Every encouragement was given to the curing of pork upon Norfolk Island; but the casks in which the salt meat was sent from England were in general so extremely feeble by the time they arrived, that scarcely one in a hundred was fit for that purpose a second time. Could any timber, fit for this use, have been found in the country, yet a supply of hoops and salt pans would have been necessary; and, unless it was cured in the winter season, and the method observed by Captain Cook was practised at Norfolk island, it remained a doubt whether it could be accomplished to any considerable extent.
The price of fresh pork having been raised in consequence of the failure of the late harvest, as a temporary relief to those who had suffered by that misfortune, the commissary was, at the close of this month, directed to return to the price formerly established, viz nine-pence per pound.
The state of the public stores with respect to salt provision having been carefully examined, it became necessary to make a small reduction of the ration in time, in order to prevent a greater. It was accordingly ordered, that the following proportions should be issued, per man per week; viz
Beef 5 pounds
Pork 3 pounds
Wheat 12 pounds
Sugar 6 ounces
and this they were informed was not to continue longer than the arrival of a storeship with a supply of salted provision.
The commissary was also directed to issue to such men as might be entitled, as much blue gurrah (an East India article not much better than bunting) and thread as would make a frock and a pair of trousers, and a proportion to the women and children. These gurrahs had been brought from India in some of the speculative voyages to this country, and were now found useful in covering the nakedness of the people.
By the arrival of the Buffalo, the governor at length had it in his power to inform those people who had been convicted in Ireland, and by the laws of that kingdom had been transported to New South Wales, that he had received from thence a correct statement of the several sentences of those who had been brought in the Queen; and an assurance, through the secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, that the lists of those who had been sent out since that period should be forwarded by the next vessel which might sail from Ireland for this colony.
Those, therefore, who were remaining alive of the convicts received by the Queen, might learn the extent of their conviction, by applying at the commissary’s office. Such as might appear to have been sent out for life were told they need not despair of being, in due time, again the masters of their own labours; as every one must have seen, that a decent, orderly, industrious and obedient conduct, had frequently recommended many of their description to public favour.
June.] On the 2nd of this month, the Diana and Eliza whalers came in to refit, and to refresh their crews. They had each procured about twenty-five tons of spermaceti oil since they left the port, and had spoke the Britannia, which had been more successful, she having, in all, one hundred and ten tons of oil on board.