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

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

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TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD – THOMAS BARRETT

February 21st, 2018

THOMAS BARRETT: ‘He 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

1788 – February 27, Sydney Cove: Thomas Barret was the first person executed in Australia. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer of the ‘First Fleet’, almost certainly witnessed and probably certified Barrett’s death. See: From Here to Eternity 

It is believed Thomas Barrrett engraved the ‘Botany Bay Medallion’ fashioned from a ‘ silver coloured metal kidney dish’ belonging to Dr. White.

Barrett, possibly the son of Irish immigrants, was born in London in 1758. His profile is not that of the usual ‘First Fleet’ illiterate, dead-beat common criminal. Unusual for those times he could read and, judging by the ‘Botany Bay Medallion’, wrote a fine hand.

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

February 21st, 2018

‘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. 

1770 – April, Possession Island: In 1770 in the name of His Majesty King George III of England Lieutenant James Cook RN laid claim to New Holland, naming the country New Wales.

1788 – January 26/27/28, Sydney: Commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN a British army – 1455 – comprising five hundred and seventy (570) male criminals – ‘rationed as troops serving in the West Indies’ – two hundred (200) Royal Naval personnel, two hundred and forty-five (245) marines, four hundred and forty (440) merchant seamen and twenty (20) officials disembarked at Warrane (Sydney Cove). See: A Tale of Two Fleets

‘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 – 7 February, Port Jackson: Captain-General, now Governor Arthur Phillip RN, raised the Union Jack and; ‘using a form of words’ took ‘effective occupation’ of the island continent of New Holland, now Australia, for the British Empire.

‘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 Sir George Gipps, Despatch, 21 December 1838, 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.

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A BLACK HOLE – THE FIRST INTERREGNUM 1792-1795

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

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A BAND OF BROTHERS & MORTAL ENEMIES

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

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

Phillip knew a great deal about La Perouse and it is impossible to believe he did not admire the gallant Frenchman who had a deserved reputation for compassion.

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ANALYSE THIS

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

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

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 The First Peoples of this ancient land?

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

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AUSTRALIA’S HEROES – ENGLAND’S CASTAWAYS

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’. Read the rest of this entry »

AIR-BRUSHED – INVASION – EYES WIDE SHUT

November 1st, 2017

‘The Old Privy Council decision in Cooper V Stuart [1889] was based on the factual errors that Australia was peacefully settled and that Aborigines were never in possession of the land’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of Law in Australia, 1994

1889 – 3 April, London: Lord Watson, Lord Fitzgerald, Lord Hobhouse, Lord MacNaghton, Sir William Grove, in Cooper V Stuart [1889] 14 AC, Privy Council of the United Kingdom, ruled: [13] ‘There was no land law existing in the Colony (New South Wales) at the time of its [peaceful] annexation to the Crown’.

1790 – 13 December: ‘Bring in six [6] of those natives who reside near the head of Botany Bay, or if that should be found impractical, to put that number to  death…cut off and bring in the heads of the slain’. Extract: General Orders, Governor Arthur Phillip to Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney, 13 December 1790, Historical Records of New South Wales.

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‘TERROR’ – ARTHUR’S ALGORITHM – OPEN SESAME!

October 4th, 2017

‘The ability to shock bestows a kind of power’. Frances Larson, Severed, Granta, London, 2014

1790 – 13 December, Sydney Headquarters: Governor Arthur Phillip – General Orders to Marine Captain Watkin Tench: ‘Infuse universal terror…put ten [10] to death…cut off, and bring back the heads of the slain’. Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Year, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples can, with laser accuracy, plot their near annihilation from Governor Arthur Phillip’s orders of December 1790.

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

Where lay the threat to Governor Phillip in December 1790? Certainly not from the Bidgigal of Botany Bay. The previous year (1789) smallpox had killed 50% of Sydney Aborigines and left survivors struggling to regroup. See: Smallpox – A Lethal Weapon Boston 1775, Sydney 1789 – Robert Ross and David Collins

‘For the Sydney people to lose 50% or more of their military capability in a few weeks was a crushing blow’. Stephen Gapps, The Sydney Wars, NewSouth Books, 2018

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