Law of ‘Needs Must’

Needs Must. Necessity compels. In current usage this phrase is usually used to express something that is done unwillingly but with an acceptance that it can’t be avoided

Finding myself under the stimulus of needs must I looked around for some avenue of extrication from financial pressure and found an unexpected opening under the regulation which came into force at the commencement of 1871, empowering the Government of Queensland to appoint agents to accompany the vessels trading to Polynesia, recruiting Kanakas for the sugar plantations in the colony.

In response to an application I was forthwith commissioned and found myself about to join an outward bound trader departing from Port Mackay, where the emigration agent, forthwith took up my quarters on board the Stormbird, commanded by Captain Hurley. I found I had been fortunate in meeting with Catptain Hurley, who I at onece recognised as a gentlal sailor.

After a few days in the harbour of Port Mackay, taking on necessary stores, wood and water, during which time the rigging and equipment were being over hauled, we received on board our ship, a vessel of 100 tons register, 120 returning islanders, natives of Mare, Lifu, Tanna, Erromanga, Sandwich, Mau, Three HIlls, Santo and numerous other islands in the New Hebrides. These passengers amongst them owned 150 dogs of diversified breeds so that, considering we sailed from Queensland in the heat of summer, and passed into the tropics, it was a matter of surprise that there was no outbreak of illness – which may be attributed to the system of constantly washing down the decks.

Sailing from Mackay, we reached our destination, landed our passengers at their respective islands and recruited Kanaka adventurers for service on the Mackay sugar plantations, the trip occupying four months. The narrative of the cruise will be found in the book that I have written called ‘The Mountain Tops of Lemuria’ wherein are recorded particulars of the massacre of some of our crew at the island of Aboa and our narrow escape from shipwreck at Erromanga and Santo.

My estimate of this trade and the conditions of recruiting within these semi savage tribes convinced me that that an honest man need beware that he be transformed into a rogue.

‘Building a Commonwealth’ – G. C. Watson

Returning to Queensland I found there was still a stagnation in the Surveyor General’s department, so work for surveyors, except occasional meager jobs, few and far between, so that still pressed by the law of ‘needs must’ I gained a few hard earned pounds by use of my pen in writing articles for a metropolitan journal as well as partial employment as teacher of arithmetic and mathematics at a ladies school, and as instructor of book-keeping and general subjects at a boy’s school of which the Rev Mr. Court, a Church of England clergyman was proprietor.

During these anxious periods I had kept up my application to the Minister for Lands for employment in the civil service; in fact I had made successive applications from the time when my appointment on Mr. Fitzgibbons staff had been terminated However, finally the time came, all in due course, when the Hon. J. M. Thompson was the Minister of Lands and being well acquainted with my claims for employment he decided that I should forthwith become one of the staff of the Department of Public Lands. I accordingly, in 1872, entered the department – a harbinger of happier days.