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Another Irish convict-turned-bushranger was ‘Bold Jack’ John Donohoe. He arrived in Sydney from Dublin as an 18-year-old in January 1825 to serve a life sentence on a settler’s farm in Parramatta. Donohoe escaped with two other convicts and together they formed a gang known as ‘The Strippers’ – named after their technique for taking everything from wealthy settlers. All three were eventually captured and sentenced to death. Donohoe escaped while being transported to the jailhouse. Eventually, he formed another gang of brazen bushrangers known as ‘The Wild Colonial Boys’. His bushranging days came to an end in a showdown with a contingent of soldiers and police on 1 September 1830. It was said that he shouted “come on” to the officers before dying from a shot fired by Trooper Michael Muggleston. “Bushranging was very common in the convict era,” says historian Hamish Maxwell-Stewart. “Australia was a prison without walls.”

 

On this day …….. 6th of June 1835

John Batman was born in Parramatta, Sydney, in 1801. As a native born Australian, Batman was interested in opening up new pastureland and promoting the growth of the colonies. He applied for land in the Westernport Bay area of southern Australia, now Victoria, but was not granted any. In May 1835, he led a syndicate calling themselves the ‘Port Phillip Association’ to explore Port Phillip Bay, looking for suitable sites for a settlement. On 6 June 1835, he signed a ‘treaty’ with the Aborigines, giving him free access to almost 250,000 hectares of land. In August that year, Governor Bourke declared Batman’s treaties invalid, and issued a proclamation warning off him and his syndicate as trespassers on crown land. Despite the attempts at government intervention, the foundling settlement of Melbourne remained, and flourished. Batman’s place in Australian history is unique for several reasons. He was the only 19th century white to acknowledge that Aborigines owned land. He set out to undertake an annual rental for what was then a reasonable amount of food and goods, rather than buy it from them for a pittance. Further, he is the only native-born Australian to have founded a state capital city.

ON THIS DAY…… 21st November 1789

Convict James Ruse establish first working farm in Australia

James Ruse was born on a farm in Cornwall around 1759. At age 22, he was convicted of burglary and, due to severe over-crowding in British gaols, spent over four years on the prison hulks in Plymouth Harbour. He was one of the convicts who was transported in the First Fleet to New South Wales, sailing on the ‘Scarborough’.
Governor Phillip was aware of the need to build a working, farming colony as soon as possible. Thus, on 21 November 1789, Phillip selected Ruse to go to Rose Hill (now Parramatta), west of Sydney Town, and establish “Experiment Farm”, the colony’s first working farm. Ruse was allocated one and a half acres of already cleared ground and assisted in clearing a further five acres. He was given two sows and six hens and a deal was made for him to be fed and clothed from the public store for 15 months. Within a year, Ruse had successfully farmed the site, proving that it was possible for new settlers to become self-sufficient, and to feed a family with relatively little assistance to begin with. As a result of the success of Ruse’s venture, he was granted another 30 acres in March 1791, in the colony’s first official, permanent land grant. This was in addition to the area he was already occupying.

On This Day ….. 26th September 1803

Joseph Samuel was born in England and later transported to Australia after committing a robbery in 1801. Samuel then became involved in a gang in Sydney and robbed the home of a wealthy woman. A policeman who had been sent to protect her home was murdered. The gang was soon caught and at the trial Joseph Samuel confessed to stealing the goods but denied being part of the murder. The leader of the gang was released due to lack of evidence and Joseph Samuel was sentenced to death by hanging. In 1803, Samuel and another criminal were driven in a cart to Parramatta where hundreds of people came to watch the hanging. After praying, the cart on which they were standing drove off, but instead of being hanged, the rope around Samuel’s neck snapped! The executioner tried again. This time, the rope slipped and his legs touched the ground. With the crowd in an uproar, the executioner tried for the third time and the rope snapped again. This time, an officer galloped off to tell the Governor what had happened and his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. The Governor and others believed that it was a sign from God that Samuel should not be hanged.

 

On this day …….. 26th September 1855

Up until the mid-1800s, the horse and carriage remained the major means of transporting goods and people long distances overland. Victoria was the first colony to build a railway line, which ran from Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station and Port Melbourne, then called Sandridge. The line was opened on 12 September 1854. In 1849, the Sydney Railway Company started building the first railway track in New South Wales. It ran between Sydney and Parramatta, for a distance of 22 km. The construction suffered some setbacks, in particular financial difficulty, and was put on hold until taken over by the New South Wales colonial government. The line finally opened on 26 September 1855.

 

On this day …….. 29th of August 1885

While out for a drive in a horse and cart, a man and woman survived an extraordinary accident on this day in 1885. As they were nearing the western gates of Governor’s Domain at Parramatta, New South Wales, when a dog ran out and bit their horse. The maddened animal rushed towards the closed gates 150 metres away at high speed and in a tremendous jump cleared them. It was assumed that the jerk caused by the wheels going over a shallow gutter just short of the gate was sufficient to bounce the cart off the ground and the impetus of the leaping horse was enough to carry it and it’s passengers safely over the gates. Unfortunately the cart hit a tree afterwards and the traces broke. The man held on to the reins and was dragged along the ground and badly bruised, while the woman remained on her seat and was unhurt. The heavy cast iron gates cleared were almost two metres high.

 

Another Irish convict-turned-bushranger was ‘Bold Jack’ John Donohoe. He arrived in Sydney from Dublin as an 18-year-old in January 1825 to serve a life sentence on a settler’s farm in Parramatta. Donohoe escaped with two other convicts and together they formed a gang known as ‘The Strippers’ – named after their technique for taking everything from wealthy settlers. All three were eventually captured and sentenced to death. Donohoe escaped while being transported to the jailhouse. Eventually, he formed another gang of brazen bushrangers known as ‘The Wild Colonial Boys’. His bushranging days came to an end in a showdown with a contingent of soldiers and police on 1 September 1830. It was said that he shouted “come on” to the officers before dying from a shot fired by Trooper Michael Muggleston. “Bushranging was very common in the convict era,” says historian Hamish Maxwell-Stewart. “Australia was a prison without walls.”

 

On this day …….. 6th of June 1835

John Batman was born in Parramatta, Sydney, in 1801. As a native born Australian, Batman was interested in opening up new pastureland and promoting the growth of the colonies. He applied for land in the Westernport Bay area of southern Australia, now Victoria, but was not granted any. In May 1835, he led a syndicate calling themselves the ‘Port Phillip Association’ to explore Port Phillip Bay, looking for suitable sites for a settlement. On 6 June 1835, he signed a ‘treaty’ with the Aborigines, giving him free access to almost 250,000 hectares of land. In August that year, Governor Bourke declared Batman’s treaties invalid, and issued a proclamation warning off him and his syndicate as trespassers on crown land. Despite the attempts at government intervention, the foundling settlement of Melbourne remained, and flourished. Batman’s place in Australian history is unique for several reasons. He was the only 19th century white to acknowledge that Aborigines owned land. He set out to undertake an annual rental for what was then a reasonable amount of food and goods, rather than buy it from them for a pittance. Further, he is the only native-born Australian to have founded a state capital city.

On This Day……… 2nd April 1805

A fine goat with a cart and harness was sold in Sydney, New South Wales, on this day in 1805 for £8. The same morning it had drawn ten bushels of wheat, around 270kg, from Prospect Hill to the wharf at Parramatta 8kms away. The sale of the remarkable animal was a newsworthy item and the Sydney Gazette noted that the goat was well broken in as a draught animal, jokingly adding that the new owner will in all probability, accustom him to the saddle.

 

 

On this day ………… 16th February 1941

On this day the Parramatta police investigated the most unusual theft committed in New South Wales for many years. After Mrs Clive Smith, of Westmead, had left her nine-months-old baby in a pushcart while she entered a shop tin Parramatta someone kidnapped the child, pushing it in its cart through the crowded streets to a lonely part of the district. Several hours after the child was found lying in dense bushes badly bitten by mosquitoes. The pushcart had disappeared. The police believe that the kidnapper took the child to steal the pushcart.

 

 

ON THIS DAY…… 21st November 1789

Convict James Ruse establish first working farm in Australia

James Ruse was born on a farm in Cornwall around 1759. At age 22, he was convicted of burglary and, due to severe over-crowding in British gaols, spent over four years on the prison hulks in Plymouth Harbour. He was one of the convicts who was transported in the First Fleet to New South Wales, sailing on the ‘Scarborough’.
Governor Phillip was aware of the need to build a working, farming colony as soon as possible. Thus, on 21 November 1789, Phillip selected Ruse to go to Rose Hill (now Parramatta), west of Sydney Town, and establish “Experiment Farm”, the colony’s first working farm. Ruse was allocated one and a half acres of already cleared ground and assisted in clearing a further five acres. He was given two sows and six hens and a deal was made for him to be fed and clothed from the public store for 15 months. Within a year, Ruse had successfully farmed the site, proving that it was possible for new settlers to become self-sufficient, and to feed a family with relatively little assistance to begin with. As a result of the success of Ruse’s venture, he was granted another 30 acres in March 1791, in the colony’s first official, permanent land grant. This was in addition to the area he was already occupying.

On this day …….. 26th September 1855

Up until the mid-1800s, the horse and carriage remained the major means of transporting goods and people long distances overland. Victoria was the first colony to build a railway line, which ran from Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station and Port Melbourne, then called Sandridge. The line was opened on 12 September 1854. In 1849, the Sydney Railway Company started building the first railway track in New South Wales. It ran between Sydney and Parramatta, for a distance of 22 km. The construction suffered some setbacks, in particular financial difficulty, and was put on hold until taken over by the New South Wales colonial government. The line finally opened on 26 September 1855.