The weather had been as dry at Norfolk Island as it had been here; which, with the blighting winds, had considerably injured all the gardens, and particularly some crops of potatoes. Of the great fertility of the soil every account brought the strongest confirmation; and by attending to the proper season for sowing, it was the general opinion that two crops of corn might be got off in a year.
Their provisions, like ours, were again at so low an ebb, that the lieutenant-governor had reduced the ration. The whole number victualled when the Supply sailed amounted to six hundred and twenty-nine persons; and for that number there were in store at the full ration, flour and Indian corn for twenty weeks, beef for eighteen weeks, and pork for twenty-nine weeks; and these, at the ration then issued, would be prolonged, the grain to twenty-seven, the beef to forty-two, and the pork to twenty-nine weeks.
It must however be remarked, that the ration at Norfolk Island was often uncertain, being regulated by the plenty or scarcity of the Mount Pitt birds. Great numbers of these birds had been killed for some time before the Supply sailed thence; but they were observed about that time to be quitting the island.
On board the Supply were some planks, and such part of the stores belonging to the Sirius as the lieutenant-governor could get on board. That ship had not then gone to pieces; the side of her which was on the reef was broken in and much injured, but the side next the sea (the larboard side) appeared fresh and perfect.
At Sydney, by an account taken at the latter end of the month of the provisions then remaining in store, there appeared to be at the ration then issued of
Flour and rice 40 weeks, a supply till 31st March
Beef 12 weeks, a supply till 31st August 1791;
Pork 27 weeks, a supply till 21st December 1791.
In this account the rice and flour were taken together as one article, but the rice bore by far the greatest proportion.
It was remarked by many in the settlement, that both at Sydney and at Rose Hill the countenances of the labouring convicts indicated the shortness of the ration they received; this might be occasioned by their having suffered so much before from the same cause, from the effects of which they had scarcely been restored when they were again called upon to experience the hardship of a reduced ration of provisions. The convicts who arrived in June had not recovered from the severity of their passage to this country.