State Library of NSW
Arthur Bowes-Smyth, illustrated journal, 1787-1789. Titled `A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, Merchantman William Cropton Sever, Commander by Arthur Bowes-Smyth, Surgeon - 1787-1788-1789'; being a fair copy compiled ca 1790.
This Eveng. I went on Shore in the Boat wt. Some of the Ship's Company to the Northside of the Bay to haul the Seyne &: caught a great many fish; all excellent eating. Upon first sight one wd. be induced to think this a most fertile spot, as there are great Nos. of very large & lofty trees, reachg. almost to the water's edge, & every vacant spot between the trees appears to be cover'd wt. verdure: but upon a nearer inspection, the grass is found long &: coarse, the trees very large & in general hollow & the wood itself fit for no purposes of buildg. or anything but the fire -- The Soil to a great depth is nothing but a black sand wh. when exposed to the intense heat of the Sun by removing the surrounding trees, is not fit for the vegitation of anything even the grass itself, then dying away, wh. in the shade appears green &: flourishing; add to this that every part of the grown is in a manner cover'd wt. black & red Ants of a most enormous size. --
21st. Accompanied several Gentlemen on shore to the South side of the Bay, in order to haul the Seyne. Upon our landing 7 or 8 of the Natives came close up to us -- They were all provided wt. Lances of a great length pointed wt. the Bone of a Sting Ray at one end & a piece of Oyster Shell at the other, grown or rub'd to a fine edge & one of them had a heavy Bludgeon wh. I persuaded him to exchange wt. me for a looking glass. They were all perfectly naked rather slender, made of a dark black colour, their hair not wooly but short & curly. -- Every one had the tooth next the fore tooth in his