Thursday, January 26, 2006

An Australia Day post


This map of Sydney Cove, from the National Library of Australia, was drawn by one of the transported convicts in April 1788.

My great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Jane Langley, a wild girl and no mistake, is on one of those little boats, pregnant to someone other than five-greats grandpa Thomas Chipp, a Marine on one of the other little boats, whom she was yet to meet.

And this is a bit from The Timeless Land by Australian novelist Eleanor Dark, written in the early days of the Second World War and published in 1941 as borders and sovereignties were shifting all around the world. The novel is a landmark in Australian literature; the quotation is dedicated to Dr Sigmund Freud, who escaped from Vienna just in time to die of cancer instead of in the gas chambers. He died while Dark was writing this novel. She was a fan.

It's 1788 and a 'winged boat' full of strange-looking people has arrived on the beach at Port Jackson; the Aboriginal people are watching from the cliffs, including Bennilong, who's only six:


'Bennilong was particularly interested in the doings of a small group of men who were carrying a tall, slender sapling down to the eastern shore of the cove. Here they set it upright in the ground, embedding it firmly in a deep hole in the ground, which had been made ready to receive it, packing stones and earth about it so that it stood at last as if rooted. Could there, By-gone demanded, be wisdom in the minds of people who felled a tree for the express purpose of setting it up in a different place? But suddenly there fluttered out from its top an object so bright and beautiful that Bennilong, who dearly loved splendour and gay colours, felt his heart lift and turn in an anguish of admiration and covetousness. A rapt silence fell upon the watchers. They had never seen anything half so beautiful as this thing which was red as blood, and white as a cloud, and blue as the sky above it; they could not tear their eyes away from its brilliance, the lovely way shadows ran and coiled along it as it flapped in the afternoon sunlight, the gaiety and cheerfulness of its fluttering corners.

They were not at all surprised when they saw that it was to be worshipped. All the people assembled beneath it ... and then suddenly a noise shattered the silence.

Bennilong and his friends never knew how it happened, but they, who a moment ago had been lying or sitting on the ground, were now on their feet, strung to a desperate tension ... Far down in the harbour, curling round the distant headlands and away into the hills, went the echo of that appalling sound, and above the strange weapons of the invaders a little smoke hung, and then vanished.'

10 comments:

Brownie said...

Invaders yes. This day should not be celebrated only commemorated.
I think the Federation date is a good one because is is economic for local government to reduce fireworks to one night - NYE

re your Jane 1788 - very impressive to have a First Fleeter!!

I have a convict but he didn't get here till 1832. L Murdoch got 12 yewars for Falconios murder, my convict got 14 years for 'being in possession of a quantity of pigfat, for which he had no logical explanation'.
I reckon he gave the Mag some smart mouth. That must be where I inherited it from.
Have you done a post in the past I can look for on Jame and Mr Chipp?
I love genealogy.

R H said...

I've got two convict ancestors.

My dad and my uncle.

comicstriphero said...

Just a quick note to say congrats on ranking so highly in the blogging awards.

Nicely done.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Kitty B -- yes, I was thrilled when I found Jane the First Fleeter. She and her friend Mary 'lured a gentleman back to their rooms, and there robbed him of fourteen silver shillings', or words to that effect, for which they both got seven years. I was tracking back from my mum's father and started to get very excited when I got as far back as 'Sophia Chip, born Sydney 1803' -- Jane was her mother. MIght do an ancestors post soon.

RH -- now this DID make me laugh. Sorry to burst your bubble but I think one only gets kudos for transported convicts. (And don't tell me they got transported from Ararat to Pentridge, har har, either!)

comicstriphero: thank you for your very nice message. I was delighted to be nominated, and truly astonished to rack up a respectable number of votes.

R H said...

Forget about them, they're just dirty old bums.
Praise for a joke is good enough for me. I make up my own. And quick as a flash.
I still haven't found out what postmodern means. It could be affecting my life and I wouldn't know. But I doubt it. It's probably just something a monkey screamed out at a zoo one day and a professor walked past and heard it.
That's how all these rubbish words get started.

(I think Miss Brownie gets on the bottle a bit)

Ms Smack said...

I really enjoyed your post and impressions of Invasion Day.

My family are original residents of the Warrumbungle region in Sydney and were directly affected with historical massacres, and more.

I really enjoyed your post. thanks :)

Lorinda said...

I'm also a descendant of Jane Langley and Thomas Chipp, through their daughter Ann Chipp!

Pavlov's Cat said...

Hi Lorinda -- yes, my amazing sitemeter told me someone had done a 'Thomas Chipp' search this evening, so I came back to the archives on the off chance that whoever it was had posted a message. I'm descended (or at least this is what my research tells me) from another daughter, Sophia, who married a William Thompson. Five-Greats Grandma Jane seems to have been a bit of a tearaway! i

If it's any use to you I've also found some promising candidates for Thomas's parents -- John Chip (born c. 1730) and Hannah or Ann Chip nee Bows or Bowes (born c.1726).

Anonymous said...

You will find it is Hannah Bows.
I too am a desendant of Thomas Chipp and Jane Langley through there daughter Ann Chipp who married John Good.

Anonymous said...

I am a descendent of Jane and Thomas through Sophia Chipp and direct through to my grandmother Louisa Burton. I also have descendents through my fathers line to the Chartists and suffragettes in London. My husband tells me that is where I get my hard stance on things and the sxxt stirring. Our ancesters bred a lot of great Australians.