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The Whaling Journal of Captain W. B. Rhodes: Barque Australian of Sydney 1836 - 1838

Barque 'Australian' at the Bay of Islands

page 49

Barque 'Australian' at the Bay of Islands

April 13th 1837.24 I found six months' provisions had been awaiting our arrival some time, and that the natives were in a disturbed state. Consequently we set about getting the stores on board as quick as possible and succeeded in getting everything on board by the 16th inst. In the letters from the owners I was directed to ship some oil up to Sydney, and when the ship was ready to proceed direct to the bays a-Right Whaling; and at the end of the season to return to Sydney. The crew refused to tranship any oil without they was paid off afterwards; consequently, as no more men was to be had, I was obliged to submit.

On the 19th inst. about 35 large canoes full of men, and all armed with muskets, passed the ship in their way down from Kororadica25 to the pa of Poomary.26 Mr. Clenden27 being apprehensive they would attack his house, I landed with two boat crews to protect him and his property. Mrs. Clenden and children proceeded to the Mission in page 50one of my boats. A house belonging to an European near Mr. Clenden's was plundered. In the afternoon the boats retreated, having lost 3 of their Chiefs in battle.

Owing to the natives being at war we could get no trade from them. Indeed we were always in great anxiety, not knowing but what the natives might attack the shipping. The Europeans residing on shore were in a great state of alarm, and all anxious to quit the country. Through the detestable system of the grog shops the crew and officers were constantly in a state of drunkenness. 5 of the crew ran away and one was turned out of the ship for attempting to kill a seaman and myself; but notwithstanding the bad state of discipline the ship was ready for sea on the 27th April.

April 29th. All the canoes came up from Kororadica to fight the Tupa natives, and after a great quantity of ammunition had been expended, retreated again. I did not learn the mischief done. The crew on shore on liberty. We are now only waiting for men, being all ready for sea.28

May 2nd. Weighed anchor and dropped below the shipping. 38 canoes were up to-day to fight the Tupa. On the 4th I took the ship down to Tipoona29 so as to be ready to start as soon as I could get men. During our stay at the Bay I procured 2310 lbs fresh pork and 3 tons of potatoes, which gave the crew a good refreshment. From this time to the 9th instant I was busily employed in endeavouring to complete the crew for Right Whaling, page 51but as fast as I got two or three men others deserted, and I could never muster more than 29 in all, including a large proportion of boys and New Zealanders. As I could see no hopes of procuring a crew efficient for the Bays; and being strongly advised by Mr Clenden to detain the ship no longer,30 but proceed at once a-Sperm Whaling, I was reluctantly compelled to adopt the latter, though contrary to the tenor of my owners' instructions.

May 10th. Employed this day in endeavouring to find two men, Adamson & Deal, who had deserted last evening. Discharged Lamb & Dixon and sent them up to Sydney sick, being entirely unfit to proceed on the voyage.31

May 11th. Determined on proceeding to sea with what men I have got—viz. 29. At 10 a.m. weighed anchor, 2 boats ahead towing the vessel out of Te Puna. At 11 made sail with a Westerly breeze and stood out of the Bay of Islands. Capt. Clapham and boat's crew on board.

24 For documents relating to this day see the following:[unclear: ab] discharges of seamen. Appendix 15, p. 108; owners' instructions and letter of advice re stores per Currency Lass, Appendix 8, p. 99; list of stores, Appendix 12, p. 104; refusal of crew to permit shipment of oil, Appendix 11, p. 104.

25 Kororareka.

26 Pomare.

27 This was J. R. Clendon, originally master of the City of Edinburgh, who became a leading merchant at the Bay of Islands, and was also the first United States Consul there.

28 For survey of bread made this day see Appendix 13, p. 105; for accounts incurred at Bay of Islands see Appendix 14, p. 106.

29 Te Puna.

30 See Clendon's letter, Appendix 9, p. 102.

31 For articles of two Maori seamen taken on this day, see Appendix 16, p. 108.