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Various webpages here updated 27 April 2019
Please note: Email response to this website indicates that some netsurfers do not realise that this website has a total of 71+ files and has been updated as well. Please navigate around the entire website to that extent to ensure that you get the best from it - Ed

By Dan Byrnes (Australia)

About this website:
The Phantom First Fleet:
Errors in older books:
Questions of slavery:
Latest news:
The William Bligh problem:
The First Campbells on Jamaica:
The Duncan Campbell Letterbooks:
Feedback on this project:
Links to sites on related topics:
Investors in C19th Australia - 1:
Investors in C19th Australia - 2:
Investors in C19th Australia - 3:
Investors in C19th Australia - 4:
A Bitter Pill - American debtors and Thomas Jefferson
Emptying the Hulks:
The Blackheath Connection - original article:
The London whalers from 1786 - an original article:
Bibliography - Part One:
Bibliography - Part Two:
Australia, Ships and Convicts: Part 1 - new file
Australia, Ships and Convicts: - Part 2 new file
Australia, Ships and Convicts: - Part 3 new file
Australia, Ships and Convicts: - Part 4 new file

The Blackheath Connection

Contact via the convenient (and virus-free): e-mail form

The history websites on this domain now have a companion website on a new domain, at Merchant Networks Project, produced by Dan Byrnes and Ken Cozens (of London).

This website (it is hoped) will become a major exercise in economic and maritime history, with some attention to Sydney, Australia.

October 2005: Major new citation of The Blackheath Connection: In Tom Keneally, The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Sydney Experiment. Milson's Point, NSW, Random House, 2005. (Now hear this, Australian film industry, why not make a movie from this book as soon as possible?? Hmmm?? – Dan Byrnes!)

Prepare to learn much about the sweep of events which from 1786 linked a long-lost Australia to the rest of the world...
The how and why of a global network of shipping, the world-wide web of its day...

The Blackheath Connection: a new view of the "founding" of European-Australia as a British convict colony - a review of the history of the transportation of British convicts 1717-1810 to North America, then to Australia...
The Blackheath Connection... a discovery made in London in 1989 by Dan Byrnes and Neil Rhind
For more information on present-day Blackheath in London, visit a site managed by the noted local historian there, Neil Rhind:

May 2003: Note from the author:
The Blackheath Connection website has now been on the Internet since March 2000. Since then, it has attracted a good deal of attention (and e-mail) from Britain and Scotland, New Zealand, the Caribbean and the US eastern seaboard, but much less so from Australians.
It needs to be asked, why is this? Is it because Australians still have cultural sensitivities about convict transportation that they do not wish to discuss?
By now (mid-2003), it certainly seems so, as a matter of a self-imposed truncation of cultural curiosities/historical amnesia.
For example, e-mail from the UK has been far more penetrating about England sending convicts to "Botany Bay", than e-mail from Australians about Australian colonies receiving convicts.

This website has had e-mail from some academic historians in the US/UK, and from many family history-minded people around the world, but from few, if any, historians in Australia, or their students, including high school students, though some family historians in Australia have e-mailed.
What is noticeable is that international e-mailers find the information on the website to be accurate and reliable, whereas Australians seem to be avoiding the website's information and the directions the information seeks out.
That is, people overseas find few cultural sensitivities with the material, Australians seem to be finding "cultural reasons" to avoid the material. (At last count, only one or two universities in Australian have staff who have linked to The Blackheath Connection.)
It seems then, that Australians prefer the old stories on convict transportation that they are used to, not new information which provokes fresh thinking on the topic. So the questions arise... Does this website cut too close to the bone? And if so, how and why?

Update: November 2005: And after some thought, and due to various e-mail, by early November 2005, the above notice of complaint, placed during mid-2003, can be rescinded, or, withdrawn. It now appears that Australians have begun to adjust to some new information, new ideas. The complaint then by November 2005 can now be regarded as "old technology". And the cultural resistance complained of, regarded as “old historiography”.

- Dan Byrnes

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The Blackheath Connection aims to retell the earlier stories of how Australia - the continent - was introduced to the rest of the world... Revised or new material is presented on settlers/planters on Jamaica after the 1690s Scottish Darien Company debacle; the Boston Tea Party; Britain's handling of convicts from 1776; how London aldermen reacted as the First Fleet to Australia was being mounted. How London-based merchants avoided new opportunities in the Pacific region... new material on whaling and maritime history. And much else...

FEEDBACK: If you have any doubt about the usefulness to researchers of the material mounted on this website, please see the FEEDBACK FILE.

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Dan Byrnes

Dan Byrnes,
Unit 4,
145 Marsh Street,
Armidale NSW 2350, Australia. Phone: 61 (02) 6771 5243.

Note: Research for this project overall was supported in 1993 by a Writer's Project Grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Click here to discover ... Who links to websites by Dan Byrnes, Australia?

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