In 1877, Prince Albert and Prince George (later King George V) the two eldest sons of Edward, Prince of Wales, entered the navy. Two years later, the Royal family and the British Government decided the princes should undertake a cruise. They assigned the boys to HMS Bacchante, which was then part of a squadron intended to patrol the sea lanes of the British Empire. After Queen Victoria expressed concerns that the Bacchante might sink drowning her grandchildren, the Admiralty confident in their ship, sent the Bacchante through a gale to prove she was sturdy enough to weather storms.
So, on September 17, 1879, the Princes and their tutor John Neale Dalton, came aboard the ship which would be their home for the next three years. The princes made regular diary entries, which were published in 1886 as The Cruise of Her Majesty's Ship Bacchante. HMS Bacchante briefly assisted in the first Boer War, before the squadron sailed for Australia. On May 12, 1881, a heavy storm blew up and damaged the ship's rudder.
Albany was the nearest port of call, so on May 15, 1881 HMS Bacchante arrived at King George Sound. Damage to the ship's rudder was extensive, so the Princes and crew ended up staying in Albany for three weeks until repairs were complete.
While in Albany, the Prince's stayed at John Young's Marbelup Farm for several nights, George celebrated his 16th birthday at the resident magistrate's home (now part of the Residency Museum) and a number of cricket matches between the crew and locals were played at Vancouver Park.
These are the complete "Albany" extracts from the book "The Cruise of Her Majesty's Ship Bacchante."
After evening quarters, at which everyone seemed as happy as could be, we painted yards to the wind and steamed ahead, making up for the nearest port, which was King George's Sound, 380 miles distant, trusting to the wind to keep her steady on her course, and giving her as few spokes of the helm as possible. That night the captain, commander, and navigating lieutenant, had the first sleep they have had for three nights and days. The next morning the wind had somewhat fallen, though it was still blowing 8, the sea too was going down as well, though occasionally we shipped some over the weather netting. We are getting out of the roaring forties, and are gradually drawing to the north of the gale as we near the land. It is a curious coincidence that the worst cyclone the Galatea ever got into was also met in crossing from the Cape to Australia. This befell her on October 12th, 1867, to the west-ward of St. Paul's.
May 15: The hands are employed in rigging spars out of the ports under the poop for steering by in case the rudder further fails us. We used the spare jibboom and topsail yard, rigging the latter first out of the starboard quarter-port under the poop and over the glacis, and the former from the port quarter-port; two seven-inch hawsers, were rove through leading blocks at the end of these; and one end of each was brought to the after capstan on the quarter-deck, and the other secured to the after-end of the two spars, which, lashed together, were to be towed astern by another seven-inch hawser secured to their foremost-ends, and coming from each quarter.
The topsail yard and jibboom were supported by up and down tackles to the mizzen-masthead pendants, with sail tackles for foremost guys. But we did not get these towing spars over- board to-day; they are ready only in case our rudder does not last out till we arrive in harbour. We don't know yet how much damage is done to the rudder, but we know it is twisted round about 22 and that, if it will only remain like that, we can manage, with our present re-arrangement of the chains, to keep her on her course. In the evening or get fore-and aft-sails, and increased the number of revolutions, so that by Sunday morning we are going over nine knots. It is raining hard but much warmer than it has been lately, thermometer 63°, whereas for the last few days it has been 47°. The wind is still falling, though the swell is heavy. At 9am sighted Mount Gardner, a peak in Western Australia, and afterwards Bald Head, at the entrance of King George's Sound, and then Breaksea Island. Had a short service on the main deck at 10.30am the men in their damp working dress. At 1pm we passed under the west side of Breaksea Island, with a lighthouse on top of its red rocky, precipitous sides, weatherworn from the westerlies that have beaten on them for ages. The only way of landing is by means of a rope ladder on the east or lee side. Bald Head, on our port hand, seems covered with scrub, with here and there great patches of sand. After passing these two heads, the beautiful sound opens out beyond.
We steamed right on and up to the entrance of Princess Royal Harbour, away inside which we can see the houses of Albany in the distance. Here we anchored at 3pm for the night. Before doing so, however, we tried our extemporised steering gear in the smooth water of the sound, and found that the spars towed were not nearly large enough to make any appreciable effect, as they had no hold in the water, neither were the two outrigger spars of sufficient height above the water to prevent their clipping, if the ship had been rolling, to a heavy following sea, which would have been the case, supposing we had made for Cape Otway.
A sheet anchor unstocked and planked over from the peas to the ring makes a most excellent rudder. Such a one brought a large merchant ship home from the Cape to Spithead. The anchor being planked over, two strong pendants were attached to bolts on either side of the crown; the rudder being placed overboard the ring was triced up in the rudder hole and hung through that with chains; two spars were rigged out on either quarter for the steering pendants to reeve through, and a third one topped over the stern and capable of swinging over either way, in order to support the weight of the tail. It answered admirably, and no difficulty was experienced.) The scene of our mishap was in latitude 40° S., longitude 120° E. We have every reason to be most thankful that the occurrence was no worse, and terminated as it did. Had Sunday afternoon prayers at 4pm.
May 16: Hoisted in temporary steering spars. And after Mr Butcher, the pilot, with Mr Rowley Loftie (the Government Resident) and Dr Rogers had come on board, weighed anchor at 8.30 and proceeded into Princess Royal Harbour, where we anchored in five-and-a-half fathoms off the town of Albany. The Governor of Western Australia, Sir William Robinson (brother of Sir Hercules at the Cape), kindly telegraphed, offering to make arrangements for us to visit Perth. There is a good road through the bush all the way, but as it would take four-and-a-half days to do the 300 miles on police horses, and the same time would be taken upon the return journey, and as the length of our stay here is so very uncertain, we are afraid we shall not be able to go.
The Mayor of Perth, Mr George Shenton, in the name of the citizens of the capital, also telegraphed a welcome to Western Australia. It is a great thing being at the end of the telegraph wire, we get the London news fresh every morning, as the budget is telegraphed through to Melbourne and Sydney. This is the first place we have had the news from Europe daily since we left England. The P&O mail steamers also call in here every week, on their way to or from Ceylon, this being their first and last port of call in Australia.
May 17: The Rosetta, P&O mail steamer, arrived from Adelaide en route to Suez, and so will take our homeward mails this morning. She reports having had very bad weather the whole way across the Bight. In the afternoon we went with Mr Loftie and Dr Rogers and three ward-room officers, across Princess Royal Harbour to the quarantine station on the opposite side to shoot quail. The low hills covered with dark trees sloping down to the white sandy beach, with the blue water as calm as possible beneath the bright warm sun, reminded us very much in their general effect of Bermuda. We rowed across and landed at the small cottage, in which only a policeman and his family reside (and the place is very seldom used for quarantine), and there we lunched, and afterwards separated in parties to go over the hill for quail. There are a great many of them in the bush, but they are exceedingly shy, and require to be very silently and stealthily approached. There was too much chattering and laughing in our party, and so at first we did not shoot anything.
But afterwards the policeman took George and led him quietly aside in the bush, when, whistling low, and so imitating the call of the quail, he was immediately answered by several of the birds, who were thus allured to come nearer, and out from the very heather and shrubs amongst which we had been before walking without seeing a single one. Standing on the top of the hill behind the quarantine station, we had a clear view over the whole of King George's Sound, and up into Oyster Harbour, which stretches away on its eastern or opposite side in a similar way to that in which Princess Royal Harbour does on the western. The hillside here abounds in "black boys," curious black resinous stems, three feet high, and one in diameter, with a small green tuft on top, and which make a splendid fire in the bush when one is required. Of gum-trees there are also no end, and we were told that so dry is the climate that if any one catches a cold in the head here, he only has to take his blanket and sleep out in the open air, and he comes home cured; such effect have the eucalyptus leaves. Albany is said to have the finest climate in a continent of fine climates.
The West Australians hold their own particular climate to be the best and healthiest in the world, and judged by the very practical standard of a death rate of 14 per 1,000 they cannot be far wrong. Nearly every one lives to an old age almost as a matter of course. Nothing can exceed the charm of the light, health-giving air; and bright sunny days may be counted on for nine or ten months of the year, with very occasional exceptions. Western Australia, close to India as it is, would make an excellent sanatorium for our English troops in Southern India. The Red Sea journey and the cold English winter — and much loss of life and efficiency resulting therefrom — would be avoided, and the troops would be near at hand for return to their garrisons. At 4pm we got into the boat again and rowed further up Princess Royal Harbour, on its southern side, then again landed on a sandy beach. We walked up into the wood of gum trees behind the old cottage, once inhabited by a lime-burner of the name of McBride, but which is now deserted.
The trees here were far larger, and stood more thickly together, than any on the other side of the harbour; and the wood was full of parrots, which were shrieking and laughing. From tree to tree were hanging all sorts of creepers and parasitic orchids; and the dry calm air was filled with an aromatic or resinous odour; while beside the path which was cut through the wood were several strangely-shaped and brilliantly-coloured flowers growing. Cardinal Newman says somewhere that he often found it help him in realising the genius loci when he first visited Rome to repeat over to himself as he walked the streets of the Eternal city, "This is Rome, is Rome." So we, as we wandered in these woods, scarce rehearsing where we were, repeated to ourselves, "This is Australia, is Australia," and tried to take in somewhat of all the name suggested; wondering too at the odd chance that had led to our coming ashore at this out-of-the-way corner of the island-continent, rather than at Melbourne as had been first intended.
Some of us strayed in one direction and some in the other, and as it was now time to get back to the boat, the wanderers were recalled by several "cooeys." It was getting dusk when we shoved off from the beach to row back across the smooth surface of the harbour, in which were reflected, as in a mirror, the rose, blue, green, and golden hues of the sunset; a few streaky clouds alone were in the sky, and on the water here and there were little scarcely perceptible cats paws made by puffs of wind. It was quite dark when we reached the ship, and the stars had all come out; there was no moon till two hours afterwards. So ended our first landing on Australian soil. Bricklayers in Albany earn ten shillings a day, the ordinary labourer six shillings.
May 18: At 3pm landed and rode with two gunroom messmates, on horses which Mr Loftie requisitioned from the police force, through the town, out past the church, which, with its ivy-covered square tower, looks just like an old-fashioned English village church, standing in the midst of its green churchyard, in which are several yew-trees, and a quantity of some sweet-smelling creeper with a flower like the bougainvillea. We went along the Perth road, on each side of which here and there stand up curious rounded protuberant rocks, twenty or thirty feet higher than the soil on which they lie, and which apparently have been thus rounded by some water friction. Either they must have been once subject to tidal friction, or else worn smooth by glaciers which may have descended from some once higher hills which, however, have now entirely disappeared; on their tops, too, still repose other smaller boulders, which certainly have not been thrown there by artificial means, but look as if they had been lodged by glaciers or by icebergs.
We rode on past the cemetery, and up on to one of the hills above the town, from which we looked forth over a rolling forest of eucalyptus trees, stretching away for forty miles to a line of hills in the interior, which were now, late in the waning light of the afternoon, of an intense blue. The effect as the sun went down over this wooded wilderness was weird in the extreme. We turned and came down to the harbour, one blue glassy mirror, with not a breath of air; a few mares' tails in the sky alone remain to remind us of the late blustering gale down south there outside. On coming on board we found that many fish had been caught with line alongside the Bacchante by the bluejackets. The divers began to work on the rudder on Monday afternoon, the 16th, and since then we have been busy getting as much weight forward as possible, in order by depressing the ship's liead to raise the stern sufficiently so that we may take off the rudder.
The sheet anchors were let go and weighed to the bows; shot, shell, and powder were taken on to the forecastle; the five foremost water-tight compartments were pumped full of water, and all the foremost coal-bunkers filled with coal; the steam pinnace hoisted up to the starboard cathead, and the launch to the bowsprit cap, with the copper punt suspended from the jibboom; the after hold was cleared, and the gun usually under the poop was transported forward under the forecastle. The effect of all this was to raise the stern about four feet; so that the last rudder-pin is to come out tomorrow morning. The iron framework at the head of the rudder is smashed right through; though it is a foot thick it is broken just like a slice of bread and the head is twisted to an angle of 22°.
The arrangements that were made for hoisting the rudder out, which weighed six tons, are chiefly interesting because they illustrate the application of the somewhat limited resources for this work which we possessed on board ship. After the tillers had been removed and the normanhead lifted off and placed on one side, some delay was occasioned from the difficulty of drawing out a pin which connected the rudder-head to the rudder. When this had been done, at last the rudder-head was lifted out, and a screw bolt and shackle were screwed into the vacant space. The engine room threefold purchases were hooked to a toggle on the upper deck, and to the shackle in the head of the rudder, and by this means the rudder was first raised until the pintles were brought above, and came clear of the gudgeons or sockets into which they fit.
The next step was to hoist the rudder into position, in order that it might be slung to a lighter and taken ashore for repair. For this purpose the spare jibboom was rigged as a derrick on the poop, drooping over the stern, its heel against the coamings of the poop skylight, well-shored and backed up against the mizzen-mast, and with a cross-lashing, to the strong-back, on the poop. A runner and tackle, was used for a topping lift, with an auxiliary up and down tackle, one-third of the way from the head. The guys were fore-and-main-top sail-tackles taken to the cutter’s davit head; the belly guys, were two luffs, and two lufis were also used for heel tackles. So far this was the gear used to support the jibboom as a derrick against the weight that would come on it when lifting the rudder; and in addition to its usual rigging the mizzen-mast was further supported by the mainstay tacklet, its wire pendant being taken through the lubber's hole and hooked to its own part; the single block was hooked to a strap round the lower part of the mainmast, and the fall taken forward.
As to the means which were used for raising the rudder, the purchase, consisted of the screw purchase, the lower block was treble, the upper double, and the standing part made fast to derrick head, the fall was rove through a leading block at the derrick head, and from there through a block at the mizzen-masthead, and from thence down on to the 'pooip, and from there through a leading block to the upper-deck capstan, which was used to haul in the tackle and thus to heave the rudder up. In the heel of the rudder are two holes; a two-inch bolt is passed through the after one of these, and a chain strap secured to it, to which the derrick purchase was shackled. The rudder pendants, (which are the chains attached by a shackle to the upper part of the iron framework, in order that by means of them the rudder may be worked in case of the tiller being carried away) — were brought in over the poop and set well taut with luffs, the slack being taken in as the rudder lifted; this was done by the tackles until the pintles, four in number, were free of their braces; (the effect was also to steady the rudder as it was raised) the tail of the rudder, meanwhile, was hoisted out by the derrick, and when it had been raised a sufficient height was slung to the side of a lighter by the cat chain.
The purchase was then shifted to the head, and that was swayed up and similarly suspended by the rudder pendants to the bows of the lighter. The lighter was towed on shore and the rudder landed with some difficulty, as at Albany we were naturally entirely dependent on our own resources. When un-shipped a large break was found near the shoulder, where there was a flaw in the original forging; for nearly one half of the thickness of the rudder-head had altogether failed to be welded; the frame also was found to be cracked and twisted 22° near the lower part of the top pintle. The rudder was repaired by the ship's carpenters and engine-room staff. It was landed at the end of the pier and laid on its side; under the fractured and twisted part a fire was then kindled, and when the iron was at a white heat, it was bent back into position by means of levers extemporised from capstan bars.
It was quite impossible, with the means at our disposal, to weld the broken parts together; therefore a series of iron braces and straps were shrunk on, in order to give sufficient strength, it was hoped, to steer the ship under steam to Melbourne. When the process was complete the rudder was reshipped with little or no difficulty, and found to answer admirably. At Hobson's Bay the same process as to lightening and shifting the weights of the ship was repeated, and the same means used for hoisting out the damaged rudder, as we lay at anchor off Williamstown, where the rudder was landed and finally repaired by the firm of Johnston & Co. The Bacchante was docked previous to reshipping the rudder, which after being repaired was lowered down into the dock, whence it was hoisted into its place by our own derrick.
May 19: A cricket-match between an eleven of the ship, in which George played, versus the Albany Union Club. We made eighty-three and they made twelve in the first innings; it was a good ground, and the day was fine, with not too much sun, thermometer 65°. We then went in again and got 133; they made 18 but all their men were not out. The Bacchante's band came on shore, and played up at the cricket-field, where there were many of the colonists and a few aborigines.
May 20: Left the ship at 9am with two ward-room and two gun-room messmates. Walked to the police barracks, there mounted on horseback, and started with Mr Loftie for Marblup and Wilson's Creek. Along the Perth road for a mile out of the town, then turned off on the left through the scrub. The wood at first consists chiefly of various kinds of banksias and "black boys" (huge cactus-like shrubs, of which there are several sorts, some short and knobby, others tall and tufted with green blossoms) and many other forms of vegetation, unknown in Europe except in hot-houses. The road track is rough, and where the soil is boggy widens out.
The eucalyptus is shedding its well-formed cups, or seed-pods, all over the ground; the peppermint trees with their willow-like leaves; the paper-bark trees, off the stems of which the bark peels in flakes like paper, and with foliage like the yew and a great quantity of scarlet bottle-bush, formed a thick cover on either side of the road, which occasionally showed signs, by the blackened stems of some of the taller trees, of having been at one time cleared by bush fires, although the undergrowth was now standing four or five feet high. A number of black cockatoos, of pretty grey honeysuckers and other birds with bright yellow wings were flying about. We crossed two rough wooden bridges, the one six miles from Albany and the next one mile further on, and then halted for an hour at Twelve-mile Bridge, newly constructed of wood over a small ravine, on the sides of which, after having loosened our horses' girths, we sat down to eat our sandwiches and drink the cold tea we were carrying in our flasks.
The ground is very dry and seeing the way in which the grass and leaves take fire when a lighted match is casually dropped upon them, we can quite understand how easy it is when there is a little wind for fires to spread in the bush. Dr Rogers overtook us here, having started later from Albany; he was in an American cavalry regiment all through the Northern War. He gave us also many amusing stories of his adventures in other parts of the world. We rode on to Marblup, where we arrived about 4pm, 30 miles from Albany, at Mr Young's farmhouse and clearing. The mantelpieces, the tables, the cupboards, and all the furniture, are made of mahogany or the darker jarrah wood, and have a solid and handsome look. The broad large inglenook, with seats on either side, looks un-commonly snug with the iron dogs for the logs.
Mr and Mrs Young, their two sons and two daughters, gave us a hearty welcome and after taking a draught of warm fresh milk (of which there seems an inexhaustible supply all over the place), we walked up to the small shanty in which we are to stay. This consists of two rooms completely empty and with clean bare floors; each room has a large open fireplace and plenty of jarrah wood, a pile of which last is stacked in the verandah outside, so as to be conveniently handy for throwing on the fire all night through. Two grand wood-fires are already burning bright and dry, such a contrast to what we have had for the last few weeks on board ship.
A small two- wheeled cart that has brought our mattresses and rugs, and what few things we want for the night, has arrived before us, and we proceed at once to make our toilet in the open air, for there is plenty of fresh water in the tank outside and a small wooden trough does duty by turns for each of the party. Bevis, a large kangaroo dog, a sort of huge brown Scotch greyhound, looks on as we make ourselves ready for Mrs Young's tea-supper, for which we went back to the farmhouse and there everyone was very hearty and jolly and did ample justice to the fowls, minced kangaroo, the jam, cream, scones,- and no end of beautiful fresh milk and butter, such as we had not tasted since we had left England (for there is none, or very little, of either of these two last in South Africa or in South America).The day has been cloudy, but without any rain, though everyone says there is every sign of it being wet and windy to-morrow, one of which is that the hills in the distance are intensely blue. After tea, we found our way up across the paddock to our night-quarters and there we slept as soundly as possible (nine in the two rooms), with the windows open and the fires burning.
Two iron bedsteads have been rigged up in one of the rooms by the care of the good Scotchman who owns the farm, and the rest sleep on mattresses spread on the floor with their rugs wrapped round them. There are two pails of fresh milk set out for us, which some drink neat and others prefer to take mixed with a little whisky before turning in. Some fall asleep at once, others not so soon; the American doctor's cheery ringing laugh sounding long on the quiet night air, as he and the Commander tell alternately the most astounding yarns, each with a d’noiiment more startling than the last. In the silent pauses between the tales, while they are collecting their wits, we can hear the croaking of the frogs away in the distance on the borders of the marsh, and with these two sounds alternately ringing in our ears we fall asleep.
May 21: Up at daybreak for the kangaroo hunt. First, however, in the delicious sunshine of the early morning ran down to the creek and had a good sponge bath amid the rocks in the cool sea-water under the forest trees; since, owing to its shallowness, which extends for a mile from the shore, it was impossible to get a swim; and then, after taking a draught of fresh milk and a few mouthfuls of scones, started away at once. We rode after the kangaroo through the bush, and soon put up a few, two of which, by the help of the dogs, we killed, and kept their pads, which we sent home to the Princess of Wales by the next mail as those of the first kangaroos we have seen in their native land. We also caught an opossum which we found in the traditional position up a gum-tree.
Returning at 11am, had an excellent breakfast in the kitchen of the farmhouse, agreeing that no cream or milk, butter or eggs, bread or tea, we had ever tasted was half so good as those here set before us.
Meanwhile the two policemen had gone down to the creek and caught some snapper and mackerel with lines, though generally the fish here are netted, and the fishing nets are now hanging up in the yard, where they are being mended. There are a quantity of robins, only larger than ours at home, and another bird with a yellow breast, all about in the fields near the house; these last are neatly cultivated with potatoes and corn. The paddock of good grass is fenced round and sheltered by tall gum-trees; the outhouses are long, built of wood, and shingled; the tree-stems are all blackened by the frequent bush-fires, after which the grass grows better.
Mr Young has been here forty years, and hails from Scotland. He possesses 400 acres of freehold and leases another 40,000 of the bush from Government. He was one of the sturdy early settlers, but is still strong and hale after nearly half a century of colonisation and his stalwart sons now help him in looking after the farm and sheep station. May he and Mrs Young for many years yet take life easily in the evening of their days, enjoying the affections of a home from which they may see their children marry and go forth to such other homes of their own, honest workers, with a shrewd wit, to gather around them as years go on similar possessions and increasing prosperity.
There is a little orchard of English fruit trees, flowers and garden produce in front of his cottage, round which there is a broad verandah festooned with vines, which grow well here in the open air. There is no part of the world which can boast finer and more easily-grown grapes than Western Australia. A very drinkable and most wholesome wine is now made in the best vineyards, but time is required before the capabilities of the soil can be brought to perfection. The ground cleared roundabout under the eucalyptus trees, and now covered with good turf, gives the place an appearance of being in an English park. From the shanty we have occupied, at the top of the hill behind, there is a wide view right away over the woods and creek, and to' the far-off hills beyond. Telegram arrived from Melbourne saying that the remainder of the squadron are off Cape Otway.
At 1.30pm we started to walk round the lagoon with John Young and Dr Rogers, to look for wild duck; the Commander and the rest were to circle round the other end, shooting as they went, and so meet us on the opposite side. On coming down to a little creek, we crept cautiously through the bushes and dried reed-beds, and found a lot of duck at once, which were quietly swimming about in the water. They are very shy, and have to be stalked until within gunshot range; one of the party incautiously showed himself and the duck got away. The next time we were more wary, and managed to get nearer to another lot in the next creek, where George made some good flying shots high overhead, whilst other birds that came close were missed.
The whole place seemed alive with teal, divers, crane, mallard, and black swan. A large flock of these last, however, kept more than a mile away right out in the centre of the lagoon. We hear the other party firing in the distance and continue our walk round the shores of the lagoon, which reminds us of the pictures of the " Dismal Swamp; " for amidst the reeds and rushes are lots of paper-bark trees lying about in all sorts of queer-shaped logs, just as they have fallen from time to time and there been left uncared for ; and besides these, there are countless black boys in all directions, short and stumpy, tall and slender. Of these last the cattle are said to be very fond, and a little further on we came across a flock of sheep that were being driven by some native black fellows, and seemed to be nibbling at them. We had with us "Jemmy," a half-caste boy between an Australian black and a Malay; he had a shiny black skin, and at the same time black curly hair, long and thick ; and though short seemed a handy lad.
We came upon the rest of the party as agreed, and then, in order to get at the black swan which we saw swimming in the middle of the lagoon, set off to wade across, where at low water it is only one foot deep ; this shallow bank, or tongue, stretches right across the lagoon, and along it we waded with the water up to our knees. The Commander with his rifle got one shot at the swan, and one bird fell, but they were outside gunshot range, and were all off at once, rising high in the air. We come out at the edge of the lagoon and make our way up to the cottage again; a honeysucker and a few other small birds are shot on the way. We have had a fine day's outing; the sense of freedom and the splendid dryness of the air are most delicious. We are, however, too many for proper sport, and it is impossible to restrain the natural excitement of some of the party, who as they find themselves drawing nearer and nearer to their game, are too readily thrown off their guard before the proper moment arrives, and so the birds and animals elude our shot accordingly. We had a good tea in Mrs Young's kitchen, and found that the kangaroo we had got in the morning was when minced very excellent. After supper the wind and rain began, and it was a very squally night.
May 22: After sleeping very soundly went down for a sponge bath in the sea-water in the creek off the rocks, and found it very cold. On returning we did full justice to our breakfast. Round each of our two plates Mrs. Young had laid a small wreath of rosebuds, "for Sunday morning, and in memory of England." When the things were cleared away we had a short service in the kitchen, at which the whole family attended and joined. This patriarchal and simple praise and prayer ended, we mounted our horses, and having thanked Mr. and Mrs. Young for their kindness, and the hospitable introduction which they had given us to a settler's life in the Australian bush, we started for Albany soon after noon. Eddy had ridden up on a black horse, called " Leo " after the present Pope, and he had a long swinging trot so rare in Australian horses ; but he returned to-day on a chestnut called " Hengist," who had a delightful canter. Curiously in Western Australia the black Australian native is often a better tamer of a buck-jumper than Europeans, though he can never have seen a horse before these latter introduced the animal.
There are of course many Australians whom no native can beat. The two things required are great strength of leg muscle, and a very strong saddle-girth ; if that bursts you are done. The great secret of success is to break the horse in at once, directly he has been first taken from the herd, and he will be quite quiet at theend of a week if he is never allowed to buck-jump a man; but if he throws one or two men he will never be broken. Mr. Loftie, a
great rider himself, says that when he gets on a buck-jumper, directly he feels the horse is going to buck-jump he catches him a tremendous cut on the shoulder, and digs his spurs into his side and makes the animal thus bound forward and gallop, and this is doneagain and again till the beast apparently forgets to buck-jump, and is quite subdued. There is a considerable export trade in horses to India and the Straits Settlements from Western Australia.
They are good and cheap, 30/. being a long price for the best mount. The horses we are riding to-day belong to the police force; they are usually at the end of a day turned out ungroomed into the clearing, and left to roll and feed themselves, and are ready again for the saddle the next day. The ordinary travelling pace for long distances with these horses is six miles an hour ; they walk well, and then go at a steady trot or slow canter, then walk again. The two mounted police who have accompanied us in this excursion are both Western Australians born and bred — Wheelock and Hayman — strong-limbed, and bronze-faced, with fair hair and beard, and bright eye. Their uniform is a very sensible one, and consists of a light blue riding-coat and cap with white band, in front of which is a swan, the badge of the colony, in silver, and the words "Police Force " round it.
The weather was cloudy, but there was no rain as we rode back through the bush. We halted again at Twelve-mile Bridge at 2.30 p.m. for a pocket lunch, and arrived in Albany at 5.30 P.M. and went off to the ship in the usual six o'clock boat. We heard then that two parties of officers had two days before left the ship in two shore-boats to go to Breaksea Island, eight or nine miles farther down the Sound, for rabbit shooting. One party (consisting of Farquhar, Fisher, Henderson, and John Scott), had left with two boatmen on Friday morning in the Tommy Dod, a four-oared American whale-boat. They had first landed at and tried Oyster Harbour for duck and swan, and after sleeping that night there in their boat proceeded on Saturday morning to Breaksea Island. There they found the second party (consisting of Adair, Ingram, Le Marchant, Limpus, Osborne, and Hardinge), who had sailed down thither in another whale-boat that same morning. Both parties, after shooting all day on the rocky island among the scrub, managed to bag about thirty-five rabbits, a couple of dozen quail, and one or two rock wallaby. While they were there a strong wind arose from the north-west which would be naturally dead in their teeth on returning up the Sound.
At sunset, about an hour after they left the island, the wind that was already blowing very fresh increased. The worst of the two boats (she had been nicknamed Coffin before this by the residents) left the island at 5.30 P.M., manned by two of her own crew, one of our lieutenants, two subs, and three midshipmen, to pull back the distance against the wind and sea. About a quarter-past six the better boat of the two, under the charge of the two Douglases, and containing two of our lieutenants and two gun-room officers, also left the island, overtook and passed the other boat, and ultimately got back up the Sound, and succeedied in landing at the promontory at Oyster Harbour about midnight. Their pull was more exciting than pleasant; the seas kept breaking over the boat's bows, frequently with their force unshipping all the oars, and almost filling her up to the thwarts; it was with the greatest difficulty they kept her head to sea ; and in one of the heaviest pitches she split one of the garboard streaks and sprung a leak. That one of the crew who was not rowing had to bale the whole time and, exhausted with
fatigue and benumbed with cold, could scarcely be kept awake. This went on for six mortal hours, which seemed a lifetime; fortunately two of the party were stalwart members of our racing boat's crew, and so managed to hold out. After landing they walked the five miles into Albany, and then, drenched to the skin as they were (for it was pouring with rain) and thoroughly done up with their six hours' pulling for dear life against wind and tide,
hands raw and muscles stiff, found themselves without any means at that time of night of getting off to the Bacchante where she lay in the centre of the Harbour.
Shivering with cold and hunger, they betook themselves to the police barracks, where the sergeant hospitably received them, gave them some dry clothes, the use of a fire, hot coffee and bread and butter, and allowed them to rest on the kitchen floor, and wrap themselves in blankets, &c., for which they were very grateful. As the other boat did not arrive, it was supposed at first she must be lost ; for when the Tommy Bod had passed her she was making no way whatever, and it seemed impossible to hope that where they in a well-found boat with a powerful crew had scarcely been able to reach the land, she could have done anything else but founder, especially since it was not until about an hour after they had passed her that the night was at its worst. So high was the wind and sea that the two Douglases, who for the last ten years twice every week have carried communications between the lighthouse on Breaksea and the shore, stated that they had never known so bad a night as this. When she did not appear the next morning the worst fears for her safety were intensified, for it was considered impossible that she could have turned round in the heavy sea that was running with out having been instantly swamped, supposing those in her had tried to run back before the wind to Breaksea. Besides which, even if they should have succeeded in turning her, it seemed exceedingly improbable that even if they fetched Breaksea they would be able to effect a landing there in the darkness of the night, and when the rope ladder, by means of which alone any one can get on to the island, had been hauled up; and if they did not fetch Breaksea, the only other alternative was that they had been swept out to sea past the island by the wind and tide.
As it providentially happened, however, they had succeeded in turning the boat round before the worst of the storm broke upon them, and when they neared the island, by firing off their guns they had attracted the attention of the lighthouse-keeper, who lowered the ladder, up which they were thankful to scramble and find themselves once more on terra firma. There they were most hospitably received by the lighthouse-keeper and his wife, found everything most beautifully clean and comfortable, and were warmly housed for the night. But their friends who had made the shore were not aware of their good fortune, and the utmost anxiety prevailed for them, until at dawn the next morning the harbour-master made a signal to the lighthouse-keeper to inquire if he knew anything about them, and received the welcome reply, " Party safe." Next day, when the wind lulled, they too returned to the ship.
May 23: Meanwhile divers and carpenters had been employed about the rudder, and on Saturday 21st it had been hoisted out and secured to the side of the lighter, and this morning it was sent on shore towed by the steam pinnace. It will be temporarily repaired here, enough to get the ship under steam to Melbourne, and there we shall be detained another three weeks or so until the repairs are completed, and probably the ship will have to go into dock. The rudder is a very large one, in order that the ship may be handy for steam manoeuvres.
May 24: Sent birthday telegram to the Queen at Balmoral and received reply. Dressed ship rainbow fashion — then hung up the washed clothes in the rigging to dry, where they remained all day long. At noon fired a royal salute of twenty-one guns, and drank the Queen's health in the ward- room. The town council of Fremantle, the second town in the colony and chief port, telegraphed to us both their congratulations and expressions of loyalty,
for which we thanked them, and said, '' We were very glad to be spending the Queen's birthday amid the loyalty of our fellow subjects on Australian soil." The Queen's birthday is the great gala-day throughout the whole of Australasia and each of these seven colonies vies with its neighbour in celebrating it loyally.
We had athletic sports for the ship's company ashore on the cricket-ground, which were great fun. There was a three-legged race, in which men ran in pairs, with the right leg of one tied to the left leg of the other; a jockey race in which the men who ran each carried another on his back; a tug of war, for which there were five entries — marines, two teams of bluejackets, one of stokers, one of townsfolk ; a sack race ; and a 100 yards flat
race for the town boys of Albany, and another for the men of Albany, and all comers. An Aunt Sally was managed by two of our petty officers, and a third was dressed up in petticoats as an old woman, and was the centre of some few admirers in one corner of the field. We went off to lunch with Mr. Loftie at his new house down by the sea; the great nuisance he has there are the black flat-headed snakes, whose bite is mortal.
They get into the cellars, and he heard a couple of them " cooing together," which is curious, for snakes are generally supposed to be dumb and voiceless. We afterwards returned to the field. It has been a fine bright
day, thermometer only 60°. The bluejackets on coming on board had a special supper in honour of the day.
May 25: At 4am arrived the P. & O. mail-steamer and sailed at 8 A.M. for Adelaide. It happened to be my duty to board her as midshipman in charge of the gTiard-boat, and I was amused when in course of conversation on her deck one of her officers remarked, "What a nuisance it is that the Princes are going to Adelaide with us." " Yes," I replied, " I quite agree with you, it would be." Shortly afterwards, when the officer of the guard came up and introduced us together we had a good laugh. At dinner today we had the two tails of the kangaroo which we brought down from Marblup made into soup. It tastes like oxtail, but with a soiqogon of something peculiar.
May 26: Usual school as every morning, and routine on board. Artificers on shore mending the rudder, which, having been made red hot, they are gradually bending straight by means of levers. The day was dull and chilly, the wind being from the south-east. An eleven of the officers played eighteen of the ship's company at cricket, in which the former won by an innings and a few runs. Afterwards we walked up to the head of the harbour and along the whole length of its sandy beach, which is thickly covered with very small and delicate shells. Princess Royal Harbour is said to be gradually silting up through the accumulation of sand which is blown over from the dunes outside when the wind is southerly. Find that Bass's beer is here two shillings a bottle; the Albany beer is thick and heady.
May 27: We heard today that Prince Leopold had been created Duke of Albany, but found it was not from Albany in Australia, but from " a district embracing Glenorchy in Argyleshire, Athou and Breadalbane in Perthshire, and Glenaber in Inverness," that he takes his title, but all the same it is an odd coincidence as this Albany is derived from that Albany. The chief engineer is ashore to-day, shrinking on the bands round the rudder-head to keep the two broken pieces in place. Mr. Loftie and Dr. Rogers came off to lunch; afterwards we "expended the quarterly allowance " of outrigger and hand charges from the steam pinnace, but failed to obtain any fish by that means as we had done at St. Vincent.
May 28: At 9.30am started in steam pinnace, with the Commander and three officers and our shore-friend the American doctor, to run down the Sound to Breaksea Island to shoot rabbits. We landed soon after 11am and broke up into two parties and began shooting at once. It was a beautiful day, but rather warm walking in the sun. At 2.30pm we went up to the lighthouse to lunch, where Mr. and Mrs. Turner received us very kindly; they
are the only people who live on the island. After lunch we went on shooting again, and our bag at the end of the day was two wallabies, three quail, and twenty-two rabbits ; there are plenty of these last on the island, and we might have got more if we had had dogs to put them up. We left in the steam pinnace at 6pm, but found it rather awkward on account of the swell, to bring such a big boat close in enough to the rocks for the rope ladder, which
is over twenty feet long, to swing into from the cliff above. Arrived on board at 7.15pm There are signs that the weather is going to change, and that we shall have more wind and rain. This last came on the following day with a cold north wind. The Boh Boy steamer from Perth arrived; as she came into Princess Royal Harbour she stopped to tow off a little sailing brig which had gone
ashore here in the morning as she was trying to beat out of the narrow entrance.
May 29: H.M.S. Cleopatra arrived from Cape Otway at 9.30am where she was detached by the Admiral from the squadron before he went into Port Phillip, in order that she may render the Bacchante any assistance that may be needed. Captain Durrant reports having had heavy squally weather, with much rain the whole way across the bight. The Cleopatra has been now fifty-two days at sea since leaving the Cape of Good Hope. The yarn is that her steel sides are so thin, and give so readily, that they are bent in like brown paper in one or two places by the force of the heavy seas we met with coming from the Cape. They are of such light construction in order that a common shell may pass through them without bursting on impact. For some reason or other — which it is always difficult in such cases to define, though perhaps it may be owing to the fact that most of our working first-class petty officers were west countrymen, and the Cleopatra was also a west country ship fitted out at Devonport — there had sprung up early in the cruise a general friendly feeling between the ship's company of the Cleojoatra and our own and directly it was known on board that she was coming here from Melbourne in order to convoy the Bacchante thither, our ship's company made a subscription among themselves to purchase ashore sufficient fresh food and vegetables for all her men's messes, and directly she anchored sent alongside in the pinnace this gift of fresh meat, bread, and vegetables, which they had procured for their squadron-mates in their "chummy
ship." A general invitation to dinner was sent by our ward-room and gun-room officers to hers.
We learn that when the flag with the other three ships of the squadron arrived at the rendezvous off Cape Otway on the 21st, three days after losing us at sea, the Admiral stood off from the land, still waiting in hopes that
the Bacchante would come up, out of consideration for those in England, in order that no disquieting report might be telegraphed home as to her not being with him. The signal, however, was all the time flashing from the lighthouse that the Bacchante was safe in Albany, but as it was then getting dusk, the squadron did not learn what had occurred until the news was brought off to them later by the pilot-boat. George played in the Bacchante's second eleven, against the Albany eleven to-day; we won by seven runs. The first lieutenant provided a liberal lunch in the cricket tent in memory of " the glorious 1st of June."
May 31: The homeward-bound P. & O. mail Khedive arrived from Adelaide and Melbourne, bringing us the first mails we have had for two months from England, and these in consequence were rather heavy. She sailed again at 6.30pm and we said good-bye to Currey, who takes passage in her to England. We are very sorry to lose him as a messmate ; he was rowed on board her by a gun-room crew. In passing his seamanship examination for lieutenant he got a very good first class, taking 995 marks out of 1,000. The wind is drawing round to the south with heavy squalls, hail, and lightning, which continued for the next three days, it being very cold, thermometer down to 46°. Roxby and Curzon have started with Mr. Loftie to ride up forty miles along the Perth road, and then into the bush to Gardenup from which shooting expedition they returned on Friday, having thoroughly enjoyed it, and bagged six kangaroos.
June 3: George's birthday. Raining hard nearly the whole day. Three bluejackets, who had gone ashore on leave, returned on board to-day, after having been lost for a night in the bush, which is very easily done when you once get off the beaten track; after dark they had the sense, however, instead of wandering further about, to stop still where they were and lit a fire for the night. They had caught an opossum, which they roasted in its skin and
shared amongst the three for supper; with the exception of that and three quail which they had managed to shoot, they had had nothing to eat for thirty-six hours, and therefore came on board at mid-day a bit hungry, and got a rub down for their folly, which might have ended worse, except for the good sense of one of the quartermasters, who was the senior of the party. We dined tonight with Mr. and Mrs. Loftie, and afterwards went to a ball given
by Mr. Hassell at the court-house, or magistrates' quarters, which was simply but effectively decorated, and to which most of the officers of the Bacchante and Cleopatra came. We danced nearly every dance, and every one seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly. The Bacchante's band furnished the music.
June 4: Exercised running Whitehead torpedoes at a spar that was towed astern of the whaler, with George in charge. The second torpedo that was fired, when it hit the water, deflected from 3° to 5" to the left, ran along the surface and, striking the whaler, ran clean through the port side of the boat, and remained there as a plug fast wedged in the air-cases, which it had penetrated. The boat at once filled, but, being a life-boat, kept afloat, and was towed alongside with the torpedo still sticking in it by Captain Durrant in his galley. The torpedo was then extracted, and the boat hoisted up ; it was a lucky thing that nobody's legs were broken. Though it was Saturday afternoon we manned and armed boats, launch and pinnace away, afterwards firing. There was a cricket-match between the Bacchantes and Cleopatras, both skippers playing. In the first innings we made sixty-eight and they thirty-nine ; going in again they made only seventeen, so we won by an innings and twelve runs.
June 5: Whit-Sunday. Heavy showers and squalls, wind from the north-west, drawing round to the south ; services on board as usual, and Holy Communion.
June 6: Running torpedoes in the forenoon. The second eleven played a return match against the Albany eleven, and beat them easily again. They gave us lunch at the cricket-field; it was a bright, warm day and very pleasant, In the afternoon there was a riding party to King Point, from the high ground above which the best view is obtained all over the Sound and its twin off-shoots. Princess Royal and Oyster Harbours, especially in the low light of the afternoon. From there we rode down over the hill to Middleton beach, on the opposite slope, descending to which, through the eucalyptus woods, another and quite different view opens inland over the scrub far away to the lagoons and high hills beyond. On the sandy beach here, as we were galloping full tilt, one of the horses caught his forefeet in a hole, and turning head over heels, rolled twice over his rider before he got free. Luckily the sand was very loose where he fell, and so no bones were broken; though very stiff, he was able to mount and ride into the towm, two miles distant, at a walking pace. He had a hot bath directly he got on board, but felt the effects for some weeks afterwards. Mr Johnson, the rector of Albany, dined on board; as an Oxford man he is not more isolated here than he would be in many an English village, though he is 200 miles away from the nearest clergyman. For the telegraph gives him the latest European news every morning, and mail steamers which call in often bring him a passing colonial bishop on his flight homewards or outwards. The place too is uncommonly healthy, and the people are hearty and kindly disposed.
June 7: The "Snowdrop Minstrels" (the Bacchante's negro troupe) gave an entertainment at the court-house this evening, on behalf of the Seamen and Marines' Orphans' Home at Portsmouth, at which they got £18. The next day Mr. Loftie came off and brought us two white cockatoos, one of which afterwards became un-commonly tame and a general favourite on board up to the day v/e arrived in England. His berth on board was usually in the stoke-hole, where he was taught many graceful tricks by the chief engineer, and succeeded in imitating to a nicety the various sounds of the machinery and of the men when " getting up ashes." A picnic party went away in the steam pinnace towing the dingy up Oyster Harbour and the King River, where some of the youngsters got left behind, and had to find their way home in the dark through the bush. We have been here three weeks now. Adelaide is only three days distant,' so we are going thither by next mail in order to visit South Australia, and hope to rejoin the ship at Melbourne, where the captain expects to arrive about the I7th.
June 9: Were roused out at 1.30am as the mail was in. We went on board in the pinnace by the light of the moon and stars, which, together with the comet, and Saturn and Jupiter in conjunction, were all then brightly shining. We secured two good cabins that happened to be vacant as far forward as possible. At 4am the Cathay, Captain Robbie, got under way. We had first said good-bye to Mr. Loftie, who had come on board to see us off, and thanked him for the constant efforts he had made to render our three weeks' stay in the neighbourhood of King George's Sound an agreeable one; we asked him also to convey to the Governor our regret that we could not visit Perth, the capital of the colony. We shall ever cherish a grateful reminiscence of the kindly loyalty we have experienced from all the Queen's subjects at this our first landing-place in Australia. We steamed round the Bacchante and Cleopatra, whose lights and those of the pilot's cottage, burning bright at the top of the harbour, were the last sight we saw before we turned in and slept sound till 8am the next morning.