Posts Tagged ‘hanging’

TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD – THOMAS BARRETT

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

‘He [ Barrett] may have been the maker of the Botany Bay Medallion…a skilfully engraved metal medallion inscribed with a relief description of the voyage dated 20 January 1788 and a representation of the Charlotte at anchor in Botany Bay. Mollie Gillen, Founders of Australia, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1990

image of charlotte medal

The Charlotte Medal, created by Thomas Barrett

Sydney Cove 1788 – 27 February 27: A lifer’  Thomas Barrett was the first Englishman hanged in European Australia.

Barrett fashioned the ‘Botany Bay Medallion’ AKA the ‘Charlotte Medal from a ‘silver coloured metal kidney dish’ thought to belong to Dr. John White. The fleet’s Chief Medical Officer White would have certified Barrett’s death. See: From Here to Eternity 

An excellent medical administrator White nevertheless was a flawed character.  Controversy over provenance of paintings;  ‘by  the artist known as the Port Jackson Painter’ in the Watling Collection, London Natural History Museum, remains current to this day.

London: Barrett, probably son of Irish immigrants, was born in London in 1758. His profile is not that of the usual illiterate dead-beat English common criminal. Unusual for those times he could read and, as exemplified by the medallion, wrote a find hand.

In September 1782 Barrett stood in the dock of the Old Bailey accused of stealing clothing and ‘a silver watch with chain’ from an unoccupied house, described as ‘up for rent’.

Found guilty as charged, sentenced to hang, he spent the following twelve (12) months on ‘death row’ in one of London’s appalling prisons.

On 11 September 1783 the death penalty was commuted for ‘transportation to America’ for the ‘term of his natural life’ . Barrett was transferred to Censor a Thames River prison-hulk to await shipment.

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A VICIOUS CIRCLE – THE HANGMAN’S NOOSE

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

‘The death penalty was brought to Australia with the First Fleet’. Mike Edwards, The Hanged Man, The Life and Death of Ronald Ryan, 2002.

Botany Bay – 1788 – January, 18-20: Approximately 750 (570 male and 193 female) of England’s convicted criminals, reprieved death on condition they be exiled ‘from the realm’ reached Botany Bay in the middle of January 1788.

Among them Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell, Joseph Hall and John Ryan friends from years of imprisonment in gaols and on prison hulks moored along the Thames River.

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

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‘When leaving Botany Bay Phillip noticed two [2] French ships in the offing…there would seem to be “some justification for the saying that England won Australia by six [6] days”. Edward Jenks, History of the Australian Colonies cited H.E. Egerton, A Short History of British Colonial Policy, Methueun, London 1928

Sydney Cove – 26 January: By ‘8 pm’ on the 26th of January the entire  English fleet  was riding at anchor in Sydney Cove nine (9) miles (14km) north of the original beach-head. 

Port Jackson – 27 January:The landing of a part of the marines and [male] convicts took place the next day, and on the following [28th] the remainder [of men] disembarked’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1961

Aside from seagulls how many white birds were on dry land at Sydney Cove on  26 January 1788? None

Sydney Cove – 6 February: Between 6am and 6 pm the two hundred and twenty-three (223) women and their children, twenty-two (22) born on the voyage, were rowed ashore.

7 February : ‘Owing to the multiplicity of pressing business necessary to be performed immediately after landing, it was found impossible to read the public commissions and take possession of the colony in form, until the 7th of February’. Tench. ibid

27 February:  Towards the end of the  month Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell, Joseph Hall and John Ryan stood beneath‘ a large tree fixt as a gallows’. From Here To Eternity

If for no reason other than the fate of these four (4) young Englishmen provide insight and shed light on the ‘universal terror’ meted out to Australia’s First Peoples their brutal intersecting stories need to be told.  See: ‘Terror’ Arthur’s Algorithm

The punitive way the English dealt with their own people reveal them malicious and vindictive in the extreme.

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Britain transported one hundred and sixty-three thousand (163,000) criminals to Australia.  Twenty-five thousand (25,000) were women. Of these twelve thousand (12,000) went directly to Tasmania.  West Australia, where transportation ended in 1868, received ten thousand (10,000)  male prisoners and zero females.

Well practised retribution was meted out when any dared to challenge the predators who plundered their resources and stole their culture, stole their children, stole their land, stole their lives and continue to do so.

Because of such gross imbalance of the sexes in the criminal, military and civilian population Britain’s invasion and colonisation of New Holland imposed  a racist caste-system on Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples. In time caste came to be based not only on colour but on shades of hue.   G is for Genocide

‘Imagine if we had suffered the injustices and then were blamed for it’. Paul Keating Redfern Speech, 10 December 1992.

Although the myriad injustices that followed Britain’s invasion stand in plain sight, because of widespread ignorance of our shared history throughout mainstream non-Aboriginal Australia, they go largely unrecognised and unacknowledged.

Even when acknowledged the consequences for the First Australians of Britain’s 1788 invasion, conquest, the death penalty  starvation, dispossession, dispersal,  gross gender imbalance –   genocide, syphilis –   starvation – the smallpox virus that killed 50% of Sydney’s Aboriginal families in 1789 are simply swept under the carpet. (more…)

CATCH 22 – JAMES FREEMAN

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

 James Freeman – ‘Hang or be Hanged’. 

 

Part of the original document pardoning a convict if he acts as executioner

Extract showing a pardon on condition of becoming the public executioner. Dated 1 March 1788, signed by Governor Arthur Phillip.

‘For here was an opportunity of establishing a Jack Ketch who Should, in all future Executions, either Hang or be Hanged’. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer, First Fleet Journal.

1788 –  Friday 29th February: Shaped as another busy day for the infant colony’s’ criminal court.

To avoid Sydney’s intense midday sun and drenching humidity, after the long drawn-out dramas of the previous two (2) days, it had been decided court would convene earlier than usual. See: Blind Man’s Bluff

At 8 am convicts James Freeman and William Shearman, accused the previous day of stealing from government stores, were first to appear in the dock.

Both were found guilty.  While Shearman was sentenced to 300 lashes Freeman was condemned to death .

Next to appear George Whitaker, Daniel Gordon and John Williams charged with stealing eighteen (18) bottles of wine.

Whitaker was discharged. Gordon and Williams, both Afro -Americans, were found guilty and sentenced to hang with Freeman. The executions to take place that afternoon.

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BLIND MAN’S BLUFF – A DOUBLE BILL- HALL & LAVELL

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

‘The full force of laws against theft was imposed from the moment the expedition arrived in Sydney. At the end of February 1788 five [5] men were convicted of theft and condemned to death, illustrating that property was more sacrosanct than life itself.

The sentences were carried out at public hangings, which the whole convict population was forced to watch’. Henry Reynolds,  Searching for truth-telling, History, Sovereignty and The Uluru Statement From the Heart, NewSouth Publishing, 2021

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‘Few personal documents relating to [Governor Arthur] Phillip survive; his low personal profile and the secret work in which he was sometimes involved make him one of the least-known founders of any modern state – in this case Australia’. Nigel Rigby, Peter Van Der Merwe & Glyn Williams, Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook’s Endeavour to the Beagle, National Maritime Museum Greenwich, Bloomsbury, Adlard Coles, 2018

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1788 –  27 February, Sydney Cove: Four (4) convicts John Ryan, Thomas Barrett, Henry Lavell and Joseph Hall stood before a hastily  convened military court accused ‘on shaky evidence’ of robbing or conspiring to rob food from the government storehouse.

‘Just three [3] weeks before half a continent had been declared Crown land in one of the most remarkable acts of plunder in modern times.’. Henry Reynolds. op.cit.

Found guilty all were sentenced to death. The execution to take place later that same day.

‘The arm of a large tree was fixt upon as a gallows’. Arthur Bowes Smyth, Surgeon Lady Penrhyn, First Fleet  Journal, Australian Documents Library, 1979

These four (4) men were mates. Their strong friendship had been forged during three (3) difficult years imprisoned in Dunkirk a prison-hulk moored in the River Thames. See Mutiny on Mercury and Swift

Under the ‘gallows tree’ pressure was brought to bear on the youngest John Ryan; ‘he turned king’s evidence [and] his irons were removed’.

At 5pm, Marine Captain James Campbell approached Mr Brewer the Provost Marshall with a twenty-four (24) hour stay-of-execution for Hall and Lavell. Their nooses were removed.

No longer part of the action they became part of the audience.

Only Thomas Barrett died that day.   ‘The lifer who was the ringleader [was] launched into Eternity’. See: From Here to Eternity

‘The body hung for an hour and was then buried in a grave dug very near the gallows’. Lieutenant Ralph Clark, First Fleet Journal, Australian Documents Library, 1979

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KETCH CONNECTION: THOMAS BARRETT SYDNEY 1788 – MICHAEL BARRETT LONDON 1868 – ROBERT RYAN MELBOURNE – 1967

Monday, July 13th, 2009

‘The death penalty was brought to Australia with the First Fleet’. Mike Richards, The Hanged Man, The Life and Death of Ronald Ryan, 2002.

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