Mutiny! Naval Insurrections in Australia and New Zealand

Mutiny! Naval Insurrections in Australia and New Zealand

Mutiny! Naval Insurrections in Australia and New Zealand

Mutiny! Naval Insurrections in Australia and New Zealand

Excerpt

There are few words in the English language more evocative of intrigue and drama than ‘mutiny’. Mutinies have occurred wherever and whenever ships have gone to sea. From Homer's Odyssey, which depicts a mutinous act by a crew who unleash an ox-skin of winds while in sight of home, to the casting adrift of Lieutenant William Bligh from HMS Bounty by Fletcher Christian off Tahiti in 1789, the tensions of shipboard life have often erupted into violent protest and open insurrection. These stresses and the conflicts they ultimately produce have attracted poets, novelists and historians eager to exploit the drama and danger of the mutiny and the presumed daring and courage of the mutineer. Indeed, the word ‘mutiny’ has come to be associated with powerful images of desperation and violence, of romance and adventure.

Despite their enduring fascination with Bligh, Christian and the Bounty, few Australians or New Zealanders are aware of the large number of mutinies within their national histories. They occur in the very first pages of the history of European contact with the Southern Hemisphere. The earliest ‘mutiny’ followed the wreck of the Dutch ship Batavia off the West Australian coast in June 1629. The first mutinous action after the colonisation of Australia was the so-called ‘Rum Rebellion’, an uprising of corrupt and venal military officials against Captain William Bligh, then Governor of New South Wales. Another form of mutiny was seen in 1854 in the action of the goldminers who revolted against the arbitrary acts of the Victorian colonial government. Their declaration of an Australian republic at the Eureka Stockade stands within the technical definitions of a mutiny. This book, however, is mainly concerned with those that have taken place in and around the coastlines of Australia and New Zealand, and within . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.