Transactions at Port Jackson in the Months of April and May.
As winter was fast approaching, it became necessary to secure ourselves in quarters, which might shield us from the cold we were taught to expect in this hemisphere, though in so low a latitude. The erection of barracks for the soldiers was projected, and the private men of each company undertook to build for themselves two wooden houses, of sixty-eight feet in length, and twenty-three in breadth. To forward the design, several saw-pits were immediately set to work, and four ship carpenters attached to the battalion, for the purpose of directing and completing this necessary undertaking. In prosecuting it, however, so many difficulties occurred, that we were fain to circumscribe our original intention; and, instead of eight houses, content ourselves with four. And even these, from the badness of the timber, the scarcity of artificers, and other impediments, are, at the day on which I write, so little advanced, that it will be well, if at the close of the year 1788, we shall be established in them. In the meanwhile the married people, by proceeding on a more contracted scale, were soon under comfortable shelter. Nor were the convicts forgotten; and as leisure was frequently afforded them for the purpose, little edifices quickly multiplied on the ground allotted them to build upon.
But as these habitations were intended by Governor Phillip to answer only the exigency of the moment, the plan of the town was drawn, and the ground on which it is hereafter to stand surveyed, and marked out. To proceed on a narrow, confined scale, in a country of the extensive limits we possess, would be unpardonable: extent of empire demands grandeur of design. That this has been our view will be readily believed, when I tell the reader, that the principal street in our projected city will be, when completed, agreeable to the plan laid down, two hundred feet in breadth, and all the rest of a corresponding proportion. How far this will be accompanied with adequate dispatch, is another question, as the incredulous among us are sometimes hardy enough to declare, that ten times our strength would not be able to finish it in as many years.
Invariably intent on exploring a country, from which curiosity promises so many gratifications, his Excellency about this time undertook an expedition into the interior parts of the continent. His party consisted of eleven persons, who, after being conveyed by water to the head of the harbour, proceeded in a westerly direction, to reach a chain of mountains, which in clear weather are discernible, though at an immense distance, from some heights near our encampment. With unwearied industry they continued to penetrate the country for four days; but at the end of that time, finding the base of the mountain to be yet at the distance of more than twenty miles, and provisions