Posts Tagged ‘john macarthur’

THE SWITCH 1790 – CONTEXT – WAR WITH FRANCE 1793-1815

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

‘For a brief moment there was hope…within a matter of years violence had broken out on both sides and Phillip would now instruct raiding parties to bring back the severed heads of warriors. The birth of Australia was meant to be so different…it need not have been this way’. Stan Grant, Talking to My Country, Text Publishing, 2017

2019: So why is Australia ‘this way’ a divided nation? A white first world dominating a third world defined by colour and hue and seen by the ‘entitled’ white world as a liability.  See: G is for Genocide- Colonial Breeding

‘Phillip…had instructions to deal with the ‘natives’ with ‘amity and kindness’. Professsor Larissa Behrendt, The Honest History Book, – Invasion or Settlement, NewSouth Press, 2017   

What went so wrong with the deal; ‘within a generation the heads of Aborigines were shipped to Britain in glass cases to be studied as relics of a doomed race’. Grant. ibid.

London: In 1838 a Select Committee of the British Parliament; ‘On the subject of the Aborigines of New Holland…It is impossible to contemplate the condition or the prospects of that unfortunate race without the deepest commiseration. Lord John Russell to [Governor] Sir George Gipps, 21 December, 1838. Historical Records of New South Wales Vol.1

So what flipped the switch from ‘amity and kindness’ to ‘nasty’ creeping frontier wars that by 1838 had brought about the near destruction of ‘that unfortunate race…the Aborigines of New Holland’?

Two (2) First Nations’ authors, Stan Grant and Larissa Behrendt, have honed in on a critical pinch-point that occurred in the first decade of Britain’s occupation of New Holland.

Although ‘amity kindness’ were the ‘weasel-words’ of their day, both Behrendt and Grant are satisfied Governor Phillip took the concept seriously. That was until December 1790 when Phillip’s absolute loyalty to ‘King and Country’ trumped ‘amity and kindness’.

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DARK MATTER – ‘McMafia’ MACARTHUR & ‘FIERY INDIAN RUM’ A TEETOTALLER’S DRUG OF RUIN FOR OTHERS

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

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‘TERROR’ ARTHUR PHILLIP & JOHN MACARTHUR THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

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

Admiral Nelson tangentially, Governor Phillip and Governor Bligh profoundly, have links to the fate of Australia’s First Peoples as does John ‘MacMafia’ Macarthur.

Captain Trail master of the second fleet death ship Neptune a convict transport of ‘Britain’s Grim Armada’ appeared at the Old Bailey accused of the brutal mistreatment of prisoners and murder of two (2) Neptune crewmen. It is believed Horotio Nelson’s favourable character reference led to Trail’s acquittal. See: A Tale of Two Fleets

‘There would be ‘some justification for the saying that England won Australia by six days’. Edward Jenks, History of Australian Colonies, cited Hugh E. Egerton, British Colonial Policy, Metheun, 1928

In January 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip RN, master-spy, master-mariner, master-strategist pulled off ‘a special project’ for the Home Office. In the race for New Holland he beat France to the punch.

Governor Phillip in mid December 1790 introduced ‘universal terror’ into the Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal equation.  See: A Hatchet Job – Kill 6 & Cut Off Their Heads

‘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

Lieutenant John Macarthur a junior officer of the New South Wales Infantry Corps arrived in Sydney aboard Scarborough, one (1) of three (3) death ships of ‘Britain’s Grim Armada.

In August 1806 Captain William ‘Bounty’ Bligh RN arrived to take up his commission as Britain’s fourth ‘autocratic naval governor’ of New South Wales.

On 26 January 1808, at the instigation John Macarthur an ex-officer of the Corps,  the military seized and imprisoned Governor William Bligh RN. See: Australia Day Rebellion 26 January 1808

THE BACK STORY

‘Parallel to, and dependent upon, the Anglo-French duel for command of the sea went their struggle for overseas bases and colonies; here too, the culminating point in a century-long race was reached, with Britain emerging in 1815 with a position so strengthened that she appeared to be the only real colonial power in the world’. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, Fontana Press, 3rd ed. London, 1976

1785 – August, France: New Holland, now Australia, was all about global warfare.  In 1785 Arthur Phillip, hidden in shadows, watched as Comte Jean-Francois La Perouse in command of La Boussole with L’Astrolabe, sailed from Brest naval base on a wide-ranging expeditionary voyage.

Modelled on the voyages of Captain James Cook, doyen of Britain’s Royal Navy, the La Perouse voyage was intended to take three (3) years and to include New Holland.

1786 – 6 August, London: Following an attempt to assassinate King George III, ‘fear of the unruly mob’, fuelled by memory of the Gordon Riots (1780), reached fever-pitch among England’s elite.

1786 – August, Brazil: Phillip was in Rio de Janeiro keeping track of La Perouse when called on by the Admiralty to return home and head Britain’s race for New Holland. See: Arthur Phillip – The Spy Who Never Came In From The Cold  

1786 – 12 October, Court of St James: ‘George III & to our trusty and well-beloved Captain Arthur Phillip, We, reposing especial trust and confidence in your loyalty, courage and experience in military affairs constitute and appoint you to be Governor our territory called New South Wales’. Historical Records of New South Wales

1787 – 25 April, London: The future fate of Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples was sealed in London on 25 April, 1787; ‘Under our Great Seal constituting and appointing you [Arthur Phillip] to be our Captain-General and Governor- in-Chief of our territory called New South Wales the entire eastern coast of New Holland…Cape York to South Cape’.

‘That the fighting against France in what was originally and essentially a European war should have spread so swiftly to the tropics was a result of many factors, most of them predictable’. Kennedy. op.cit

France, not America’s Patriot rebels , had been largely responsible for Britain’s loss of her ;thirteen [13] middle colonies’ in the American War of Independence 1775-1783.

Following the British navy’s humiliating defeat at the hands of the French navy the ‘duel for command of the sea’ never ceased. Britain’s 1788 invasion of New Holland was ‘predictable’. 

Within five (5) years – 1793 – Britain and France were at war. That conflict morphed into twenty-five (25) years of global warfare – the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815.

‘New Holland is a blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India’. Anon, Historical Records of New South Wales.

With New Holland Britain gained secure alternate strategic and logistical sea-routes to and from India and Asia. The Southern Oceans not only had the potential to be a blockade-breaker in time of war the route opened a long sought opportunity to attack Spain’s Central and South American treasure colonies.

1787 – 13 May, Portsmouth: Captain Phillip RN in command of an armed squadron of eleven (11) ships, known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’, sailed from England in mid May 1787 to invade the island continent of New Holland.

All males – convicts and marines – were rationed as ‘troops serving in the West Indies’. See: All The King’s Men The Criminals of the First Fleet 

1788 – January, Botany Bay: The large convoy with a complement of 1500 souls – 1300 men and 200 women – reached Botany Bay between 18-20 of January 1788. See: G for Genocide- Colonial breeders

1788 – 24 January, Botany Bay: Three (3) days later L’Astrolabe and La Boussole with La Perouse at the helm arrived at the entrance to  Botany Bay. The sight of Sirius  gun-ports open cannon at the ready, forced them back out to sea.

‘He [Phillip] ordered a party to be  sent to Point Sutherland to raise English Colours. He also stipulated that the move to Port Jackson be kept secret’. John Moore, The First Fleet Marines 1786-1792, Queensland University Press, 1987

But had La Perouse sailed north or south?

Phillip knew it was essential he get back to Port Jackson. Three (3) days earlier, 21 January, he had entered that vast harbour but did not raise ‘English Colours’.

If La Perouse went north and happened upon the harbour’s towering headlands, he would be first to raise ‘French Colours’ ‘[w]here ‘a thousand Ship of the Line may ride in perfect Security’.

But given the disposition of the protagonists, apart from rumours, the world may never have known La Boussole and L’Astrolabe  had reached New Holland. See: A Band of Brothers and Mortal Enemies.

1788 – 25 January, Port Jackson: Phillip quit Botany Bay aboard HMS Supply, sailed nine (9) miles (14km) north. Just on nightfall, Supply entered Port Jackson and anchored in a sheltered cove.

1788 – 26 January, Sydney Cove: Next morning at first light Phillip landed with a party of marines. A flag-pole was built and the Union Jack flown. See: Australia – Britain By A Short Half-Head

‘Raising the flag was one of the acts recognised as an assertion of a prior claim against other colonial powers eyeing off the same land’. Prof Larissa Berendt, The Honest History Book, Ed. David Stephens & Alison Broinowski, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2017

By 8pm that night, after a hazardous exit from Botany Bay that put both ships and lives at risk, the entire English fleet was riding at anchor alongside Supply.

1788 – 27 January – 5 February: For ten (10) days in the intense heat and humidity of a Sydney February male convicts judged fit laboured under the lash to set up camp.

1788 – 6 February, Sydney Cove: Between 6 am and 6 pm on February 6 the fleet’s female complement – one hundred and eighty-nine (189) female prisoners – thirty- one (31) marine wives and, children of both, were rowed ashore from what had been their home for the best part of a year.

That dark and stormy night it is said a noisy ‘sexual orgy’ took place. Two hundred (200) women a heterosexual ‘orgy’ probably – 1300 men – homosexual certainly.

1788 – 7 February, Port Jackson: Captain, now Governor Phillip, per instructions issued him at the Court of St. James on 25 April 1787,  based on ‘legal fiction’‘ terra nullius’  the country had no inhabitants, proceeded to claim British sovereignty over ‘the entire eastern coast of New Holland from Cape York…to South Cape’.See: A Cracker-Jack Opinion – no Sweat

1788 – 10 March, Botany Bay:  A month later La Boussole and L’Astrolabe sailed for France, sadly La Perouse and his men were never seen again. See: A Band of Brothers & Mortal Enemies

Phillip had been told before leaving England more convicts and supplies would ‘shortly follow’. The first night out from Cape Town (13 November 1787) on the last leg of the voyage, great excitement, HMS Sirius spotted a ship flying ‘English Colours’.

Disappointment; she turned out to be Kent a whaler. Relief Kent signalled more ships were ‘being taken up for Botany Bay’.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Dr John White, the Chief Medical Officer, via a convict transport returning to England in July of 1788, sent Lord Sydney a revealing dispatch. See: Abandoned and left to starve at Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790 

‘The prevalence of disease among the troops and convicts, who on landing [January] were tainted with scurvy…our situation, not having any fresh animal food, nor being able to make a change in the diet which has and must be salt meat, makes these things [medicines] more necessary here than, perhaps, in any quarter of the globe’. John White to Lord Sydney, Historical Records of New South Wales See: An Evacuation – Saving Lieutenent William Collins

1788 – September, Africa: When no supplies had arrived by the end of August 1788 Phillip ordered Captain John Hunter prepare Sirius for a  voyage to Africa where he was to buy food and medicines from the Dutch.

1788 – 2 October, Cape Town: Sirius sailed alone on a perilous passage to the Cape of Good Hope at the beginning of October 1788. The voyage took her deep into the Southern Oceans dodging ‘islands of ice’ – through the ferocious seas of Drake’s Passage – to round stormy Cape Horn.

1788 – 31 December, Manly: Meantime at Sydney with ‘famine approaching’ Phillip needed; ‘to learn whether or not the country possessed any resources, by which life might be prolonged’. To that end he ordered the kidnapping of Aboriginal men.

Two (2) warriors ‘enticed by courteous behaviour’ were seized. One (1) broke free and fled. The other Arabanoo ‘fastened by ropes to the thwarts of the boat’ was rowed across to Sydney where he was kept a prisoner within British lines. See: Kidnapped – Manly – What’s in a Name

1789

‘It is true that our surgeons had brought out variolous matter in bottles’. Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge , Angus and Robertson, 1961

1789 – April, Sydney: Smallpox struck local Aborigines in April 1789 killing 50% of their number. Arabanoo was among them. See: Smallpox -A Lethal Weapon Boston 1775 – Sydney 1789

‘Not one case of the disorder occurred among the white people either afloat or on shore although there were several children in the settlement; but a North American Indian…took the disease and died’. Samuel Bennett, Australian Discovery and Colonisation, Volume 1 to 1800, facsimile edition 1981 See: Joseph Jefferies – From New York to Rio and Old Sydney Town – One – Then There Was None

1789 – April, Sydney: Sirius returned from Africa with medicines and 127,000 pounds of flour intended for the two (2) king’s ships and what could be spared for the colony.

1789 – 31 December, Manly: ‘Famine was approaching with gigantic strides’.  Phillip again turned to kidnapping. Bennalong and Colbee, both now heavily pockmarked were seized.

Colbee still ‘with a small iron ring round his leg’ escaped after a week and surveillance was stepped up on Bennalong. See: Manly Location, Location, Location

1790

1790 – 1 January,, Sydney: ‘We have been entirely cut off, no communication whatever having passed with our native country since the 13th May, 1787 the day of our departure from Portsmouth…in which long period no supplies…had reached us’. Tench. ibid.

A look-out was erected on South Head; ‘here on the summit of the hill every morning from daylight until the sun sank did we sweep the horizon hope of seeing a sail’ all to no avail.

1790 – February, China: Tench; ‘vigorous measures were become indispensable…The governor, early in February, ordered the Sirius [Captain Hunter] to prepare for a voyage to China’.

1790 – 6 March, Norfolk Island: In early March with cooler weather fish left the harbour to spawn. HMS Sirius accompanied by HMS Supply evacuated 50% of Sydney’s starving white European population to Norfolk Island.

Sirius was then to sail onto China and arrange rescue.

1790 – 19 March, Norfolk Island: Sirius had unloaded her evacuees and most supplies when, caught by shifting winds, she swung wildly on her anchor and ran onto a submerged reef.

Held fast ‘in pounding surf’, Sirius broke up over a number of days. The crew, one hundred and sixty (160) naval personnel, were taken off but were now stranded on the island along with the evacuees.

‘Flags Up’ – Supply

1790 – 5 April, Sydney: ‘The flag on the South-head was hoisted…I [Tench] saw captain Ball make an extraordinary motion with his hand, which too plainly indicated that something disastrous had happened’. Tench. ibid.

Disaster – there would be no China rescue.

1790 – 6 April, Sydney:to every child of more than eighteen [18] months old and to every grown person [ration] to commence immediately, two pounds of pork, two pounds and a half of flour, two pounds or rice, or a quart of [dried] pease, per week [and] bring your own bread…even to the governor’s table’. Tench. ibid.

It’s now about two years and three months since we first arrived at this distant country; all this while we have been buried alive, never having the opportunity to hear from our friends…our hopes are now almost vanished’. Reverend Richard Johnson, cited Jack Egan, Buried Alive Sydney 1788-1792, Allen & Unwin, 1999

Governor Phillip had no alternate but to send HMS Supply to Batavia, modern-day Jakarta. She was to buy food and medicines and hire a Dutch ship to bring them to Sydney. See: Missing In Action – HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

1790 – 17 April, Batavia:Supply sailed for Batavia…and all our labour and attention were turned on one object – the procuring of food’. The distress of the lower classes for clothes were almost equal to their other wants’. Tench. ibid.

1790 – May: Bennalong managed to escape and returned to his family.

During his five (5) months in captivity, Phillip and Bennalong learned a lot about and from each other. One thing Phillip learned from Bennalong ‘dread and hatred’ would prove invaluable to him.

1790 3 June – ‘Flag’s up – with London on her stern’

1790 3 June: Tench; ‘at length the clouds of misfortune began to separate and on the evening of the 3d of June, the joyful cry of “the flag’s up” resounded in every direction’.

Lady Juliana with two hundred and twenty-six (226) ‘useless female’ prisoners broke the terrible silence. Not until June 1790 did the First Fleet castaways hear ‘news’ of their ‘native country’.

Of family, lovers, friends, of conflict with Spain, the ‘Madness of King George’, of revolution in France and impending war between these arch-enemies.

Dubbed the ‘Brothel Ship’ Lady Juliana  was first of four (4) ships of a second fleet ‘Britain’s Grim Armada’.

Government awarded the contract for Neptune, Scarborough, Suprize the fleet’s death ships to Camden, Calvert and King, a firm of Guinea slave traders working out of London.

One-quarter ‘of 1038 [mainly male] convicts embarked at Plymouth; 237 died on the voyage, 486 landed sick, of these 124 died in hospital at Sydney’. Charles Bateson, The Convict Ships 1787-1868, Brown, Son & Ferguson, Glasgow, 1959 See: Convict Transportation – The Hulks Act and When the mindset of Slavery Came to Australia

One hundred and fifteen (115) infantry troops, first contingent of the New South Wales Infantry Corps, were distributed throughout the three (3) ships. They included Lieutenant John Macarthur a junior officer, a man of overarching personal ambition, who would rightly earn his nick-name ‘The Perturbator’. See: Macarthur The Great Disrupter

1790 – 30 June, Sydney: Justinian the first relief store-ship from England arrived at the end of June 1790. See: Titanic – HMS Guardian Australia’s Titanic

‘You cannot overrate the solicitude of H.M. Government on the subject of the Aborigines of New Holland. It is impossible to contemplate the condition or the prospects of that unfortunate race without the deepest commiseration. Lord John Russell to Sir George Gipps, 21 December 1838, Historical Records of Australia, Series 1. Vol. XX

1790 – 7 September, Manly Beach: On a warm spring morning, three (3) months after John Macarthur’s arrival, a ‘monster’ whale beached at Manly. It proved to be the catalyst that changed the ‘condition’ and future ‘prospects’ of Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples.

The whale stranding caused great excitement in both camps. For local Aborigines it was their totem and held deep cultural and spiritual significance, prefacing as it did the return of summer’s abundance.

For Phillip, whose salt-water career began hunting whale in the icy Arctic, its presence evoked intense interest.  See: Arthur Phillip – Trade and the Defence of Trade

‘The Act of 1786 [Geo.III. c.59] for the Encouragement of the Southern Whale Fishery proved to be the foundation of an important industry…in the wake of whalers other British traders would follow. The furtherance of this plan became one of the central objects of Lord Hawkesbury’s commercial policy’. Vincent T. Harlow, Founding of the Second British Empire 1763-1793, Longmans, London, 1964

Phillip was well aware, foremost among the various plans that Prime Minister William Pitt and his ‘secretive inner circle’ of three (3) powerful politicians – Hawkesbury, Dundas and Mulgrave – had for New Holland, the establishment of a land base to support a ship-based whaling and sealing industry was high on the list.

Phillip, anxious to see if the ‘monster’ was a prized sperm whale, was rowed across to Manly where he met up with Bennalong. The two (2) men had not seen each other since Bennalong’s escape from custody. See: Kidnapped – Manly What’s in a Name

1790 – 7 September, Manly: Tench sets the scene. After some hesitation on Bennalong’s part; ‘they discoursed for some time, Baneelon expressing pleasure to see his old acquaintance…the governor… to try whether it [Bennalong’s love of wine] still subsisted, uncorked a bottle, and poured out a glass of it, which the other drank off with his former marks of relish and good humour, giving a toast, as he had been taught, ‘the King‘.

That done Phillip moved nearer the whale; ‘a native, [Wileemarin] with a spear in his hand came forward…His excellency held out his hand…advancing…the nearer, the governor approached, the greater became the terror and agitation of the Indian.

To remove his fear, governor Phillip threw down a dirk, he wore at his side…the other, alarmed at the rattle of the dirk and probably misconstruing the action, instantly fixed his lance, aimed his lance with force and dexterity striking the governor’s right shoulder, just above the collar bone’. Tench. ibid.

The spear could not be removed then and there but Midshipman Waterhouse manage to break off the long shaft. Phillip endured two (2) agonising hours as he was rowed across seven (7) miles of choppy waters to Sydney where surgeon William Balmain extracted the lance. Phillip had lost a lot of blood leaving him weak so recovery was slow.

Phillip knew in ‘throw[ing] down the dirk’ he had contributed to Willeemrin’s attack and ordered there be no reprisals.

 ‘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, Australian National University and National Museum of Australia, on the inclusion of some ‘First Fleet’ Journals onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. ABC – AM Programme, 15 October 2009

Phillip’s ‘no reprisals’ decision supercharged a change in attitude. The commander of the New South Wales Corps, Major Francis Grose, had elected to stay in London and recruit to satisfy establishment requirements.

A junior officer Lieutenant John Macarthur ruthless, driven by over-arching personal ambition, aided by dissension among his fellow officers, moved swiftly to fill the power vacuum created by Grose’s absence.See: Sword and Word Both are Mighty- Governor Arthur Phillip’s Military Campaign For King and Country

Flags Up’  – HMS Supply

Since 1788 the English population, men women and children, had survived by raping the Aborigines’ resources. Scouring the bush taking their plants and vegetables. Shooting anything that moved or flew and trawling for fish, taking up ‘four hundred-weight’ at a time.

With Supply gone there could be no trawling starvation deepened; ‘to prolong existence…the best marksmen of the marines and convicts…put under the command of a trusty serjeant, with directions to range the woods in search of kangaroos’. Tench. ibid.

1790 – 19 October, Sydney: Six (6) months almost to the day from her departure Supply returned from Jakarta.

Sadly elation was touched with grief. Many crew contracted malaria and were buried at Jakarta. Lieutenant Newton Fowell, the fleet’s young letter-writer who then a midshipman, had sailed in the Sirius on her epic voyage of circumnavigation to and from Africa, had been buried at sea.

Lieutenant Ball, as Phillip instructed, had purchased tons of supplies and chartered a Dutch ship Waaksamheyd to bring them to Sydney. Supply herself brought as much flour and medicines as the tiny ship could carry but certainly not enough to make much difference to the starving Sydney settlement.

‘On the 9th of the month [December 1790], serjeant of marines, with three 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 [to Botany Bay]’. Tench. ibid.

1790 – 10 December, Botany Bay: Tench was told in the early hours; ‘one of them [Aborigines] launched his spear at M’Entire and lodged it in his left side. The person who committed this wanton act, was described as a young man, with a speck, or blemish, on his left eye’.

The ‘young man’ was Pemulwuy.

‘But in this business of M’Entire I [Phillip] am fully persuaded that they [Aborigines] were unprovoked, and the barbarity of their conduct admits of no extenuation’.

Phillip’s ‘but‘ referenced his ‘own spearing’ by Willmeerin at Manly Beach in September 1790. His refusal to retaliate was seized upon by ‘certain officers’. Phillip’s reluctance created a perfect storm.

With ‘New Holland’ at stake Phillip was intent on saving the Sydney settlement from insurrection and anarchy. Bennalong’s intelligence ‘dread and hatred’ was the only arrow in Phillip’s quiver.

He sacrificed McIntyre to create a diversion and assert his authority over the enemy within ‘certain [corps] officers’. His response to McIntyre’s spearing ‘infuse universal terror’ was that of a proven strategist whose loyalty to King and Country was non-negotiable.  See: John M’Entire – Death of a Sure Thing

1790 – 13 December, Headquarters:His excellency pitched upon me [Tench]…be ready to march tomorrow morning at daylight to execute the…command…put ten (10) to death…bring in the heads of the slain…bring away two (2)prisoners…I [Phillip] 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 Marine Captain Watkin Tench.

1790 – 14 December, Botany Bay: At first light ‘we marched’. After three (3) days thrashing about in the muddy flats of Cooks River the detachment turned for home with no ‘heads’ – no ‘prisoners’.

1790 – 17 December, Sydney: ‘Between one and two o’clock in the afternoon…we were glad to find ourselves at Sydney’.

Tench’s ‘glad’ is an understatement. At dawn that morning – 17 December 1790 – the Waaksamheyd arrived from Jakarta. The air filled  with the heady smells of cooking, the landing stage already crammed with barrels and bales.

1790 – 20 December: ‘Our first expedition having so totally failed, the governor resolved to try the fate of a second; and the ‘painful pre-eminence’ again devolved on me. The orders under which I [Tench] was commanded to act differing in no respect from the last’.

Why did Governor Phillip order another raid against the Bidjigal of Botany Bay?

Phillip knew Waaksamheyd was a double edged sword. As well as food she brought hope. An opportunity to seize the vessel, a chance  to escape – either or both.

The Sirius cannon now came into play. Removed in 1788 to lighten the load on her gallant run to Cape Town they had been mounted at Dawes Battery (Observatory Hill). See: Lieutenant William Dawes & The Eternal Flame

In the hands of the few dependable naval men available to Phillip, Sirius’ cannon took the seizure of Waaksamheyd out of the equation. Escape however was realised. See: A Great Escape – The Botany Bay Escapees

EPILOGUE

‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries….These raids had commenced by December 1790’. Professor Bruce Kercher, History of Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995

Just as in June 1914 a shot fired on a Sarajevo street began the count-down to World War I, a spear thrown on Manly Beach in September 1790 began the count-down to a ‘nasty war that led to the near destruction of Australia’s First Peoples.

‘The tremendous monster who had occasioned the unhappy catastrophe just recorded [Phillip’s spearing] was fated to be the cause of further mischief… Tench. ibid.

Governor Phillip’s perceived passivity had presented ‘certain officers’ with an opportunity for ‘mischief’ insurrection. Phillip judged his position, isolated in a sea of hostile military, would prove too great an opportunity for Lieutenant Macarthur and his cronies to pass up .See: Machiavellian Macarthur

ADDENDUM

‘Twenty-five regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between 1790 and 1870. They fought in one of the most prolonged frontier wars in the history of the British empire, and for the first half of their stay were probably more frequently in action than the garrison of any other colony besides that of southern Africa‘. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1790-1868, Kangaroo Press, Sydney 1986

Governor Phillip’s Orders placed no limit on brutality. ‘Infuse universal terror and my [Phillip] fixed determination to repeat it whenever any future breach of good conduct on their side, shall render it necessary’.

They served as the ‘Rules of Engagement’ in a ‘frontier war’ Dr Stanley has characterised as ‘nasty and decidedly lacking in glory’.

‘Still it is impossible that H.M. government should forget that the original aggression was ours’. Lord John Russell. Records. ibid

See:  Only Men ? Aside from seagulls how many white birds were on the ground at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788 – None

A HATCHET JOB: HEADS OFF THE BIDGIGAL OF BOTANY BAY

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

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

1790 – 13 December, Sydney Cove: ‘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… 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.

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’.  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)  in particular Lieutenant John Macarthur.

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LIEUTENANT WILLIAM DAWES – ‘THE ETERNAL FLAME’ & ‘UNIVERSAL TERROR’

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

‘He [Dawes] was the scholar of the expedition, man of letters and man of science, explorer, mapmaker, student of language of anthropology, teacher and philanthropist. Professor G. Arnold Wood, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society Vol. X, 1924, Part 1

Aside from Kate Grenville’s 2008 fictional cardboard cut-out, star-struck Daniel Rooke of The Lieutenant, Australia knows very  little of Marine Lieutenant William Dawes and almost nothing of his pivotal role in revealing the why and wherefore of Britain’s military campaign against Australia’s First Nations –  a ‘war nasty and decidedly lacking in glory’. See: The Big Switch

‘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

1788 – 26 January, Warranne:  In Lieutenant Dawe’s care ‘an eternal flame’  K I – a faithful replica of John Harrison’s H – 4 ‘sea-going pocket watch’ fetched up at one particular ‘remote corner of the world’  – Sydney Cove – on 26 January 1788 aboard HMS Supply one (1) of eleven (11) ships of the ‘First Fleet’.

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A TETHERED GOAT – JOHN McENTIRE- 10 DECEMBER 1790

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

‘Its now about two years and three months since we first arrived at this distant country; all this while we have been as it were buried alive, never having the opportunity to hear from our friends…our hopes are now almost vanished’. Reverend Richard Johnson, 9 April 1790‘. Jack Egan, Buried Alive, Eyewitness accounts of the making of a nation 1788-92, Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1999

1790 – 3 June, Sydney: Two (2) months later; ‘Flags Up…a ship with London on her stern’. Lady Juliana, with two hundred and twenty-six ‘useless’ female convicts was first of four (4) vessels that made up Britain’s Grim Armada the second fleet.

1790, June: By the end of June the fleet’s death ships Alexander, Scarborough and Suprize arrived with approximately one thousand men. Seven hundred and fifty (750) convicts and one hundred and fifteen (115) foot soldiers – infantry, first contingent of the New South Wales Corps.

‘The great change came in the arrival with the Second Fleet of the companies of the New South Wales Corps’. Nigel Rigby, Peter van der Merwse, Glyn Williams. Pacific Explorations, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, London, 2018

Justinian a well-stocked store-ship from England was seen off the Heads but cyclonic weather forced her out to sea. Benjamin Maitland her master sailed north as far as present-day Stockton before the weather abated sufficiently for a return to Sydney by the end of June.

But Governor Phillip was in for a rude shock; ‘the distribution of provisions rested entirely with the masters of [all] the merchantmen’. Maitland immediately opened a shop to sell his stock as did the Lady Juliana.

‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. These raids had commenced by December 1790’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995

From day one – January 1788 – Governor Phillip struggled to keep starvation at bay. He authorised official hunting parties of marines and convicts .See: Abandoned and Left to Starve @ Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790

Some were sent into the bush to forage for food, others shot anything that moved, others trawled for fish while the weakest gathered shellfish along the shoreline. See: A Plague of Locusts – the Englishmen of the First Fleet.

1790 – 9 December, Botany Bay: John McIntyre, Phillip’s own game- keeper had gone out to shoot kangaroo at Botany Bay where Pemulway a young warrior speared him.

1790 – 13 December, Sydney:  Retaliation Governor Phillip summoned Marine Captain Watkin Tench to ‘Headquarters’.

Tench was ordered to march to Botany Bay at ‘day-light to-morrow morning…to put to death ten[10] we were to cut off, and bring in the heads of the slain, for which purpose, hatchets and bags would be provided [and] if practicable, bring away two [2] natives as prisoners.

I [Phillip] am resolved to execute the prisoners who may be brought in, in the most public and exemplary manner, in the presence of as many of their countrymen as can be collected’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

1790 – 14 December: ‘two [2] captains, two [2] subalterns, and forty [40] privates, with a proper number of non-commissioned officers’ made up the Tench detachment.

Isolated in the midst of a hostile military in order to take the heat off himself Governor Phillip chose diversion – summon a common enemy. See: Missing in Action – HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

‘From the aversion uniformly shown by all the natives to this unhappy man he [McEntire] had long been suspected of having, in his excursions, shot and injured them’. Professor G. A. Wood, Lieutenant William Dawes and Captain Watkin Tench, Royal Australian Historical Society Journal, Vol. 10, Part 1, 1924

Phillip claimed the attack on McIntyre was ‘unprovoked’. In light of what he knew it does not take a military strategist to smell a rat. Phillip’s intelligence was firm. McIntyre’s inclusion his ‘service is for the state’ was deliberate provocation. See: April Fools Day- 1776

Manly Beach: ‘Wednesday 25th November 1789; ‘It was a cloudy day with some  rain. The temperature was in the high seventies and the wind mainly from the south Bradley wrote; ‘Governor Phillip, judging it necessary that a native should be taken by force… I was ordered on this service, having the master, two petty officers a a boat’s crew with me in one of the governor’s boats’. Lieutenant Bradley RN, cited Egan, Buried Alive

Bennalong was ‘taken by force’. During months of imprisonment within British lines Phillip and Bennalong developed a close relationship. Phillip had no doubt Sydney’s Aboriginal community regarded McIntyre with ‘dread and hatred’. See: Kidnapped – Manly What’s In a Name

Although John McIntyre had  been severely wounded he was still alive on the 13th of December 1790 so it is little wonder Tench was dismayed when given his orders. As a result the scope of the initial orders was modified.

Phillip agreed to Tench’s proposal; ‘bring in six [6]…out of this, part might be set aside for retaliation; and the rest at a proper time, liberated, after having seen the fate of their comrades. This scheme, his excellency was pleased instantly to adopt, adding if six [6] cannot be taken let that number [6] be shot. Tench. ibid. 

Marine Captain Tench and Lieutenant William Dawes both friend and confrere, aware of how McIntyre was viewed, had very different responses to Governor Phillip’s orders. See: Lieutenant William Dawes ‘The Eternal Flame’ & Universal Terror

Tench had been perfectly willing, after discussion with the Governor, to lead the expedition, and heartily enjoyed the humour of its adventures.

But Dawes, whose tour of duty it was to go out with that party, refused that duty by letter “and persisted in his refusal, even after the Governor had “taken great pains to point out the consequences of his being put under an arrest’. G.A. Wood. ibid.

Tench no doubt counselled Dawes that his refusal to obey would have dire consequences and, if Marine Major Robert Ross his Commanding Officer had not been evacuated to Norfolk Island in March 1790, he would now be under arrest.

If found guilty at court-martial Dawes could be shot for gross dereliction of duty or as a traitor hanged, drawn and quartered while still alive.

It is not known if Marine Captain David Collins judge-advocate, although not a lawyer was the settlement’s senior law man, knew that in 1782 the ‘disembowelled while alive’ barbarity had been legislated out as punishment for military treason.

Still Dawes the fleet’s principal scientific officer persisted in his refusal. Adjutant Lieutenant Lowe instructed Dawes should put his objections in writing which he did.

Nevertheless he approached Reverend Richard Johnson the First Fleet Chaplain who counselled Dawes on his  military obligation.

Subsequently Dawes ‘informed Captain Campbell that the Rev. Mr. Johnson thought he might obey the order, and that he was ready to go out with the party, which he did’. Tench. ibid.

1790 – December 14: At dawn on the 14th of December Tench’s detachment of fifty (50) men moved out for Botany Bay with; ‘three [3] days provisions, ropes to bind our prisoners, and hatchets and bags, to cut off and contain the heads of the slain’. Tench. ibid. 

The raid failed – no heads, no prisoners.

1790 – December 17: ‘We bent our steps homeward; and after wading breast-high through two arms of the sea, as broad as the Thames at Westminster, were glad to find ourselves at Sydney, between one and two o’clock in the afternoon’.

However the troops returned to a very different Sydney from the settlement they left only three (3) days before. The landing stage was crammed with barrels, bales of stuff and the air filled with the heady smell of cooking.

At first light that very morning Waaksamheyd a ‘Dutch Snow’ from Jakarta had sailed into Sydney Harbour loaded with the supplies Lieutenant Ball had ‘purchased for the settlement’. See: Missing in Action – HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

1790 – December 19: ‘[Dawes] informed the Governor that he was sorry he had been persuaded to comply with the order and very clearly showed that he would not obey a similar order in future’. Tench. ibid

Lieutenant Dawes again wrote to Governor Phillip this time through Captain Campbell who, in March 1789, had replaced Major Ross as commander of the Sydney garrison when imminent starvation had forced Phillip evacuate 50% of ‘his people’ to Norfolk Island. See: Smallpox – A Lethal Weapon Boston 1775 Major Robert Ross and David Collins – Sydney 1789 

The necessity for such a letter from Dawes may have been prompted by Governor Phillip’s initial order that specified;‘ my [Phillip’s] fixed determination to repeat it, whenever future breach of good conduct on their side, shall render it necessary’.

Or there may have been a very different reason.

Waaksamheyd’s arrival had opened a Pandora’s Box of possibilities; among them escape or capture of the Dutch vessel as a pathway to military insurrection and anarchy – the overthrow of Phillip as Governor and Captain-General. See: Machiavellian Macarthur

The first of these possibilities, escape with help from Waaksamheyd’s captain, was realised. A group of convicts stole Phillip’s cutter escaped from Sydney and rowed to Coupang, West Timor in one of the world’s most extraordinary sea-sagas.

From Timor, then by various means to Batavia, to Cape Town, to Portsmouth, to Newgate gaol and back to the dock of the Old Bailey where James Boswell mounted a spirited defence on their behalf. See: Boswell Goes Into Bat for the Botany Bay Escapees 

Under threat from the Sirius’ cannon mounted at Dawes Point Phillip deftly averted the seizure of Waaksamheyd. He negated a military rebellion by ordering a second raid against the Bidjigal of Botany Bay.

1790 – December 22: ‘Our first expedition having so totally failed, the governor resolved to try the fate of a second; and the ‘painful pre-eminence’ again devolved on me. The orders under which I was commanded to act differing in no respect from the last’.

When ‘a little before sunset on the evening of the 22d, we marched. Lieutenant Abbot and ensign Prentice of the New South Wales Corps were the two [2] officers under my command, and with three [3] sergeants, three [3] corporals, and thirty [30] privates completed the detachments‘ Lieutenant William Dawes was not among them.

Tench says his orders ‘differing in no respect from the lastreiterated Governor Phillip’s stated intent ‘infuse universal terror…kill 6…cut off…bring in the heads of the slain…two [2] prisoners to execute’. See: Terror – Arthur’s Algorithm

What changed however was Captain Tench’s attitude and tactics. They differed markedly from the enjoyable ‘adventure’ Professor Wood claimed for the first raid.

Tench wrote; ‘I resolved to try once more to suprise the village beforementioned. And in order to deceive the natives, and prevent them from again frustrating our design by promulgating it, we feigned that our preparations were directed against Broken Bay, and that the man [Willamarin] who had wounded the governor [September 1790 at Manly] was the object of the punishment.

It was now determined, being full moon that our operations should be carried on in the night, both for the sake of secrecy, and for avoiding the extreme heat of the day’.

‘We feigned’ – who then was the target, who was Tench trying to kid?

The big switch – it is highly likely Tench’s ‘preparations’ to go after Willamarin were designed to dampen dissatisfaction within the ranks of the New South Wales Corps, particularly ‘certain officers‘ outraged by Phillip’s refusal to retaliate following his own spearing by Willeemarin. See: The Switch 1790 – Context – War With France 1793-1815

In June 1790 the first contingent of infantry troops – The New South Wales Corps – had arrived with the second fleet. But they came without Major Francis Grose their commanding office. The power vacuum was filled by Lieutenant John Macarthur a junior officer who can best be described as Australia’s Machiavelli.  See: John Macarthur – The Great Disrupter

‘Twenty five regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between 1790 and 17870…ensuring the literal survival of white settlement…and for the first half of their stay were probably more frequently in action than the garrison of any other colony besides that of southern Africa…war nasty and decidedly lacking in glory’. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press, Sydney, 1986.

It must be emphasised due to prolonged semi-starvation, other than Marine Captain Watkin Tench, the rank and file of the detachment assembled for both raids, in particular the second foray, would have been made up almost entirely of fresh troops – infantry-men of the New South Wales Corps – ‘who fought in one of the most prolonged frontier wars in the history of the British empire‘. Stanley. ibid.

EPILOGUE

‘A smokescreen of legal confusion and argument covered up a continuing pattern of killings at the frontiers of the Australian colonies’. Kercher. ibid.

There can be no ‘confusion’ when it comes to Governor Phillip’s orders. His ‘rules of engagement’ demonstrate clear intent and put no limit on brutality. They served as a template; ‘whenever a future breach of good conduct on their side shall render it necessary’..  

1790 – December: ‘Differing in no respect from the last’ it is from this second raid that Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples can, with laser accuracy, plot ‘a continuing pattern of killings’ that led to their near destruction. See: A Cracker Jack Opinion – No Sweat

ADDENDUM

‘New Holland is a blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India…I need not enlarge on the benefit of stationary a large body of troops in New South Wales…Should any disturbance happen in the East Indies’. Anon, Historical Records of New South Wales

Talk is currently centred on Australia’s position in the Indo-Pacific. The global context that drove Britain’s invasion of New Holland has come full circle. See: Britain + America + France + India + China + Peru + New Holland + New South Wales = Australia

Aside from Captain Cook, covered in primary 3rd grade, a vox pop of school-leavers working in local shops and supermarkets, reveal they know very little of Australia’s modern history, almost nothing of its context and nothing of Captain Arthur Phillip RN.

For the first two [2] it is simply don’t know don’t care.  But for the last Phillip who was prepared to go to any lengths for ‘King and Country’  that’s deliberate – that’s a cover-up.

The place to look is France 1783. The Treaty of Versailles, September 1783, brought a formal end to the American War of Independence 1775-1783.

France, to a lesser extent Spain, cost Britain her American colonies. Not just a few expendables thirteen (13) colonies – Connecticut, North and South Carolina, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, , New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

There were plans to use the [New South Wales] corps in expeditions against Panama, Peru and the Philippines, but nothing eventuated and the corps’ first experience of war came in January 1795 on the Hawkesbury River, north-west of Sydney’. Dr. Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, Kangaroo Press, Sydney, 1986

Aside from strategic and trade considerations Britain’s invasion of New Holland was driven by humiliation.

Britain’s ‘pride and prejudice’ created a divided nation. White Australia’s ‘fair go’ mantra perpetuates the division.

It is time to shatter these ’empty words’ and address the smokescreen of legal confusion’ that lost the First Nations’ Peoples their sovereignty. See: A Cracker- Jack Opinion – No Sweat 

2019: After all Brexit is about British sovereignty.

 

 

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 and ‘dismay’ gone all hope of a China rescue.

Norfolk Island: Sirius was at the bottom of the sea off Norfolk Island. Her crew, one hundred and sixty naval (160) personnel, were  stranded along with 50% of the white population evacuated from Sydney to the island to save them from starvation. See: Abandoned and Left to Starve @ Sydney Cove, January 1788 to June 1790

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MACARTHUR THE GREAT DISRUPTER

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,  Australian National University and National Museum of Australia, on inclusion of some ‘First Fleet’ Journals onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. AM Programme, Australian Broadcasting Commission, 15 October 2009

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

‘The great change came in the arrival with the Second Fleet of the first companies of the New South Wales Corps [among them] Lieutenant John Macarthaur – 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, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Pacific Explorations, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, London 2018

Lieutenant Macarthur was among the first contingent of British infantry raised specifically to replace the First Fleet’s four (4) companies of marines who had left England in the ‘First Fleet’ as long ago as the 13th of May 1787 to invade the island continent of New Holland, now Australia.

‘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

1788 – 18-20 January: The ‘First Fleet,’ an armed squadron of eleven (11) ships commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN, reached  Botany Bay in mid-January 1788.

Botany Bay proved unsuitable for permanent settlement. After exploring adjacent countryside Sydney Cove nine (9) miles (14 km) to the north was chosen.

1788 – 26 January, Port Jackson: At dawn on the 26th of January Phillip with some officers and marines were rowed ashore from HMS Supply. The Union Jack was raised from a ‘hastily erected’ flagpole, a few shots were fired off and a loyal toast tossed down. See: Australia – Britain By A Short Half-Head – Captain Arthur Phillip & Jean Francois La Perouse

Britain had been stung by the recent loss of her ’empire in the west’ in the American War of Independence (1775-1783). The humiliating defeat had been due in so small part to French intervention. France had poured money, men and munitions into General George Washington and his Patriot militia of irregulars.

‘Raising the flag was one of the acts recognised as an assertion of a prior claim against other colonial powers eyeing off the same land. (Jean-Francois, de Galaup, Comte de La Perouse, was hanging around [at Botany Bay] with two ships)’. Larissa Behrendt, The Honest History Book, Ed. David Stephens & Alison Broinowski, New South Publishing, 2017

The remaining English ships were held up by bad weather. They survived a dangerous exit from Botany Bay and arrived at Sydney Cove to anchor alongside HMS Supply about 8 pm on the 26th of January.

1788 – 7 February: ‘Without consent’ of its First Peoples or seeking a Treaty  Governor Arthur Phillip, first of four (4) ‘autocratic uniformed naval governors’, formally claimed British sovereignty over New Holland, now Australia.

England abandoned the Robinson Cruscos of the ‘First Fleet’ leaving her fellow country men, women and children to starve 13,000 miles (21,000 km) from their homeland. See: Abandoned and Left to Starve, Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790  1790

1790 – January, Sydney: ‘No supplies…we had now been two years in the country, and thirty-two months from England…entirely cut off since the 13th of May 1787…the day of our departure from Portsmouth…the misery and horror of such a situation cannot be imparted, even by those who have suffered under it’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961  

Major Robert Ross commander of two hundred and forty-five (245) marines, the military arm the Royal Navy, did not find it difficult to inculcate a spirit discontent and rebellion.

‘No one in the colony caused Phillip more trouble than Major Ross. Of all Phillip’s problems, including those of the terrible famine of 1789 and 1790, probably none was so harassing as the persistent antagonism, both covert and open, which Ross pursed against him’. John Moore, The First Marines 1786-1792, Queensland University Press, 1987

1790 – 6 March, Norfolk Island: Governor Phillip rid himself of Major Ross by appointing him Lieutenant-Governor of Norfolk Island some 1650 km to the west of Sydney.

In order to stymie La Perouse, in mid-February 1788, a satellite settlement had been established there. In March 1790 Phillip evacuated 50% of his starving ‘people’ to the island. See: Dead Aborigines Don’t Eat Smallpox & Starvation 1789

1790 – June, Sydney Cove: ‘No one in the colony caused Phillip more trouble than Major Ross’. This statement held true until June 1790 when Lieutenant John Macarthur landed from Suprize one (1) of second fleet’s three (3) death ships.

Major Robert Ross, the Corps’ commander, remained in London to recruit numbers sufficient to satisfy establishment requirements. War  with France was hanging in the air so recruitment proved difficult task and Grose sourced some ‘derelicts and delinquents’ from the Savoy military prison.

Lieutenant Macarthur a ruthless junior officer driven by over-arching personal ambition moved swiftly to fill the power vacuum created by Major Grose’s absence. Macarthur was quick to pick-up on the  existingantagonism’ and made it his own.

Governor Phillip with a wealth of experience could not have failed to recognise in John Macarthur a ruthless enemy not only to himself but to King and Country.

And the stakes were high.

‘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 Cape of Good Hope…or suppose we were again involved in a war with Spain, here are ports of shelter and refreshments for our ships, would it be necessary to sent any into the South Sea’. Admiral Sir George Young’s Plan to Home Home Secretary, Historical Records of New South Wales, Vol.1

Britain’s invasion of New Holland was remarkably prescient. First came conflict with Spain then, in February 1793, Republican France declared war on England.

‘That the fighting against France in what was originally and essentially a European war should have spread so swiftly to the tropics was a result of many factors, most of them predictable. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, 3rd ed. Fontana Press, London

‘Predictable’: There can be no doubt the pre-emptive positioning of a military presence and a naval base in the southern oceans had figured prominently in Prime Minister William Pitt’s plans.

Parallel to, and dependent upon, the Anglo-French duel for command of the sea went their struggle for overseas bases and colonies; here too, the culminating point in a century-long race was reached, with Britain emerging in 1815 with a position so strengthened that she appeared to be the only real colonial power in the world’. Kennedy. op.cit.

If Phillip failed to hold the line against Macarthur and ‘certain’ of hisofficer’ cronies Britain’s chances of retaining the undoubted strategic advantages of; ‘stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales’ would be lost.

‘New Holland is a good blind, then…stationing a large body of troops in New South Wales…when we want to add to military strength of India’. Anon. Historical Records of New South Wales.

In June 1790 when the second fleet reached Sydney the harbour was empty of English ships. Governor Phillip had no naval support he was completely isolated in the midst of very hostile soldiery.  See: Missing in Action HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

HMS Sirius was at the bottom of the sea off Norfolk Island and her crew, one hundred and sixty (160) Royal Navy personnel were stranded on the island.

HMS Supply was at Jakarta to buy tons of supplies and medicines.. Her captain Lieutenant Ball was authorised to charter a Dutch vessel [Waaksamheyd] to bring them to Sydney as soon as possible.

‘Phillip was authorised to see to the defence of the colony’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, A History of Australian Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995

That authorisation applied when ever, from where ever and from whom-so-ever such threat arose.

In 1790 the threat to Governor Phillip came not from the Bidjigal people of Botany Bay ravished by smallpox the previous year (1789) but from within military ranks. See: A Lethal Weapon – Smallpox: Boston 1775 – Sydney 1789

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Following the second fleet’s arrival well documented animosity surfaced between Phillip’s ‘people’ of 1788 and one thousand (1000) mainly male new comers, most fresh from the teeming streets of London and widespread fear gripped the newcomers.

And given the dire circumstances that fear was completely understandable; ‘per week to every child of more than eighteen months old and to every grown person without distinction…two pounds tof pork, two pounds and a half of flour, two pounds of rice, or a quart of pease…the public stores contained salt meat until…2d July; flour…20 August; rice, or pease in lieu…until 1st of October’ .

1790 – June Sydney: Justinian, a store-ship arrived with the first supplies from England.

‘We were joyfully surprised on the 20th of the month to see another sail [Justinian] enter the harbour…and our rapture doubled on finding that she was laden entirely with provisions for our use. Full allowance, and general congratulations immediately took place’. Tench. ibid

‘Full allowance (if eight pounds of flour, and either seven pounds of pork, served alternately per week, without either peas, oatmeal, spirits, butter or cheese, can be so called ) is yet kept up; but if the Dutch snow [Waaksamheyd] does not arrive soon  from [Jakarta] it must be shortened, as the casks in the store house, I observed yesterday are woefully decreased’. Tench, cited Egan, Buried Alive

The wretched condition of the second fleet survivors, the needs of the sick and dying, had radically altered the supply- demand equation for the worst.

1790 – July, Winter:fish is by no means plenty at least, they are not in abundance’ and local Aborigines were extremely hungry. Their fish, oysters and a wide variety of various crustaceans had kept the English alive for just on three (3) years now the locals quite rightly felt entitled to a fair share of Justinian’s bounty.

But in this they were proved wrong. What was given was given grudgingly; ‘they throng the camp every day and sometimes by their clamour and importunity for bread and meat (of which they now all eat greedily) are become very troublesome God knows we have little enough for ourselves!’. Tench. ibid

1790 – September, Spring: ‘The fishing boats had the greatest success…near 4000 of fish…being taken in two ]2] hauls of the seine….they were issued to this settlement [Sydney[ and at Rose Hill’. Tench.

1790 -September, Manly Beach: In an atmosphere of anger and betrayal born of hunger and fear of capture; ‘A native [Wileemarine] with a spear in his hand aimed his lance with such force and dexterity striking the governor’s right shoulder, just above the collar bone’. Tench. ibid. See: Manly – Location, Location, Location

Phillip was rowed back to Sydney where William Balmain, the fleet’s senior surgeon, extracted the spear. Phillip had lost a great deal of blood and recovery was slow.

Phillip’s refused to retaliate the military adjudged this weakness, linked to John Macarthur’s boundless personal ambition, Phillip’s passive response created a perfect storm.

EPILOGUE

‘The ability to shock bestows a kind of power’. Frances Larson, Severed, Granta, London, 2014

Wily experienced, a proven strategist intent on saving the Sydney settlement from insurrection and anarchy, Phillip had but one (1) arrow in his quiver – ‘intelligence’- its source Bennalong  – ‘M’Entire, the Governor’s game-keeper( the person of whom Baneelon had, on former occasions, shown so much dread and hatred’. Tench. ibid.

‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries…These raids had commenced by December 1790’. Kercher. ibid.

Phillip moved to assert his authority and ignited ‘one of the most prolonged frontier wars in the history of the British empire’. See: John M’Entire – Death of a Sure Thing

Twenty-five regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between 1790 and 1870. They fought in one of the most prolonged frontier wars in the history of the British empire, and for the first half of their stay were probably more frequently in action than the garrison of any other colony besides that of southern Africa’. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army In Australia 1788 to 1870, Kangaroo Press, 1986

 

 

 

 

ALICE – DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE WITH KING

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

‘A knowledge of the position of the military and their immediate friends occupied from 1792-1810, affords a key to the whole history of the colony; and without this knowledge many important transactions, affecting the civil, social and political  interests of the community would appear almost incomprehensible’. Samuel Bennett,Australian Discovery and Colonisation, Vol. 1 to 1800.

1800 – 15 April, Sydney: Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King RN, Britain’s third naval governor of New Holland, Australia, arrived in the colony aboard HMS Speedy in the middle of April 1800.

Gidley King delivered Captain John Hunter RN, the incumbent governor, a Home Office dispatch dated 5 November 1799;  ‘severely censured Hunter and ordered him to return to England by the first safe conveyance’.

Tragically for both the colony and Australia’s First Peoples, London could not have devised a more destabilising arrangement than King’s ‘anomalous…dormant commission’ effective only if Governor Hunter ‘died or was absent from the colony’.  

‘It is probable, therefore, that the home department was not prepared to give King the full appointment of governor-in-chief in the year 1799…[His] limited commission was practically the appointment of a locum tenens or a  governor-in-chief on probation, and was recognised as such by both King and the English officials, when it became operative’. Commentary, Historical Records of Australia, Series 1, Vol 3.

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MACHIAVELLIAN MACARTHUR

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

1792 – 12 December, Sydney: Governor Arthur Phillip RN, after five (5) traumatic years as Britain’s first Governor of New South Wales and repeated requests for repatriation, sailed home to England in the Atlantic on 12 December 1792.

Phillip had recommended Lieutenant Gidley King replace him. Whitehall not only rejected Gidley King but government failed to commission an immediate successor.

‘Twenty- five [25] regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between [June] 1790 and 1870 they participated in the great struggle at the heart of the European conquest of this continent…’for the first half of their stay were probably more frequently in action than the garrison of any other colony besides that of southern Africa’. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, 1986, Kangaroo Press, 1986

By default between December 1792 and September 1795 ; ‘the plentitude of power’ Britain vested in its naval governors fell into the hands of the military, exposing the First Australians to the brutality of British infantry troops.

For the length of the interregnum the British government was greatly at fault’. Hunter, J.J. Auchmuty, Australian Dictionary of Biography

1794 – 6 February, London: Eventually Captain John Hunter RN,  hero of the ‘First Fleet’ expeditionary force, was; ‘commission[ed] as captain-general and governor-in-chief’ at the beginning of February 1794 [he] did not sail until 25 February 1795′.

1790 – June, Sydney: First contingent of infantry, the infamous New South Wales Corps, had arrived in June 1790 aboard the second fleet Britain’s Grim Armada’. See: Dancing With Slavers – A Second Fleet

‘A knowledge of the position of the military and their immediate friends occupied from 1792- 1810, affords a key to the whole history of the colony; and without this knowledge many important transactions, affecting the civil, social and political interests of the community would appear almost incomprehensible’. Samuel Bennett, Australian Discovery and Colonisation Vol. 1 to 1800, Facsimile Edition, 1981.

Major Francis Grose the Corps’ commander remained in London to recruit and satisfy establishment requirements. There was intense dissension within officer ranks and Lieutenant John Macarthur, a junior officer, moved swiftly to fill the command vacuum. See: A Black Hole: The First Interregnum 1792-1795

1795 – September 7, Sydney: Governor John Hunter RN arrived 7 September 1795 and assumed office four days later.   (more…)