August 27, 2007

8 February 1807, Sunday, by Elizabeth Macarthur

Toon-gabbe near Parramatta
Mr. Collins employed an excellent engraver to create many views of the Colony and this one, of Toon-gabbe near Parramatta, is of the area I rode to yesterday.
Today we have travelled to Sydney - and needed to meet several conflicting expectations to get there! The tide and wind, my daughter's well-being, and attending Church all crashed together, but now I am writing today's diary in our Sydney house, looking over the small bay were cockles are still gathered by the natives and some of our own people. Mr. Marsden preached again, but at the Orphan School which is more comfortable - seats, at least, are provided. The Orphan School is Captain Kent's home, converted, and fully paid for not by subscription as one might imagine, but by the ad valorem duties applied to spirits and such brought into the Colony at Port Jackson, collected by Mr. Harris as the Naval Officer. Governor Bligh has commented several times to me that no finer purpose for the collection of duties could be applied for, nor is a place so in need of such an establishment. With so many men missing and children so easy to come by, it is estimated that nearly 1000 children are eligible for the Orphanage were it commodious enough for them. Perhaps nothing else illustrates so well the depravity the place may reach or the good feeling it generates - Mrs. King and Mr. Balmain the former Principal Surgeon were prime movers in the Orphanage, and both will be sadly missed if it is to continue. Some talk is already about that place moving to a spot on the River, almost exactly opposite our Farm, which may suit more, having some space for raising their own food stuff. Now, I must look to Elizabeth and then prepare for the Ball.

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