Archive for February, 2018

AIR-BRUSHED – SEX & TRANSPORTATION – 138,000 MEN & 25,000 WOMEN

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

‘The tender [HMS Supply] …may be employed in conveying to the new settlement a further number of women from the Friendly islands, New Caledonia etc…from whence any number may be procured without difficulty; and without a sufficient proportion of that sex it is well known that it would be impossible to preserve the settlement from gross irregularities and disorders’. 1786 – Heads of a Plan for Botany Bay

1788-1813: While other European nations included convicts in their settler-mix Britain’s occupation of Australia was unique, in so far as, the first generation 1788-1813 was almost exclusively male.

‘The fact itself of causing the existence of a human being is one of the most responsible actions in the range of human life. To bestow a life which may either be a curse or a blessing, unless the being on whom it is bestowed will have at least the ordinary chances of a desirable existence, is a crime against that being’. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.

(more…)

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: 138,000 KING’S MEN & 25,000 WOMEN – A MILITARY CAMPAIGN

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

‘Dear Jack…I value Death nothing but it is in leaving you my dear behind and no one to look after you’. Denis Prendergast, Oxford Book of Australian Letters, ed. Brenda Niall and John Thompson, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1998

1788 – 1868: Of 163,000 convicted criminals transported from the British Isles to Australia between 1788 and 1868 only 25,000 were women. Of these 12,500 went directly to Tasmania and none (zero) to West Australia. See: G is for Genocide

‘The tender [Supply] may be employed in conveying to the new settlement a further number of women from the Friendly Islands, New Caledonia etc. from whence any number may be procured without difficulty; and without a sufficient proportion of that sex it is well known that it would be impossible to preserve the settlement from gross irregularities and disorders’. London, Heads of a Plan for Botany Bay, 1786

(more…)

TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD – THOMAS BARRETT

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

‘He [ Barrett] may have been the maker of the Botany Bay Medallion…a skilfully engraved metal medallion inscribed with a relief description of the voyage dated 20 January 1788 and a representation of the Charlotte at anchor in Botany Bay. Mollie Gillen, Founders of Australia, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1990

image of charlotte medal

The Charlotte Medal, created by Thomas Barrett

Sydney Cove 1788 – 27 February 27: A lifer’  Thomas Barrett was the first Englishman hanged in European Australia.

Barrett fashioned the ‘Botany Bay Medallion’ AKA the ‘Charlotte Medal from a ‘silver coloured metal kidney dish’ thought to belong to Dr. John White. The fleet’s Chief Medical Officer White would have certified Barrett’s death. See: From Here to Eternity 

An excellent medical administrator White nevertheless was a flawed character.  Controversy over provenance of paintings;  ‘by  the artist known as the Port Jackson Painter’ in the Watling Collection, London Natural History Museum, remains current to this day.

London: Barrett, probably son of Irish immigrants, was born in London in 1758. His profile is not that of the usual illiterate dead-beat English common criminal. Unusual for those times he could read and, as exemplified by the medallion, wrote a find hand.

In September 1782 Barrett stood in the dock of the Old Bailey accused of stealing clothing and ‘a silver watch with chain’ from an unoccupied house, described as ‘up for rent’.

Found guilty as charged, sentenced to hang, he spent the following twelve (12) months on ‘death row’ in one of London’s appalling prisons.

On 11 September 1783 the death penalty was commuted for ‘transportation to America’ for the ‘term of his natural life’ . Barrett was transferred to Censor a Thames River prison-hulk to await shipment.

(more…)

A WORM-HOLE: RICHARD ATKIN’S DIARY & THE FIRST BLACK HOLE

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

‘The natives of the country [New Holland] live Tranquilly which is not disturb’d by the inequality of condition’. Lieutenant James Cook RN, HMS Endeavour Journal.

 

‘You are also with the consent of the natives to take possession of convenient situations in the country in the name of the King of Great  Britain, or if you find the country uninhabited take possession for His Majesty by setting up proper marks and inscriptions as first discoverers and possessors’. British Admiralty Instructions to Lieutenant James Cook RN, 1768. 

************

‘An effective resolution will require what the British required as long ago ago as 1768 ‘the consent of the natives’. G. Nettheim, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Monograph No. 7, May 1994, ed. W. Sanders, Australian National University, Goanna Press, 1994

*********

1770 – August, Possession Island: Nevertheless Cook  ‘with[out] consent’ of its inhabitants, Australia’s  First Peoples, in the name of His Majesty King George III of England, marked a tree, ran up a flag, and named their territory New Wales. See: Captain Cook, Charles Green, John Harrison – Three Yorkshirmen Walked Into A Bar – Nevil Maskelyne

‘Military power was the most decisive fact about the early settlements; it was the frame within which everything else happened’. R. Connell and T.H. Irving, Class Structure in Australian History, Documents, Narrative and Argument, 1980.

1788 – January,  Warrane – Sydney Cove: ” Began…At 6 am …on the 28th the disembarkation’ of a large amphibious army commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN.John Moore, The First Fleet Marines 1786-1792, Queensland University Press, 1986

Two hundred and forty-five (245) marines, two hundred (200) Royal Naval personnel, five hundred and seventy (570) male convicts ‘rationed as troops serving in the West Indies’ , twenty (20) officials, a lone male stowaway and four hundred and forty (440) merchant-seamen made up the fleet’s male complement, 1300 souls.See: ? Aside from Seagulls How Many White Birds Were On The Ground At Sydney Cove On 26 January 1788 – None

1788 – 6 February: ‘The day the convict women [189],  marine wives [31], children [29 free]… landed by rowing boats between 6am and 6 pm’. John Moore, The First Fleet Marines. ibid.

1788 – 7 February, Port Jackson: Governor Arthur Phillip RN, ‘using a form of words’ proclaimed the conquest – ‘effective occupation’ – of the island continent of New Holland, now Australia, for the British Empire.

‘It is impossible that… H.M. Government…should forget that the original aggression was ours’. Lord Jon Russell, to Sir George Gipps, 21 December 1838, Historical Records of Australia, Series 1, Vol. XX

The winner-takes-all mindset of Britain’s ‘original aggression’ – laid down in 1788 – was set in stone during two (2) critical periods of absolute military rule between 1792-1795 and 1808-1810.

(more…)

A BLACK HOLE – THE FIRST INTERREGNUM 1792-1795

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

‘Twenty-five regiments of British infantry…fought in one of the most prolonged wars in the history of the British empire and for the first half of their stay were probably more frequently in action than the garrison of any other colony besides that of southern Africa’. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press, 1986

1788 – January, Sydney Cove: At Port Jackson in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip RN established naval and military bases and an open prison for England’s lowest common denominator, her convicted criminals. But criminals with a difference – all male convicts were combatants, rationed as British troops ‘serving in the West Indies’. 

Governor Phillip’s five (5) traumatic years as Britain’s first naval Governor of Australia were dogged by ill-health and after repeated requests for relief, London permitted his repatriation.

1792 – 11 December 1792, England: Phillip departed Sydney for England on the Atlantic in mid December 1792 but left a legacy that brought about the near destruction of Australia’s First Peoples. See: Terror – Phillip’s Algorithm

 ‘The orders under which I [Tench] was commanded to act [22 December 1790] differing in no respect from the last [13 December]…if six [6] cannot be taken, let this number be shot…cut off and bring in the heads of the slain…bring in two ]2] prisoners I am resolved to execute in the most public and exemplary manner in the presence of as many of their countrymen as can be collected.

I [Phillip] am determined to repeat it, whenever any future breach of good conduct on their side, shall render it necessary’. Captain-General  Governor Arthur Phillip, 22 December 1790. Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

(more…)

A BAND OF BROTHERS & MORTAL ENEMIES

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

‘After delivering my message to him, he [La Perouse] returned his thanks to Governor Phillip, and made similar offers to those he had received’. Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King RN, First Fleet Journal, February 1788

Captain Arthur Phillip RN and Comte Jean-Francois La Perouse never knowingly met. On opposing sides in peace and war yet as seafarers they shared a bond like no other.

‘His [Governor Phillip’s] failure to invite the French commander there [Port Jackson] reflect some fear that he [Phillip] might be known as a spy’. Alan Frost, Arthur Phillip 1738-1814, His Voyaging, Melbourne University Press, 1987

Phillip in an instant had recognised the French ships.

‘Phillip knew  Comte Jean-Fancois La Perouse, with two (2) frigates La Boussole and L’Astrolabe, was already on the high seas and making for New Holland. P.G. King op.cit. See: A Riddle – When was an invasion fleet not an invasion fleet? When it’s the First Fleet  

In August 1785 he had watched from the shadows as La Perouse led them out of Brest Harbour into the open sea at the beginning of a wide-ranging ’round-the-world expedition’ that was to include the South Pacific and New Holland.

 Arthur Phillip knew a great deal about La Perouse. It is impossible to believe he did not admire the gallant Frenchman who, at Hudsoon’s Bay during the American war, had earned a reputation for compassion.

‘The Way of War is A Way of Deception. When Able, Feign inability; When deploying troops, Appear not to be’. Sun-Tzu, c.551-496 BC, Penguin, 2009

England – 1787, 13 May: The ‘First Fleet’ an expeditionary naval force fully funded by government sailed under guise of a convict transportation fleet.

Its aim claim sovereignty over the island continent, now Australia before the French.

Its 570 male convicts were rationed ‘as troops serving in the West Indies’.  Overwhelmingly male – 1300 men, 222 women –  commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN the large armed convoy of eleven (11) ships sailed from Portsmouth to invade New Holland,.

(more…)

ANALYSE THIS

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

‘On 1 April 1776 [‘whereas the transportation of convicts to H.M. Colonies in America is found to be attended with various inconveniences’] Lord North moved to bring in a Bill to authorise for a limited time punishment, by hard labour, of offenders who were liable to transportation’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1993

1775- April, America: Conflict between England and her American colonies – the War of Independence (1775-1783) – brought a sudden halt to convict transportation to America.

‘Convict transportation in its original manifestation [Geo.1 C.11-23-29] was a uniquely American phenomenon.’ Anthony Vaver Bound With An Iron Chain, The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 convicts to Colonial America, Pickpocket Publishing, 2011

England’s gaols, previously short-term holding pens for convicted criminals,reprieved death and commuted ‘for transportation to America’, were quickly overwhelmed.

During eight (8) years of conflict approximately 10,000 prisoners were held over.

1776 – 23 May, England: The Hulks Act – 16 Geo. III, c 43 – received Royal Assent on 23rd May 1776. Lord North’s Bill was a game-changer. It changed the status of prisoners sentenced ‘for transportation’.

The legislation introduced a legal distinction that applied only to those criminals reprieved death on condition they be ‘transported out of the realm…beyond the seas’. See: April Fools Day

Deemed ‘Servants of the Crown’ until expiry of the term of sentence, their ‘service’ was for the ‘nation’, thereby ensuring ‘its original [1717-18] manifestation [remained] ‘a uniquely American phenomenon’.

(more…)

REAR WINDOW & ‘THE BUSINESS OF WAR’ : 7 FEBRUARY 2018 – 7 FEBRUARY 1788

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

1788 – 7 February, Port Jackson: ‘We have come today to take possession of this fifth great continental division of the earth on behalf of the British people. I do not doubt that this country will prove the most valuable acquisition Great Britain ever made. How grand a prospect which lies before this youthful nation’. Governor Arthur Phillip RN, Historical Records of New South Wales.

How ‘grand a prospect’ lay before this ancient land’s First Peoples?

1838 – 21 December, London: ‘You cannot overrate 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 [Governor] Sir George Gipps, 21 December 1838, Historical Records of Australia, Series 1. Vol. XX

(more…)

AUSTRALIA’S HEROES – ENGLAND’S CASTAWAYS

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

‘How might the desolation and separation from loved ones, the lack of recourse from arbitrary decision and the sheer hopelessness of fate be tallied?…Gaoler and gaoled communicated across a gulf of mutual antagonism: against the formally declared and forcibly imposed authority’. Stuart Macintyre, 2004 A Concise History of Australia, 2004

It is risky to compare the heroes of one society with the cast-offs of another. Especially so when the comparison made is between Britain’s convict-soldiers, transported to Australia at the end of the 18th century and Australian soldiers, prisoners of the Japanese, in the middle of the 20th century.

‘Historians, like scientists have had only one comprehensive source of information on the subject of starvation. In Prisoners of the Japanese Gaven Daws compared the hunger of the men in the Minnesota [Experiment] to the privations suffered by Allied prisoners in the Pacific Theater. Todd Tucker,The Great Starvation Experiment, 2006

1944-45, America: A unique experiment conducted by Dr. Ancel Keys during World War II permits such comparison. The Minnesota Starvation Experiment with thirty-six (36) white American male conscientious objectors, all volunteers aged between twenty-three (23) and thirty-six (36) years, took place between November 1944 and December 1945.

1788

‘The administration gave no consideration to the date of expiry of sentences and several of the First Fleet had been tried as early as 1781 and 1782. As seven years transportation was the most common sentence, many had already served five-sevenths of their time on embarkation and six-sevenths on disembarkation at Sydney Cove’. Dr. John Cobley, Crimes of the First fleet, Angus and Robertson, Sydney

No matter how offensive the comparison may appear, Australia’s heroes and England’s cast-offs have much in common. Each group suffered and died under ‘forcibly imposed authority’. (more…)