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"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

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Events in Australia 1788 -1799


Jan. - Planned convict uprising on Norfolk Is. suppressed.
Feb 20 Gov. Phillip informs Under-Secretary Evan Nepean in England of the noncooperation of Maj. Robert Ross.
Mar 25 Seven marines tried for systematic robbery of stores. (Six executed on 27th.)
- Henry Dodd takes charge of a farm established at Rose Hill.
Apr 4 Bounty leaves Tahiti. (Stops at Cook Islands on 11th.)
27 Capt. James Campbell and other marine officers challenge Phillip's
authority to make them sit as members of the Criminal Court.
29 Bligh lands on and names Restoration Is., off the east coast of Cape York
Peninsula, then sails on through the Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.
Jun 6 Phillip leads an expedition to Broken Bay (to 16th), where he discovers the Hawkesbury River (12th).
14 Bligh arrives at Kupang, Timor, after a voyage of 5,800 km in the open boat.
27 Capt. Watkin Tench and party discover the Nepean River.
29 Phillip makes another expedition to the Hawkesbury (to 14 July), exploring
its tributaries the Colo and the Macdonald, and climbs Richmond Hill.
Jul 3 Brig Mercury (Capt. John Cox) arrives at Oyster Bay, Maria Is., having visited and named Cox Bight, Van Diemen's Land.
Aug 7 Police force composed of 12 of the best-behaved convicts formed to carry out a night watch in Sydney.
20 Colonial Office instructs Phillip to make land grants to marines and to assign convicts as servants.
Sep 20 Hunter explores and charts Botany Bay (to 30th).
Oct 5 Rose Hill Packet, the first vessel built in the colony, launched for the Parramatta River trade.
Nov 1 Rations reduced by one-third.
21 Time-expired convict James Ruse established on land at Rose Hill (Experiment Farm) to see if and when he could support himself.
25 Aborigines Bennelong and Colbee captured by Phillip. (Colbee escapes 12 Dec.)
Dec 9 Dawes and a small party make an unsuccessful attempt (to 17th) to climb the Carmarthen Hills (Blue Mountains).
22 Black Caesar takes to the bush again. (Surrenders at Parramatta on 30 Jan. 1790.)
24 HMS Guardian (Lt Edward Riou), bound for NSW with stores for the colony, strikes an iceberg 12 days out from Cape Town and is forced to return to the Cape (21 Feb.).


Jan 15 Eight Bounty mutineers, led by Fletcher Christian, and a number of natives
arrive at Pitcairn Is. from Tahiti and (23rd) burn the Bounty.

  • "Famine ... approaching with gigantic strides" at Sydney Cove, Capt. Watkin Tench records.

Feb 28 Hospital assistant John Irving becomes the first convict emancipated.

Mar 6 Sirius (Hunter) and Supply leave Port Jackson for Norfolk Is. with a detachment of marines and over 200 convicts, under Major Robert Ross.

19 Sirius, having landed passengers on Norfolk Is., runs aground on a reef and is completely wrecked; Ross proclaims martial law.

24 P. G. King leaves Norfolk Is. in Supply; Ross takes over as commandant.

Apr 1 Rations further reduced at Sydney.

5 Supply returns to Sydney with news of the wreck of the Sirius; Phillip announces a further cut in rations.

15 Phillip writes to Lord Sydney asking permission to return to England.

17 Supply (Ball) sails for Batavia to obtain provisions; King leaves on it to return to England to report on conditions in the colony.

May 3 Bennelong escapes.

Jun 3 Transport Lady Juliana, carrying 221 female convicts and 11 children, arrives at Port Jackson.

20 Food shortage relieved by the arrival of the Justinian, storeship of the Second Fleet; rations restored next day.

26 Second Fleet transports Surprize and (on 28th) Neptune and Scarborough arrive at Port Jackson with 759 convicts, including 486 sick, and the first detachment (100 men) of the New South Wales Corps, under Capt. Nicholas Nepean; others aboard include Lt John Macarthur, his wife, Elizabeth, and their infant son Edward, surgeon John Harris, and D'Arcy Wentworth (asst surgeon on Neptune).

  • Phillip instructs Dawes to lay out a regular town at Rose Hill; two streets
    (the present George and Church Streets, Parramatta) are marked out.

Jul 6 Supply arrives at Batavia, where Ball hires the Dutch snow Waaksamheyd.

Aug 1 D'Arcy Wentworth sails for Norfolk Is. in the Surprize; also aboard are Catherine Crowley and her infant son William (W. C. Wentworth).

Sep 7 Phillip is speared by a native at Manly, where he had gone to speak to Bennelong and Colbee.

26 Five convicts steal a boat and set out for Tahiti. (Boat wrecked at Port Stephens, where four survivors live with Aborigines for five years.)

Oct 18 Supply returns from Batavia with a small cargo of provisions.

Dec 10 Phillip's gamekeeper, John Macintyre, is speared by the Aboriginal Pemulwy; Tench leads a punitive party (14th); none captured or shot.

17 Waaksamheyd arrives from Batavia with supplies of beef, pork, flour, sugar, and rice.


Feb 22 James Ruse having declared himself self-supporting, the deed of the first land grant made in Australia-30 acres (12 ha) at Rose Hill (Experiment Farm)—is signed. (Ruse receives title to the land in April.)

27 Supply returns from Norfolk Is. with Capt. John Hunter and the rest of Sirius's company.

Mar 16 First land grants made to free men (two sailors from Sirius).

23 HMS Pandora (Capt. Edward Edwards), dispatched from England in Nov. 1790 to search for Bounty mutineers, reaches Tahiti; 14 mutineers arrested.

28 Waaksamheyd sails for England, carrying Hunter and officers and crew of the Sirius.

Convict William Bryant and his wife, Mary, their two children, and seven other convicts escape from Port Jackson in the Governor's six-oared cutter. 30 Bryant's party go ashore near present-day Newcastle and find coal.

Apr 2 Bryant's party enter and examine Port Stephens.

May 24 Capt. Watkin Tench and Lt William Dawes set out from Prospect Hill on an expedition that establishes the Hawkesbury and Nepean as the one river.

Jun 4 Rose Hill renamed Parramatta.

5 Bryant's party reach Kupang, Timor, posing as survivors of a shipwreck.

Jul 9 Transport Mary Ann arrives at Port Jackson with 141 female convicts.

- John McCluer, in the Panther, with the Endeavour (Lt Proctor) begins a two-month survey of the north-west coast of New Guinea during which he discovers McCluer Gulf.

Aug 1 Matilda, first of the Third Fleet transports, arrives at Port Jackson with 205 convicts.

3 Captain William Bligh leaves England in HMS Providence with the brig Assistant (Lt Nathaniel Portlock) on a second voyage to obtain breadfruit and to explore Torres Strait.

18 Jervis Bay entered and named by Lt Richard Bowen in the transport Atlantic.

20 Atlantic arrives at Port Jackson with 202 convicts, including Simeon Lord.

21 Salamander arrives at Port Jackson with 155 convicts.

28 William and Ann (Ebor Bunker) arrives at Port Jackson with 181 convicts. HMS Pandora wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef near Torres Strait; 35 drowned, including 4 Bounty mutineers; 99 set out in four open boats to sail to Timor.

Sep 17 Capt. Edwards and Pandora shipwreck survivors arrive at Kupang.

21 Storeship HMS Gorgon arrives at Port Jackson with 30 convicts and a large quantity of provisions, livestock, and seed; on board is Philip Gidley King, with the colony's seal.

26 HMS Discovery (Capt. George Vancouver) and the brig Chatham (Lt W.R. Broughton), on way to Nootka Sound, arrive off the south-west coast of WA.

Active and Queen arrive at Port Jackson with 302 convicts, including the first Irish prisoners (from Cork).

28 Vancouver discovers and names King George Sound.

Oct 5 Capt. Edwards of the Pandora arrests Bryant's party and sails next day with them and fellow survivors and prisoners to Batavia (where William Bryant and one child die).

13 Albermarle arrives at Port Jackson with 256 convicts.

14 Britannia (Thomas Melville) arrives at Port Jackson with 129 convicts; Thomas Reibey one of the officers.

16 Admiral Barrington, last of the Third Fleet transports, arrives at Port Jackson with 264 convicts, including James Underwood and Isaac Nichols; on board is Capt. William Paterson of the NSW Corps.

21 Vancouver leaves the WA coast at Termination Is. to continue his voyage into the Pacific.

25 Britannia and William and Ann leave to make the first whaling expedition. (Return 10 Nov.)

26 King leaves for Norfolk Is. in Atlantic. (Replaces Ross as commandant, 4 Nov.)

Nov 1 Party of convicts (20 male and 1 female) escape from Parramatta and attempt to walk to China. (Some die; others captured.)

26 Supply sails from Port Jackson for England.

Dec 5 Ross returns to Sydney from Norfolk Is.

18 HMS Gorgon leaves Port Jackson for England carrying returning marines (including Ross, Tench, and Dawes).

31 New arrivals among convicts protest at Parramatta following changes to the issuing of rations.

Salamander visits Port Stephens and makes a rough survey of the harbour.

The Rum Core

Corruption was rife during the years that the arrogant officers of the NSW Corps furthered their own interests shamefully Colonel William Paterson. He refused to reinstate Governor Bligh to his lofty position after releasing him from the arrest imposed by the New South Wales Corps In 1789 King George III ordered a 300-strong army corps raised in England to take over garrison duties at Port Jackson from the original marine detachment. Major Francis Grose, an ineffectual 35- year- old veteran of the American Revolutionary War, was plucked from retirement to take command. His force was known officially as the New South Wales Corps but very soon earned the notorious title of the Rum Corps.
The first units of the Corps landed with the Second Fleet in 1790 and the rest arrived with Grose himself in February 1792. By that time Governor Phillip had nursed the colony through its birth-pangs, and the dangers of starvation were past. Supplies were brought regularly on convict transports and American merchantmen calling in on their way to China. Phillip, though, was frustrated at the settlement's failure to make good progress, feeling that an infusion of industrious free settlers was needed. Ill-health plagued him, too, and in December 1792 he relinquished the governorship and sailed home. Grose became acting Governor . . . and the colony fell into the arms of the scoundrels of the Rum Corps. Grose weakly permitted his officers to assume outrageous privileges. He let them have the sole right, in collusion with some unscrupulous civil officials, to buy the cargoes of trading ships
and sell the goods to the inhabitants at wildly inflated prices. The officers prevailed on Grose to grant them forty hectares of land each, and ten hectares to each of the private soldiers. The privates, in turn, sold the land cheaply to their superior officers who soon commanded vast acreages. The officers' arrogance grew, and even high-ranking civilians were made to raise their hats to them as they passed by. Since the gentlemen of the New South Wales Corps were far too immersed in their business to maintain discipline among their troops and the convicts, drunkenness and immoral behaviour were rife. Rum, in fact, was at the heart of all things. It became the major currency of the colony's economic rulers, the leaders of the New South Wales Corps. And so a new name was coined for the Corps. Even after Grose left the colony, his successors William Paterson, John Hunter, and Philip King found they could do little to restrain the enterprises of the Rum Corps. It was not until after the heroic, hot-tempered Captain William Bligh became governor in 1806 that the Rum Corps finally overplayed its hand in the military coup known as the Rum Rebellion. The bête noire of the governors after Grose was John Macarthur, a captain in the Rum Corps who had secured for himself large landholdings upon which he founded the Australian wool industry. Macarthur quarrelled bitterly with Hunter and during Kings governorship seriously wounded another officer in a dueL King sent him under arrest to England to face a court martial, but the indictment against him mysteriously disappeared during the voyage, and the charges were dropped. Macarthur resigned from the army and returned to the colony. When Bligh arrived, having proved his strength of will in the long, open-boat journey after the Bounty mutiny, he found himself in confrontation with Macarthur and his cronies in the Rum Corps. Bligh tried to suppress the rum trade and Macarthur abused him publicly. Bligh responded by having Macarthur brought to trial for sedition. The ensuing power struggle ended with the officers of the Rum Corps marching to Government House and placing Bligh himself under arrest on 26 January 1808. Major George Johnston, acting commandant of the Rum Corps, assumed leadership of the rebel government with Macarthur as his colonial secretary. After more than a year in custody Bligh was released by Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Foveaux who stopped in Sydney on his way to take command of the penal station at Norfolk Island. Foveaux appointed himself acting governor. Johnston was ordered to return to England to be court-martialled and Macarthur slipped off with him rather than face civil trial in New South Wales. Johnston was cashiered, and although no action was taken against Macarthur, he decided to wait in England until the heat died down in the colony. The Rum Corps was finished.


Jan 1 Samuel Marsden appointed assistant to the chaplain of NSW.

16 Bellona arrives at Port Jackson with the first immigrant free settlers (five men, one with wife and children) and 17 women convicts.

21 D'Entrecasteaux arrives back at Van Diemen's Land, anchoring in Recherche Bay, having circumnavigated Australia.

Feb 7 Land grants made to free settlers at Liberty Plains (Strathfield-Homebush).

12 John Macarthur receives grant of 100 acres at Parramatta, which he names Elizabeth Farm; other grants made to Capt. George Johnston (100 acres, Annandale), Commissary-General John Palmer (100 acres, Woolloomooloo), Quartermaster Thomas Laycock (80 acres, Vaucluse), Surgeon John White (100 acres, Petersham), and Rev. Richard Johnson (100 acres, Canterbury).

16 Macarthur appointed Inspector of Public Works.

18 School opened in an unfinished church building in Sydney; teacher is Johnson's clerk, Stephen Barnes.

25 William Bampton's Shah Hormuzear arrives at Port Jackson with a cargo

of goods and livestock, including about a hundred Bengal sheep.

28 D'Entrecasteaux sails from Van Diemen's Land for Tonga after charting

bays and islands in the south-east.

Mar 13 Spanish expedition led by Alessandro Malaspina visits Sydney in the ships Descubierta and Atrevida (to 20 Apr.).

Apr 20 Storeship Daedalus arrives at Port Jackson with two young Maori chiefs
carried off from NZ to assist in flax dressing on Norfolk Is.

26 Lt John Hayes, with the Duke of Clarence and Duchess of Bengal, arrives at the Derwent River (which he names) and carries out a survey of the area (to 9 June).

May 2 Mary Bryant granted an unconditional pardon in England after the intercession of James Boswell.

Jun 20 Britannia returns from Cape Town, having picked up en route the sealing party from NZ and 4,500 sealskins.

  • Grose is empowered to assign convicts as servants to civil and military officers and is instructed to prevent "secret and clandestine sale of spirits" in the colony.

Jul 1 Shah Hormuzear and the whaler Chesterfield (M.B. Alt), the first merchant vessels to sail through Torres Strait, anchor at Darnley Is., where some crew members are killed by natives; others sail in a ship's boat to Timor.

20 D'Entrecasteaux dies of fever off the coast of New Guinea.

24 Schooner Francis, the first ocean-going vessel to be built in the colony, launched at Sydney.

  • Phillip, in England, resigns from the governorship of NSW.

Aug 7 Bligh arrives back in England with Providence and Assistant. Boddingtons arrives at Port Jackson with 144 Irish convicts.

Sep 8 Britannia, chartered by Grose, leaves Port Jackson for India via Norfolk Is. 15 Grose River, NSW, discovered and named by William Paterson during an unsuccessful attempt to cross the Blue Mountains.

17 Sugar Cane arrives at Port Jackson with 159 Irish convicts.


Jan 2 James Ruse given a land grant at Green Hills (Windsor), on the Hawkesbury River. (Others settle there during the month.)

18 Members of the NSW Corps on Norfolk Is. riot following a play held for the Queen's Birthday; Commandant P. G. King is forced to take stern measures to keep the peace.

Feb 6 Capt. John Hunter appointed Governor of NSW to succeed Phillip. Mar 10 Rev. Samuel Marsden arrives at Port Jackson in the storeship William.

Apr 1 Macarthur receives a further grant of 100 acres in the Parramatta district. May 18 Yemmerrawannie dies in England.

Jun 1 Britannia (Raven) returns from India and Batavia with supplies; crew member Thomas Reibey settles in Sydney.

Jul 1 Hunter is given his commission as Governor and his instructions, including permission to assign convicts as servants to landowners.

4 Marsden moves to Parramatta to become chaplain there.

8 American ships Indispensable and Halcyon leave Port Jackson with an escaping convict on each ship.

Aug 20 Henry Hacking leads an expedition to try to find a way over the Blue Mountains. (Returns 27th.)

Sep 1 Britannia, chartered by civil and military officers, leaves Port Jackson for the Cape of Good Hope to purchase trade goods.

7 Thomas Reibey marries Mary Haydock.

Oct 25 Four of the five "Scottish Martyrs"—Thomas Muir, Thomas Fyshe Palmer, William Skirving, and Maurice Margarot—sentenced to 14 years' transportation for sedition, arrive in Sydney on the Surprize.

29 Marsden receives a grant of 100 acres at Hunters Hill.

Nov 9 Storeship Resolution sails from Port Jackson with 14 escaping convicts.

Dec 12 William Paterson replaces Francis Grose as commander of the NSW Corps and administrator of the colony.

17 Grose and Surgeon John White sail for England in the Daedalus.

* Road cleared between Sydney and Parramatta.


Feb 15 HMS Reliance, with the Supply, leaves England carrying John Hunter to take up his appointment as Governor of NSW; also aboard are Henry Waterhouse (second captain), Matthew Flinders (master's mate), George Bass (surgeon), with the boat Tom Thumb, and a repatriating Bennelong.

Mar 4 Britannia returns from the Cape with goods and livestock.

May - New Albion settlement abandoned and settlers evacuated in Duke of Clarence.

Jun 18 Britannia leaves on another voyage to India chartered by Lt-Gov. Paterson to procure provisions for the colony.

Jul 25 James Squire granted 30 acres at Eastern Farms (Ryde), on which he later builds a brewery.

Aug 26 HMS Providence (W. R. Broughton), bound for survey work in the Pacific, arrives at Port Jackson with four survivors of the party of convicts who escaped in Sept. 1790, picked up at Port Stephens.

Sep 7 Reliance arrives at Port Jackson with Hunter, Waterhouse, Flinders, Bass and Bennelong.

11 Hunter takes up his position as Governor of NSW and its dependencies.

  • Floods occur on the Hawkesbury.

Oct 26 Bass and Flinders in the Tom Thumb explore Botany Bay and Georges River (to 4 Nov.).

Nov 5 George Gerrald, one of the Scottish Martyrs, arrives in Sydney in the stores hip Sovereign.

28 First export consignment of cedar from NSW sent to India in Experiment.

  • Cattle that strayed from Port Jackson in June 1788 are found, with their progeny, at the Cowpastures (Camden).

  • Convict George Hughes does the first printing in the colony (government orders, etc.) on a small press brought out in the First Fleet.

Dec - Black Caesar absconds again and joins up with other runaways.


Jan 23 General order issued prohibiting distilling of spirits.

Feb 4 NSW Corps soldiers wreck the house of carpenter John Baughan.

10 Magistrate William Balmain challenges Macarthur over the Baughan incident; in return, all NSW Corps officers offer to fight Balmain.

11 Marquis Cornwallis arrives at Port Jackson with 222 Irish convicts, a mutiny having been put down during the voyage.

15 Black Caesar shot and killed by a settler at Liberty Plains.

18 Thomas Muir, one of the Scottish Martyrs, escapes in the American vessel Otter (eventually reaching Paris).

29 Macarthur resigns as Inspector of Public Works and is replaced by Richard Atkins.

Mar 19 William Skirving dies, three days after the death of his fellow Scottish Martyr Joseph Gerrald.

24 Bass and Flinders in the second Tom Thumb explore the coast south of Botany Bay (to 2 Apr.); discover Lake Illawarra (27 Mar.); examine Port Hacking (1 Apr.).

Apr 7 D'Arcy Wentworth, back in Sydney from Norfolk Is., is appointed Asst Surgeon.

30 Indispensable arrives at Port Jackson with 131 female convicts.

  • In an attempt to control the sale of spirits, Gov. Hunter issues the first 10 licences to run public houses.

May 11 Britannia (Raven) returns from Calcutta with provisions.

Jun - Fishermen find coal near Port Stephens.

  • Bass makes an unsuccessful attempt to cross the Blue Mountains.

Aug - Balmain's appointment as principal surgeon (to replace White) confirmed. William Paterson returns to England on sick leave.

Sep 14 Hunter writes to the Colonial Secretary, the Duke of Portland, complaining of Macarthur's behaviour.

15 Macarthur writes to Portland complaining of Hunter's governorship.

29 Reliance (Waterhouse) and Supply sail for the Cape of Good Hope for supplies. Britannia sails for England via Norfolk Is., carrying David Collins home on leave of absence; his position as Judge-Advocate is taken by Atkins.

Oct 22 P. G. King sails from Norfolk Is. for England in Britannia; Capt. John Townson of the NSW Corps replaces him as commandant.

Nov 9 Hunter disbands the convict night watch and divides Sydney into four districts whose inhabitants choose three residents to act as watchmen; also orders houses to be numbered.

* First beer brewed in Australia by John Boston.

John MacArthur

John Macarthur laid the foundations for Australia's wool industry in 1796 when he imported two Merino rams and four ewes from the Cape of Good Hope. Soon afterwards he bought 1200 ewes of the Cape breed which he grazed on the fine pastures which came his way as the most quarrelsome member of the avaricious New South Wales Corps. Macarthur, son of a Scots gentleman who had fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden, arrived in the colony in 1790 with his bride, the formidable Elizabeth. His turbulent career reached a critical point on 14 September 1801, when he seriously wounded his commanding officer, Colonel William Paterson, in a duel (Paterson had refused to join in a social boycott of Governor King organised by Macarthur.) Macarthur, who was then aged 32, was sent to England to face court-martial but turned potential disgrace into a triumph. The charges against him were dropped and he turned his attention to the business of fine wool. He showed samples of his wool to British manufacturers and they judgedthe pure Merino to be as fine as any Spanish wool, and the crossbreed samples to be of value. Thus encouraged, he returned to New South Wales with five rams and a ewe from the Royal Flock. However many of Macarthur's fellow colonists did not share his enthusiasm for fine wool-growing and as late as 1818 he was complaining that 'my feeble attempt to introduce Merino sheep still creeps on almost unheeded'. In the meantime great changes had taken place in the world wool market. Napoleon's ravages in Spain had meant that German wool-growers had been able to secure some Merino rams. When the wars ended they flooded the British market with this fine, cheap wool and bankrupted the British wool-growing industry. In 1821 the Germans and Spaniards exported 7 million kilograms of wool to Britain; Australia's share was only 79 500 kilograms. And then came the turning point— in 1822 Macarthur won two gold medals from the British Society of Arts for producing wool as fine as the best Saxon.
Resistance to 'Botany Bay wool' crumbled. Duties on colonial wool were reduced to one-sixth of that which the Germans had to pay. Australia's exports soared. By 1840 Australian growers had overhauled the Spaniards and were pressing the Germans and by 1850 had utterly defeated them selling 137 000 bales in England to the Germans' 30000. Macarthur himself became immensely wealthy but in 1832 he became insane. He died in 1834.


Feb 9 Sydney Cove, en route from Calcutta to Port Jackson, is beached on Preservation Is. in the Furneaux Group; 17 men set out in the ship's longboat to sail to Sydney for help (28th).
Mar 11 Sydney Cove longboat is wrecked on the southern coast near present-day Cape Everard; the survivors continue their journey to Port Jackson on foot (15th).
May 15 Three survivors of the Sydney Cove are picked up by fishermen about 22 km south of Botany Bay; they report finding coal further south and the probable existence of a strait between the mainland and Van Diemen's Land.
27 Britannia (Thomas Dennott) arrives at Port Jackson with 177 Irish convicts, 11 deaths having occurred on the voyage from harsh treatment.
30 Gov. Hunter sends the schooner Francis and longboat Eliza to the stranded Sydney Cove. (Arrive Preservation Is. 11 June.)
Jun 2 Ganges arrives at Port Jackson with 190 convicts, including Joseph Wild, and a detachment of the NSW Corps.
21 Francis and Eliza leave Preservation Is. for Port Jackson with the survivors of the Sydney Cove; Francis arrives at Sydney on 6 July; Eliza is never seen again.
26 Reliance (Waterhouse) returns to Port Jackson with stores and some merino sheep from the Cape of Good Hope, some of which are bought by John Macarthur (2 rams, 4 ewes) and Samuel Marsden (1 ram, 1 ewe).
Jul 3 Hunter sends a party of soldiers to protect settlers in the Hawkesbury area following the killing of a number of settlers by Aborigines.
Aug 1 Soldiers aboard the transport Lady Shore (carrying 66 female and two male convicts as well as three officers and 70 men of the NSW Corps) mutiny, kill the captain and mate, set "loyalists" adrift, and sail the ship to Montevideo (where the ship is impounded).
5 George Bass makes a voyage to the south coast (to 13th) with one of the Sydney Cove survivors to examine the reported coal seams; finds coal at present-day Coalcliff.
Sep 5 Convicts steal the government boat Cumberland from the Hawkesbury and sail north; Hunter sends Lt John Shortland in pursuit in a whaleboat.
9 Shortland discovers the Hunter River estuary and an abundance of coal.
Oct 2 Fourteen convicts seize a boat and escape from Port Jackson. (Later abandon seven of their number on Glennie Is., off Wilsons Promontory.)
Dec 3 Bass sets out from Port Jackson in a whaleboat with six oarsmen to explore the southern coast of NSW.
6 Bass discovers the Blowhole at Kiama and (7th) names the Shoalhaven River.
10 Bass examines Jervis Bay.
19 Bass enters and names Twofold Bay.


Thirty-four of the Irish convicts who rose against their masters and were deemed not guilty enough to be flogged or hanged were sent to Coal River to labour because it was considered the next thing to flogging or hanging.
Coal mining at Newcastle received a great impetus in 1824 when the great pastoral firm the Australian Agricultural Company was formed in England with El million to spend in the colony. The company was given a grazing lease in the Newcastle hinterland and a monopoly on the coal mining. Another great boom in coal mining occurred in the last quarter of the nineteenth century,brought about by the demands of steam trains and steamships. By the end of that century the New South Wales coal mines were producing more than 2 million tonnes a year and the wealth generated from this cushion the colony against the effects a the Land Crash In arue. In fact, New South Wales' coal reserves in those troubled times gave her the chance to match Victoria's factories.



Jan 2 George Bass sights Wilsons Promontory.
3 Bass finds the seven escaped convicts abandoned on Glennie Is. 5 Bass discovers and names Western Port (now Westernport, Vic.).
14 Party guided by the ex-convict and "wild white man" John Wilson explores to the south-west of Sydney as far as the junction of the Wingecarribee and Wollondilly rivers (to 9 Feb.).
26 Bass transfers five of the stranded convicts from Glennie Is. to the mainland to walk to Sydney. (Not seen again.)
Feb 1 Francis, with Matthew Flinders aboard, leaves Port Jackson again to retrieve stores from the wreck of the Sydney Cove.
8 Francis discovers the Kent group of islands.
12 Flinders explores the Furneaux Is.
25 Bass returns to Port Jackson convinced of the existence of a strait at the south of the continent, which Hunter names in his honour.
Mar 9 Wilson leads another party, which includes Henry Hacking, to the southwest of Sydney, penetrating as far as the vicinity of present-day Goulburn.
May 14 Nautilus (Charles Bishop) arrives at Port Jackson from a trading cruise in the Pacific carrying missionaries of the London Missionary Society from Tahiti, including Rowland Hassall.
18 Transport Barwell arrives at Port Jackson with 287 convicts, including the lawyer/poet Michael Massey Robinson; passengers include Richard Dore.
Jun 8 Dore appointed Judge-Advocate, to succeed David Collins.
10 Calcutta merchant Robert Campbell arrives at Port Jackson in the Hunter on a trading visit and buys land at Dawes Point.
15 Norfolk, a sloop built on Norfolk Is., arrives at Port Jackson. 22 Dore appointed Hunter's secretary.
Jul 18 Britannia (Robert Turnbull) arrives at Port Jackson with 94 convicts.
Sep Simeon Lord acquires a warehouse from which to retail goods and spirits bought from NSW Corps officers.
Oct 1 Sydney's first church destroyed by fire, apparently deliberately.
7 Bass and Flinders leave Port Jackson in the Norfolk on an exploratory trip to Van Diemen's Land, accompanied by the brig Nautilus (Charles Bishop) on a sealing expedition to Cape Barren Is.
Nov 3 Bass and Flinders discover and explore the Tamar estuary (to 20th).
8 Nauru discovered by Capt. John Fearn in the Hunter.
Dec 9 Bass and Flinders ascertain the existence of Bass Strait.
22 Norfolk enters the mouth of the Derwent River.
25 Bass climbs Mount Wellington.
Bishop returns to Port Jackson in the Nautilus with 9,000 sealskins.
* Capt. William Reed in the sealer Martha discovers King Is. in Bass Strait.

Bass Strait

Two young Lincolnshire men, Matthew Flinders, a clever, engaging midshipman, and George Bass, a surgeon with a thirst for exploration, arrived in Port Jackson in September 1795 with the newly-appointed Governor John Hunter. Hardly had they found their land legs than Hunter sent them off in the little Tom Thumb to extend his knowledge of his new realm. They pottered about in the Georges River and Botany Bay until 1797 when Flinders sailed to the Cape of Good Hope to sit successfully for his lieutenant's examinations.
When he returned he was pleased to learn that his friend Bass, sailing in an eight-metre whaleboat, had found Wilsons Promontory and Westernport Bay and strongly suspected that a strait existed between the Australian mainland and Van Diemen's Land. Early in February 1798 Flinders was sent to the Furneaux Islands off Tasmania's north-east coast to rescue some sailors who had been marooned for a year and noticed some strong currents which appeared to confirm Bass's suspicions.
In the spring and summer of 1798 Flinders and Bass sailed a sloop through the strait, down the west coast of Van Diemen's Land, charting as they went, along the south coast and northwards home to Port Jackson. The strait was named after Bass, the largest island in the Furneaux Group after Flinders, and Hunter had to be content with a smaller island off the north-west tip of Van Diemen's Land.
In 1800 Flinders returned to England afire with exploratory fervour and began to prepare for his greatest voyage of all.


Jan 7 Bass and Flinders complete their circumnavigation of Van Diemen's Land. (Return to Port Jackson on 12th.)
23 Gov. Hunter dispenses with the services of Richard Dore as his secretary.
Feb 11 Public gaol in Sydney deliberately burnt down.
28 Hunter issues another general order prohibiting the distilling of spirits.
Mar 3 Hawkesbury River floods after torrential rains break the drought; grain stores destroyed and one man drowned.
6 William Paterson ordered to return to NSW from leave in England and put an immediate end to trading by the NSW Corps officers, especially in spirits.
12 Isaac Nichols charged with receiving stolen goods and sentenced (16th) to 14 years on Norfolk Is.
Apr 1 Hunter orders an inquiry into the verdict of the Nichols case and (3rd) suspends sentence. (Refers case to UK on 30th.)
24 Spanish ship Nuestra Senora de Bethlehem, captured by whalers off Peru, arrives at Port Jackson and (1 May) is declared a lawful prize (bought by Simeon Lord and renamed Hunter).
May 3 Storeship Buffalo (W. Raven) arrives at Port Jackson as a replacement for HMS Supply.
16 D'Arcy Wentworth becomes surgeon at Parramatta.
29 Nautilus (Bishop) sails for England via China with Bass aboard.
Jun 4 Violent storms in Sydney (to 6th) cause much damage.
29 Capt. Ebor Bunker arrives at Port Jackson in the storeship Albion and subsequently goes whaling.
Jul 8 Flinders leaves Port Jackson in the Norfolk to examine the coast to the north. (Explores the Moreton Bay area, 15th to 31st.)
26 Hillsborough arrives at Port Jackson with 205 convicts, 95 having died, mostly of typhoid fever, on the way; prisoners include lawyer George Crossley.
Aug 2 Flinders examines and charts Hervey Bay (to 7th). (Returns to Sydney 20th.)
Oct 18 Five settlers on the Hawkesbury found guilty of murdering two Aborigines. (Subsequently pardoned.)
Nov 3 Paterson arrives back in Sydney and resumes command of the NSW Corps. 5 Dispatch sent recalling Hunter and naming Philip Gidley King as his successor.
12 Capt. Thomas Rowley replaces John Townson as commandant on Norfolk Is.
Dec 2 Spanish ship El Plumier, captured by whalers off the South American coast, arrives at Port Jackson and (7th) is sold as a prize.
28 Gaol at Parramatta deliberately burnt down.

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