Journal of Jesse Gregson.
Journal of Jesse Gregson's voyage to Australia and his early life at Cassilis.
Jesse's ship that he came to Australia on. The 'La Hogue'.
This was the maiden voyage of the ship as it was only launched in 1855 July 16. Launched at the shipyard of James Laing, Sunderland, for Duncan Dunbar. Her first captain was the captain on Jesse Gregsons voyage, Captain Neatby.
Jesse Gregson, born in 1837, in Kent, England. Died in 1919 at Katoomba. He was the A.A.Co. General Superintendant from 1875 until his retirement in 1905.
Mount Gregson at Willow Tree is named after him. He enjoyed hiking up it and other parts of the Liverpool Range when he stayed at Warrah.
I dont have Jesse's original diary. I have a copy of it. I got this copy of Jesse's diary notes from Professor John Atchison.
Oct 2. Sailed from Gravesend on board "La Hogue" about 3am. Light winds. Passed Margate about 4pm. Passed the back of the Goodwin.
Oct 3. Off Dover. Calm. Breeze from S.W. Passed Dungenep at noon. Very Ill in the afternoon. Turned in about 9.30pm.
Oct 4. Strong breeze from S.W. very
Ill. Passed every ship we sighted. Off the start about 4pm, carried away our maintop gallant yard.
Oct 5. Came to an anchor in Plymouth Sound about 5am. After breakfast went to Plymouth. Plymouth very
dirty. To the breakwater and lighthouse.
Oct 7. Service at 10.30am by Revd S Simm. Walked on the cliffs and back in time for dinner.
Went ashore after breakfast and took my watch ashore when found that the main spring was broken. To Mt Edgecombe. Got under way at 3pm. Towed out of the Sound. Tug cast off at 6pm.
Oct 9. Splendid morning
but very calm. Eddystone bearing East about 8 miles. Breeze from N. W. about noon position. Lots of porpoises and whales. Did not feel Ill at all. Turned in at 9.30pm.
Oct 10. Rather dull. Strong breeze
from N. W. all night. Position 48. 17 N. 36 W.
Oct 11. We passed at 8am the “Sir George Seymour” heading for Calcutta. Signalling all well. Turned in at 10.30pm.
Painting of the "Sir George Seymour"
[Jesse continues on like this for weeks and weeks. All too boring to put down. I’ll start his notes again closer to Australia.]
Monday. Nov. 19.
have not bathed for some days now. The mornings are generally quite cold and I am too lazy to get up. We had service last night in the cuddy. We have now been 6 weeks at sea and certainly those 6 weeks have flown very quickly. I shall be very glad to see Sydney.
On board we are all very glad of anything to amuse us for a short time. This afternoon we were aroused from our usual state of apathy by hearing there was a sail in sight. Our captain who is usually the first on board to see a sail was some time before he
could make anything of her as we overhauled her very fast. At last at 6pm we found she was a homeward bound barque with her fore topmost carriage away. She was evidently sending up a new one and she did not show any bunting or seem to want any assistance.
We continued our course without speaking to her. A sail was also reported in sight on the weather beam but a long way off. This evening was very fine with a nice pleasant breeze.
Tuesday. Nov 20.
I turned out this morning at 7am and it had occurred to me in the night to open my pistol case and see if the pistol was at all rusty? For well
it was and I did so. I found it very rusty and I will clean it within a day or so.
Wednesday. Nov 21.
Light wind but standing S. by W. at 9am. Breeze freshened. Engaged yesterday and this morning copying my letters. After that is done I think I shall begin a letter home as it will save a good deal of writing when I get to Sydney. The weather begins
to get much cooler indeed some have already taken to their great coats. Noon position Lt, 35-28 S. Long 25-40 W. Blowing fresh and cool all the afternoon. This day we first saw the Cape. A bird very much like those large brown ducks to be seen in St James
park. The albatross sitting on the water looks at a distance like the English swan, but it’s neck is much shorter and thinker. It sites very gracefully on the water.
Thursday. Nov 22.
This morning there is a perfect calm, not a ripple to be seen and a very slight swell. It is a splendid sight and everything is so still I can
hear all the different seabirds screeching at each other as they float some distance astern from us. The first Cape pigeon made his appearance this morning. They are very beautiful birds. In size about like our own pigeon and spotted black and white all over
their wings and body. There are plenty of lines overboard but we have not succeded in hooking a bird yet although they are very good at getting the bait off the hook. I find that it is all a farce trying to study on a ship at sea. We are all too fond of all
the exercise we can get, which is not much, and in fact there is very little reading on board. I have read through “Our Antipodes” and was very much interested. I have also looked into “ Nesbits Land Surveying” but “Shakespear”
I have not opened. Noon position Lat. 37-3 S. Long. 25-39 W. The sun has been as warm today as I have felt it at any time in the tropics but in the cuddy and down below it was almost as cool as yesterday. Some little excitement was caused while we were at
dinner by hearing that they had caught a shark. I hurried up on deck with many others and found that they had just hauled the shark on board. He was about 6 or 7 feet long. The sailers took him forward and he was all cut up within ten minutes from the time
he was still swimming in his native element. One of the sailors went overboard today for a bath but the captain has ordered that no one else do so. I have heard from seven different persons that the firearms I have brought with me are of very little if any
use. One gentleman told me that he had a double barreled shot gun that he did not think he’d have fired it 100 times? Still they are very handy and it is never out of place to have them by you.
Friday. Nov 23.
Very late this morning
up on deck, 8.30am. Found a very light breeze from N. W. and a ship about 7 or 8 miles on our port bow. We have been very unfortunate in falling in with these light winds and the captain has been very anxious to fall in and speak with some vessels, as the
winds are often so partial that although we have become becalmed, other vessels on all sides of us have had favourable breezes. Soon after noon the stranger ran up her flags and we found her to be the new ship “Ala” from Glasgow to Bombay 60 days
out. About 1pm a breeze opened up from the N.W. and gradually freshened to a fine 9 knots breeze. In conversation with a gentleman this evening I heard a great deal of information which I now endeavour to comment on paper. In the first place if a choice can
be had, prefer the sheep farming to cattle. There is not much risk and the greater part of the money made in the colony has been made by sheep farming. As a rule the settlers of the far south conduct matters in a much looser manner than those nearer to Sydney.
The settlers in that part of the country are so far removed from the general place of shipment that they are exposed to the evils of a great overland carriage of their goods and consequently they cannot get the necessary supplies of stores for the station
with the same regularity of those further north. It is a great point gained to be able to see the slothful and then discharge him as soon as possible, to value the services of those who do their duties honestly and carefully and to take every possible
means of making such men satisfied with their employment and willing to stop with you. It is the business of an Overseer to keep the accounts of the station both as to the stores and as to sheep and to visit each station and each flock as often as possible,
to keep his sheep in the best condition that the state of the land will permit us. To enter into conversation with the shepherds, to ask their opinions on various points connected with the welfare of their flocks and to make suggestions where you see
they are needed. To endeavour to make your men take an interest and pride in the well doing of the sheep, to take care that the supplies of stores as well are conducted if possible and last but not least to take care of your horse especially do not gall his
back. It is a great point with many as to your value to know whether you are a good horsemaster. The average amount of day riding is from 20 to 30 miles.
Saturday - 24th Nov. 1855.
Cloudy morning - running S.E. about 9 knots. No sail in sight. Noon position Lat. 38°-
39S, Long/ 21°- 0-W. We were making good progress all this afternoon (11 to 12 knots), rather cooler in the evening.
Sunday - 25th Nov.
Cloudy morning again. Fine
breeze and heavy swell from N, NW. Service in cuddy at 10.30am. Could get no sun at noon - by calculation we had run 248 miles. Soon after 1 p.m. it came on to rain heavily and the day seemed very long and miserable. Towards the afternoon
we were going about 8 or 9 knots and it was still raining. Service in cuddy at 7.30pm. Raining all night. Lat 40°- 12 S. Long. 16° – 15
W. 245 Miles.
Monday - 26th.
- 6 and 7 knots. 10 a.m. Raining again. Noon - calm - no sun. Very calm all the afternoon and very cold. Towards evening a nasty mist came on which made it feel colder still turned in about 10.30 p.m. Lat 41°- 37 S. Long. 12° - 41W. 182 Miles.
Tuesday - 27th.
Awoke this morning at 7 by finding myself in a sort of no mans land with my feet in bed and my head on the deck. Found my cot had gone to pieces and let me down. Borrowed some nails and put him up again. Very cold calm morning. We seem
fated to make a long voyage of it. We caught one of the large capehens yesterday and hauled him on board. They are a very splendid bird nearly as large as a goode. He soon made us glad to throwing him overboard again as he vomited a sort
of oily substance all all over the deck. Lat. 41°- 55 S, Long. 10°- 53 W. 82 Miles.
This morning we caught another and after we tied a piece of white rag
round his neck released him. Very cold this afternoon with drizzling rain. 6 p.m. about standing to S.S.W. I had been sitting in the cuddy this evening reading I think for the first time and upon going on deck after 9. I was much surprised to find it
blowing a stiff breeze from S.E. with small cold mist. The ship is so easy that sitting in the cuddy, we had not the slightest idea that there was any wind.
Wednesday - 28th.
Weather much the same as last night. Blowing fresh and very cold, with drizzling rain. On the whole it was more comfortable than last Sunday although colder,
for the rain was not so bad as to stop walking. All day in the afternoon run double topsails. Began this evening a work called "Two years in Victoria". Turned in early. Lat. 43° - 12 S. Long. 10°
- 33 W. 80Miles.
Thursday - 29th.
On deck at 8.30 and found it a splendid morning the sun out but nearly calm. It had been calm nearly all night and about 5 this morning they went about and we are now standing E. Very fine all day. Towards the evening
it came onto rain.
Friday – 30th.
Splendid day. Steering E. SE. 11 knots all day. This is just the weather we had been hoping for, for far too long, and indeed, it is
what we should expect in these latitudes. I hope it will continue for 3 weeks or a month at least? Noon position, Lat 44 – 21 S. Long 7 – 30 W. 121 miles. This is one of the finest evenings we have had. Fine, bright and dry and just cold enough
to make walking pleasant. At 8 p.m. a heavy squall of wind. Sailing under double reefed topsails and courses.
Saturday -1st December.
Fine morning. Wind nearly aft. 8 a.m. Set fore topmast flower stunsails. We are in hopes of making a good run today. Lat. 44°
- 20. Long. 2 °- 30. 26 Miles. Towards the afternoon the breeze began to fall light and about midnight it broke off so that we were standing still. Turned in at 9.30 p.m.
Sunday - 2nd December.
8 a.m. Wind again to the N. Sailing E. SE.
under double reefed topsails. Very wet and cold. I had never given it a thought that goloshes were necessary on board ship. I soon however found what a comfort it would be to have a pair. Without them you must either stop below on a wet day or
have your feet continually wet and cold which is not very desirable as you cannot change much on board. This morning I got a pair lent me by a fellow passenger. Service in cuddy at 10.30 am. This collect had always struck me more than any others
perhaps because when I was at school it showed that the holidays were drawing near. Today however it put me in mind of old times especially under present circumstances. I remembered too that it was Sacrament Sunday at home and I am almost inclined
to say that I wished I was there. However so far I am glad to say that I do not regret leaving home and I hope I never shall. It is true that sometimes more of it than is perhaps desirable and I shall certainly be very glad if fortune
so far favours me as to enable return before a great many years have slipped away, Lat. 44° - 33. Long. 57° E. 149
Miles. However, for the present I live in hopes and am contended and happy, but I shall be very glad to get to Sydney. Service in cuddy at 7.30 p.m. About 6 the wind shifted from N. to S.W. and at 7 we were running at 10 or 11 knots. Very
cold but no rain.
Monday - 3rd Dec,
Fine cold morning but
dry. Wind in same quarter not quite so much of it. Stunsails set. Position, Lat. 44° -20. Long. 6° – 43. 244 miles. This day a lottery
was got up for the time of the pilot taking charge of the ship at Sydney Heads. 2/6d, cash. I took two shares - foolishly for I have very little chance of ever seeing them again. However, we have not yet drawn the tickets and I may be the fortunate
one. In the evening we had the single sticks at work and when I left off my arm and leg were so sore and stiff that I could hardly move. Towards night the breeze freshened. Tonight for the first time I saw the Southern Cross. I had
previously seen Magellan's Clouds. The only constellation which we now see that can be seen in England I think is Orion and he is topsy tursy to us. I turned in at 10.
Tuesday - 4th.
This morning I am ashamed to say I came up to breakfast when it was half over. I had overslept and had not the least idea that it was so late.
On deck at 9.30 am. We have been going 10 and 11 knots all night and are now making about the same progress. Wind S.W. Fine sea running, it is a splendid night. I suppose if we are at all favoured with winds we have not much more than 5 more weeks.
I am impatient to be at Sydney and when there, to be out of it again. Noon position Lat 44 °- 12. Long. 12° - 1. 230 miles. After
lunch we drew tickets for the lottery. Mine are the mornings of the 5th and 13th January. Very cold at night.
Last night soon after I got to bed the bottom of the trashy thing went. I put it up again as well as I could hoping it would last till morning,
but at 4 this morning I was agreeably awakened by finding myself on the floor. I could get no more sleep and turned out early and put it to rights again. Fine morning. Fresh breeze from W. Got my cabin scrubbed and fixed a reflector which answers very well giving me as much light again as I had before, in fact, it is tolerably light in my cabin now. Noon position, Lat. 44° - 11’. Long. 17°- 34’.
Fine fresh morning. Still travelling at the same rate.
Fine morning. Wind rather light. 5 or 6 knots. Noon position
Lat 44°- 19’. Long 28°- 00’. 212 miles. Afternoon fine. Turned in at 10.30. Found that the deck above me leaked and my pillow wet.
Saturday - 8th.
A splendid morning. Wind had been gradully sinking from midnight but we are now travelling at 7 or 8 knots. A very beautiful day.
Sunday - 9th.
Cold day, wind from North. Service in cuddy at 10.30 a.m. Noon position Lat. 44°- 20’. Long. 37°- 38’. This evening at 6.30, while aloft helping furl the cross jack, my last cap went, borrowed another. Service
in cuddy 7.30 pm. Turned in at 10.
Monday - 10th.
On deck around 8.30,
found the wind from S, with rain - very cold. Going SE, E. under topsails. Noon position Lat. 43°- 59’. Long. 41° - 38’. 172 Miles.
Tuesday - 11th.
Very wet and cold morning.
Wind S.E. Noon position Lat 42° - 40’. Long. 45° - 40’. 174 Miles. 3 Pm, Reefed topsail. Miserable evening. Turned in at 10 p.m.
Wednesday - 12th.
Splendid day. Wind from N.W.
Reading "Len. Armidel". Very much pleased with it, but was sorry to say was so much engaged by it that I stopped below nearly all the morning. We are in hopes of making the Dieman’s Land next Tuesday fortnight if we make 5 degrees a day we shall do it
and then 5 days to Sydney. Noon position Lat, 43° - 16'. Long 50° - 49’. Very fine afternoon. 7 p.m. Double reefed topsails helping main sail. Wind fresh from S. E.
Thursday - 13th.
Very fine morning indeed. Splendid sea yesterday morning. The water was a dull dirty green, today it is
its old colour again - a splendid blue. Wind still fresh from S.W. 10 knots. Noon position Lat. 44° - OO'. Long. 56° - 25’. 247 Miles. A fine afternoon. Squalls of hail and sleet in the evening.
Friday – 14th.
A splendid mornlng. The
rolling of the vessel last night was I fancy something tremendous. However, I knew nothing of it except by hearsay for I slept all night. About half past one, I think it was worst. Rolling nearly yardarms under - people flying out of their berths. Some who
could not get to sleep were on deck all night. This morning I found my cabin had a good deal of water, but I do not mind as long as I can keep my bed dry. Noon position Lat. 44° - 40’. Long. 61°- 44’. 240 Miles. Very fine afternoon.
Ship much steadier. Towards evening wind shifted to N.W. Fine starlight night.
Saturday - 15th.
On deck about 8.30 a.m. Wind fresh from N, N.W. 9 a.m. mainsale furled. 11 a.m. Wind increasing. Reefed mainsail. Double reefed topsails. Noon position Lat. 44° - 52’. Long. 66° - 56’. 222 Miles.
Sunday - l6th.
It has been blowing a gale of wind all night, with a tremendous swell from
N.W. till about 3 a.m. when it fell calm and the Captain who has not been below all night was much alarmed for our masts. The ship rolled so much he says he does not remember a worse night for some years. At 4 o'clock the wind came up from the S. blowing very
hard and which soon got up a tremendous cross sea which made the vessel roll so that no one could stand on deck. Some were thrown out of their berths and few could sleep at all. The worst part of it was the sea coming into the cabins. On the upper
deck all the lead lights were chipped, but in my cabin the water poured in through the scuttle and dripped from the deck above in good style and I was soon afloat. 10.30 a.m. Service in cuddy. 11 a.m. sun made his appearance and it was a
splendid day overhead but a terrific sea rolling. Noon position Lat. 45° - 30’. Long. 72° - 00’, 221 Miles. One of the horses gave a great deal of trouble today. He had got a ??????, in fact it was nearly all up with him.
About 2 p.m. we shipped a tremendous sea. About feet of water washing about in the main deck. Two of the passengers were completely carried away into the scuppers and were floundering about with only their feet and hands to be seen. All the pig
troughs and barrels were afloat in the gangways. A great deal of water came into the cuddy and some went down below which obliged me to get my cabin baled out again. No dinner till half past 7. Service at 8. A splendid moonlight night. The ship rolling tremendously.
Turned in at 10.30 pm.
Monday - 17th December.
much better last night but found cabin afloat again this morning, which I am becoming quite used to. Found the sea much gone down and wind light, nearly calm. Fine morning 10.0 a.m. Wind fresh. Noon position Lat. 45°- 20’. Long.
77°- 46’. 244 Miles. Fine afternoon. This evening I had the carpenter down to cut my name on the chest. Turned in at 10 p.m.
Jesse's name on the chest. Chest Now owned by Jesse's Great Grand daughter, Emma Winn in London. She sent me the photos after reading his diary on here.
Jesse's chest. Now owned by Jesse's Great Grand daughter, Emma Winn in London. She sent me the photos after reading his diary on here.
Tuesday - 18th.
Another splendid morning and fine sailing. Noon position Lat. 45° - 50’. Long. 83°
- 55’. 263 Miles. In the evening the wind increased and double reefed topsails. Turned in at 11 p.m.
Fine morning. About 6 a.m. rain and wind shifted aft. Splendid day, Noon position Lat, 46°-
2O’. Long. 89°- 52’ 251Miles.
Thursday - 20th.
fine day. Nothing out of the ordinary routine. Noon position Lat. 46°- 40’. Long, 95° - 35’. 242 Miles. Very splendid moonlight evening with lots of white mares tails about.
Friday - 21st.
Fine morning with fresh breeze from N. under double reefed topsails, mainsail furled. Noon position Lat. 47° - 00’. Long. 101° - 29’. 247 Miles. Looked very dirty at noon but in the afternoon it cleared
off and it was a splendid evening. Royals set.
Saturday - 22nd.
Fine morning, wind light 5 knots. Noon position Lat. 47° - 3’. Long. 106° - 26’. 201 Miles. They are at last obliged to kill the horse he has been down three or four times and there
was no possibility of his recovering, in fact he was one maze of sores. Today he was killed by the butcher and hauled overboard. About noon the wind freshened with rain. Afternoon fine.
Sunday - 23rd Dec.
Fine morning. 10.30, Service in cuddy. Fine fresh day. Noon position Lat. 47° - 16’. Long.
111°- 215 Miles. 7.30 p.m. Service in cuddy.
Monday - 24th.
Wet morning on deck and miserable. Noon position Lat. 47° - 10’. Long. 116° - 21’. 194 Miles. In the afternoon the weather cleared up. Turned in at 10 p.m.
Tuesday - 25th.
Christmas Day. Fine morning and making great progress. This is the first Christmas I ever spent from home and certainly is not the
merriest. However, everything goes on very comfortable and while we are sailing 12 knots we are satisfied and even Christmas diverted of all its usual accompaniments of happiness and merriment is still as comfortable as can be expected at sea. Last year
at this time I little thought that next Xmas day would see me due south of Australia and who can tell what changes shall take place before the season comes around again. At 10.30 we had service except the Althanasian creed which seemed quite an ommission
to me. Noon position Lat. 47° - 3’. Long. 123° - 18’. 280 Miles. We are in hopes of making Van Dieman’s Land next Sunday.
Wednesday - 26th.
Last evening there was a grand spread for supper, custards, jellies, everything, which would make one
disbelieve they had been 80 days at sea. Toasts and speechifying. The Captain was unable to attend from bad weather on deck. In fact there was as much wind as we wanted for double reefed topsails. This morning was fine still blowing fresh from
N. and running 12 knots. Towards the evening dull but plenty of wind.
Thursday - 27th.
This morning on deck at 8.30 a.m. Double reefed topsails. Blowing very strong from N. but fine overhead. 11 a.m. Furled mizzen topsail. Closehauled under main topsail. 3 reefed fore topsial. Close reefed
and fore topmest staysail. Turned in at 10.30 p.m. and had not been 5 minutes before the ship seemed heavily struck by something in repeated shocks and trembling fore and aft. Went on deck and found the tiller and chainblock carried away. The preventer
tackles were soon recovered and everything all right again. Many were alarmed.
Friday. 28th December.
Very fine morning. Wind gradually fresh. Royal set. Running E. NE. Everyones head seems free of last nights accident. Very fine day. 7 pm keep fore
topsail, main and nizzen topsails.
Saturday - 29th.
Fine day. 2 p.m.
Squall with rain 7 Pm, Reefed topsails.
Sunday - 30th.
Close hauled under 2 reefed topsails. Wind S.W. All in hopes of sighting land but in consequence of the wind keeping so much to the N. and thick weather, we could not see Mount Wellington which is very high land in Van Dieman's
Land. Service in cuddy at 10.30 a.m. Very nasty day. 1 pm furled nizzen topsail. Going 14 knots. 7.30 pm. Service in cuddy. This evening after dark the sea was most brilliantly illuminated with the phosphorus and it is a splendid sight.
Monday - 31st.
This is the first taste we have had of our Australian climate. It is a splendid morning and if it were not for the wind blowing from S.W. I daresay we should feel the sun too hot. There is a very confused
sea this morning, swells both ahead and astern, but we are plunging through it under double reefed topsails, sometimes burying the bowpoint. We are now running up the coast about 100 miles distant of Van Diaman's Land and If this wind holds are
in hopes of seeing Sydney in 3 or 4 days? Plenty of work on deck tarring down the ?????. The wind is still from S.W. but gets lighter. I fancy there is a project on foot for a testimonial to the Captain
which I am sure will be unanimous. It is certain that nothing can exceed the kindness of manner as well as skill and vigilance as a skipper which he has shown throughout the whole voyage. Therefore I shall join in anything of the kind with great pleasure.
This is the last day of the old year, a year which I shall always have cause to remember, I only hope that all my friends in England are spending a happy and a merry season. Turned in at 11 p.m.
Tuesday -1st January 1856.
A most splendid morning but quite calm. I awoke early this morning and
not feeling inclined to go to sleep again, was guilty of the lazy practice of reading in bed for an hour and a half. Very hot on deck. The awning spread again but chiefly to prevent the tar dropping from aloft as the men are engaged
in tarring down. They say this is regular Sydney weather. Soon after noon the wind freshened up from N.E. which is the prevailing wind here. Double reefed topsails and furled topsails. The stars were brilliant tonight, the sky was perfectly studded with
the Southern Cross which is as true a guide in these latitudes as the North Pole Star is in northern latitudes and is general to be seen.
- 2nd January,
A very fine morning again. At 6 a.m. there was half a gale of wind from N.E. but it dropped very suddenly and at 8 there was a perfect calm
which the Captain was in hopes was a sign of a westerly wind, but the N.E. is freshening again. Land astern distant 15 miles. Furneaux Island, in Bass Straits. No sign of westerly or southerly winds. After the sun was clown we
could see the land very distinctly.
Thursday - 3rd.
Another splendid morning but no wind. This afternoon there was some sign of a shift of wind, the clouds were rising from the S.W. and the sun set in a bank, but
the N.E. freshened and we were disappointed. This is very miserable work after the months splendid sailing we have had. We are almost one good days sail of our destination and yet we seen likely to be a week about it.
Friday – 4th.
Fair wind at last. It was blowing fresh last night and then suddenly we were taken flat and the wind dropped immediately. Quite calm until 4 am when the wind opening up from the S.W. and gradually increasing. Steering N. by E.
Saturday – 5th.
Still blowing heavily from S. with rain occasionally. We shall not get to Sydney today. We now standing in towards the land to try and find out where we are. 7 p.m. In consequence of not seeing the land the Captain has
determined to stand out again, so steering N.E. Turned in at 10. Saw South Head light and as we have been making a great deal of easting in the last 4 or 5 hours and yet see this light it proves we must have been very close in shore although the thick
weather prevented us from seeing it.
Turned out at
4 a.m. Made the land about 10 miles north of Sydney, ran down, made the Heads at 9. Signalled and took the pilot on board inside the Heads. Anchored about 10. Glad to find the "Oliver Cromwell" has not arrived. Most agreeably surprised with
the shores of the harbour. They are most splendid and greener than I thought for. In the afternoon some of the passengers went ashore but I contented myself with staying on board till tomorrow.
An actual photo of the ship "La Hogue" in Sydney.
Monday, 7th. 1856 Sydney.
This morning I went on shore in a boat to the stairs at the Circular Quay and was much surprised, with the general appearance of Sydney. It reminds me very much of Sunbridge
Wells. It is all sand, and sandstone forms the principal part of the houses. Of this stone I find thereare two sorts, one found on the southern side
of the bay and towards the sea which crumbles by exposure to the weather and therefore unsuitable for building purposes, the other found on the N.W. of the town which is very fine stone for
building. I went first to Kent Brewery about 2 miles from the Quay, but the streets are very bad, unpaved and full of holes, the way they drive right through them in a manner which would astonish one in England. The Kent Brewery lies right away at the further
end of George Street. I saw Robert and Frederick Tooth. Mr. Edwin sailed in the Viviera about ?? weeks. They were very kind, said that it was only last week they had appointed a young man on their stations, at present they are quite full but would do all they
could to find me such a situation as I was in want of. I walked back and delivered
my letter to Mr. Clarke. He did not advise my going into the
bank, and thought there was little chance
of my getting employment, and if I did, there was little chance of my looking forward
to anything better than being an overseer all my life, promised to look me up a berth in Sydney, to call again on Thursday next. Delivered my letter
to Mr. Sands. He did not entirely agree with Mr. Clarke but said there were numbers of young men in Sydney out of employment. Walking back to the boat, I fell in with Mr. Busby a fellow passenger and a settler up the Hunter and who has been very kind to me. He wanted to know how I had got on and said he was at present expecting his brother who is in partnership with him every day in Sydney, but that when he
came he would speak to him and had no doubt he could do something for me. In the meantime I was not to engage myself without consulting him. I then went on board with him to help bring Mrs.Busby ashore and got him a carriage. Posted my letter and went on board to dinner. After dinner advised with Mr. Nutt,
who has been extremely kind to me throughout the passage. Turned in about 10.
Tuesday - 3th January.
This morning we were towed into Sydney Cove and got alongside the Quay close
to the "Light of the Age". About 10 went ashore and delivered letter to Mr. Binnee-saddler. He was very kind and said he was of opinion that it was the best thing I could do and would do his best to get me a berth. Called at Purkis & Lamberts for
Mr. Lyons address, then tried to find M. Sir Chas. Nicholson's residence in Woolloomooloo but could not succeed. Was much pleased with this suburb of Sydney and with the splendid views of the harbour. On the way passed by Hyde Park. It is more like Lord's
Cricket Ground at Marylebone than a park. Left my letter and card at Mr. Lyon’s, not at home. Back to the ship to dinner at 1 p’clock. In the afternoon went for a stroll in the Botanic Gardens. It is a splendid place. I recognised many
of the plants and flowers, many old acquaintances. I forgot to mention that on enquiry yesterday at Tooths, they had heard nothing of Edwin Hilder. I left the letter in the care of Mr Fred Tooth. Today I have been enquiring about the means of communicating
with Picton, but I find it is about 60 miles up the country and it takes two days to get there and back. I fear I shall not be able to get up there. Turned in at 10.30 pm.
Wesnesday - 9th.
Busby's brother arrived last night and they both came on board this morning.Sent my clothes ashore to be cleaned at 4/ per doz. Took a Wooloomooloo omnibus and this time found Sir Chas Nicholson's house. Not at home, so I left a card. Dr. Mitchell
not at home, left the card. This day was very hot, the sun poured down. Called again on Mr. Lyons, not at home.Aboard to dinner at 1. Engaged this afternoon in helping Mr. Busby pack up and get his things ashore. He kindly offered to take me to Cassilis till I could get a permanent situation. Their station
is very large and very regularly conducted and instead of wasting my time in Sydney I shall be gaining most useful information. He has not it in his power to offer me anything permanent and assured me I must not think of being an expense. I thanked him and
told him I hoped I should be able to make myself useful. 6 p.m. To Mr. Binnie's to tea. He thought I was very lucky in getting such an offer and advised
me to accept by all means. Came on board
at 9. Turned in at 11 O'clock.
Thursday - 10th.
morning went to Mr, G. Nicholson’s, the first thing after breakfast. Found him just going out, told me to come and breakfast with him tomorrow morning. Offered me a drive in his carriage to Sydney. Very kind. Saw Dr. Mitchell and also a Captain Bolt
a settler, both very kind - thought I could not have fallen into better hands than Mr. Busby's. Asked me to tea tomorrow night. Called on Mr. Tooth found him engaged, to call again tomorrow. Saw Mr. Clarke. He quite altered his opinion of Monday when he found
I was going with Mr. Busby. Promised if ever I enquired it, his best assistance. Called on Mr. Sands - not at home. Dinner at 1.
Friday - 11th.
C Nicholsons for breakfast. Very kind to me. Saw a friend of his from Argyle a Mr. DeLawrie or some such name.Today I was busy on board ship helping getting things away. In the evening to tea at Dr. Mitchells - very slow - Came away at 9 O'clock.
Saturday - 12th.
On board nearly all morning writing letters to Nochford Sandhurst, Jackson Smiths at Melbourne and Larkin. In the
afternoon went ashore with Mr. Busby.
To breakfast with Mr. Chris Newton and to Church. To lunch with Mr. Newton. 5 O'clock dinner with Nicholson. Saw Dr Wooley, Mr. D.
Thompson, Mr. DeLawrie. Back to ship at 10.30.
Monday - 14th.
Last night I did not sleep at all, well can't make it out. 6 O'clock
to Woolloomooloo Bay. Saw Mr. Newton, Engaged this day in making arrangements, packing, etc. 1 pm, Dinner on board. After dinner to clubhouse and from there to Mr. Lyons in the Domain. Very kind, asked me a good deal about our passage and said he was sorry
he had not been at home when I had previously called and hoped to see me whenever I came to Sydney. Back again to the Club, saw both Mr. Busby who gave me letters to their overseer at Cassilis and also to ???? of the "Caledonian" Singleton, who would help
me up the country. From there to the wharf and on board the "Collaroy" and took my passage. Back to the ship, packed my traps and took them to Messors Smith, Campbell & Co, in Macquarie Street. 9 p.m. Came away very much to my disappointment without
wishing Captain Neatby goodbye, he being absent on shore 10 pm. Sailed from Sydney on board the "Collaroy", Soon outside the Heads and fast asleep.
Photo of the ship, the "Collaroy". It was stranded on the beach in 1881 at the Sydney suburb of Collaroy, and gave the suburb it's name. It was a paddle steamer, launched in 1853 in Birkenhead, England and was obviously used as a ferry between Sydney and Newcastle in 1856.
Tuesday - 15th.
Woke at 5 a.m. by enquiries from those who wish to land at Newcastle. Fine morning. We were just making the entrance of the Hunter
River at 6 a.m. Like all places in the country seems to be only a hut or two scattered about the greater part of the scene to be "Stores". However, the place stands in
a picturesque spot and the Church and parsonage look very pretty on the hillside.7 a.m. Breakfast. Pretty good and all for 3/-, The Hunter runs through a very low and swampy country and is inhabited by small settlers and is entirely cultivated. Wheat in fact,
all sorts of grain with maize as well as tobacco is grown here and we passed many vineyards from where the Colonial wines are made which are ranked very high at the French exhibition. 9 am. Raymond Terrace, very much like Newcastle. 10 am, Morpeth, above which
the steamers do not go although the river is navigable as far as Maitland. Took the omnibus to Maitland which seems a large straggling town but much business is done there. A railway from Sydney by Newcastle is in course of formation. From here by mailcart
to Singleton, 30 miles. The mailcart is something like a large spring cart on two wheels and carries 5 passengers besides the driver
- is drawn by 4 horses. The roads very bad, Sometimes swampy with weed and sometimes hard rocky ground. Passed many bullock drays stuck fast. Changed horses and had lunch at Black Creek. Arrived at Singleton about 6p.m. Very
hot day and felt fatigued after being cooped up so long in a small space. Walked down the street towards the Hunter (here a pretty considerable river)and smoked my last cigar.
Halfway house at Chain of ponds. Halfway between Singleton and Muswellbrook. Was built in 1842.
Wednesday - 16th.
4 a.m. for Muswellbrook, Changed horses at Chain of ponds and arrived at 9 a.m. Breakfast with a Mr. Collett, at one time an M.P. now a surveyor of roads and also marking out the line of railways. After breakfast finding I could not get on up the country till
Friday. Walked with Mr. Collett. This day was very hot and I felt quite knocked up, however some chops and capital cidar soon set me right again and I got to Muswellbrook about 6. Turned in on a sofa, the house being very full.
Thursday - 17th.
Walked down to the Hunter
for a bath which was delicious. Muswellbrook is a pretty village with a church and parsonage house. Mr. Black, one of the clergyman at Murrurundi stopping here.
Friday - 18th.
Rode to Merton. 12 miles. A most wretched hole. Took the mail to Merriwa 34 miles. A very wretched conveyance and horses - the harness was patched up with greenhide.
Saturday - 19th.
Delayed in the creek by the starving animals they call for these jobs. The country is a kind of black
soil, first rate for grass, but it makes very bad roads. Arrived Collaroy where we changed horses and arrived at Cassilis about noon. Cassilis a most miserable looking place. Mr. Busby's house stands about a mile higher up the Munmurra River. Saw the Overseer.
The stables here are the best out of Maitland and Mr. Busby's stud of horses (which are now being tailed i.e. shepherded altogether) are noted throughout the Colony.
Sunday - 20th.
Today I felt the effects of my journey and was rather mopish.
Monday - 21st.
My Father's birthday - may he have many happy returns.
Sunday, — 3rd February.
had nothing to write in journal lately for at present everything is so new and strange to me that I do not know what to make of it yet. I have generally been out riding somewhere every day. The well water here is excellent and never fails even in the dryest
seasons. All the houses are covered with ironbark shingles which at a distance looks like slates. Since Mr. and Mrs. Busby came up the country I have been helping than get things a little straight. We have already improved the place very much but much
yet remains to be done. I have also been on the run nearly every day. At present no other situation of any kind offers and I begin to think myself foolish for having refused Messrs. Tooths offer, such as it was.
March 16th – Sunday.
Mr.Busby has been advising
me that as the only means of obtaining that colonial experience which is necessary to go as a common shepherd on some large establishment where I am not known. The previously mentioned Collaroy, a neighbour of his, as a place as likely to suit as any. I think I have nearly made up my mind to go although it is a very difficult thing to what I can do when I came into the country. Still Mr, Busby has been mostkind to me and I am sure there is nothing in his advice but what proceeds from an earnest desire on his part to help meto some berth. Dr. Trail at Collaroy happened to call today to
lunch. I would not be seen by him, but employed myself writing letters to my Father and the Messrs. Tooth. In the later I merely stated what I had been doing since my arrival at Cassilis and made another application to them for employment of any sort. To which
letter it will be well to mention I received an answer about ten days after in which they declined giving me a trial after my refusal of their first offer. I must say I expected a different result
to the introduction I received from their Father at Cranbrook, but I had been prepared for as much and at any rate I now know what I have to depend on.
Monday – 7th.
This day I was employed in making preparations for my proposed trips making tea and sugar bags, etc.
Tuesday - 18th.
I started this morning about an hour before breakfast with my "swag" on my shoulders and headed
for Collaroy where after a ten mile walk I arrived very hot and dusty and did my cooking, very like a professional tramp. Found Dr. Trail and Irving the overseer at the sheepyards. The Doctor knew me having seen me somewhere or other and hired me at 15/- per
week, So I took up my swag and off I walked to where the flock was lambing. Here I found only the old shepherd, who immediately set me to work to boil him a pot of tea and cook some meat, the latter of operations I performed very satisfactorily. I should say,
putting the meat in a pot, dirty of course, and letting it merely simmer for about 5 hours and I should have left it in still longer but for Harris the shepherd coming home and wanting a feed. So that was my first lesson in colonial experience — my second
was how to bake a damper which after two or three trials I accomplished quite to my satisfaction.
Sunday - 23rd March.
The flock having nearly finished lambing, I was this day shifted to another lambing ground which had only commenced a day or two. This lambing I found very
disagreeable not because of the hard work, for there is no hard work to be done but potter about all day looking after a few sheep and lambs and this did not suit me at all. Still I managed to weather it out.
30th April. Wednesday.
Irving cut the lambs. After a little confab with the Dr.
he informed me that he was in want of an overseer and appointed me to that improved situation with 40 pound per annum.
Thursday - May Day.
After bringing things from the station to the farm I started off to Cassilis and found my friends very well and glad to see me back again. What a change from a lambing station. I find myself quite bewildered and in fact the six I had, made me a barbarian and this is the worst of any situation unlike the one to which I am going.
Being constantly associated with a low class of people and never hearing any conversation worth listening to I shall entirely lose what few notions of etiquette I ever possessed and
God knows they were at the best of times fine enough. However everything is ordered for the best and I look forward with hope.
Wrote letters to Grandpapa
and also to Messrs. Tooth and Messrs. Smith, Campbell & Co. to authorise them as to handing over my trunk and chest to Mr. Busby who had kindly promised to get them to forward them
lunch returned to Collaroy and next day entered on my duties as under Overseer which indeed I can hardly wait after 4 months trial. My proper place is amongst sheep to count them at times and every month to file a written return to Irving showing the number
of deaths, etc, to look after the shepherds and see that they want. But at Collaroy I am obliged to any thing that nobody else will do - drive the horse team, carry rations and in fact it is impossible to enumerate half what I have to do. Another thing Irving
and I do not hit it off nicely. I have never liked him since I knew anything of him and lately I found out several dirty tricks of his which I do not like and I think it highly improbable that I shall stop longer than the expiration of my 12 months.
I like the Doctor very well but think he trusts things to much to Irvine.
This day we began shearing.
Since the last day we have been busy at the all important part of a settlers business via shearing. We were hindered a day or two by rain, for a very little rain will post
a stop to the clipping till the wool gets dry again, but there are 17 shearers in the shed and we continue to knock off about 1200 a day. We have not yet cut out all our lambs which should have been done a week or ten days ago. Been busy gathering fat cattle
for the butcher. This is a remarkably fine Spring. Everything looks as good as possible. We have plenty of water in the river and Dr. Trail had intended to wash the wool as fast as it was shorn, but at present he can get no hands for one pound a week, business
having been brisk at the Diggings lately. In that short time I have found, over the hopes with which I started from the old country and like a great many more I have found this country very different to what I had expected. Still “nil desperandum”
is my motto and as long as I can hear from home by the bye, I am anxiously looking for and I am happy in my present condition and hope for the future. One thing I am quite resolved on, never to go home without earned something substantial for myself by hook
or by crook. I think without the last week things have looked brighter. Irving and I are better friends. I never would have believed it if anyone had told me this day last year that such a man would have such influence over me - but so it is for a time
at least. I have been looking over my house for want of fresh news. I am certainly rather disappointed at not hearing before this and also from Mr. Hull of Hobart Town to whom I wrote a week or two to let him know what I am doing. It could
do no harm and as he was very kind to me on board "La Hogue" it is only right on my part. More rain which makes Bathurst Burrs and grass seeds grow as well as grass - so it is every wind that blows evil as well as good.
For the last week or ten days we have had much rain, in fact this is altogether the most rainy spring which has
been known for years. I believe for the last 5 years each year has brought more rain than its predecessor. I have been constantly on the road between this and ???????? for the last 4 weeks passing flocks to and fro to be shorn and although we do not shear
more than 10,000 sheep we should be making great progress had this last rain not hindered us. I have frequently been away from home and sometimes in wet weather. Camping out is all very well as long as the weather is dry but when one finds his camping place
wet through and can find no way of keeping a fire alight to dry oneself by and has to lie down in this wet clothes, then it is that camping which is unpleasant. I have two or three times lately made a fool of myself by forming a too hasty opinion or
rather acting before I have given myself sufficient time for reflection. On one occasion I was returning home and riding through the paddock - could see the Doctor and Irving drafting fat sheep, I went on and about 200 yards from where they were at work I
saw a man lying on the ground. I hollowed to him but got no answer, without giving it a thought that perhaps the man might be drunk, I thought at once that either he had a fit or was dead and seeing Dr. at the yards I rode down and told him. He went up and
I with him when we found that he had only lost his strength with some wine rather too early in the day. Another time a Liverpool Plains shepherd was letting sheep draw into the yard at a station where I happened to be stopping that night and on going to look
for them they were gone. Of course nothing could be done that night and next morning I was on my horse by daybreak to look for them and feeling sure that they would make for Liverpool Plains rode in that direction. After looking about for 3 or 4 hours I went
back to the station and told the Shepherd I thoupht it wise for me to go into Collaroy and report it accordingly and as fast as I could got a fresh horse and after a good blowing up from Irvine and the Dr. for coming in without finding them was accompanied
back again by Irvine who found them at once about a mile from the Station, but in a contrary direction to that which I had supposed they would take. During the commencement of shearing the Dr. was pulling a flock of ewes and lambs across the river and smothered
a lot of them but how many he could not say? Irvine wished me to count then the first opportunity I could get, to obtain the exact number. Yesterday morning was the first time I could get a chance to count them when I made them 300 short of what they should
have been before shearing. I came home and said they were short that number and was at once ridiculed by the Dr. who said he was sure there could not have been half that number drowned.
I understand that Mr. Busby has taken a sudden notion into his head to get married and is going to England immediately and the whole family are to start for Sydney on Monday next. I meant to have gone up the river today and have rode to Cassilis
tomorrow but was prevented by the very high flood which came down last night so I must put it off for another day.
1857. February 6th.
A long interval since my last
entry. I went to Cassilis on the Saturday after writing the above and found them all well and going to start down the ????????? immediately. About Xmas we were very busy getting lambing yards ready. I spent a very tolerable Xmas. Roast fowl and
plum pudding with wine, etc. About the 5th or 6th January, received a letter from home dated October 16th. The next day rode to Cassilis for the one of the shepherds. On Wednesday drafted some lambs and started with them for Liverpool Plains where I arrived
on the Saturday morning. Stayed at Black Creek all Sunday and started for home on Monday morning where I arrived about 4 o'clock. Got a blowing up for being too long away and orders to get down to the ?????? 20 miles to help gather in cattle. Went down the
same evening and returned on Friday to Collaroy. Friday -branding calves, etc. Mr. Busby went past with his wife on his return home. Since then been cutting lambs. The day previous, Sunday 1st, went to Cassilis and was introduced to Mrs. W. Busby. The whole of this season has been unpreceedented for wet weather. Rain more every week and sometimes very heavy thunder storms. I have heard
this summer the heaviest thunder and seen the sharpest lighting that ever I witnessed and in riding through the bush, trees which have been struck by the lighting and with their limbs lying scattered round for many yards are frequently found. The wool-washing
has been much hindered by the floods, The dam has been carried away 5 times since they commenced washing and a full half of the time has been employed in repairing damages. However, they have a much better way of washing this year to what they had before
and if the weather should hold fine for the next two months it will no doubt be finished by that time.
This has been a very idle week. Almost constant rain since Monday, on Tuesday afternoon another flood thus making the 6th since shearing. This time it is heavier than has been known, for some years. On Wednesday I took the rifle and went Kangaroo shooting. We could shoot none of them but what was better worth our while we feel in waiting and after 11 shots despatched a wild bull 8 or 9 years old which had never been in a yard in his life. Coming back we were agreeably surprised on finding the river again impassable. It had gone down very fast all nightand when we started the morning we crossed it easily enough but it has since risen again. We were foolhardy enough to attempt the crossing and we narrowly escaped, in fact Ray's horse stumbled and
thought he was gone but he managed to lift himself again. One could hardly believe the force of these rivers or the rapidity with which they rise. The wool washing of course is quite
at a standstill and the dam again destroyed. This afteroon the water has again risen nearly as high as ever.
This is extracts of Jesse Gregsons memoirs supplementing his diary of his trip out and life at Cassilis. I'm
thinking he has done this many years later?
It was decided I should come out as a cabin
passenger on board "La Hogue" commanded by Captain Neatley, an old and well known trader to Sydney, a decision which was the turning point of my career for it enabled me to make acquaintance with Mr. Alexander Busby to whom I owed, so much in after life. My
Grandfather Hilder was a friend of Mr. Robert Tooth of Cranbrook and drove over with me to his house to ask for a letter of introduction to his Sons, Messrs B. E. and F Tooth who owned the Kent Brewery in Sydney and large station properties on Darling Downs.
Our reception I thought, was not very cordial, but the request was complied with and the letter was duly forthcoming. It was my main reliance for obtaining employment in Australia, but besides it, I had letters from a Mr. Potter, a friend of my Uncle Gregson,
to Mr. Samuel Lyons, Mr. Richard Binnie, Messrs. Sands & Kenney and Messrs. William Clarke and company and others from Mrs. Gilmour a friend of my old schoolmaster Mr. Earle, to Sir Chas. Nicholson and Dr. Mitchell. Mr. Earle also contributed a letter
to each of his brothers-in-law, Thos. Meredith Smith and William Armstrong Smith of Melbourne. The two last I never delivered for I did not go to Melbourne, the others were Delivered with the results I will state in due course.
I have just looked over a copy I kept of them. They were worded very kindly stating the plain facts that I left home with my friends full consent, actuated by a spirit of enterprise and hope, that I was
anxious for any assistance or advice the people to whom they were addressed could give, the more so because I was coming to a land where I know not one single soul. It must have been, I have often felt since, a great trial to my Father to let me go forth,
a lad of 18 years, to the other end of the world without any further for my well doing than those letters. The trials, the temptations to go wrong, the absence of any incentive to do right beyond what my training had given me must have presented themselves
to him in their full force and I have often wondered that he let me go. This however never occurred to me at the time and I set about my preparation for the voyage, said goodbye to my brothers at school at Chiswell and all my friends without the least hesitation
or faltering and left my home with the most cheerful confidence that I should fall on my feet. My father's kindness had given me a gun, a rifle and a revolver, so on 2nd October 1833, I left home. My father went up to Gravesend with me and here the “La
Rogue” was lying. Fred a youngster seven and a half years accompanied us in the pony carriage to Leigh, the then terminus of the Railway. Thoregood my father's man was going to drive the pony back. We reached Gravesend about noon, dined with my Uncle
Edwards family and after dinner went on board, found my bedding in my cabin, as well as my chart and trunk, (nothing unpacked of course, but the cot was put together) and there my Father bid me goodbye, putting in my hand a purse which I afterwards found contained
£50 in gold and wishing me all success and good.
My father left me in the afternoon, on his return home and I saw him off on the train at Tilbury and then, went
back to My Aunt and Cousins with whom I spent the rest of the day and had tea with them. My Uncle seeing me on board my ship about 10 O'clock.
She was due to sail early
in the morning and there was very little quiet throughout the night. Work of some kind was going on all night. It was when I went down to my cabin in that I first fully appreciated the fact that I had left home. Instead of the comfortable room with a with
a Cedar ready for me to which I had been accustomed I found myself groping with a dim light for the package containing my bedding which I had to arrange the best way I could. Tired as I was I did not sleep much and when the noises and tramping on deck showed
that the tug was alongside and the anchor being weighed, I went on deck where I remained till soon after we had passed Southland Pier - breakfast took me to the cuddy. I forget how I passed the day but I fancy the tug left us soon after breakfast and I know
that when darkness came on the place we were off the North Foreland whose light was to be seen off our starboard quarter all the way down the channel. Next day the ship was a bit lively and I was more or less miserable all the way down the channel. We were
put into Plymouth where most of the passengers were to join and must have made a quick passage for we reached there on the morning of the 5th. The pilot had wished to show what the ship could do, this being her maiden voyage and cracked on the sail,
carrying away the main top gallent yard, much to old captain Neatleys disgust. This had to be replaced with a new spar so there was no chance of our sailing before Sunday 7th and I had the Saturday and Sunday to recover myself and to have a look at Plymouth
and the shores of the Harbour.
No letters from home reached me. They arrived afterwards I learned just after we sailed, but I wrote to my father and grandfather. On Holiday
the other passengers began to come on board early and we sailed that afternoon, with the decks crowded with packages and in utter confusion, but the weather was fine and as the sun was setting we were 7 or 8 miles off the Eddystone Lighthouse and next morning
we were out of sight of land and on appreciably warmer air. We passed in sight of the Delorta Is, north of Madimra, had a few days of calm and light winds about the Equator. Soon falling in with the S.E. Trades and mailing good sailing running down the easting
where the weather become cool and reminded so till after we had passed Tasmania and were going northerly,
We reached Sydney on Sunday January 6th 1856 after a pleasant
fine weather voyage. No incidents worth noticing occurred on the voyage. As soon as the passengers recovered from sea sickness and made their appearance on deck and got meals, I found we mustered a large party, amongst whom were six or eight youngsters about
my own age of whom I have since met one only Van Hornrig. James Fairfax of the Sydney Morning Herald (Sir James) and John E. Manning were amongst the young Australians who had been home for a trip. Mr, D Thomson, the Colonial Secretary with his wife
and daughter, Mr, Christopher Newton with his wife and family, Mr. Alexander Busby with his recently married English wife, were amongst the other returning colonists. A Mr. & Mrs Harvey, Mr, & Mrs. Nott of Tasmania, Mr. and Mrs. O'Grady, Mr. &
Mrs. Defett, Rev Samual Simms his wife and sister, (he was coming out under engagement to the Australian Agricultural Company as Chaplin) were others who like myself were making their first voyage. Captain Neatly had as his Chief Officer, Mr, Knights
with Mr, Collard as second. A.A. Dangar of Baroona was one of the midshipmen making his first voyage. I found the ship very comfortable and all the table arrangements and services much more elaborate and ceremonious than I anticipated. Captain Neatly
made a point of asking a certain number each day to take wine with him, keeping the rotation with great correctness, so that one soon knew when to expect the Head Steward to come and say "Captain Neatley's compliments Sir" and he will be happy to take wine
with you". We youngsters were all at one end of the table and at first Mr, Collard the Second Mate was at our end as Vice Chairman but we became too noisy and the Revd. Mr, Simms was requested by the Captain to take Collard's place, A change
we rather resented for Mr, Simms was not a favorite, I made no special chums, but amused myself in the rigging or watching the Sailmaker or the carpenters at work. Read very little and missed my accustomed exercise, but on the whole got through the time
without much. Difficulty.
As I began to make acquaintance with elder passengers, I found Mr. and Mrs. Deffell and Mr. Matem kindly and friendly. Years afterwards on my
occasional visits to Sydney I used to go to the Deffell’s house at Hunters Hill, but I likes Mr. Busby best of all for he interested himself in talking about the Colony, the experiences he had met with. He enquired what
my plans were and I gradually came to look upon him as my best friend on board. I remember that after telling him what letters of introduction I had, It was his advice not to count too much on them.
When we reached Sydney Captain Neatly very kindly told me I need not hurry to leave the ship, but might remain on board a few days, till I had formed my plans.
My first concern was to deliver my letters. Sydney struck me as being very English like in appearance. At that time a large proportion of the houses even in the main streets were mean and the usual verandah did not give them a businesslike effect. The Exchange,
then recently finished was pointed out to me with some pride and it was in fact the largest building in the City. The foundations of the cathedral had been laid but the work was not progressing along Brickfield Hill as it was then called. There were large
spaces not built upon and the Kent Brewery just beyond Redfern seemed almost in the country. The railway had recently been opened to Parramatta. The noise of, and the heat made themselves very noticeable but on the whole there was very little foreign air either
in the town or of it’s inhabitants. In 1856 there was no regular mail communicating between N.S.W. and England. Letters were forwarded by any chance sailing. When we entered the heads, the “Maid of Judah” was lying off Watson’s Bay
ready for sea on her homeward voyage and I wrote a letter home which was sent on board her.
had to wait till a berth at the Quay was ready for her. Vessels then had to lie alongside the bank, being beamed out into deep water by a stage which might have been 30 or 40 feet long, over which the wool used to be rolled on board. Of course
the Agents hadn’t always a full cargo of wool on hand so each consignment as it came in on the drays was spiritedly competed for by the different ships then on the berth. When however sufficient wool was on hand and loading was going on the Quay
presented a stirring sight. Bales of wool all over the place in the blazing sun. Agent's clerks, superintending men rolling the bales on board as they were directed, where they were tallied by the Ship's officers before being tumbled down the hatchways
to the Stevedorers below, I don't know what length of time a vessel had to stay in Sydney, it depended partly on the state of the roads, partly on. the characters of the ship and her Captain.
My first visit was to Messers. Tooth. I saw two of the brothers, Robert and Frederick. Edwin had sailed for England a week previously. They gave me very little attention
to the letters I had brought from their father and did not give me any encouragement saying they had not any room on any of their properties. In addition to the letters I had brought from their father I gave them one from Mr. Nutt, a solicitor of Hobart Town,
a fellow passenger, had written stating what my behaviour on board ship had been and his impression of my character. They asked me what my ideas wore, I told them I hoped for a country life. They said they had a mob of cattle just starting for Victoria and
that I could go with them, I said I would prefer work amongst sheep and would rather look for it than to take to cattle. So they wished me Good day. It is quite likely I did wrong to refuse their offer or to attempt to pick and choose what
l would do, the chances are that if I had gone with the cattle it would have been an opening to something else and it would at any rate have done me no harm. But I had taken the idea in my talks with Mr. Busby that sheep were more profitable than cattle and
that life on a sheep station was more settled and respectable, "in which views he was certainly right". I was a stranger in this country, a boy in years and it scarcely fits in with my present notions of what I should have done that I should have declined
the first offer made to me. I was probably disappointed, perhaps with some reason too, at the coldness of my reception and that no doubt influenced me.
In looking over the diary I kept at the time I see that the gentlemen to whom I had brought letters with me were not at home when I called, I generally left the letters with my card and called again,
more than once in some cases, but eventually I saw them all. They were all kind on manner but were unable to give me much assistance. Sir. Chas, Nicholson was not at home when I first called, but going out again one morning directly after breakfast I found
him just going out, when he asked me to breakfast with him on the following morning and offered me a seat in his carriage back to Sydney, I went next morning when I met Mr. DeLawret from Goulburn. Sir Charles asked me to dinner at 5 O'clock on Sunday evening
when Dr. Woolley was one of the guests and I walked back with him in the evening. Woolomooloo was at this time quite unbuilt upon and it was thick bush from the ??????. to the top of William Street where Sir. Chas Nicholson lived. That suburb struck
me as being very pretty and I much admired the fine views of the harbour. The Botanic Gardens also pleased me greatly and I recognised amongst the flowers and plants many old acquaintances, I was helping Mr. Busby to pack his belongings one day after I had
delivered my letters when he asked me what success I had met with and finding I suppose that I was rather disappointed, he asked me to go to his Station at Cassilis till I could find employment. He was unable to offer me anything, but I should be obtaining
some experience which would be useful and better for me when wasting time in Sydney and that I was not to think of my being an expense. I thanked him and told him I hoped to be able to make myself useful and I made arrangements accordingly, bought a carpet
bag and a pair of leggings, packed my trunk and chest which I left with with Messrs, Campbell, Smith and Co. in Macquarie Place and a letter from Mr. Busby to his overseer William Noble. I went on board the S.S. Collaroy sailing at 11 o’clock on Monday
14th January. I should have mentioned that I had been availing myself of Captain Neatley’s offer to remain on board “La Hogue” and that Mr. Collard accompanied me to the warf from which the Collaroy sailed.
Next morning we arrived at Newcastle. The
town seemed small and mean looking but I thought the situation very picturesque, the church and parsonage pleasing, standing on the side of the hill where there were there were trees and greenery to be seen amongst the houses. The Hunter River passes through
low lying country but it seemed to be generally cultivated for Maize, Tobacco and vines. At 10 we arrived at Morpeth beyond which the steamer did not go and I went by omnibus to Maitland, a large straggling but busy place, where I booked my seat by the Mail
Cart to Muswellbrook. The coach was just a large spring cart on 2 wheels. There was room for one passenger on the box beside the driver and four others on the seats facing each other in the body of the cart. There was a horse in the shafts and an outrigger.
This conveyance ran daily was sufficient to carry all the mails as well as passengers bound up country. We reached Singleton 30 miles from Maitland in the evening. The roads seemed to be very bad and we passed bullock drays stuck fast in the black soil. I
slept at Munro's Caledonian Hotel, and we started again at 4 am, reaching Chain of Ponds where we changed horses and arrived at Muswellbrook about 9 a.m. Here I had breakfast with a Mr. Collett, a one time a member of the House of Commons, now surveyor of
roads. I had to wait till Friday for the Cassilis coach, so I went with Mr. Collett walking as far as Aberdeen with him. This was my first walk in the country and I found the heat of the day most oppressive so that by the time I arrived at Aberdeen with
him I had had quite enough an indeed was quite knocked up. Some chops and good cidar revived me and I walked back to Muswellbrook by 6 pm, where as the house was very full I turned in on a sofa. Muswellbrook I thought, was a very pretty village. On the Friday
I rode to Mertos, a most wretched hole where I took the mail to Merriwa 34 miles. This was a very wretched affair - crook horses and harness all in the last stages of dilapidation. The following day from Merriwa to Cassilis was 26 miles. The country a black
crany soil first rate for grass but makes very bad roads. Changed horsed at Collaroy and arrived at Cassilis about noon. The village is a miserable looking place but Mr. Busby is about a mile higher up the creek. Here I found Mr. Noble, the Overseer and was
alone in the house till Mr. and Mrs. Busby arrived a few days later. In the meantime I had been about the run, sometimes with Mr. Noble and had been helping old Langrose the carpenter who was work at a cottage for Noble. The country is lightly timbered and
the scenery pretty, a good wool growing country, but not rich enough for fattening.
Cumberland disease was making great ravages amongst the sheep which were dying by
scores every night. The flocks were shepherded by day and brought back every night to their yards, as was than practiced in the colonies. The number at Cassilis was probably about 20,000. When Mr. and Mrs. Busby arrived the house remained in the
state in which he had lived as a batchelor. Their furniture had arrived but was in the packing cases. They had to be opened and the furniture brought into use and to this I gave my willing assistance through including paper hanging it did not last very long.
I soon, began to feel that I was loafing and was anxious to be at work. At Mr. Busby's suggestion I wrote to Messrs. Tooth, telling them where I was and that I was still looking for employment. The only reply being that they declined giving me
a trial after my refusal of their first offer.
Mr. Busby seeing how uneasy I was becoming, asked Dr. Trail who was managing at Collaroy the adjoining Station what he
advised and the Dr. gave his opinion that I had better go on at the Haws'hole if I wanted to come out in the cabin. After talking it over with Mr. Busby I determined to act on the suggestion, got a pair of blankets from the store, made some tea and sugar bags
and on Tuesday 13th February, started before daybreak carrying my swag. I arrived at Collaroy in the morning and found Dr. Traill and Irving the overseer in the sheep drafting yards. I asked the Doctor if he could give me work. I had previously
kept out of his sight when he was at Cassilis but he guessed where I had come from and was good enough to give me a job at lambing which was then proceeding. My wages being 15/- per week. So I shouldered my swag again and went as directed to where a flock
was lambing about a mile from the head station, where I found the old shepherd Bill Marris, who set me to work to boil some corned beef for supper. I knew enough to feel sure that the water was required for the purpose and I put water in the pot with the beef,
but forgot that it would boil away as it did and when Harris brought the flock home and put them in the hurdle yards and was ready for his supper, there was no supper for him. He was a decent old chap and was not as wrath as I should have been but showed me
what to do, how to make damper, etc. and I was willing enough to learn - we soon got on well together. On Easter Sunday, 23rd March the flock had so far finished lambing - that I was sent to where another flock which had just begun to lamb was stationed. Harris
being also placed in charge, I can’t say I liked the work much, not that there was any hard work to be done, but poking about after a few ewes and lambs became very monotonous after a time. Still I managed to weather it out and when it was finished I
had so far satisfied Irving that he offered to take me on as Under Overseer at £40 per annum. So next day after bringing the cooking utensils, etc. into the head station, I started off to Cassilis to tell Mr. Busby how I had got on. He and his wife made
me welcome and what a change it was from the lambing station. I stayed with them till Monday 5th May, when after lunch I returned to Collaroy and entered on my duties the following day. My diary says duties which after four months trial I can badly describe,
"My proper place is amongst the sheep, to count them at time and every month to give a return to Irving showing the number of deaths, etc. to look after the shepherds and see that they want for nothing, but at Collaroy I am obliged to do anything
nobody else will do, or has time to do, drive the horse team, carry rations, etc. I did not care very much for Irving but the Dr. I liked very well. Irving at any rate knew his work amongst sheep so that I was in a good way of learning.
When shearing began I had to be constantly travelling with flocks coming from and returning to Black Creek, a station
beyond the Liverpool Range, which was rented by and worked in conjunction with Collaroy, 20,000 was the average number of sheep at Collaroy and there were 40,000 at Black Creek all of which had to be travelled to Collaroy for shearing. The season was exceptionally
wet and I had a rough time of it, crossing the sheep over flooded creeks and camping in wet clothes. The season continued wet all the year and when shearing came round again, some of the clip of 1856 still remained. Dam after dam was washed away by the
floods. In 1858, Irving left, and Dr. Trail made me Head Overseer on his place at a salary of £80 per annum. The Collaroy run comprised country very similar to Cassilis with a good deal which is very superior - rough sandstone
ridges covered with hick scrub of pine and other shrubs. The better country lies on the slopes of the Range, the heads of the ?????? River, this junctions with the Murmurra, the river on which Cassilis is situated and then become the Goulburn, a large tributary
of the Hunter.
The sheep were mostly kept above the Head Station, the lower part of the run being occupied by a herd of about 2,000 head of cattle. Dr. Trail went very
little about the run. He was a great instructor and always had building work going on at the Head Station and a circular saw bench was kept pretty busy. He spent all his time superintending work of that character and in his absence, I had to look after it,
and in fact had to see to the timber supply while he was at home and arranging for the falling and drawing of the timber and with my frequent visits to the building I saw a good deal of the work besides doing the supervising and work amongst the sheep. Occasionally
there was a weeks work amongst the cattle for a change - mustering for branding of the calves or for drafting fat bullocks which (the herd being well bred) used to realise £8 per head delivered at the yards. Buyers would come up and
take them away in drafts of 200 herd, drove them by way of Jerry's Plains and the Bulga to Sydney where the CY brand was then a favourite. The life was therefore full of interest and employment which suited me well and which I liked though I felt that I should
be doing something better for myself and I did not disguise this feeling from Dr. Trail who raised my salary with each fresh yearly engagement. I had been at Collaroy about 3 years when Mr. Fred Lambs, the Manager of Leangollen, a Station close to Cassilis,
belonging to C. and F. Lloyd, happened to call one clay when I was busy at the Sawmill and after chatting for some time asked me to ride over and spend Sunday with him. I did so soon afterwards and found him a pleasant and agreeable host, living in a
In the course of my visit I told him of my wish to do better than I was doing at Collaroy, and as I learned afterwards, he mentioned this to Mr. Busby.
One day when I was at Cassilis Mr. Busby told me he wanted to go to Bylong, a station of Mr. John Leis, on the other side of the Goulburn River for a couple of young bulls. He had tried twice to go by a short cut through the Collaroy run but that each time
his guide had got astray in the rough narrow pass by which a horseman could get down onto the flat of the Goulburn River and it was not easily found. I knew the track and told him I would take him through whenever he liked and soon afterwards he came over
to Collaroy and we started next morning. A sharp frosty morning it was. I found the pass all right and we reached Bylong early in the afternoon. Next day we started back with the bulls which we left at a stockyard about halfway home and he and I rode onto
Collaroy arriving there pretty late that night. On the way he asked me about what Lambe had told him and enquired if I would like to go to Queensland to take up new country there for him. After thinking the matter over for a few days I determined to go and
wrote telling him so. The lambing season coming on I was busy and saw nothing more of Mr. Busby for some weeks. I had been camping out amongst the lambing flocks and when the marking was nearly over, on riding home one evening I found McKensie, a cattle
buyer at my cottage who chipped me about the Dr, being angry at my long absence.
Shearing was going on. A work which Dr. Trail always superintended in person and next
morning I went over to the shed to tell him the results of the lambing. I found him in a furious rage, the reason being that Mr. Busby had written telling him of my purpose to leave Collaroy at the end of the year with the intention of going to Queensland
in his interests I dont think Dr. Trail need have been much surprised at the news for I had more than once told him I was not thoroughly satisfied where I was. Nor should my leaving put him to any inconvenience for my Under Overseer was quite competent
to fill my place. But he also was very angry, apparently thought himself very badly treated and ended by telling me I had better leave at once. I had been well disposed to Dr. Trail and had always recognised my indebtedness to him for giving me employment
and proportion. I had done my best to carry out on the Station and my relations with him is not thoroughly cordial had always been kindly and pleasant. So that this fit of anger rather surprised me and at first I attempted to reason with him. I might as well
have tried to reason with a gumtree and the I then rode over to Cassilis in the forenoon to Mr. Busby's astonishment. This was in October 1859. Although he had reckoned on me leaving Collaroy at the end of the year, Mr. Busby had not at this time come to any
conclusion as to what should be done about Queensland and in fact he was some what inclined to buy a Station in N.S.W. We went together to look over Nombis, a Station on the plains belonging to George Henry Cox, but Mr. Cox would not sell. Eventually
it was decided I should take a flock of ewes up to Queensland for the purpose of taking up new country, my preliminary destination being William Kobmans Station "Glinghinda" on the upper Darling River. I started with 5,000 ewes in May, 1860.
Mr. A. Busby had been for a trip to England and on his way back would be shortly in Brisbane on his way to Rainworth,
so I went down to meet him there. We had fine weather for the ride up from Rockhampton and for the 10 days he was on the Station, he rode over most of the country with which he was pleased and I bid him goodbye at Meteor Downs, Kelman's Station, kelman having
persuaded him to take in "Ghinghinda" on his return to Rockhampton. In 1869 I went to Cassilis and remained there till after Christmas and I had seen Dr. Trail one Sunday where Rev. Mr. Wilson was resident clergyman end was holding a service. Coming up to
me after church he said "well Gregson it is about time we buried the hatchet will you shake hands" which I did willingly enough. Early in 1871 Mr. Alex Busby arrived from England having unfortunately broken a thigh on the voyage out. He was some
weeks in the Doctor's hands in Sydney, but about March he was able to accompany his brother to Cassilis (where I was then in charge) where they remained for 2 or 3 weeks. He had been elected to the Board of the Auctralian Agricultural Company same time previously
and on leaving Cassilis heend his brother drove to Warrah, where I met them, having ridden across. William Busby and I drove down to Scone after leaving Warrah where Mr. Alexander intended to remain a few days longer. I took leave of him with great regret
as he stood leaning on his crutch at the end of the veranda. I never saw him again. Always kindly in his personal conduct, he endeared himself to me by his encouraging letters in the early times at Rainworth and by his conclusion that the venture would be
a successful one in spite of difficulties and since he had been at Cassilis he had taken me more completely into his confidence and the regard I always had for him deepened into a warm affection.
At Scone where we stayed the night, William Busby would be bringing his family back to Cassilis before shearing and arranged that I would then return to Rainworth which I did with my wife and child in 1871. Remaining there till 1874.