Following an expedition to
Jervis Bay and Bass Strait in March 1801 the Lady Nelson accompanied by
the colonial vessel Francisproceeded to the
Hunter River in
June - July 1801 to take
various civil officers on a fact-finding and survey mission.
, George Cayley and
Dr. John Harris. After the Francis returned to Sydney with a
small cargo of coal, artist John William Lewin joined the expedition.
Lieutenant Paterson was under orders from Governor King to collect useful
information about the area.......
Memorandum by Governor King ( King papers)
9th June 1801
Objects to which Governor King requests
Lieut. Grant, and the other gentlemen going in the Lady Nelson to
Hunter's river will pay a particular attention.......
The nature of the soil in general.
Whether the grounds are overflowed, either by high
tides or by land floods
Whether the place may be thought healthy or
unhealthy on account of the mud banks which I am told surround the sides of the
If the water is sweet and good
The size of the trees and whether there is plenty
of timber for building, stone, limestone, or shells
How far it may be practicable for vessels to
frequent that port with safety, the quantity of coals that may be procured
there, the facility of procuring them, and what proportion of labour would be
necessary to keep a supply ready for vessels going thither for that article. To
assist the gentlemen in forming an idea on this head, a miner who has been there
before will accompany them.
To examine where the most eligible place would be
to form a settlement, both with respect to procuring coals and/or agricultural
On 14th June 1801Lieutenant Grant and
Dr. Harris disembarked at Coal Island (Nobbys) and raised the new Union on top
of the island.....
15th June 1801- The Lady Nelson was
taken round Pirate Point to the small bay with fresh water named by Colonel
Paterson Freshwater Bay
17th June 1801 - James Grant and Colonel
Paterson examined Ash Island
19th June 1801 - Colonel Paterson sighted
natives in the distance at Hunter River
was established at Newcastle and convicts were sent soon afterwards to begin
mining the coal...»
Following is an
extract from Memoirs of Hydrography outlining the movements of the Lady
Nelson in 1801.....
On arrival at Sydney, the
Lady Nelson was paid off, and Lieutenant Grant appointed to the command of the
armed ship Supply; but that vessel proving unseaworthy, he again resumed his
first charge, and on March 6th, 1801, left Sydney with the Bee (a decked launch)
as tender, under orders from the governor, Captain P. G. King R.N., to make a
thorough examination of Bass's strait. The Bee failing as a sea-boat, soon
returned to Sydney, and the Lady Nelson continued alone.
Mr. Cayley, a
botanist, who had been sent out from England by Sir Joseph Banks, accompanied
Lieutenant Grant, who also had with him
Mr. J. Murray, a mate R. N.,
Ensign Barralierthe surveyor of the
(George Cayley and Francis
Barralier both arrived on the Speedy in 1800.)
Jervis bay was examined,
and many interesting observations recorded as to the natives, their habits &c.
Continuing to the southward, the northern coast of Bass's strait was explored,
from Wilson's promontory to Western point, a distance of 70 miles; after which,
Botany Bay, to the southward of Sydney, was returned to.
Having taken on board
Lieut-Colonel Patterson(after whom the river Paterson was called), in company with the schooner
Francis, the Hunter river was explored, and coal being found in considerable
quantity, the Francis shortly afterwards sailed for Sydney with forty tons of
that commodity on board. Mr. Lewin a draughtsman now joined the party,
and proved of material assistance, in illustrating the surveys made, of the
Hunter River and Port Stephens. The Lady Nelson returned to Sydney July 25th,
1801, and Lieutenant Grant sailed November 9th, of the same year in the brig
Anna Josepha, laden with coal and timber, by way of Cape Horn and Falkland
islands, for the Cape of Good Hope. After a wild passage, during which, the
crazy vessel was becalmed for six weeks in the vicinity of Tristan d' Acunha,
Table bay was arrived at April 1st, 1802, and shortly afterwards Lieutenant
Grant embarked for England in H.M.S. Imperieuse. The first coal brought from
Australia in the Anna Josepha, realised 36 rix dollars a ton, at the Cape.....Memoirs
Nobbys c. 1807 painted by John William Lewin....Click on the image to go the the University of Newcastle's photo stream at
A similar work entitled The Lady Nelson and Francis Schooner entering Hunter's
River or Coal River, published January 10 1804 by T. Egerton, Whithall can be
seen at Lewin Wild Art Exhibition, State Library of NSW
Philip Gidley King...Historical Records of
New South Wales. Vol. IV.
Hunter and King. 1800, 1801, 1802. Edited by F. M. Bladen. p. 391