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Smut, a fungal disease of grain crops, was also badly affecting their crops by 1819.Declining crop yields followed the completion of the compensation arrangements, and combined with lingering resentment at their forced deportation from Norfolk Island saw some of the Islanders sink into a melancholic despair marked by drunkenness and neglect of their properties.Relations between Norfolk Plains and Sydney were often strained and tense.These settlers had remained on Norfolk Island the longest, evading earlier inducements to deportation, and resented leaving their island home.It was not a good recipe for successful settlement.Contemporary observers such as Commissioner Bigge, and some later writers, have blamed the islanders for their failure to thrive and prosper at Norfolk Plains.Compensation for giving up their island home was to be given to the settlers, depending upon their class.
Both men supported the Norfolk Island settlers and their desire to remain in the home they had spent nearly 20 years building.He named the plains the Norfolk Plains, clearly intending to entice the Norfolk Islanders to this new home.The very name Norfolk Plains conjured up an image of abundance and plenty with a reassuring touch of homeliness.Governor King in New South Wales, previously the founding Lieutenant Governor of Norfolk Island in 1788, had sent Paterson to begin the colonization, and within a short time his party had penetrated deep into Palawa land.
They found countryside that was lightly timbered, fertile and well watered, and in 1805 an area about 17 kilometres south of Port Dalrymple was set aside as a Crown reserve.
Macquarie had no such affinities, and he placed Lieutenant Tankerville Crane of his own 73 Regiment in charge of the island with orders to let the buildings and public works run down and to entice the islanders to leave.