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ACT  2   8 people---5 boys--  3girls

ACT 2   Introduction. 1 girl By the time of the farewell, Dr. George Bass, had left the Navy and owned a share in a private Trading Ship . During his life as a serving Naval Surgeon, he had sailed and rowed a small dingy down to Bulli in NSW. Sailed and rowed with 6 sailors a whaleboat down the NSW Coast and discovered Westernport in Victoria.

He suspected that a strait existed. He then sailed with Matthew Flinders and found that Van Diemans Land ( Tasmania) was an Island separated from Australia.  He even climbed what today is called Mt. Wellington at Hobart. The exploration meant savings of several usually dangerous long days sailing when on route from England, India or South Africa to Sydney Cove.

Other things that Bass did was to sail to Cape Town South Africa, with his friend Lt. Mathew Flinders, in a ship commanded by Lt. John Waterhouse. They were to purchase sheep and cattle from the Dutch Governor, to help feed the starving Sydney Colony.

He also found missing cattle from the First Fleet at a place then and now called Cow pastures. He also attempted to find a route through the Blue Mountains, using climbing irons and ropes. He and his party abandoned the expedition after 14 days.

Bass also married John Waterhouse’s sister, while in England. He only lived with her for 10 weeks, because he then sailed to Sydney Cove and then disappeared while sailing to South America.

When Bass and Bishop arrived in Sydney Cove, they followed Governors Kings suggestion to sail to Polynesia and bring back to the colony pigs and vegetables.

SCENE: George Bass is the centre of a small group. Two of them, Lt. Murray, and Midshipman Brevedent had lately visited Westernport. Mrs. Marsden was anxious for her husband the Reverend religious prospects in the Church. Whilst Sarah Bird, an ex convict, is a successful business woman. Mrs. Greville occasionally acted on the stage.

PLAYERS:  George Bass and friend Charles Bishop. James Underwood, boat yard Owner.  Lt. John Murray  Capt. of  Lady Nelson.  French Midshipman Leon Brevedent. Mrs. Eliza Marsden.  Sarah Bird.  Mrs. Greville.


The Play   ACT  2

MRS.ELIZA  MARSDEN:  Well Sarah Bird, that was a fine piece of pork I purchased from you the other day.

SARAH  BIRD: Well, for that you have to thank those two gentlemen, Doctor George Bass and Captain Charles Bishop. They followed Governor King’s suggestion and brought pork back here from Polynesia. They also sold some to Commander Baudin.

MRS. ELIZA  MARSDEN: Well anyway Sarah, we may have some sheep, cattle and pork meat that the Reverend Marsden can sell you from our farm, very soon.

SARAH  BIRD: That will seem funny Mrs. Marsden, because I will probably sell some back to George Bass and Charlie Bishop, when they set sail to go across the ocean to the West Coast of South America soon.

MRS. ELIZA  MARSDEN: Charles are you really going to go to South America. The Reverend Samuel, my husband, says that the Pope of the Catholic Church has divided up South America. The West side to Spain, and the Eastern side to Portugal. The Spanish will imprison any non Spanish ship.

CHARLES  BISHOP: Well Mrs. Marsden, I have purchased Seal skins in Japan, and the West Coast of America, and sold them to Chinese merchants in Shanghai and Canton China. I have also bought Seal skins from Mr. Underwood here. He got them from the Islands separating us from Van Dieman’s land after George here discovered Westernport, and John Murray here also discovered Port Phillip Bay and other Islands. So I am not afraid to go to South America and upset Spanish claims.

SARAH  BIRD: George, you and Matthew Flinders and Captain Waterhouse, sailed from here at Sydney, over to South Africa, and bought sheep, and cattle from the Dutch Governor at Cape Town. Then brought them back here to Sydney on the orders of Governor Captain John Hunter. That was when our colony was starving is that true?

GEORGE BASS: Yes, that’s true. I am lucky now that I do not have to Doctor and repair sailors injuries any more. When I went back to England I married Captain Waterhouse’s sister. Here I am as a partner with Charles.

CHARLES  BISHOP: Mrs. Marsden, I also sailed with stores to Norfolk Island for the brother of Mr. George Campbell, then on to Tahiti. I brought back to Sydney the London missionary Society Members who were under attack by the natives.

MIDSHIPMAN  BREVEDENT: That must have been frightening Mr. Bishop, with your ship anchored in a Bay, surrounded by canoes of hostile natives. It sounds similar to the death of Captain Cook


CHARLES  BISHOP: Yes it was a bit like that. .Excuse me everyone, I feel quite ill. I must see if Surgeon D’Arcy Wentworth can help me. 

MRS. GREVILLE:  John, didn’t you say that the vegetables that Captain John Grant ordered you and all the crew to plant on that little island just inside Westernport, were still growing and looking good?

LT. JOHN MURRAY: Yes. That was a fine exploration with Captain Grant, George Caley the Botanist, and Francis Barrallier. He is that fine Officer standing over there in that other group. By the way Midshipman Brevedent, Francis Barrallier, drew the fine maps that Joseph Banks ensured you Frenchmen were given lots of copies, when he was helping you obtain Passports for your expedition. Your Captains Baudin and Hamelin would have been most grateful. 

MIDSHIPMAN  BREVEDENT: Yes the maps were very helpful. I have been lucky enough to meet with Ensign Barrallier and discuss the maps further.

LT. JOHN MURRAY: And of course you sailed through, what we call Bass Straight named after George here. 

JAMES UNDERWOOD: The Lady Nelson has had a bit of a flogging recently. It’s just as well that Matthew Flinders ordered you to stop helping him explore and map Australia, and to sail the ship directly to here at Sydney for repairs, when you were at Cumberland Island. The ship may have sunk if you had kept going.

MRS. GREVILLE: You didn’t tell me that your ship was so unsafe John. Why don’t you tell us about discovering Port Phillip bay 3 weeks before Mathew Flinders arrived.

LT. JOHN MURRAY: Ah well! I named it Port King after our Governor but he refused to accept the name and called it Port Phillip after Governor Arthur Phillip.  Anyway James this time we are lucky that your repair yard is able to carry out the repairs.

GEORGE BASS: James I hear that your Boat Building and Repair yard is expanding. Different boats from the tiny Tom Thumb  dinghy that Matty Flinders and I sailed down the coast, hey!

JAMES  UNDERWOOD: Well George, I must admit business is getting bigger, as the colony needs boats to service outlying area, and to get supplies from England, India and China. My biggest problem, is getting hemp to weave into sails and rope. It’s a pity Captain Cook’s find on Norfolk Island of hemp for rope, and pine trees for masts proved to be no good for our use in building boats.


GEORGE BASS:  The ship that was built on Norfolk Island called the Enterprise, out of local timbers was a very well built ship that Matty and I sailed on.

JAMES UNDERWOOD: It certainly was, but not long lasting enough for my yard. We do make a similar design, you and Mathew Flinders proved it a good design, when you sailed between this mainland and Van Diemans land.

 GEORGE  BASS: Let’s hear from this young French Officer, Midshipman Brevedent.  You know he actually sailed and rowed around an island in the top right hand corner of Westernport Bay. Something that I didn’t have time, or the inclination to do.

JAMES UNDERWOOD: Before we hear from Midshipman Brevedent, I must say that my Boat Building Yard was disappointed by Governor King selling Casuarina,. the boat built out of our Australian native Casuarina trees here in Sydney Cove, to the French Expedition. They now have three ships. Given a little more time we could have built a better type of boat.

LT. JOHN MURRAY: I must say that the Casuarina might be good in sailing into small coves or fooling around in rivers, but I think it might not sail very well to wind wards.

JAMES UNDERWOOD: I think it might have possible to make a kind of Lady Nelson type sliding keel to help them.

LT. JOHN MURRAY: Anyway from what I hear, when the Le Naturaliste, sails directly from here to France taking scientific items she will have to borrow crew members. That will leave the remaining two ships with very little crew members, because of illness.

MIDSHIPMAN  BREVEDENT: Pardon my English. Well Doctor Bass, when we were in Westernport, Lt. Pierre Millius actually organized the boat and crew, as well as giving me instructions about what to do and where to meet him and the other long boat crew the next day

 GEORGE  BASS: I seem to remember there was a lot of mud flats and a very strong tide there.

MIDSHIPMAN  BREVEDENT: Yes, that is true. We actually pushed the long boat onto a sandy strip to have a sleep. The mosquito’s were awful. Lt. Millius named the island in your language as French Island. In our language it is called Island Du Port Westernport.

MRS. GREVILLE:  That was a bit cheeky naming it French Island Midshipman. After all it is English territory.

MIDSHIPMAN  BREVEDENT: We did not think so at the time Madame. Mr. Faure our cartographer, actually drew  a whole map of Westernport.


GEORGE  BASS: Not so important Madam. Myself, Captain Grant of the Lady Nelson, with Lt. Murray and young Barrallier, and George Caley the botanist, did not undertake the task, so I congratulate the French expedition.

MRS. GREVILLE:  Well, if you are happy Doctor Bass, who are we to argue.

MIDSHIPMAN  BREVEDENT: Dr. Bass, your experience in Bass Straight, named after yourself, where you were making for the wrecked ship Sydney Cove, owned by Mr. Robert Campbell, to obtain stores, and your port stern planks were starting to make water, must have been very dangerous and scary.

 GEORGE  BASS: It actually felt rather funny when sailing with Matt around Van Diemans Land in a large Sailing ship, when we got to that area where my tiny longboat and crew of six, had sprung a leak on our voyage. We could have been drowned.

LT. JOHN MURRAY: George, did you ever find out if the wrecked sailing boat and Irish convict runaways you found on that little island just off Wilsons Promontory, stole the boat to go to China, and took the wrong turn after leaving Port Jackson, or were they trying to replicate Captain Cook’s voyage in reverse by sailing from Hicks Point to New Zealand and then up to China ?

GEORGE  BASS:  We were so amazed to see them and the seas were so rough that we only managed to put some on shore to walk northwards to port Jackson, and the old man and boy we took aboard on our return journey to Port Jackson knew nothing. Anyway, I am more interested to find out if the Coal Seams that I found at Newcastle, just North of Sydney, and at Bulli just South of Sydney, are being mined for the good of the colony, and could I carry a cargo, and sell it somewhere ?

LT. JOHN MURRAY: We have all heard about Captain Bligh’s journey of about 3000 miles in an open over laden long boat, because of Fletcher Christian’s mutiny. Maybe the Irish were going to row up the Coast line to China. If they were going to go by sailing eastward to New Zealand, then one of them would have to have been a navigator.

SARAH  BIRD: Anyway that’s men’s talk. We ladies are more interested in the affairs of the Colony. How are you getting along Mrs. Marsden?

MRS. ELIZABETH MARSDEN: Well my husband , the Reverend Samuel, is rather disappointed that Mr. William Wilberforce in England, is not getting Samuel the rewards in Church Office. Sometimes he gets pretty harsh when he sits on the Law Court Bench, when he acts as Magistrate. He is particularly critical of Captain John Macarthur, who is now in England, hope fully awaiting his Court Martial

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