A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie

By C. M. H. Clark | Go to book overview

6
CONVICTS AND THE FAITH OF THE FOUNDERS

THIS FIRST FLEET arrived in January 1788. The Lady Juliana brought another two hundred and twenty-one women convicts early in June 1790; then, later in the same month, the second fleet arrived bringing another seven hundred and fifty-seven convicts. Over two thousand convicts arrived during 1791, and every year from 1792 to 1813, except for 1794-6 and 1805, between three and seven hundred convicts arrived each year; in 1814 the number rose into the thousands. Between 26 January 1788 and 20 November 1823, thirty-seven thousand, six hundred and six convicts embarked for Sydney Cove or one of the outer settlements of New South Wales.

The gap of two years and five months between the arrival of the first and second fleets provided the setting for the early struggle for survival. The low numbers in 1794-6 were in the main the consequence of war at home, though unwittingly they subsequently lent weight to the nationalists who pored over the early history for evidence of neglect or indifference in high places in London. The sudden increase in numbers between 1817 and 1819 created conditions which influenced the British government to abandon the use of New South Wales as a settlement for the punishment and reformation of British criminals, and to use the convicts as the labour force with which to build the material foundations of European society in Australia. Throughout the whole period, the men outnumbered the women; all told, thirty-one thousand, nine hundred and twenty-six men were transported and five thousand six hundred and eighty women, or a proportion of 5.6 men to every woman--a proportion which was increasing rather than decreasing by 1823. So, during the period, there were various schemes to import women for the men, and many denunciations of the behaviour caused by the absence of women, such as drinking, whoring, and crimes against nature.

One thousand four hundred and fifteen Irish convicts (1,140 men and 275 women) were embarked from Irish ports between 1791 and 1800; seven hundred and one (610 men and 91 women) between 1801 and 1802; five hundred and forty-six (409 men and 137 women) between 1803 and 1810; and five thousand, eight hundred and forty-seven (5,069 men and 778 women) between 1811 and 1823--or eight thousand, five hundred and nine (7,228 men, 1,281 women) all told.1 In the same periods, seventy Scots (58 men, 12 women) were

____________________
1
From figures compiled by Mrs Barbara Penny from C.O. 207/1; Accounts and Papers relating to Convicts on Board the Hulks and those transported to New South Wales, Ordered to be printed 10 and 26 March 1792; H.R.A., passim; T. J. Kiernan : Transportation from Ireland to Sydney, 1791- 1816 (Canberra 1954); and C. Bateson : The Convict Ships, 1787- 1868 ( Glasgow 1959).

-90-

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A History of Australia: From the Earliest Times to the Age of Macquarie
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Errata xiii
  • Contents xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Part I - The Forerunners 1
  • I - The Earliest Times to Catholic Christendom 3
  • 2 - The Contribution of The Protestants 21
  • 3 - The Sons of Enlightenment 42
  • Part II - The Foundation 57
  • 4 - The Choice of Botany Bay 59
  • 5 - The Beginning of Sydney Cove 73
  • 6 - Convicts and the Faith Of The Founders 90
  • Part III - Phillip to Bligh 111
  • 7 - Phillip 113
  • 8 - Grose, Paterson and Hunter 132
  • 9 - King, Flinders, and Port Phillip 160
  • 10 - Van Diemen's Land and The Civilization of New South Wales 186
  • II - Bligh 210
  • 12 - The Society of New South Wales In 1810 235
  • Part IV - The Age of Macquarie 261
  • 13 - Macquarie, 1810-1815 263
  • 14 - Macquarie, 1816-1819 296
  • 15 - Macquarie, 1820-1821 337
  • 16 - Macquarie and Mr Commissioner Bigge In England 367
  • Appendices 381
  • A Select Bibliography 389
  • Index 411
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