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An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port

And on the north side of Nepean Isle in mid channel


I

went out in the coble on the 22d, and sounded between Point Hunter and Nepean Isle: there is a good channel, and there are not less than three fathoms close to Point Hunter; and on the north side of Nepean Isle in mid-channel, there are eight fathoms water.

On the 29th, I landed on Nepean Island, and found it to consist entirely of one mass of sand, held together by the surrounding cliffs, which are a border of hard rocks: notwithstanding there was not the least appearance of earth or mould on the island, yet there were upwards of two hundred very fine pines growing on it; the surface was covered with a kind of coarse grass.

The weather being now very hot, I changed the working hours, and gave the labourers from half past ten o'clock until half past twelve, to avoid the heat of the sun: they were employed in clearing ground for cultivation, making shingles, cutting a road from the settlement to Ball Bay, and reaping wheat and barley.

The heat of the sun split the weather boarding with which my house was covered; and it being very leaky, I fet the carpenters and sawyers to work to put a new roof on, and to raise the house five feet, in order to make room for stores and provisions.

At day-light in the morning of the 2d of December, I went in the coble to Phillip Isle, where I landed on a rock, in a small bay on the north side. It was with difficulty

that I ascended the first hills, which were covered with a sharp long grass that cut like a knife; this was interspersed with brushwood. The soil is a light red earth, and was so full of holes, which had been made by the birds, that walking was very laborious. A small valley runs the whole length of the island, in which, and on some of the hills, a few pines grow, but I think the whole island does not produce more than one hundred and fifty. I found no fresh water on the island, but probably there may be some, as I saw a number of hawks, pigeons, and parrots; but as I had only two convicts to row the boat, I left the island, and got to Sydney Bay in the evening.

On the 8th, I housed all the barley which had been raised on an acre of ground, and was sown in June and July. During the first of its growth, it had a most promising appearance, but when the ear was shot and nearly filled, some heavy rains in September laid a great part of it down, and the quantity destroyed by the rats and quails was almost incredible: there was every prospect of getting at least fifty bushels of grain, but the whole quantity, when gleaned, yielded only ten bushels. The barley was very fine, and 116 ears were produced from one grain. Garden vegetables throve very well, and cabbages were cut weighing twenty-six pounds each. I have no doubt but potatoes would thrive very well here; unfortunately, we had only two sets on the island, which were brought by the Golden Grove. Most of the marines and convicts had now very good gardens, but the grub-worm was a great and perpetual enemy to their vegetables.

It has already been observed, that 260 plants of wheat were transplanted the beginning of June; these were threshed on the 15th, and the produce was three quarts of a very fine full grain.


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