Posts Tagged ‘First Fleet’

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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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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ARTHUR PHILLIP – TRADE – THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ARTHUR & THE DEFENCE OF TRADE

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

There can be no question of right or wrong in such a case [as New Holland]. The only right is that of superiority of race, and the greater inherent capability on the part of the whites; the only real wrong on the part of the blacks their all-round inferiority and their inability to till the ground or even make use of its natural pastures. Their disappearance was a natural necessity’. James Collier, The Pastoral Age in Australasia, London, 1911. Reprint, Forgotten Books, 2018

‘The essentials of Britain’s foreign policy are bound to be basically two; trade and defence, particularly the defence of trade. There is no hard and fast line between foreign policy and other aspects of policy; domestic, economic and colonial’. C.M. Woodhouse, British Foreign Policy since WW II, 1961

As the 1600s morphed into the 1700s science progressed and maritime technology advanced exploration and exploitation. Competing territorial and trade ambitions burgeoned throughout Europe, none as fierce as those between traditional enemies Britain France and Spain.

‘When the expanding [colonial] plantation economy demanded more labor than could be supplied by white servants, Africans were imported as slaves: that is ‘chattel’ slaves…chattel slavery, the most debased form of bondage.

In its most extreme form it evolved in British America, took form in British-American law, in response to the need for a totally reliable, totally exploitable, and infinitely creatable labour force’. Professor Bernard Bailyn, The Peopling of the British Peripheries, Esso Lecture, 1988, Canberra.

The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) a series of agreements brought a formal end to the War of Spanish Succession (1701-14). Under its terms Britain became the largest exporter of ‘chattel’ slaves.

In 1772 Britain’s participation in the very profitable cruel  Atlantic Negro slave trade came under closer scrutiny when:

‘Lord Mansfield made his famous judgement in Somerset’s case (1772), by which slavery was declared illegal in this country‘. J.H. Plumb, England In The Eighteenth Century (1714-1815), Pelican 1965, p. 159 

Following the Mansfield decision William Wilberforce and the anti-slavery movement in general redoubled efforts to abolish all forms of human trafficking including England’s export of convicted criminals.

Since legislation, Geo. 1 The Transportation Act of 1717[18], each year Britain off-loaded 1000 prisoners reprieved death on condition they be transported ‘out of the realm’.

Shipped to America they were sold at regular ‘slave scrambles’. To be more precise – their labour was sold through a middle man. Sex, skill, physical and mental condition determined the sale price, buyers were mainly plantation owners. See: Britons Never Never Shall be Slaves

‘The factors who handled convict sales often had pre-existing customer orders that they met when convicts with the desired appropriate skills became available’. Edith M. Ziegler, Harlots, Hussies & Poor Unfortunate Women, Crime, Transportation & The Servitude of Female Convicts 1718-1783, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 2014

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SWORD AND WORD BOTH ARE MIGHTY – GOVERNOR ARTHUR PHILLIP’S MILITARY CAMPAIGN FOR KING AND COUNTRY

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

1790 – 13 December, Sydney Headquarters:‘ Put to death ten…bring in the heads of the slain…bring in two prisoners…I am resolved to execute the prisoners…in the most public and exemplary manner, in the presence of as many of their countrymen as can be collected’. Governor Phillip, General Orders to Captain Tench, cited, Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961

The reason Phillip gave for his ‘indiscriminate and disproportionate’ directive, putting no limit on barbarity, was the spearing of convict John M’Entyre by the warrior Pemulwuy that took place at Botany Bay in the early hours of 10 December 1790.

‘The cultural arrogance of the British was evident even before the First Fleet sailed. There was no recognition that the Aborigines had their own notion of right, that from their point of view they were entitled to defend themselves from invasion’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995

Ostensibly Phillip’s orders of 13 December centred on Pemulwuy’s spearing of John M’Entire. But Phillip’s knowledge of M’Entire, his own game-keeper, makes nonsense of his claim they were unprovoked’.

‘On the 9th of the month, a serjeant of marines, with three [3] convicts, among whom was M’Entire, the governor’s game-keeper (the person of whom Baneelon had, on former occasions, shewn so much dread and hatred) went out on a shooting party’. Tench. ibid.

‘But in this business of M’Entire I [Phillip] am fully persuaded that they [Aborigines] were unprovoked’. The ‘but’ refers to Phillip’s ‘own spearing’ by Wileemarrin on Manly Beach three (3) months previously – September 1790. See: Manly, Location Location Location

A year earlier, December 1789, on Governor Phillip’s orders Bennalong had been kidnapped. He was held captive within British lines until escaping in May of 1790. Bennalong was the source of Phillip’s intelligence ‘dread and hatred’. See: Kidnapped – Manly What’s In A Name

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Previously ‘Terror’ Now -ARTHUR PHILLIP & JOHN MACARTHUR ‘A MAN WHO MADE ENEMIES’

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

During Lord Sydney’s time as secretary of state, the Home Office was a clearing house. Its jurisdiction included overseeing of naval officers involved in trade regulation, secret service and special projects. As a result, Sydney crossed paths with three men who left their mark on [Australia’s European] history – Horotio Nelson, William Bligh and Arthur Phillip. Andrew Tink, Life and Times of Tommy Townshend, 2001

Horatio Nelson, William Bligh, Arthur Phillip, each are linked to the suffering and degradation experienced by Australia’s First Peoples following Britain’s invasion of New Holland, now Australia.

Lieutenant John ‘MacMafia’ Macarthur of the New South Corps can be added to the list of those who left an indelible ‘mark” on Australia’s modern history.

‘Macarthur’s haughty quarrelsome nature which manifested itself on the [second fleet] 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

Macarthur’s ‘conflict’ sprang purely from self-interest. His ‘private benefit’ threatened to bring to nought Whitehall’s ambitious future plans for  special project, trade, secret service’ in the southern oceans.  See Proximity Not Distance Drove Britain’s Invasion of New Holland. See: A Tale of Two Fleets

‘John Macarthur, a central figure in the military ‘mafia’ which quickly established itself as Australia’s first governing and property elite’.  Nigel Rigby, Peter Van Der Merwe, Glyn Williams, Pacific Explorations, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Adlard Coles. Bloomsbury,  2018  

The Southern Oceans had the potential to be a blockade-breaker in time of war. Just as importantly the route opened up a long-sought opportunity for the Royal Navy to attack and loot Spain’s Central and South American Pacific Ocean ‘treasure’ colonies.

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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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A HATCHET JOB: HEADS OFF THE BIDJIGAL OF BOTANY BAY

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

‘In war the trophy head is a mark of supremacy and respect’. Frances Larson, Severed, Granta, 2015

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1790 – 13 December, Sydney Cove: ‘If practicable, to bring away two [2] natives as prisoners and to put to death ten [10]. That we were to cut off, and bring in the heads of the slain, for which purpose, hatchets and bags would be furnished’. Marine Captain Watkin, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhadinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

Can we know what drove Governor Phillip’s ferocity? Yes we can – simmering rebellion centred on ‘certain  officers’ of the newly arrived New South Wales Corps (June 1790) one in particular Lieutenant John Macarthur.

‘The author of this publication [Captain Watkin Tench] received a direction to attend the governor [Arthur Phillip] at head quarters immediately.

I went, and his excellency informed me, that he had pitched upon me to execute the foregoing command…infuse universal terror…convince them of our superiority…we were to proceed to the north arm of the [Botany] bay…destroy all weapons of war: no hut was to be burned: that all women and children were to remain uninjured’.  

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SMALLPOX – A LETHAL WEAPON- BOSTON 1775; ROBERT ROSS & DAVID COLLINS – SYDNEY 1789; MAJOR ROSS & CAPTAIN COLLINS

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

‘From time to time throughout history, peoples and governments around the world have used micro-organisms as efficient and cost-effective weapons of mass destruction’. Professor Dorothy H. Crawford, The Invisible Enemy, Edinburgh University Press, 2000.

BOSTON

In 1763, in the earliest recorded deliberate release of a virus, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, British Commander-in-Chief in North America, authorized the distribution of smallpox-contaminated blankets to native Americans who were harassing European settlers around the garrison at Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania’. Crawford. op. cit.

Britain & the North American Indian Wars:  General Thomas Gage served as second-in-command to General Amherst in the North American theatre of the (Seven Years War) 1756-1763.

 ‘We gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital, I hope it will have the desired effect’. Amherst, cited Professor Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana, The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, 2001

In 1763 General Gage was implicated in the distribution of blankets seeded with smallpox to local Indian tribes at Fort Pitt now Pittsburgh.

“This act had the sanction of an impressive array of British officers, including Sir Jeffery Amherst, commander in chief at the time, and General Thomas Gage, who replaced Amherst and signed off on reimbursements for the “Sundries” used ” to convoy the Smallpox to the Indians”. Fenn. op. cit.

America – 1718-1775: Convict transportation: Britain between 1718 and 1775 exported approximately fifty thousand (50,000) convicted criminals to America.

Tied twice yearly to Assize and County Court Sittings some convicts – reprieved death on condition of exile ‘from the realm’were sentenced ‘for transportation to America’.

They were sold to plantation owners at regular ‘slave scrambles’. Most were unskilled men who served their sentence labouring alongside African slaves shipped to America to work the tobacco and cotton fields. Most women prisoners were purchased as house-servants.

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SMALLPOX – A BIOLOGICAL WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION – 1789

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

‘The body of the [Aboriginal] woman showed that famine, superadded to disease, had occasioned her death‘It is true, that our surgeons had brought out variolous (smallpox) matter in bottles’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961

Botany Bay – January 1788: At 2.15pm on 18 January 1788 HMS Supply, first of a large armed expeditionary force 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.

Governor Phillip estimated local Aborigines numbered 1500, the fleet’s complement doubled the population.

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

Sydney Cove 1789:  Starving on the streets of Sydney and white survival.  In April 1789 viral smallpox wiped out 50% of Sydney’s Aboriginal families. See: Smallpox and Starvation Dead Aborigines Don’t Eat

‘Inexplicably, the epidemic did not affect the [invading] European population’.  People of Australia, Macquarie Series, Ed. Bryce Fraser, 1998

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AIR-BRUSHED – SEX & TRANSPORTATION – 138,000 MEN & 25,000 WOMEN

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

‘The tender [HMS 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’. 1786 – Heads of a Plan for Botany Bay

1788-1813: While other European nations included convicts in their settler-mix Britain’s occupation of Australia was unique, in so far as, the first generation 1788-1813 was almost exclusively male.

‘The fact itself of causing the existence of a human being is one of the most responsible actions in the range of human life. To bestow a life which may either be a curse or a blessing, unless the being on whom it is bestowed will have at least the ordinary chances of a desirable existence, is a crime against that being’. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.

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