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Australia, Ships and Convicts - Part 2

Dan Byrnes
Word Factory

About this website:
The Phantom First Fleet:
Questions of slavery:
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Investors in C19th Australia - 1:
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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 4 new file

The Blackheath Connection
Australia, Ships and Convicts - Part Three

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.
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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?

THE FIRST FLEET: a preamble

Part 2 - Section 1

Despite the misidentification noted earlier of Duncan Campbell as "a crooked, corrupt contractor" for the First Fleet, the actual contractor was William Richards Jnr, some of whose descendants as noted ended up living not far from the present writer's home town, Tamworth, New South Wales, at Walcha.

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1830: 20 January, 1830, Capt. William Richards (son of the First Fleet contractor), baptized 17 December, 1784, at Church of St Mary, Walworth, son of Rebecca and William Richards, County Surrey - he later entered the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and by 1808 he was promoted to First Lt, to Commander by 1814. By 1827, like many naval men, writes Oppenheimer, he was "retrenched", and became a Master Mariner in ships sailing between Britain, India and the colony of NSW. On 20 January, 1830, a widower, and possibly with a son also named William he married Jane Nicholas, whose brother was a sea captain, at St. Dunstans Church, Stepney, see 1827 and ship Prince Regent. Shortly, Richards bought the 450 ton barque Roslin Castle, (See Bateson, Convict Ships) and in Sept 1834 he sailed her as master with 230 male convicts and 29 soldiers of the 50th Regt. In Feb 1835 he sailed Sydney for England. In the 1830s, there were trading in the South Pacific various Capts Richards of first names John, George, Thomas, William. On one occasion, Capt John Richards was master of convict transport Roslin Castle, owned by Capt William Richards, or, Richards and Co., who dealt with E. B. Mowle, a Sydney agent for Buckle, Buckle, Bagster and Buchanan. Richards' wife Jane was sister of Capt Albert John Nicholas who was much about New Zealand, (See R. L. H. Waugh), and Albert's activities appear to coincide with the trading of William Richards.
See Graham E. Connah, M. Rowland, J. Oppenheimer, Captain Richards' House at Winterbourne: A Study in Historical Archaeology. Armidale, Australia. Dept. Of Prehistory amd Archaeology, University Of New England, 1978. (Oppenheimer, pp. 62-66, on William Richards III).

Follows in impression of the genealogy of First Fleet contractor William III Richards Jnr:
Descendants of William William I RICHARDS Tailor
1. Tailor William I RICHARDS, sp: Miss NOTKNOWN
2. Navy broker, William II RICHARDS of Southwark (c.1786) sp: Rebecca NOTKNOWN;
3. Capt. William III RICHARDS of Winterbourne, Walcha, NSW (b.1784), sp: Jane NICHOLAS, sp: Miss WENNER.

Ironically, reinforcing Hughes' error, by 1988 had also appeared Michael Talbot's novel on the First Fleet, To The Ends Of The Earth. Which also asserts that the First Fleet was put together by a roughly-humourous, corrupt and profit-taking Duncan Campbell, Richards being "disappeared" from the story...

A novelist and a historian both making the same error about an inaugural event, might suggest that something could be wrong with the history in question!

Something can also be added on the genealogy of Duncan Campbell, since his family history has never been entered correctly into discussions of the first British efforts to send convicts to Australia...
See Charles Rathbone Low, History of the Royal India Navy, 1613-1863. In Vols. 1877. Reprinted by Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth, in conjunction with London Stamp Exchange, nd. 1990?
About 1829: C. D. Campbell, a descendant of hulks overseer in London Duncan Campbell [1726-1803) with Commander Moresby on a survey of the Red Sea, and then to the Maldive Islands.
(C. R. Low, Vol. 2, pp. 70-72.)

1847: Commander C. D. Campbell, RN in August 1847, arrives at Aden in the Semiramis and assumes command of the Euphrates as Senior Naval Officer. (C. R. Low, History of the Royal India Navy, 1613-1863, Vol. 2, p. 134.) This Campbell man was a descendant of Duncan Campbell (1726-1803), overseer of the Thames Prison Hulks and uncle-in-law of William Bligh, captain of the ill-fated mutiny ship, HMAV Bounty in 1789.

1841: In 1841, a Letter to C. D. Campbell of Indian Navy from East India House with congratulations on his achievement in ascending the River Euphrates. (He had been with the expedition under Colonel Chesney). Campbell proved, according to Rt. Hon. H. A. Layard, that the Euphrates was not navigable, it had been an arduous undertaking in navigation, but was accomplished with great skill by Capt Campbell of the East India Company's service. Letter East India House from the Secret Department of the Court of Directors, East India House, London, 27 August, 1841, to Lt C. D. Campbell, IN, commanding the flotilla on the Euphrates:
"The President of the Board of Commissioners for the affairs of India have transmitted to us a copy of your letters of the 1st and 17th of June, and of the enclosure to the former letter, we have to express to you our congratulations on your achievement of the ascent of the Euphrates, and out satisfaction at the whole of your conduct whilst engaged on this service.
"You will communicate to the officers and men our thanks for the ability and goodwill with which they performed their arduous duties."
We are, your loving friends, (signed) George Legatt, J. L. Lushington.
C. R. Low, p. 47 writes that Lt C. D. Campbell was on Arabist, had courage, perseverance and skill, and his knowledge of Arab character, his patience and equanimity, "enabled him to most effectually to conciliate the wild inhabitants of the banks of the Euphrates; and thus it happened that the ascent of the 'Great river' made against the first rush of the annual 'rise from the melting snow', was unattended by any serious accident or regrettable occurrence, a circumstance the more remarkable as the 'Nitocris' and 'Nimrod' were armed with long iron 9-pounder pivot guns and carried two months provisions and ammunition." The steamers remained at Beles till September 15, 1841, and their presence acted as a diversion against Ibrahim Pasha in Easter Syria and also exercised influence during the war with Mehemet Ali. While there, Lt Campbell sent Lt Felix Jones across the Syrian Desert and Lebanon to Beruit where he spoke with the British fleet and obtained stores. Lt Campbell also visited Aleppo, Scanderoon and the depot of stores left by Colonel Chesney at Bir. He also surveyed the river between Bir and Beles and visited the various tribes on the river banks. The remaining steamers Euphrates and Assyria were placed under command of Lt W. B. Selby, an officer who explored the River Karoon, the river of Dizful, the Kirkah, the Hie, the Bamisheer, and proved the practicability of the navigability of the Bamisheer and that it was possible to communicate by steam with the Euphrates and Tigris by the Hie River.
(All this as reported in The Bombay Times in December 1843.) See Charles Rathbone Low, History of the Royal India Navy, 1613-1863. 1877. Reprinted by Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth, in conjunction with London Stamp Exchange, nd. 1990? Vol. 2, p. 46.)

With discussion of the convict shipping to Australia, unless the departure and return dates of a ship are known, it is difficult to assess the decision-making processes engaged by her owner(s) concerning the next voyage. In respect of ships returning from Sydney, it is often surprising to find how quickly their owners made decisions on whether to try another Pacific voyage or not. Till the time the telegraph arrived to Australia, ships sailing London-Sydney can usefully be regarded as maritime mailmen.
See A. K. Cavanagh, 'The Return of the First Fleet ships', The Great Circle, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1989., pp. 1-16.

East India Company distaste for "Botany Bay"...

Part 2 - Section 2

It has often been suggested that the East India Company had some role to play with the creation and use of a colony at Sydney. The role of the Company however was passive, in that its co-operation was coerced. As far as possible, the Company distanced itself from the exercise of transportation into the Pacific region.

A notorious document in this context is Anon., The Influence Of The East India Company On The Colonisation Of New South Wales. Typescript (ML, Sydney). This quotes some early opinions of Prof. V. T. Harlow but it is not in itself a reliable document and one seriously questions the motives of its unknown writer(s).

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Such claims can be associated with few names of known East India Company merchants, and the names that can be associated - some of them, Company renegades - are also associated with Blackheath: Macaulay, his relatives at Blackheath, Larkins, and by association with Macaulay, Curtis. In general, the East India Company avoided contact with the new colony, or convict handling, as far as possible, to the point of angering government ministers with their attitude.

From 1786, Duncan Campbell, the overseer of the Thames prison hulks, never sent a convict ship to Australia, though he had every opportunity to do so if he wished.
(Note: Any names asterisked below are merchant names which are still resistant to genealogical or other forms of research.)
Merchants shipping convicts to Australia between 1786-1791 include: for the First Fleet: William Richards Junior, London alderman William (later Sir) Curtis, London alderman George Mackenzie Macaulay, Leightons, James Mather. For the Second Fleet to Sydney, London-based slavers supplying slaves to Jamaica at the time, Camden*, Calvert* and King. The Third Fleet, the Enderby whalers together with Calvert's firm. Later, a London whaling investor, John St Barbe.

Some convict contractors remaining intractably resistant for periods after 1791 to research include: Anthony Calvert (died 1809), of the slaver firm of the Africa Company, notorious for mismanaging the Second Fleet, Camden, Calvert and King. George Lyall (1784-1853); the firm Birch and Ward; Samuel Somes and Joseph Somes (1787-1845); and a man named Tower.
Some of the best work yet done on any early convict contracting firm, on Camden, Calvert and King, is by: Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1993. See also, Michael Flynn, Settlers and Seditionists: The People of the Convict Ship Surprize, 1794. Sydney, Angela Lind, 1994. Note: Anthony Calvert's addresses; London, America Square, 1784; 11 Crescent, Minories for 1795-1805.

Of the post-1800 convict contractors, Robert Brooks is the figure followed-up in greatest detail.
See Frank J. A. Broeze, Mr Brooks and the Australian Trade: Imperial Business in the Nineteenth Century. Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1993.

1786: London Merchant Lists: Alderman Richard Clark, 10 New Bridge Street, Fleet ftr. Also on the board of Morden College, Blackheath, about 1786-1800. The Enderbys rented land from Morden College. Ald Richard Clark, alderman Broad Street Ward 1776-1798. Lord Mayor 1784-85 and London's chamberlain 1798-1831. Enderby and Clark, White lead manufactory. 9 Leoman's Pond, Gravel Lane, Southwark. Enderby and Sons, oil merchants, Paul's Wharf, Thames Street; Enderby and Sons, Oil merchant, Paul's wharf, Thames Street. In 1814, Samuel, Charles and George Enderby were local Land Commissioners. Enderby and Clark, White lead manufactory. 9 Leoman's Pond, Gravel Lane, Southwark. By 1817, Charles Enderby, 4. (Shelton contracts.)

1787: There were many British-American merchants who conceivably could have joined any group of merchants interested in the Pacific/Australasia, but most London-based merchants refrained. One merchant of interest here was friend of the first governor at Sydney, Arthur Phillip, Chapman, who sent his son William Neate Chapman out to the Australian colony.

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... The next files treats more ships post-1800

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