Syms' place

Syms Covington
Syms Covington (c. 1816–1861)

On Sunday, I was pleased to see in the Sydney Morning Herald (my butler reads it) that the post office built by Syms Covington in the gold-rush town of Pambula, New South Wales is still standing, and in good working order.

Syms Covington was a cabin-boy aboard HMS Beagle. Sixteen months into the voyage, Darwin hired him as his servant, the arrangement lasting for the remainder of the voyage and beyond. In addition to more menial duties, Covington accompanied Darwin on a number of inland trips and assisted him in the collection and preparation of specimens.

On returning to England, Covington remained in Darwin's employ until 1839, when he emigrated to Australia. The two old shipmates continued to correspond intermittently until Covington's death in 1861. Covington had suffered from deafness from his youth and, on one occasion, Darwin posted him an ear-trumpet.

Syms Covington's Beagle journal is available online. His post office is now a Thai restaurant, named, rather pleasingly, Covington's Thai.

Richard Carter, FCD

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteNewsletterMastodonetc…


  1. I have tried to download Covington's Journal on line from several sites without success. All addesses could not be found.
    Could you help Please?

    best wishes

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