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Lieutenant James Grant 1801 - 1803


First Name

Surname / Subject


Lieutenant James Grant

1801 - 1803

An Account from Lieutenant Grant of his survey of the Hunter River in the Aberdeen Journal 30 June 1802.....

We are informed by Lieut. Grant who is lately arrived from New South Wales, of the flourishing state of that colony. He left Port Jackson in November last, when the crops were very luxuriant and beginning to be cut down.

Governor King had opened a communication with Otaheite for the purpose of supplying the colony with pork, in which he had been singularly successful.

The most friendly understanding exists between the natives of Otaheite and the settlement of New South Wales. We are happy to hear that the latter country is no longer in want of a staple commodity, the article of coals, of an excellent kind, being found in abundance in Hunter's River, together with plenty of wood, well qualified for the masting of shipping.

Mr. Grant made his passage to the Cape of Good Hope, round Cape Horn, in the brig Anna Josepha, (
Hugh Meehan, master) laden with spars for masts, and coals, which latter sold immediately at the Cape at 36 rix dollars per ton (nearly 6 pounds sterling). The above vessel's top masts, top gallant masts, and yards, were of the wood cut in Hunter's River, and answered remarkable well. Mr. Grant had thus an opportunity of being an eye witness of its quality; and that was more particularly proved from the very heavy weather always met with in those seas.

Governor King had formed a small settlement at Hunter's River, for the purpose of working the coal, which is of the same nature with that of Newcastle.

Mr. Grant entered this River in the Lady Nelson, in order to obtain the survey of it. He penetrated, in his boats nearly 70 miles up the same, accompanied by
Lieut-Colonel Patterson, without being able, at that time, to discover its source. A wood resembling Fustick had also been found.

Mr. Grant in his passage from England to Port Jackson in the Lady Nelson a vessel of only 60 tons burthen, with three sliding keels was the first that passed through the Straits which separated Van Diemen's Land from New England, and sailed along a great extent of coast to the westward of any land before seen by those who had visited that country, going into no higher latitude than 39.30 South, and observes that the South Cape of New Holland lies in 39.2 south. He found the shore he sailed along bold, with very deep water, wherever he attempted to land; and, in general, he had with a very moderate offing from 50 to 45 and 30 fathoms water, fine sand, and sometimes shells.

By order of Govern King, he returned into those streights, and obtained the survey of the coast from Wilson's Promontory to Western Port, with the survey of that harbour, which is well sheltered, and capable of containing many sail of shipping. There is abundance of wood easily to be got, and plenty of water; though the latter is rather difficult to be procured on account of the distance and form several shoals lying in the way, which rendered it necessary to take advantage of the tide. Mr. Grant gives a very favourable report of that part of the country. The different surveys obtained in the Lady Nelson were executed by
Ensign Barralier of the New South Wales corps, who accompanied him for that purpose.


Lieutenant Grant was employed on the armed cutter Hawke in 1803. He was given a pension in 1806 for wounds received in action while in command of hired armed cutter Hawke off the Dutch coast. [1]

Ship News
Yarmouth 27 August
Arrived from the Texel his Majesty's hired armed cutter Hawke, Lieutenant James Grant, which place she left at ten o'clock last night, with dispatches from Captain Cunningham, Senior Officer on that station, and Mr. Kennedy, the Purser of the Princess of Orange, for ships stores. Captain Cunningham had, previous to the Hawke's leaving the Texel, gone close into that port, and discovered eleven sail of ships of war, of various descriptions, rigged and rigging. The Princess of Orange, formerly the Washington, was so close in as to be discerned by the people along the coast; a sight no doubt extremely mortifying to the already miserably humiliated Hollanders - the finest ship the States could ever boast, employed in blockading a port she was originally intended to adorn and protect.

By every account from fishing vessel, neutrals etc., that have been boarded coming from thence, the Dutch look with much confidence for delivery from or amelioration under their despotic Gallic Rulers (whose rapacity is only equalled by their insolence, and whose acts of violence to levy taxes and issue requisitions, dare not now even be made a subject of conversation, much more of discussion) to the general preparations now making in England

Lieutenant Grant, commanding the Hawke, is the same active and enterprising Officer who, in the Lady Nelson of only 60 tons, constructed by the ingenious and scientific Captain Schank, performed a voyage to New South Wales through Van Diemen's Straits, so much to the credit of himself, and admiration as well as advantage of his country. The Morning Chronicle 30th August 1803.

Notes and Links

[1]. Wikipedia

[2] The Narrative of a Voyage of Discovery, Performed in His Majesty's Vessel the Lady Nelson, of Sixty Tons Burthen: With Sliding Keels, in the Years 1800, 1801, and 1802, to New South Wales

C918-0190 Illustration, Lady Nelson

[3] Lady Nelson. John Turner Collection



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