Posts Tagged ‘botany bay medallion’

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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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

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.

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FROM HERE TO ETERNITY – THOMAS BARRETT

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The death penalty was brought to Australia with the First Fleet. Mike Richards, The Hanged Man, The Life and Death of Ronald Ryan, 2002

Sydney Cove 1788 – 27 February:   One (1) month after disembarking from the ‘First Fleet’  convict Thomas Barrett was hanged from;  ‘the arm of a large tree…fixed upon as a gallows’

Barrett’s execution was public theatre staged to instil terror into all spectators; be they convict, soldier, sailor or the silent, unseen locals – The First Australians.

A small plaque at the corner of Harrington and Essex Streets in Sydney’s Rocks area marks Barrett’s fleeting presence in Australia.

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between the marines and the [male] convicts…the standard adopted was that of the troops serving in the West Indies’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, 1990

On ‘shaky evidence’ Thomas Barrett aged about 30 years, was accused, in company with three (3) others, Henry Lavell, Joseph Hall and John Ryan, of stealing food from government stores.

it is a matter of record the day before – 26 February 1788 – they had received their full ration.  Nevertheless at twelve (12) noon the four (4) men appeared before a hastily convened court.

London – 1782:  Six (6) years earlier, at different times during 1782, each had appeared at London’s Old Bailey on various charges. Found guilty and sentenced to death.  On that occasion each had the death sentence forgiven on condition they be marked ‘ for transportation to America’.

Sydney – 1788:  All were found guilty as charged and sentenced to death. On this occasion the execution was to take place before nightfall.

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BETRAYED – THOMAS BARRETT – MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

‘The arm of a large tree situated between the Tents of the Men and Women was fixt upon as a Gallowsthe body hung an hour and was then buried in a grave dug very near the Gallows’. Surgeon Bowes Smyth, Journal 1787-1789, Australian Documents Library, Sydney,1979

1788 – 27 February, Sydney Cove: Thomas Barrrett was the first man hanged in European Australia just one (1) month after disembarking in Sydney Cove.

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