Archive for May, 2017

A TALE OF TWO FLEETS

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

JANUARY 1788 – THE ‘FIRST FLEET’ – AN INVASION FLEET MORTALITY – 4%

‘The troops sent to garrison the Australian colonies participated in the great struggle at the heart of the European conquest of this continent…British troops helped to determine the civilization which would replace the culture of the Australian Aborigines. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press 1986

1787 – January, Portsmouth:  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 its complement, 1500 souls, were convicted criminals

‘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.

1787 – 13 May, England: The armed convoy 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.

‘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

Well fed, exercised and drilled; mortality on the ‘First Fleet’ was reckoned at 4%.

‘It seems clear that only a few men in the inner circle of [William Pitt’s] government knew the exact purposes of the settlement’. Professor Geoffrey Blainey, Gotham City, The Founding of Australia. The argument about Australia’s origins. Ed. Ged Martin, Hale and Iremonger, 1978

Hawkesbury, Dundas, Mulgrave, Liverpool – Pitt’s ‘inner circle’ – with powerful politicians Nepean, Lansdowne, Sydney their names writ large on the landscape of Sydney and its environs.

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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 – the 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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ALL THE KING’S MEN-THE CRIMINALS OF THE ‘FIRST FLEET’

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

Of its overwhelmingly male complement, 1500 souls, seven hundred and fifty (750) were convicted criminals. Five hundred and eighty male (580) male convicts ‘fed as troops serving in the West Indies’ were available for combat. See: April Fools Day

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