September 29, 2007

29 September 1807, by Elizabeth Macarthur

As if the weather knows about the turmoil in the Colony, I woke today to the crashing of thunder and an enormous downpour of rain. We had intended returning to Parramatta this morning by boat, but the River will be in flood and too unsafe for that journey. The alternative of travelling in the coach is awful to contemplate, with the road full of mud and crossed by strong streams in several places, so the girls and I will stay in Pyrmont and let Mr. Macarthur, Edward and Hannibal return on their horses: we will follow later in the week. I am now torn by a desire to reassure Mrs. Putland that she must disregard the jibes of the private soldiers, but John is certain that leaving the Governor alone is the best option for all of us natives, to avoid being tarred by the same brush.
Being in town means I have so little to do, and I was looking forward to getting back to the farm. Instead, I will try to enjoy some time here, perhaps even lay out some more garden given that it is spring, if the rain eases. We only grow a small garden here, mostly fruit trees overlooking the harbour, with some green growing at the rear of the house. Water is difficult to procure in Town - there is a hole in the rock that we call our "well", and it supplies some garden water, sufficient for the fruit trees, and we have a lovely spring that John has piped to the house, but it flows slowly, only filling a tank for the household needs.
Given I have so little to do, I wonder where the time of day has gone? Already the afternoon has passed, the candles are lit and I am preparing our evening meal - I'd sent the cooks home after the ball. A native whom I'vbe not seen before brought fish and fruit bats - I took the fish, in exchange for a pannikin filled with flour. It is that fish we call Perch, but he named it "wuggara", and he said of it "balu patta", which means that it eats well, or "good eating". A tall young man - perhaps he has come from the other side of the harbour - we don't see the folk from that side over here often, as there is great animosity between those people and the natives here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A bit of fun: however the Macarthurs had no house at Pyrmont, which was totally undeveloped except for a windmill until its subdivision by Edward after 1836.