Posts Tagged ‘scarborough’


Tuesday, May 30th, 2017


‘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.

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 the complement, 1500 souls, were convicted criminals. Many of its 570 male convicted criminals taken from ‘overcrowded and insanitary hulks’.

‘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

1787 – 13 May, England: The ‘First Fleet’ sailed from Portsmouth on 13 May 1787, to invade the island continent of New Holland. Commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN. This combined military and naval expeditionary force was fully funded by the British Government.  See: Apollo 11 – Fly Me To The Moon: Portsmouth – Tenerife – Rio  – Cape Town – Botany Bay – Sydney Cove.

I stark contrast to their treatment on the hulks or in England’s ‘putrid gaols’, the convicts were well fed and exercised. Mortality on the ‘First Fleet was reckoned at 4%.

Britain’s move on New Holland followed closely on the loss of her ’empire in the west’. There can be little doubt ‘the exact purpose[s] of the settlement’ was driven by Britain’s profound humiliation following her defeat at the hands of both French regular forces and America’s Patriot militia.

The Treaty Of Versailles signed in September 1783 brought an end to the War of American Independence (1775-83). England’s thirteen (13) former colonies New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Delaware, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia were formally recognised as the United States of America.

‘In November [1784] Henry Dundas, possibly Pitt’s closest advisor, warned that ‘India’ is the first quarter to be attacked, we must never lose sight of keeping such a force there as well be sufficient to baffle or surprise’. Dundas, cited Michael Pembroke, Arthur Phillip Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy, Harper Grant Books, Victoria, 2013

The loss of her American colonies fuelled a fierce determination to reset the strategic, territorial and trade balance of power via dominance of secure safe alternate sea routes to and from India and China.

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



Saturday, September 20th, 2014


1790 – 12 December, Head quarters Sydney: ‘The governor pitched upon me [Tench] to execute the…command…those natives who reside  near the head of Botany Bay….put ten [10] to death…bring in the heads of the slain [and] two [2] prisoners to  execute in the most most public and exemplary manner’. His Excellency Governor Arthur Phillip Orders to Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

Can we know what drove Governor Arthur Phillip’s ferocity? Yes we can – SIMMERING REBELLION WITHIN MILITARY RANKS

See: An Ugly War: Britain Versus The Other

‘Phillip was authorised to see to the defence of the colony’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, History of Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1998