In addition to the depredations of our own people, the natives had for some time been suspected of stealing the corn at the settlements beyond Parramatta. On the 18th a party of the tribe inhabiting the woods, to the number of fifteen or sixteen, was observed coming out of a hut at the middle settlement, dressed in such clothing as they found there, and taking with them a quantity of corn in nets. The person who saw them imagined at first from their appearance that they were convicts; but perceiving one of them preparing to throw a spear at him, he levelled his piece, which was loaded with small shot, and fired at him. The native instantly dropped his spear, and the whole party ran away, leaving behind them the nets with the corn, some blankets, and one or two spears. It was supposed that the native was wounded; for in a few days information was received from Parramatta, that a convict who was employed in well-digging at Prospect Hill, having come in from thence to receive some slops which were issued, was on his return met midway and murdered, or rather butchered by some of the natives. When the body was found, it was not quite cold, and had at least thirty spear wounds in it. The head was cut in several places, and most of the teeth were knocked out. They had taken his clothing and provisions, and the provisions of another man which he was carrying out to him. The natives with whom we had intercourse said, that this murder was committed by some of the people who inhabited the woods, and was done probably in revenge for the shot that was fired at the natives who some time before were stripping the hut.
Toward the end of the month the corn was all got in and housed at Parramatta. As the grounds were cleared of the stalks, the depredations which had been committed became visible; and several of the convicts were detected by the night-watch in bringing in large quantities of shelled corn which had been stolen, buried or concealed in the woods, and shelled as they could find opportunity. Seven bushels were recovered in one night by the vigilance of the watch; and as different quantities were found from time to time in the huts, the people who resided in them were all ordered to the New Grounds.
The works during this month, both at Sydney and at Parramatta, went on but slowly. At Sydney a tank that would contain about seven thousand nine hundred and ninety-six gallons of water, with a well in the centre fifteen feet deep, was finished, and the water let into it. Brick huts were in hand for the convicts in room of the miserable hovels occupied by many, which had been put up at their first landing, and in room of others which, from having been erected on such ground as was then cleared, were now found to interfere with the direction of the streets which the governor was laying out. People were also employed in cutting paling for fencing in their gardens. At Parramatta and the New Grounds, during the greatest part of the month, the people were employed in getting in the maize and sowing wheat. A foundation for an hospital was laid, a house built for the master carpenter, and roofs prepared for the different huts either building, or to be built in future.