HMS BUFFALO 1836
and Holdfast Bay (now Glenelg), South Australia
on December 28th, 1836
MY EARLY DAYS
sketched by Mr Young Bingham HUTCHINSON
Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia
(B.4263) HMS Buffalo 1836.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It was our dear father's wish that we each should have a copy of his early life in the Colony, and as I have the story written by his own hand, I am now having it printed for us and our children, to remind us of the difficulties the old pioneers had to contend with. I look back with wonder at the courage of those dear parents who took such a long voyage with four young children to a strange and almost unknown land, to make a home for us and give us a better chance of getting on in life that we could have had in the dear old country we came from. I am glad to know that they lived to reach a great age - father being 88 and mother 85 years of age, and their family of ten children all grown up, married and settled in homes of their own. Their work is done. May we who are left live worthy of such parents, and South Australia be the better for our lives spent in it is the earnest wish of your sister,
SARAH TILLY (nee Adams).
MY EARLY DAYS IN THE COLONY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA by JOHN W. ADAMS
It has been the expressed wish of many friends that I should write some of our early recollections of the Colony for the benefit of our children and others who may be interested in our colonial life.
I have just set down a few first incidents of our voyage out, which is pretty well understood by most colonists but not so to most of our children who have not crossed the sea. Our voyage on the whole was a pleasant one. We sailed in the good ship "Buffalo," in company with the "Tam O'Shanter," from Spithead about the middle of July, 1836, and after being at sea a few days experienced a heavy gale, and we returned to Spithead, leaving the "Tam" to proceed alone. That vessel arrived in South Australia three weeks before us, but the gale had done her some damage, as they were obliged to pump more or less all the voyage. Before we turned back three weddings were celebrated, and all was joy and pleasantness; but before morning the wind blew a gale, and nearly all the immigrants were too bad to get up. The doctor and the mate commiserated on our helpless condition, reported to the Governor, and the ship was put about, and by the time we dropped anchor at Shanklin we could all walk the deck. We finally sailed on 3rd August, passed Maderia, and in due time reached Rio de Janeiro, and stopped there about eight days, and after a pleasant voyage with the exception of three or four days off the Isle of St. Paul's.
We arrived in South Australia on the 24th December, 1836, and entered Port Lincoln, where we found the "Signet" waiting for us. We sailed in company, and dropped anchor in Holdfast Bay on the 27th. On the 28th the Governor, with the marines and as many as could get into the boats, went ashore, and the Colony was proclaimed amid the shouts of the people and the firing of guns. The ships at anchor were decked out with flags of all colours.
Some of the incidents of the voyage may be interesting. After 20 days, out, the ship "LADY FLORA" passed us on her voyage to Calcutta. Meeting a ship at sea is pleasant and rather exciting. On crossing the Line it is customary to be shaved or pay a fine to those who have crossed before; and as shaving was to be the order of the day, grand preparations were going on for a week or so before, such as making huge razors, tin crowns for Neptune and all his train, etc. On the evening of the eventful day the ship was hailed in the usual way from the sea, supposed to be Neptune himself, and a fairy-like figure sprang over the bows with a letter in his hand and darted towards the cabin, and then the usual inquiry of Neptune about his sons, with an intimation of paying us a visit on the following day, and then departed in a burning tar barrel. The decks were washed for his reception, and water came tumbling down in all directions, and those who remained on deck got pretty well drenched. The ladies who assembled on the poop to witness the departure of Neptune got their feet wet, and, finding they could not stand against the continual splash, retired below. Notwithstanding the promise of the Governor that they should not be interfered with, for some reason or other on that night the men had orders to heave the lead on both sides of the ship, which afterwards appeared to be necessary. The men took their stations and regularly called out the depth of the water. The fun was over and all had turned in. About 11 o'clock one of those thrilling sounds from the boatswain's whistle, and the startling cry of a man overboard roused all hands, and five minutes could not have elapsed before a boat was manned and off in the supposed direction of the lost man. The lifebuoy was thrown out and blue lights kept burning (but it was ten minutes before he was missed, and it was known he was the worse for liquor), the boat was absent for more than an hour, and all felt it was an hopeless case, and then fears were entertained for the boat, as there was a nasty sea on. The marines kept firing their muskets, and lights flared all about the tops of the ship.
At last the excitement was so great that the Governor ordered a cannon to be loaded; but before that was done, and as I was standing by the gangway with one of the petty officers, I caught sight of the boat, and the next time she rose on a wave the petty officer saw her and reported her, to the great joy of all. The officer of the boat reported that they had been unsuccessful in their search, and all turned in with heavy hearts: and on the following day, instead of festivities anticipated, there was nothing but sorrow depicted on the countenances of all, and a real mourning among his shipmates, which did them honour.
We reached Rio, as I have said, and as it was good for us we went on shore as much as possible. We found ourselves in a foreign land, not understanding the Portuguese language, but we found many English there. I found an old acquaintance, whom I had known in England, and he was very useful to me, such as the exchange of our money and to lay it out to advantage, which I did by stocking us with fruit, little knick-knacks, etc., which was a blessing to us. Among other things, I bought two rapps of onions, which lasted all the voyage, and I grew seed from two I had left.
We were reported not very pleasantly at first, but an extraordinary Gazette was published giving full particulars of us as immigrants for the new Colony of South Australia, and all we met were eager to greet us, and offered their services to us. One day, as four of us were on shore with our wives, we took a walk of nearly five miles along that beautiful bay leading to the Sugar Loaf Mountain, and saw most of the Ambassadors' residences. There was no mistaking the English. We were much pleased with the appearance of the place, its fine harbour and lofty mountains, the town is well supplied with water by an aqueduct 13 miles in length, and there are fountains in all directions. When we were there we were told the place had not been established more than 30 years. What appeared strange was the absence of chimneys. The churches were beautiful inside, but the images at the corners of streets with their tinsel drapery was not admired by us, but the faithful always bow and cross themselves as they pass. One day must have been a grand day with them, for fireworks were going off continually all day, and a great crowd was following a priest in a cart with a coffin in front, and boys running by his side carrying lights, and shouting; the cart was drawn by a mule.
Whilst walking along the main street we saw the English admiral, who was stationed there, coming towards us riding on horseback. We agreed to salute him in English style by taking off our hats as he passed. He recognised us in a moment, and his cocked hat was off, bowing to us in return. I need not say that he looked pleased as he recognised his country men and women, it showed itself in his pleasant smile.
On Sunday, a very fine morning, one-half of the ship's company went on shore dressed in their best, but at night most of them were taken on board in such a state one could hardly tell what they were dressed in. I took Sarah and John on shore, and it came on to rain, as it does in the tropics, we went on board towards evening drenched, I had to put Sarah on the steps of the ladder before me, and John clung round my neck. I had a bundle handkerchief full of oranges and bananas on each arm with a rope in each hand, and so got up the ship's side, and after changing clothes I never felt the ship so comfortable.
On leaving Rio we were towed out of harbour by the boats of the English, French, American and Portuguese ships, about 12 boats in all. At sea again not much occurred to mar the harmony of the ship, but we amused ourselves as best we could, watching flying fish, dolphins, whales, etc. We had the whaling ship "Woodlark" keeping company with us about a fortnight.
Every Sunday, when the weather would permit, we had the church service, and a beautiful sight it was to see the immigrants and ship's company joining together in the service. On one occasion we had to leave off in the middle of the service on account of a squall and to shorten sail. The Rev. C. B. Howard, the chaplain, would often come below and join with the Wesleyans and others in their evening service. We had a newspaper written by some of the immigrants called the "Buffalo Gazette" once a week.
Before we landed it was decided that the women and children should remain on board whilst we went to prepare places for them. With scarcely any tools with us, we had to get the material for the purpose, and after about a week the grand plan of our encampment was pegged out on the rise opposite the present goal, and near the spot where the present Port Road runs on the now Thebarton, and called Buffalo Row. About 12 or 16 huts, each hut was double, each compartment was 16 x 16, built with saplings, and the sides and roof were thatched and filled in with reeds from 6 to 8 feet long, and about a month from landing we were nearly all settled in them. Some amusing incidents occurred in the meantime. On first coming up we were famishing for a drink, and Hewitt and myself went in search of water, we made to the river just at the spot where Thebarton Bridge now stands, but to our great disappointment the river was dry at that place, so we walked back to the party, who soon made the bank of the river, and plenty of water.
On the 3rd of January, 1837, we pitched the first tent, there were five of us in one party, Hewitt, Stebbing, Wise, Norris, and myself and boy. We shot some parrots on our journey up, and we decided to cook them that night; we picked and cleaned them, one made the dough, another dug the hole with his knife to put the fire in. We had nothing but a soup tin to bake the pudding in. The pudding made and the fire lit, we sat down discussing the situation, watching the pudding. Time wore on and we thought it must be done, we were anxious to be at it for we were hungry. We opened the top and found it was only just warm. We took it out and put more fire under, and so it went on, and it began to smell savoury, so we decided to eat it at last, although it was half-cooked, as we were thoroughly tired. When the anchor was dropped the usual bustle commenced for landing. Before we left the ship we witnessed a grand sight. All the hills and gullies as far as we could see were on fire, and the reflection was so strong that we could see every rope and the men walking the deck of the "Signet." She was about half a mile in shore from us, and we were about five miles out. I have seen many fires since, but nothing to compare with that for grandeur.
It was fine fun to see who would get to shore first. The Rev. C. B. Howard jumped out up to his armpits, and I believe he got to land first, that was from the boat I was in. Everyone had to look after himself and baggage, even the Governor himself tucked up his trousers and went into the water to see to landing his things. One of the immigrants had brought out a fore-carriage of a timber wagon in a case, he was asked if that was a piano for the young ladies of his family. All the "BUFFALO" immigrants had the use of it to get their luggage up. We went down in the cool of the evening, and about a dozen at a time pulled a load with ropes attached from the Bay to Adelaide, and assisted each other until we got it all up in that way, occasionally we would go down and carry as much as we could on our backs. On dark nights the party at camp would keep fires to guide the party up. One night three of us and Mr. Cosh's boy were late, and all the fires went out, we thought we were lost, and after going one way and then another, never going far enough to lose the sound of coo-ee. We spread out a bed one was carrying and turned in under a wattle tree. On arising in the morning we found we were not more than a quarter of a mile from the huts.
On one of our trips to the Bay a party had brought in five natives to the Bay, and it caused considerable amusement, it was a strange sight to us new arrivals to see before us five naked savages, but before long they were all dressed. Mr. Gilbert, the storekeeper, brought out some clothes, and I with others dressed one, afterwards known as "Captain Jack," and until he died he always called me his "brudder." Years after, if he was camping near where we lived, he would come or send one of his lubras for his accustomed quantity of sugar and tobacco, etc., that I was in the habit of giving him. When dressed they were shown a looking glass. They stared at one another, then looked in the glass, and then turned it round and looked at the back, but could not make it out. They were shown a burning glass by . Mr. Gilbert, and they saw him light a piece of paper with it, they looked astonished and looked at the glass, then up at the sun. I have no doubt if we could have undressed their thoughts they would think that was a better way of getting a light than by rubbing two pieces of reed together, as that was their way of making a fire as I have seen them do many times since. Someone showed them a large doll that was made to open and shut its eyes. They appeared to be much frightened at seeing it, and no amount of persuasion could get them to go and look at it when it was put back into its box.
I had taken my boy John up with us, and after a day or two his eyes were so bad he could not leave the tent. The news reached his mother that he was blind, and she, with Mrs. Norris, came on shore to see him. On their journey up they lost the track of the truck, and got a little way in the scrub, and thinking they may be lost tore up their pocket handkerchiefs and ' placed them on th~ boughs of trees, but before they had quite used it all they saw two men through the scrub who turned out to be Mr. Allen and his son going to the Bay. They began to be frightened, thinking they may be natives, but when they saw they had straw hats on they plucked up courage to hail them, and they were soon put on the right track. On their approaching the encampment they met the Governor with Colonel Light and others, who had just decided on the site of Adelaide, and they congratulated them on being the first white women who had walked on the site of Adelaide. When they approached the encampment, Frank Potts shouted out in his droll way, "Ladies in camp," and they were received with cheers, and all hands struck work and made a holiday, and many inquiries were made for those on board.
On first coming up, everyone was delighted with the scenery. When leaving Glenelg we turned to the left through the sand hills near the Reedbeds, and in places it was very scrubby, the river being hid by the large gum trees growing there. The site of Adelaide was covered by a peppermint scrub, and what is now the Parklands was dotted over with large trees called peppermint, with some gums; those along the river and the flats were very large, and in places very close together.
You may form some opinion from the following:
We had been some time camped there, and the rains had set in; one morning three men were coming from the Port, they got into a punt, which was kept somewhere about where the railway station now is and tried to cross in it, but were carried down with great speed, they caught hold of the branches of trees but could not hold on, and were carried by the stream very near where Thebarton Bridge now stands. An eddy turned the punt towards the bank; they jumped out and secured it. The Governor rode about on his mule, urging all he could to try to rescue the men, but no one could get near them. As soon as he saw the men were safe, he sent for line and ropes to get the punt over on our side, as there was no means to cross until the flood had subsided. When the rope and appliances were ready he with his own hand fixed what sailors call a taggle on to a small line, he then placed us in proper positions, and then placed his hat on the ground and coiled the line in, and when all was ready he mounted his mule and took his place. One man held the line with the stone secured, and then handed it to him. After getting his views he never took his eyes off the punt, he urged on the mule, swinging the stone, on reaching the bank he sent the line through the trees, and it dropped about a yard or so from the punt. One of the men caught it, and then a stronger line was bent on, and all was going on well, but as the stronger line was within two or three yards of him, in his excitement stepped into the water to secure it, when the small line broke. The Governor expressed himself vexed, and he tried two or three times more, but could not succeed, as the branches were very close together. Many of us tried, but could not throw the stone over. He then shouted to the men to go to his private secretary at North Adelaide and get some food.
People of today, seeing the river as it is, can form but a faint idea of its beauty as nature made it. That part of the river near the City Bridge and known as Hack's Crossing was the only place where we could cross with safety with horse and cart for some time. From thence to below Hindmarsh was a continuation of waterholes, and it was only like a river when the floods came down. Where Morphett Street Bridge now stands it was 20 feet deep in places, and the sand and debris with the butts of trees that were buried up by previous floods in three years was swept away. After the reeds and firewood was cleared out of it, it made a better course for the water. One extraordinary flood broke over the bank just below Hindmarsh town, and overflowed the plains whilst we were living on the Parklands, as we stood at our huts the plain looked like a sea towards Glenelg. I have been over the land since, and found four inches of soil deposited on the plain. It has broken over since then and formed a new course through Mr. Davis' land. Colonel Light was quite right when he refused to lay out the chief city of the Colony along the banks of the river about Hindmarsh. The Governor was anxious to have the town there, as he fancied it, and afterwards chose it as one of his preliminary sections. About that time there was a strong feeling, and many were dissatisfied with the site of Adelaide, thinking that there may be better places along the coast; many of the acres that were bought in March for £6 or £7 were offered to be sold in three months later for £10, it was said that the Governor would remove the Seat of Government to Encounter Bay, and among the leading men many disagreed - but many who had bought town acres began to build on their land, and when a public house and an auction room and a few other houses were erected about Hindley Street the town began to look like a business place, and people gradually began to leave the Parklands. It was a long time before one could see through the streets. In visiting of friends, people would start from some known spot and then would coo-ee to one another, and tracks were made from one place to another, it was rather bewildering to find one's place after dark owing to the many burning stumps. To tell newcomers this and to tell them that a black forest existed four miles from Adelaide to the Bay and towards the Sturt they could scarcely be made to believe it. But so it was, as I have had occasion to go through it for a long time.
One Sunday afternoon we were in Adelaide taking tea with a friend who lived on that acre where Northmore's shops now stand at the corner of Rundle Street. There were several houses built then, also a blacksmith's shop. Just before sitting down to tea someone saw a little child fall into a well about 60 feet deep. I ran out with the others and was pulling off my coat as I ran, but could not get one arm out. A man got me to hold the handle and he was down the rope quickly and got hold of the child. Several others came, and while they drew them up I went for Dr. Woolford, just opposite Hindley Street. The people around having all their tea kettles boiling, a warm bath was soon ready. The doctor examined him and found only a slight scratch on the forehead, and in about three days he was running about as though nothing had happened. Another well accident; a man was carrying a bed to his place after dark when he fell into an unfinished well about 30 feet deep. As the bed was large enough to fill the mouth of the well, it let him down easy and he managed to get on top of it, and in the morning when the men came to work found him unhurt.
Before the streets were macadamized they were in a fearful state, bog holes everywhere. When the traffic increased the roads about Adelaide were very bad, especially the South Road, in the winter they were all but impassable. Near the Forest Inn a team of bullocks was kept to pull other teams out. A very ludicrous scene happened on the South Road one dark night, a very fat gentleman lived in the neighbourhood. As he was walking along the road he slipped into a hole and fell on his back, and he could not get out, but his cries soon brought the neighbours to his assistance. I must go back to tell something about the natives. Whilst on the Parklands, and when, we were few in number, the natives mustered pretty strong at times.
I once saw about 500 assembled on the flat on the North Adelaide side, and it was there they held their corroborees and their fights when other tribes visited. We were told that distant tribes about the Murray would come to steal wives for themselves and take them away. On one occasion we saw a tribe come by the hill of North Adelaide, marching in Indian file, some were daubed over with some red stuff marked with white stripes. They appeared much surprised to see white men camped there. The women belonging to the tribe about Adelaide came creeping about the huts and wanted us to go and shoot them. They were very much frightened until one of their protectors came and allayed their fears; but they kept about the huts for some time. They held some grand corroborees for a time, but before they left they had some desperate fights. I went to see my old friend "Captain Jack" after a fight. He had his head broken with a waddy, it was a wonder he got over it, as his skull appeared battered very much - I could see his brain. When I went to see him he was surrounded by a large number of his tribe, and one of them, with a spear in his hand with a bunch of some kind of shrub tied to the top, would walk round them and now and then would look at the wounded man and then would point the spear upward, and would mutter something as though invoking some invisible power; but he got over it at last. I have never seen them throw their spears in fighting, but their waddles were very often exchanged as they were sitting in groups. After throwing waddles and jabbering for some time, the chief, King John, would start up and throw off everything and seize his spear and stand in an attitude as though he meant to do something, his whole frame quivering as he shook his spear as if in defiance, but not one of the opposite party got up, there was quiet for a time. A lot of women at such times would stand a little distance off with their piccaninnies at their backs, one of their own tribe would go round to each of them and give them a tap on the head with a stick about 4 feet long enough to break their head and make the blood to flow, and then quietly go and sit down. One mode of their fighting was for two men to walk side by side with a waddy held by one loosely and trying to make the other take it with their arms around each other, as soon as one of them held it tightly the other would let go and stand out and hold his head down, and the other would give him three taps, he would then give the other three taps and then sit down. I have seen two pass each other running, and one of them with a stick they carried give the other a swinging blow at the back of the head, and he would fall his whole length, the other would take no notice of him, and after a time would go away and sit down. I used to think that their skulls must be very hard to bear such blows without killing them, but I have learnt since that their microscopic eye could see by the motion of the one dealing the blow that he would move so quickly that the force of the blow was partly checked.
I was rather taken back one day as we were standing in front of our huts, we saw a native woman coming. She was dressed in a long coat nicely buttoned up with the fur inside, and her hair was beautifully curled and hung in ringlets, and her appearance showed that someone had partly civilised her. As she was passing I made the observation that she was the prettiest black woman I had seen. She looked pleased, and turning her face towards us, said: "Ah, you plenty of gammon, sir." Finding she could speak English so well, we got her to tell us who she was. We found that she was the wife of Walker, of Kangaroo Island, one of the three men who had been left there for a number of years by a whaling ship, the other men's names were Cronk and Cooper, and these men were exceedingly useful to the first settlers, as they knew the languages of the different tribes and often prevented quarrels, and were interpreters for us. One day myself and another borrowed the natives' kangaroo dogs for a hunt, and a boy who, I suppose, was about 15, went with us. We hunted where Enfield now is, and was then known as the pine forest, a favourite place for kangaroos. We saw 15 whilst we were out; the dogs caught one, part of which we took home. They killed others, but the scrub was so dense we could not find them. We knew that by the dogs being cut so much. It was usual to give the forequarter to the natives. We cut it up and pointed to the boy to take his share, but he would not carry it. We slung our part on a stick and carried it home on our shoulders, and being a warm day found it as much as we could do. It weighed about 90 lbs. The lad who went with us was about the only boy about that age in the Adelaide tribe, all that generation appears to have been taken off by smallpox, all the survivors were very much marked - we learnt this from the white men. After many years, and we had been living at Bull's Creek for some time, as I was passing the window to go into the house I heard a native's voice say, "There's 'Addamy'," and was saluted on entering by a shake of the hand by a native who was no other than the boy, now a man, who went with us on our hunting excursion. After the lapse of years he had not forgotten me. We sat down for a yarn about old times. Among other things, he related the circumstances of our kangaroo hunt. He told me his part was too heavy, and it was too hot to carry so long a way. He told me some of his people were living about the Coorong, and invited me to come and live with him for a week, a month, if I liked, plenty kangaroo there, plenty duck, plenty fish, plenty everything.
On a Sunday morning as the folk were wending their way to church, Trinity Church was not then finished, only in part, we saw two natives come from the river. Their appearance was different from any I had seen. They were smeared over with something, and a quantity of fine white down covered nearly all their bodies, their heads were dressed with feathers, and they had in their hands a small dart about 18 inches long, with feathers stuck on at one end. They came up Morphett Street, and appeared to be looking for something. They tripped it along so light-stepping on tiptoe, pointing their darts up the street and looking up to the sky all the time. I afterwards learnt they were the rainmakers of their tribe.
Whilst living on the Parklands the natives supplied us with firewood, they would take a tomahawk and go up a gum tree and cut the limbs off. The way they got up was surprising, they would gag a piece of bark out just enough to place their toe in, at first with a waddy, but after a while they got a short piece of iron rod pointed. they would cling to the one hand clasping the tree, a great toe in the hole in the hark, and go up to the top. That was the way the Parklands became denuded of its trees, all the limbs cut off by the natives, and as the immigrants began to increase the white man felled the butts and then grubbed the roots, until all the trees disappeared.
Some of the natives were cunning thieves. We began storekeeping on the Parklands, and one time we had a lot of potatoes shot out in a corner of the store in a heap. We caught one of them standing by the heap while another was drawing our attention to something, and with his toes lifted the potatoes up behind and handed them to another just outside. We found they had a lot about them when we searched them.
When the baker came with bread, some of them were sure to be there, and we often missed a loaf very mysteriously. We paid the blacks for their wood, etc., mostly in rice and sugar. They got a piece of tobacco from all smokers, it was not safe to pay them until they had done what they agreed to do, and as soon as they got paid they would make a fire and boil the rice, and after eating it would wrap themselves up and beat their breast with a sing-song until they were fast asleep. On one occasion we were alarmed in the night by a lot of them throwing firebrands about near a hut, and the report was they intended to bum the huts. It turned out afterwards that one of them had a grievance, as a man who shot a quail, by accident a shot struck a native at a distance, and he thought the man shot at him. We turned out about 22 strong, armed with guns, swords, bayonets. etc. and marched round them, but we had no occasion to use the powder. After that we formed a watch, two started at one end of our huts and patrolled all round our encampment, two others would start from another point and pass each other about midway with the cry of "All's well," and this we did for some time, we went armed, but the natives did not trouble us any more of a night. There was a man the worse for liquor who came to the store, he bought a piece of pork, it was near sundown, he lived at North Adelaide. He got across the river, for next morning he was found murdered by the natives. They had stabbed him with a small bone they carry through a hole in their nose. The only wound was in the heart. Until he was opened up by the doctor we could see only a small drop of blood. He must have died without pain, as he was found laying with his legs crossed and a slight twitch of the muscles of the mouth. The immigrants were going out in search of the murderer armed, but the Governor interfered, there was not a native to be seen about for some time, but the murderer was discovered some time after and was hung, he was supposed to he the same fellow who hit a Mr. Barnet, of Hindmarsh, on the head whilst bathing, and was thought to have been drowned - his little girl who was a little way off minding his clothes saw the fellow go to the river with a waddy in his hand.
Some of them were very expert in throwing the spear, they would often show us by throwing the reed at one another, they would have a shield of bark, and catch the reed as it was flying, and not one of them ever got hit by them, however straight they were thrown at them.
Two of the Sydney blacks who came here showed us how they threw the boomerang, that is about one of their most dangerous weapons. They throw it first to strike the ground, it then rises up and forms almost a circle in its course and comes back to them with great force. (The principle of the boomerang struck Sir Thomas Mitchell, of Sydney, that it was a propelling power, and a steamer was fitted up with one instead of the screw, it was tried at the measured mile at Portsmouth, England, and found to propel the steamer 12 knots an hour, this is from the English news.) Whilst living on the South Road a lot of the natives passed on their way to Adelaide from Encounter Bay where they were taught by the late Mr. Newland. They wanted a drink and in their usual way some of the boys asked, "What name you?" and on telling them my name was Adams, they looked at me in a strange way, and then asked me where was Eve. I understood them, so pointed to the house. They were anxious to see Eve and wished me to bring her out. When I brought out my wife they looked at her and said, "That's not Eve, that's Adamey's lubra." One day the natives came near us carrying the dead lubra of King John to their burying-ground on the section of Mr. Wright's. They had been carrying her about to their camping places for about a fortnight. King John asked me to go and see her buried. I went with two others, on arriving at the place the men who carried her went to a certain spot and after some ceremony they took her for about three yards and walked backwards and forwards three times, and then laid the body down. They sat down in groups, made their fires, ate, and smoked their pipes. After a while the women got up and went near the body and began to lament, and falling on the body uttering most piercing cries, on getting up we saw the tears streaming down their persons. They then spread out and collected bundles of dry grass, the men got a quantity of bark and one began to dig the grave with a spade I had lent them. They made a small hole at first, and when they got down about a foot they undermined it, and when we looked in it appeared like a large round pot, but we did not stop to see the closing ceremony. They brought the spade back battered up, and between them drank three 12-gallon buckets of water. I went to see the grave the next day, they had left a small fire at one end and bark was piled up like a roof over the grave, and all was very neatly done, and for nearly a fortnight after one of them would come every evening to make up the fire.
About the 1st of January, 183-, myself and wife, Nicholson and wife, Breaker and wife, had the use of a dray to go into the hills. We reached a spot just at the place you turn down to Crafers Inn, and there camped for dinner. I have many times passed the stumps of stringy bark we sat on since then. Returning we were very much in want of water. The track was then only a bullock dray mark, and in places we made fresh tracks. We used to go up and down Green's Hill before any roads were surveyed. We were opposite the spot where the Eagle on the Hill now is, and the question was put, who would volunteer to go down the hillside to try for water, it was the opinion of the whole party that water could be got in the gully below. Accordingly, myself, Breaker and Mrs. Nicholson volunteered. We struck as straight down as we could on the spur. The difficulty of descent kept us a little way apart, and I happened to be the middle one, and arrived at the bottom first and found a small stream about as wide as my hand and about a yard or so from the edge of the rock, where it fell over. I shouted out I had found water. Mrs. Nicholson came next, and then Breaker joined us. He had gone about 20 yards from us, and we saw afterwards that if he had gone a little way further he must have fallen down a precipice. As soon as we were all together we tried to make out what sort of a place we had got to, the bushes were very thick all about, and the bare rock where we were standing was not above three or four yards wide. We crept to the edge of the rock and found it was a waterfall. To us it appeared a great depth and we were thankful that neither of us had gone near enough to fall over. We could see by the trees that the gully below was a great depth, we there and then named it Adams' Waterfall. Breaker, by climbing, got over to a projecting rock, and we named that Breaker's Castle.
We could not at first understand the peculiar moaning sound we heard, but found it to proceed from the sheoaks by the slight current of air passing through them. We penetrated a little way up the gully, but found it very rough, but there was plenty of water among the broken rocks. After quenching our thirst we ascended to our party, and our faces told by the streaks of white we had a rough time of it, but we were thankful for the supply of water we had brought up. A little time after I had told some friends of our journey, and a party of three besides myself went up to the fall, for such it was. On arriving near, one of our party being rather fat, said he could go down no further. He laid down on the slope of the hill holding on by a wattle, his brother and his friend got down, and they wished to have a memento of the place. There was a grass tree growing a little below and two of us held on to his feet while he reached the centre piece, and at the time I write I have no doubt but he has it in his possession, he told me not many years since he still had it. The other gathered a bunch of flowers. We returned to our friend we left half-way down still laying on his back. He declared that if half Australia was given to him he could not go down. We returned home much pleased with our journey, and although I have passed the fall scores of times and have stopped at the Eagle on the Hull, I have never paid a visit to the fall. Soon after Mr. Hutchison walked up the gully from the plains and came to the falls, which he described in the paper some time afterwards, he computed its height to be about 100 feet.
In the early days of the Colony we were often very short of the common necessities of life, especially flour and meat, and some years passed before we could supply ourselves, as everything had to be imported from the older Colonies, a ship brought some sheep from Van Dieman's Land, and on her arrival everybody was anxious to get some mutton, although at a very high price. One of our party being at the Bay when she arrived bought a forequarter at 2/6 per lb. and brought it up to the camp, and when cooked a hungry man might have eaten all at one meal. Some of the sheep landed were said to have been drowned, but that made no difference, it was mutton for all that. Were it not for the cockatoos and parrots we should have been badly off, we could get a little kangaroo at times from the natives. When we could get beef it was 1/- per lb., and it was a scramble to get it at that. Flour was the great tax upon us, it rose in price that it was almost impossible to procure it at £80 to £100 a ton, but that did not last long, but quite long enough combined with other things to crush nearly all the merchants and storekeepers, and a sad state of things followed. Some few began to grow wheat as an experiment, and after a year or so we had plenty and to spare.
I remember the first acre I grew on the South Road. I got the land ploughed after a good rain about the middle of February, and on the 26th I sowed it. It came up well, but the dry weather afterwards scorched it, and I thought it had all gone dead, but the occasional showers and the winter rain setting in about the end of April, it recovered, and at harvest time we reaped it, and it turned out about 20 bushels of fine wheat. The first seed wheat I bought was 20/- a bushel. In a new colony we had to learn everything. I adopted the old English plan, reaped it and laid it in grip and turned it over to dry in the orthodox manners and when I tried to tie it I could not as the straw was too brittle, and I had to get rope-yarn for the purpose, and I was not the only one who had to get experience. In looking back, it often provoked a smile to see the way we blundered on for a year or two. We hacked our wheat in with a broad hoe, and then dragged a harrow over it. I had only about an acre and a half out of 20 that was clear, and the grubbing took up a deal of time, one tree was so large it took a man a fortnight to grub and cut up. I remember Ridley's first machine, how it went into the field in the morning and reaped and cleaned the wheat and took it to the mill to be ground, and the next morning it was on the table in the shape of rolls for breakfast. The principle of the machine was the same, but the machine of today is worked differently; the first machine had a long lever behind to steer it and keep it into the wheat, and it was considered a wonderful contrivance. I think at some time a monument will be erected to the memory of John Ridley for the benefit conferred on the farmers of South Australia, it must have occupied a lot of his time to construct the first, he was a persevering man. I knew him well, and had the honour to accommodate him and his family the first night of his arrival at Hindmarsh. It was a pity his first machine was not kept.
Among all our trials and difficulties the Sunday was kept as a day of rest from the first. The service was conducted by the Rev. C. B. Howard, sometimes under the shade of a gum tree, as was the case at Glenelg, and in a hut for some little time until Trinity Church was sufficiently forward for this purpose. The first services performed at Adelaide on the Sunday were in a reed hut by the side of the track leading from Port Adelaide, near where the cattle yards now are, and the bell was put up on a pole on the rising ground near the corner of Adelaide; people lived in the hut. but on Sundays they packed up their household goods in a corner, the congregation had to sit on boxes or anything they could get, none of us was troubled with much furniture at that time, and what we had was of a very primitive description. All the different sects used to join, and after Mr. Stow's people built a chapel at Hindmarsh, Mr. Howard would preach there on part of the day. On a Sunday while he was preaching in the hut it came on to rain so heavy and began to drop on him and the book. As I was acting clerk to him, I slipped up an umbrella behind him to shield him and the book before him. He objected to it, and said he would take his share with the congregation. These and similar acts endeared him to everyone. When he got his stock of books up he made me present of the Bible and Prayer Book that he used on the voyage out and up to that time.
Soon people began to spread around Adelaide, and we went to live in the black forest on the great South Road, and we assisted in getting up a church, at first a framework covered with broad paling covered with shingle and afterwards part of the present structure. The first was built on an acre nearer the Cross Roads. One morning it was surrounded with water from the heavy rains. A lot of us had to dig a trench to lead the water off. One Sunday, as Mr. Farrell was preaching, one of the heaviest thunderstorms we had witnessed came on, accompanied with hail and rain so that we could not hear him: he lengthened out his discourse at intervals for nearly an hour. During the storm a cow was struck dead with the lightning on a section about half a mile from the church, and at Happy Valley a pair of bullocks in yoke were struck dead.
St. Mary's Church was the first suburban church that was erected. After living on the South Road for a number of years we removed to the country, and it was seldom that we visited the old place. When I had occasion to pass, the words of the Psalmist would recur to my memory - if I forget, etc., etc. Our last visit was in 1876, and on going round the yard we read on the tombstones the names of our fellow worshippers in years gone by, awakening some pleasant memories, mixed with pain and thankfulness that we were yet spared.
Extract from the Advertiser dated 1 February 1969.
The Bible and Prayer Book used by the Rev. C.B. Howard, the first Colonial Chaplain and first rector of Holy Trinity Church, North Terrace, on H.M.S. Buffalo on the way to Australia and during the proclamation ceremony which followed her arrival will be presented to the church tomorrow morning at the 11 am service to commemorate the 131st anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the church and the 132nd of the first official Christian Service in S.A. the presentation will be made by descendants of J.W. Adams, Mr. Howard's clerk, who was given the books by Mr. Howard.