Posts Tagged ‘H-4’


Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

‘He [Dawes] was the scholar of the [First Fleet] expedition, man of letters and man of science, explorer, mapmaker, student of language of anthropology, teacher and philanthropist’. Professor G.A. Wood, Lieutenant William Dawes and Captain Watkin Tench, Royal Australian Historical Society Journal, Vol. 19, Part 1, 1924


While Indigenous Australia knows of Marine Lieutenant William Dawes non-indigenous Australia ‘and from all the lands on earth we come’ know almost nothing of Dawes or of the ‘eternal flame’ and the remarkable role it played in the invasion of New Holland and the dispossession of its First Peoples?

Harrison H-4 Chronometer

‘English clockmaker John Harrison, a mechanical genius who pioneered the science of portable precision timekeeping…invented a clock that would carry the true time from the home port, like an eternal flame, to any remote corner of the world’. Dava Sobel, Longitude, Fourth Estate, 1998

It fetched up at one particular ‘remote corner of the world’  aboard HMS Supply one (1) of  eleven (11) ‘First Fleet’ ships.

Warranne – Sydney Cove: 26 January 1788:  K I – a faithful replica of John  Harrison’s  H-4 a ‘sea-going pocket watch’, was given into Dawe’s care by Britain’s Astronomer Royal Rev. Nevil Maskelyne

‘When leaving Botany Bay [for Sydney Cove 25 January 1788] Phillip noticed [La Perouse with] two French ships in the  offing….there would seem to be “some justification for the saying that England won Australia by six days”. Edward Jenks, History of the Australian Colonies, cited H.E. Egerton, A short History of British Colonial Policy, Methuen, London 1928

1788 – Norfolk Island, 14 February:  Three (3) weeks later K-1 left Sydney in HMS Supply to occupy Norfolk Island, in order to prevent La Perouse, ‘hanging around at Botany Bay’ claiming it for France.

1788 – Africa,  2 October on Sirius sailed to Cape Town for food.

1789 – Sydney, 8 May Sirius returned with 127,000 lbs. of flour; ‘after an absence of 219 days of which lay in Table Bay Cape of Good Hope, so that, although during the voyage we had fairly gone around the world, we had only been 168 days in describing that circles…makes it [Port Jackson] an important Post should it ever be necessary to carry…war in those seas…Coast of Chile and Peru’. [John] Hunter, Journal Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island. ????? 

1790 – Norfolk Island, 6 March on Sirius to Norfolk Island with 50% of Sydney’s starving population.

1790 – 17 March: K-1 was removed from Sirius before she sank after striking a submerged reef off Norfolk Island.

1790 -Sydney,  6 April returned to Sydney on HMS Supply.

1790 – Jakarta, 17 April on Supply sailed to Batavia.

1790 – Sydney, 17 October arrived in Sydney on Supply from Jakarta where Lieutenant Ball had chartered a Dutch ship Waaksamheyd to bring tonnes of supplies to Sydney as soon as possible.

1790 – Sydney, 16 December Waaksamheyd arrived from Jakarta

Together ‘the man of science’ and the ‘pocket-watch’ that ‘wrested the world’s whereabouts from the stars’ can play a pivotal role in revealing the how ,why and wherefore of the ‘war nasty and decidedly lacking in glory’ Britain waged against Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples

‘The decision to colonise New South Wales cannot be isolated from the strategic imperatives of the world’s first global struggle, the Seven Years’ War (1757-1763). . Jeffrey Grey, A Military History of Australia, Third ed. Cambridge University Press, 2008



Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

‘The grim roll-call broke his [Cook’s) heart…the death of the astronomer Charles Green marked a wave of those who ‘departed this life’….By the end of January [1771] they had barely enough men to man the ship [HMS Endeavour]’. Vanesssa Collingridge, Captain Cook, The Life, Death and Legacy of History’s Greatest Explorer, Ebury Press, 2002

1734 – Yorkshire: Charles Green son of ‘a prosperous’ free-hold farmer was born in Swinton towards the end of 1734. He received a broad education with a strong emphasis on science.

London: John his elder brother took Holy Orders and established a school in Soho, London.  There Charles found his ‘heavenly passion’ astronomy. After graduating he stayed on to teach mathematics.

1760 – Greenwich Observatory: In 1760 Charles applied successfully for the position of Assistant Astronomer at Greenwich Observatory. He went on to serve as Chief Assistant to three (3) Astronomer Royals, James Bradley, Nathaniel Bliss and briefly Reverend Nevil Maskelyn.