‘The territory of England is too small for its population. She requires a monopoly of the four [4] corners of the globe to enable her to exist. War procures this monopoly, because it gives England the right of destruction at sea’. Napoleon, cited Jonathan Holslag, A Political History of the World, 3000 Years of War and Peace, Pelican, 2018  


‘Phillip was authorised to see to the defence of the colony…Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted  from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

These raids [‘kill 6… bring in the heads’] had commenced by December [14] 1790′.Professor Bruce Kercher, History of Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995


‘Dawes whose duty it was to go out with that party [14 December] refused that duty by letter’.  Professor G. Arnold Wood, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society Vol. X, 1924, Part  1


‘From 1788 there had been continuous disputation between the civil power represented by the autocratic uniformed naval governors and the military’. John McMahon, Not a Rum Rebellion But a Military Insurrection, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 92, 2006

§ Œ §

1790 – September 7, Manly Beach: A ‘tremendous monster’ stranded on Manly Beach.  Aborigines greeted the seasonal return of their totem with ‘rapture’.  After an extremely lean winter the whale flagged the promise of coming abundance.See: Manly Location, Location, Location

The stranding however proved a tipping point for ‘further mischief’ that can be linked to the near annihilation of a free people, Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples. See: Arthur’s Algorithm – ‘infuse universal terror’ open – sesame

Governor Arthur Phillip’s career in the Royal Navy had began harpooning whales in the Arctic. Now (1790) armed with a pistol, dirk’ and a bottle or two of fine French reds he was rowed across to Manly where he met up again with the warrior Bennalong.

‘[The governor] uncorked a bottle, and poured out a glass of it, which the other [Bennelong] drank off with his former marks of relish and good humour, giving for a toast, as he had been taught “the King”. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961 

A little way off a group of ‘other’ Aborigines stood watching this strange pantomime.


The previous year (November 1789) Bennalong had on Phillip’s orders been kidnapped from Manly Beach. He spent six (6) months in captivity before escaping in May 1790.  See: Kidnapped – Manly What’s In A Name

‘A native [Wileemarin] ‘with a spear in his hand came forward.  His excellency held out his hand…advancing towards him…the nearer, the governor approached, the greater became the terror and agitation of the Indian.

To remove his fear [of kidnap] governor Phillip threw down a dirk, he wore at this side…the other [Wileemmrin] alarmed at the rattle of the dirk…and probably misconstruing the action, instantly fixed his lance, aimed with such force and dexterity striking the governor’s right shoulder, just above the collar bone’. Marine Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961

Wileemarin’s spear penetrated Phillip’s right shoulder. The arrow-head emerged but was caught fast and could not be extracted. Phillip bleeding profusely endured two (2) agonising hours as he was rowed across the harbour’s choppy waters to Sydney.

William Balmain the fleet’s senior surgeon sought advice from local Aborigines and it was successfully removed. The loss of blood slowed  recovery.

Knowing his action with ‘the dirk’ had contributed to Willeemrin’s attack Phillip ordered there be no reprisals.

Enter the lists Lieutenant John Macarthur a junior officer of the recently arrived (June 1790) New South Wales Infantry Corps. The unintended consequences of Phillip’s restraint, was seen as weakness by ‘certain’ of its officers’.


London Gazette Extract

London – 1790 January 20: ‘I am commanded to signify to you the King’s pleasure that directions be immediately given for the embarkation of the corps raised for service in New South Wales and commanded by Major Grose’. London,Right Hon.W.W. Grenville, to the Secretary of War, 20 January 1790, Historical Records of New South Wales

Sydney – 1790 June 3: The first contingent of the New South Wales Corps, one hundred and fifteen (115) infantry officers and men, reached Sydney in the beginning of June 1790 aboard ‘Britain’s Grim Armada’ the Second Fleet. See:  The Dead and the Living Dead

Their commander Major Francis Grose remained in London to recruit sufficient men to satisfy establishment requirements. Pressed for numbers Grose sourced ‘derelicts and delinquents’ from London’s Savoy military prison.

‘Macarthur’s haughty quarrelsome nature which manifested itself on the voyage was to provoke much more conflict after his arrival in New South Wales in June 1790’. Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet, Britain’s Grim Armada of 1790, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1993

Lieutenant Macarthur, a ruthless opportunist whose personal ambition knew no bounds, was quick to take advantage of both Grose’s absence and deep divisions among his fellow officers. See: Dark Matter – ‘McMafia’ Macarthur & ‘Fiery Indian Rum’ A Teetotallers’s Drug of Ruin for Others


‘Parallel to, and dependent upon, the Anglo-French duel for command of the sea went their struggle for overseas bases and colonies; here too, the culminating point in a century-long race was reached, with Britain emerging in 1815 with a position so strengthened that she appeared to be the only real colonial power in the world.’ Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, Fontana Press, 3rd ed. London 1976

Phillip, known for his insight, could not have failed to recognise a dangerous loose-cannon in Macarthur.

‘New Holland is a good blind, then, when we want to add to military strength of India…I need not enlarge on the benefit of stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales’. Anon.  Vol. 1, Historical Records of New South Wales

He assessed, under his command 13,000 miles from ‘the territory of England… one (1) corner of the globe’ was now at stake.

‘New Holland is a good blind, then, when we want to add to military strength of India…I need not enlarge on the benefit of stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales’. Anon.  Vol. 1, Historical Records of New South Wales

With Macarthur an already palpable threat to his position as Supreme Commander had escalated from at risk to imminent.


‘The Second Hundred Years’ War differed from the first in that the belligerents were now colonial powers, and much of the conflict resolved protecting and expanding their overseas empire’.  Larrie D. Ferreiro, Introduction Essays in the American Revolution – A World War, Smithsonian, 2016 

Britain’s invasion and conquest of New Holland was pre-emptive. Protect and expand, intense imperial rivalry between Britain France and Spain, shaped the destiny of Australia’s First Peoples.

A prelude to the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1793 -1815) New Holland assured British domination over alternate strategic and logistical sea-routes via the Indian and Pacific Oceans to and from India and Asia. See: A Band of Brothers and Mortal Enemies

In February 1793 France declared war on Britain. The declaration broke the ‘brittle precarious peace’ that had papered over cracks in the Treaty of Versailles.

The Treaty, signed in September 1783, brought a formal end to America’s Revolutionary War of Independence (17751783). It provided a hiatus for the players to realign friend and foe.

Quote….’prediticable’  from Kennedy missing here

The French Imperial War  under King Louis XVI  (1793-1802)  morphed into global warfare, the French Revolutionary War. General Wellington’s victory over General Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in 1815 ended twenty-five (25) years of conflict between France and Britain.

And just as importantly for Britain military and naval bases in the south seas had the potential to expose Spain’s rich South and Central American Pacific Coast colonies to attack via the Southern Oceans.


Every year from the time of Queen Elizabeth the First (1558-1603) and the Spanish Armada (1588) buccaneering Sir Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and Henry Morgan, English pirates positioned themselves off the Pacific Coast of Panama to intercept Spanish galleons on their way from Peru and Chile to Spain.

In June 1744 The Royal Navy’s Admiral George Anson dazzled London with a parade of chariots overflowing with looted treasure.

Plundering Spain’s ships laden with silver, gold and precious jewels stolen from Spain’s South and Central American colonies continued to fire the blood of every English pirate and privateer.

With New Holland the Navy could navigate a longer but more secure route with the intention of harassing the Spanish and claiming an even larger share of South America’s fabled silver and gold.

Captain Arthur Phillip  – ‘Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy‘ knew Spain’s vulnerable ‘treasure‘ colonies figured prominently among Prime Minister William Pitt’s ‘imperial’ ambitions.


‘Phillip was authorised to see to the defence of the colony’ . Kercher. op.cit.

That authorisation applied when-ever and from whom-so-ever such threat arose. At this time, December 1790, Governor Phillip was completely isolated in the midst of a hostile soldiery. See: Missing in Action – HMS Sirius (sunk) HMS Supply (@ Jakarta)

A proven strategist intent on saving the Sydney settlement from insurrection and anarchy, Phillip moved to assert his authority. See: John Macarthur The Great Pretender & Treasure Island

He had but one arrow in his quiver – intelligence –  Bennalong’s  ‘dread and hatred’.

Since 1788 official armed hunting parties of; ‘the best marksmen of marines and convicts’ had been essential to survival.

Bennalong, during the six months of his captivity within British lines (November 1789- May 1790) dined at times with the Governor and spoke often of the ‘dread and hatred’ local Aborigines felt for convict ‘marksman’ John McIntyre. A Tethered Goat- John McIntyre


1790 – December 9, Botany Bay: ‘At dawn a serjeant of marines with three convicts, among them was M’Entire the governor’s game-keeper (the person of whom Bennalong had on former occasions, shewn so much dread and hatred) went out on a shooting party’.

From Tench it appears, of the three (3) convicts – McIntyre, Peter Randall and Patrick Burn –  Phillip ‘licensed’ to carry firearms, only McInyre was ‘hated’  by the locals.

‘Enjoining all our subjects to live in amity and kindness with them…and if any our subjects shall wantonly destroy them, or give them unnecessary interruption in the exercise of their several occupations it our will and pleasure that you cause such offenders to be brought to punishment according to the degree of the offence’. King George III,  25 April 1787, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol.1

McIntyre was the perfect diversion. See: The Hulks Act 1776

1790 – December 10, Botany Bay: ‘About 1 am the serjeant was awakened by a rustling noise in the bushes supposing it to proceed from a kangaroo…two natives with spears one [Pemulwuy] launched his spear at M’Entire and lodged it in his side’. ‘Tench. ibid.

1790 – December 11, Sydney: The hunting party returned to Sydney with their wounded comrade.

§ SNAP §

1790 – December 12: ‘ I [Tench] received a direction to attend the governor at head quarters immediately…his excellency informed me…that we were, to put to death ten [10] cut off, and bring in the heads of the slain, for which purpose hatchets and bags would be furnished. 

If practicable, to bring away two [2] natives as prisoners…’I [Phillip] am resolved to execute the prisoners in the most public and exemplary manner’. Tench. ibid. See: Arthur’s Algorithm- ‘infuse universal terror’

1790 – 14 December:  Indiscriminate retaliation, then as now is ‘unlawful killing’. After consultation between Phillip and Tench the scope of the orders was amended.

When the detachment moved out Tench’s orders were; ‘bring in six [6] of those natives who reside near the head of Botany Bay; or if that should be found impracticable, to put that number [6] to death’.

Marine Lieutenant William; ‘Dawes whose duty it was to go out with that party refused that duty by letter…even after the Governor had taken great pains to point out the consequences of his being put under an arrest’.  Arnold. op.cit.

1790 – 17 December:  At 2 pm in the afternoon of the 17th the detachment returned to Sydney without prisoners or heads. Only to find a very different settlement from the one they had left three (3) days earlier. See: Lieutenant William Dawes, The Shock of the New South Wales Corps.

Waaksamheyd  chartered at Jakarta by Lieutenant Henry Ball RN HMS Supply’s captain, had arrived that very morning with tons of food and medicines. See: Missing in Action – HMS Sirius (sank), HMS Supply (Jakarta)

The arrival of the Dutch ship super-charged the settlement’s dynamic. The heady hope of seizure, and or escape, ripped through the now well over two thousand (2000) English men women and children of the First and Second Fleets.

To stem the tide of simmering rebellion and anarchy Governor Phillip ordered a second raid on the Bidjigal of Botany Bay.

1790 – 22 December: ‘The orders under which I [Tench] was commanded to act’ on the 22nd ‘ differ[ed] in no respect from the last….if six [6] cannot be taken let this number be shot’.

This time Marine Lieutenant Dawes ‘the scholar of the [First Fleet] expedition, man of letters and man of science, explorer, mapmaker, student of language of anthropology, teacher and philanthropist’ stood fast. Wood . op.cit

Dawes took no part in the raid of 22nd of December 1790.

Governor Phillip’s orders of December 1790 – were aimed at the enemy within – they served as a template for Britain’s frontier war. A war characterised by Peter Stanley as ‘war…nasty and decidedly lacking in glory’. See: Sword and Word Both  Are Mighty


The troops sent to garrison the Australian colonies participated in the great struggle at the heart of the European conquest of this continent…They fought in one of the most prolonged frontier 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


2017 – 16 September, Port Macquarie: A whale estimated to weigh 20 tonne washed up on Nobbey’s Beach on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.

An attempt to tow the ‘tremendous monster’ out to sea failed. In a decision ‘not taken lightly’ the animal was euthanased and buried. This solution deeply divided the people of Port Macquarie.

After a good deal of argy-bargy the whale was dug up, cut up and disposed of by staff of the National Parks and Wildlife Service at a cost of $A50,000 to the New South Wales Government.

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