What is so amazing is that much of the information cited had always been known…but invariably got lost en-route to the arena of public and educated memory. 

I should emphasise that I scarcely encountered any new findings…almost all material had been uncovered….The difference is some elements had not been given sufficient attention, others…swept under the historiographer’s rug, and still others were “forgotten” because they did not fit the ideological needs of the evolving national identity.The Invention of the Jewish People, Professor Shlomo Sand, 2009.

Likewise it is time to unpack modern Australia’s foundation myth – benign colonisation. A myth based on ‘amity and kindness’ two (2) words in Governor Phillip’s third commission; ‘You are…to open an intercourse with the natives…conciliate their affections…live in amity and kindness with them’. King George III to Arthur Phillip, 25 April, 1787.

What people mean by living in amity with their neighbours is that nobody should seek to kill or maim them or to make off with their possessions…all societies, however simple their inventory of material goods have clear rules of property. Primitive Government, Lucy Mair, 1962.

Britain’s intentions for New Holland are made clear in Arthur Phillip’s first commission dated 12 October 1786.

We, reposing especial trust and confidence in your loyalty, and experience in military affairs, do, by these presents, constitute and appoint you to be said Governor of our territory called New South Wales…from the Northern extremity of the coast called Cape York…to the Southern extremity of the said territory of New South Wales or South Cape.

And you are to observe and follow such orders and directions from time to time as you shall receive from us, or any other your superior officer according to the rules and disciplines of war. George III,  to our trusted and well-loved Captain Arthur Phillip, 12 October 1786.

Australia’s early European history in haiku.

Amity kindness,

weasel words, Britain saw their

fair land as fair game

Phillip’s response to the Aborigines’ resistance to the organised destruction of their food resources was not ‘kindness’ but punitive in keeping with ‘the rules and disciplines of war’.

On Monday 13th December 1790, following the fatal spearing of John McEntire Governor Phillip’s convict game-keeper by Pimelwi an Aboriginal man, Phillip ordered Captain Tench; ‘bring in six of those natives who reside near the head of Botany Bay; or if that should be found impracticable, to put that number to death’.

At four o’clock on the morning of the 14th [December] we marched. The detachment consisted, besides myself [Tench], of Captain Hill of the New South Wales corps, lieutenants Poulden and Dawes of the marines, Mr. Worgan and Mr Lowes, surgeons, three sergeants, three corporals and forty private soldiers, provided with three days provisions, ropes to bind our prisoners with, hatchets and bags to cut off and contain the heads of the slain.

By nine o’clock this terrific procession reached the peninsula at the head of Botany Bay.  First Fleet Journal, Captain Watkin Tench. 

‘Close Encounters of the Worst Kind’, an economics paper authored by the late Professor Noel Butlin of the Australian National University, Canberra inspired the blog’s tell-a-story titles.

The main battle was about having enough to eat. The Story of Australia, Don Watson, 1984.

In 1789 a smallpox outbreak killed 50% of the Aborigines of the Sydney area. Inexplicably no Englishman was affected. Professor Butlin was the first to ask the question; was smallpox deliberately introduced into the Aboriginal communities?

In 1789, given the state of near starvation and overarching despair in both the English and Indigenous populations, was smallpox confined as it was to that population, the tipping point in the ‘battle’ for European survival?

Professor Butlin’s question remains not only unanswered but largely ignored.

The Botany Bay Medallion blog offers information on some elements of Britain’s early presence in Australia that have ‘not been given sufficent attention…because they did not fit the ideological needs of the evolving national iidentiry’. 

Beginning with INTENT the blog , divided into 8 elements, looks at the dire consequences of Britain’s presence for Australia’s First Peoples. Its small bites, although designed to stand alone are interwoven, some information may be repeated.


A Cracker-Jack Opinion – No Sweat – Your Land is My Land

Fiddle – The Cat and the Riddle – When was an invasion fleet not an invasion fleet?  When it was the First Fleet

Britain By A Whisker – And the runner-up was?

Arthur Phillip – An Enigma In a Parallel Universe – So Arthur Philliip Who Do You Think You Are?

Arthur Philliip – The Spy Who Never came in from the Cold.

Arthur Phillip – The Importance of Being Arthur

A Tale of Two Fleets

Apollo II – Fly Me to the Moon or 13,000 miles (21,000 km) to Botany Bay

Airbrushed – Invasion, denial and The Great Black – White Divide

A Continuing Connection: The Crown & Stolen land – The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1901 & Stolen Children

No Enemy – Another Foundation Myth

A Band of Brothers

Asleep In The Deep – The Merchant-men of the First Fleet

Amity and Kindness – A Case to Answer


Airbrushed – Sex – Mostly Men

Brokeback Mountain


Abandoned – Left to Starve

Buried Alive – Sydney January 1788 – June 1790

On The Rocks

A Plague of Locusts

The Clue of the Scarlet Cloth – Lieutenant Ralph Clark – hater, lover and his tragic end.


A Clear and Present Danger – Starvation

Anatomy of an English Famine : 1788 -1800 & Beyond

A Snap-shot of Famine at Sydney

Titanic – Australia’s Titanic – HMS Guardian – The Missing Link

A Twelfth Man – Edward Riou & the death of Captain  James Cook


A Lethal Weapon – Smallpox: Boston 1776 – Sydney 1789

From New York to Rio to Old Sydney Town – One Red Indian And Then There was None

Smallpox: The Dead Don’t Eat &  A Mindset of despair

A Very Convenient Theory – Smallpox – It was the Macassans Stupid

An Evacuation – Saving Lieutenant Collins brother of Judge-advocate David Collins

Take Two – Rules of Engagement – According to the Rules and Disciplines of War


Britons Never, Never Shall Be Slaves – Transportation to America – Death or Slavery


A Rough Trade – Putting Out the Garbage – Transportation

Transportation – ‘beyond the seas’

April Fools Day – The Hulks Act

Analyse This – Hulks Diet

Anzac Heroes and England’s Cast-aways

Britain’s Grim Armada – A Second Convict Fleet

Africa – In and Out of Africa – Transportation to Africa – Thomas Limpus, Samuel Woodham and John Rugless

Three Amigos + One, Limpus, Woodham, Rugless + Thomas Barrett

A Great Escape – Mary Bryant, her children and her friends

Boswell Goes Into Bat for Mary Bryant at the Old Bailey.

Pandora’s Box and the cruel Captain Edward Edwards RN

Mutiny On Swift and Mercury and Thomas Barrett

The Botany Bay Medallion and Thomas Barrett

To Kill A Mocking Bird – Thomas Barrett

Tom Barrett’s Body lies a’mouldering in the Grave

From Here to Eternity

Blind Man’s Bluff

Catch 22

The Ketch Connection: Thomas Barrett, Sydney 1788 – Michael Barrett, London 1868 – Ronald Ryan, Melbourne 1967


Inertia – Four Black Holes

A Black Hole 1792-1795

An Elephant  in the Room – The Rules and Disciplines of War

Tipping Points – Guns,Grog &  Greed

Alice – Down the Rabbit Hole with Govenor Hunter – recalled to London

A Worm-Hole – Richard Atkin’s Diary

Alice – Down the Rabbit Hole with Governor King – recalled to London

A War Grave – Tasmania


The Domino Effect

Coup – ee: An Armed Insurrection – 26 January 1808

Australia Day Rebellion – 26 January 1808

Dark Matter – Conspiracy

Another Black Hole: 1808-1810

Sliding Doors – Governor William Bligh, Captain George Johnston, Captain Joseph Foveaux, Colonel William Paterson

Imagine – Nine Months & two weeks in a Leaky Boat with Captain Bligh

The Last Farewell  & Governor Bligh


Why the Botany Bay Medallion  – A million dollar baby?

It is believed the medalllion was engraved by Thomas Barrett a ‘First Fleet’ convict, supervised by Dr. John White the fleet’s chief medical officer. In July 2008 the medal was purchased for the nation for one million (1,000,000) AUD. It is on permanent display at the Australian Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour Sydney.

Thomas Barrett hanged on 27th February 1788. This blog began with a search for Thomas Barrett’s grave.  A specific burial place has yet to be found.

My reading of the  ‘First Fleet’ journals and various historical records revealed a very different picture of the first generation of Britain’s occupation from the one usually advanced by most Australian historians.

”The difference is some elements had not been given sufficient attention…because they did not fit the ideological needs of  the evolving national identity’.

A review of the history we share with Britain and, with whom through the Crown we have ‘continuing connection’, needs to take place if Australia is to become the nation of our rhetoric – the land of the ‘fair go’.

See: Continuing Connection – Continuing Responsibility 

One Response to “ABOUT THIS BLOG”

  1. Rueben Pinkley Says:

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the net. I will recommend this website!