EJANZH: Hulme Chapter Six

Volume 6

Down the Murray Barge “Captain” Baked cockatoo Rendezvous with the “Leichardt” Dysentery Refusing duty Goolwa Gaol or Adelaide Choka

Our first day’s run down stream was gratifying to the Old Man for we had covered the distance in one day that took us four days to make going up including the time spent wooding. From Eadlam Brothers we took on 100 bales of wood.

Previous to the opening of the River to steamboat navigation all the wool from this part of Victoria and north of the Murray and Murrumbidgee had been hauled to Melbourne or Geelong for shipment and from the head water of the Murrumbidgee and country adjacent Sydney was its nearest point for shipping; but now the steamboat lines would revolutionize entirely these long and wearisome trips with bullock teams to the seaboard.

After taking on the wool we steamed on to the wood landing and wooded up, taking on all there was as we yet had plenty of room on deck. We ran through Lake Moira and the reed beds without accident and that night ran after dark and I think the Old Man would have kept on all night if we had got all plain sailing; but in making a bend of the River a mass of driftwood was seen right under her bows almost, and to keep out of it the wheel was ordered hard a star-board and the bells given to check the engines and the consequence was as the boat’s stern was thrown in towards the bank and the boat’s head was stopped, the barge ran into the steamer’s port quarter splitting a large piece of the barge’s stern and crashing through the boat’s bulkwarks and took a long chunk out of the covering board.

The Old Man thought he had gone far enough under the circumstances, and getting into the bank as soon as possible tied up for the night. I don’t think the Old Man knew we had a good laugh that night after supper at the mishap while talking it over in the forecastle, thinking it might have a good effect on him in preventing him from making such long days as he evidently intended to do from the way he started in on our down trip.

Daylight saw us flying down stream again and to- day, when we began to get among short bends in the River, we found out the tow barge was a continual nuisance for in the River bends the channel was usually narrower and the current swifter and sometimes the current would take the boat on the quarter and crowded her on to the barge before she could get clear, sometimes having to stop the engines and back up to straighten her up, and in such cases there was sometimes some lively work to keep the barge from crashing into the boat again, doing our best to avoid it. She got two or three ugly bruises this day.

After we passed Echuca at which place we took on more wool, the Old Man made a proposition for a volunteer to take the barge with enough provisions and drop her down with the current to the junction of the Darling if possible, or at least to the Chambers’ station.

I replied to the offer that if he would furnish me a blackfellow for assistant, I would take the barge at the mouth of the Campaspie, to which he agreed providing he could get one.

Two days after we made the wood landing at the Campaspie where we found plenty of wood waiting for us but no blackfellows there, but the choppers told the Old Man that there had been a big corrobberrie held about two miles down the River and they thought the blackfellows were still there.

It appeared that some of the young blacks on the Victorian side of the River had been on a raid across the River stealing leubras for wives which always caused a fight between the tribes and a big corrobberrie or jollification afterwards. Some times some of the blackfellows have been hunting lost cattle or sheep, a kind of work for which they are invaluable to the Australian settlers. But it is found to be an impossibility to keep the blackfellows any length of time domesticated at the station; after a few weeks in the neighborhood of civilization he will call for what he wanted in the shape of pay, it may be four or five sheep or a bullock, or, if he can get it a bottle of whiskey and some tobacco saying he wants to ‘go long um scrub’. He will go and hunt up some of his tribe and if he has sheep or a bullock they are slaughterd and they hold a big corrobberrie.

With the blackfellow in his native state it is a feast or a famine all the times but any circumstance that gives them a chance for a fight or a feast is cause enough for a corrobberie, although their fights are seldom attended with any fatalities or anything worse than a broken head from a knock down from a waddie or club, the more dangerous weapons of spears or boomerangs are skillfully warded off with either a simple waddie or a shield.

While we wooded the Old Man took the Kanaka along in the whale boat and pulled down the River to where he was told he would find the blackfellows camp, and the promise of unlimited tobacco and to send him back to his own territory by the first coming up the River from the Chambers’ station, and a present of a plug of tobacco to the chief, secured the service of a strapping young fellow who could dress fairly well and could speak a little English.

Jack told us when they came back that when the Old Man got to the camp that Tommy, as he called himself, had no clothes on then, but when the chief told him that he must ‘go along o white fellow’, he was tickled and going to one of the werlies brought out an old blue flannel shirt and a pair of pants, putting them on then and there and then was ready to follow the Old Man after tying up a bundle of spears and three or four boomerangs and this was the rig he was in when the Old Man and Jack came back, the Old Man taking the blackfellow to the galley telling the cook to give him a good square feed to begin with.

I now received my instructions from the Old Man and provisions enough to last the two of us for two weeks were put in the barge, but as there were no cooking facilities on the barge it was understood that I should do my cooking ashore, but the Old Man wanted me to lose no more time than I could possibly avoid in getting down to the Chambers station some eight hundred miles by the River below where we were now wooding, but as the greater part of that distance was round crooked bends and the current strong, he thought I might keep her going night and day so that he would not have to wait for me too long as he had to make some wood on his way down with a short crew to do it with unless he could get some help from blackfellows.

After supper I went aft and drew two pounds of tobacco on my own account and also drew some for the use of the blackfellow, although I did not use tobacco in any form I wanted some for trading purposes.

Having some moon I concluded to start and use all the moon light I could, and just as the steamer’s crew were turning in for the night, I cast off the barge’s lines and myself and the blackfellow were soon out of sight of the steamer. l had taken the precaution to secure a good long boat hook and the steering oar out of the whale boat I captured as we dropped by the boat. That oar was the most valuable article I got, I don’t know what I should have done without it. It was a long eighteen foot oar and just what I needed to keep her in the current with for without constant watching she would drift to either one side or the other, sometimes into the bank and lodge against a fallen tree hanging into the River or else got outside the current.

Sometimes after going round a bend if she was not in the center of the current she would drift into a back eddy or slack still water giving us plenty of work to get back into the running stream again.

Next day before noon the blackfellow woke me for I had lain down to get some sleep, telling me “Big fellow canoe come long” on looking around I found I was entering a straight reach of the River and a nice little breeze blowing, and the idea struck me that if I had some canvas I could use it on some reaches of the River to good advantage.

The barge’s sails had been all left ashore at Goolwa and the only sail of the steamer’s that I could use was her fore stay-sail, her sails were all stowed in the forecastle. I thought this all over before the steamer overhauled me and as she came up I asked the Old Man to let me have the fore stay-sail to use when I could, and stopping the engines the sail was handed over on to the barge and she then went ahead leaving me to get down over 700 miles of the most crooked part of the River the best way I could.

I now began to think I had better get acquainted and get on good terms with my first officer the blackfellow, so acting on that impulse I cut off about a quarter of a pound of tobacco and calling Tommy to the cabin door gave it to him telling him at the same time that I wanted some fish for that.

I felt sorry after the boat had passed me that I did not ask the Old Man for one of the guns and some ammunition for we were continually dropping down on flocks of ducks and sometimes we got close enough to geese to have got some of them, the barge drifting down without noise did not seem to alarm them, but so soon as I could make the blackfellow understand what I wanted he soon showed me that we did not need guns to kill birds with.

The first opportunity I got I made fast to the bank and went ashore and cut a long pole for a mast and while I was engaged at that work and before I had it ready to carry on board the blackfellow had speared two large cockatoos that were very plentiful, screaming around us all the time.

As it was about noon I concluded to stop here and cook dinner. I got a fire started and the tea kettle on and was wondering to myself how I should fix the birds for cooking having only the one kettle, but the blackfellow solved that question by going to the bank of the River for a large lump of clay which he worked up soft and plastic, then spreading it out like a large cake he rolled the cockatoo up in the clay, feathers and all, and scraping a hole in the hot ashes dropped the queer looking pie into the ashes and covered it up. That is the Colonial method for baking bread or damper as it is called, but I had never seen anything else baked in that style before.

Having cold meat from the steamer that was cooked and a barrel of sea bread we did not have to wait for the bird to cook for dinner, but by the time we had dinner eaten and the pole on board that I had cut for a mast, the blackfellow uncovered the lump of clay and rolled it out telling me he was “bulla budgeree”, though I had no doubts about this being bulla budgeree or good enough to eat as he wanted me to understand.

However, as I did not wish to wait any longer, I put out the fire and went aboard and casting off her lines started the barge down the stream; and having plenty of lines soon had the pole stepped for a fore mast and the stay-sail on her and by booming out the sheet when the wind was free she both steered better and made better headway.

I felt pleased to think I had that sail to help us for the river was so crooked that we must have a fair wind in some of the bends if there was any wind at all, and it was easy to take it in if the wind was ahead or no wind and let her go with the current, which I thought ran from four to five miles an hour.

During the day I had a good opportunity to witness the blackfellows skill with the spear. We drifted on to a flock of ducts in one of the bends and when all of ten yards distant the blackfellow threw a spear that pinned one bird to the water for he never left ft, and as the ducks rose on the wing he sent another spear flying that brought one more to the water with a broken wing, but we got both birds by the blackfellow’s going overboard for the wounded one, the dead bird I hooked in with the boat hook as I drifted close up to where it was floating down stream, with the spear still fast having passed almost its whole length through the duck. Before dark I tied up to the bank to make a fire to cook supper, and having flour a plenty concluded to have damper for supper, and while the damper was baking to give the cockatoos that were still encased in the clay, a little more cooking and at the same time to cook or bake the two ducks so that we should have something cooked ahead.

After getting our tea-kettle started on the fire and the blackfellow fixing the birds for baking, I hunted up a white ash or bottle nosed ash as they are often called through a large bulge growing out just above the ground – they are more plentiful near water than any where else; taking an ax I soon had a piece peeled off about three feet square large enough for a good sized bread board and telling the blackfellow to pile on plenty of bark that making the best kind of ashes to bake in, I, myself went to work and mixed up enough dough for a good sized loaf, and scraping out a level spot among the red hot ashes laid it down as easy as I possibly could and then covered it all over with three or four inches of hot ashes. The two ducks rolled up in clay were also baking close to the dampers; soon after, our tea was ready.

I uncovered the cockatoos and was surprised to see how nicely they were cooked; when I broke the clay the feathers and skin all stuck to the clay leaving the meat white and clean, and opening the birds the inwards all came out in a round ball and the meat was juicy and tender.

This was a new method of cooking birds to me, but it is a good one and I afterwards found fish cooked the same way are splendid.

The baking of bread in the ashes is common all over the Colonies, not only on the gold diggings but on farm and stations and I do not know of any bread that tastes sweeter or more palatable to me than a well made and well baked damper, that being the Colonial name of bread baked in the ashes.

As soon as supper was eaten I started down the River again and having a moon until near morning kept her going all night, and at daylight tied her up on the Victoria side of the River, at a point where we had made a wood land.

Tommy’s quick eye had detected blackfellows camped there and being still in his own range of country wanted to go ‘talk long o blackfellow’. I did not know but that he might want to leave if he got along with his own tribe but as we wanted breakfast I concluded to risk his leaving and got the barge in and made fast and started a fire.

There were only about fifteen or twenty young and old. I cut up a quarter pound plug of tobacco into small pieces and made presents all around, I also made a present of some tea and sugar to the Chief’s old girl and found out before I left that she ate the sugar and threw the tea away, having no kettle or pail to boil water in.

After our tea was made and Tommy and I were eating breakfast the old girl came over to get some tea and I then found out what she had done with the tea and sugar I gave her.

Before I left I traded half a pound of tobacco for a dozen nice possum skins, thinking of getting enough skins to make a rug large enough for my hammock; a rug made from about three dozen skins makes a rug that will do for bed and covering for an ordinary sailor’s hammock.

Not wishing to lose too much time here I soon cast the barge adrift and started her down the River. I was pleased to notice that my blackfellow parted from the tribe apparently contented; for I knew that he would leave them, he would not leave me to go among strange blackfellows.

To-day we could not use the sail much, very little wind and the River full of short bends but the current ran strong and we were fortunate in keeping her in the current all day.

Before dark we tied up for about an hour for supper, and then went on again. By this time the blackfellow had become handy with the oar and I could trust him to keeping her in the stream so that I got some sleep towards morning; and after we had cooked breakfast and started again I let Tommy get some sleep, the first time he had slept since starting.

When I first started I had no intentions of running every night, I thought I should do well if I ran every other night and tied the barge up so as to sleep each alternate night; but when I found that I could trust the blackfellow to keep her in the stream, I concluded to let her go night and day stopping only long enough to do our cooking.

Occasionally we found a reach of the river and the wind fair so that we could use our sail, and however short the time that we could use the sail we seemed to get along faster.

We had tied up for supper one night and while waiting for the kettle to boil Tommy called me to the river to show me some fish but I could not see them, I told him to get some if he could see them. As he never went anywhere without a spear, he watched the water for a second or two when he sent it to the bottom and brought up a fine craw fish and in a few minutes he had half a dozen and after they were roasted they made a pleasant change from our salt beef, for we had got no game of any kind this day.

We had been drifting down almost a week when we passed the mouth of the Murrumbidgee and about ten miles below we stopped for supper.

I had been telling the blackfellow I should like some fish. “Big fellow fish, mine get um,” he replied and sure enough he did, for he speared a fresh water cod fish that must have weighed not less than ten or twelve pounds.

I expected to see the spear break before he got him out but he maneuvered with the fish until I could get hold of him and between us we landed him safe, and piling on plenty bark to make ashes, the blackfellow prepared him for baking by simply rolling him up in clay without opening the fish and scraping out a hole laid him in his whole length.

While I was getting supper ready the blackfellow had wandered off up the River and was gone so long I began to think he had left me. The fish had been in the fire long enough to have baked a large sized damper, so I concluded to uncover him and see how he was cooked, and as I broke the clay the skin all peeled off with the clay and the meat was left clean and steaming, and on opening, the insides all came out together leaving the meat perfectly clean, and better eating than I had any idea it would be for the meat was thoroughly cooked through.

I had cooed for the blackfellow several times and got no answer but thought I would try it again, and the long cooey was scarcely out when the blackfellow answered me close by and he came in trailing three more fine cod-fish that he had speared about half a mile up stream, he having gone that far looking for fish.

I have never yet seen a white man who can see fish at the depth these natives can, and see them plain enough to spear. Both fish and lobsters and the craw fish or lobster as they are called here are always on the bottom. This was the first time too that I had seen the Murray cod fish. I had heard of them but did not know then that they were plentiful, not only in the Murray but in all the rivers tributary to the Murray.

After supper we started again and moon light all night. I now began to wish I was with the steamer so that I could get some medicine. For a few days back I had been suffering from dysentery and I think eating too freely of the baked fish aggravated the disease for I was getting worse and wanted something to relieve the complaint.

We ate supper that night of the seventh day at the narrow neck of land where the north-west bend commences and from there we were two days and nights getting to the Chambers’ station and the last after-noon we used the stay-sail to good advantage. The sight of the steamer and my shipmates was a welcome sight for the nine days I was drifting that barge down what the Old Man said was 800 miles seemed like a month to me.

The steamer had been wooded up and waiting for me two days and one night and they had stopped over two days at one place making wood. The Old Man arranged for the blackfellow to be kept at the Chambers’ station until the first boat came up the River. There were no blackfellows at the station when we left and Mr. Chambers could use Tommy to good advantage around the place. He was rich in tobacco when we left for I gave him all I had left and the Old Man gave him five pounds and an old coat of which he felt very proud although he wore it without hat.

Before daylight next morning we were under way down stream and with moonlight nights it was the old Man’s intention to make long days. If he had two engines I think he would have run night and day. He dispensed with heaving the lead coming down stream. They had taken on 200 bales of wool at the station while waiting for the barge to arrive. We only made one landing between Chambers’ Station and the mouth of the Darling at which place we wooded and took on wool enough to fill the barge’s hold and then started.

The Old Man did not have the right kind of medicine for dysentery and could not help me much, but I could get food more suitable for it.

We heard at the Darling that the River was rising and the Old Man was anxious to get to some wood piles we had left coming up. They had been piled on a flat low piece of land and he was afraid if the River had risen to the height they told him above the stage it was in when we went up, that his wood was gone and that would cause a delay to stop and make more.

A two days run brought us to the wood about ten o’clock at night, and on getting out a gang plank we found the water was not within two feet of the wood. That after-noon I had been steering the barge and had gone until she was fast without supper and went below to eat and was soon followed by the rest of the crew who having supper, prepared to turn in to their bunks expecting an early call in the morning. I had just finished eating when the mate came to the forecastle scuttle to know if I was through eating. I told him, “Yes, just done.” “Well then,” said he, “turn to.”

Gleeson answered him by telling him to go and turn in and get some sleep and not to be talking about turning to, at that time of the night. He replied that it was the old Man’s orders to take in that wood that night. “Well then,” answered Beattie, “You and the Old Man can take it in, I am in bed and you can give me a call as early as you please in the morning.” “Then you are not coming on deck, is that what you mean?” “Yes, that is what I mean,” replied Beattie and the mate walked aft. As soon as he was gone I turned into my bunk for I was not only tired but did not Feel well. In about ten or fifteen minutes we heard some one jump off the wool bales on deck, close to the scuttle and the old Man’s voice sung out, “Below there!” No one answered him and he called out again for Gleeson. “What is the matter now?” Gleeson answered. “Are you fellows going to come on deck or not?” “I won’t till morning,” replied Gleeson. “It is near twelve o’clock now and we have been on deck since four o’clock this morning and I for one don’t propose to work night and day.” “Are you coming on deck Beattie?”

“No,” he replied, “I am in bed and you ought to be.” “Are you coming on deck Bill?” “No,” I replied, “I am not coming on deck before morning.” “All right,” he answered, “I now know what to do,” and went aft.

I think we were soon asleep after the Old Man left, and the next call we got was to turn out and get breakfast, it was the cook calling this time. On going on deck it was just coming daylight. We went to the galley and got our breakfast and were through eating before the mate showed himself, when he came forward as though nothing unusual had occurred the night before and said, “Now we will get this wood aboard.” The River had not risen one inch that we could perceive during the night, and by the time we had the wood aboard ten o’clock had past. If we had gone to work at that wood when the mate wanted us we should not have been through with it at daylight, and then started for another sixteen or twenty hours run.

We now made good time and three days more brought us to the Lindsey station with only one stoppage between, to take on one of our wood piles made going up. Our days work extended from four o’clock in the morning until ten, and sometimes twelve at night.

At the Lindsey place we took on a deck load of wool, completing our loads for both steamer and barge. The run was made in one day from the Lindsay Station to Goolwa. We passed the other Company’s boat “Sturt”, on Lake Alexandrina going up and their other boat the “Gemini” would not be ready for a week or more, we learned after getting made fast. We also learned that the “Sturt” carried up a large force of men to be left at different points on the River to make wood, a number of them were sent up by the “Leichhardt’s” owners to make wood for her.

The following day the work of unloading was started, the barge being unloaded first so that her bow could be repaired where she was snagged, the hole having been only temporarily repaired at Albury.

The second day after we arrived the wool was all ashore and we were to work in the after hold cleaning up so as to receive up River freight next morning. The Old Man came aboard and told the mate he was going to Adelaide and for him to hurry up the loading. As the Old Man left the boat Gleeson stepped up to him and said “Captain, if you are going to Adelaide I wish you would ship a man in my place, I don’t want to go up the River myself.” Before Gleeson was through talking Charley Beattie called out “While you are at the port you might get a man in my place too.” Said I, “If you two fellows are going to leave I am going too” and went ashore. To the Old Man who was giving some instructions about the freight I said that ‘he might ship a man in my place while he was shipping men for the boat’. He turned round to me – “So you three fellows want to quit, is that it?” I replied: “That is what it amounts to.” “All right,” said he, “You shall quit.”

I went back aboard and the engineer called me into his room and handed out a bottle, and as I took a drink I said – “Here’s luck to the next voyage but not up the Murray.” What is the matter with you fellows? said he. I told him Bill and Charley had told the Old Man to ship other men in their places and I did not care to go up the River again if I could get out of it, if they left I did not know but that I should have to go ashore any way until I got better of the dysentery.

While we were talking I heard some one pass the state room door with spurs clanking at his heels and the old Man’s voice talking. I opened the door and saw a trooper as the police are called, being all mounted while on duty; as I looked out the Old Man called “William Gleeson! Charles Beattie!.” They were in the hold and as they came up the hatch the Old Man said “Officers, take those men in charge, and where is little Bill?” I spoke up “here, what do you want?” “There is the other man” said the old Man, “I give them all in charge for refusing duty.” “You fellows get your dunnage picked up and come along with me” said the trooper and we lost no time in getting our clothes packed, and telling him that we could not carry them he told us to leave them and follow him and he would see to our dunnage afterwards. So having barely time to say good bye to those of our shipmates we wished to do so with we followed the trooper ashore to the building known as the Police Station.

Here was a change with a vengeance an hour and a half before I do not think that any one of the three of us had even thought of quitting, much less of being in jail on the charge of refusing duty – Gleeson said he never thought of quitting until he heard the Old Man telling the mate he was going to Adelaide, and the thought came into his head, if the Old Man would ship another man in his place, he would leave, and the same thought actuated Beattie and myself, not wanting to be left to go up the River again, if possible, and I do not think that Captain McCoy would have ever said another word about our refusing to take the wood on that night if no one had spoken about quitting the boat, but when he found that we all wanted to leave the steamer he took this step to get even with us.

If I had waited until she was ready to leave I could have claimed my discharge on account of sickness, but never thought about it In that light, although at the time I was in no condition to work, but I acted on the impulse of the moment; when I found Beattie and Gleeson were as I thought going to leave, I did not want to stay and make another trip up the River with a strange lot of men in the forecastle.

We were detained at Goolwa until the last day the “Leichhardt” was there, she was loaded and ready to leave when we were brought before the one magistrate of the place.

Captain McCoy and the Mate gave evidence that we had committed an act of in-subordination in refusing to obey the lawful commands of himself and his officer in a case of pressing emergency when property belonging to his vessel was in danger of being washed away by the rising of the waters of the River, he, the Captain, considered that we had taken a greater advantage of him than if we had refused duty at sea. There he was in an unsettled part of Australian bush where he could look for no help from any one but savages – he hoped the Court would impose on us the heaviest penalty the law provided for in cases of refusing duty and in- subordination at sea.

After the Old Man had hurled this torrent of accusations against us, he sat down and the Magistrate asked each of us what we had to say in defense.

Having no one to plead our cause we could nothing more than deny having taken any advantage of Captain McCoy as he had stated. We were allowed to make a statement as to how we had been worked from sixteen to twenty hours a day and were tired out. If there had been any danger of the wood being lost we would have taken it on board, but that the River was not rising and we could not work night and day.

The Magistrate in summing up the evidence said he did not consider our offense so bad as refusing duty at sea, but as a warning to us to obey our superior officers in the future, he would sentence us to one month’s imprisonment in jail at Adelaide and two days pay stopped.

That ended our trial, and in less than one hour we heard the Leichhardt’s whistle and she had started up the River without leaving our wages or discharges or settling with us in any way to show that we were clear from the vessel – but we had plenty of money left yet from our last sea voyage in the “Jenny Lind.”

During the whole time we were in jail at Goolwa we were allowed to send out for our meals to the hotel, and when the day appointed for our going to Adelaide we were offered the option of either walking ahead of the mounted trooper or paying our own fares and the trooper’s in the stage coach. We chose the latter course and went with him as passengers in the stage coach.

On our arrival at the jail we were led before the superintendent of the institution and our sentence read to us again, which had been going on from the day it was passed in Goolwa.

We were then taken into a large ward enclosed by high walls on two sides, the other two sides having cells opening on the yard. In the yard, some scattered In groups, some reading, some mending old clothes, and some washing clothes were some fifty or sixty men evidently all sailors.

We were assigned to cell No. 11, our bags and chest and hammock were all kept in an office and labeled, our money was also taken from us and entered in a ledger the amount, and of what our personal effects consisted.

After the gates of this large court yard were closed on us, we were deluged with questions as to what vessel we were from and for how long we were going to board there and what we had been doing to get in Choka. Here let me remark that sailors pick up and use words from many different languages and Choka is one of them being Bengallee for jail or prison, a native policeman in any part of India being known as a Chokadar.

We soon set their minds at rest as to how we came here and in return learned that there were seventy-two sailors in jail and we made seventy-five, for terms varying from one month to four, some for running away from their ships and some who could not get the opportunity to run away and would not return to them and refused duty, refusing to do anything, and often bringing on a fight between themselves and their officers with no other object than to get three or four months in jail and by that means get clear from their ships and remain in the Colonies.

There were almost every day occurrences in not only Adelaide but in Melbourne, Sydney, Lauceston and Hobarttown during the early gold digging days in Australia. Some of these sailors might have had good cause for wanting to leave their vessels, they might have been ill-used or received brutal treatment at the hands of their officers; in such case they would suffer any amount of punishment rather than to go to sea again in those ships — Some too, might have been ill-fed, that being a frequent cause of complaint in English ships, but I found a crew of twelve men here in jail out of as good a ship as ever left the port of London, a part of them were inmates of Cell No. 11, and from them I learned that they came out from London in the ship “Eliza” Captain Loutitt with passengers; they themselves admitted that a better ship never floated, but they wanted to stay in the Colonies and not go back to England, and finding they could not get clear from her any other way, refused to do any more work. Their Captain argued with them and tried to get them to return to duty again and he would take no action against them for what had been done, but would forget they had ever refused duty. But no, they were determined to go ashore and they did on a three months sentence.

I don’t know if all jails are like the jail at Adelaide or not, there did not appear to be any restraint on the men in the jail yard, any one who used tobacco and had money to buy it could send out for it or for books or papers. Soap was furnished liberally and an unlimited supply of water in the yard from a large tank that was kept full being pumped up from the River Torrens, that ran past the jail at a distance of about 200 yards.

Every morning before breakfast the men were all turned out for a general muster and washing, then came breakfast of oat meal porridge and molasses with a large slice of bread and a pint of coffee.

After breakfast a detail of twenty-five or thirty men are taken under guard to the pump house on the bank of the River in which was a large fly wheel force pump for filling the tanks in the jail. The pump was designed for about twelve men to work the pumps, but some sailors who had been confined there had rigged the wheels with ropes so that thirty men could work on them, and all the favorite shanty songs and the latest out could be heard from that pump-house, one man giving out the first two lines and all hands joining in the chorus swelling up from thirty throats made the work of pumping one of enjoyment and merriment instead of labor.

When call was made for the pumping crew, three men would respond for every one wanted, but the guard called out the men he wanted from a list he always brought with him. I can now recall to my mind the fun we had spinning the pump wheels round to the tune of “Low Land Low”, or “My Mary’s on the Island”, or “Storm Along”; working songs then in use in both American and English ships.

While the tanks were being filled a general cleaning up of cells and all parts of the jail was going on.

Dinner consisted of bread, thin soup, two potatoes and a small piece of beef or sometimes mutton. Sometimes in the after-noon we were taken out under guard and put to work making a new piece of road from the main entrance to the jail to the Port Road that passed the jail about a quarter of a mile distant, but whenever a shower came up and that was almost every day, the guard would give the word to get under cover, and a break would be made for the large gates and wait there until the shower was over. That road was started before I went there and not finished when our month had expired three weeks afterwards. I do not believe there was a man in that crowd of seventy-five sailors who, if there had been an opportunity to have escaped, would have taken advantage of it and done so.

I do not know if discipline was so little enforced in other parts of the institution or not, for there was a female prison attached and another department for thieves and criminals.

There were none but sailors in the ward we were in and I never saw any but sailors taken outside for any purposes, the tank in our ward supplied the whole jail with water. For supper we had bread and tea and enough of it. I heard a number of men declare that they were getting better food and more of it than they got in the ships they came out in to the Colonies.

The three weeks we had to stay there soon passed over and we were called to the superintendent’s office and told to go about our business our time was up, our money returned to us and every article of clothing, nothing missing. Before we left the jail we received a good many messages from shipmates if their vessels were still in port.

We left our clothes to be sent for afterwards and walked up to the city to the office of the “Leichhardt’s” owners to see if Captain McCoy had made any arrangements about our wages, but could get no satisfaction from them and going on to the street went into the first lawyer’s office we came to, stated our case to them and they, “Gates & Brown”, after taking a two pound sterling fee from each of us told us there would be no trouble in getting our wages. So we took the train and went down to Port Adelaide to our old boarding house.

I had received medical treatment for the dysentery while in jail and now consulted a leading physician and still kept on treating for the complaint. On my making enquiry about the “Eliza”, I found she was still laying to anchor at the regular anchorage not yet being unloaded, she being too large to come up the River to unload at the Port. We had been at the boarding house over a week when we received a notice from the lawyers in the City, to come to their office, our money was all ready but the firm could not give us any discharge from the steamer until she came down the River again. However, we went up to the city and found our wages waiting, but it cost us 2# sterling each to get our wages that ought to have been paid to us before we left Goolwa.