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August 1861

Report of Commander Norman, of H.M.C.S.S. Victoria, together with copy of his journal of the late expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria
Melbourne: John Ferres, Government Printer.
Victorian Parliamentary Papers No. 109. 1862.

Sunday, 4 August 1861 - Hobson's Bay.
At 3 pm. cast off from the buoys, and proceeded down the Bay.

Monday, 5 August 1861.
At 6.30 am. weighed, and after communicating at Queenscliff, proceeded on through the Heads at 9 a m. and stood to the eastward under steam, with light winds, rounding Wilson's Promontory at 7.15 p.m.

Tuesday, 6 August 1861.
At 6 a.m. stopped the engines and feathered the propeller. Made sail.

Wednesday, 7 August 1861.
Shortened sail. Wind freshening.

Thursday, 8 August and Friday, 9 August 1861.
Blowing hard from the S.E.

Saturday, 10 August 1861.
At noon this day anchored about six miles off the entrance of Brisbane River, in five (5) fathoms water, and about one mile from the ship Mangerton, which had arrived with emigrants; the steamer Breadalbane being alongside to tranship them for Brisbane. I proceeded on board, and took passage up in her, and at 5 p.m. landed near the Custom House, and proceeded at once to Government House. His Excellency not being at home, left Sir Henry Barkly's despatches, with my name and card, and went to look for quarters for the night. At 6.30 an orderly from the Governor came to inform me he was at home, and wished to see me. I started from the Club House, where the members had very kindly received me as an honorary member; dined with His Excellency, and communicated all the information in connection with the expedition to him, returning at 10 to the Club.

From Saturday, 10 August to Friday, 23 August 1861.
Detained at Brisbane, awaiting the horses and Landsborough's party.

Saturday, 24 August 1861.
Received bonded stores from Breadalbane steamer, and, all being completed on board the Firefly, sent word to prepare for sea. At 2 p.m. weighed and left the anchorage. At 5 p.m. pilot left. Seeing a steamer's smoke to the southward, stood towards it, to try if I could board her before dark, for the purpose of ascertaining if any news of Burke had arrived; but finding, after standing on half an hour, she was too far off, bore up, and rejoined convoy, not caring to lose sight of him.

Sunday, 25 August 1861.
A fine breeze from S. to S.E.; remaining under very easy sail to keep company with our consort. Latitude 25° 25' S.; longitude 155° 30' E.

Monday, 26th August 1861.

Trade winds throughout. A little squally at times, with light showers. Convoy from one to two miles astern. Latitude 22° 40'; longitude 150° 29'.

Tuesday, 27 August 1861.
Squally from S.E. Wind drawing ahead E.N.E., but backing again after to S.E. Latitude 20° 11' S.; longitude 155° 20' E.

Wednesday, 28 August 1861.
Steady trade winds, with very fine weather throughout. Latitude 18° 7' S.; longitude 153° E. The Lihou Reefs being only sixty-five miles off, made all sail to try and make them before dark ; not so much for the sake of the longitude, which I feel certain is very correct, but for the sake of ascertaining if there is such a strong south-west current as the reckoning shows, or whether the course has been neglected. Not seeing anything, hauled up, and rejoined our convoy at 7 p.m., shortening sail and heaving to for that purpose.

Thursday, 29 August 1861.
The trade winds decreasing, and more easterly, with a very confused sea on, rolling heavy at times. Convoy close to. Latitude 15° 46' S.; longitude 151° 35' E. Thermometer 80°; rather too warm for settled weather. Squally, with heavy rain, during the night. Convoy reports all well.

Friday, 30 August 1861.
Squally, with very heavy rain from 9 till 11 am. Running with topsails lowered to keep company with convoy, or we fly right away from her in them. Latitude 14° 55' S.; longitude 149° 42' E., showing a southerly set of twenty-two miles. Looking cloudy and squally. Convoy two miles astern.

Saturday, 31 August 1861.

Trade very light at sunrise, and freshening towards noon. Latitude 13° 32' S; longitude 147° 51' E. Distance made only 139 miles, patent log showing 159'. No sign of any current to the southward either, which there must be. Weather very close and muggy. Lightning to the eastward. The first part of the night Squally, and I fear unsettled weather for us to make the Barrier Reef.

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© 2017, Dave Phoenix