Thursday, 8 December 2011

Clyde Company Papers - Notes 2

Clyde Company Papers volume 2
Log of Captain Tregurtha - 1836
Edward Primrose Tregurtha was a Cornishman, the son of a naval commander by the daughter of a navy captain. Born in 1803 he joined the navy and then entered the East India Company's maritime service. He first arrived in Hobart Town via Sydney in 1831 and went whaling for two years before returning to England. Back in Hobart in 1835 he planned to establish a fishery. He kept a log of his experiences. (from notes before the log entries - p 45))

An old acquaintance of mine named Whiting arrived at Launceston in the brig 'Henry' from London. Being short of cash, he wanted a partner to join him in the vessel and trade together jointly. Hearing of my residing at Hobarton, he wrote me that effect, and I concluded to reply in person. On the 26th April I started with the mail, at this time a formidable undertaking with the bush road and night travelling, and arrived at Launceston on the 28th terribly shaken. I now proceeded to George Town per 'Vansittart', and it was arranged that we should jointly own the vessel, Whiting the master, and me as supercargo. After some delay we determined to take cattle and passengers to Port Phillip; our first cargo was 37 head of cattle for the Messrs. Wedge of Snake Banks. Accordingly in the beginning of May we embarked a cargo of sheep for Messrs. Mackillop and Smith to be landed at Gellibrand's Point. On arriving inside the heads, as we had no chart of the harbour, I proceeded ahead in the boat to indicate any danger. The 'Calidonia' lay under Point Nepean bound for India, and wanting stores; Captain S. came on board to procure some, engaging Whiting's attention, by which neglect the brig ran on shore next the mud flats. Having run out the bower anchor with 120 fathoms into deep water, I succeeded in heaving the brig into a channel which we named Whiting's Channel, and proceeded to Hobson's Bay at Williamstown. Here we landed the first flock of sheep, containing 750, on the 20th May 1836, on the point which was named Gelibrand's Point in the chart, a Mr Cracroft, a civilian from Calcutta, being a passenger. I took my fowling piece and proceeded to the Falls of the Yarra in the boat. We there landed, and sauntering over Batman's Hill perceived the brig at anchor, also the Salt Water River. Our attention was attracted by some flocks of green doves, of which I shot about 30, which filled all our available pockets as they were as large as a quail. We procured a quantity of fine mushrooms, and having filled our handkerchiefs returned through a park-like ramble to the boat without meeting a human being.

Having fairly launched out in peopling this new paradise, we endeavoured by sounding and otherwise to make ourselves acquainted with the harbour, and continued to bring from Van Diemen's Land cargoes of sheep, horses, and cattle, and land them at Williamstown. Several parties being anxious to proceed to Geelong in August, we proceeded and surveyed the harbour as far as Point Henry, which was called after the brig, being the first vessel that had proceeded and anchored there. Having procured a dray from Dr. Thomson, under the escort of the giant Buckley (William Buckley), we placed our boat in it, and launched it after an hour's march into the Barwon River, with the intention of exploring its embouchure. The crew comprised Captain Whiting, Messrs. Mackillop, E. P. Tregurtha, Roadnight, Matson, and J. Tregurtha. Our commencement was very propitious: we found a depth of from 2½ to 4 fathoms, with a moderate tide and free of snags and stumps, a most lovely country, and the river itself alive with wild fowl of all descriptions. We shot down several ducks, but as the sedge and reed abounded, and not having a dog, we only got possession of a few.  After proceeding what we estimated about 10 miles, the river suddenly expanded itself out into what appeared a large lake, and we were congratulating ourselves on the discoveries we should make, when suddenly our boat stuck in the mud, and all our efforts to get off were unavailing; the mud was so soft, you could push an oar out of sight. At last by placing oars under him, young Tregurtha reached the shore and pulled us into water again. Here ended our grand discovery, there being no outlet to this river for navigable purposes: our progress back was slow, pulling against the tide; on reaching the foot of the hills, we encamped for the night and cooked our game. The next day we carted our boat back and continued to ply our trade, the 'Henry' being much in demand as a stock vessel; but we now loaded our cargoes principally at Port Henry for the Western District. [pp46-48]

Stock and Land, Melb., 21/11/1934 contains an article on this excursion written by J T Matson (order in to SLV from off site store or use microfilm copy)

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