Sydney Cove, Port Jackson,
July the 5th, 1788
Under Secretary, Nepean,
. . . Every possible attention will be given to the cultivation of the flax-plant when circumstances permit, and on our first arrival in this port it was frequently met with; but when I judged the seed to be ripe, and ordered it to be collected, very little was found, and none in those places where it had been seen in any quantity, which I impute to the natives pulling up the plant when in flower to make their fishing-lines. A few plants have been collected, and which are sent home under the care of the agent of the transports.
Sheep do not thrive in this country at present, but as many cows with one or two young bulls as the ships intended for this settlement that touch at the Cape can receive on board will, I hope, be ordered, as likewise seeds and a few quarters of wheat, barley, and Indian corn.
Cloathing for the natives, if sent out, will, I daresay, be very acceptable to them when they come amongst us. I should recommend long frocks and jackets only, which will equally serve both men and women.
A great part of the cloathing I have, sir, already observed was very bad, and a great part of it was likewise too small for people of common size. If some coarse blankets were to be sent out they would greatly contribute to preserve the health of the convicts.
In addition to the frocks and jackets for the natives, good house carpenters' axes, hats, hooks, and lines will be the most beneficial, as well as the most acceptable, to the natives . . .
Your humble servant