The commander of the wrecked ship, Sydney Cove, having solicited the governor to spare him the Colonial schooner for the purpose of visiting the wreck of his ship, and the six men whom he had left upon the island in charge of what had been landed; though he could very ill part with the services of the vessel at this time, yet, in consideration of the melancholy situation of the people, and the chance that there might be of saving something for the benefit of the underwriters, he consented; and about the latter end of the month the Francis sailed with Captain Hamilton to the southward.
The weather was now becoming exceedingly hot; and as, at this season of the year, the heat of the sun was so intense that every substance became a combustible, and a single spark, if exposed to the air, in a moment became a flame, much evil was to be dreaded from fire. On the east side of the town of Sydney, a fire, the effect of intoxication or carelessness, broke out among the convicts’ houses, when three of them were quickly destroyed; and three miles from the town another house was burnt by some run-away wretches, who, being displeased with the owner, took this diabolical method of showing it.
The public labour of the month at Sydney comprised the covering of the new store-house; finishing the church tower; constructing another wind-mill, of which the beams of the second floor were laid; completing the barracks of the assistant surgeons, with necessary offices; digging the foundation of a house for the master boat-builder; and taking down one of the old marine barracks, on the site of which the governor proposed to erect a granary.
At Parramatta and Toongabbie the wheat was nearly all got in and secured. At the latter of these places, a capital barn had been erected for its reception, 90 feet in length, with a complete floor, on which eight or nine pairs of thrashers could be employed without any inconvenience.
In order to mark the annual* increase, it may be proper to insert in this place an account of the live-stock and land in cultivation at the close of the year, belonging to government, the civil and military officers, the settlers, and others.
[* Vide Vol I Ch. XXXII p 411, viz: ’ACCOUNT OF LIVE STOCK IN THE POSSESSION OF GOVERNMENT AND THE CIVIL AND MILITARY OFFICERS OF THE SETTLEMENT, ON THE 1ST OF SEPTEMBER 1796’]
Bulls and Oxen 132
Acres in Wheat 33611/2
Acres for Maize 1527
Acres in Barley 261/2
In addition to these, a considerable quantity of garden-ground was in potatoes, callevances, and vines.