DUKE OF YORK 1836
AN OLD SALT. Reported in the Adelaide OBSERVER Newspaper (published on July 31st, 1886)|
I was put on the track of old Robert Russell, once second mate of the Duke of York, and found him in a humble cottage with the "auld wife," as hearty and intelligent as himself, although she complains of feeling her age now, for she has reached the alloted span of threescore years and ten. Robert Russell is a good type of the man-of-warsman of fifty years ago, a healthy-looking fairly hearty old man still, though showing his 82 years of toil and privation, but keen and intelligent, ready for a forecastle yarn, and like most aged persons possessing a good memory, for events of long ago. He is a Scotchman and hails from "Edinbro' toun", but has little of the Scotch accent, and his language retains the flavour of the sea. He has been sailor and fisherman nearly all his life, and gets his livelihood by fishing -somewhat precarious now, though -and making nets - he is great on net-making - and his two dutiful sons send the old folk a pound or two now and then when they can spare it, but the ancient couple have a hard struggle nevertheless. The two old people live together in homely happiness, and have so far managed to keep the wolf from the door, but now feel the burden of their years and are not so active as they were or so well able to maintain themselves. Theirs is a case that the Old Colonists' Association might take account of, for both are pioneers. Mrs Russell came out in 1839 - and both in their humble sphere have done their part towards the common weal and sought no assistance from the State.
AN OLD SAILOR'S YARN
Evidently glad of a good listener, "old Bob" as his friends call him, sat opposite me in his little cottage and spun the following yarn, forecastle fashion, straight ahead, thus:-
I left the old country for Australia in '36. I can't exactly remember the day and date, never logged it down, but it was about six months before I got to Australia in 1836 that I shipped aboard the DUKE OF YORK, 197 tons, a barque rigged, Captain Morgan commanding, and a nice man he was. She was a Falmouth packet, none of your bluff-bowed, slow-sailing craft, but a good seaboat and fast. Mr. Richardson was first mate and I was second. We had very bad weather down the Channel and put into Torbay, I remember.
There we pretty nigh lost her, and we stopped six weeks for repairs; but after that we had about four months and a half passage with fairish weather, too much of it round the Cape - we had to run before the wind for some considerable time, I tell you, in fact we steered by the wind and not by the course we wanted to go. I remember there was a regular "sugarloaf sea" came after us, and we thought she would be fairly pooped. It rose her stern up and just put her bows under like as if she would never rise again, but she rose, sir, she rose, but the sea she took in over her stern washed her bulwarks clean away, and made a mess of the roundhouse. She was built with bulwarks man-o'-war fashion. The LADY MARY PELHAM had started from Liverpool before us, but we spoke her on May 3, and her mate jeering-like offered to give us a tow, but we were in before her. We arrived at Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island, on July 27th 1836, in very nice weather, and anchored pretty close inshore; I remember the date well.
I must tell you that there was a Mr. and Mrs. Beare on board and they had a young baby girl - it was not born aboard, but it was very young. When we sighted the land the passengers they each wanted to be the first to set foot on the shore so as to talk of it afterwards, which was natural; but the captain spoke to me in the foretop, and told me to get out the boat and a crew, and that the baby should be the first to set foot ashore. Of course we sailors liked the idea, and I got out the boat according to orders with the baby; and Israel Mazey, him that is here now a neighbour of mine these many years, was midship oar. We pulled a good bit of a way, and the captain he directed us from the ship to a place to land. I told the men to hang on their oars, and I took the baby girl - a nice little thing it was - ashore, and put her feet down on the sand. Of course, having to carry her ashore, I was the first to land, but she was the first white female to set foot on that strand anyhow. That baby is married now, I believe.
The day after we arrived at Nepean Bay - the 26th July the LADY MARY PELHAM came in, and next day the JOHN PIRIE; and in a few days the CYGNET. We stayed six weeks at Nepean Bay - it was a very good anchorage. Oh, as to natives; we saw one man and four or five women. The captain and a boat's crew got lost in the scrub some days, but worked their way back to the seabeach - pretty well done up and frightened - and were coming along it to a point which hid the ship. They were kneeling down at prayer - the captain was a religions man - when a white man came up - a runaway convict, I suspect - and seeing them down on their knees he drops down and prays too. There were fourteen or fifteen white men, I believe, on the island at the time we were there, runaway convicts mostly.
After we left Nepean Bay we started for Hobart Town on a whaling cruise; we did not go to Holdfast Bay. We went to Hobart Town to sail for the South Sea Islands whaling. We got about 40 barrels of oil, but every place we went to was out of season. In making back to New Holland we struck a reef near Keppel Island, a reef that was not marked on the charts, although we had three. We were 10 miles from the island. The mate had been afraid to shift the helm and put her about when he saw the fix she was getting into, and he tried to wear her, but before she got round her starboard bow struck on the reef, and there was nothing for it but the boats. We saved three boats - two boats were carried away when the masts went overboard. We pulled for Keppel Island; having taken the charts and provisions with us. We went to the vessel several times, as she did not break up then, and at last we tried to reach Sydney. We put into Moreton Bay, and there we lost two hands - one a Rotuma lad, and the other a white man. They went to get waters and were killed by the natives, who speared one and waddled the other to death.
At last we saw a smoke, and steered for it; the other boats steered by the chart. It turned out to be a steamer, the first that arrived at Moreton Bay. The steamer, after taking us; waited twenty-four hours for the other boat, but they put m afterwards. We went in search of the men who had been killed by the natives - we did not know they were killed then - and a boat partly manned by convicts searched for them. They found the bodies and captured two of the murderers. These blackfellows they handcuffed and chained to a ringbolt in the boat, but they slipped their hands through the handcuffs and ran away into the scrub, and the soldier officer would not let the men fire at them.
After this I shipped aboard a brig, but did not go to sea in her, and at last I went aboard the LADY WELLINGTON, she that broke her back here. I went a voyage to New Zealand, and at last I came to South Australia again. I was in the survey service with Captain (afterwards Admiral) Pollen, and remember Colonel Light well - he was surveying the Port-road on opposite side to us. No, we never had much trouble with the natives, though there were loys about. Wild dogs seemed more plentiful than game. I was policeman once for six weeks to oblige a friend. The DUKE OF YORK brought out provisions for the South Australian Company, The passengers went ashore on Kangaroo Island. e came out without wages for our passage to the colony. We got wages - went on shares with the ship for what she made. She had to get oil for the colony. We were put down as immigrants from the captain down to the cabin boy.
Thus ended Russell's yarn. I have given it exactly as he related it, and although his memory was a little off the course at times he made pretty plain sailing taking it altogether.
Catherine Helen Spence (1825-1910) wrote: As a shy adolescent, new to the colony, she made friends with three nieces of Catherine Beare and Samuel Stephens, the first colonial manager of the South Australian Company.
She heard of the dangerous illness of her friend Lucy Anne Duval (nee Beare), one of the original passengers in the Duke of York, the first ship which arrived here. "She wrote that Lucy Beare, (born c.1827) the eldest, a handsome girl, was about two years younger than myself. I went to consult Mr. Taylor and Mr. Stirling at their office. I saw only Mr. Stirling. I said, "I should like to go and nurse her," and he said. "If you will go, I'll pay your expenses;" and I went and stayed with her for three weeks, till she died in 1861, and left five children, three of them quite young. There were Duvals in England in good circumstances, and I wrote pleading for the three little ones, though every one said it was quite useless; but an uncle by marriage was touched, and sent 100 pounds a year for the benefit of the three children, and I was constituted the guardian. The youngest died within two years, but the allowance was not decreased, and I was able to get some schooling for an elder boy. This was my first guardianship and I continued the task of finding help for the young Duvals intermittently for the rest of my life." About two decades later one of these children, Rose, returned to Miss Spence for help, when she was herself a mother of three small children. She had been widowed, and needed someone to care for the children.
Catherine Helen Spence also wrote: Arabella, about the age of
my sister Mary (born c.1830, afterwards Mrs. W. J. Wren)
ADELAIDE'S OLD COLONISTS' FESTIVAL
to be celebrated at a dinner on Thursday March 27, 1851,
being the anniversary of the sale of Adelaide's Town Acres.
At a meeting of OLD COLONISTS, held on Tuesday evening,
the 11th February 1851, at the City Bridge Hotal,
with Mr Thomas Hudson Beare (1798-1861), in the chair.
has the grave of Lucy Ann BEARE, born 1803 in England
and the wife of Thomas Hudson Beare,
who brought the first family of settlers
to South Australia in the first ship,
the barque 'Duke of York',
which arrived at this island July 27 1836.
Lucy died in childbirth September 3 1837,
leaving five children under the age of eleven years.
She was the first woman settler buried on Kangaroo Island.
This memorial donated by Beare descendants,
was unveiled by Robert Hudson Beare, 27 July 1991
+ 'aged 34 years' on sarcophagus
Reeves Point was the first official colonial settlement site
in South Australia before the South Australian Company
abandoned it in favour of Adelaide.