Seen in March 2009

Images from my photoblog ten years ago.

Back lane near Central, Surry Hills:

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Taylor Square:

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Juice and Java, Elizabeth Street Surry Hills; no longer there, alas!

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Belmore Park: still warm for autumn:

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Friends, Belmore Park:

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More from John Hunter’s journal

See Australian Dictionary of Biography.

On 2 October 1788 Hunter sailed in the Sirius for the Cape of Good Hope to lay in stocks of grain to replace that lost on the voyage from England and because of the failure of the first harvest; he was also to take on supplies for the medical department. On his return to the colony on 8 May 1789, having circumnavigated the globe, he resumed his former duties as magistrate and as a surveyor of the rivers and harbours in the neighbourhood of Port Jackson, and on 13 February 1790 his sketch of the Hawkesbury River was sent to London. Next month the governor had to record the disastrous loss of the Sirius under Hunter’s command off Norfolk Island on 19 February. This was a very heavy blow to the colony, which was on short rations, but the Norfolk Island roadstead was always dangerous. Hunter took advantage of his enforced stay of eleven months on the island to make a detailed survey there, and in his dispatch of 1 March 1791 Phillip recorded Hunter’s suggestions in favour of an alternative landing place at Cascade Bay. This was the third shipwreck in which Hunter had been involved, and the first of two for which, in accordance with naval regulations, he was court-martialled as commanding officer; in both cases he was honourably acquitted of all blame.


Now to Hunter’s journal May 1789-January 1790:

As soon as the ship was secured, I went on shore to wait on the governor, whom I found in good health; he was sitting by the fire, drinking tea with a few friends; among whom I observed a native man of this country, who was decently cloathed, and seemed to be as much at his ease at the tea-table as any person there; he managed his cup and saucer as well, as though he had been long accustomed to such entertainment.

This man was taken from his friends, by force, by Lieutenant Ball, of the Supply, and Lieutenant George Johnston, of the marines, who were sent down the harbour with two boats for that purpose; the governor having found that no encouragement he could give the natives, would dispose them to visit the settlement of their own accord: this method he had therefore determined upon, to get one man into his possession, who, by kind treatment, might hereafter be the means of disposing his countrymen to place more confidence in us. This man, whose name was Ara-ba-noo, was taken, as I have already said, by force, and in the following manner.

After having been a short time in conversation with some of the gentlemen, one of the seamen, who had been previously directed, threw a rope round his neck, and dragged him in a moment down to the boat; his cries brought a number of his friends into the skirts of the wood, from whence they threw many lances, but without effect. The terror this poor wretch suffered, can better be conceived than expressed; he believed he was to be immediately murdered; but, upon the officers coming into the boat, they removed the rope from his neck to his leg, and treated him with so much kindness, that he became a little more chearful.

He was for some time after his arrival at the governor’s house, ornamented with an iron shackle about his leg, to prevent his being able to effect his escape with ease; this he was taught to consider as bang-ally, which is the name given in their language to every decoration; and he might well believe it a compliment paid to him, because it was no uncommon thing for him to see several (of the most worthless of the convicts, who had merited punishment) every day shackled like him; the cause of which he could not of course understand. However, he was very soon reconciled to his situation, by the very kind treatment he received from every person about him, and the iron growing uneasy, it was taken off, and he was allowed to go where he pleased.

He very soon learnt the names of the different gentlemen who took notice of him, and when I was made acquainted with him, he learnt mine, which he never forgot, but expressed great desire to come on board my nowee; which is their expression for a boat or other vessel upon the water.

The day after I came in, the governor and his family did me the honour to dine on board, when I was also favoured with the company of Ara-ba-noo, whom I found to be a very good natured talkative fellow; he was about thirty years of age, and tolerably well looked.

I expressed, when at the governor’s, much surprize, at not having seen a single native on the shore, or a canoe as we came up in the ship; the reason of which I could not comprehend, until I was informed that the small-pox had made its appearance, a few months ago, amongst these unfortunate creatures…

See Arabanoo and Smallpox epidemic.

And in 1788….

No comment. Just read! Available on Project Gutenberg.

A Few days after my arrival with the transports in Port Jackson, I set off with a six oared boat and a small boat, intending to make as good a survey of the harbour as circumstances would admit: I took to my assistance Mr. Bradley, the first lieutenant, Mr. Keltie, the master, and a young gentleman of the quarter-deck.

During the time we were employed on this service, we had frequent meetings with different parties of the natives, whom we found at this time very numerous; a circumstance which I confess I was a little surprized to find, after what had been said of them in the voyage of the Endeavour; for I think it is observed in the account of that voyage, that at Botany-bay they had seen very few of the natives, and that they appeared a very stupid race of people, who were void of curiosity. We saw them in considerable numbers, and they appeared to us to be a very lively and inquisitive race; they are a straight, thin, but well made people, rather small in their limbs, but very active; they examined with the greatest attention, and expressed the utmost astonishment, at the different covering we had on; for they certainly considered our cloaths as so many different skins, and the hat as a part of the head: they were pleased with such trifles as we had to give them, and always appeared chearful and in good humour: they danced and sung with us, and imitated our words and motions, as we did theirs. They generally appeared armed with a lance, and a short stick which assists in throwing it: this stick is about three feet long, is flattened on one side, has a hook of wood at one end, and a flat shell, let into a split in the stick at the other end, and fastened with gum; upon the flat side of this stick the lance is laid, in the upper end of which is a small hole, into which the point of the hook of the throwing stick is fixed; this retains the lance on the flat side of the stick; then poising the lance, thus fixed, in one hand, with the fore-finger and thumb over it, to prevent its falling off side-ways, at the same time holding fast the throwing-stick, they discharge it with considerable force, and in a very good direction, to the distance of about sixty or seventy yards*. Their lances are in general about ten feet long: the shell at one end of the throwing-stick is intended for sharpening the point of the lance, and for various other uses. I have seen these weapons frequently thrown, and think that a man upon his guard may with much ease, either parry, or avoid them, although it must be owned they fly with astonishing velocity.

While employed on the survey of the harbour, we were one morning early, in the upper part of it, and at a considerable distance from the ship, going to land, in order to ascertain a few angles, when we were a little surprized to find the natives here in greater numbers than we had ever seen them before in any other place: we naturally conjectured from their numbers, that they might be those who inhabited the coves in the lower part of the harbour, and who, upon our arrival, had been so much alarmed at our appearance, as to have judged it necessary to retire farther up; they appeared very hostile, a great many armed men appeared upon the shore wherever we approached it, and, in a threatening manner, seemed to insist upon our not presuming to land….


See also Grace Karskens, Governor Phillip and the Eora: governing race relations in the colony of New South Wales.