Nicholas Pateshall's diary

The first British attempt to establish a settlement at Port Phillip Bay was first and foremost an attempt to establish a convict settlement. A number of the officers recorded their experiences, and Third Lieutenant Nicholas Pateshall was one of them.

The convicts were transported in two ships, the transport Ocean and the 50-gun warship HMS Calcutta. Pateshall commented on the conditions on board when, shortly after sailing, the ship struck a storm: this time the Captn. had his Family on board, whose fear and sickness added to the noise of the unhappy wretches below, who naturally supposed from the confusion on deck, that every moment was their last, presented an awful scene.

– Third Lieutenant Nicholas Pateshall

Pateshall, N 1980, A short account of a voyage around the globe in HMS Calcutta 1803–04, ed. M Tipping, Queensberry Hill Press, Carlton, Vic.

This quote is taken from a book that includes a transcript of the original manuscript. Manuscript transcripts give you access to primary sources in closed collections, and decode often-illegible handwriting.

Pateshall had sympathy for the convicts and noted, '...if the keen affliction of leaving friends brought tears into the eyes of the oldest seaman, what must have been the feelings of the unhappy Convicts, banished for ever from their homes and many from relations most sincerely attached to them...' Once the ship was under way:

To make these wretches happy was the wish and study of us all, as soon as the Ship was in order for so long a Voyage: in the first place we released upwards of one hundred from Irons, and in this indulgence I did not forget some Herefordshire friends on board: many were put to keep watch with the Ship's company and we allowed as many upon deck at one time as was prudent.

– Third Lieutenant Nicholas Pateshall

Pateshall, N ca. 1803–1804, A short account of a voyage round the globe, performed in fifteen months, Manuscripts collection, State Library of Victoria. MS13479

The fact that Pateshall calls the convicts 'wretches', and allowed them onto the deck for some fresh air, illustrates his sympathy for them.

A number of convicts died on the voyage. One was believed to have poisoned himself, while the wife of one convict was said to have died of a broken heart. Four others died from the effects of sea sickness. Overall, '...the Convicts behaved in a most orderly manner, but we found a strict watch over them was necessary.' Notably for the future colony, John Pascoe Fawkner was on board accompanying his convict father.

Once the Calcutta and Ocean reached Port Phillip and settled at Sullivan Bay, Pateshall recorded his impressions of the settlement and his first encounters with the local Indigenous people. He made only a few references to the convicts though, mainly about their escape and recapture.

The original journal of Third Lieutenant Nicholas Pateshall is now held in the State Library of Victoria.

Diary entry from Third Lieutenant Nicholas Pateshall about the Sorrento settlement
Diary entry from Third Lieutenant Nicholas Pateshall about the mental state of the convicts in the settlement
Diary entry from Third Lieutenant Nicholas Pateshall describing the location of the Sorrento settlement
Diary entry from Third Lieutenant Nicholas Pateshall about the attempt to purify water using buried casks.