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On this day …….. 23rd of June 1810

In 1809, Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney to take up the position of Governor of the New South Wales colony, which he held from 1810 to 1821. With his military training and vision for organisation and discipline, Macquarie was an ideal candidate to restore order to the colony, following the Rum Rebellion against deposed Governor William Bligh. Macquarie upheld high standards for the development of New South Wales from penal colony to free settlement. He introduced the first building code into the colony and ordered the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, churches and public buildings. One of Macquarie’s earliest duties was to appoint an official postmaster. The first postmaster of Sydney was Isaac Nichols, an ex-convict who took up the post in 1809. Australia’s first post office was opened the following year by Governor Macquarie, on 23 June 1810, and was situated on Circular Quay, Sydney. Mail continued to be delivered by coach and messengers on horseback to outlying areas of New South Wales. Australia’s first delivery postman was a private servant of George Panton, then Sydney Postmaster, in 1828.

On this day …….. 23rd of June 1810

In 1809, Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney to take up the position of Governor of the New South Wales colony, which he held from 1810 to 1821. With his military training and vision for organisation and discipline, Macquarie was an ideal candidate to restore order to the colony, following the Rum Rebellion against deposed Governor William Bligh. Macquarie upheld high standards for the development of New South Wales from penal colony to free settlement. He introduced the first building code into the colony and ordered the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, churches and public buildings. One of Macquarie’s earliest duties was to appoint an official postmaster. The first postmaster of Sydney was Isaac Nichols, an ex-convict who took up the post in 1809. Australia’s first post office was opened the following year by Governor Macquarie, on 23 June 1810, and was situated on Circular Quay, Sydney. Mail continued to be delivered by coach and messengers on horseback to outlying areas of New South Wales. Australia’s first delivery postman was a private servant of George Panton, then Sydney Postmaster, in 1828.

On this day …….. 28th May 1814

Unlike in the penal colony of New South Wales, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) remained largely a convict settlement for its first fifty years. Little was done to encourage free settlers to take up land on the island. The colony faced starvation in the first few years of its existence, so Governor of Tasmania, Colonel Collins, was forced to send out the convicts to hunt. Lured by their unexpected freedom and undaunted by their isolation from the mainland, many convicts chose not to return, but undertook a life of bushranging. Bushranging soon reached epidemic proportions, and in May 1813, Lieutenant Governor Davey demanded all absconded convicts and bushrangers return by December, or face being shot on sight after that date. Concerned by the ramifications of the subsequent outrage, on 28 May 1814 the Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, offered a pardon to all convicts except for those who had been convicted of murder, if they surrendered within six months. Taking the proclamation as a licence to bushrange, many convicts continued their crimes until the last moment. True to his word, Macquarie pardoned them of all previous crimes, whereupon many of them promptly returned to bushranging.

On this day …….. 11th May 1813

When the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales in 1788, all efforts concentrated on developing farmland and a food supply to support the convict colony. Free settlers also began to arrive, lured by the promise of a better life in the new, young country. This placed considerable strain on New South Wales’s resources, and farmers began to see the need for expansion beyond the Blue Mountains, which had provided an impassable barrier to the west. Many attempts were made to find a path through the Blue Mountains, but their attempts had all focused on following the rivers, which invariably ended up against sheer cliff faces or mazes of impassable gorges. Gregory Blaxland was a wealthy grazier who had come to Australia in 1806. He stood to gain much by finding a route to new grasslands. Blaxland approached Governor Macquarie about funding an expedition to cross the Blue Mountains. Though Macquarie found Blaxland to be troublesome and discontented, and felt he should be growing grain to feed the colony, he granted approval for the expedition. Blaxland took along two other men: William Lawson, who had arrived in Sydney as an ensign with the New South Wales Corps in 1800, and was a landholder and magistrate with surveying experience; and William Wentworth, the first Australian-born explorer, being the son of a convict mother and an Irish father, a surgeon who had been convicted of highway robbery. Wentworth was to become one of the leading figures of early colonial New South Wales. Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth departed South Creek, Sydney Cove, on the 11th of May 1813 with four servants, five dogs and four horses. The route they traversed is essentially still the one used by travellers today. On 31 May they reached Mount Blaxland from where they could see the plains to the west. Beyond the mountains the explorers found a great expanse of open country, which they surveyed. Their exploration was significant for opening up the grazing lands of inland New South Wales.

On this day …….. 25th April 1809

Australia’s first postmaster was Isaac Nichols. Nichols had arrived with the Second Fleet on the Admiral Barrington in October 1791 after being found guilty of stealing and sentenced to seven years transportation. However, he was found to be a diligent worker, greatly trusted by Governor Hunter. Although accused of receiving stolen goods in New South Wales in 1799, his innocence was upheld by Hunter, who believed evidence had been planted against him. He ordered the suspension of Nichols’s fourteen-year sentence, but it was not until Philip Gidley King’s government that Nichols was awarded a free pardon, in January 1802. An enterprising man, he bought several properties and even established a shipyard, becoming quite prosperous. In 1809, Nichols was first appointed superintendent of public works and assistant to the Naval Officer. One month later, the same month that Governor Macquarie arrived in New South Wales, Nichols was appointed the colony’s first postmaster on 25 April 1809. Nichol retained this position until he died in 1819.

 

On this day …….. 28th May 1814

Unlike in the penal colony of New South Wales, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) remained largely a convict settlement for its first fifty years. Little was done to encourage free settlers to take up land on the island. The colony faced starvation in the first few years of its existence, so Governor of Tasmania, Colonel Collins, was forced to send out the convicts to hunt. Lured by their unexpected freedom and undaunted by their isolation from the mainland, many convicts chose not to return, but undertook a life of bushranging. Bushranging soon reached epidemic proportions, and in May 1813, Lieutenant Governor Davey demanded all absconded convicts and bushrangers return by December, or face being shot on sight after that date. Concerned by the ramifications of the subsequent outrage, on 28 May 1814 the Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, offered a pardon to all convicts except for those who had been convicted of murder, if they surrendered within six months. Taking the proclamation as a licence to bushrange, many convicts continued their crimes until the last moment. True to his word, Macquarie pardoned them of all previous crimes, whereupon many of them promptly returned to bushranging.

On this day …….. 23rd of June 1810

In 1809, Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney to take up the position of Governor of the New South Wales colony, which he held from 1810 to 1821. With his military training and vision for organisation and discipline, Macquarie was an ideal candidate to restore order to the colony, following the Rum Rebellion against deposed Governor William Bligh. Macquarie upheld high standards for the development of New South Wales from penal colony to free settlement. He introduced the first building code into the colony and ordered the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, churches and public buildings. One of Macquarie’s earliest duties was to appoint an official postmaster. The first postmaster of Sydney was Isaac Nichols, an ex-convict who took up the post in 1809. Australia’s first post office was opened the following year by Governor Macquarie, on 23 June 1810, and was situated on Circular Quay, Sydney. Mail continued to be delivered by coach and messengers on horseback to outlying areas of New South Wales. Australia’s first delivery postman was a private servant of George Panton, then Sydney Postmaster, in 1828.

On this day …….. 11th May 1813

When the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales in 1788, all efforts concentrated on developing farmland and a food supply to support the convict colony. Free settlers also began to arrive, lured by the promise of a better life in the new, young country. This placed considerable strain on New South Wales’s resources, and farmers began to see the need for expansion beyond the Blue Mountains, which had provided an impassable barrier to the west. Many attempts were made to find a path through the Blue Mountains, but their attempts had all focused on following the rivers, which invariably ended up against sheer cliff faces or mazes of impassable gorges. Gregory Blaxland was a wealthy grazier who had come to Australia in 1806. He stood to gain much by finding a route to new grasslands. Blaxland approached Governor Macquarie about funding an expedition to cross the Blue Mountains. Though Macquarie found Blaxland to be troublesome and discontented, and felt he should be growing grain to feed the colony, he granted approval for the expedition. Blaxland took along two other men: William Lawson, who had arrived in Sydney as an ensign with the New South Wales Corps in 1800, and was a landholder and magistrate with surveying experience; and William Wentworth, the first Australian-born explorer, being the son of a convict mother and an Irish father, a surgeon who had been convicted of highway robbery. Wentworth was to become one of the leading figures of early colonial New South Wales. Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth departed South Creek, Sydney Cove, on the 11th of May 1813 with four servants, five dogs and four horses. The route they traversed is essentially still the one used by travellers today. On 31 May they reached Mount Blaxland from where they could see the plains to the west. Beyond the mountains the explorers found a great expanse of open country, which they surveyed. Their exploration was significant for opening up the grazing lands of inland New South Wales.

On this day …….. 25th April 1809

Australia’s first postmaster was Isaac Nichols. Nichols had arrived with the Second Fleet on the Admiral Barrington in October 1791 after being found guilty of stealing and sentenced to seven years transportation. However, he was found to be a diligent worker, greatly trusted by Governor Hunter. Although accused of receiving stolen goods in New South Wales in 1799, his innocence was upheld by Hunter, who believed evidence had been planted against him. He ordered the suspension of Nichols’s fourteen-year sentence, but it was not until Philip Gidley King’s government that Nichols was awarded a free pardon, in January 1802. An enterprising man, he bought several properties and even established a shipyard, becoming quite prosperous. In 1809, Nichols was first appointed superintendent of public works and assistant to the Naval Officer. One month later, the same month that Governor Macquarie arrived in New South Wales, Nichols was appointed the colony’s first postmaster on 25 April 1809. Nichol retained this position until he died in 1819.

 

‘Magpies’ and ‘canaries’ described the black and yellow, or straight yellow uniforms worn by convicts. The intention by Governor Macquarie in 1814 in directing that convicts who committed further crimes should wear ‘half black and half white’ was to make the wearer stand out and thus deter escape attempts. Later in Van Diemen’s Land convict men working on the gangs were ordered to wear the conspicuous ‘magpie’ outfit in yellow and grey.