Archive for May, 2017

ABANDONED & LEFT TO STARVE AT SYDNEY COVE JANUARY 1788 TO JULY 1790

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

1790 – 1 June, Sydney Cove: ‘No communication whatever having passed with our native country since the 13th May 1787, the day of our departure from Portsmouth…from the intelligence of our friends and connections we had been entirely cut off…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

1790 – weekly ration; ‘without distinction…to every child of more than eighteen (18] months old and to every grown person two [2] pounds of pork, two and a half [2½] pounds of flour, two [2] pounds of rice, or a quart of pease, per week…To every child under eighteen [18] months old, the same quantity of rice and flour, and one [1] pound of pork.

When the age of this provision is recollected, its inadequacy will more strikingly appear. The pork…from England had been salted between three [3] and four [4] years… a daily morsel toast[ed] on a fork catching the drops on a slice of bread, or in a saucer of rice…every grain was a moving body from the inhabitants lodged within it…flour brought from the Cape by Sirius [May 1789] soldiers and convicts used to boil it up with greens’. Tench op.cit.

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THE KING’S MEN- CRIMINALS OF THE ‘FIRST FLEET & SECOND FLEETS

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

‘In determining the daily ration no distinction was drawn between the marines and [male] convicts…the standard adopted was that of the troops serving in the West Indies’. Wilfrid Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, ed. E. Hugh Oldham, Library of Australian History, Sydney 1990

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

Of its overwhelmingly male complement, 1500 souls, seven hundred and fifty (750) were convicted criminals.

Its five hundred and eighty male (580) male convicts rationed;  ‘as troops serving in the West Indies’ were available for combat. See: April Fools Day – Hulks Act 

1788 – Botany Bay. January: After eight (8) months voyaging across 13,000 miles (21,000 km) of ‘imperfectly explored oceans’ via Spanish Tenerife, to Portuguese Rio, to Dutch Cape Town the convoy reached its destination Botany Bay.

On the lengthy last leg, sixty-eight (68) days Cape Town to Botany Bay, scurvy appeared throughout the fleet. There was an urgent need for fresh water and food.

The fleet’s warships HMS Sirius and HMS Supply  immediately deployed their trawling nets.

‘While the seine was hauling some of them [Aborigines] were present…no sooner were the fish out of the water than they began to lay hold of them as if they had a right to them, or that they were their own’. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer, Journal of A Voyage to New South Wales, Oxford University Press, 2011

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