Skip to Content

Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Brady v Campbell [1811] NSWKR 5; [1811] NSWSupC 5

maritime law - compensation for provisions due - seal trade - ship

Court of Civil Jurisdiction
Bent J.A., 17 April 1811
Source: Court of Civil Jurisdiction Proceedings, 1788-1814, State Records N.S.W, 5/1105 (case no. 147)[1]

[100] Thomas Brady against Robert Campbell esq.

Writ the sum of £90.0.0 being the amount of certain provisions due to plaintiff from the defendant.

The defendant is allowed to appear [101] by Charles Hook esq. his agent and defends the action.

By consent of parties the names of Galvin and Pugh are struck out of the suit.

Defendant admits that plaintiff Brady was employed by him as a sealer, and was under articles to him for 12 months, and that for that purpose plaintiff left Port Jackson on a ship defendants called the Brothers, of which Robert Mason was Master on the 3rd June 1809.

Henry Galvin sworn, says I was employed by Mr Campbell as a sealer, and sailed for that purpose from Port Jackson with the plaintiff. In November following I was landed with others on an island on the south east coast of New Zealand. Brady was landed upon another island. Some time afterwards I joined Brady upon that island. This was about two months afterwards. I was obliged to go there for want of provisions.

Samuel Pugh sworn, says I was employed by the defendant as a sealer, and landed with Brady on an island on the south East coast of New Zealand in November 1809. Twelve weeks dry and six weeks salt provisions were landed with us two and six men. The schooner Brothers left us for Port Jackson [102] on the evening of the 9th November for more provisions. I and Brady and the rest of stayed on the island for 20 weeks after the schooner left us. We fell very short of provisions, and obliged to be upon short allowance. When we left the island we could get nothing at all to eat, and before that were obliged to feed upon seal or what else we could get. We got 2000 skins while there. We left that place for Ragged Rock and left directions in a bottle on the island, fastened to the skin stack, and also left directions when we went out on a square piece of board which we nailed to the head of a cask. We stayed at Ragged Rock six weeks, living upon what seal and fish we could catch, and returned to the island and stayed there two days when we returned to Ragged Rock, leaving directions as before. We found there a gang belonging to the Sydney Cove, and we stayed there until September and then went a third time to the island and remained there until the 20th December last. We then went in an open boat to Fouveaux Straits where we stayed until taken up by the schooner Boyed, belonging to Mr Campbell, which brought us to Port Jackson on the 20th January 1811. We were there 13 months without provisions and obliged to live on whatever we could catch.

For the defendant

Robert Mason sworn says, in June 1809 I sailed from this port in the Brothers as Master. I landed Brady and others on an island on the south east coast of New Zealand called the [103] Isle of Wight to get seal, and left them there on the 9th November 1809 and made the best of my way to Port Jackson to get provisions. I left eight men on the Isle of Wight, and then on the other island. I did not weigh the provisions I left with the men on the Isle of Wight, but think it was five months' provisions. I arrived at Port Jackson 15th January 1810. I sailed again in the same vessel on the 2nd March 1810 and made the Isle of Wight on the 3rd May 1810. I did not find Brady there. I made diligent search for them and sent a boat away for that purpose. I did not meet with them except two. I brought between two and three thousand skins from the isle, but never heard till now of any bottle attached to the skin stack, nor of any directions. I arrived at Port Jackson on the 14th July 1810.

The court having maturely deliberated consider that the plaintiff had sustained considerable hardship in not having been supplied with a due quantity of provisions, and accordingly give judgment for the plaintiff, damages £25.0.0.


[1] Ships' Masters were required to supply maintenance to their crew members. If they did not do so, damages were payable. This case shows that the damages awarded were sometimes so small that there was little incentive for the Master to feed the crew properly. See also Robinson v. Hook, 1810.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University