Your most obedient servant,
John Jardine. P.M.
To the Hon. the Colonial Secretary, Brisbane.
Dr. Haran’s report.
Somerset, May 22, 1865.
It affords me much pleasure to have again to forward to your Excellency a most favourable report of the climate of this settlement, and of the uninterrupted good health of our small community, military and civil. the dreaded summer season, with its calms, light winds and heavy rains, has passed off without causing a single case of sickness, attributable to noxious exhalations, which prevail at that season in most tropical climates, but which, in my opinion, cannot exist here, owing to the preventive causes enumerated in my letter of the 13th January last; neither have we experienced that oppressiveness of the atmosphere which its saturated condition at that season through the sun’s direct influence in favoring evaporation in the surrounding seas would lead one to expect. Some slight oppressiveness was felt immediately before the rains, but speedily disappeared on their occurrence. I can only account for this valuable immunity by attributing it to some peculiarity of climate, in all probability to the same causes which counteract the evolution of noxious exhalations; for we did experience calms and very light winds, and the hygrometer during the greater part of the time indicated a very large amount of moisture in the atmosphere.
2. The meteorological sheets forwarded by this opportunity, contain full particulars regarding the winds, temperature, etc., for the last four months, and having been prepared from a series of observations, conducted with care and regularly registered, they cannot fail, amongst other important objects bearing on general climatology, to afford convincing proof that, as a climate, even during the summer season, that of Somerset, although in close proximity to the equator, possesses many advantages not attainable in higher latitudes, and is, in my opinion, from its mildness and equable character, especially suited for such as may have the misfortune to be predisposed to, or suffering from, pulmonary consumption.
3. The S.E. Trade ceased as a continuous wind in these seas on the 24th December last. Calms, light winds, from all points of the compass, but chiefly from the points between North and West to South, or against the sun’s course, and heavy rains, with electric phenomena of a comparatively mild character, succeeded and persisted until the 11th of March; when the sun’s more direct influence having been diverted from its course, and in a manner dissipated by the great heat and evaporation, again resumed its ascendancy, and has continued since without interruption.
4. On the 25th of January two of the Marines were seized with a severe headache and other suspicious symptoms while working in the sun during a calm; and I consider it my duty at once to recommend such alteration in the working hours as would protect the men from sun-exposure during its period of greatest heat. These alternations were adopted, and continued in force until the 22nd of March, when the former working hours were resumed, as no danger was apprehended from solar heat at any time of the day during the prevalence of the S.E. Trade wind.