JOURNAL OF CHARLES BOYDELL.
The Mitchell Library has recently received as a gift from Mr, Gilbert John Chapman, of Camyr Allyn, East Gresford, a valuable manuscript journal of Mr. Charles Boydell. the first holder of Camyr Allyn.
Mr. Boydell, the founder in Australia of the wellknown family of that name, arrived in New South Wales by the ship Prince Regent in March 1826. In October of that year he received a grant of 640 acres at Paterson's Plains. A few years later it was recorded in the itinerary of the colony that much tobacco was being cultivated on the Paterson and Allyn Rivers by a number of settlers, of whom Boydell was one.
The journal covers the period from March 1830 to October 1834. The first entry records that he has commenced settling on his own farm with an establishment consisting of one free man and wife, two free fencers and seven assigned servants. On New Dear's Day 1831, he indulges in a brief stocktaking of his position.- "Another year has gone by and left me for one, I fear, not much better in condition than it found me. With choice of all professions who but myself would have selected a settler's life. Have bartered the comforts and luxuries of home for either going between the plough handles, heaving the hoe or some other delightful occupation. With about 5 acres of tobacco, 400 bushels of wheat, 6 acres of corn, 600 sheep, 70 or 80 cattle and 2 horses, I begin this year encumbered with difficulties not very trifling, yet full of hope, and confident of success."
In July he records a visit to Maitland, during which he went "to take a view of the steam packet, the first vessel of the sort that has paddled the waters of Australia". This was the Sophia Jane which reached Sydney from England in May 1831 and was immediately put into the Hunter River trade.
In July he wrote also.- "People all crazy about tobacco. Nothing less than 20 acres will satisfy the least sanguine. Monitor Hall has proved that 500 acres with each a crop of 1500 lbs. will not more than satisfy our population, which will give 750,000 lbs. Our population does not exceed 40,000. For the sake of argument we will allow 3/4 ths of that number to use 10 lbs. per annum which will give 300,000 lbs, leaving the enormous quantity of 450,000 lbs. to be dried for medicinal purposes or whatnot. For my part I do not understand his calculation, but have not seen the form in which it is brought forward. I believe it is pretty plausible."
During the whole period covered by the journal Boydell's tobacco throve, also his other crops and his stock. He tells of encounters with blacks who stole his crops, of a battle between parties of blacks, and gives many details of social visits on neighbouring properties and in Sydney. An interesting entry of 1833 is an aboriginal vocabulary collected from King Jacky, and there is an account of the same King's funeral. The journal also contains numerous accounts with valuable records of prices then current in the colony.