Archive for January, 2016

SMALLPOX SYDNEY 1789 – A VERY CONVENIENT THEORY – IT WAS THE MACASSANS STUPID

Monday, January 25th, 2016

1788 -Sydney Cove, July: ‘Yesterday twenty [20] of the natives came down to the beach, each armed with a number of spears, and seized on a good part of the fish caught in the seine [trawling nets]…several stood at a small distance with their spears poised ready to throw them if any resistance was made’. Governor Arthur Phillip to Under-Secretary Evan Nepean, July 10, 1788, Frank Murcott Bladen, Historical Records of New South Wales

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‘They [Aborigines] are not pleased with our remaining amongst them, as they see we deprive them of fish, which is almost their only support’ . Governor  Philip to Evan  Nepean, September 1788  

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‘Our impatience of news from Europe strongly marked the commencement of the year [1789]. From the intelligence of our friends and connections we had been entirely cut off, no communication whatever having passed with our native country since the 13th of May 1787, the day of our departure from Portsmouth.’ Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

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An extraordinary calamity was now observed among the natives…pustules similar to those  occasioned by smallpox were thickly spread on the bodies but how a disease, to which our former observations had led us to believe them strangers could have introduced itself, and have spread so widely, seems inexplicable’. Tench. ibid.     

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By a strange coincidence, smallpox reached Port Jackson at about the same time as the First Fleet’. Cassandra Pybus, Black Founders, UNSW Press, 2006 

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‘You cannot overate the solicitude of H.M. Government on the subject of the Aborigines of New Holland. It is impossible to contemplate the condition or the prospects of that unfortunate race without the deepest commiseration. Still it is impossible that the government should forget that the original aggression was ours’.  Lord John Russell to Sir George Gipps, 21 December 1838, Historical Records of Australia, Series, Vol. XX.

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TASMANIA – A WAR GRAVE – THE BACK STORY

Monday, January 11th, 2016

‘The first European settlements, from Port Jackson in 1788 [1803 Tasmania], Moreton Bay, Swan River and Adelaide during the next fifty years were intensive…This meant a complete undermining of the Aborigines’ way of life’. Professor A.P. Elkin, The Australian Aborigines, Epilogue, 5th edition, 1973

1792 – December: Governor Arthur Phillip RN returned to England after a five (5) year tenure as Britain’s first commissioned governor of New South Wales.

Whitehall failed to appoint a successor. By default, the immense power invested in Arthur Phillip, said to be unique in Britain’s long history of colonisation, fell to the military.

‘For the length of the interregnum [December 1792 -September 1695] the British government was greatly at fault…[His Hunter’s] commission as captain-general and governor-in-chief was dated 6 February 1794…[but] Hunter did not sail until 25 February [1795]….arrived [Sydney] 7 September 1795 and assumed office four days later’. J.J. Auchmuty, Australian Dictionary of Biography.

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BRITAIN BY A NOSE

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

1785 – August, Brest: ‘In 1785 Louis XVI quietly sent the Comte de la Perouse with two ships La Boussole & L’Astrolabe to survey likely spots for French settlements. Aboard were copper plates engraved with the royal arms to be used as permanent notification of French ownership’. Australian Discovery and Exploration, Michael Cannon, 1987  

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