Summary Saturday: Words and No Words
No get-together with former classmates this week!
In our home school, we continued reading about the First Fleet and their journey from Cape Town to Botany Bay, La Pérouse, Port Jackson, and finally, Sydney Cove.
The officers kept careful records of the events and happenings — as well as their feelings and opinions — so that we can all have a clear picture of what they saw and experienced.
For example, Phillip Gidley King, encountering a large group of inhospitable natives at Botany Bay, wrote this:
With great precipitation, I embarked & Governor Phillip joined me from the South side of the Bay where he has found the natives very sociable & friendly, we relanded on Lance Point & the same body of natives appeared. Brandishing their lances & defying us however we rowed close in shore & the Governor disembarked with some presents which one of them came & received thus peace was re-established much to the satisfaction of all parties. They came round the boats & many little things were given to them, but what they wanted most was the great coats & clothing, but hats was more particularised by them, their admiration of which they expressed by very loud shouts, whenever one of us pulled our hats off … When they found we were not disposed to part with any more things, they entered into conversation with us, which was very fully interpreted by very plain Signs they wanted to know what sex we were, which they explained by pointing to where it was distinguishable. As they took us for women, not having our beards grown, I ordered one of the people to undeceive them in this particular when they made a great shout of Admiration.
Can’t you just picture it?
On 26 January the whole fleet anchored at Sydney Cove, as it was deemed much better than Botany Bay to set up camp.
On 3 February, they held the first church service in Australia.
From the book:
On 6 February, the female convicts were landed. The male convicts, frustrated after twelve months below decks, broke out of their temporary gaols, ransacked the grog supplies and entered the women’s camp.
That night, as a violent electrical storm raged, ‘licentiousness was … unavoidable,’ wrote Tench. Arthur Bower Smyth was outraged ‘It is beyond my abilities to give a just description of the scene of Debauchery and Riot that ensued that night.’
I’m still chuckling at the classic British understatement. You describe your meeting with the natives in great detail, but are at a loss for words to describe a party.
Must have been some Party!