Posts Tagged ‘First Fleet’

A TALE OF TWO FLEETS

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

WHEN WAS AN INVASION FLEET NOT AN INVASION FLEET ? WHEN IT WAS THE ‘FIRST  FLEET’.

‘In writing of the recruitment of criminals into the armed forces, Stephen Conway observed, ‘It was still found necessary periodically to clear both the putrid and congested gaols and the equally overcrowded and insanitary hulks’. Conway, cited in Alan Frost, Botany Bay Mirages, Melbourne University Press, 1994.

THE FIRST FLEET – AN INVASION FLEET – MORTALITY RECKONED @ 4%.

1787 – January, Portsmouth:  Between January 1787 and mid-May 1787 a large squadron of eleven (11) ships, known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’, assembled at Portsmouth, England. One-half of its complement, 1500 souls, were convicted criminals.

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between marines and [male] convicts…the standard adopted was that of troops serving in the West Indies’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Library of Australian History, 1993

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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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ALL THE KING’S MEN: ARTHUR PHILLIP & THE CRIMINALS OF THE ‘FIRST FLEET’

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

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

1787 – 13 May, Portsmouth: The ‘First Fleet’ an armed squadron of eleven (11) ships commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN sailed from England to invade the island continent of New Holland.

Of its overwhelmingly male complement, 1500 souls, seven hundred and fifty (750) were convicted criminals. The five hundred and eighty male (580) male convicts ‘fed as troops serving in the West Indies’ were available for combat. See: April Fools Day

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AUSTRALIA – BRITAIN BY A SHORT HALF-HEAD: CAPTAIN ARTHUR PHILLIP & COMTE JEAN-FRANCOISE LA PEROUSE

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

‘From the coast of China it [New Holland] lies not more than about a thousand leagues and nearly the same distance from the East Indies, from the Spice Islands about seven hundred leagues, and near a month’s run from the Cape of Good Hope…or suppose we were again involved  in a war with Spain, here are ports of shelter and refreshment for our ships, should it be necessary to sent any into the South Sea’. Admiral Sir George, Historical Records of New South Wales. Vol.1

Captain Louis Antoine de Bougainville’s A Voyage Round the World published in 1771; ‘raised the stakes in the race to see who would open up the Pacific first’. Arthur Herman, To Rule The Waves, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 2005

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MISSING IN ACTION – HMS SIRIUS & HMS SUPPLY

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

‘Dismay was painted on every countenance, when the tidings were proclaimed at Sydney’. Marine Captain Watkin, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L, Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

1790 – March 19, Sydney: ‘the tidings’; loss of HMS Sirius the ‘First Fleet’s flagship – ‘dismay’ all hope of a China rescue  gone.

Norfolk Island: Sirius was at the bottom of the sea off Norfolk Island and her crew, one hundred and sixty naval (160) personnel, now stranded along with 50% of the white population evacuated from Sydney to save them from imminent starvat1on.

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EYES WIDE SHUT – A MILITARY CAMPAIGN & ARTHUR PHILLIP

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

‘The pattern of conflict in Australia ran parallel to the pattern of settlement. From the early days around Sydney Cove the hostility of the Aboriginal Peoples to the depredations of the whites was clear to all’. Jeffrey Grey, A Military History of Australia, The British Period 1788-1870, Cambridge Press, 2001

1787 – 25 April – London: ‘Live in amity and kindness with them’. His Majesty George III, Instructions to Captain Arthur Phillip RN commander of a large armed squadron of eleven (11) ships – two (2) warships, six (6) troop transports and three (3) supply vessels, known in Britain as the ‘First Fleet’. See: A Riddle – When an invasion fleet was not an invasion fleet? When it’s the ‘First Fleet’.

Extravagant lies, none are more destructive than, ‘amity kindness’.

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JOHN MACARTHUR THE GREAT PRETENDER

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

‘What is the most arresting thing in all these recordings is the way in which they perceive Aboriginal Australians on not exactly equal terms, but on terms of people who have a right to the occupancy of this land’. Dr Nicholas Brown, The Australian National University and National Museum of Australia, on inclusion of some ‘First Fleet’ Journals onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. ABC AM Programme, 15 October 2009

1790 – June, Sydney: What went so wrong? Lieutenant John Macarthur the teetotaller, who put ‘Rum’ into the New South Wales Corps, arrived in Sydney with a second fleet in June 1790.

‘Macarthur’s haughty quarrelsome nature which manifested itself on the 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

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

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

‘Dear Jack…I value Death nothing but it is in leaving you my dear behind and no one to look after you’. David Prendergast, Oxford Book of Australian Letters, ed. Brenda Niall and John Thompson, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1998

Gender disparity characterised Britain’s invasion and occupation of the island continent of New Holland now Australia.

‘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

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 zero to West Australia. See: G is for Genocide

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A VICIOUS CIRCLE – THE HANGMAN’S NOOSE

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

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

1788 – January, Sydney Cove: About 750 (570 male and 193 female) of England’s convicted criminals disembarked from the ‘First Fleet at Sydney Cove in late January 1788; among them Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell, Joseph Hall and John Ryan.

1788 – 27 February, Sydney: One (1) month after landing – 27 February – these four (4) young men stood under‘ a large tree fixt as a gallows’. 

Britain’s invasion and colonisation of New Holland brought the First Nations’ Peoples starvation, disease and a racist caste system based on colour. Well practised retribution was meted out when they dared to challenge the predators who stole their land and plundered their resources.

Although the unjust consequences of invasion and dispossession stand in plain sight, because of widespread historical ignorance in mainstream non-Aboriginal Australia, they go largely unrecognised and unacknowledged or, even if acknowledged, the First Australians are ‘blamed’.

‘Imagine if we had suffered the injustices and then were blamed for it’. Paul Keating Redfern Speech, Paul Keating, 10 December 1992.

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CATCH 22 – JAMES FREEMAN

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

 James Freeman – ‘Hang or be Hanged’. 

 

Part of the original document pardoning a convict if he acts as executioner

Extract showing a pardon on condition of becoming the public executioner. Dated 1 March 1788, signed by Governor Arthur Phillip.

‘For here was an opportunity of establishing a Jack Ketch who Should, in all future Executions, either Hang or be Hanged’. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer, First Fleet Journal.

 1788 – 29 February, Sydney Cove: Friday 29th February shaped as another busy day for the infant colony’s criminal court.

It was decided, after the long drawn-out dramas of the previous two (2) days, as well as to avoid Sydney’s intense midday sun and drenching humidity, court would convene earlier than usual. See: Blind Man’s Bluff

At 8 am convicts James Freeman and William Shearman, accused the previous day of stealing from government stores, appeared in the dock before a tribunal of six (6) military officers.

This judicial arrangement fed a deeply corrosive relationship already existing between the naval Governor Arthur Phillip RN and Marine Major Robert Ross commander of the Sydney Garrison. See: Rules of Engagement

Freeman and Shearman were found guilty as charged and sentenced to die later that same day 29 February 1788.

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