Fortunately, however, this arrangement was shortly afterwards rendered unnecessary by the arrival from India, of the Mermaid, a cutter of 84 tons burden, built of teak, and not quite twelve months old: her length was 56 feet; breadth of beam 18 feet 6 inches; and did not, when deep-laden, draw more than 9 feet; her bottom was rather sharper than was convenient for the purpose of taking the ground; but, as I could not expect to find every advantage combined in one vessel that was necessary for the purpose of surveying, the latter objection was of necessity overruled; and being in every other respect superior to the Lady Nelson, and requiring no repairs, she was eventually purchased for the sum of 2000 pounds sterling, and immediately appropriated to my use.
A schooner would have been much more convenient; but, as there was no opportunity of making such an alteration, it could not be effected. My statement of the arrangements that were requisite for our accommodation was approved of by the Governor, who gave the necessary orders to the Engineer, a captain of the forty-sixth regiment; and the Deputy Commissary General was instructed to attend to all my demands, and to supply the requisite quantities of provisions and stores; but, notwithstanding every wish on the part of His Excellency to forward our outfit and complete the vessel for sea without delay, it was not until the 21st of December that the alterations were finished. Had we met with as much opposition and inattention from the commissariat department as from the engineer, the vessel would not have been ready for sea for six months; it is, however, a duty I owe to Deputy Commissary General Allan, to acknowledge the readiness with which that officer’s department attended to my wants.
The following is a list of the officers and men who formed the crew of the Mermaid:—
Lieutenant Phillip Parker King.
Master’s mates, 2:
Mr. Frederick Bedwell.
Mr. John Septimus Roe.
Mr. Allan Cunningham.
In addition to this establishment, I accepted the proffered services of Boongaree, a Port Jackson native, who had formerly accompanied Captain Flinders in the Investigator, and also on a previous occasion in the Norfolk schooner. This man is well known in the colony as the chief of the Broken Bay tribe; he was about forty-five years of age, of a sharp, intelligent, and unassuming disposition, and promised to be of much service to us in our intercourse with the natives: this addition made our number amount to nineteen, for which we carried provisions for nine months, and twelve weeks’ water.