The weather had been for some days extremely bad, heavy storms of wind and rain having generally prevailed from Monday the 9th till Friday the 13th, when fair weather succeeded. At Parramatta the gale had done much damage; several huts which were built in low grounds were rendered almost inaccessible, and the greater part of the wattled huts suffered considerably. A large portion of the cleared ground was laid under water, and such corn as had not been reaped was beaten down. At Sydney the effects of the storm, though it had been equally violent, were not so severe. Most of the houses were rendered damp, and had leaks in different parts; seeds which had been recently sown were washed out of the ground, and the bridge over the stream was somewhat injured. In the woods it had raged with much violence; the people employed to kill game reported that it was dangerous to walk in the forests; and the ground, covered with huge limbs or whole trunks of trees, confirmed the truth of their report.
The bricklayers were immediately sent up to Parramatta, to repair the damages effected by the storm; and the bridge at Sydney was not only repaired, but considerably widened.
On Saturday the 13th an alteration took place in the ration. Three pounds of flour, and two pounds of maize, with four pounds of pork, were served to each man, and three pounds of flour, and one pound of maize, with four pounds of pork, were served to each woman in the settlement.The children received the usual proportion. To such alterations the settlement had now for some years been habituated; and although it was well known that they never were imposed but when the state of the stores rendered them absolutely necessary, it was impossible to meet the deduction without reflecting, that the established ration would have been adequate to every want; the plea of hunger could not have been advanced as the motive and excuse for thefts; and disease would not have met so powerful an ally in its ravages among the debilitated and emaciated objects which the gaols had crowded into transports, and the transports had landed in these settlements.
The works in hand were, building brick huts at Sydney for convicts, consisting of two apartments, each hut being twenty-six feet in front, and fourteen feet in width, and intended to contain ten people, with a suitable allotment of garden ground; completing tanks for water; widening the bridge, etc. One day in each week was dedicated to issuing provisions, and the labour of the other five (with interruptions from bad weather, and the plea of the reduced ration) did not amount in all to three good working days.