Posts

ON THIS DAY…… 26th November 1855

The colony of Van Diemen’s Land becomes known as Tasmania

Fears that the French would colonise Van Diemen’s Land caused the British to establish a small settlement on the Derwent River in 1803. 33 of the 49 people in the group were convicts, and the settlement continued to receive convicts re-shipped from New South Wales or Norfolk Island up until 1812. Regular shipments of convicts directly from Britain began in 1818. A second penal colony was established at Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Van Diemen’s Land in 1822, and three years later, the British Government separated Van Dieman’s Land from New South Wales. Macquarie Harbour was eventually closed down, to be replaced by Port Arthur. Transportation of convicts to Van Diemen’s Land ended in 1853. On 26 November 1855, the colony officially became known as Tasmania and elections for parliament were held the following year.

On This Day ……. 25th May 1901

A Remarkable Record was reported in the Geelong paper on this day in 1901. There will shortly be released from the Geelong gaol, a convict with a most remarkable record. His name is Frederick Clarke, better known as ‘Josh’ Clarke, and he has spent nearly half a century within prison walls. He was born in Leeds Yorkshire, and as far back as 1847 was transported for house breaking to Norfolk Island. From there he escaped, but he was not long at liberty in Australia, for he was soon caught offending, and since that time he has served sentences ranging from a few months to 14 years. In 1887, when he was over 60 years of age, he was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment for receiving, the judge evidently desiring that so notorious a character should end his career in prison. With another daring criminal, Christopher Farrel, he escaped from the Geelong gaol in 1888, after gagging and pinioning the warder, but the men were re-captured, and each received a further sentence of two years. The ‘Geelong Times.’ which gives these particular s. adds : — Clarke, who is close on 80 years of age, has been a constant source of anxiety to the officials since he has been in Geelong. A never ending watch has to be maintained, for it is only a short time since his cell was rushed and the discovery made that he was just on the point of removing stones from the outer wall of his cell.

 

On this day ………… 6th March 1788

When the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in January 1788, Phillip ordered Lieutenant Philip Gidley King to lead a party of fifteen convicts and seven free men to take control of the Norfolk island and prepare for its commercial development. They arrived on 6 March 1788. Neither the flax nor the timber industry proved to be viable, and the island developed as a farm, supplying Sydney with grain and vegetables during the early years of the colony’s near-starvation. More convicts were sent, and many chose to remain after they had served their sentences. By 1792, four years after its initial settlement, the population was over 1000.

 

 

On this day ………… 15th February 1796

Australia’s first bushranger, John ‘Black’ Caesar, was shot on this day in 1796. John Caesar, nicknamed “Black Caesar” was Australia’s first bushranger. Most likely born in Madagascar, he was a slave on a sugar plantation until he escaped and headed for London. The theft of 240 shillings resulted in his transportation on the First Fleet, and was one of the first black people to be part of Australia’s colonisation. Due to difficulties with establishing farms and the limited supplies purchased during the journey of the First Fleet, Governor Arthur Phillip was forced to reduce convict rations in the early part of the penal settlement. This meant that hunger was rife. ‘Black’ Caesar was a big man and powerfully built, and like many convicts, resorted to theft to feed his hunger. He was tried and punished in April 1789. Two weeks later, he escaped to the bush, taking stolen food supplies and a musket with him. Caesar apparently had difficulty hunting native wildlife, and began stealing food from both free settlers and convicts’ supplies. He was caught on 6 June 1789, and following his trial, was sent to Garden Island to work. He managed to escape yet again, on 22 December, but survived for only a short while before giving himself up on 31 December. Governor Phillip pardoned Caesar, but sent him to Norfolk Island as a free settler, where Caesar fathered a child. Three years later he returned to Sydney and took up his life of bushranging once more. He was captured several months later. He enjoyed brief recognition when he directly assisted the capture of the Aborigine Pemulwuy, who had led numerous attacks against Europeans and their occupation of aboriginal land. In 1795, Caesar escaped once more, but on 15 February 1796 was shot and killed by a bounty hunter.

 

 

On this day ………… 10th February 1788

The First Fleet of convicts to New South Wales consisted of eleven ships. One of these was the ‘Golden Grove’ which carried Reverend Richard Johnson, the first chaplain to the New South Wales colony. The Fleet departed Portsmouth, England on 13 May 1787 and arrived in Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. Within two weeks of the arrival of the First Fleet on Australia’s shores, Johnson was called upon to officiate at the weddings of five couples. The marriage ceremonies were performed on 10 February 1788. Two of the most notable couples were Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes, and William Bryant and Mary Brand. Making an impression on Governor Arthur Phillip, Henry Kable was promoted to several positions of responsibility, including eventually becoming chief constable. Later he established a successful sealing and whaling business. The Bryants, on the other hand, became notorious for their daring escape from the colony. Stealing away into one of the ships bound for the new Norfolk Island colony, the Bryants then acquired a compass and maps, stole one of the longboats and sailed for Timor, along with their young son Emmanuel and daughter Charlotte. After being handed over to an English captain and sent to Java, Indonesia. William and his son eventually died from tropical fever, and Charlotte died after she and her mother were sent on a ship back to Sydney. Mary Bryant’s story was reported back in England and, due to extensive public sympathy, Mary was pardoned.

 

 

On this day …….. 31st of January 1798

Governor John Hunter was Governor of New South Wales from 1795 to 1800. Present on the First Fleet, and instrumental in the development of the colonies in both Sydney and Norfolk Island, Hunter succeeded Australia’s first Governor, Arthur Phillip on the 11th of September 1795. Hunter experienced great opposition to his authority, especially when Lieutenant Governor Francis Grose allowed the military to have too much control over the convicts. Regardless, Hunter sought to implement order in the colony, initiating new construction and works in Sydney and Parramatta. In 1797, Hunter commissioned the building of Australia’s first public clock tower, after the HMS ‘Reliance’ brought the clock to Sydney on the 26th of June 1797. The 150-foot tall tower was erected on Church Hill, one of the most elevated locations in Sydney, and completed in January 1798. On this day in 1798, the clock was positioned on the tower in front of a small gathering. The building served not only as a clock tower, but as an observation tower for members of the military who had an interest in scientific pursuits.

 

 

On this day …….. 15th of January 1833

After a serious of mutiny on Norfolk Island, 55 convicts were tried on this day in 1833, and 29 condemned to death, of whom 13 actually were executed.

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 26th November 1855

The colony of Van Diemen’s Land becomes known as Tasmania

Fears that the French would colonise Van Diemen’s Land caused the British to establish a small settlement on the Derwent River in 1803. 33 of the 49 people in the group were convicts, and the settlement continued to receive convicts re-shipped from New South Wales or Norfolk Island up until 1812. Regular shipments of convicts directly from Britain began in 1818. A second penal colony was established at Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Van Diemen’s Land in 1822, and three years later, the British Government separated Van Dieman’s Land from New South Wales. Macquarie Harbour was eventually closed down, to be replaced by Port Arthur. Transportation of convicts to Van Diemen’s Land ended in 1853. On 26 November 1855, the colony officially became known as Tasmania and elections for parliament were held the following year.

On This Day ……. 25th May 1901

A Remarkable Record was reported in the Geelong paper on this day in 1901. There will shortly be released from the Geelong gaol, a convict with a most remarkable record. His name is Frederick Clarke, better known as ‘Josh’ Clarke, and he has spent nearly half a century within prison walls. He was born in Leeds Yorkshire, and as far back as 1847 was transported for house breaking to Norfolk Island. From there he escaped, but he was not long at liberty in Australia, for he was soon caught offending, and since that time he has served sentences ranging from a few months to 14 years. In 1887, when he was over 60 years of age, he was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment for receiving, the judge evidently desiring that so notorious a character should end his career in prison. With another daring criminal, Christopher Farrel, he escaped from the Geelong gaol in 1888, after gagging and pinioning the warder, but the men were re-captured, and each received a further sentence of two years. The ‘Geelong Times.’ which gives these particular s. adds : — Clarke, who is close on 80 years of age, has been a constant source of anxiety to the officials since he has been in Geelong. A never ending watch has to be maintained, for it is only a short time since his cell was rushed and the discovery made that he was just on the point of removing stones from the outer wall of his cell.

 

On this day ………… 6th March 1788

When the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in January 1788, Phillip ordered Lieutenant Philip Gidley King to lead a party of fifteen convicts and seven free men to take control of the Norfolk island and prepare for its commercial development. They arrived on 6 March 1788. Neither the flax nor the timber industry proved to be viable, and the island developed as a farm, supplying Sydney with grain and vegetables during the early years of the colony’s near-starvation. More convicts were sent, and many chose to remain after they had served their sentences. By 1792, four years after its initial settlement, the population was over 1000.

 

 

On this day ………… 15th February 1796

Australia’s first bushranger, John ‘Black’ Caesar, was shot on this day in 1796. John Caesar, nicknamed “Black Caesar” was Australia’s first bushranger. Most likely born in Madagascar, he was a slave on a sugar plantation until he escaped and headed for London. The theft of 240 shillings resulted in his transportation on the First Fleet, and was one of the first black people to be part of Australia’s colonisation. Due to difficulties with establishing farms and the limited supplies purchased during the journey of the First Fleet, Governor Arthur Phillip was forced to reduce convict rations in the early part of the penal settlement. This meant that hunger was rife. ‘Black’ Caesar was a big man and powerfully built, and like many convicts, resorted to theft to feed his hunger. He was tried and punished in April 1789. Two weeks later, he escaped to the bush, taking stolen food supplies and a musket with him. Caesar apparently had difficulty hunting native wildlife, and began stealing food from both free settlers and convicts’ supplies. He was caught on 6 June 1789, and following his trial, was sent to Garden Island to work. He managed to escape yet again, on 22 December, but survived for only a short while before giving himself up on 31 December. Governor Phillip pardoned Caesar, but sent him to Norfolk Island as a free settler, where Caesar fathered a child. Three years later he returned to Sydney and took up his life of bushranging once more. He was captured several months later. He enjoyed brief recognition when he directly assisted the capture of the Aborigine Pemulwuy, who had led numerous attacks against Europeans and their occupation of aboriginal land. In 1795, Caesar escaped once more, but on 15 February 1796 was shot and killed by a bounty hunter.

 

 

On this day ………… 10th February 1788

The First Fleet of convicts to New South Wales consisted of eleven ships. One of these was the ‘Golden Grove’ which carried Reverend Richard Johnson, the first chaplain to the New South Wales colony. The Fleet departed Portsmouth, England on 13 May 1787 and arrived in Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. Within two weeks of the arrival of the First Fleet on Australia’s shores, Johnson was called upon to officiate at the weddings of five couples. The marriage ceremonies were performed on 10 February 1788. Two of the most notable couples were Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes, and William Bryant and Mary Brand. Making an impression on Governor Arthur Phillip, Henry Kable was promoted to several positions of responsibility, including eventually becoming chief constable. Later he established a successful sealing and whaling business. The Bryants, on the other hand, became notorious for their daring escape from the colony. Stealing away into one of the ships bound for the new Norfolk Island colony, the Bryants then acquired a compass and maps, stole one of the longboats and sailed for Timor, along with their young son Emmanuel and daughter Charlotte. After being handed over to an English captain and sent to Java, Indonesia. William and his son eventually died from tropical fever, and Charlotte died after she and her mother were sent on a ship back to Sydney. Mary Bryant’s story was reported back in England and, due to extensive public sympathy, Mary was pardoned.