on every brow, and the scene, to an indifferent spectator, at leisure to contemplate it, would have been highly picturesque and amusing.

In one place a party cutting down the woods; a second, setting up the blacksmith's forge; a third, dragging along a load of stones or provisions; here an officer pitching his marquee, with a detachment of troops parading alongside him and a cook's fire blazing up on another.

Through the unwearied diligence of those at the head of different departments, regularity was, however, soon introduced and, as far as the unsettled state of matters would allow, confusion gave place to system.

Into the head of the cove, on which our establishment is fixed, runs a small stream of fresh water, which serves to divide the country, to a little distance, in the direction of North and South.

On the Eastern side of this rivulet the Governor fixed the place of residence, with a large body of convicts encamped near him. And on the Western side was disposed to the remaining part of these people, near the marine encampment.

From this last two guards, consisting of two subalterns, as many serjeants, four corporals, two drummers and forty-two private men, under the orders of a captain of the day, to whom all reports were made, daily mounted for the public security, with such direction to use force, in case of necessity, as left no room for those who were the objects of the order, but to remain peaceable, or perish by the bayonet...


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