Among the conveniencies that were now enjoyed in the colony must be mentioned the introduction of passage-boats, which, for the benefit of settlers and others, were allowed to go between Sydney and Parramatta. They were the property of persons who had served their respective terms of transportation; and from each passenger one shilling was required for his passage; luggage was paid for at the rate of one shilling per cwt; and the entire boat could be hired by one person for six shillings. This was a great accommodation to the description of people whom it was calculated to serve, and the proprietors of the boats found it very profitable to themselves.
The boat-builders and shipwrights found occupation enough for their leisure hours, in building boats for those who could afford to pay them for their labour. Five and six gallons of spirits was the price, and five or six days would complete a boat fit to go up the harbour; but many of them were very badly put together, and threatened destruction to whoever might unfortunately be caught in them with a sail up in blowing weather.
On the 24th ten grants of land passed the seal of the territory, and received the lieutenant-governor’s signature. Five allotments of twenty-five acres each, and one of thirty, were given to six non-commissioned officers of the New South Wales corps, who had chosen an eligible situation nearly midway between Sydney and Parramatta; and who, in conjunction with four other settlers, occupied a district to be distinguished in future by the name of Concord. These allotments extended inland from the water’s side, within two miles of the district named Liberty Plains.
The settlers at this latter place appeared to have very unproductive crops, having sown their wheat late. They were, indeed, of opinion, that they had made a hasty and bad choice of situation; but this was nothing more than the language of disappointment, as little judgment could be formed of what any soil in this country would produce until it had been properly worked, dressed, cleansed, and purged of that sour quality that was naturally inherent in it, which it derived from the droppings of wet from the leaves of gum and other trees, and which were known to be of an acrid destructive nature.
Another barrack for officers was got up this month at Sydney; but, for want of tiles, was only partly covered in. The millwrights Wilkinson and Baughan had got up the frames and roofs of their respective mill-houses, and, while waiting for their being tiled, were proceeding with preparing the wood-work of their mills.
The great want of tiles that was occasionally felt, proceeded from there being only one person in the place who was capable of moulding tiles, and he could never burn more than thirty thousand tiles in six weeks, being obliged to burn a large quantity of bricks in the same kilns. It required near sixty-nine thousand bricks to complete the building of one barrack, and twenty-one thousand tiles to cover it in. The number of tiles rendered useless by carriage, and destroyed in the kilns, was estimated at about three thousand in each kiln, and fifteen thousand were generally burnt off at a time.