3rd Article - 1820 Settlers the story
The Fanny and the East Indian both sailed from the Cove of Cork, Ireland on the 12th February, 1820. On the 30th April the East Indian arrived in Simon’s Bay, followed the next day by the Fanny. Only leaders of parties were allowed ashore.
The leaders met with the Colonial Secretary, Colonel Bird, who informed them that they would not be heading for Albany but were to be settled in the Clanwilliam district. This would reduce the number of settlers arriving in Albany by about 350 and would also keep the hot-headed Irish apart from the other settlers.
Parker and two other men left for Clanwilliam on horseback on the 13th and on the 17th were shown the locations by the Land Surveyor. Horrified at, what he considered, the awful conditions and the position the settlers would find themselves in, the three men hurried to Saldanha Bay to try and prevent the settlers leaving the ships.
The two ships had left Simon’s Bay together again on the 16th May and headed back up the West Coast to Saldanha Bay.
The East Indian had one party on board – 222 settlers under the leadership of William Parker some of whom had embarked at Deptford before the East Indian left for Cork where the rest of the party embarked.
The Fanny was a much smaller ship than the East Indian but had three parties on board:
32 settlers under Captain Thomas Butler – this group had walked the 140 miles from Wicklow to Cork,
28 settlers under Captain Walter Synott – this group had made their way by road down from Northern Ireland to Cork where they embarkedand James Ingram’s party of 67 settlers from Cork.
Teams of ox wagons belonging to the local farmers were waiting to meet the settlers and transport them to their destination. The three parties on the Fanny disembarked, loaded up and made their way to the Clanwilliam district where they were allocated farms.
Parker meantime boarded the East Indian and told the party of the awful conditions at Clanwilliam and dismissed the rest of the wagons. They would not be needed. They would not settle there.
Then suddenly he changed his mind. Why? He had heard that there was gold North of Clanwilliam. He could not be persuaded that it was in fact copper. He thought this was a story made up by the locals to dissuade him from following up the claim. So he arranged for transport wagons to be hired from the farmers again and the party set off for Clanwilliam where they were allocated farms.
And then the squabbling started - unfair allocation of land - the land was no good for farming - more and more complaints.
By the end of June virtually every settler was dissatisfied with their lot. Work agreements were annulled while others asked for their services to be officially terminated. Some just absconded while others made their way to the Zuurveld, now renamed Albany.
In 1825, when two commissioners arrived in Clanwilliam to hear the settlers complaints they found only two families still on their original locations and only twelve families still remained in the area.
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