Posts Tagged ‘william dawes’


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



Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Sydney – 1790 – January: ‘Since the 13th of May, 1787, the day of our departure from Portsmouthwe had been entirely cut off…from the intelligence of our friends and connections… no communications whatever having passed with our native country’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. L.F. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1961 


‘Since we first arrived [January 1788] 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 cited Jack Egan, Buried Alive, Eyewitness accounts of the making of a nation 1788-92, Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1999


‘The other great change came [June 1790] in the arrival with the Second Fleet of the first 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


‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. These raids had commenced by [14] December 1790’. Kercher, An Unruly Child. ibid.


‘A smokescreen of legal confusion and argument covered up a continuing pattern of killings at the frontiers of the Australian colonies’. Professor Bruce Kercher, An Unruly Child, History of Law In Australia, Allen & Unwin, 1995


1790 – 3 June:  Flags Up…a ship with London on her stern

Sydney – 1790 June: Six (6) months after ‘hope [had] almost vanished’ for the Robinson Cruses of the ‘First Fleet’ Lady Juliana, a convict transport with two hundred and twenty six (226) ‘useless’ women prisoners, broke the terrible isolation for English men, women and children marooned at Botany Bay since January 1788. See: Abandoned and Left to Starve @ Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790

Dubbed the ‘Brothel Ship’ Lady Juliana was first of four (4) vessels that made up the second fleet Britain’s Grim Armada’ . 

By the end of June 1790 Alexander, Scarborough Suprize the fleet’s death ships arrived with approximately one thousand (1000) men.

Distributed throughout were one hundred and fifteen (115) officers and other ranks, first contingent of the New South Wales Corps of Infantry, guarding the convicts.

London Gazette Extract

‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. These raids had commenced by [14] December 1790’. Kercher, An Unruly Child. ibid.