Posts Tagged ‘hanging’

From Here to Eternity – Thomas Barrett

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

‘Just three [3] weeks before half a continent had been declared Crown land in one of the most remarkable acts of plunder in modern times…five [5] men were convicted of theft and condemned to death, illustrating that property was more sacrosanct than life itself. Henry Reynolds, Searching for Truth-Telling, History, Sovereignty and the Uluru Statement From the Heart, NewSouth Publishing 2021

 

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

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‘When leaving Botany Bay [25 January 1788] Phillip noticed 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

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Jean-Francois de Galaup, Comte de la Perouse [was] hanging around [at Botany Bay] on an expedition with two [2] ships’.  Professor Larissa Behrendt, The Honest History Book, eds. David Stephens & Alison Broinowski, NewSouth Publishing Press, 2017

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‘New Holland is a good blind, then,  when we want to add to the military strength of India’.  Anon.  to Evan Nepean, Frank Murcott Bladen, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol.1 1892

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Sydney Cove 1788 – 27 February:   One (1) month after disembarking from the ‘First Fleet’ convicts Thomas Barrett, John Ryan, Henry Lavell and Joseph Hall were charged with stealing food from the government store-house.

All were found guilty as charged and sentenced to death. ‘The arm of a large tree…fixed upon as a gallows’  the execution to take place that same day.

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

But only Thomas Barrett died that day

A small plaque at the corner of Harrington and Essex Streets in Sydney’s Rocks area marks Barrett’s fleeting presence in Australia. His passing goes un-remarked.

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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

image of charlotte medal

The Charlotte Medal, created by Thomas Barrett

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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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.

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I don’t think that he [Thomas Barrett] had the least thought that he was to suffer…the body hung for an hour and was then buried in a grave dug very near the gallows’.  Marine Lieutenant Ralph Clark, First Fleet Journal

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‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between the marines and the 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, Sydney 1990

‘When leaving Botany Bay Phillip noticed two [2] French ships in the offing…there would seem to be “some justification for the saying that England won Australia by six [6] days”. Edward Jenks, History of the Australian Colonies cited H.E. Egerton, A Short History of British Colonial Policy, Methueun, London 1928

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In British eyes it [the First Fleet], if it has been noticed at all, was a small, peace-time convoy, which founded a colony’. Roger Knight, Studies [no. 10] From Terra Australia to Australia, eds. John Hardy and Alan Frost, Highland Press, Canberra 1989

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Botany Bay – 1788 – January, 18-20: A large armed English fleet of 11 vessels with a complement of 1500 souls reached Botany Bay in the middle of January 1788.

Overwhelming male one-half were convicted criminals – 750 male combatants and 193 women prisoners – reprieved death on condition they be exiled ‘from the realm’ .

Sydney Cove – 26 January: By ‘8 pm’ on the 26th of January the entire  English fleet having evacuated Botany Bay were riding at anchor in Sydney Cove nine (9) miles (14km) north of the original beach-head. 

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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 –  Friday 29th February: Shaped as another busy day for the infant colony’s’ criminal court. It had been decided court would convene earlier than usual.

At 8 am to avoid Sydney’s intense midday sun and drenching humidity, after the long drawn-out dramas of the previous two (2) days,  convicts James Freeman and William Shearman, accused the previous day of stealing from government stores, were first to appear in the dock. See: Blind Man’s Bluff – Hall and Lavell

Both were found guilty.  Shearman was sentenced to 300 lashes. Freeman was condemned to death .

George Whitaker, Daniel Gordon and John Williams were next to appear charged with stealing eighteen (18) bottles of wine.

Whitaker was discharged. Gordon and Williams, both Afro -Americans, were found guilty and sentenced to hang with Freeman. The executions to take place that afternoon.

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BLIND MAN’S BLUFF – A DOUBLE BILL- HALL & LAVELL

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

‘The full force of laws against theft was imposed from the moment the expedition arrived in Sydney. At the end of February 1788 five [5] men were convicted of theft and condemned to death, illustrating that property was more sacrosanct than life itself.

The sentences were carried out at public hangings, which the whole convict population was forced to watch’. Henry Reynolds,  Searching for truth-telling, History, Sovereignty and The Uluru Statement From the Heart, NewSouth Publishing, 2021

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‘Few personal documents relating to [Governor Arthur] Phillip survive; his low personal profile and the secret work in which he was sometimes involved make him one of the least-known founders of any modern state – in this case Australia’. Nigel Rigby, Peter Van Der Merwe & Glyn Williams, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, 2018

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1788 –  27 February, Sydney Cove: Four (4) convicts John Ryan, Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell and Joseph Hall stood before a hastily  convened military court.

‘Just three [3] weeks before half a continent had been declared Crown land in one of the most remarkable acts of plunder in modern times.’. Henry Reynolds. op.cit.

All were accused ‘on shaky evidence’ of robbing or conspiring to rob food from the government storehouse. Found guilty all were sentenced to death. The execution to take place later that same day.

‘The arm of a large tree was fixt upon as a gallows’. Arthur Bowes Smyth, Surgeon Lady Penrhyn, First Fleet  Journal, Australian Documents Library, 1979

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KETCH CONNECTION: THOMAS BARRETT SYDNEY 1788 – MICHAEL BARRETT LONDON 1868 – ROBERT RYAN MELBOURNE – 1967

Monday, July 13th, 2009

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

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