View at Swan-River. Sketch of the Encampment of Matw. Curling Friend, Esqr., R.N., 1830, by Mrs Mary Ann Friend (from Dixson Library, State Library of New South Wales).
Mary Ann was born in London, daughter of John Ford of Hampstead. In 1826 she married Matthew Curling Friend (1792-1871), a retired naval officer, inventor and nautical scientist. Three years later they left Portsmouth on board the Wanstead , a merchant ship of which her husband was master, transporting settlers to the new Swan River settlement in Western Australia. They arrived on 30 January 1830 – eight months after the first British settlers had embarked. In March, Mary Ann made a drawing of the camp at Fremantle on the banks of the Swan River where she, her husband and her husband’s brothers, Daniel, Charles and George, were living (two of the brothers, her husband and the artist herself can be seen in the image). Later published as a lithograph [it] shows the unusual core structure of her temporary home and studio (supplemented by tents and tarpaulins)-a ‘horse house’ from the ship converted into what she herself called a ‘cottage orné’.
After returning to London so that Matthew could obtain permission from the Admiralty to settle in Tasmania, she converted her initial sketch ‘taken on the spot’ into a lithograph, redrawing it onto the stone herself. Although her drawing transformed the place into an amusing and easily comprehensible late eighteenth-century picturesque conceit – a ‘rural cabin’ in which to play at pioneering life – more than her male relative’s carpentry did, the prospect is still not particularly enticing. The dry and infertile landscape shows only dead or straggling trees, one of which alone offers any prospect of shade-and it leans dangerously-a few logs on the ground for cooking (on dry days) and a general sense of desolation.
Continued at Design and Art Australia Online.
Of exceptional historical interest to Western Australia. Friend’s journal, illustrated with her own sketches, includes three unpublished views of Fremantle, Western Australia, in the first year of its foundation, and two unpublished manuscript maps of the Swan River Settlements, alongside her detailed description of her stay at the Swan River settlements between 30 January and 19 March 1830, capturing them in the very earliest months of their existence (the colony was founded only in early June the previous year, and settlement at Perth began on 12 August). One of the first eye-witness accounts of the settlement on the Swan River, Mary Ann Friend voyaged to Australia on the Wanstead, a merchant vessel taking emigrants to the new Swan River settlements in Western Australia.
(From Trove catalogue entry for journal.)
More on journal:
ABC Education: Mary Ann Friend’s Journal
“In this video, State Library of WA Battye historian Dr Kate Gregory talks about Mary Ann Friend’s humorous accounts of life as a female in the early colony”
Traces Magazine: Round The World And Back Again: colonial journal returns to Fremantle (with a different painting).
In September 1832 [Matthew Curling Friend] became port officer at Launceston, where he had built Newnham on a beautiful 250-acre (101 ha) block. The appointment marked the beginning of a long feud with William Goodwin, his rival for the position. … In 1838, after the loss of the Honduras in the Tamar, the attacks became more persistent, for Goodwin was now editor and proprietor of the Cornwall Chronicle. So bitter was his attack of 6 January 1838 that Sir John Franklin, whose friendship Friend had won, ordered an inquiry into Goodwin’s charges that Friend was inefficient, made private use of government boats and crews, and showed ignorance and laxity of conduct. Friend decided to bring a libel action against Goodwin. … In April 1838 the first stage of the libel action was heard. Goodwin was found guilty by the jury but proceedings were deferred until October. In June the official inquiry recommended the separation of Friend’s positions [of landing waiter, police magistrate and port officer at George Town]. Although the affair was subjudice, Goodwin now assailed Friend’s family. The mental strain of the unrelenting attack on Friend hastened his wife’s death at George Town on 27 September 1838. From his pulpit at St John’s, Launceston, Rev. Dr William Browne accused Goodwin of murder and so whipped up public excitement that, when the trial reopened on 11 October, the proceedings had to be postponed.
From Australian Dictionary of Biography.
DIED,—On Thursday last, the 24th instant, at the Government Cottage, George Town, Mrs. Friend, wife of M. C. Friend, Port Officer. Mr. Friend was in Launceston, when a signal was made, communicating the serious illness of Mrs. Friend, and left immediately for George Town, but unhappily, did not arrive at his home in time to assuage by his presence the last pangs of expiring mortality.
We believe the cause of Mrs. Friend’s death was appoplexy.
Colonial Times, 2 October 1838
To the Editor.
Sir—It is rather extraordinary how any per-son of common sense could accuse you of being the cause of the death of Mrs Friend, when it is well known and admitted by her medical attendant, and all others who know the particulars, that she died of apoplexy. Her last words to her mother, as she was trying on a new gown, which she had just got to attend a ball in Launceston, were, “Mother, I just feel as I did at Demerara,” where she had a stroke of apoplexy on a former occasion—long, Sir, I presume, before you thought of publishing the CORNWALL CHRONICLE.
“Malice will for truth the lie receive,
Report, and what it wishes true, believe.”
Yours’ &c., Veritas.
October 8th, 1838.
Cornwall Chronicle, 13 October 1838
On Monday, the 1st instant, the remains of Mrs. Friend were interred in the burial-ground at George Town, agreeably to a wish she had frequently expressed. Nothing could exceed the regret and respect shown to the memory of that amiable and much lamented lady. From the period her melancholy death was announced, to the day of the funeral, all the houses in George Town were partially closed, the public-houses were shut, and all the vessels in the river, with the flag-staffs at George Town and Launceston, hoisted their colours half-mast. The funeral service was performed by the Rev. Dr. Browne, and the Rev. R. R. Davies, attended by a large number of friends, and all the inhabitants of George Town. Many of the public officers and respectable inhabitants of Launceston were present on that sad occasion.
Hobart Town Courier, 12 October 1838