State Library of NSW
Extract from, A Journal of a Voyage from Portsmouth to New South Wales and China in the Lady Penrhyn, 1787-1789, Manuscript page 6
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.
consist of a very short Vocabulary; they Description seem'd surpris'd at the Sight of the Ships. I presented many of them of New wt. Glass Beads & several Gentlemen put Ribbands & Glass Trincketts Holland abt. their heads but they seemed altogether a most stupid insensible Continued set of beings -- they seem'd most desirous of Hats from their attempting to seize the Hats of many persons on shore.
They seemed to express a Wish to know of what Sex we were & several of the persons onshore satisfied them in that particular. -- When they found we were men like themselves they express'd their joy & astonishment by loud Exclamations & grotesque gestures, & immediately shook hands with us. Their Huts or Wigwams are dispersed abt. & cat paths leading from one to the other.
Having wandered some distance into the woods in search of Insects & other natural Curiosities, I lost myself & cd. not find my way back to the Wooding Party, which threw me into no small panic least I shd. meet with any of the Natives before I cd. extricate myself from the Labarynth I had got into. At one time I was surrounded by fern (exactly the same as in England) on every side above my head. And in this awkward situation I came very near Wigwams or Hut in which I heard the voices of Men & Women, I was apprehensive I shd. be seen by them; but, I crawl'd along gently & had the good Luck to escape being noticed by them; &: to my inexpressable Joy I shortly after got sight of the Bay; I bent my course towards it & upon clearing the wood I found myself upon a point of Rock at least a mile from the Guard & Wooding party -- I directed my course along shore till I reached the Party & in my way there I fell in with a Canoe