Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Instructions to Ensign Draffen

Newcastle 1805

Governor King to Major Johnston (King Papers),

15th March 1805.
Lieut. Menzies having resigned his situation as commandant of Newcastle district, and having maturely considered on the most expedient mode of conducting that settlement, I have the honor to request that the present officer (Ensign Draffin of the Corps under your command) now in command at that place may be continued.*

And as Mr. Throsby, magistrate and assistant surgeon, will be charged with the general superintendances and direction of the convicts, I have deemed it advisable to request you will forward the enclosed instructions to Ensign Draffin for his present guidance in the command of that settlement.

I have, etc., Philip Gidley King. {Enclosure)

Instructions to Ensign Draffin, of the New South Wales Corps, commanding at King's Town, Newcastle district, county of Northumberland.

1st. As all public works will be under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Charles Throsby, magistrate and assistant-surgeon, you will afford him every assistance which the service will admit of, and from whom you will receive the quarterly returns, transmitting them to me every safe opportunity, with such observations respecting the general state of the settlement as you may judge necessary for my information.

2nd. All the convicts male and female, having been sent to hard labour as a punishment, none are to be allowed to go off the stores but by my direction, as it must be evident they can have no visible means in that settlement of gaining an honest livelihood independent of His Majesty's stores.'

3rd. The labour of the convicts is to be for the public. Their general employment is to be confined to procuring cedar and coals, either for the purpose of sending here on Government account or to dispose thereof to individuals having my permission and to whom the following charges are to be made, viz., cedar at three half pence each superficial foot in the log and ten shillings per ton for coals; and should nay individuals require the labour of such prisoners as you may think proper to allow, they are to pay at the rate of three shillings and sixpence for each man's ration and labour per diem, and sixpence a day for the use of the tools; and the above regulation is exclusive of the fees and duties pointed out by the General Orders of the 24th of last March with which you provided with a copy, due returns of which are to be transmitted to me once a quarter for the purpose of being charged respectively on the commissary's accounts.

4th. The salt pans are to be kept constantly at work night and day, and the salt made to be sent here. Great care is to be taken of the salt meat casks and iron hoops for that purpose.

5th. If by any unavoidable accident your provisions should be diminished in so much as to occasion the necessity of going to a short ration, you are to substitute one species to make up another; but in case you are equally short of all kinds, it will be necessary to reduce the ration in time; but as fish are plentiful you are in no case, except from accident, to direct any part of the breeding stock being killed, nor the labouring oxen belonging to Government, without my directions for that purpose.

6th. In all ill behaviour of the convicts you are to direct Mr. Throsby, as a magistrate, to enquire into the merits of the complaint, and if necessary to examine witnesses on oath, when you will award such punishment, not exceeding 100 lashes, on the magistrate's opinion and your own judgment may deem necessary for preserving the peace and good order of the settlement.

7th The hours of the convicts' labour is to be from daylight till 8 o'clock, from half-past 8 till noon, and from 2 o'clock to sunset, unless Mr. Throsby should judge it more advantageous to give them task work.

8th No issues to take place from the public stores but by your order, as you are to consider yourself in every respect responsible for such articles as are or may be lodged therein, in the issues of which you are to act with as much caution and economy, as transmitting the storekeeper's account of provisions and stores received expended, and remains once a quarter, besides a return of provisions remaining, by convenient opportunities, at least once a fortnight, that I may be enabled to keep your supplies up.

9th. You are not to suffer any individuals to cut cedar, dig or load coals but by my particular permit in writing.

10th.You are to take care that no private vessel loads with the coals or timber obtained by those at public labour.

11th. If any vessel comes to the river without my license, you will confine the crew and detain the vessel by scuttling her until you receive my orders

12th. No private boat or vessel is to be permitted to proceed up the river for any purpose whatever

13th You are to cause the prayers of the Church of England to be read with all due solemnity every Sunday, and enforce a due observance of religion and good order, transmitting to me as often as opportunity may offer, a full account of your particular situation and transactions. - PHILIP GIDLEY KING

* When Charles Throsby arrived at Newcastle on the 20th March he found Ensign Draffin a helpless lunatic. Throsby immediately assumed control of the district.

Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. V, King 1803, 1804, 1805. Edited by F. M. Bladen, Lansdowne Slattery and Company, Mona Vale, N.S.W.,1979. p. 571.