No Sense of Direction

No Sense of Direction


The local history of Brisbane abounds with interesting characters, tremendous feats and unbelievable stories. Characters, feats and stories that are part of our heritage and help make us who were are. We should enjoy these stories and we should be proud to own these characters as part of our colourful past. Of all these stories here is one that goes back to the first white man to set eyes of our magnificent river. A story that features adventure, courage, mateship, mistakes, tragedy and even a little humour. It is a story that illustrates the generous if somewhat naive help the original inhabitants of this land gave to early white man.

One hundred and eighty two years ago on 21 March, 1823 four men, Pamphlett, Finnegan, Parsons and Thompson, set out from Sydneytown in a nine metre sailing boat to collect cedar from the wooded areas around the Illawarra district south of Sydneytown. They believed that if they transported this timber to Sydneytown they would sell it at a good price and with the money they would buy their passage back to the lands of their birth, Ireland, England and Scotland.

They were ticket-of-leave convicts and they were enthusiastic and confident in their scheme for making money for their passage home. Perhaps they were over-confident because for some reason as they set out in their boat to sail the short distance to Wollongong they didn’t think to take a compass or any other navigational equipment with them. Not far from Sydneytown their boat was hit by a severe storm and they were blown out to sea, well away from the coastline they had been following. With much bailing and a great deal of luck the four of them survived the storm but they had lost all their supplies overboard except for the whisky supply. After much discussion and debate as would be expected among Irish, Scottish and
English men they finally came to the consensus that the storm had blown them off their course in a south...

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