[All the trees of New South Wales, may I apprehend, be termed evergreen. For after such weather as this journal records, I did not observe either that the leaves had dropped off, or that they had assumed that sickly autumnal tint, which marks English trees in corresponding circumstances.]
Transactions of the Colony to the end of November, 1791.
The extreme dryness of the preceding summer has been noticed. It had operated so far in the beginning of June that we dreaded a want of water for common consumption most of the little reservoirs in the neighbourhood of Sydney being dried up. The small stream near the town was so nearly exhausted (being only the drain of a morass) that a ship could not have watered at it, and the ‘Supply’ was preparing to sink casks in a swamp when rain fell and banished our apprehensions.
June, 1791. On the second instant, the name of the settlement, at the head of the harbour (Rose Hill) was changed, by order of the governor, to that of Parramatta, the native name of it. As Rose Hill has, however, occurred so often in this book, I beg leave, to avoid confusion, still to continue the appellation in all future mention of it.
Our travelling friend Boladeree, who makes so conspicuous a figure in the last chapter, about this time committed an offence which we were obliged to notice. He threw a spear at a convict in the woods, and wounded him. The truth was, some mischievous person belonging to us had wantonly destroyed his canoe, and he revenged the injury on the first of our people whom he met unarmed. He now seemed to think the matter adjusted; and probably such is the custom they observe in their own society in similar cases. Hearing, however, that an order was issued to seize him, or in case that could not be effected, to shoot him, he prudently dropped all connection with us and was for a long time not seen.
But if they sometimes injured us, to compensate they were often of signal benefit to those who needed their assistance: two instances of which had recently occurred. A boat was overset in the harbour Baneelon and some other natives, who saw the accident happen, immediately plunged in, and saved all the people. When they had brought them on shore, they undressed them, kindled a fire and dried their clothes, gave them fish to eat and conducted them to Sydney.
The other instance was of a soldier lost in the woods, when he met a party of natives. He at first knew not whether to flee from them, or to implore their assistance. Seeing among them one whom he knew, he determined to communicate his distress to him and to rely on his generosity. The Indian told him that he had wandered a long way from home, but that he would conduct him thither, on the single condition of his delivering up a gun which he held in his hand, promising to carry it for him and to restore it to him at parting. The soldier felt little inclination to surrender his arms, by which he would be put entirely in their power. But seeing no alternative, he at last consented; on which the whole party laid down their spears and faithfully escorted him to the nearest part of the settlement, where the gun was given up, and they took their leave without asking for any remuneration, or even seeming to expect it.