John Augustus Milbourne Marsh – born 1819 in Jamaica - died 15.3.1891
2 December 1844
Monday night, Past 12
I have not kept a journal for some years now, at the suggestion however, of a pretty young lady, acquaintance hastened once more to “Tempt the Fates,” and shall dedicate the first day’s portion to herself, and the party from which I have just come and at which I had the pleasure of meeting her. We were all invited to spend ‘a quiet evening,” at “Pemberton Grange,” the residence of Mrs Gore, a Lady who ought to have a service of Plate voted her, for having brought to the Colony two such clever agreeable girls, her daughters, I mean, and of them, more presently. The name of their place, “Pemberton Grange” would lead a stranger to imagine some “beau ideal” of a cottage, and the imagination however vivid, could hardly exceed in my opinion the reality, it is certainly a most enchanting spot, and to use one of its fair inmate’s expressions, “perfect.” Covered with jasmine and woodbine and a thousand other beautiful flowers, each trying for the mastery. The fresh mown lawn too in front, studded with orange trees in full bloom, the citron and the lemon, all lending their aid by shedding the most delicious perfumes around. At the foot of the Lawn the River which the Moon, as it was just sunset, lighted up with the greatest brilliancy. Such was the place we were visiting, such the hour.
The steamer had just passed, and the noise and splash which they had created in their progress –ds was now hushed. And a dead silence reigned around, pervading our party as we stood gazing on the scene before us, but there are words even in silence. The scene as I have said was one of thought, to break through which by utterance would have been mockery indeed. Everything however, has an end, and our delightful reverie was suddenly broken by the common place remarks of an Infantry Officer. His soft nothings fell harmless on the ear of his lady companion.
We mush here take a flight of fancy, and imagine we are now inside the Chateau, we have gone through the dull routine of eating and drinking (would that once would suffice for life) and we are listening to the delightful warblings of a young and talented Demoiselle. Miss Isabella Gore, but who is the clever-looking winning-mannered girl accompanying her? With what masterly touch she manages the piece, and with what fairy like precision her taper finger glides over the instrument. They are sisters, and certainly they deserve to be so, for you hardly know which to admire most, the dulcet tones of the one’s voice, or the delightful harmony of the other’s music. Now enter the L— another Lady. I have just had the pleasure of sitting next her during the last performance, and although I regretted at the time losing so pleasing a companion I was fully repaid by the Marsh from which she played with such expression, as to make one fancy a Ba- in reality. How she enjoys it too herself, her brilliant eyes flash fire, scattering as it were sparks on all sides of her, at least I feel their influence. How comely a “con expressione” part and those “beaux yeux” have suddenly relapsed as it were, and become beautifully passive. I dare not name the Lady, although my pen is growing rebellious, and I fear before I have finished, it will have it’s own way. Miss L.W., all I shall write of her is that in the event of her commencing a journal she has proved to make me a prominent character in it. How can I sufficiently thank her. These were the only performers but not the only persons in the room one comes in sat a dark eyed Lady, whom society all coveted, and whose absence at the last Ball was greatly regretted, not more so by any one than by me, for in addition to her graces, and intellectual qualities as a partner in the (vatze waltz?) she reigns supreme.
Opposite sat another Lady, whose likeness to a friend of ours (Lady Cosway) was so remarkable that I was almost tempted to turn the conversation on the Isle of Wight, and our mutual friends there, the voice, the manner, everything reminded me of my friend, and the happy time I passed at Norfolk House. At the upper end of the room are the Chaperones, presiding over which circle is our kind hostess. They all no doubt, viewing “this semblance of themselves,” their daughters I mean, with maternal solicitude and pride. We will thus leave them and say good night, as the carriage has been announced.
Tuesday 3rd December 1844
During the whole of the night I was dreaming of nothing but music, a series of melodies followed each other in quick succession. All the airs and waltzes I have heard were replayed as it were, by the same performers, and I lived, in my dreams, the evening over again. I awoke as the music ceased and found myself a few moments after seated at the dull reality of a breakfast table. Over at last, gratias againdo, now then what shall I do? A drive? And a drive was no sooner proposed than seconded. A few minutes more we were wheeling away, as fast as the wretched roads would permit, in the direction of “Marcou.” We found all at home, it is now three years since I was at Mr Atkinson’s. When I was last here, there were none but little children, “bread and butter misses,” judge therefore at my astonishment and delight, when on entering the Drawing room I saw the children of “byegone years” suddenly (to me) transformed into two elegant and captivating looking girls, arrived at that bewildering age sweet sixteen. The eldest “Mary” will as soon as she makes her debut take many hearts by storm, few indeed can now even resist the batting of her eyes. She sang for us, and the clear silvery strains of her voice all still ringing in my ears. The song too was one I like much, the advice therein given is however difficult to follow, “Love not” being the burden of it, I wish I had time to spare to expatiate on the charms of this sylph like girl, my pen however, could never do her justice.
A Miss Jacob also favoured us with a song in which she informs her audience, that “Man was not born to love along,” poor man! He is told not to love and then a few moments after he is tempted to change his state. If the Lady now singing I must defer description, suffice it to say, she is an universal favourite with the world in general, Major Reeves of the 99th excepted. After partaking of lunch, we drove to the “Bush Farm” (Dr Foster’s) we saw two of the young Ladies. The Doctor a precise old gentleman. He gave us a long lecture on vaccination, and I am half inclined to think that he imagined as he warmed with his subject, that instead of being seated in the Drawing room, he was lecturing to a set of medical students, so explicit was he. In the course of his lecture he told us a story of a medical man, who when the Plague was raging in Egypt, volunteered to take charge of the “Pest House,” merely for the sake of science, endeavouring by being thus constantly exposed, to catch the infection himself. However, he was disappointed, and the Plague would not attack him, all he could do, as a dernier résort, therefore, he inoculated himself, and died. The jury who sat upon him should have brought in the verdict of “Served him right.” As we drove home we met Lady Dowling returning from Parramatta with Mrs Foster, the two carriages exchanged civilities, by drawing up side by side, in the middle of the road, heads were popped out, but the heat of the sun made the Ladies very willingly draw them in again, and order the coachman to drive on.
Wednesday 4th December 1844
Passed the whole morning near the Piano. I seated my Aunt down immediately after breakfast, and made her play a succession of brilliant operas and airs, we certainly would have vegetated here the whole day, had we not been interrupted by the announcement of “Mr Cooper of the 58th” who brought an invitation for Wise and Fanny to their Ball on Friday, verbally asking myself. In the course of conversation, we descanted on the different Ladies of the community, analyzing each with scrupulous nicety. Whether the exclusive would object to this or that one’s appearance at the Ball etc etc.
Aunt Sophy went in the Evening to drink tea with Mrs Anderson, she wished me to accompany her there, but there is little gratification obtainable in that quarter now. The Lady of attraction being quite monopolized, and if she look not kind on me what care I how fair she be: I was obliged however, to call there in the evening for the purpose of escorting my Aunt home, as I entered, I could not help thinking of the time when I could have said “Heaven is here where Juliet dwell.” Every dog has his day. N’importe, there are other young Ladies in the World, even in Australia!!
Thursday 5th December 1844
The Sun penetrated my window with such force this morning, as to prize me actually from my downy couch, and I found myself most unexpectedly the first up in the house. Breakfast being over we held a consultation together (i.e. Ma Chère tante and myself) as to what we should do and when go” and we determined to devote the whole of the day to visiting. We first of all wended our way to the Walls, and were fortunate in finding them all at home: the young Ladies anxiously anticipating the delights of tomorrow’s Ball; in this happy state we left them, having however, been previously invited to spend the evening with them. Our next visiting place was “Pemberton Grange,” and here too we saw all the “Ladiesfaire” save one, she did not make her appearance, but me thought I heard the melody of her voice, (that voice I could not mistake) near at hand. After admiring the beauties of nature which flourish here in a rare degree, we both took our cragé (?). The carriage on our arrival home was got ready, and we then drove to Government House, to pay our devoirs on Lady Gipps, however just as we had entered the Domain, a carriage and four came bearing down the hill, in which were His Excellency and cara sposa. This was unlucky, nevertheless right onward we went, and called leaving our cards. In the evening we drank tea at Mrs Wall’s (widow of Colonel Wall of the 3rd Buffs) and I must here give a description of two of the young Ladies, who were not of Mrs Gore’s party the other evening, and also of a Miss Martin, who is on a visit there. The eldest Miss Wall differs from any of the family, being of rather a reserved disposition, and yet there is a peculiar naivette of manner about her, which wins upon one; to judge from the little I have seen of her, I should say she is of that happy temperament, that nothing ever goes wrong with her. She takes the World as it I, “sees sermons in stones and good in everything.” She is clever, although she never obtrudes any opinion, and she requires, to use the common expression, to be drawn out.
The youngest, “Eliza” is very pretty: a pleasing expression, and eyes such as Poets are described to possess “in a fine fortirenzy rolling(?);” they say there is a language in the eye, the proof of the assertion is centered here. The next who comes under our notice is a fair friend of theirs staying with them, a most delightful demoiselle, whose goodness of disposition and gay heart immediately strike you, making you forget for the moment, the beauty of her face; a beauty different however from her young friend, in as much as her complexion view with the rose, and her eyes are of that heavenly blue, which gives invariably a loveable expression to the countenance; she says “she does not care about Balls,” but at the same time you perceive that her eyes, now partially hid by her long eye lashes, are laughing inwardly at the rare idea. With such a galaxy of beauty how could I fail to pass an agreeable evening. One Lady seated herself at the Piano, a whist party formed in another part of the room, and I luxuriated on the sofa playing chess with one of the girls. Miss Rosa Wall. She is quite an adept in tricks, upon cards, her performances astonished us all, and were so cleverly done as to baffle our minutest inspection.
Friday 6th December 1844
A most intolerably warm day, so oppressive indeed that I could not summon up resolution enough to stir out, I therefore looked around me for a book. And found one that promised to be amusing “The Life of Sir Robert Peel,” with this I quietly ensconced myself in my bedroom, threw myself on the bed, and remained for several hours, perfectly regardless of the double knocks at the door, and the apparently merry laughs that ever and anon sounded in the Drawing room. After reading to my hearts content, took a siesta. Awoke quite refreshed and with the painful conviction that I was marvelously hungry: Dinner was soon dispatched, and I began now for the time to think of the Ball to be given tonight by the Officers of the 58th Regiment. At 9 I began dressing, and in exactly 20 minutes (I like to be particular) my toilette was completed. Mr Forbes had arranged that the carriage should make two trips, and that I should go in the first, therefore had the pleasure of escorting Mrs Anderson and her fair daughter. Mr Forbes having consented to bring up the rear with Mrs Whitbread and Miss D’Moulia. The whole of the way I was congratulating myself on the gratification I should have in walking into the room with the fair “Mary,” and as the carriage drew up in front of the Mess-room, I thought my anticipations already realized, what was my chagrin then to find, (before I had time to get off the box) the carriage literally besieged by a rush of Officers who came tearing on, all eager for the honor I had flattered myself was to have been mine. They, or rather, he gained the battle, bearing triumphant on his arm the enviable prize, my feelings therefore were far from calm as I entered the Ballroom; what though ask not the sweet sonile of woman do? It yields the only true balm of the heart. For in a short time I forgot my annoyance, as I found myself seated near my friend of the brilliant eyes Miss L.W. The Ball had not yet commenced and the splendid Band of the 58th were doing ample pasta(?) to that beautiful air out of “Norma” I think “Caste Diva.” Fresh arrivals so thronged the room we were sitting in, as to compel us to take refuge in the Ballroom, and to commence dancing. Before I describe the Ladies present, and with whom I had the pleasure of dancing, I must add a few words on the appearance of the Ballroom: the first thing on entering that presented itself to the view was the beautifully chalked device on the floor, representing one of the Ensigns, colours I should have said, of the Regiments, with the mottoe “Montis Inginia Calpe.” The walls in either side were covered with glittering swords. Bayonets and ramrods too were also had in requisition and all affectively disposed. At the top of the room were the Colours of the Regiment, and here there and every where, breathed of beautiful flowers, wove together with great ingenuity. The windows too and doorways wee all decorated with the graceful weeping willow. All eyes are straining forward, each one admiring a different subject. The greatest number however, are attracted by the swords, as bearing I presume the greatest relation to their owners. The music has now commenced and all are seeking their fair partners, I amongst the number. Mrs St. John Gore honored me the first dance with her hand. I never saw her looking better or in greater spirits. With her the Fates had proved propitious, her husband having returned home safe, after a long absence, and he was non-partaking with her of the amusements of the evening. Her agreeable conversation ended with the quadrille, and I was forced to resign her to one about to lead her through the giddy and dangerous mazes of the waltz. I now made a return into the room where the Mama’s and Chaperones were sitting, and escorted from thence Mrs Gore into the Ballroom, she being desirous of looking on at the Waltzes. The first thing that struck her was the “young Lady and gentleman” sitting down by themselves very demurely, taking no apparent interest in the scene, but merely looking into each others eyes. Strange, said my Lade friend “that she who is the best waltzer here should be quietly sitting down, but I see it all now, depend upon it (and she looked knowingly) the whole thing is arrangé between them.” But where is Mr Elliot” said I. Into the tea room we now went, and whilst “sipping our elemental tay” the waltz ended, and a fresh quadrille was in preparation. Attending upon one side I was in a great dilemma fearing I should not be in time to claim my partner for the next quadrille, to whom I was engaged before the Ball. Miss D’Monlia however took care that I should not long be in suspense, for she insinuated in the most Ladylike way imaginable, that if I did come immediately she intended dancing with another person. Making a few hurried apologies to the Lady in the tea room, I flew to this impetuous Lady, claimed her as my partner, when suddenly she said, as I did not come in time, that she “was going to dance with that ere (nice?) young man in green jacket and white inexpressibles.” She however, took another look at me and then actually condescended to forfeit her engagement. I forget exactly what I said to her or what she vouchsafed to me during the dance, but I came to this conclusion, “never to be taken by first appearances.” For sometime we may live to repent it. In the next dance I was more fortunate, Eliza Wall being my partner. She was very agreeable, looked excessively well, and was generally admired. She was dressed becomingly, and danced with nearly everyone in the room. I now sought her sister Letitia, whose lively sparkling eyes shone more brilliantly than ever, and were conspicuously bright. She too looked equally well, and was dressed like her sister in pure white. We now went in to supper, which deserved the highest commendation, I conducted Miss Isabella Gore and Mrs Robert Gore, to whom I was introduced for the first time. After supper Miss Gore gave me her hand (oh that I could have included her heart too) and I had a most delightful quadrille. She is certainly a most Ladylike girl. Sweet manners, and knows how to dress, tonight she wore a delicately coloured blue dress, made well, and which sets off her figure admirably.
At this period of the entertainment, Major Bridge proposed dancing the “Cotillion,” which was commenced by his wife taking the chair; I cannot imagine how I forgot to mention her before, distinguished as she is by her personal charms and the appellation of “The Beauty of the British Army.” She certainly is a fine dashing looking personage, dressed with taste and being just from England (Cheltenham I believe) is considered by all fair compares as the oracle of dress and fashion. In the course of this dance to our surprise we saw a young Lady who never would waltz before tripping it gaily round and round. Miss R. Wall, Mayne of the 58th had it seemed, used his persuasive eloquence. Immediately after this danc, Miss Martin became my partner, then Mrs Anderson, and last not least her daughter; the fun and “loveable Mary.” I had hesitated asking her some from a feeling of delicacy, imagining that no one but Rush could yield her any pleasure. She always looks pretty, but tonight she was beautifully pensive, almost sad, and if I mistake not, she had reason to be so, for methinks the eventful question had been asked her, which needs only to be answered by “Yes or No” to decide either her future happiness or the converse, which heaven forbid. Mr Rush I prophecy is the man of her election. Happy happy pain, none but the brave desire the fair. This was the last dance, and certainly it was high time to quit the gay and festive scene. Daylight had appeared, and the sun had almost shot above the surrounding hills. The Bandsmen too were completely knocked up, many of them actually playing with their eyes shut. Amongst the party were Major and Mrs Edward O’Connell, 99th, Captain and Mrs Calcraft, Captain and Mrs Russell, 58th, Man, Blackburn, Montgomery and Wright of the 99th.Elliot the Police Magistrate drew nearly all the Offices of the 58th Regiment, a great many having arrived only today from England.
Saturday 8th December 1844
Although I did not get to bed before 5 this morning I awoke quite refreshed and was in time for a 10 o’clock breakfast. Shortly after Wise and Fanny arrived most unexpectedly from Sydney. Wise has purchased some sheep from a Mr Harrison on in the Bathurst direction. He wishes me to go down with him this evening in the steamer. At 10 o’clock road into Parramatta, left my card in the Officers of the 58th. Then called on the Walls where I stayed a long time chatting, discussing the events of the last night. Eliza informing me that she layed it down as a rule never to dance with “Sticks of Partners,” i.e. those that could not waltz. At 2 o’clock called on the Gores, saw them all and Mrs Robert Gore. They were all enchanted with the Ball, and spoke in raptures of the good example the 58th had set. At ½ past 4 we drove down to the Steamer which nearly started without us. Fanny very unwell. I went down below, and there found Man, Blackburn, Montgomery and Wright of the 99th, gracefully reclining at full length. They had stripped themselves of nearly every article of clothing. They were almost “sans culottes” in fact. They all as goodly a set as ever I clapped eyes upon. They would be, if they could, so remarkably witty. Man is the very essence of a puppy, his Father I understand rose from the Ranks, but if we were to take him at his own valuation he would not own a Duke as a Father. Little Wright is a single minded milk and water youth. Montgomery has a voice that would frighten a horse, and Blackburn such a handle to his face in the shape of a nose, that it almost tempts one to pull it. William Manning had sent his carriage down for us, but owing to some mistake it went to another wharf, and we were kept waiting nearly an hour.
Sunday 9th December 1844
Did not go out the whole day. Fanny very unwell. Miss Callander called.
Monday 10th December 1844
Mr Harrison, of whom Wise bought the sheep, breakfasted with us. It is arranged that we shall all ride up in company on Wednesday. Devoted the whole day in going from stable to stable in search of a horse. I tried sones(?) Armstrong’s, Webb’s. From the former I bought a young two year old for £6.10. Webb told us he had some horses at Chippendale which he wished to show us, upon this we agreed to go in his dray there. Allman accompanied us there. There were none that suited us, being all old screws. Wise however, on his return to Webbs purchased a very good journey horse for £13. He has one defect in what in England they would call a “Soare(?).”
Tuesday 11th December 1844
Met Bouche Payne today. He has sold his cattle for 16/-.(he gave £7 per head). And goes home to England very shortly. The “Hamlet” arrived this morning from England having on board Matthew Marsh and his newly married wife “Eliza Merewether,” that was. An old friend of Fanny’s.
Wednesday 12th December 1844
A beautiful day. Wise and myself getting ready the whole morning, intending to make a start at 10 o’clock. We were to meet Mr Harrison at Alexander’s Stables, Wise however, liked to ride through the streets in Bush costume deposited me to go in his stead. I had the pleasure of waiting nearly an hour for our friend, and at last when he did come, he could not then start, but told us he would overtake us. We therefore rode slowly on and arrived at Parramatta without him, by ½ past 5. I called at Newlands and found only Mrs Forbes at home, George Forbes having escorted Aunt Sophy down to Sydney on a visit to Fanny. I have just heard that Mrs Gore gives a dance tonight and that I am invited, if Mr Harrison is not in Parramatta presently I certainly shall return to Sydney for my dress coat.
Left Mrs Forbes at 6, and found that Harrison had just arrived. I must go on tonight I find, and therefore good bye to the pleasant evening I should have passed at Pemberton Grange. I take great credit to myself for my firmness in not being turned from my purpose. At ½ past 6 we started from Parramatta with the intention of reaching Penrith by night fall, however after riding a little way we held a council of war, and thought that 9 miles further on would be enough for ourselves and our steeds too, and as we came in sight of Badkins we willingly dismounted. We were received at the door of the hostelry by a very cross looking femme de chamber, who would neither give us a smile, nor return the tender looks of Mr Harrison, whose residence abroad has made him fancy himself a cavalier servante to every woman. But I am beginning to anticipate what I had intended to have given presently, a description of our friend. Be it known therefore that this gentleman is brother of Mrs Christie, to whom he bears a slight likeness. As I have said just now he has resided abroad, Florence having been the scene of his operations, and all his conversation is therefore of Florence, of Florence, it was here that he first dawn of wisdom burst upon him in the shape of rendering Tallow, and having nought but greasy ideas, he set up as a Boiler down of sheep, cattle, etc at Beu Bullen, the place we are journeying to. This gentleman has incipient moustaches, wears a straw hat manufactured in Florence, which he wears as a sample of 250 more which he bought to this Country with him as a venture. Add to this he drops his H’s to a fearful extent, and inwardly answers “Oh yes” to every question or remark. Such is the man, our fellow traveler. After eating a very good supply off of chicken whose death was caused by our arrival, we retired to our beds with the intention of rising before sunrise, having a 62 miles journey before us.
Thursday 13th December 1844
Up the first, and had the pleasure of waking Wise and Harrison. A few minutes after saw the sun rise, it’s appearance presenting a very sanguinary (show?), portending rain I think. At 6 o’clock we were all in saddles. We reached Penrith, 11 miles, by 8 o’clock. I enjoyed the ride, much the road laying through rather a pretty country, and the town itself very much like an English country town. I was very hungry, but Spartan-like I concealed my feelings having agreed the night before that we should ride to Twentymile Hollow a distance of 30 miles to breakfast. I therefore rode on silent and thoughtful.
A short way out of Penrith brought us to the beautiful river “Nepean” which we had to cross in the punt. And here the scene became perfectly picturesque, the river (the only one like a river in the Colony) with gentle sloping banks, meandering in its course through steep ranges, here and there completely shut out from sight by the bold projection of the rocks. Innumerable wild fowl were nibbling its clear and smooth surface. The punt too ugly and ungainly of itself now found quite a picture in the scene laden as it was with drays and travelling horse--. In the distance we saw Regent Ville, and on the opposite side of the river, a mere speck as it were, steep ranges towering above it, Edenglassie the favourite spot of Sir Francis Forbes. What number of associations did this view call up. I had seen in England a painting of this place by Mertens, and so faithfully was it drawn, that I now immediately recognized the spot from which it must have been taken. This was the first view I had ever seen of New South Wales, and it was the beauty of the scenery I think as portrayed in the picture, that tempted me when in England to try the genial climate of Australia. With the picture too I had the most glowing description, there was shooting, boating, riding, visiting, there the delightful garden, how often have I heard the glories of this El Dorado. The orange and the apple, the grapes, the pears, the peaches, the nectarines, figs, apricots, loquettes, guavas, bananas, pineapples, all grew here.
After crossing the river, which took us nearly a quarter of an hour, we suddenly came upon Emu Plains, which in my eyes accustomed to the Darling Downs appeared hardly worth the name. We soon ascended the far famed Blue Mountains, through and around which Sir Thomas Mitchell’s justly celebrated road passes. I certainly cannot help adding my testimony for in my opinion no turnpike made in England could beat it, under these circumstances we rode on pretty smartly, hunger I think making us give an extra dig with our spurs into the horses flanks. We were now joined by a man of the name of Smith, a rather doubtful name, his appearance ditto. He stuck to us like a leech, although I endeavored to leave him behind by occasionally letting my horse out, but alas he was better mounted than any of us. At 11 o’clock we arrived at the Inn at “Twenty mile Hollow,” where we had a most capital breakfast, and to which we did ample justice. We gave our horses three hours rest, and at 2 o’clock mounted again. Thick angry looking clouds were gathering around us and the heat was most oppressive. We have however a 32 mile ride before us, and there is no use grumbling about it. As we neared the “Weather Board Inn,” the storm that had been brewing commenced, the rain pouring in torrents, our horses seemed to sympathise with us, for no sooner had I given mine the spur and slacked his rein that off he galloped doing his two miles in 10 minutes. Perfectly wet through, that is a consolation. I dislike to be only half so. With the aid, however, of a good fire, and by keeping continuously moving in our axis, we became dry in every sense of the word. Nought however, was obtainable at the “Accommodation House,” as they call forsook, but a little lemon juice. In desperation I drank some of it. My stomach rebelled against it, and gave me a delicate hint that if I imbibed such nauseous stuff again, I might look out. The rain having nearly eased we made another start. After ring 11 miles further passed an accommodation house, into which Mr Harrison went on a somewhat mysterious business I think. About 7 we got in sight of “The Victoria Pass,” the view from which is certainly grand indeed, in fact it is worth any one’s while to ride this far for it’s sake along. The road too excites one’s wonder, taken as it is over such ravines, and cut through such (to us) impenetrable masses of rock. Another hour brought us to our destination, the village of Hartley, and here the Bishop’s “System of concentrating,” seems to have taken rout, not exactly amongst the inhabitants, but the buildings, for under on roof we beheld the Post Office, Police Office, Gaol, Church, Lock up, and dwelling house.
After seeing our horses well fed, ditto ourselves, retired to our beds but not to sleep, for all sorts of creeping things infested the place. I therefore expect to get up rather more tired than when I went to bed.
Friday 14th December 1844
We did not start till 11 o’clock this morning having only a 30 mile ride before us. At the half way house we lunched, and at seven o’clock arrived at “Ben Bullen.” The romantic seat of J.K. Harrison Esq. On our way, fair 8 miles from Ben Bullen, we passed a very pretty place called Cullen Bullen, where Sir John Jamieson in the palmy days of Australia was in the habit of passing his summers. It is now like himself gone to decay, and where once a gardens stood, now many a flower grows wild. I like to enter a place like this, to tread the deserted mansion, to retrospecs, to think how many gay and happy voices have filled these tenantless chambers, where now sad gloom and desolation prevail, alas Tille est la vie! As we neared the romantic spot of Ben Bullen we saw the smoke curling midst the hills that surrounded us, all were now certain we were near our journey’s end. Had we need of any further proof, the wind which had just set in, wafted the most fragrant odours that it was ever my lot to inhale. Now the mansion appears, a miserable hovel. Dirty outsides. My pen refuses to describe the interior thereof, suffice it to say that it was a perfect abomination, adjoining the Boiling Establishment where they had been converting 100 bullock into tallow, belonging to a Mr Parnell of the Big River. In front was (not the verdant lawn) but the heads and parts of these animals, scattered in every direction, which the sun of course had rendered, to say the least, perfectly unbearable. I walked to all points of the compass in the hope of escaping the venal odour that every where existed, and in a fit of desperation, I walked to the Boiling Establishment itself. I turned and left this spot, all do not desire nor weep, for L’Inferno of Danté could not have equated this dreadful “concentrated essence of putrefication.”
Mr Harrison had told us in Sydney that all he could offer us on arrival was “Bush fare,” but what a libel was this upon us. Never in the course of my life did I see so filthy, so villainous a place. I had been hungry, but all appetite was taken away, however, into this pigsty of a hut we were ushered in due form, and dinner ordered by Mr Harrison in a few minutes, it was ready, and on the blackened greasy “board” was spread “horrible dictum” some Bullocks kidneys, yet warm with life. Had we not come up for the express purpose of purchasing sheep, on business therefore, I should have been tempted to fling this savory dish at Mr Harrison’s head. Our misery did not end here, for the smell of the kidneys brought two strange faces to our side, Mr Parnell, owner of the bullocks, and Mr Cockburn, manager of the place. They had been the whole day (and to judge from their filthy appearance the whole week) attending to the boiling down, and presented a bloody, greasy dirty appearance and with sleeves tucked up, these two gentlemen sat down side by side of us. Oh that I could have transformed myself into the Cobra di Capeles I might then have eased myself of these very disagreeable neighbours. Mr Harrison’s hut was full, there being three other persons resident there, he therefore recommended us to go to our accommodation house, about half a mile distant, and to this place we gladly removed, happy to escape the contamination that everywhere existed. This place is kept by a man named Keenan, where you can obtain nought save heavy damper, tough meat, and “travel” (brewed?) tea. The office of waiter, chamber maid and boots, being honourably filled by his three dirty, free and easy daughters, “The Misses Keenan.”
Before retiring to bed Mr Harrison told me that the sheep he farmed were at present at a place called “Glen Alice” Capertee, a Station of Sir John Jamiesons, twenty miles from this, and that we had perhaps better ride there tomorrow, to this we agreed.
Saturday 15th December 1844
After breakfast, Wise, Harrison and myself started for Capertee. Our road lay over a very –y country, wandering through hill and valley, in one place we had to lead our horses down a frightful precipitous, and as we descended I could not help thinking how delightful we should find it, on our return tomorrow. Arrived at “Glen Alice” at 3 o’clock. We found Mr Bather at home, Mr Gwynne being at a place they call the “Nile” a mile and a half from this, employed shearing the sheep we had purchased. Mr Bather is a nephew of sir George Gipps, came out with him, and has been for the last six years and more living at Sir John Jamieson’s Station, learning “Colonial Experience.” He is a very peculiar looking personage, and on first appearance forbidding in his looks, but on further acquaintance he proved a very sociable fellow. After ordering lunch and partaking thereof, we all walked down to the “Nile,” a Station belonging to a man named Jones (Jerris, Tims?) but rented by Sir John Jamieson, why they should call this the Nile, I am at a loss to conjecture, there was no water visible, nor did the face of the country at all resemble that through which the veritable Nile passes, but I presume they gave it the name upon the “Lucus a non lucendo,” principle. The scenery around, however, was very pretty indeed.
As we expected, we found Mr Gwynne very busily engaged attending to the shearing. This gentleman is brother of Dr Gwynne of Parramatta, and has been for some time past Superintendent for Sir James Jamieson. His appearance is certainly not that of an Adonis, nevertheless he appears a very good hearted easy going fellow, and treated us most hospitably, both Bather and himself giving up their beds to us which in this country may be termed “the height of good nature.” We saw the flock of lambs where were part of the purchase from Harrison, miserable looking things, it strikes me they are much younger than sold for, 15 months being the age specified, however, I shall examine them more closely tomorrow.
We returned to Capertee by sunset and had a capital dinner awaiting our arrival thanks to Bather.
Sunday 16th December 1844
We intended returning today to Ben Bullen, the heat of the weather and the threatening aspect of the clouds made us alter our minds and determine to remain in our present comfortable quarters.
Searched over the different books on the table and found two interesting volumes, The Felony of New South Wales, by a “Major Mudie,” (the greatest blaguard that ever came to this Colony) and another “Adventures in Search of a Horse.” It was with the greatest difficulty my attention was fixed on either book, and the only way I managed it was to read a page from each alternately and at the end of the day I found my brains perfectly mystified with “Convicts on Horses.”
Monday 17th December 1844
We all walked to the “Nile” after breakfast, to inspect the sheep sold us by Harrison. On looking at their mouths I found, as I yesterday suspected, that they were much younger than they were warranted, being only 9 months old, whereas they ought to have been 15 months, this is a “Colonial Trick,” certainly. They were also covered with “tick” and had been so for the last two years, yet Mr Harrison had assured us to the contrary. We had lunch at 10 o’clock and at 2 mounted en route to Ben Bullen. We had to inspect another flock of Ewes and Wethers which we had also bought. The Ewes were to have been from 3 to 5 years, instead of this they were all toothless, old wretches covered with ticks and apparently scab. After seeing these we declined the purchase, and Mr Harrison seeing the error he had committed (in other words the lies had had told) very readily agreed to cancel the agreement.
We rode home pretty quickly, and just as the sun was setting arrived at the foot of the steep range mentioned before, vulgarly called “The Hole.” We reached Keenan’s by 8 o’clock and here we found a new arrival in Mr Grayling, Surgeon, Practical Chemist, etc etc. He is a young fellow full of conceit, and of his own self knowledge, he has been experimentalizing on the different –ths, stones etc, and says he has discovered gold, lead, alum(?), Salts, Soda, Mercury etc etc. Also a new process of tanning and a thousand other chemical schemes.
Tuesday 18th December 1844
This morning we talked over matters with Mr Harrison to see if any other arrangement could be entered to with reference to the sheep. We had determined on going to Sydney, and left with the intention, but as these was another flock of Ewes which we had not yet seen, we agreed (as it was on our way) to inspect them and if we approved to make an Agreement with Mr Harrison on the spot. He agreed to take 100 less than the original purchase, warranting them all free from scab. Instead therefore of going to Sydney we returned to Ben Bullen.
Wednesday 19th December 1844
In consequence of the agreement made yesterday with Harrison it was fixed that I should ride over to Capertee to take delivery of the sheep from Gwynne. In consequence however of Harrison’s shuffling conduct hitherto, it was deemed expedient to examine some rams sold us, at present at Cullen Bullen, to which place Wise and myself (accompanied by Grayling) went after dinner. We examined the sheep and found them covered with scab. It is fortunate Mr Harrison went to Bathurst this morning, otherwise I think we should have been tempted to give him a little wholesome castigation, “then used there.” We must now give up all idea of making a purchase, not only on account of the disease with which the sheep are infected, but it is unpleasant having any dealings on business with such an unprincipled scoundrel as Mr Harrison.
Thursday 20th December 1844
Wise and Grayling rose over to Capertee. I remained behind visualizing, Pope in hand (?), I made an attempt to sketch the place we are staying at.
((Sketch of small shacks)
Friday 21st December 1844
Wise and Grayling returned from Carpertee accompanied by Gwynne who, hearing of Harrison’s expose has come to see if he can get paid some money he owes him: Harrison purchased some discarded sheep from Gwynnee at 2/-, which he resold to Messrs Buchanan & Brown at 4/- warranting them sound. The Clergyman of Mudgee (the Reverend Mr Gunter) accompanied by a Miss Bates arrived at Keenan’s to lunch; they are in their road to the “Green Swamp.” Mr Gunter is a German and as unlike the thorough bred English Clergyman as it is possible to be. Miss Bates is a Lady who has passed her grant climacteric I fancy, however, she is rather pleasing, pretty eyes and teeth. Mr Grayling says he once met her at the Bishops. In the evening Gwynne, Parnell, Wise and myself sat down to Whist. Mr Harrison was to have been home today but he has not given us the light of his countenance as yet. 11 o’clock p.m.
Saturday 22nd December 1844
Rode out after breakfast with Mr Woodhouse to Cullen Bullen to inspect the sheep brought by Messrs Brown as from Harrison as clean; Mr Woodhouse is agent for the above Firm, and not being very conversant with the diseases of sheep requested me to give an opinion. Every sheep was diseased, and hardly any wool on their backs.
I now took a cut across the Bush to the Limestone Station where another flock of ewes were, which Mr Harrison had sold to us with a warranty, these were not quite so bed as the others, but they were beginning to show symptoms of Scab.
Mr Harrison returned this evening from Bathurst. As soon as he made his appearance, we called him into our room, and then told him that “he was a liar, and that he had behaved in a most blaguardly manner.” He still denies the sheep are scabby, and intends examining them himself tomorrow.
Sunday 23rd December 1844
Mr Harrison rode out with Gwynne to examine the sheep I had reported diseased. They returned to dinner, Gwynne confirming my opinion. Mr Harrison now begins to feel that he is rather unpleasantly situated. In the evening he came in again for the purpose of settling our differences. After a good deal of talking Wise and myself determined on not having anything to do with the sheep, but made him allow us £25 for our expenses her and on the road. I have now counted up the number of miles the little pony I bought in Sydney has completed, just 270 miles in 12 days.
Monday 23rd December 1844 (dates a bit askew)
Started at ½ past 5 am from Ben Bullen. A cloudy morning looks like rain. Passed Cullen Bullen at ¼ to 7. Four miles further the Blackman came in sight, six miles more we came to the Wallerawang, a station of Mr Walker’s, 2 miles further Angus Public House, 7 miles brought us to Baining’s and 5 more to Harley. First 30 miles which we did by ½ past 10. Ordered breakfast, and whilst getting ready Wise walked to the Post Office, and I to the stables to look after the horses. Wise shortly returned with his hands full of letters from Fanny. Two were for me, one an English one from Aunt Mary Anne, the other a (cheque?) for £35. I am very much surprised to hear of Mrs O’Callaghan’s marriage to Lord William Somerset, for Mrs O’Callaphan’s former husband so willed it that in the event of her contracting a second marriage, all the income he had settle on her should cease. Coming on to pour with rain I expect, the groom telling me that what I see are merely heat drops (clouds?) At 2 o’clock we started again notwithstanding the rain which had just set in, in right earnest. Walked up the Victoria Pass, rest our horses. Had a splendid view of the Vale of Clwyd below us. They reckon it 4 miles from Hartley to the bottom of this pass, the rain increased as we reached Blackheath, a military Station, and when we got to the –n at Pulpit Hill, 10 miles further we were very nearly tempted to remain the night, however, with the aid of a little brandy and water we soon were off again, we gave a side long glance at the “Weatherboard Inn” as we passed, but had not time to stop, the rain pouring and a thick fog on all sides of us, which prevented our seeing a yaw before us. Here my horse went dead lame in his shoulder, and for the last three miles I had to use whip and spur, and worst of all I had to get off and walk. We reached “20 Mile Hollow” by 8 o’clock p.m. I was drenched to the skin, having been out in a soaking rain for the last 6 hours, my saddle bags too, were full of water, I therefore had the trouble of drying everything before the fire. We had a capital dinner to console us.
Tuesday 24th December 1844
At 5 a.m. Wise was stiring, but we did not leave till 6. It threatens for rain again today. I hope not for I am quite stiff from the effects of yesterday. We reached Penrith by 9 o’clock, we escaped rain till we arrived at the Ferry, and when in the middle of the river the rain commenced. Breakfasted at the “Rose and Crown,” they call this 19 miles from Twenty Mile Hollow. My horse still lame but his pluck carries him on. We rode on leisurely and arrived at Badkins public house at 10 o’clock, this is 10 miles more we have knocked off. My horse was so much worse, that I determined to leave him here for several hours. I shall not go further than Parramatta tonight. Wise is for Sydney. He therefore intends starting for Sydney presently without me, leaving me to my fate. I walked in to the stable, indulged in “sweet conolise ” with Badkin, a (mild, -ed?) jockey. Amused myself with looking at the “Liverpool grand Steeple Chase” in four pictures complete, and lastly to kill the ennui, I was dying of, took up a book, the only one there, “Boxiana,” being the history of all the Prize Fighters, living and dead, and the battles they had fought. Nothing but sl—fux- beginning to end. After eating a most luxurious lunch in the (shop?) of fine whiskey(?), I left this “exquisite little beer shop” and arrived after a tedious rise of 11 miles at Parramatta by 7 o’clock, my arms perfectly tied from holding my horse up, he taking it in his head to stumble every other step. We were very fortunate in not having much rain today, the only heavy shower that fell, was when we were comfortably housed in the Inn at Penrith.
Wednesday 25th December 1844 – Christmas Day.
How extraordinary appears this difference of climate. To think it was some few year ago on this day, we were all gathered around large blazing fires, shivering with cold. And now that now, so oppressive is it that we would gladly avail ourselves of that freedom which the Blacks profess, of sending our clothes to the winds, and living in a state of nature. It certainly does me good at the present moment to think of the snow, and the (see?) of “Old England;” although it cannot make me hold a fire in my hand, till the “bare recollection” of this “my first (frost?) Caucasus(?)” has made me feel 20 degrees cooler, so much for Shakespeare’s opinion. I was unable to go to Church having nothing with me but tops and breeches. I drove down in the carriage for Mrs Forbes, and coming out I saw the Gores, Andersons, Atkins and Walls, etc. Her party at dinner was very small, Mrs Forbes, George Forbes, and Pine of the 58th Regiment, and the Reverend W. Clarke. Mr Pine is the Surgeon of the Regiment. I like him much, he has travelled a great deal, and is a very agreeable person. Mr Clarke is a clever man I think, but I like to see a little more gravity, and a little less freedom of speech in “one of the cloth.” Clergymen consider themselves better than their neighbours, at all events they ought to be so, hence we naturally look for a more softened style of conversation. To judge by his physiognomy I should say he would like to ride across country in England in preference to mounting the Pulpit (especially of the diocese) in this country. Thermometer 100° and this he has to do in a quarter of the hour the good people of Parramatta are to be edified this evening by him.
Thursday 26th December 1844
A very sultry day. In the morning Mrs Anderson came over to offer I presume the compliments of the season. At 2 I rode in to Parramatta to look after my horse, which I left at Walker’s yesterday. Found him still lame from the effects of the journey, I cannot ride him to Sydney, that is certain. Rode down again after dinner with the intention of going to Sydney by the Coach, too late and therefore had to return. Little “Fairlie Anderson” drank tea with us, she is a very nice Ladylike little girl, and will one of these days have as many (more she could not) admirers as her sister “Mary.” I was highly amused with her definition of a Coquette, viz “a Lady who engages the affections of several gentlemen at the same time, making each one fancy he is the man; and then having tried with them etc to her hearts content, look out for some new victim, whom she hopes to entice into the meshes of her web.” Where could a child of 12 years old learn to recount an opinion, from reading? Or from observation? We played Whist till 10 o’clock. I then escorted Fairlie home, found Mr Anderson waiting in the verandah with Mr McKay. Mary with Mr Rush in another direction, I soon left not wishing to spoil sport.
Friday 27th December 1844.
Got up early this morning, and went by the new Steamer “The Native” to Sydney at 7 o’clock a.m. Arrived at Fanny’s in time for breakfast. Aunt Sophy wished me to escort her back again to Parramatta this afternoon. At 4 o’clock we started. On arrival at George Forbes’ found “Louisa Gore” paying them a visit. She is “sans doute” a sweet girl, her manner ladylike and taking, her voice melodious and which would have the effect (were you gentle reader ever in a passion) of calming your ire. Intelligence beams in her eyes. I had the pleasure of walking home with her, and I must say as I felt the gentle pressure of her little hand in my own, I wished I could have dared, on bended knee and have pressed it to ones lips.
As I returned saw the Comet for the first time. Compared with the one seen in 1843, it is perfectly insignificant, and I doubt very much whether I should have observed it, had I not heard of its appearance.
Saturday 28th December 1844
A most oppressively hot day. A hot wind blowing. Those that are fool enough to venture out will be baked alive. Took up Bentley’s miscellany, and the Metropolitan, and with these tow books, passed the morning away. In the afternoon called on the Gores, they were some time before making their appearance; being in their endeavors preparing for a tea party at the “Vineyard” i.e. dressing. Afterwards called on the Walls where I met Mrs Anderson and “May” and Pine of the 58th. We had a very pleasant evening and did not leave till 10 o’clock. I walked home with the Andersons, a most beautiful moonlight night. The air delightfully cool, which was fully appreciated by us all, after the dreadfully hot wind we have been burned with during the whole day.
Sunday 29th December 1844
A very beautiful day. After dinner I went with George Forbes for a drive to “Marion.” We found a large party assembled here, amongst them Captain Wright of Bay(water?), who only returned from England a few days ago, together “Persian” thereon from Blaxlands, Rutledge, Dr Foster and his son. Miss Jacob favoured us with several songs out of the “Hebrew Melodies(?)” Sepha’s Daughter, Rush etc.
Monday 30th December 1844
Threatening rain. I intended to have gone down with George Forbes to Sydney this morning. A note of invitation however, from Mrs Gore for this evening stopped my progress, and I put off the evil day till tomorrow. In the course of the day drove in to Parramatta with Aunt Sophy. We went very early to Mrs Gore’s, shortly after us Mr and Mrs Elliot came, and Deering and Masters of the 58th, who were paying a morning visit at 7 o’clock in the afternoon, agreed to give up their dinner at the mess, and join the party here. The tea table groaned beneath the luxuries the fair Ladies had prepared for our consumption. It was certainly a long meal, and I was not sorry when the procession moved into the Drawing Room. The Ladies, I think, were not in so musical a humour as usual, they seemed more inclined for conversation, however, the few songs, and airs and waltzes we heard were all very pretty, which only made us regret the more the pause that occasionally ensued. Mr Deering was facetiously remarking on the “Comic English Grammar” and ended his speech by informing one of the Ladies of the fact of his being “afflicted with the gout in his big toe.” The Lady did not all sympathise with him in his sufferings, for I saw her indignantly turn away, the modest blush ma—ing on her cheek as he gave utterance to so questionable a remark. We left early. I do not know how it is, but I always feel regret when wishing adieu to the fair inmates of Pemberton Grange, my love is fiercely platonic, but still there is an indefinable something that draws me imperceptibly to the place.
Tuesday 31st December 1844
Left Parramatta by the 12 o’clock steamer, Pine of the 48th was on board. He seemed highly delighted with the book he had been reading “Wild Spirits of the West.” He pointed out tome two or three choice morsels, which certainly proved they were well worthy of the author of “Stories from Waterloo.” In the course of conversation I found out that he knew both Herbert Evans and Ximenes in India, in fact he was formerly in the same Regiment as Evans, the 26th. A very curious adventure happened to me shortly after my arrival at Wise’s, I was paying the compliments of the season to one of the maids, and was in the act of imprinting a chaste kiss on the lips, when who should suddenly break in upon our privacy but Miss Donovan!! Ye Gods defend me! I was regularly caught in “ipso facto” as the lawyers have it. She very quickly put a bold face on the matter, and very good naturedly came to my assistance by at once extending her digits towards me. This has spoilt my love making with her servant, whom I intended to have carried on to a great extent with her. Tomorrow I go to a picnic given by Mrs Manning. I hope Miss Donovan will keep silent and not quiz me.
Wednesday 1st January 1845
A new year commenced. I trust it may prove a more propitious one than the last we have begun it well however, for today is fixed for a Picnic. The people invited were all very punctual, the last in the field was young Donaldson, and he nearly lost his passage. Tow of the Government boats were new provided, and we were accordingly divided into two parties, although I must say anything but an equal division took place. The first boat consisted of Dees Thompson (Colonial Secretary and coxswain) wife and children three, Miss Allman, Sophy Stephen, Miss Donovan, A. Manning, William Manning (Solicitor General) Broadhurst (the barrister) and John Allison the ex-Police Magistrate. The second boat (ours) monopolized all the beauty of the party consisting as it did of Mrs Fanning and Mrs Hen (Wllm?) Manning, the other ladies were Miss Mitchelle, Mary Allman, and Miss Richardson. Wise acted as coxswain, Fanning and myself took care of the Ladies, whilst Graham, Stephen and Donaldson went forward, thus making either individually or collectively three capital figure heads. At first we were un-determined where the picnic should be. At last to Point Piper was the cry, which was caught up re-echoed by our boat, and to this place we steered. It would be impossible to describe all the good things that the worthy given of the feast had provided, all the numberless viands (including Champagne) that were constantly being attached. Every one however was wisely(?) merry. The only thing that perhaps excited more than usual hilarity, was seeing the (growly?) sedate, and never-seen-to smile Colonial Secretary, setting hard to work, his hands and pockets full of stones pelting away with all his might and main, at the empty bottles, placed target-wise, and which in his fanciful imagination, he pictured to himself, as certain animate members of Council on the opposition side of the House. Had it been possible grace vitality to the bottles, the poor devils must have suffered acutely in their “death throws.” Poor Wentworth and Windeyer (for such were the greater number christened) I felt for you both. Certainly a change all came over the worthy Secretary, for no sooner had he demolished all these “bottle effigies” in his well feigned ire, than he got to work boat-hook in hand demolishing all the Rock Oysters, that came within his influence. The activity he displayed in jumping form rock to rock, was worthy the Alpine peasant, and the goodness of his appetite could only have been equaled by those literary (itinerary?) “gentlemen of the East” who think nothing of a sheep at a sitting. As soon as every one had partaken to their hearts content, of the good things set before them, you might see this goodly company gradually dispersing in two’s and threes, now then emerging from yonder copes you might catch sight of a young Lady in blue walking with the young widower in white hat, this loving pair had singled themselves out from the common herd for the ostensible purpose of viewing some remarkable spot, however, on approaching nearer it was evident that the view that pleased them best was the sight of each other. That these two will one day become one then is not with slightest doubt in the world.
In another direction, seated on a rock were a Lady and Gentleman, the former dressed in white all over, from had to foot, forming anything but pleasing contrast to her somewhat sensible (simple, sinister?) visage. As I came upon them the Gentleman was attitudinizing, his left leg raised (prized) high in the air, the foot thereof grasped affectionately by his hand, such was the attitude I found him in whistling an air out of Masaniells, to the delight of his Inamorata. My sudden approach made them pause for a minute, when the Lady broke forth with the assignation “to sit on rocks and gaze,” I thought it was high time after this to beat a retreat, which I did very quickly and found myself near two ladies whose acquaintance with the party appeared limited, they therefore enjoyed the scene in silence, no one hardly spoke to them and they in return opened not their mouths. To judge from their costume I should say that the Ladies “Fashion Book” had never entered either their heads or their hands, for they appeared perfectly indifferent, as to their personal appearance, the youngest of the two might, however, with a little pruning and topping, be made more presentable, but alas I fear they have been too long wedded to their old habits to hope for much improvement, “as the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined.” The eldest is past caring. The two young married Ladies looked well, indeed they were the genus of the party, and without them I should have passed a very dull day. Mrs Fanning I like particularly, she is certainly very pretty, and has an aucle(? Greek?) worthy the Venus di Medici’s, she has not long been married and Fanning and herself indulged in a little pardmable (passionable?) “Billing and Cooing.” There was one Lady who annoyed me much, before I had joined the party many minutes. I had (envested?) a straw hat, which to the best of my judgment I thought perfectly comme il faut, for a picnic, but it appeared that monami took high dudgeon at it, and when I presented myself to her notice to exchange the civilities of the day, she screwed up her eyes, tossed up her head, and continued a series of grimaces for upward of five minutes, “people should never throw stones who have glass windows,” they say, and if my straw hat was a bad one her straw bonnet was worse.
There is another Lady I have not yet mentioned, Miss Richardson (sister of Ms Fanning). I had never been introduced to her before, nevertheless we struck up an acquaintance together, and rambled in thought, from one end of England to the other, the Opera generally affords a grand subject to enlarge upon, and when you take each of the singers separately, you may talk “till all is blue,” thus we did, and I would recommend that topic to all bankrupts in conversation.
Few of the gentlemen exerted themselves, save and except in throwing at bottles, or puffing their cigars. One it is true fixed the attention of his Lady-hearers for the time, in consequence of a proposition he made, that of having a “Bachelor’s Picnic.” This though was said under the exhilarating effects of Champagne, and I fear tomorrow when the evanescence of his spirits have gone off, the idea will be buried in oblivion.
I was exceptionally sorry Miss Callander was not of the party, her absence was regretted by all. She is the only person I like talking sensibly to, and what is more I never fell tired after conversing with her, for she generally has as much to say as you have. At six we got into the boats once more and in half an hours row were landed at the Government wharf, where we wished each other adieu and wended our way to our different homes.
Sunday 5th January 1845
Rained in the morning, and was prevented going to Church thereby. Miss Donovan dined with us. Called on Mrs Deas Thomson in the afternoon.
Monday 6th January 1845
Threatening for rain, the whole day. Donaldson at 4 o’clock and went by the steamer to Parramatta having been invited to dine with George Forbes,, who gives a dinner party to Raymond the new Chairman of – (Quarterly?) Sessions. Pine and Masters of the 58th were there, also Elliot the Police Magistrate and a Reverend Mr Walker, Major Bridge sent and excuse by Pine. We had a capital dinner and every one enjoyed themselves. I find that Masters is acquainted with a mutual friend, George Carter, Curate at Olveston
Tuesday 7th January 1845
Took a drive with Aunt Sophy and Mrs Forbes. Called on the Gores, found them at dinner, “Isabelle” however came out for a minute. Then on the Walls, they also were at dinner. We afterwards went to the Barracks and called on Mrs B (Bridge?) who we fortunately found at home, she is a charming stylish agreeable person. I find she is well acquainted with the Faunces of Clifton, Major Bridge being a nephew of Mrs Faunce.
In the evening I dined at the 58th Mess with Pine. He however did not make his appearance till after the 2nd course, having been engaged endeavoring to restore a grenadier, who was just drowned, whilst bathing in the river. Dressing (Deeping?) however, introduce me to Captain Grant, Denny, Pedder and Page. Very nice fellows indeed. Did not leave till 1 o’clock. Dressing (Deering?) was President of the Mess, notwithstanding he was unable to keep his eyes open, after his cape was removed, they had a great laugh at his expense. The band played as soon as dessert was put on the table, and continued playing for some time, some very pretty airs and Operas.
Wednesday 8th January 1845
George Forbes went to Sydney, I drove with him as far as Redbank. I then returned and took a drive with Aunt Sophy through the McArthurs by Redbank etc. In our return Stephen managed, when driving through the gate of the stables, to come in contact with the gate post and break several of the springs of the carriage. The gate was not opened sufficiently and he was too lazy to get off the box.
Thursday 9th January 1845
An intolerable warm day. Drove down to Redbank and went by the three o’clock Steamer to Sydney. Met Allwood. Dined with William Manning.
Friday 10th January 1845
Raining off and on. Took a ride in the afternoon in the Domain, called afterwards at the Barracks on Leigh.
Saturday 11th January 1845
Took a ride into Sydney, met Walter Leslie of the Downs, he tells me he is going in a week or two to China for a short time. I afterwards met three of the Moreton Bay men, Gordon, Gammie and Wilting formerly in the 28th. He left the Regiment in consequence of having shot a man in a Duel, somewhere in the Mediterranean I think.
Sunday 12th January 1845
Raining in the early part of the day. In the evening took a ride with William Manning, passed Newtown and went as far as Spache’s, “Tempe” I believe they call it. On our return we let our horses out and had a good gallop for about three miles.
Monday 13th January 1845
Took a ride in the morning, called at the Barracks on Leigh, saw him and another Captain friend, Winter whom I have not seen for five years. Stayed for a couple of hours yarning with them. Went at 11 o’clock p.m. to the New Court House to hear O’Brians trial, (the man who shot Dr Merrick). His counsel are trying to bring him in Mad.
Tuesday 14th January 1845
Called on Graham at Mrs Laws (Lords?), saw Gammie, Gordon and Hay there. In the evening Mrs Deas (Dias?) Thomson drank tea with Fanny and Miss Callander and Miss Donovan. Paid my (lactn?) today 11.13.0
Wednesday 15th January 1845
Dined with Leigh at the 99th Mess. Two other civilians were there, Hay and Garland. Saw Elliot, Deering, Major Reeves, Colonel Jackson. Played Whist with D’Winter, Leigh and Deering till 10 o’clock p.m.
Thursday 16th January 1845
Dined with William Manning, it is supposed that Miss Donovan is engaged to Arthur Manning.
Took a ride in the Domain today.
Friday 17th January 1845
Left Sydney by the 4 o’clock steamer, and arrived at Parramatta by 6. On board met George Leslie of the Downs, also McDougal. On arriving at Newlands, found them out, they had gone to hear the 5858th Band play in the Barracks Square. At 8 o’clock went with George Forbes to a Ball at Dr Foster’s about 4 miles from this. We had a most agreeable party consisting of the Gores, the Walls, the Andersons, Miss Stuart, Mrs Arthur Blaxland, a Mr and Mrs Gore from Sydney, Mr and Mrs Bettington, innumerable Blaxlands, the officers of the 58th, Rush, Pine, Pedder, Page, Deering (Dressing?) etc and Herbert. Deering fell asleep in the Ballroom, he appeared rather (serious, seasoned?) and offended Isabella Gore, not a little in consequence of which she refused to dance with him. Miss Anderson looked very well tonight and I enjoyed the quadrille I had the pleasure of dancing with her. We had a capital supper, and did not leave till 2 o’clock which proves that the evening was pleasurable and attractive. I was in introduced for the first time to Miss Stuart this evening, I cannot praise her, and therefore I think I had better say nothing about her. She is not a girl after my heart.
Saturday 18th January 1845
Drank tea with the Walls, found a Mr Langley there, and young William Foster. Captain and Mrs Mayne came whilst we were at tea and after them a Mrs Boyd form Sydney. We had music and singing. Mr Langley and Foster were very argumentative and noisy. In the midst of their debate we heard a sigh fall from somebody which Mr Langley declared came from Mr Foster’s “broken heart.” And the argument then commenced between them in the course of which sundry panes of glass broken. We did not leave till near 12.
Sunday 19th January 1845
Went to Church in the morning. Miss Jacob and pretty Mary Atkinson were in the pew. Oh heavens, what a contrast these two Ladies presented. The one beautiful and lovely, the other “dull, stale and inhospitable.” Saw Emmaline McArthur in Church, she too looked very pretty but not by any means equal to Miss Atkinson. Drove over with George Forbes and Pine of the 58th, to Manion (Manon?). Where we had rather a large dinner party, consisting of Captain Wright, Captain Mayne, Mr McCaclaty, Mr Boulton, Mr Rutledge, Mr Woodwise(?). I handed Mary Arthur in to dinner.
Miss Jacob sang in the evening.
Monday 20th January 1845
Drove over to Newington with Aunt Sophy and Mrs Forbes, found Lady Dowling staying there and Mrs Arthur Blaxland. Took lunch and then returned. Called on the Gores and Walls in the afternoon, the former were at Helene I believe.
Tuesday 24th January 1845
Rode over to Dr Fosters to see how the Ladies were after their Ball on Friday, found them at home and remained nearly a couple of hours. As I returned met Pine bent on a similar errand. After dinner Mary Anderson called by herself and shortly after the Atkinsons. Mary Atkinson was of the party, and I found myself seated between the two beauties, “how happy could I be with t’other dear Charms away,” thought I to myself. Soon after Mary Anderson made a move and returned home, I had the felicity of escorting her, although I had some compunctions of conscience on leaving the other “Mary.”
Wednesday 21st January 1845
Left Parramatta by the 8 o’clock steamer accompanied by George Forbes. We found Dr and Mrs West, 99th on board, also her sister-in-law Miss Pratt (Peat?), a most oppressive day.
Friday 23rd January 1845
Went into Sydney, very wet this morning, to speak to Mort (the auctioneer) with regard to the Sheep Station for sale at the Darling Downs. I went to Roger Therry’s sale of furniture, Books etc, he has just been appointed Judge at Port Philip in the stead of Mr Justice Jeffcott. I bid for his horse, with saddle and bridle, £9.2, however, another person bought him for £9.15. I was rather surprised to see the portraits of Mr Therry’s different friends put up for sale, those of Canning, Sir Richard Bradley(?) etc, all were sold by “Samual Lyons.”
Saturday 24th January 1845
Went down early to Sydney, called at Morts, we have empowered him to bid for us at the sale today of the Station at Darling Downs, formerly Coxen’s. We determined to go as high as £630. but there were several other persons equally anxious to purchase it, Graham, Mitchell, Coxen, and Campbell who was the purchaser at £650. Wise and myself were very much disappointed at not getting it, we had counted so fully upon it. The sum paid is very large considering the times, and the current price of sheep, however, Mr Campbell is a rich man, and he does not feel a few hundred more or less.
(Dates mixed up)
Sunday 26th January 1845
A wet day rather. Frank Forbes arrived from Moreton Bay.
Monday 27th January 1845
Another wet day. Frank and Wise breakfasted with Campbell to see if he would be willing to give up the Station to us on our paying him a bonus, getting satisfactory terms arranged. (We all) were to meet him at his office in the middle of the day, which we did, without coming to terms.
Tuesday 28th January 1845
Called on Edye Manning to see if he would assist us in the purchase of a sheep station, or if he would be willing to enter into a sort of partnership with us. He has (led?) our hopes, and is to give us an answer tomorrow.
Wednesday 29th January 1845
Went to Edye Mannings at 9. He has agreed to purchase a certain Station (in the Yass direction) in conjunction with Wise and myself. It will not however, be put up at auction for at least a fortnight, and therefore nothing further can be done with reference to it, for the present.
Thursday 30th January 1845
Went to the Domain for a ride, heard the 99th Band. A large concourse of people appeared there. Amongst them Miss D’- who was in Mrs Foster’s carriage, the O’Connells, the Despards, etc. Took a ride with Johnson of the 99th round the Point. Met Langley (of Parramatta) in Sydney.
Friday 31st January 1845
A wet day. Writing the whole morning, not imagining anyone would call, I remained en dishabille. I was, however, suddenly surprised by the entrance of Mrs Boyd who came to borrow “Stephen’s Central America.” Took a ride in the afternoon into Sydney.
Saturday 1st February 1845
We had a great deal of rain today, went only for a short ride in consequence.
Sunday 2nd February 1845
Took a ride with William Manning in the afternoon, round the Domain and then to Mrs Darling’s Point. Sir Thomas Mitchells etc. I had never been here before. The view from all these places was really beautiful in the extreme.
Monday 3rd February 1845
Took a ride in the morning, met Gall of the 99th driving, he only came down from Jerry’s Plains last night. He has come down without leave, and is in consequence obliged to go through all the bye lanes etc to avoid Captain Nicholson, Commander of the Mounted Police. I went with him to have his picture taken by the Daguerreotype. The first one that was struck was very bad indeed, but the second, a most exact likeness was obtained, which pleased Gall amazingly, he was taken in the mounted Police Uniform. We had a small dinner party consisting of George Forbes, W. Manning, J Manning and Miss Callander.
Tuesday 4th February 1845
Drove into Sydney with Fanny by Wise in Mrs Mannings carriage. Called on Gall who is staying at Gill’s in John St, not daring to show himself in the Barracks. I found Leigh of the 99th and Seymour, formerly of the 99th with him. He and I however, went and paid a morning visit at the Laidley’s in the hope of seeing “Caly.” We were disappointed at finding only Betsy and Maria at home.
Had a game of Billiards with Leigh.
Wednesday 5th February 1845
Riding the whole day, called at Barracks. Afterwards rode with William Manning to Rose Bay, this seems rather a fashionable area, for on our return we met the Despards, the Youngs, the Donaldsons, and the Nicholsons, all riding, Major and Mrs O’Connell driving in a (Inish?) cab.
Thursday 5th February 1845
Rode in the Domain, the 99th Band playing. Saw Robert McKenzie there, Miss D’Monlin (Montin, Montii?) the O’Connells, Dr and Mrs Dawson
Friday 6th February 1845
Took a ride in the morning. Dined at the 99th Mess with Robert D’Winton an old Clifton friend. I passed a very pleasant evening. Had a few rubbers of Whist with D’Winton, Deering the Adjutant, and a Mr Barton (a squatter to the South) who was my partner. Won 12/-. A most disagreeable night, pouring with rain, and the thunder and lightning terrific. I did not leave till 1 o’clock. There were a great number of Officers, amongst them Leigh, Major Reeves, Colonel Jackson, Captain Reid, Elliot, Beattie, O’Reilly, Johnson, Todell(?), Meads, etc.
Saturday 7th February 1845
Rode over with Wise to Balmain, to see Edye Manning. He was not at home. We saw, however, old Mr Manning and Miss Donovan. Pouring with rain the whole day, now and again it became fine, obliging us to catch our opportunity which we took and fortunately did not get wet. It is about 7 miles from Sydney.
Sunday 8th February 1845
Went to Church in the afternoon with Fanny and Wise. A very thin congregation. Took a ride in the afternoon in the Domain. Met Mrs Foster and Miss D’Moulin. Two English shops came in today, the “General Hewett” and the “Herald.”
Monday 9th February 1845
Walked into Sydney. Put a letter in the Post for Mrs Partridge to go by the Emily. Sent Aunt Mary Anne the “Atlas” newspapers.
Tuesday 10th February 1845
Received a letter from P.Pinnock relative to my mares.
Wednesday 11th February 1845
Took a ride today in the Domain, etc. Called on Lyons Auction Room to enquire particularly of the Station we are thinking of bidding for next Tuesday. The sheep have been diseases and all think doubtful. Miss Donovan went up to the Hunter to Trevallyan, escorted by Townshend. I went down with them this evening and saw them off by the steamer at 10.p.m. Met Mr Foster on board. On my return caught up Ritchie and two or three Blaxlands with one of them I went to the Bar at the Regent Hotel, given by Mr Wilkinson, found several of the 99th there, Leigh, Mair, D’Winton and his cousin, a very slow affair, too respectable in one point of view, and too vulgar in another sense. I did not stay long.
Thursday 12th February 1845
Wrote a long letter to P. Hodgson and Philip. Rode to the Domain to hear the 99th Band. More people than I have seen for a long time, the O’Connells, Ramsays, Despards, Youngs, Mrs Aspinal, Donaldson, Allmans, Mrs Forbes and Miss D’Monlin, Dr and Mrs Dawson, etc etc.
Friday 13th February 1845
Went into Sydney, with Frank Forbes. Went to the Livery Stables for the purpose of having a horse (collar?) in double harness, as we are all going to Parramatta tomorrow in Mr Mannings carriage. In the evening went to a dance given by the Sheriff Young. I danced with Miss D’Monlin, Miss Lawley, a Miss Rutland (a fresh arrival), Miss Raymond 9to whom I was introduced for the first time), a Miss Gregory, etc. Amongst the company were the Ramsays, Thakers, Kens, Donaldsons, Milfords, Carrs, Dawsons, Major Reeves, Elliot, and D’Winton of the 99th. Very few pretty girls. I did not enjoy myself as much as I expected. We left very early at ½ past 12. Fanny was not well enough to go. Wise however, accompanied me.
Saturday 14th February 1845
Got up very early this morning, and started at 7 o’clock in Mr Mannings carriage for Parramatta. Wise and Fanny accompanied me, we called for Frank whom we found at Mr Boyds. Waited half an hour for him. We had a very dusty drive over and arrived by 10 o’clock. Called at Mrs Anderson with Frank, and then on the Gores and Walls whom I found at home. In the evening the Andersons and Walls drank tea here. I had the pleasure of a long waltz with the fair “Mary” notwithstanding Rush (to whom she is engaged) was there.
Sunday 15th February 1845
We drove to Church in the morning. Miss Jacob and Emily Atkinson were in the pew. Saw the Gores, the Walls etc. William Gore preached.
After Church George Forbes drove to Atkinsons, Wise and myself accompanied him. Frank went down to Sydney.
Monday 16th February 1845
Started at 8 o’clock in the carriage with Fanny and Wise. George Forbes also accompanied us.
Tuesday 17th February 1845
Went early into Sydney, walked about with Frank, and then went to Lyon’s Auction Rooms. Today being the day for the sale of the Demonderil Station of 8,500 sheep, the property of the Bank of Australia, for which Edye Manning and Wise are about to bid. They obtained it fortunately, at 5/5d per sheep, the Bank bid as high as 5/-. Wise is highly delighted at the purchase. The Station is 30 miles beyond Yass, about 200 from Sydney.
Wednesday 18th February 1845
Walked into Sydney with Wise, went to Edye Mannings. Drew a Bill for 40 on Hibbert and went to the Bank of Australasia to get it discounted at 5 per cent.
Borrowed William Mannings carriage and went into Sydney at 2 with Fanny paying visits, called on Lady Gipps, unfortunately out. Then on Mrs Fanning who was at home. Then Mrs Foster where we saw Miss D’Monlin. Mrs Darrah (Darroch) who was also at home. Mrs Young out. Mrs Ken (Kew?) out. And last Mrs Laidley who admitted us. After dinner at 7, I hired a gig from Webb and drove over to Parramatta to wish Aunt and Mrs Forbes goodbye, it being arranged that I should go on Friday, early up to the Station just purchased, to inspect the sheep etc. George Forbes went over with me, we were only one hour and a half doing the distance (15 miles). I called shortly after my arrival at Newlands on Mrs Anderson to wish her goodbye, and it was with the heavy heart I said these words to the fair “Mary.” Rush of the 58th was there drinking tea.
Thursday 19th February 1845
At 8 drove to the Walls and paid them a farewell visit. Rosa the only one up, however, waited and saw them all. Called on Pine of the 58th as I passed the Parramatta which I left by 9 o’clock. Arrived at Sydney 20 minutes after 10, doing the distance in less than 1 hour and 20 minutes. Rode to the Band.
Friday 20th February 1845
Intended starting today for Yass, this was prevented. Had my likeness taken by the Daguerreotype.
Saturday 21st February 1845.
Did not go to Sydney till the evening. Rode about the town till 7. Mr Allman dined with us. Miss Callander came in the evening.
Sunday 22nd February 1845
Threatening for rain the whole day. Did not go out at all.
Monday 23rd February 1845
Walked into Sydney with Wise, returned afterwards and rode along about the town. Wrote to Mrs Partridge, Mr Hibbert, J Waugh, and David.
(James Augustus Milbourne Marsh) (1838 diary) (1840 diary) (1844 diary) (1845 letters) (1846 diary) (1847 diary) (1847b diary) (1848 diary) (1851 diary) (1859 diary) (1873 diary) (1885 diary) (1888 diary) (1889 diary) (1889b diary) (diary Lady Mary Ann Meek nee Grant)