Archive for the ‘Starvation’ Category

A PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS – THE ENGLISHMEN OF THE FIRST FLEET

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

‘A very tasty pea and ham soup washed down with tea from the leaves of the local sarsaparilla vine. In fact being British the colonists drank so much of the stuff that sarsaparilla remains almost extinct in the area around Sydney’. Tony Robinson’s History of Australia, Penguin 2011.

1788 – 18 January, Botany Bay: HMS Supply, the first of eleven (11) vessels making up the ‘First Fleet’ with a complement of 1500 hungry souls, reached Botany Bay, in the island continent of New Holland, now Australia on 18th January 1788, almost immediately Supply deployed her seine [trawling] nets.

‘No sooner were the fish out of the water than they [Aborigines] began to lay hold of them as if they had a right to them, or that they were their own; upon which the officer of the boat, I think very properly, restrained them giving, however, to each of them a part. They did not at first seem very well pleased with this mode of procedure, but on observing with what justice this fish was distributed they appeared content’. John White, Chief Medical Officer, First Fleet Journal

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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…)

ABANDONED & LEFT TO STARVE AT SYDNEY COVE JANUARY 1788 TO JULY 1790

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

1790 – July, Sydney Cove: The weekly ration ‘without distinction’ stood at ‘two [2] pounds of pork, two and a half [2½] pounds of flour, two [2] pounds of rice, or a quart of pease, per week to every grown person, and to every child of more than eighteen [18] months old. To every child under eighteen [18] months old, the same quantity of rice and flour, and one [1] pound of pork.

When the age of this provision is recollected, its inadequacy will more strikingly appear. The pork…from England had been salted between three [3] and four [4] years… a daily morsel toast[ed] on a fork catching the drops on a slice of bread, or in a saucer of rice…every grain was a moving body from the inhabitants lodged within it…flour brought from the Cape by Sirius [May 1789] soldiers and convicts used to boil it up with greens’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

1788 – 18 January, Botany Bay: At 2.15pm on 18 January 1788 HMS Supply, one (1) of a large armed convoy of eleven (11) ships known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’ with a complement of 1500 souls (one-half convicted criminals) anchored in the entrance to Botany Bay, New Holland now Australia.

‘Notwithstanding all the care and attention [Phillip] bestowed on the preparations, it was found on arrival that many of the stores were short in quantity, poor in quality, or absent altogether’. Commentary, Historical Records of Australia,  Series 1, Vol. 1.   

‘The main battle was about having enough to eat’. The Story of Australia, Don, 1984.

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AN EVACUATION – SAVING LIEUTENANT WILLIAM COLLINS

Monday, February 9th, 2009

‘It is probable the ships’ company will be on salt provisions for some months after they arrive on the coast of New South Wales, [I] will be glad of two hundred pounds [91kg]of portable soup in addition to fifty pounds [23kg] already supply’d. Arthur Phillip to Admiralty, 22nd March 1787, Historical Records of New South Wales.

‘Portable soup’ made from; ‘all the offals of oxen killed in London for the use of  the navy’ was a dried concoction capable of re-constitution.

1787 – 13 May, Portsmouth: Led by flagship HMS Sirius a large armed squadron of eleven (11) ships commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN with a complement of 1500 souls, known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’, sailed from England to Botany Bay on the south eastern coast of ‘New South Wales’ in mid May 1787.

1788 – 18/20 January, Botany Bay: Via Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town after eight (8) months voyaging, within thirty-six (36) hours between 18-20 January the entire English Fleet were riding at anchor inside Botany Bay.

1788 – 24 January, Botany Bay: La Boussole and L’Astrolabe, two (2) French ships commanded by Comte Jean- Francois La Perouse appeared in the entrance to the bay. The French battling high winds and rolling seas, sailed south to shelter from the storm and seek safety from Sirius’s guns. See: Eyes Wide Shut – A Military Campaign and Arthur Phillip

‘Phillip ordered a party to be sent [there] Point Sutherland to hoist English colours. He also stipulated that the move to Port Jackson be kept secret’. John Moore, The First Fleet Marines 1786-1792, Queensland University Press, 1987

1788 – 25 January, Port Jackson: Captain Phillip aboard HMS Supply quit Botany Bay ordering the fleet follow when bad weather abated and by 7 pm that night Supply anchored in Sydney Cove.

Situated deep within Port Jackson, guarded by towering headlands ‘here’ Phillip reported to London ‘a thousand Ship of Sail of the Line may ride in the most perfect Security’. Historical Records of New South Wales

1788 – 26 January, Sydney Cove: At first light –  26 January 1788 – Captain Phillip, some marines and convicts disembarked from Supply. English Colours’ the Union Jack were hoisted from the arm of a hastily erected flagpole to signify that, in the race for New Holland England had vanquished France thereby frustrating her arch-enemy’s long-standing ambition to dominate the Indian and Southern Oceans.

‘When Phillip planted the flag at Sydney Cove in 1788 he was not claiming the land away from the aboriginal people but to make sure the French did not to make the claim first’. Professor Larissa Behrendt,The Honest History Book, ed. David Stephens & Alison Broinowski, New South Publishing, 2017

By night-fall – 26 January – the remaining English ships were anchored alongside HMS Supply. See: Britain by a Short Half-Head Captain Arthur Phillip & Comte Jean-Francoise La Perouse

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