During Lord Sydney’s time as secretary of state, the Home Office was a clearing house. Its jurisdiction included overseeing of naval officers involved in trade regulation, secret service and special projects. As a result, Sydney crossed paths with three men who left their mark on [Australia’s European] history – Horotio Nelson, William Bligh and Arthur Phillip. Andrew Tink, Life and Times of Tommy Townshend, 2001

Horatio Nelson, Governor Phillip and Governor Bligh each linked to the dreadful suffering experienced by Australia’s First Peoples following Britain’s invasion of New Holland, now Australia, as does the presence of John ‘MacMafia’ Macarthur who arrived at Sydney in June 1790 with the Second Fleet. See: A Tale of Two Fleets 

Nelson: It is believed Horatio Nelson’s favourable character reference led to the acquittal of Captain Donald Trail. Trail master of Neptune a convict transport of the second fleet ‘Britain’s Grim Armada’ appeared at the Old Bailey accused of the murder of two (2) of Neptune’s crew.

Phillip: In January 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip RN, master-spy, master-mariner, master-strategist pulled off ‘a special project’ for the Home Office. He beat France to the punch in the race for New Holland.

‘There would be ‘some justification for the saying that England won Australia by six days’. Edward Jenks, History of Australian Colonies, cited Hugh E. Egerton, British Colonial Policy, Metheun, 1928

Macarthur: Lieutenant John Macarthur a junior officer of the New South Wales Infantry Corps arrived in Sydney in June 1790 aboard Scarborough, one (1) of three (3) death ships of ‘Britain’s Grim Armada.

‘Macarthur’s haughty quarrelsome nature which manifested itself on the voyage was to provoke much more conflict after his arrival in New South Wales in June 1790’. Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet, Britain’s Grim Armada of 1790, Library of Australian History, Sydney 1993

Bligh: In August 1806 Captain William ‘Bounty’ Bligh RN arrived to take up his commission as Britain’s fourth ‘autocratic naval governor’ of New South Wales.

On the 26th of January 1808 Major George Johnston commander of the New South Wales Corps, at the instigation of John Macarthur by then an -ex-officer, seized and imprisoned Governor William Bligh RN. See: Australia Day Rebellion 26 January 1808

‘Parallel to, and dependent upon, the Anglo-French duel for command of the sea went their struggle for overseas bases and colonies; here too, the culminating point in a century-long race was reached, with Britain emerging in 1815 with a position so strengthened that she appeared to be the only real colonial power in the world’. Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery, Fontana Press, 3rd ed. London, 1976

America: The invasion of New Holland, now Australia, was all about global warfare. Britain rightly blamed French support for General George Washington’s militia with money men, munitions  and military know-how, for her defeat in the War of American Independence 1775-83.

Britain lost her ’empire in the west’ the colonies of Connecticut, North and South Carolina, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia.

France: Arthur Phillip watched from the shadows in August 1785 as Comte Jean-Francois La Perouse in command of La Boussole with L’Astrolabe, sailed from Brest naval base on a wide-ranging expeditionary voyage.

Modelled on the voyages of Captain James Cook, doyen of Britain’s Royal Navy, the La Perouse voyage, estimated to take three (3) years, was to include New Holland with the intention of usurping Cook’s 1770 claim to that territory.

London – 1786 : Following an attempt to assassinate King George III, on 6 August 1786,  ‘fear of the unruly mob’, fuelled by memory of the Gordon Riots (1780), reached fever-pitch among England’s elite.

Brazil: Phillip was in Rio de Janeiro keeping track of La Perouse when recalled by the Admiralty to return home and head-up Britain’s race for New Holland. See: Arthur Phillip – The Spy Who Never Came In From The Cold  

1786 – 12 October, Court of St James: ‘George III & to our trusty and well-beloved Captain Arthur Phillip, We, reposing especial trust and confidence in your loyalty, courage and experience in military affairs constitute and appoint you to be Governor our territory called New South Wales’. Historical Records of New South Wales

London – 25 April 1787: The future fate of Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples as a free people was sealed 25 April, 1787 when; ‘Under our Great Seal constituting and appointing you [Arthur Phillip] to be our Captain-General and Governor- in-Chief of our territory called New South Wales the entire eastern coast of New Holland…Cape York to South Cape’.


American map

America: France, not America’s Patriot rebels , had been largely responsible for Britain’s loss of her ;thirteen [13] middle colonies’. 

Chesapeake: The Royal Navy’s humiliating defeat at the hands of the French navy in the Battle of Virginian Capes. in September 1781 was particularly galling.

Yorktown: The defeat led directly to the Siege of Yorktown and subsequent surrender of the survivors of Lord Charles General Cornwallis’ large army to a combined army  of French and American troops in October 1781.

‘That the fighting against France in what was originally and essentially a European war should have spread so swiftly to the tropics was a result of many factors, most of them predictable’. Kennedy. op.cit


New Holland: Britain’s 1788 invasion of New Holland was ‘predictable’. Within five (5) years – 1793 – Britain and France were at war once more. That conflict morphed into twenty-five (25) years of global warfare – the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815.

‘New Holland is a blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India’. Anon, Historical Records of New South Wales.

With New Holland Britain gained secure alternate strategic and logistical sea-routes to and from India and Asia. The Southern Oceans not only had the potential to be a blockade-breaker in time of war the route opened up a long-sought opportunity to attack and loot Spain’s Central and South American ‘treasure’ colonies.


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

Three (3) battalions – 200 royal Navy personnel, 213 marines, 750 male convicts,  20 officials, all rationed as ‘troops serving in the West Indies’, was a formidable force. See: All The King’s Men The Criminals of the First Fleet 

1788 – Botany Bay: The large convoy with a complement of 1500 souls – 1300 men and 200 women – reached Botany Bay between 18-20 of January 1788. See: G for Genocide- Colonial breeders

Botany Bay: Three (3) days later – 24 January-  L’Astrolabe and La Boussole with La Perouse at the helm arrived at the entrance to  Botany Bay. The sight of Sirius  gun-ports open her cannon at the ready forced them back out to sea.

‘He [Phillip] ordered a party to be  sent to Point Sutherland to raise English Colours. He also stipulated that the move to Port Jackson be kept secret’. John Moore, The First Fleet Marines 1786-1792, Queensland University Press, 1987


Port Jackson: Three (3) days earlier – 21 January – Governor Phillip had entered a vast harbour ‘[w]here ‘a thousand Ship of the Line may ride in perfect Security’. However he had not raised ‘English Colours’ before rowing back to Botany Bay.

But had La Perouse sailed north or south? Phillip knew it was essential he get back to Port Jackson. If La Perouse went north, happened upon and entered the harbour’s towering headlands, he would be first to raise ‘French Colours’.

Port Jackson: Phillip, held up by bad weather quit Botany Bay aboard HMS Supply at mid-day on the 25th of January. He sailed nine (9) miles (14km) north. Just as night fell Supply entered Port Jackson and anchored in snug sheltered Sydney Cove.

Given the disposition of the protagonists, eleven (11) ships V two (2) aside, from rumours and no doubt endless conspiracy theories, the world may never have known for certain that La Perouse with La Boussole and L’Astrolabe had ever reached New Holland. See: A Band of Brothers and Mortal Enemies.


‘Raising the flag was one of the acts recognised as an assertion of a prior claim against other colonial powers eyeing off the same land’. Prof Larissa Berendt, The Honest History Book, Ed. David Stephens & Alison Broinowski, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, 2017

Sydney Cove – 26 January, 1788:  At first light next morning, the 26th,  Phillip landed with a party of marines and a few convicts. A flag-pole was built and the Union Jack flown. See: Australia – Britain By A Short Half-Head

By 8pm that night – 26 January – after a hazardous exit from Botany Bay that put both ships and lives at risk, the entire English fleet was riding at anchor alongside Supply.

For ten (10) days, in the intense heat and humidity of a Sydney February, male convicts judged fit laboured under the lash to set up camp.

February 6:  Between 6 am and 6 pm the fleet’s female complement – one hundred and eighty-nine (189) female prisoners – thirty- one (31) marine wives and, fifty (50) free children were rowed ashore from what had been their home for the best part of a year.

That dark and stormy night it is said a noisy ‘sexual orgy’ took place. Two hundred (200) women a heterosexual ‘orgy’ probably – 1300 men – homosexual most certainly.

February – 7:  Next day Captain, now Governor Phillip, per instructions issued him at the Court of St. James on 25 April 1787,  based on a ‘legal fiction’ New Holland was a ‘terra nullius’  – a country without inhabitants – proceeded to claim British sovereignty over ‘the entire eastern coast of New Holland from Cape York…to South Cape’. See: A Cracker-Jack Opinion – no Sweat

Botany Bay – March 10:  A month later, 10th March, La Boussole and L’Astrolabe sailed for France. Sadly La Perouse and his men were never seen again. See: A Band of Brothers & Mortal Enemies

xxxxxxxxxSydney Cove: The First Fleeters


Before leaving England, Phillip had been assured more convicts and supplies would ‘shortly follow’. Great excitement, the first night out from Cape Town (13 November 1787) on the last leg of the voyage, HMS Sirius spotted a ship flying ‘English Colours’.

Disappointment, she turned out to be Kent a whaler. Relief, Kent signalled Sirius more ships were ‘being taken up for Botany Bay’. But nothing could have been further from the truth.

Sydney Cove: ‘The prevalence of disease among the troops and convicts, who on landing [January] were tainted with scurvy…our situation, not having any fresh animal food, nor being able to make a change in the diet which has and must be salt meat, makes these things [medicines] more necessary here than, perhaps, in any quarter of the globe’. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer to Lord Sydney, July 1788, Historical Records of New South Wales See: An Evacuation – Saving Lieutenant William Collins

Dr John White, the fleet’s Chief Medical Officer’s revealing dispatch returned to England on a convict transport. See: Abandoned and left to starve at Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790 

August: When no supplies had arrived by the end of August 1788 Phillip ordered Captain John Hunter prepare Sirius for a  voyage to Africa where he was to buy food and medicines from the Dutch.

Africa – 2 October 1788: Sirius sailed alone on a perilous passage to the Cape of Good Hope. The voyage took her deep into the Southern Oceans dodging ‘islands of ice’ – facing the ferocious seas of Drake’s Passage – to round stormy Cape Horn and battle onto Table Bay, Cape Town.


Sydney – December: Meantime at Sydney with ‘famine approaching’ Phillip needed; ‘to learn whether or not the country possessed any resources, by which life might be prolonged’. To that end he ordered the kidnapping of Aboriginal men.

Manly – 31 December: Two (2) warriors ‘enticed by courteous behaviour’ were seized. One (1) broke free and fled. The other Arabanoo ‘fastened by ropes to the thwarts of the boat’ was rowed across to Sydney where he was kept a prisoner within British lines. See: Kidnapped – Manly – What’s in a Name


‘It is true that our surgeons had brought out variolous matter in bottles’. Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fitzhardinge , Angus and Robertson, 1961

Sydney –  April: Smallpox struck local Aborigines in April 1789 killing 50% of their number. Arabanoo was among them. See: Smallpox -A Lethal Weapon Boston 1775 – Sydney 1789

‘Not one case of the disorder occurred among the white people either afloat or on shore although there were several children in the settlement; but a North American Indian…took the disease and died’. Samuel Bennett, Australian Discovery and Colonisation, Volume 1 to 1800, facsimile edition 1981 See: Joseph Jefferies – From New York to Rio and Old Sydney Town – One – Then There Was None

May 8: Sirius returned from Africa with medicines and 127,000 pounds of flour, an amount described by Captain Collins as ‘unflattering’, intended for the two (2) king’s ships and what could be spared for the colony.

December – 31: ‘Famine was approaching with gigantic strides’. Phillip again turned to kidnapping. Bennalong and Colbee, both now heavily pockmarked were seized from Manly beach. After a week Colbee escaped  ‘with a small iron ring round his leg’. Surveillance was stepped up on Bennalong. See: Manly – Location, Location, Location


1790 – 1 January, Sydney: ‘We have been entirely cut off, no communication whatever having passed with our native country since the 13th May, 1787 the day of our departure from Portsmouth…in which long period no supplies…had reached us’. Tench. ibid.

A look-out was erected on South Head; from ‘[w]here on the summit of the hill every morning from daylight until the sun sank did we sweep the horizon hope of seeing a sail’ all to no avail.

February, China: Tench; ‘vigorous measures were become indispensable…The governor, early in February, ordered the Sirius [Captain Hunter] to prepare for a voyage to China’.

March – Norfolk Island: With cooler weather fish left the harbour to spawn.  On the 6th of March 1790 HMS Sirius accompanied by HMS Supply evacuated 50% of Sydney’s starving white European population to Norfolk Island.

While Supply was to return to Sydney and continue trawling for fish Sirius would sail onto China and arrange rescue.

Norfolk Island: Sirius had unloaded her evacuees and most supplies when, on the 19th of March, caught by shifting winds she swung wildly on her anchor and ran onto a submerged reef.

Held fast ‘in pounding surf’ Sirius broke up over a number of days. The crew, one hundred and sixty (160) naval personnel, were taken off but now were stranded on the island along with the evacuees.

‘Flags Up’ – Supply

Sydney – 5 April: ‘The flag on the South-head was hoisted…I [Tench] saw captain Ball make an extraordinary motion with his hand, which too plainly indicated that something disastrous had happened’. Tench. ibid.

Disaster – there would be no China rescue – triggered an immediate reduction in the weekly ration.

1790 – 6 April, Sydney:to every child of more than eighteen [18] months old and to every grown person [ration] to commence immediately, two pounds of pork, two pounds and a half of flour, two pounds or rice, or a quart of [dried] pease, per week [and] bring your own bread…even to the governor’s table’. Tench. ibid.


It’s now about two years and three months since we first arrived at this distant country; all this while we have been 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 Sydney 1788-1792, Allen & Unwin, 1999

Governor Phillip had no alternate but send HMS Supply to Batavia, modern-day Jakarta. She was to buy food and medicines and hire a Dutch ship to bring them to Sydney. See: Missing In Action – HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

1790 – 17 April, Batavia:Supply sailed for Batavia…and all our labour and attention were turned on one object – the procuring of food’. The distress of the lower classes for clothes were almost equal to their other wants’. Tench. ibid.

May:  Bennalong managed to escape and returned to his family. During his five (5) months in captivity, Phillip and Bennalong learned a lot about and from each other. One piece of intelligence Phillip gleaned from Bennalong was the ‘dread and hatred’ felt for one convict in particular. Knowledge that would shortly prove invaluable to the Governor.

1790 3 June – ‘Flag’s up – with London on her stern’

June: ‘At length the clouds of misfortune began to separate and on the evening of the 3d of June, the joyful cry of “the flag’s up” resounded in every direction’.

Lady Juliana with two hundred and twenty-six (226) ‘useless female’ prisoners broke the terrible silence. Not until June 1790 did the First Fleet castaways hear ‘news’ of their ‘native country’.

Of family, lovers, friends, of conflict with Spain, the ‘Madness of King George’,  revolution in France and impending war between Britain and her arch-enemies France and Spain.

Dubbed the ‘Brothel Ship’ Lady Juliana  was first of four (4) ships of a second fleet ‘Britain’s Grim Armada’.


Lord Sydney had resigned as Home Secretary. The new man, William Wyndham Grenville a cousin of Prime Minister Pitt, awarded the contract for, Neptune Scarborough and Suprize the fleet’s death ships, to Camden, Calvert and King, a firm of Guinea slave-traders working out of London.

One-quarter ‘of 1038 [mainly male] convicts embarked at Plymouth; 237 died on the voyage, 486 landed sick, of these 124 died in hospital at Sydney’. Charles Bateson, The Convict Ships 1787-1868, Brown, Son & Ferguson, Glasgow, 1959 See: Convict Transportation – The Hulks Act and When the mindset of Slavery Came to Australia

One hundred and fifteen (115) infantry troops, first contingent of the New South Wales Infantry Corps, were distributed throughout the three (3) ships. They included Lieutenant John Macarthur a junior officer, a man of overarching personal ambition, who would rightly earn his nick-name ‘The Perturbator’. See: Macarthur The Great Disrupter

June – 30:  Justinian the first relief store-ship from England arrived at the end of June 1790. See: Titanic – HMS Guardian Australia’s Titanic


‘The Act of 1786 [Geo.III. c.59] for the Encouragement of the Southern Whale Fishery proved to be the foundation of an important industry…in the wake of whalers other British traders would follow. The furtherance of this plan became one of the central objects of Lord Hawkesbury’s commercial policy’. Vincent T. Harlow, Founding of the Second British Empire 1763-1793, Longmans, London, 1964

September 7 – Manly: On a warm spring morning, three (3) months after John Macarthur’s arrival, a ‘monster’ whale beached at Manly. It proved to be the catalyst that changed the ‘condition’ and future ‘prospects’ of Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples.

‘You cannot overrate the solicitude of H.M. Government on the subject of the Aborigines of New Holland. It is impossible to contemplate the condition or the prospects of that unfortunate race without the deepest commiseration. Lord John Russell to Sir George Gipps, 21 December 1838, Historical Records of Australia, Series 1. Vol. XX

The stranding caused great excitement in both camps. For local Aborigines whale, their totem, held deep cultural and spiritual significance, prefacing as it did the return of summer’s abundance.

For Phillip, whose salt-water career began hunting whale in the icy Arctic, its presence evoked intense interest.  See: Arthur Phillip – Trade and the Defence of Trade

Phillip was well aware, foremost among the various plans that Prime Minister William Pitt and his ‘secretive inner circle’ of three (3) powerful politicians – Hawkesbury, Dundas and Mulgrave – had for New Holland, the establishment of a land base to support a ship-based whaling and sealing industry was high on the list.

Phillip, anxious to see if the ‘monster’ was a much prized sperm whale, was rowed across to Manly where he met up with Bennalong. The two (2) men had not seen each other since Bennalong’s escape from custody. See: Kidnapped – Manly What’s in a Name

Manly – 7 September: Tench sets the scene. After some hesitation on Bennalong’s part he says ‘they discoursed for some time, Baneelon expressing pleasure to see his old acquaintance…the governor… to try whether it [Bennalong’s love of wine] still subsisted, uncorked a bottle, and poured out a glass of it, which the other drank off with his former marks of relish and good humour, giving a toast, as he had been taught, ‘the King‘.

That done Phillip moved nearer the whale; ‘a native, [Wileemarin] with a spear in his hand came forward…His excellency held out his hand…advancing…the nearer, the governor approached, the greater became the terror and agitation of the Indian.

To remove his fear, governor Phillip threw down a dirk, he wore at his side…the other, alarmed at the rattle of the dirk and probably misconstruing the action, instantly fixed his lance, aimed his lance with force and dexterity striking the governor’s right shoulder, just above the collar bone’. Tench. ibid.

The spear could not be removed on the spot. Midshipman Waterhouse managed to break off the spear’s long shaft. Phillip endured two (2) agonising hours as he was rowed across seven (7) miles of choppy waters to Sydney where William Balmain the senior surgeon extracted the lance.


Phillip had lost a lot of blood leaving him weak so recovery was slow. In ‘throw[ing] down the dirk’ he knew he had contributed to Willeemrin’s attack and ordered there be no reprisals.

 ‘What is the most arresting thing in all these recordings is the way in which they perceive Aboriginal Australians on not exactly equal terms, but on terms of people who have a right to the occupancy of this land’. Dr Nicholas Brown, Australian National University and National Museum of Australia, on the inclusion of some ‘First Fleet’ Journals onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. ABC – AM Programme, 15 October 2009

Phillip’s ‘no reprisals’ decision supercharged a change in ‘equal terms’ attitude. The commander of the New South Wales Corps, Major Francis Grose, had elected to stay in London and recruit to satisfy establishment requirements.

A ruthless Lieutenant John Macarthur driven by over-arching personal ambition, aided by dissension among his fellow officers, had moved swiftly to fill the power vacuum created by Grose’s absence.See: Sword and Word Both are Mighty- Governor Arthur Phillip’s Military Campaign For King and Country


Sydney – October 17: Six (6) months almost to the day from her departure, in April 1790 Supply returned from Jakarta. Elation sadly was touched with grief.

Many crew contracted malaria and were buried at Jakarta. Lieutenant Newton Fowell, the fleet’s young letter-writer who wthen a midshipman, had sailed in the Sirius on her epic voyage of circumnavigation to and from Africa, was buried at sea.

Lieutenant Ball, as Phillip instructed, had purchased tons of supplies and chartered a Dutch ship Waaksamheyd to bring them to Sydney. The settlement’s only hope for survival lay in the untrustworthy hands of the Dutch.

Starvation deepened and; ‘to prolong existence…the best marksmen of the marines and convicts…put under the command of a trusty serjeant, with directions to range the woods in search of kangaroos’. Tench. ibid.

Since 1788 the English population, men women and children, had survived by raping the Aborigines’ food resources. Scouring the bush taking their plants and vegetables. Shooting anything that moved or flew and trawling for fish, taking up ‘four hundred-weight’ at a time.

‘On the 9th of the month [December 1790], serjeant of marines, with three convicts, among whom was M’Entire, the governor’s game-keeper (the person of whom Baneelon had, on former occasions, shewn so much dread and hatred) went out on a shooting party [to Botany Bay]’. Tench. ibid.

10 December: Tench was told in the early hours; ‘one of them [Aborigines] launched his spear at M’Entire and lodged it in his left side. The person who committed this wanton act, was described as a young man, with a speck, or blemish, on his left eye’.

Pemulwuy was the ‘young man with a speck in the left eye’.

‘But in this business of M’Entire I [Phillip] am fully persuaded that they [Aborigines] were unprovoked, and the barbarity of their conduct admits of no extenuation’.

Phillip’s ‘but‘ referenced his ‘own spearing’ by Willmeerin at Manly Beach in September 1790. Phillip’s refusal to retaliate was seized upon by ‘certain officers’. His reluctance created a perfect storm.

With ‘New Holland’ at stake Phillip was intent on saving the Sydney settlement from insurrection and anarchy. Bennalong’s intelligence ‘dread and hatred’ was the only arrow in Phillip’s quiver.

To assert his authority over the enemy within ‘certain [corps] officers’ Phillip sacrificed McIntyre to create a diversion. His response to McIntyre’s spearing ‘infuse universal terror’ was that of a proven strategist whose loyalty to King and Country was non-negotiable.  See: John M’Entire – Death of a Sure Thing


13 December, Headquarters:His excellency pitched upon me [Tench]…be ready to march tomorrow morning at daylight to execute the…command…put ten (10) to death…bring in the heads of the slain…bring away two (2)prisoners…I [Phillip] am resolved to execute the prisoners…in the most public and exemplary manner, in the presence of as many of their countrymen as can be collected’. Governor Phillip, General  Orders, to Marine Captain Watkin Tench.

14 December, Botany Bay: At first light ‘we marched’. After three (3) days thrashing about in the muddy flats of Cooks River the detachment turned for home with no ‘heads’ – no ‘prisoners’.

17 December, Sydney: ‘Between one and two o’clock in the afternoon…we were glad to find ourselves at Sydney’.

Tench’s ‘glad’ is an understatement. At dawn that morning – 17 December 1790 – Waaksamheyd arrived from Jakarta. The air filled  with the heady smells of cooking, the landing stage already crammed with barrels and bales.

20 December: ‘Our first expedition having so totally failed, the governor resolved to try the fate of a second; and the ‘painful pre-eminence’ again devolved on me. The orders under which I [Tench] was commanded to act differing in no respect from the last’.

Why did Governor Phillip order another raid against the Bidjigal of Botany Bay?

Phillip knew Waaksamheyd was a double edged sword. As well as food she brought hope; an opportunity to seize the vessel, a chance  to escape – either or both.

The Sirius cannon now came into play. Removed in 1788 to lighten the load on her gallant run to Africa they had been mounted at Dawes Battery (Observatory Hill). See: Lieutenant William Dawes & The Eternal Flame

Now in the hands of the few dependable naval men available to Phillip, Sirius’ cannon took the seizure of Waaksamheyd out of the equation. Escape however was realised. See: A Great Escape – The Botany Bay Escapees


‘Military and police raids against dissenting Aboriginal groups lasted from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries….These raids had commenced by December 1790’. Professor Bruce Kercher, History of Law in Australia, Allen and Unwin, 1995

Just as in June 1914 a shot fired on a Sarajevo street began the count-down to World War I, a spear thrown on Manly Beach in September 1790 began the count-down to a ‘nasty war that led to the near destruction of Australia’s First Peoples.

‘The tremendous monster who had occasioned the unhappy catastrophe just recorded [Phillip’s spearing] was fated to be the cause of further mischief… Tench. ibid.

Governor Phillip’s perceived passivity had presented ‘certain officers’ with an opportunity for ‘mischief’insurrection. Phillip judged his position, isolated in a sea of hostile military, would prove too great an opportunity for Lieutenant Macarthur and his cronies to pass up .See: Machiavellian Macarthur


‘Twenty-five regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between 1790 and 1870. They fought in one of the most prolonged frontier wars in the history of the British empire, and for the first half of their stay were probably more frequently in action than the garrison of any other colony besides that of southern Africa‘. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1790-1868, Kangaroo Press, Sydney 1986

Governor Phillip’s Orders placed no limit on brutality. ‘Infuse universal terror and my [Phillip] fixed determination to repeat it whenever any future breach of good conduct on their side, shall render it necessary’.

They served as the ‘Rules of Engagement’ in a ‘frontier war’ Dr Stanley characterised as ‘nasty and decidedly lacking in glory’.

‘Still it is impossible that H.M. government should forget that the original aggression was ours’. Lord John Russell. Records. ibid

See:  Only Men ? Aside from seagulls how many white birds were on the ground at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788 – None

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