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The Night Watch

The following regulations to be observed by the night-watch appointed for the more effectual preservation of public and private property, and for preventing or detecting the commission of nightly depredations.

A NIGHT-WATCH, consisting of twelve persons, divided into four parties, is appointed, and fully authorised to patrol at all hours in the night, and to visit such places as may be deemed necessary for the discovery of any felony, trespass, or misdemeanor, and for the apprehending and securing for examination any person or persons that may appear to them concerned therein, either by entrance into any suspected hut or dwelling, or by such other manner as may appear expedient.

2. Those parts in which the convicts reside are to be divided, and numbered in the following manner: The convicts' huts and the public farm on the east side of the cove to be the first division. Those at the brick-kilns and the detached parties at the different farms in that district the second division. Those on the western side, as far as the line that separates the district of the women from the men, the third division. The huts occupied from that line to the hospital, and from thence to the observatory, to be the fourth division.

3. These districts or divisions to be each of them under the particular inspection of one person, who shall be judged qualified to inform himself of the actual residence of each individual in his district, as well as of his business, connections, and acquaintance.

4. Cognisance is to be taken of such convicts as may sell or barter their slops [clothes] or provisions, as also of such as game for either of the aforesaid articles, and report is to be made of them to the Judge-Advocate.

5. Any soldier or seaman found straggling after the taptoo has beat, or who may be found in the convict's huts, is to be detained, and information to be immediately given to the nearest guard-house.

6. On any person's being robbed during the night, he is to give immediate information thereof to the watch of his district, who on the instant of application being made shall use the most effectual means to trace out the offender or offenders, so that he or they may be brought to justice.

7. The watch of each district to be under the direction of one person, who will be named for that purpose, and all the patrols to be immediately under the inspection of Herbert Keeling. They are never to receive any fee, gratuity, or reward from any individual to engage their exertions in the execution of the above trust; nor are they to receive any stipulated encouragement for the conviction of any offender; but their diligence and good behaviour will be rewarded by the Governor, and for which purpose their conduct will be strictly attended to by those who are in authority over them.

8. The night-watch to go out as soon as the taptoo has done beating, to return to their huts when the working-drum beats in the morning, and reports to be made at twelve o'clock to the Judge-Advocate of all robberies and misdemeanors, by Herbert Keeling. Any assistance the patrols may require will be given them on applying to the officer of the nearest guard, and by the civil power if necessary; for which application is to be made to provost-martial.

9. Any negligence on the part of those who may be employed on this duty will be punished with the utmost rigour of the law. "The night-watch to consist of the following persons:

Charles Peat
William Hubbard
John Coen Walsh
John Neal
Wm. Bradbury
Thos. Oldfield
Stephen Le Grove
John Archer

The names listed above are as shown in the Historical Records of Australia and in the Historical Records of New South Wales. In the original document the names of Herbert Keeling, John Harris, John Massy Cox, John Anderson, James Clark, Joseph Marshall and George Robinson have been scored out.

From John Cobley, Sydney Cove 1789, Angus and Robertson, 1963

It is not clear why the names were crossed out as Harris was in fact a member of the Night Watch, which had been active before the official proclamation.

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