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Diary of Victoria
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From Rootsweb Diary From: "R + L Fletcher" Subject: Re: Diary of Victoria Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999

Hi Geoff Thank you for your kind message. The book is called 'First Years at Port Phillip' by Robert Douglas Boys BA. He was chief librarian of the Public Library of Victoria. It was written in 1935 I think to commemmorate Victoria's first 100 years. To my knowledge, it has never been reprinted - which is a shame as it's very interesting.. My main reason for posting this is because it mentions many names of early settlers or visitors to Port Phillip. Unfortunately, the book finishes in 1842. Regards Lori

-------- Subject: Re: Diary of Victoria Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999

The following are extracts from a diary of Victoria dated from the first settlement until 1842, which may be of interest to the list. I will do followup postings as time permits. Spellings and language are kept as that originaly used.


November 19 - 8 a.m. Edward Henty, the first permanent settler at Port Phillip, landed from the Thistle, with Henry Camfield and four indentured men servants to form an establishment at Portland Bay. The live stock (22 head of cattle, 2 turkeys, 2 guinea fowls and 6 dogs) were also landed and the unloading of other cargo commenced. Other cargo consisted of building materials, a bullock dray, a plough and harrows, a whale boat, foodstuffs and other provisions. Leaving Launceston in October, due to the bad weather the ship encountered, 34 days passed before she anchored in Portland Bay.

November 20 The men were employed in landing cargo and in building a hut.

November 23 The Thistle sailed for Launceston

November 25 A vegetable garden was started by Henty and Camfield.

November 26 The men finished the hut.

December 1 The erection of stock yards was commenced.

December 6 The stock-yards having been completed, ploughing was commenced and continued until the 31st. Corn, turnips and peas were sown and potatoes were planted.

December 19 Francis Henty arrived in the Thistle with 10 head of cattle and 100 sheep. He also brought 2 fowls, plants, seeds and 4 RABBITS - the first at Port Phillip.


January 22 George Mackillop, of Hobart Town, arrived in Sydney in the brig Siren and sailed for Hobart Town in April. He went first to the district known as the Cowpastures, Nepean River and then to the Maneroo country. From there, accompanied by a party, two of whom were James MacFarlane and Thomas Livingstone, he made his way a few miles to the south of Lake Omeo, and gave the name Strath Downie to the locality he reached and now known as Omeo.

February 19 The erection of a weather-board cottage was commenced by Edward Henty. He took occupation April 23.

May 27 After awaiting favourable wind for over a fortnight, the cutter Rebecca, 30 tons, J Harwood, master and Robert Robson, mate, sailed for Port Phillip, conveying John Batman, 3 men servants (James Gumm, William Todd and Alexander Thompson) and 7 Sydney natives. The aim of the expedition was to acquire a large tract of country at Port Phillip, on behalf of a number of residents in Van Diemen's Land, the Port Phillip Association. Instead of merely squatting, as the Henty's had done, the association proposed to achieve their end and establish their rights to possession, by means of a purchase by Batman from the natives. For the purpose Batman took over 3 copies of 2 deeds of conveyance, drawn up by J T Gellibrand.

Members of the Port Phillip Association included Charles SWANSTON, banker of Hobart Town; Thomas BANNISTER, Sheriff of Hobart Town; James SIMPSON, Commissioner Caveat Board Hobart Town, Joseph Tice GELLIBRAND, solicitor, Hobart Town; John and William ROBINSON, drapers Hobart Town; Henry ARCHER Collector of Customs Launceston; John Helder WEDGE, Government Surveyor Launceston; William Gardiner SAMS, Deputy Sheriff Launceston; John SINCLAIR overseer of Convicts Launceston; Anthony COTTRELL, Chief District Constable Launceston; Michael CONNOLLY merchant Launceston; John Thomas COLLICOTT Portmaster General Hobart Town and George Duncan MERCER retired Major, Edinburgh.

May 29 The Rebecca anchored about noon, in St Leonard's Bay. Batman, with Harwood and the Sydney natives, went ashore and explored a few miles.

June 2 After having explored on the 3 previous days, the country around the western arm of Port Philip Bay, and having penetrated as far as the You Yangs and the Barrabool Hills, Batman moved the Rebecca to the mouth of the Yarra Yara. The vessel anchored off Williamstown, where Batman went ashore in the evening.

June 3-5 Accompanied by his 3 men and the Sydney natives, all well armed and provisioned, Batman went up the Salt Water River. After proceeding a few miles beyond Keilor, he took an easterly course until the Merri Creek was reached at Northcote.

June 6 Batman claimed that, after meeting Chiefs of the Dutigallar tribe and explained fully to them what his object was, he purchased two large tracts of land from them - about 600,000 acres and delivered over to them blankets, knives, looking glasses, tomahawks, beads, scissors, flour etc as payment for the land, and also agreed to give them a tribute, or rent, yearly.
The parchment the 8 chiefs signed this afternoon, delivering to me some of the soil of each of them, as giving me full possession of the tracts of land. This took place alongside of a beautiful stream of water (the Merri Creek Northcote) and from whence my land commences and where a tree is marked four ways to know the corner boundary. (Copies of the original deeds are in the Historical Museum at the Public Library Melbourne).

June 9 Leaving the men and natives to begin erecting huts and establishing a garden, Batman returned to Launceston.

July 6 A white man of huge stature, (six feet 7 inches tall ) wrapped in a large kangaroo skin, and armed with native weapons, walked into the camp of John Batmans party at Indented Head. After he had been given food, the party examined the letters W B tattooed on his right arm and ascertained that his name was William Buckley. He told them that he had been a soldier on board the vessel that conveyed the first shipment of convicts to Van Diemens Land. The ship struck a rock off Port Phillip and all on board perished except himself and 3 others, one of whom was the Captain, who could not swim. With the latter on his shoulders, Buckley swan for 24 hours until he reached the shore in an exhausted condition. Shortly afterwards the Captain left the others and was never seen again. Left alone in a few days by the deaths of his 2 companions, Buckley expected to be killed by the first natives he saw. For 40 days he walked along the beach, living on mussels, until he encountered some aboriginies who immediately gave him food. He joined their party and lived with them until he came to the camp. During the whole time he had not seen any white men and only 2 ships.

Buckley later admitted this story was untrue and that he was really an escaped convict. He had been in the King's Own Regiment and was transported for life for selling stolen property. After escaping, he lived with the aborigines for 32 years before meeting Batman's party. He died in 1856 at Hobart.

July 27 John Pascoe Fawkner, publican, arrived at Port Phillip. He brought his employees James GILBERT, blacksmith and his wife Mary, Charles WISE and George EVANS farm hands and servant Evan EVANS. Leaving his employees, Fawkner returned to Launceston on July 30.

August 7 John Helder Wedge and Mr and Mrs Henry Batman with their 4 children arrived aboard the Rebecca.

August 16 John H LANCEY master mariner aboard the Enterprise, as Fawkners representative, landed at Port Phillip and anchored off the emcampment of Batman's party at Indented Head.

August 20 The mouth of the Yarra Yarra was reached by Lancey.

August 29 The Enterprize, the first vessel to sail up the Yarra Yarra, anchored a little to the west of the future Spencer Street.

August 30 The two horses were landed, together with pigs, poultry, dogs and a cat and a start was made to unload the cargo of goods, trees, wines, provisions and grog. Erection of a turf store was begun. J H Wedge, accompanied by Alexander Thompson and some of the Sydney natives and 2 local aboriinies, arrived at the encampment to advise the party of Fawkner that they were within the limits of Batman's land. Fawkner's party stated their determination to hold possession.

September 8 Charles Wise commenced ploughing on a site to the east of the Yarra Yarra camp.

September 14 The Mary Ann arrived with stores for Batman's party. Henry Batman erected a sod hut on the south east corner of where William and Collins Streets would one day meet. It was pulled down when the streets were surveyed.

October 11 The Enterprize arrived with Fawkner and his wife, William WATKINS an adopted lad, John SCOTT servant and Mrs Lancey and her 3 children. They also brought building materials and livestock of horses, cows, calves and poultry.

November 6 Fawkner occupied the house he erected and opened the first public house at the Settlement without a licence. This was on the south east corner of William and Flinders streets.

November 9 The barque Norval arrived with John Batman, Dr Barry Cotter, James Anthony Cowie (one of my ancestors), David Stead, John Lewison Stieglitz and E Ferguson. They brought 500 sheep for members of the Port Phillip Association and 50 Hereford cows for Dr Alexander Thompson, which were landed at Gellibrand's Point.

More on Dr Barry Cotter 1807-1877 aged 68, died at Swan Hill, Victoria.

November 22, 69 sheep were shorn at Portland Bay.

December 29 The first child of European parents was born at the Settlement, a son to James and Mary Gilbert.

December 31 J T Gellibrand, his son Thomas, John Gardiner, William Robertson, A Leake, James Malcolm and 2 men arrived. They brought a cargo of 1140 sheep from Launceston belonging to Charles Swanston. Owing to a gale, the fodder has been destroyed and all on board had been employed in feeding the animals on flour and water. The surviving sheep were landed near the site of the abandoned (1826-28) settlement at Western Port. Leaving Robert Mudie the overseer and several shepherds to search for the sheep which had strayed from the landing place, Gellibrand and his party walked to the Yarra Yarra Settlement. He then engaged the Enterprize to convey the men and sheep to Port Phillip. Mudie and 2 men were drowned through a boat capsizing whilst the seventy odd sheep that were retrieved were being put on board the vessel.

I hope this has been of interest Regards Lori

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