- Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 1 - Ch 8
- Written by Edward John Eyre
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October 3.—Leaving our horses to enjoy the good quarters we had selected for them, and a respite from their labours, Mr. Scott and I walked across the range into Port Lincoln, not a little surprising the good people there, who had not heard of our coming, and who imagined us to be many hundreds of miles away to the north. Calling upon Dr. Harvey, the only Government officer then at the settlement, I learnt with regret that it was quite impossible for me to procure the supplies I required in the town, whilst there were no vessels in the port, except foreign whalers, who were neither likely to have, nor be willing to part with the things I should require. What to do under such circumstances was rather a difficult question, and my principal hope was that some small coasting vessel might arrive in the course of a few days, or if not, I might try to hire a whale boat from one of the whaling vessels, and send her on to Adelaide. Dr. Harvey had a small open boat of four or five tons, but he did not seem willing to let her go; and unless I could communicate with Adelaide, flour was the only article I could procure, and that not from the stores in the town, but from a small stock belonging to the Government, which had been sent over to meet any emergency that might arise in so isolated a place. This was placed under the charge of Dr. Harvey, who, on behalf of the Government, kindly offered to let me have what I required, on condition that I would replace the same quantity, by the first opportunity.
Having made arrangements for a supply of fresh meat and a few vegetables during my stay, I walked out to examine the settlement. I found many neat cottages and other improvements since I had been here in 1839; and there were also a few gardens commenced, some of which were in a state of cultivation and appeared to be doing well. The population, however, had decreased, and many of the cottages were now unoccupied. Those who remained were principally persons who had lost everything, and who could not well get away, or who, on the other hand, had invested their property in the place, and could not leave it except at the sacrifice of almost everything they possessed. No one seemed to be doing well but the inn–keeper, and he owed his success chiefly to the custom or traffic of the foreign whalers who occasionally resorted here for refreshments. The stockholders, living a few miles from town, who ought to have succeeded the best, were getting dissatisfied at the many disadvantages which they laboured under, and the smallness of the community around them, and every thing wore a gloomy aspect.