Vol.1, 1810-1810 No.3
PORT PHILLIP SETTLEMENT PLANNED
Captain Collins in Charge
The Home Government has approved the proposal for a new settlement to be set up in the Port Phillip district.
Captain David Collins, who served as Judge-Advocate under Government Phillip and departed the Colony for Home in 1796, has been appointed to lead an expedition from England to found the Port Phillip settlement.
His Excellency Governor King has urged settlement of Port Phillip since he received reports of Lieut. John Murray HMS Lady Nelson and Commander Matthew Flinders HMS Investigator. Both officers, having examined the extensive bay on the southernmost coastline of New South Wales, declared it a suitable site for this purpose.
The Governor decided to the place Port Phillip in honour of his former commander, the founder of the settlement in Sydney Cove.
Governor King is of the opinion that the establishment of the new settlement is made necessary by the activities of French explorers in those southern waters, carrying out what are termed ‘scientific surveys of the New Holland coastline’. Possible foreign claims to these territories should be discouraged.
VAN DIEMEN’S LAND A PENAL SETTLEMENT
Lieut. J Bowen to Risdon Cove
Despatches from Lieut. John Bowen report that establishment of a settlement in Van Diemen’s Land proceeds satisfactory.
Lieut. Bowen has set up at Risdon Cove on the Derwent River (both places named by John Hayes, the English explorer who discovered them in 1792). Nine soldiers, four free settlers, 35 convicts and a quantity of livestock comprise the little colony.
Lieut. Bowen expects that a town will eventually rise there. He names it Hobart in honour of Lord Hobart, Secretary of State and War and the Colonies, who authorised the establishment of the settlement following representations from Governor King.
His Excellency has for some time desired an alternative settlement to Norfolk Island, where difficulties arise in supply and maintenance of discipline.
The activities of the French in the vicinity of Van Diemen’s Land are another source of anxiety. Gossip during Captain Baudin’s stay in Sydney led Col. Paterson to report that the French intend to lay claim to our southern island.
Though Captain Baudin’s frank demeanour made it difficult to believe such rumours His Excellency sent Lieut. Robbins, in capacity of messenger, to remind Captain Baudin, then encamped on King Island, that Van Diemen’s Land is a British possession.
The French explorer replied with assurance that such a reminder was unnecessary.
CATTLE FROM INDIA
Hobart Town, August 8th, 1804
Colonel Collins, who took over this settlement from Lieut. Bowen, reports the arrival of the Indian cattle ordered by Governor King. Aboard Lady Barlow there arrived 139 cows, 1 bull, 60 oxen.
Lt Col Royal Marines & Lieut Governor of Port Phillip David Collins
(From a miniature by Barber)
NORFOLK ISLAND CLOSED DOWN
Lord Hobart, Secretary for State for the Colonies, has ordered that the settlement on Norfolk Island be closed down. Withdrawal of the majority of the convicts and the military detachment is expected to be completed by late 1804 but some difficulty is being encountered from free settlers reluctant to transfer themselves to Van Diemen’s Land, as has been suggested.
The settlement, of which so much was hoped is to end. Although the soil was, indeed, fertile and at times bountiful, the history of the settlement has been one of incessant discord between convicts and their military supervisors. Trouble was encountered during periods of administration by Capt. J Townson, Capt. Thos. Rowley, Major Joseph Foveaux and Capt. John Piper.
Only the firm, wise administration of Philip G King ever prospered there. For a couple of seasons under his guidance the colony produced a surplice of grain, but Sydney being well supplied at that time, the Government did not buy from Norfolk Is. Settlers, many of who became discouraged and gave up their holdings.
DEATH OF CAPT. D COLLINS
Captain David Collins, Lieut. Governor Van Diemen’s Land, died suddenly at Hobart on March 24th, 1810, aged 54 years. He was first Judge Advocate of New South Wales, led the first settlement to Port Phillip and later moved it to Hobart. The administration is at present in the hands of Lieut. Lord.
Article taken from the First Fleet Folio, June 1999