Author Archive

A MILLION DOLLAR BABY – THE BOTANY BAY MEDALLION & THOMAS BARRETT

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

‘The ‘Botany Bay Medallion’ a skillfully engraved metal medallion inscribed with a relief description of the voyage dated 20 January 1788 and a representation of the Charlotte riding at anchor at Botany Bay.  Mollie Gillen, Founders of Australia,

image of charlotte medal

Thomas Barrett is thought to ‘have been the maker of the Botany Bay Medallion.’ Also known as the Charlotte Medal,  it measures 74 mm (3 inches).

One side bears a precise reckoning of the First Fleet’s gruelling eight (8) months voyage across 13,000 miles (21,000 km) of largely ‘imperfectly explored oceans’ from England to conquer New Holland, now Australia.

It appears to have been fashioned from a silver-coloured metal medical dish owned most likely by Dr. John White the fleet’s chief medical officer.

The face of the medal depicts Charlotte  one (1) of the fleet’s six (6) convict transports – Alexander, Friendship, Lady Penrhyn, Prince of Wales and Scarborough, chartered by the British government to ship 750 convicted criminals  (570 males, 190 women) from England to Australia, together with three (3) stores-ships, Golden Grove, Borrowdale and Fishburn.

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STEALING STUFF

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

‘The colours of England, were, in their imagination, already in the wall of Lima’. Roger Knight, The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson, Westview Press UK

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‘Only 10 of the 200 crew members [survived] from the twenty-eight gun frigate HMS Hinchinbrooke,commanded by Nelson who was himself forced to return [from Nicaragua] to Jamaica where he was nursed back to life by a slave woman, Cuba Cornwallis’.  O’Shaughnessy,  Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, The Men Who Lost America, Yale University Press, New Haven, London 2013

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‘Since the Age of Elizabeth 1, the British had had global ambitions in which possession of Central America offered the prospect of opening a path between the Atlantic and Pacific’. 

Spanish South America – 1558-1603: From the time of Tudor Elizabeth, despite determined efforts by the ‘Virgin’ Queen’s buccaneers – Sir Jack Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and, a myriad privateers, England failed to oust Spain from her conquered territories, strung tantalisingly along the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts of Central and South America.

England: To fill Elizabeth’s dwindling coffers Treasury came to rely on looted gold, silver and diamonds, snatched by swarms of Englishmen at the point of the sword, from ‘treasure laden galleon’s en-route from Peru, Nicaragua, Panama and Chile to Spain.

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New Holland +Britain + Independent America + India + France + Spanish South America = European Australia

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

‘As for India, it had to remain a strategical back-water while Britons had their backs to the wall in so many other vital theatres. The interventions of the French navy, in the Channel, off Gibraltar, in the West Indies, off Yorktown, had clearly played a considerable part in Britain’s failure to win the war in America’. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, 3rd ed. Fontana Press, 1991 

Whitehall :Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for America since 1775 the beginning of America’s War of Independence (1775-83, despite General Charles Cornwallis’ defeat at Yorktown October 1781,spied from his vantage point in far-off London ‘a clear vision of victory’.

A Dictionary of British History, Secker & Warburg, edited by J.P. Kenyon.

Germain’s ‘vision of victory’ was based on many factors. Among them; .’rumours Vermont would declare for the British‘ – George Washington’s Continental Army was ‘on the verge of collapse....good reason to believe that France and Spain might end their involvement in the war’. Andrew Jackson O’Shaunghnessy, The Men Who Lost America, Yale University Press, New Haven, London. 2013 

Germain was wrong. Even after Britain’s disastrous defeat at Yorktown, a smallpox epidemic, a bitter winter, shortage of ammunition and  food, he urged Parliament continue a now manifestly un-winnable war.

‘Wthout the direct intervention of Britain’s adversaries, France and Spain, on America’s side, the colonies could not [have] hope[d] to prevail against the superior British army and navy to win their independence outright’. Larrie D. Ferreiro, Introduction, Brothers At Arms, American Independence and The Men of France and Spain Who Saved it. First Vintage Books Ed. New York, 2017

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Botany Bay – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Hush Christopher Robin’ – Mark 2

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

‘The combination of French and Spanish naval power had proven fatal for Britain in the American War 1775-1783]…as Lord Sandwich admitted frankly’. Lord Sandwich cited R.J. King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony, Sydney, 1990

At Lexington in April 1775 Britain went to war with her North American colonists. But not all of them. Those loyal to the Crown fought their Patriot brothers alongside British troops.

Against all odds General George Washington’s Patriot rebels, assisted by France and Spain, won America’s struggle for independence.

Brazil – September 1787: As the First Fleet ‘bound for Botany Bay’ prepared to sail from Rio for New Holland via Cape Town, Captain Arthur Phillip RN ‘Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy’ was able to supply Evan Nepean, his long-time ‘handler’ at the Home Office, with vital information.

Rio de Janeiro – 3 September 1787: ‘Dear Nepean, this is my last letter, as I hope to sail [for Botany Bay] tomorrow. You know how much I was interested in the intended expedition against Monte Video [1783], and that it was said that the Spaniards had more troops than I supposed’. Arthur Phillip to Evan Nepean Under Secretary to Home Secretary Lord Sydney, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol. 1, Parts 1 & 2.

Skin in the game; to understand Phillip’s expressedinterest in Monte Video’  he had himself drawn up ‘secret plans‘ for the failed expedition.

The Portsmouth group were to rendezvous with a similar sized convoy sailing from the Indies

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Though negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles that brought about a formal end to the American War were still in progress Britain aimed to harass’ the ‘Spaniards’ by mounting hit and run raids on Monte Video and Buenos Aires Spain’s South American colonial possessions.

In January 1783 Lieutenant Arthur Phillip as captain of HMS Europa , with three (3) other ships HMS Elizabeth, HMS Grafton and supply vessel, HMS Iphiguria departed Portsmouth under overall command of Sir Robert Kingsmill in  Elizabeth.

 

Fresh from Britain’s defeat in America’s Revolutionary War (1775-1783) Phillip regarded the group’s ‘failure to act’ had robbed the Royal Navy of much needed ‘glory’. 

The failure rankled and Phillip determined to make amends.  Securing a sea-route via the Southern Oceans to the Southern and Central America’s Pacific Coast  would expose  Spain’s ‘treasure’ colonies to attack.

The conquest of New Holland, now Australia,  deep in the South Seas would  provide a stepping stone to restoring ‘lost glory’.

If Phillip succeeded there would be an opportunity to prove the Pacific Coast of Spain’s Central and South American ‘treasure colonies’ would be  vulnerable to attack by the Royal Navy.

Rio – September 1787:  Phillip went on to provide Evan Nepean with up-to-date intelligence ‘obtained from a person who was there [Monte Video] all of the war [1775-1783]. He went on to detail the number and disposition of troops, ‘and I am certain that the account is exact’. Phillip to Nepean, 3 September 1787. Historical Records. op.cit.

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‘When you arrive on the Spanish Coast of the South Seas you are to do your best to annoy and distress the Spaniards… by sinking, burning or otherwise destroying all their ships and vessels that you shall meet’. Instructions to Commodore George Anson,  January 1740, cited Glyn Williams The Prize of All the Oceans,  Harper Collins, 2000

Strategically the conquest and dispossession of New Holland’s First Nations’ Peoples  was all about on-going global warfare. The Second Hundred Years’ War 1701 -1815.

The War of Spanish Succession (1701-14 – ) The French and Napoleonic Wars (1793- 1815) . See: Why New Holland – Britain + America + India + France + Spain  = European Australia

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Monte Video – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Hush Christopher Robin’ Mark 1

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

In 1775 at Lexington Britain went to war with her North American colonists. But not all of them.

Loyalists alongside British troops fought their Patriot brothers and neighbours led by General George Washington.

‘Most histories of the American Revolution discuss the French Navy’s involvement only near the end of the war at the Battle of the Chesepeake in September 1781.

In fact from the moment France entered the war in 1778, its navy was fighting the British in many parts of the world, and this proved to be the most decisive factor in bringing the opposing parties to the peace Table’. Essays in the American Revolution – A World War, David K. Allison, Larrie D. Ferreiro, eds. Smithsonian

In 1778 France had  mobilised her navy and declared war on Britain. Spain followed in 1779.

French money, men, munitions and military know-how poured in to support Washington’s home-grown militia.

In September 1781 off Chesapeake a French squadron under Admiral de Grasses, although inferior in manoeuvrability to their British opponents, prevented reinforcements reaching  Lord Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown as he prepared for what proved to be the pivotal battle of America’s Revolutionary War of Independence(1775-1783).

In October 1781 Cornwallis’ large army  starved of men and heavy artillery fell to a combined army of French regulars and Washington’s militia.

Lengthy peace negotiations began. Separate agreements were settled progressively culminating with a ceremonial signing of the Treaty of Versailles  in September 1783 bringing a formal end to the war.

London:  Meanwhile  in March 1782 Lord North resigned as Prime Minister. He was succeeded by Lord Rockingham who died in July 1782 when the position  passed to Lord Shelburne. He held the office for a year, until July 1783.

London – 4 July 1782: Lord Sydney inherited the office of Home Secretary from William Petty, Lord Shelburne, along with a mountain of unfinished business.  Included were the bare bones of what had became known as the Dalrymple Plan. See: Proximity not Tyranny of Distance

 

The Dalrymple mission aimed to launch marauding hit and run raids on Spain’s colonial territories firstly Monte Video, present-day Uruguay, then onto  Buenos Aires, present-day Argentina,  on the Atlantic Coast of South America.

Brazil: Lord Sydney tasked Lieutenant Arthur Phillip RN design a strategy that would achieve this end. Phillip had spent nigh on three (3) years in Brazil seconded to the Portuguese Navy.

Rio: Phillip was an exceptionally effective spy. Based in Rio, fluent in French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew and Portuguese, he had access to a myriad of anti-Spanish dissenters ripe for rebellion and reported directly to Lord Sandwich at the Admiralty.

1783: Britain, driven by the humiliation of defeat and the loss of her ‘Empire in the West, the thirteen (13) American ‘middle colonies’, was determined to penetrate Spain’s ‘treasure‘ colonies in South America.

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Australia’s First Peoples & Britain’s ‘Empire in the South’

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

‘The short term consequences of the American War of Independence] were less than many expected.Though Britain’s eclipse as a world power was confidently predicted her economic recovery was swift, and the colonial development of Australia, New Zealand India and part of Africa went some way to compensating for the loss of the first British empire’. Professor J.A.C Cannon, Oxford Companion to British History, ed. John Cannon, 1997

The establishment of a ‘Second British Empire’ followed on quickly from America’s War of Independence 1775-1783.

Britain’s loss of her ‘Empire in the West’ the thirteen (13) ‘middle colonies’ – New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Carolina North and South, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island drove the invasion of New Holland and the brutal conquest of its Sovereign Peoples.

‘That the fighting against France in what was originally and essentially a European war should have spread so swiftly to the tropics was a result of many factors, most of them predicable’. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, Fontana Press, 3rd Ed. London, 1976

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Proximity – Not Distance – Drove Britain’s Invasion of New Holland

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Port Jackson – 1788: ‘Here a Thousand Ships of the Line may ride in Perfect Security’. Governor Arthur Phillip RN to Lord Sydney, Historical Records of New South Wales Vol. 1, Parts 1 & 2

England – May 1787: Captain John Hunter RN commander of HMS Sirius, flagship of the ‘First Fleet’ a fully funded naval expeditionary force and, second-in-command to Captain-General Governor Arthur Phillip RN, departed Portsmouth on the 13th May 1787 to invade the island continent of New Holland, now Australia.

Botany Bay – 1788: By the end of January 1788, after a voyage of eight (8) months by way of Spanish Tenerife, Portuguese Brazil and Dutch Cape Town, the eleven (11) ships with a complement of 1500 – 1300 men 221 – women, approximately 50 free children, were at anchor in Botany Bay. See: Botany Bay – Lord Sydney, Arthur Phillip & ‘Christopher Robin’ Mark 2

Port Jackson: Governor Phillip deemed Botany Bay difficult to defend. Hunter supported relocating to Port Jackson nine (9) miles to the north ‘[w]here’a thousand Ships…’

Sydney Cove – January 1788:  From myriad of bays and inlets Phillip chose a ‘snug’ cove deep within the vast harbour. He named it Sydney after Home Secretary Lord Sydney. By the end of January the entire fleet were anchored there.

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THE SWITCH 1790 – CONTEXT GLOBAL WAR 1775 – 1815

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

‘For a brief moment there was hope…within a matter of years violence had broken out on both sides and Phillip would now instruct raiding parties to bring back the severed heads of warriors. The birth of Australia was meant to be so different…it need not have been this way’. Stan Grant, Talking to My Country, Text Publishing, 2017

Why is Australia ‘this way’ a divided nation? See: G is for Genocide- Colonial Breeding

‘Phillip…had instructions to deal with the ‘natives’ with ‘amity and kindness’. Professor Larissa Behrendt, The Honest History Book, – Invasion or Settlement, NewSouth Press, 2017   

What had gone so wrong with the ‘deal’? 

‘Within a generation the heads of Aborigines were shipped to Britain in glass cases to be studied as relics of a doomed race’. Grant. ibid.

What flipped the switch from ‘amity and kindness’ to ‘nasty’ creeping frontier wars that by 1838 had brought about the near destruction of Australia’s First Nations?

London – 1838:  ‘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’. Select Committee of the British Parliament, Lord John Russell to [Governor] Sir George Gipps, 21 December, 1838. Historical Records of New South Wales Vol.1

First Nations’ authors, Stan Grant and Larissa Behrendt, hone in on a critical pinch-point that occurred in the first decade of Britain’s ‘original aggression’.

‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. These raids commenced by December 1790’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of the Law in Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney 1995

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DARK MATTER – ‘McMafia’ MACARTHUR & ‘FIERY INDIAN RUM’ THE TEETOTALLER’S DRUG OF CHOICE FOR OTHERS

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Sydney – June 1790: ‘On a high bluff, called South-head, at the entrance of the harbour…every morning from daylight until the sun sunk, did we sweep the horizon, in the hope of seeing a sail.

No communication  whatever having passed with our native country since the 13th May 1787 the day of our departure from Portsmouth….The misery and horror of such a situation cannot be imparted even by those who have suffered under it’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

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‘Until, the year 1823 the government of New South Wales was vested entirely in the Governor who worked under the control of the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

He was an autocrat, wielding the widest powers, amenable to no criticism but than of the Minister [13,000 miles (21,000 km) away] in England’. Professor Ernest Scott, A Short History of Australia, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1953

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London – January 1790: ‘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’. Right Hon.W.W. Grenville to Secretary of War, London, 20 January 1790

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‘It does not appear that Grose’s antecedents had qualified him in any way for the performance of gubernatorial functions. He had been trained from his youth to arms and was essentially and only a soldier’. M.H. Bladen, Journal Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. I

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‘[Grose] had not been many hours in charge before [13 December 1792] he introduced into the Government of the colony the same system, and very much the same forms, which prevailed in his regiment…From this period, the ascendancy of the military dates. They became an aristocracy’ .Bladen. op.cit. 

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‘It was a great misfortune that this period of military rule occurred because in the course of it the colony was brought to degradation by drink, corruption, and general iniquity, which required years to mitigate’. Ernest Scott. op.cit.

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‘For the length of the interregnum the British Government was greatly at fault’. J.J. Achmutty, John Hunter, Australian Dictionary of Biography See: A Black Hole the First Interregnum December 1792-September 1795

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‘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, 1987

Sydney – 1790, June: The first contingent, one hundred and fifteen (115) ,Officers NCOs and ORs of the New South Wales Corps, reached Sydney in June 1790.

Major Francis Grose their commander remained in England to recruit sufficient numbers to meet establishment requirement.

Lieutenant John Macarthur, an ambitious self-centred junior Corps Officer, took advantage of deep dissensions among his fellow officers and moved swiftly to fill the power vacuum created by Grose’s absence. See: The Switch 1790 – Context – War With France 1793-1815

Sydney -1792, 14 February:  Pitt  a convict transport with three hundred (300) male prisoners reached Sydney on Valentine’s Day 1792.  The Pitt also brought Major Grose with an additional two hundred (200) infantry troops.

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ONLY MEN ? ASIDE FROM SEAGULLS HOW MANY WHITE BIRDS WERE ON THE GROUND @ SYDNEY COVE ON 26 JANUARY 1788 – NONE

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

1788 – Wednesday 6 February, Sydney Cove: ‘The day the convict women disembarked…they landed by rowing boats between 6 am and 6 pm.’ John Moore, First Fleet Marines 1786-1792, Queensland University Press, 1986

THE BACK STORY

1786 – 18 August, Westminster: Lord Sydney advised; ‘His Majesty has thought advisable to fix upon Botany Bay’.

1786 – 21 August, London: Admiralty informed Treasury;‘orders had been issued for the transportation of 680 male convicts and 70 female convicts [amended] to New South Wales’.

1787 – 25 April, London: ‘We have ordered about 600 male and 180 female convicts…to the port on the coast of New South Wales…called Botany  Bay.

And whereas, from the great disproportion of female convicts to those of males..and without sufficient proportion of that [female] sex it is well known that it be impossible to preserve the settlement from gross irregularities and disorders…it appears advisable that a further number…should be introduced’. Heads Of a Plan for Botany Bay, Historical Records of New South Wales. Vol. 1

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