Page:An account of the English colony in New South Wales.djvu/49

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1788.]
17
OF NEW SOUTH WALES.

ments which had been sent out by the Board of Longitude, for the purpose of observing the comet which was expected to be seen about the end of this year. The construction of this building was placed under the direction of Lieutenant Dawes of the marines, who, having made this branch of science his particular study, was appointed by that Board to make astronomical observations in this country.

Governor Phillip, having been pressed for time when he first visited this harbour, had not thoroughly examined it. The completion of that necessary business was left to Captain Hunter, who, with the first lieutenant of the Sirius, early in the month of February made an accurate survey. It was found to be far more extensive to the westward than had been imagined; and Captain Hunter described the country as wearing a much more favourable aspect toward the head, or upper part, than it did immediately about the settlement. He saw several parties of the natives, and, treating them constantly with good humour, they always left him with friendly impressions.

It was natural to suppose, that the curiosity of these people would be attracted by observing, that, instead of quitting, their visitors were occupied in works that indicated an intention of remaining in their country; but during the first six weeks, only two came near them. These men strolled into the camp one evening, and remained in it for about half an hour. They appeared to admire whatever they saw, and, after receiving each a hatchet (of the use of which the eldest instantly and curiously shewed his knowledge, by turning up his foot and sharpening a piece of wood on the sole with the hatchet), took their leave, apparently well pleased with their reception. The fishing-boats also frequently reported their having been visited by many of these people when hauling the seine; at which labour they often assisted with cheerfulness, and in return were generally rewarded with part of the fish taken.

Every precaution was used to guard against a breach of this friendly and desirable intercourse, by strictly prohibiting every person from depriving them of their spears, fizgigs, gum, or other articles, which it

VOL. III.
was
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