Category Archives: Settlement

The Rum Rebellion: Bligh’s overthrown

On the morning of 26 January 1808 Bligh ordered Provost-Marshall William Gore[1] to arrest Macarthur and again called for the return of the court papers that were now in the hands of officers of the Corps. At 10 am, the … Continue reading

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The Rum Rebellion: Bligh versus Macarthur

John Macarthur, seen as the creator of the Australian wool industry, although his wife Elizabeth deserves the title more than he, precipitated the crisis.  Macarthur had arrived with the NSW Corps in 1790 as a lieutenant and by 1805 had … Continue reading

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The Rum Rebellion: Bligh and the New South Wales Corps

By 1808, the New South Wakes Corps was a powerful Sydney institution. Its members comprised 10 per cent of the white population of 4,000 that included their families and a large number of former soldiers. The Corps owned a great … Continue reading

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The Rum Rebellion: Bligh in Sydney

Soon after his arrival at Sydney, on 13 August 1806, Bligh was given an address of welcome signed by Major Johnston for the military, by Richard Atkins for the civilian officers and by John Macarthur  for the free settlers.[1] However, … Continue reading

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The Rum Rebellion: Appointing William Bligh as governor

In the early years of the settlement, particularly during the three years between Governor Phillip’s retirement in December 1792 and the arrival of Hunter his successor in mid-1795, when Grose and then Paterson administered the colony, alcohol, generically referred to … Continue reading

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The Rum Rebellion: introduction

Just before sunset on 26 January 1808, the twentieth anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, over 300 soldiers of the New South Wales Corps, the 102nd regiment of the British army expressly created to protect the new colony, … Continue reading

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The Castle Hill Rising: some conclusions

Unlike the Eureka rebellion at Ballarat, Victoria in 1854, Australian historians have been slow to recognise the 1804 convict revolt as a legitimate expression of political resistance. Established in 1788, the fledgling British colony of NSW was small and isolated, … Continue reading

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A possible insurrection in 1807

Michael Dwyer had been involved in the 1798 rebellion and later made contact with Robert Emmet but was reluctant to commit his followers to march to Dublin unless the rebellion showed some initial success. The subsequent failure of Emmet’s rising … Continue reading

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Rebellion at Castle Hill in 1804

By 1800, the colony at Sydney was not yet self-sufficient in food and was dependent on imported food. In an effort to remove this dependency Governor King expanded the Government farm at Castle Hill and by 1804, there was a … Continue reading

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The Castle Hill Rising: Uncovering insurrection

Anti-authoritarianism was characteristic of republican subversives and part of a pattern of behaviour established in Ireland.   To see their sustained defiance of the colonial government simply as a reaction to the prospects of overdue emancipation greatly under-estimates their shared ideology … Continue reading

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Posted in Australia, Settlement

The Castle Hill Rising: Transportation

Most rebels were fiercely republican after having seen the successful creation of the United States and the changes caused by the French Revolution. Republican notions such as natural rights and a popularly elected upper house were a major threat to … Continue reading

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The Castle Hill Rising: the Irish context

From the early 1790s through to the last group of convicts transported to Western Australia in 1868, Australia was frequently the destination for Ireland’s political prisoners. The Defenders and United Irishmen were transported to NSW in the 1790s and early … Continue reading

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Clunes 1873: Constructing a new narrative

Once occupied by the Wemba-Wemba people, the first European settler was Donald Cameron, an overlander from Sydney who took up a pastoral run in 1839, naming it Clunes after his birthplace in Scotland. Gold traces were first found on this … Continue reading

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Clunes 1873: racist or industrial action?

There appears to be two different explanations for what happened at Clunes in December 1873 in both the contemporary record and among later historians. The first maintains that the attack on Chinese labour was simply part of industrial action and … Continue reading

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Clunes 1873: A problematic press

It is clear that most historical accounts of the Clunes riot are peppered with errors of fact. Whether it was the purpose of the strike, the number of Chinese involved, the nature of the clash or how many coaches there … Continue reading

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