This page updated 22 May 2023

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Click through the table below to find files on the high points of The Blackheath Connection website...

Dan Byrnes

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

The Blackheath Connection

Please note: Email response to this website indicates that some netsurfers do not realise that this website has a total of 71++ files. Please navigate around the website to that extent to ensure you get the best from it - Ed

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 - "residual sensitivities" - about convict transportation that they do not wish to discuss?
By now (mid-2003 and to April 2004), 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. (E-mail from Australians has been more frequent since early 2004.)
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?
Perhaps I can put the point in a musical way about the history of convict transportation to Australia - that Australians have not dealt appropriately with the material.
I once used to be a musician. In almost 30 years of thinking about the topic, I cannot name one piece of music from anywhere in the world I have heard, which actually captures the kinds of feelings involved with the topic.
The nearest I have ever heard in feeling, and with the content of some lyric lines - but not all - is Bob Dylan's Desolation Row. But that song is about the contemporary USA of its time.
I conclude then, that artistically, spiritually and emotionally, and this involves literature as well, Australians have not yet dealt deeply enough with the material. So the question is: will they ever?
In a musical/cultural context, this artistic problem needs perhaps to be solved by a Tchaikovsky, a Sibelius, a Dvorak. Australia it seems does not yet produce such people.

- Dan Byrnes

The Blackheath Connection website from May 2002 presents Volume One of its complete project... The Business of Slavery... a 15-chapter website book (entirely rewritten in early 2004) also designed to bring genealogical studies up-to-date from 1530 to the present-day. Click now to... The Blackheath Connection - Volume One - The Business of Slavery (in English history).

[Check the Acknowledgements page to see who helped this project to completion Acknowledgements ] [You are now on a page filed as (blackheath/aboutbc.htm] [Next page Contents of the entire website-book]

Note: Website history: New logo for the website by Lou Farina of Tamworth NSW applied 31 July 2007.

Note: December 2001: An Item ("Transportation on the Net") on this website appeared in Newswrite, monthly journal of the New South Wales Writers' Centre, No. 111, Dec. 2001/Jan. 2002, p. 9. See their website at:

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.
The Blackheath Connection... a discovery made in London in 1989 by Dan Byrnes and Neil Rhind

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 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 maritime history.

Note: Some chapters in this website book are left overlong to discourage illegal copying by netsurfers

Note: This website is not for readers who are not serious about early Australian-European history, or matters related

Note: Research for this project was supported in 1993 by a Writer's Project Grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, following which the author returned to university to complete an Honours degree in History. This website on the project has been created/updated since March 2000.

Comments and suggestions about this website book
can be e-mailed to The Blackheath Connection webmaster... Dan Byrnes

Dan Byrnes is a former journalist/sub-editor (with earlier experience in advertising/copywriting), and a poet and historian with wide-ranging interests.

Since 1996 he's been fascinated with the Internet as an information-delivery system, websites and associated technology including database development.

His five websites (offering 290+ pages) are designed for quick download and page print-out.

His qualifications are:
1995 - Honours Degree (History) from The University of New England.
1999 - Certificate III in Information Technology (Computing and Multimedia) (VETAB Accredited).

He is a former board member of New England Writers' Centre and has been active in literary and media circles in Armidale and the region.

He is listed in The Oxford Literary Guide To Australia (1987) (under "Tamworth") and in the 1988 edition of The International Authors and Writers Who's Who.

He lately maintains his own five websites and various other websites

He trades under the business name: Dan Byrnes Word Factory. ABN: 27 526 974 374.
Contact information: (If in doubt, just look for "dan" + "byrnes" on Google search engine)
Dan Byrnes,
Unit 4,
145 Marsh Street,
Armidale NSW 2350 Australia.
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Novelist William Makepeace Thackeray.

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