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Macquarie instructed Surveyor General Meehan to mark out fifty farms of varying sizes at Norfolk Plains, and in 1813 the “Minstrel” and then the “Lady Nelson” arrived at Launceston with some 145 Islanders, who were taken upriver to their newly allocated farms on either bank of the South Esk River.The Islanders had been divided into three classes: first class contained the officials and ex-military settlers, second class the ex-convicts with large families and well managed properties, and third class all the rest.Governor Lachlan Macquarie arrived in New South Wales in 1810 to suppress the Rum Rebellion, free Governor Bligh and re-establish the Crown’s authority.He also received instructions to complete the abandonment of Norfolk Island that had begun in 1806.Compensation for giving up their island home was to be given to the settlers, depending upon their class.The compensation consisted of a sliding scale of land swaps, free convict labour and government rations, clothing and other stores, with first class receiving the largest share for the longest period.Macquarie had no such affinities, and he placed Lieutenant Tankerville Crane of his own 73 Regiment in charge of the island with orders to let the buildings and public works run down and to entice the islanders to leave.
They continued to associate with other ex-convicts, and the new values required for success on the frontier were stifled.Relations between Norfolk Plains and Sydney were often strained and tense.These settlers had remained on Norfolk Island the longest, evading earlier inducements to deportation, and resented leaving their island home.Governor King in New South Wales, previously the founding Lieutenant Governor of Norfolk Island in 1788, had sent Paterson to begin the colonization, and within a short time his party had penetrated deep into Palawa land.They found countryside that was lightly timbered, fertile and well watered, and in 1805 an area about 17 kilometres south of Port Dalrymple was set aside as a Crown reserve.
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They claimed that the island’s rich soil and gentle climate, easy access to government stores, failure to learn new technical skills, and lack of Aboriginal resistance had made them lazy settlers.