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March 1862

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.

Saturday, 1 March 1862.
Blowing hard from S. E. all night, with very heavy rain ; and, as the gale continued all day from the same quarter, continued wooding until 7.30 p.m.

Sunday, 2 March 1862.
The gale continuing, with hard squalls, all night, at 5.30 a.m. weighed, to make the best of it, which was bad enough for the first two hours, until clear of the high land, and, on the strength of the flood tide, passed inside between the Molle Islands, anchoring under Shaw Island at 5.30 p.m. In coming up towards this anchorage, passed over a five-fathom bank, from fourteen to fourteen fathoms on each side of it. Saw also two rocks awash ; the one with a reef towards a small island, the other not connected apparently with, but about three-quarters of a mile off the W. S.W. end of this. The gale continuing from S. E., with hard squalls all night, all hands away at daylight for wood, &c.

Monday, 3 March 1862.
Continued wooding all day, and part of the night, to get it off at high water.

Tuesday, 4 March 1862.
No alteration in wind or weather. At daylight weighed, and stood on, having the whole flood tide in our favor, but only reached L. 1 Island at 2.50 p.m., where we anchored in a bay on the N.W. side, in sixteen fathoms water, the wind being as strong as ever. Plenty of tea-tree for firewood here, but not a very good landing-place to get it off. Had a party on shore cutting down, ready for morning.

Wednesday, 5 March 1862.
A change for the better in the weather during the night. Sent a boat for what wood they had cut at 4 a.m., and at 7 weighed and proceeded on, with moderate S.E., or head winds, passing through between Nos. 2 and 3 Percy Islands at 5.30 p.m., where we began to feel the ocean swell for the first time for six months. Passed High Peak Islands at 11.30 p.m.

Thursday, 6 March 1862.
Moderate winds from the eastward. Passed between the Keppel Islands at 11 a.m., and anchored in Keppel Bay at 11.30; started at once in the galley to obtain supplies from Rockhampton, the cutter following to take them down. Arrived, after a long and heavy pull, at 11.30 p.m.

Friday, 7 March 1862.
The cutter arrived at 2 a.m.; left again, with fresh provisons (sic), at 3 p.m.; and, as no coals were to be had, sent instructions to go on cutting wood enough to last for steaming purposes for three days.

Saturday, 8 March 1862.
Crew cutting and splitting wood. Clarence steamer arrived.

Sunday, 9 March 1862.

Monday, 10 March 1862.
Upon enquiry of Captain Cottier, he promises to let me have ten tons of coal. Closed accounts at night, and slept on board Clarence, to start at daylight.

Tuesday, 11 March 1862.
Clarence started at 6.30 a.m.; arrived in Keppel Bay at 11 a.m., and by Captain Cottier's kindness he delayed twenty-five minutes to tranship the ten tons of coal he had promised to lend me ; also stores and provisions for the use of the ship. Found that, in consequence of the weather, sufficient wood was not on board to continue the voyage. Ordered wooding to be continued, so as to start for Brisbane with three days steaming.

Wednesday, 12 March 1862.
Fine weather throughout. At noon ordered steam. 7.30 p.m. weighed and left. 5, Hummock Island west. Light S.E., wind, with confused head sea; making only five knots against it.

Thursday, 13 March.
At 10 a.m. Lady Elliot Islands north four miles. Latitude at noon 24° 11' S. 6 p.m., Sandy Cape S.S.W. 26 miles.

Friday, 14 March.
Calm and fine. Sighted steamer Clarence coming out of Wide Bay at 10 a.m. At 3.25 p.m. entered Moreton Bay, but no pilot being in sight, accepted the services of Mr Champion, mate of the Clarence, to pilot ship to her anchorage off the bar, where we anchored at 6 p.m. Proceeded to town per steamer Clarence, and reported my safe arrival by telegram to Melbourne. Waited upon His Excellency the Governor the same night.

Saturday, 15 March 1862.
Proceeded on board the steamer Telegraph, and by the kindness of Captain O'Reilly, sent supplies of fresh provisions down to the ship. Ordered of R. Towns and Co. 120 tons of coal.

Sunday, 16 March to Tuesday, 18 March 1862.
Fine weather. Sent a further supply of provisions and stores down to the ship.

Thursday, 20 March 1862.
Accepted the invitation of the Queensland Club, His Excellency the Governor being also a guest.

Friday, 21 March 1862.
Coals arrive alongside, taking them in and refitting ship until the 24th.

Monday, 24 March 1862.
When all being completed, left Brisbane and Moreton Bay. Pilot left ship at 8 p.m.

Tuesday, 25 March 1862.
Squally weather, with rain. All plain sail set. Engineers report great difficulty in obtaining steam with the coals received at Brisbane.

Wednesday, 26 March 1862.
Smoky Cape bore W. twenty-five miles. Stopped engines, and feathered the screw. Thick and squally weather. After cleaning furnaces, outfeathered the screw again, and steamed on at 4 p.m.

Thursday, 27 March 1862.
With this inferior coal, I consider it is necessary to call at Sydney for better fuel, not being able to obtain half speed with what we have on board. At 6 a.m. entered the Heads of Sydney, and anchored at Farm Cove at 7 a.m. Called upon the Honorable the Colonial Secretary, and got coals alongside and on board by 2 a.m.

Friday, 28 March 1862.
At noon left Sydney, for Melbourne, with fine weather, and very smooth water.

Saturday, 29 March 1862.
At noon passed Gabo Island.

Sunday, 30 March 1862.
At 10 a.m. passed Wilson's Promontory. At noon, unsettled weather. 2 p.m. strong westerly gale, with heavy rain, and in which the wind flew to the S.W., as usual blowing hard, but clearing up after 5 p.m., moderating during the night.

Monday, 31 March 1862.
Strong winds and squally from the S.S.W. At 3 a.m. made Cape Schanck light, and at 6 a.m. entered Port Phillip Heads, anchoring in Hobson's Bay at 9.35.

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