1868 - Liverpool, C. Foljambe, Earl of. Three Years on the Australian Station - CHAPTER X.

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  1868 - Liverpool, C. Foljambe, Earl of. Three Years on the Australian Station - CHAPTER X.
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ON November 12, a party of us, consisting of Lieutenant Meade, Lieutenant Broughton, of the Brisk, Sub-Lieutenant Hunt (who was in the Orpheus when she was wrecked), and I, started on a shooting expedition in the yacht Enid, which Lieutenant Meade had borrowed of the Commodore. We were to go by sea to Broken Bay, and pass up an arm of the sea called Brisbane Water, after which we were to walk 15 miles overland to Lake Tuggerah, where we expected to find some good shooting --wallaby, kangaroo, and black swan.

We started late on Sunday night, as Monday and Tuesday were the only two days' leave we could get for the shooting, so we wanted to get there by daylight on Monday morning. We slipped our moorings at 9 P. M., and sailed down the harbour under reefed sails and stormy jib, with a fair wind

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calling at Manly Beach to get some dogs, which a friend of Lieutenant Meade's had offered to lend him. We had the usual crew on board the yacht, a petty officer named Clarke, and an able seaman called Tilly. At Manly, these two and Lieutenant Meade landed in the dingy to fetch the dogs, and we stood backwards and forwards until they returned, which was about 11.30, bringing two of the finest kangaroo hounds in the colonies, belonging to a Mr. George Smith, and a fine bloodhound, with a touch of mastiff in him, belonging to a Mr. Bagnell. We now had to beat up to the Heads, which occupied us until 12.15, or perhaps 12.30, when, having an offing of about one mile, we kept away to the N. before the increasing breeze. We none of us liked the threatening aspect of the weather to windward, or the falling barometer. Whilst at Manly Beach it rained very hard for about half-an-hour. When clear of the Heads, Mr. Meade, having taken the helm from Broughton some time before, sent Tilly down to turn in; he was soon followed by Hunt and Broughton, who slept one on each side of the little cabin. He also told me I had better go down and wrap myself up, but I preferred making myself comfortable on deck; so accordingly I put on my

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thick pea-jacket and painted canvass oilskin over that, wrapping my feet up in a sack (for I had taken my boots off). Clarke did not turn in either. As I had brought my Australian Directory with me, I thought I would look at it before laying down,

PORT JACKSON [Sketch map]

and at the Chart: I saw by it there was a reef (called Long Reef) five miles N. of Sydney, which extended about one mile and a half out to sea; but the mark to clear it was plain enough, viz.,

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the South Head Light showing open of the North Head Cliffs, S. by W. --Broken Bay was fifteen miles off.

Our intention was to run on and heave to, inside Baranjo Head, to wait for daylight, tide, and a pilot to cross the bar of Brisbane Water, where there would have been some danger of our being-wrecked. About 1 A. M. Clarke asked Mr. Meade to let him relieve him (we were just keeping away, after making our offing from the Heads). At first Mr. Meade refused, but at last gave in to him, and laid or sat down, I don't know which, on the companion of the ladder, just below Clarke's feet, after leaving directions with him not to lose sight of the Light behind the North Head on any account. Clarke of course, having been in the yacht ever since she was built, understood her sailing better than us, however Lieutenant Meade told him to give him a rouse about 2 A. M. At 2.30 Hunt would relieve him, and I was to relieve Hunt at 4. Lieutenant Meade says himself that his reasons for giving the helm to Clarke were to rest his arm for a short time, and if he had roused one of the others to do so, he could not have taken the helm from them again without

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appearing to mistrust their capabilities, which he did not do. I did not get to sleep at all at first, for a long sea was rolling after us, driven by the increasing south wind, and the dingy kept on striking our stern and running up alongside; so I was continually getting up to push her off and look out for the boom jibbing, or passing from one side to the other, for we were before the wind. However, a little before two I began to doze off to sleep, when I felt a rushing sensation of water, and found I was overboard. I just got hold of the brass handrail to leeward, where I managed to cling on till the wave had passed. I scrambled in just as Clarke sang out, 'Look out, gentlemen below, we are among breakers and up they came, indeed the cabin was already half full of water. Hunt put the helm down, and hauled the boom sheet aft, and tried to weather to the breakers, when another large roller struck us; I managed to hold on: but the third, much larger, burst right on us, and all that I remember is, being flung backwards into the foaming water with great force. I fell on a rope, which got under my arm and cut it severely. The yacht was capsized, and, on struggling for the surface, I found that the

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sail was on the top of me, and I never expected to escape then, I thought that my last moment had come; however I had a good struggle, and at last (just at my last gasp) I got clear (I know not how), but only to be buried by another merciless roller. I saw the mast bobbing about near to me, but could not reach it, and a spar of some sort hit me on the head. However I struggled on, not having much hope of reaching the shore, which I could not see, it being pitch-dark, but kept going before the breakers by instinct. I had no idea of the force of these rollers, one feels like a fly in a large tub of water when stirred up by a stick; they roll you head over heels, and come so quickly together in twos or threes, that you can only get a gasp about every two or three minutes, as it seemed. I then managed to fling off my oilskin, then my pea-jacket and waistcoat, leaving me in nothing but shirt and trousers. I suppose I was swimming quite twenty minutes; at last I was dashed on a rock with great violence, and bruised my ribs considerably, and was being carried back, when I saw some one (Hunt) floating a little further in; he called to me to float, which I did; we soon got into deep water again, and more rollers completely did me up. I

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called out to Hunt, who came and gave me his hand, just as I was sinking. At last we came to more rocks, but I could not stand up to run clear of the waves, which were washing me back, when Hunt again ran and dragged me up high and dry.

How thankful I was to get on shore! I knelt down and thanked God for preserving me, and then found that Broughton and Hunt had got on shore just before me, the former with hobnailed, and the latter with heavy sea boots on. I lay on the rocks, for I could not stand up, shivering violently, and I vomited up more than a gallon of sea-water. They walked a short distance along the rocks, and they met Meade coming in, with only a shirt on. Then we could not help thinking of the two unfortunate men. Clarke was a good swimmer, hut Tilly, though he had been saved from the Orpheus, could not swim a stroke, and of course, he being below in his bunk forward, had not much chance of being saved, -- indeed, I think it is a wonder that any one escaped. We waited and holloaed for about half-an-hour, but it was so pitch-dark that we could see nothing; there was neither moon nor stars, and a wild night it was; the sullen roar of the surf, and the howling of

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the wind, were all that could be heard. At last the dingy washed ashore with her starboard bow stove in, and then we prepared to find some place of shelter. I was very unwilling to rise up, but Broughton and Hunt took my arms and dragged me along, across the dry part of the reef and up the sandy cliff. After wandering about on the beach for upwards an hour, during which our feet got very much cut, we came down close to a lagoon which Mr. Meade recognised as the Deewhy Lake, or swamp, and he knew that a road passed close to this on which a policeman named Ward lived; for Mr. Meade had been here by land whilst shooting. There was a number of black swans on the lake. We waded through, and soon found the road, which we followed till we came to a house, which proved not to be Ward's, as we expected, but a settler's station belonging to a Miss Jenkins, an old maid of about sixty or seventy years old. She was frightened at first, and would not let us in for nearly half-an-hour, though we told her of our wretched condition; she took us for burglars. When at last she opened the door to us, she was not over civil in her remarks, &c, growling at us very much; but it is only just to add, that

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the next morning she was extremely kind to every one.

When we arrived, it was nearly four o'clock, just before daylight; and her nephew having made us a cup of tea, Hunt and Broughton, who had boots on, took the only two suits of clothes in the house, and returned to the beach to search for Clarke and Tilly, and were soon after followed by the policeman Ward, who had been sent for. He lived two miles further on, on the same road. Mr. Meade and I undressed, and laid down, each wrapped in a blanket; but Mr. Meade was taken so ill, that I thought at one time he would die, he could hardly breathe, the salt water appeared to have got into his lungs. His tongue was quite dry. I tried to get some brandy for him, but they had none; however, I got some milk, which appeared to do him good. At 6 A. M. they got a cart ready, and Ward drove us to Manly Beach, six miles over an execrably bad road. We went up to Sydney in the eight-o'clock steamer, and got on board the Curacoa about 9. Mr. Meade was at once put to bed, but I was sent on shore with a note to the Commodore, who was, however, up the country, so I telegraphed to him and returned on board by noon, and

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laid down at once, sleeping till 5 P. M., when I took a cup of tea and some bread, the first food I had tasted since my return. About six, Hunt and Broughton returned, but no traces of the unfortunate men had been seen, though the two kangaroo dogs were found washed up dead. The yacht was washed up high and dry, with part of her port side gone, and the deck and everything washed clean out of her, and some of the things scattered along the beach. But of course these losses are not to be thought of compared with the loss of life.

All Tuesday nothing was done at the wreck, and I imagine a great deal was quietly stolen as it was washed up. At 8 P. M., however, the carpenter having asked for a boat and ten men, started with this party, and landing and sleeping at Manly Beach, went overland next morning at 2 A. M. to the Long Reef. In the afternoon I volunteered to go, and when I got there, they had just recovered Tilly's body washing about near the rocks, he was in a sitting position, quite limp, and in about five or six feet of water. He had not a scratch on him, except a very slight one over his eye. I found that they had been trying to carry out an anchor into the surf, to drag the yacht off, but

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that the launch had just been sent round with a Lieutenant, who had stopped them doing this any longer, as he was afraid of the surf. It was quite dark when I arrived, they had made a tent with the launch's sails and awning, for all the yacht's sails had been sent up to the ship. My guncase was found, the only thing I saved, except my purse, which was washed up, and a colonial one-pound note in it; all the rest of the money, about £10, having been washed out. I lost my plain clothes suit, pea-jacket, waterproof coat, serge suit, thick frock-coat, three blankets, three pairs of boots, &c, and, what was worse, a very nice gun, which I had borrowed from a great friend of mine, Mr. Bolitho.

On Thursday, while I was at the wreck, we found a few more things, but though we went along the beach for some miles, not a sign of poor Clarke did we see. We hauled the yacht to the edge of the reef on rollers, and left her till a steamer should come round. I returned in the launch in the evening, and for the next two days I was laid up with the rheumatism in my back. The steamer went down on the 17th, and the yacht is off, and safe at anchor, but the launch got ashore and has all her copper stripped off, and a large hole in her bottom, and she is in a worse

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state than the vessel she was sent to save. They were all Saturday trying to do all they could to patch her up; and on the 20th a steam-tug went down to bring her up, and both she and the yacht were towed up the harbour to Mr. Cuthbert's shipbuilding yard: and so ended our unfortunate expedition.

A black seaman of the name of Tom Dollar, who was a prisoner during our cruise round the islands for desertion, escaped with a fellow-prisoner from their irons, and swam on shore. His companion was found drowned two days after, but Tom Dollar stole the Government boat from the Dockyard, and went up the coast 6O miles to Newcastle, and about 20 miles inland, where he was captured and brought back. He was tried by court-martial and sentenced to forty-eight lashes, two years' imprisonment, seven days of each month of which to be in solitary confinement. However, on consideration of his having saved a great number of persons' lives, and his gallantry in the New Zealand war, and having been wounded twice, the forty-eight lashes were remitted, but he is now in jail.

On the 22nd three French men-of-war arrived, Nereide, Marceau, and Gazelle; and with the Brisk

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and Curacoa, as well as part of the Sydney Yacht Squadron, the Cove looks quite gay.

28th. --We sailed at 11.30, and as we passed the French ships they cheered us, which we returned; and after rather a tedious voyage, arrived off Sydney Bay, Norfolk Island, at 5.30 A. M., December 5, when we fired a gun and made a signal for a boat, which came off about 6 o'clock with old John Adams in her, and ten or twelve of his companions. As the wind, though light, was still from the southward, we weighed and steamed round to the N. anchorage, anchoring in Cascade Bay at 7.30 A. M. They have had a very good whaling season this year, having taken upwards of 100 tons of oil, which is selling at a very high price now, on account of the late American war. They have chartered a small cutter to take it to Auckland, and it is all taken there but about 50 tons. The island is looking as beautiful and verdant as ever. I went on shore at once, and walked across to the settlement, where, after seeing all the people there (who welcomed us most warmly), we proceeded in a boat to Philips' Island with our guns to shoot rabbits; but we found they were so tame we could knock them over with our sticks easier than we could shoot them, so we

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did not get any sport, but after taking what we intended for our messes, we returned to the main island, taking a look at Nepean Island, which is a small rocky island between the two larger ones, with only three pines on it. It is where they used to hang the convicts, who had mutinied or murdered any of the guards there. I had dinner at the Buffet's house, and got a horse afterwards, and with several others rode up Mount Pitt, which is about 1050 feet high, and came down on the northern side. In the evening, the band having come on shore, there was a ball in the old Barrack-room, where we kept up the dancing till 3 A. M., and the young ladies had decidedly improved in that art since our last visit.

After a sumptuous breakfast we started to ride over to Cascade; and after waiting some time at the landing-place, we embarked amidst great waving of handkerchiefs, &c. The older people came off in their whale-boats to see us off, and old Adams was the last to leave the ship. We gave them all the biscuit, flour, candles, &c, we could get; and they kindly presented us with as much milk, fresh butter, eggs, and cheeses, as we could take. We also bought some of their sheep at 14s. a head; and they are really the finest I have seen since leaving

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England, being very fat off the rich pasturage of Norfolk Island. Whilst there, all the fishing lines were in use, the chains and every available place being occupied by officers and men, all eager fishermen, but they were not as lucky as they were the last visit, when the snappers and cavalli were caught as fast as they could be hauled up, and the hooks rebaited. However, some were caught, and four sharks, one measuring 10 feet 3 inches from the snout to the tip of the tail. One of the men hooked him, and then he was harpooned; however he broke the harpoon; then he was wounded with a rifle-bullet, and at last lassooed with a rope's end, and hauled on board. The islanders said that whilst whaling this year they had to keep three or four hands employed to drive the sharks away from the carcasses, there were so many.

We left Norfolk Island on the 7th, at 1 P. M., and passed the North Cape on the 9th, at 8 P. M.

10th. --Passed Poor Knight's Island, Hen and Chickens Island, and Bream Head, and anchored in Bon Accord Harbour, Kawau Island, at 5.30 P. M. The Governor is building a new and much larger house here, and has made some great improvements in the island since we last left.

Arrived at Auckland on the 11th. On the 18th,

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walked to the top of Mount Eden, and had a look round, saw a steamer, in the distance, which proved to be H. M. S. Eclipse. 22nd. --Went to the top of Rangitoto, an extinct volcanic island, near the North Head; it is remarkable for having the same appearance from every side, a large cone with two nipples, one on each side. We left the ship at 9 A. M.,


in a dingy, and got there soon after 10. We did not hurry going up, and reached the summit about 25 minutes to 12. It is very rough walking, the blocks of scoria being large and uneven, and there is thick bush in places. From the top we got a magnificent view, the whole of the country round being

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spread out like a map. It taught one thoroughly the bearings of the different places. We came down about 1.30, and got on board about 5, having had to pull up the harbour against wind and tide. The mails again late, the people are much incensed at being without them, for this is the third or fourth time running that it has happened. Heard by telegraph of Lord Palmerston's death.

On the 25th I went out of the ship immediately after church, took a long walk on the Oatahuhu Road, and dined with the Commodore on my return.

31st. --Walked down to Kohimarima (Bishop Patteson's College), about six miles from here; he gave us some beautiful fresh butter, which we brought back with us.

1866, 1st January. --Went out to the Auckland races, but found them very stupid and uninteresting.

3rd. --The hired transport, Ida Zeigler, sailed for England with the 70th Regiment. We cheered them as they passed the squadron, which they returned heartily, and our band struck up "Auld Lang Syne," "Cheer boys, Cheer," "Homeward Bound," and other suitable airs, in which their band joined.

4th. --We went in the Eclipse to an island called Waikiki, the chief object being to mark some kauri

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pines for cutting down for spars for the squadron. Returned about 10 P. M., and then went up to the Commodore's house and danced till late.

Our boats' crews have been practising for the Regatta of the 29th, so I hope the Men-of-war's boats' race will be a good one. The Governor is still at Wellington, where the Falcon is attending on him, and General Chute is at Wanganui, but there has been no news of importance from the seat of war.

Tuesday, January 9. --Started up the country with a party consisting of Captain Luce (Esk), Lieutenant Meade, and some others, and left Auckland about 1 P. M., and got up to Queen's Redoubt by coach (a new conveyance here) that night by 8 P. M., where we remained to sleep. There is a regular line of Cobb and Co.'s American coaches running up there. The next day we went down to the Bluff, and took the steamer to Ngaruawhia (now called Newcastle), which passage occupied us 8 hours, the river being very low, and the stream rapid. There are now no posts occupied, between the Bluff and Ngaruawhia, and here there is a regular town with two hotels; however it is a very straggling sort of place. There are a few regular troops here (40th), but the settlements are nearly all occupied by the Waikato regi-

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ments. We went, on the 11th, up the Waipa to Whata Whata and Te Rore (Alexandra). The places are altogether changed. The Waipa is very low indeed, being almost like a creek. On Friday, the 12th, we rode over to Te Awamutu and Kihi-kihi by Harapipi; all these are now flourishing settlements, and very good land. Colonel Leslie (40th) kindly got us some horses here, from the Maories, and we went on the 13th to Cambridge (formerly Maungatauteri) and Pukerimu by way of Kirikiriroa (Hamilton), and from there Lieutenant Meade determined to try and reach Taupo, as Captain Luce wished to do so; so on Monday, the 15th, we started, and sleeping at a deserted village that night, we reached Otaki on the 16th, at the lower end of the lake; it is an immense sheet of water, being 28 miles by 22, and is said to be unfathomable.

The snowy block of Ruapehu, which is 9500 feet, and the smoking peak of Tongariro 9000 feet, rose majestically on the other side of the lake, to which we dare not go, on account of the Pai Mariri fanatics and Hauhaus. On Thursday morning (18th), we were obliged to leave this beautiful spot, as the tribe of friendly natives were moving on towards the east coast. In two days and a half we reached the hot

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springs and lakes at Rotorua, where we left the tribe (the Arawas). We started from Rotorua on Sunday evening, the 21st, and got through the only dangerous part of our journey, reaching Maketu, on the coast, 20 miles from Tauranga, on Tuesday, the 23rd. Rode down the coast on the 24th (20 miles) to Opotiki, the spot where M. Volkner was murdered; there are troops there now (3rd Waikatos), but the natives are prowling about still.

On Thursday, the 25th, we had a long ride back to Maketu and Tauranga, all along a sandy beach; stayed there the night, and the next morning left for Auckland in the steamer Lady Bird, getting there on Saturday, the 2 7th. This was a most interesting trip. The next day I went to Bishop Patteson's College at Kohimarima; it is a very pretty walk of six miles and a half, being entirely up and down hills and gullies, along the south coast of Auckland Harbour. The Solomon and Banks' Islanders at the Bishop's seem to be getting on very well, and they looked healthy. He is hard at work with all their different languages in his spare time.

29th. --The Auckland Regatta came off: it being the anniversary of the foundation of the Colony. There were twelve races; all the ships in harbour were

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dressed out with flags, and we had a good many ladies on board, the band being a great attraction. The first race was gigs; then a mosquito fleet of tiny yachts; next scullers; then sailing cargo boats. The fifth race, the most interesting of all, came off at noon. Men-of-war's cutters, ten oars, a four-mile race. They came in in the following order: --

1 Curacoa, No. 1 (2nd cutter) white--red cross.
2 Curacoa, No. 2 (1st cutter) red--white cross.
3 Brisk.. .. .. white--41 on it.
4 Esk.. .. .. white--and a ball.
5 Falcon (Eclipse's 2nd cutter) white--blue cross.
6 Eclipse.. (1st cutter) red.

This is the second year our boat has won at the Regatta, but it was a great triumph for our second-best crew to beat all the rest. After this there were two or three races for schooners, cutters, and yachts, and merchant-ships' gigs, punts, and dingies pulled by boys, also rather a good race with three Maori canoes. After which the copper punts of all the ships had a race, and again the Curacoa won.

The news arrived that General Chute had marched overland from Wanganui to Taranaki (New Plymouth); it took him eight days to accomplish it: on the fifth day all the staff begged him to retreat and leave his baggage, and even wrote an angry letter

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remonstrating with him, but be went on through the bush (hitherto impassable for white men), and as there was no track, cut his way through the thick bush, about eight miles per day. The last three days, they had to live on horseflesh, but General Chute was not to be beat. He has gained great kudos by this, and it has struck terror into the Maories, as they fancied all the cultivations and villages (which he has destroyed) quite safe, and the bush impassable. The Taranaki people built triumphant arches for his entry; and, I believe, he is going back to Wanganui by the coast road, destroying pahs, &c, on his way. Went on shore and passed by the Cemetery, where I saw poor Watkins' tomb (the midshipman who fell at Rangiriri): we have lately put up a headstone and iron railings round it. We had several paper hunts on horseback before leaving Auckland, and they afforded a good deal of amusement in this dull place, the fences being either stone walls or stiff post and rails.

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