Was there ever a more aptly named site than Trove? I’ve been having a lovely time searching through copies of the Sydney Gazette from 1805.
Along the way I stumbled across the following, marvellous snippets. An eloping goose, dingoes, eels, goats and even a pot-smoking Reverend.
A grey goose last week eloped from its owner, after a long and faithful servitude in different families. It came originally from Hawkesbury, and is, or possibly was considered of sixteen brothers and sisters the only survivor. In its younger days it made an excursion to Norfolk Island, and there remained to the completion of its eleventh year; had been a favorite to several masters, and would doubtless have retained its fidelity durante vitae but for the mal-insinuation of a licentious gosling, who is suspected to have accompanied the old lady in a trip to Gretna. Such is the respect paid to the advanced age of the deluded matron (rather more than fifteen years), that we are particularly requested to make every effort to restore her to her disconsolate family (either with or without her gallant), as her first act of imprudence will be overlooked, and a gratuity given to her guide—if she may not already have taken her departure for a warmer climate. 24 March 1805
Poor old goosey, and half her luck to find such a willing toy-boy.
For several days during the last week the rains at Hawkesbury were incessant, insomuch that the two last days the water rose to a very considerable height, and flooded many of the low grounds on the banks of the South Creek. We are sorry to hear that a great deal of the standing corn has been spoilt; and that a plantation of hemp belonging to the Rev. Mr. MARSDEN was inundated, and a prodigious quantity of the finest seed ever yet produced here totally destroyed. This circumstance peculiarly distressing, as that Gentleman, to whose perseverance in agricultural improvements the Colony is much indebted, had bestowed the most indefatigable attention upon this essential article of produce. 17 March 1805
And the Rev Mr Marsden was growing hemp because….why? Yes, yes I’m sure quite sure that’s his excuse too.
Last Monday a fine goat, with cart and harness was purchased for the sum of eight pounds, having the same morning drawn ten bushels of wheat from Prospect Hill to the wharf at Parramatta, a distance of seven miles. The creature is acknowledged to be well broke in for draught, and the present owner will in all probability accustom him to the saddle. 17 March 1805
That last line is a cracker. Perhaps the new owner was very short?
Of perhaps more interest to those of a historical bent are these below. Who can imagine eels in this quantity or size today? Or dingoes in Parramatta?
A quantity of very fine eels was last week caught by the natives in the Lagoon of Yaramundy, at Hawkesbury, some weighing from 12 to 140lbs.
A native dog, whose depredations on a farm near the above settlement [Parramatta] we before took notice of, returned again on Sunday evening to clear away the remaining flock on hand; hut being discovered and pursued, was obliged to content himself for the present with a couple of fine geese. 7 April 1805
Not the lady goose and her paramour, I hope.
NOTE: I’m on holidays so this post (and the next) will be posted automatically. Of course please leave comments – I love them – but I won’t reply until my return in mid-November. Thanks, MST.