Life and Adventures of William Buckley/Chapter IX
CHANGE OF SETTLEMENT.—VISIT FROM THE PUTNAROOS AND WAINWORRAS.—MR. GELLIBRAND.—ENGAGE AS INTERPRETER.—ANOTHER ARRIVAL.—FIRST HOUSE BUILT.—COLONISING EXCITEMENT.—DISPUTES BETWEEN THE SETTLERS AND NATIVES.—TWO SETTLERS KILLED.
"For 'tis a goodly sight to see
By the same vessel which brought my pardon, there arrived also instructions from the Directors of the Company forming the settlement, for us to break up our present encampment, and take up our station on the right bank of the Yarra from its source, at a spot they had fixed upon as the site of a town; little thinking, however, it was, in so brief a space of time, to become the capital of a mighty colony, replete in itself with all that is required to found a nation of pre-eminent importance.
In consequence of these orders, every one was busily employed for two days packing up and preparing for the remove to Melbourne; then only known as a town by its marked trees, and other simple signs of such like early progress. Having put all our baggage on board, I explained to the natives where we were going to, and having so done I once more trod the deck of a ship, with feelings impossible to be explained. My sable friends were not at all pleased at our leaving, thinking we might be going away altogether; and their thoughts still being upon plunder, they did not by any means like the idea of its probable escape.
In the trip up we were unfortunate, for the wind was contrary; so we had to beat about the bay two days, but in the end reached our destination, and immediately commenced unlading the cargo—the mechanics commencing temporary workshops and dwelling-houses for the people.
Whilst thus occupied, we were visited by two of the tribes I have already mentioned, the Putnaroo and the Wainworras—the savages who murdered the two ship-wrecked mariners when crossing the Yarra River. They mustered about two hundred strong, men, women, and children. I had great difficulty in keeping these people from exercising their thievish inclinations, thereby bringing on difficulties between the settlers and the blacks; and I had enough to do, so as to keep myself from the suspicion of intending wrong either to one or the other party. During all the time we were landing the cargo and storing it, sentries were mounted day and night, to prevent pilfering and disputes; but other tribes continuing to arrive, increasing their strength, it occasioned me great anxiety; because I knew, as the last arrivals had left their families behind, they came with warlike intentions, and with hopes of plunder, in case an opportunity offered. This devilry was, however, neutralized by the gentlemen in charge of the settlement making them more presents of blankets, bread, knives, scissors, and such like useful articles; with which the tribes separated, apparently satisfied with the generosity shown them, and with the promises made of further supplies on the arrival of the next ship from Van Diemen's Land.
That vessel brought several gentlemen, amongst whom was Mr. Gellibrand, and they engaged me as their Interpreter, at a salary of fifty pounds a year, with rations. Soon after this, we started on an exploring expedition, looking for land; and were out about six days, traversing in the meantime, all the country round, visiting Buckley's Falls, the Yawang Hills, and other localities already mentioned; during which journey we fell in with a man, his wife, and children, with whom I had been many months, who all lamented bitterly my haying left them; but the present of a blanket happily soothed their affliction.
On our return to Melbourne we found another vessel had arrived, bringing a cargo of potatoes and other food, and articles suited to the general wants and requirements of the settlement. A great portion of the former I daily distributed to the natives by order of the persons in charge; the bricks and building materials being appropriated to the erection of a residence for Mr. Batman, on what is now called Batman's Hill, which was the first habitation regularly formed at Port Phillip. Having been bred a bricklayer, I superintended the, putting up of the chimneys, although it was so many years since I had learned the trade under my good old master, Mr. Wyatt.
Other families continued to arrive, a great excitement having been created in the adjacent colonies, by the, reports made of the discovery of excellent sheep and cattle pasturage; and, particularly amongst the settlers; in Van Diemen's Land, who were already induced to embark large amounts in the speculation; many others also coming amongst us for the purpose of ascertaining the value of the country thus opened up, and the propriety of changing their abodes.
All things went on very quietly, until several of the Sydney blacks, and others, began to be too familiar with the native women; and at length, one of the latter came to me, saying, she had been seized by one of the shepherds, who had tied her up, but, that when he was asleep she had broken loose, and had run away to me for protection. I considered it my duty to mention the circumstance to Mr. Gellibrand, pointing out the consequences that would ensue if this conduct was persisted in; knowing well the vindictive vengeance of the natives, who, as I have already shown, are exceedingly jealous in all such matters. That gentleman immediately sent for the man accused, but he denied all knowledge of the woman, or of the circumstances to which she had referred. Mr. Gellibrand had, however, good proof of his guilt; and therefore, after severely reprimanding him for his brutality, he dismissed him from the Company's service, and ordered his immediate return to Van Diemen's Land.
Soon after this, there arrived a Missionary, who wished to travel up the country, and being applied to, I named six natives I could trust to accompany him; and they returned with him in safety after an absence of six days. This Missionary was the late Rev. Joseph Orton.Emigrants from Sydney and Van Diemen's Land now continued to arrive almost daily, and from the former place came several gentlemen, holding official appointments, to report on the capabilities of the country generally: Mr. Gellibrand also came again from Hobart Town. During his absence an affray had taken place between the natives and some of the settlers, in which two of the latter were killed. I know nothing of the circumstances, as the affair occurred more than twenty miles away from the settlement; excepting that the deceased were buried at Melbourne.