Sunday, 12th November, 1769

Sunday, 12th. P.M. had Strong Gales at North-East, and hazey, rainy weather; A.M. a fresh breeze at North-West, and Clear weather. In the morning got on board a Turn of Water, and afterwards sent the Long boat into the River for Oysters to take to sea with us; and I went with the Pinnace and Yawl, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, over to the North side of the Bay in order to take a View of the Country and the Fortified Village which stands there. We landed about a mile from it, and were meet by the inhabitants in our way thither, who, with a great deal of good nature and friendship, conducted us into the place and shew’d us everything that was there.

This village is built upon a high Promontory or point on the North side and near the head of the Bay. It is in some places quite inaccessible to man, and in others very difficult, except on that side which faced the narrow ridge of the hill on which it stands. Here it is defended by a double ditch, a bank and 2 rows of Picketing, the inner row upon the Bank; but not so near the Crown but what there was good room for men to Walk and handle their Arms between the Picketing and the inner Ditch. The outer Picketing was between the 2 Ditches, and laid sloping with their upper ends hanging over the inner Ditch. The Depth of this Ditch from the bottom to the Crown of the bank was 24 feet. Close within the inner Plcketing was erected by strong Posts a stage 30 feet high and 40 in length and 6 feet broad. The use of this stage was to stand upon to throw Darts at the Assailants, and a number of Darts lay upon it for that purpose. At right angles to this Stage and a few paces from it was another of the same Construction and bigness; this stood likewise within the Picketing, and was intended for the same use as the other–viz., to stand upon to throw stones and darts upon the Enemy as they advanc’d up the side of the Hill where lay the Main way into the place. It likewise might be intended to defend some little outworks and hutts that lay at the Skirts and on this side of the Hill. These outworks were not intended as advanced Posts, but for such of the Inhabitants to live in as had not room in the Main works, but had taken Shelter under it. Besides the works on the land side, above described, the whole Villiage was Pallisaded round with a line of pretty strong Picketing run round the Edge of the hill. The ground within having not been level at first, but laid Sloping, they had divided it into little squares and Leveled each of these. These squares lay in the form of an Amphitheatre, and were each of them Pallisaded round, and had communication one with another by narrow lanes and little gateways, which could easily be stoped up, so that if an Enemy had forced the outer Picketing he had several others to incounter before the place could be easily reduced, supposing them to defend everyone of the places one after another. The main way leading into this fortification was up a very steep part of the Hill and thro’ a narrow passage about 12 feet long and under one of the Stages. I saw no door nor gate, but it might very soon have been barricaded up. Upon the whole I looked upon it to be very strong and well choose Post, and where a small number of resolute men might defend themselves a long time against a vast superior force, Arm’d in the manner as these People are. These seem’d to be prepared against a Siege, having laid up in store an immense quantity of Fern roots and a good many dry’d fish; but we did not see that they had any fresh Water nearer than a brook which runs close under the foot of a hill, from which I suppose they can at times get water, tho’ besiged, and keep it in gouards until they use it. Under the foot of the point on which the Village stands are 2 Rocks, the one just broke off from the Main and other detatched a little from it. They are both very small, and more fit for Birds to inhabit than men; yet there are houses and places of defence on each of them, and about a Mile to Eastward of these is another of these small Fortified rocks, which communicates with the Main by a Narrow pathway, where there is a small Villiage of the Natives. Many works of this kind we have seen upon small Islands and Rocks and Ridges of hills on all parts of the Coast, besides a great number of Fortified towns, to all appearances Vastly superior to this I have described. From this it should seem that the People must have long and frequent Warrs, and must have been long accustomed to it, otherwise they never would have invented such strong holds as these, the Erecting of which must cost them immense labour, considering the Tools they have to work with, which are only made of Wood and Stone. It is a little strange that with such a Warlike People, as these undoubtedly are, no Omissive weapons are found among them, such as bows and Arrows, Slings, etc., things in themselves so easily invented, and are common in every other part of the world. The Arms they use are long spears or Lances, a Staff about 5 feet long. Some of these are pointed at one end like a Serjeant’s Halberd, others are round and Sharp; the other ends are broad, something like the blade of an Oar. They have another sort about 4 1/2 feet long; these are shaped at one End like an Axe, and the other is made with a Sharp point. They have short Truncheons about a foot long, which they call Pattoo Pattoas; some made of wood, some of bone, and others of Stone. Those made of wood are Variously shaped, but those made of bone and Stone are of one shape, which is with a round handle, a broadish blade, which is thickest in the Middle and taper’d to an Edge all round. The use of these are to knock Men’s brains out, and to kill them outright after they are wounded; and they are certainly well contrived things for this purpose. Besides these Weapons they Throw stones and Darts; the Darts are 10 or 12 feet long, are made of hard wood, and are barbed at one end. They handle all their Arms with great Agility, particularly their long Pikes or Lances, against which we have no weapon that is an equal match except a Loaded Musquet.


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