26 May 1814
Extract of a letter from a free merchant of India, dated on board the Henrietta schooner, off Bass's Straits 17th April 1813:
I am at this moment of Bass's Straits, which separate Van Dieman's Land from New South Wales, on my way back to Sidney. I have trusted myself on board a small schooner of about thirty five tons on this hazardous voyage. Sidney has a beautiful appearance; the houses being white, intermixed with trees - chiefly the peach which grows with great luxuriance here....... You must often have read of the natives - they talk (I mean those that visit the town) English fluently, and pay no respect to persons. A naked fellow will accost even the Governor as he passes him with, "How do, Governor" with scarcely a nod.......
They are courageous in fight which frequently takes place. Lately, in the vicinity of the town, a battle took place, where about 200 were engaged, I believe in consequence of the death of the celebrated Bennelong, who visited England some years ago, and was taken great notice of. The spears flew very thick, and about thirty men were wounded. To see the children running backwards and forwards, behind the hostile parties, where they share an equal danger, would surprise you. The fair sex encourage the men to battle, and when the ladies can refrain no longer, they set to themselves with waddies (a heavy short club) and many a broken skull ensues.
Notes & Links:
1). Finding Bennelong
2). Long Lost Grave of Bennelong
3). Bennelong's Letter
4). Bennelong sailed to England on the Atlantic with Governor Arthur Philip in 1792