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Sydney Cove, Port Jackson,
July the 9th, 1788

My Lord Sydney,

. . . The hutting the battalion is still going on, and though from seventy to one hundred convicts have been almost constantly employed assisting in this business, it will not, I apprehend, be finished before the end of July; and every day proves the necessity of proper persons being sent out to superintend the convicts. If a small number of carpenters and bricklayers are sent out with proper people, who are capable of superintending the convicts, they will soon be rendered serviceable to the State, and without which they will remain for years a burden to Government. Numbers of them have been brought up from their infancy in such indolence that they would starve if left to themselves; and many (their numbers now exceed fifty) from old age and disorders which are incurable, and with which they were sent from England, are incapable of any kind of work.

Thus situated, your Lordship will excuse my observing a second time that a regular supply of provisions from England will be absolutely necessary for four or five years, as the crops for two years to come cannot be depended on for more than what will be necessary for seed, and what the Sirius may procure can only be to breed from. Should necessity oblige us to make use of what that ship may be able to procure, I do not apprehend that the livestock she will bring in twelve months will be more that a month's provision for the colony; and the Supply is totally unfit for a service of this kind . . .

I should hope that few convicts will be sent out this year or the next, unless they are artificers, and, after what I have had the honour of observing to your Lordship, I make no doubt but proper people will be sent to superintend them. The ships that bring out convicts should have at least two years' provisions on board to land with them, for the putting the convicts on board some ships and the provisions that were to support them in others, as was done, I beg leave to observe, much against my intimation, must have been fatal if the ship carrying the provisions had been lost.

The Lieutenant-Governor has already begun a small house, which forms one corner of the parade, and I am building a small cottage on the east side of the cove, where I shall remain for the present with part of the convicts and an officer's guard. The convicts on both sides are distributed in huts, which are built only for immediate shelter. On the point of land which forms the west side of the cove an Observatory is building, under the direction of Lieutenant Dawes, who is charged by the Board of Longitude with observing the expected comet . . .

As stores and other buildings will be begun in the course of a few months, some regular plan for the town was necessary, and in laying out of which I have endeavoured to place all public buildings in situations that will be eligible hereafter . . .

Your humble servant

A. Phillip

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