New to the Library

New books available in the library are;

Destiny in Sydney, a novel by D. Manning Richards. The blending of the fictional characters with the many factual names and events give the reader a great chance to be part of Australias destiny and to get closer to many of the problems associated with the settlement of Australia.

The Art of the First Fleet by Lisa D. Tommaso.

THE FIRST FLEET – The Real Story, by Alan Frost. La Trobe University Emeritus professor Alan Frost has always believed that the First Fleet and establishment of a colony at Port Jackson was a meticulously planned venture, but many historians have portrayed the voyage and new colony as a hazardous, poorly planned  way for Britain to cleanse itself of its criminal class. this book is an historical reassessment showing the members of the First Fleet were far more than human refuse marooned on the other side of the world.

THE FIRST FLEET : The Real Story by Alan Frost

Alan Frost’s publication (First Fleet Fellowship Library collection)

This book is a must for all those who are interested in the First Fleet, especially those who have descendents who arrived in 1788. I have not read Alan Frost’s earlier book, Botany Bay: The Real Story.  But I have read David Hill’s 1788. Frost, unlike Hill is an academic historian, and it clearly shows in his detailed work. His approach to the argument and his research is easily read and although scholarly in the documentation Frost completely destroys earlier books written by authors who have not done their research and only repeated what others have written before them. Frost systematically points out and corrects these myths around Australia’s founding. Frost points out in a sometimes heavy and almost perplexing style of documented facts and figures by going back to the original British government documents that the First Fleet was well planned, well funded and remarkably well executed by Captain Philip and his superiors, who the reader will find surprising.  Back in England. 

I found the book to be fascinating as well as informative. It is not a book for everyone. But a must read book for First Fleet descendants. 

Phillip LOCK

Captain Bligh’s Petticoat Mutiny by James Hugh Donohoe BA. Dip .FHS
James Donohoe descends from four First Fleet convicts, Olivia Gascoigne, Nathaniel Lucas, Edward Goodwin and James Squire.  He has five other convict ancestors, Ann Thomas, Elizabeth Mason, Samuel Harding, James Harding and Mary Breen.  This book is the culmination of 30 years research.  Along the way he has detected many lies and mistakes in the creation of the original records and has also shown up serious misinterpretations of the evidence on Australian History.

Donohoe commences this book by setting out the key events of the Rum Rebellion and details the exact timing of these events.  The story of the Rebellion is based on two petitions dated 26 and 27 January 1808, which were addressed to the New South Wales Corps Commander, Major George Johnston.

Donohoe’s detailed analysis points to the high reputation of the signatories and points out that it was impossible for Macarthur, who spent the previous day in prison, to have organised all the signatures in the time required.  Donohoe points to the existence of a network of influential women headed by Esther Abrahams and linked to women who arrived together on the Lady Penrhyn.  He proposes that they teamed up to convince their partners to join the rebellion.

Governor Bligh is painted as a despotic and irrational Governor.  Donohoe claims that he had been sent as the pawn of the English Landed Aristocracy who expected the colony to develop along the lines of the American Colonies, where all the land would be granted to absent landlords with convicts and free settlers convicted on dubious charges and reduced to convict status, which prevented them taking up land.  He made very few land grants, except to himself and friends, during his term as Governor.  Grants made by Governor King were rescinded without compensation and John Macarthur, the largest landholder, could see the danger to the person and his estates.

The story continues with many case studies of individual families and the way that they were deprived.  My own forebears, Nathaniel Lucas and Olivia Gascoigne, had been granted 7 acres of land in the Domain by Governor King in return for building a windmill, but Bligh decided that the Domain would be in the grounds of Government House.  He rescinded the grant and ordered that the windmill be demolished but declined to offer the Lucas’s any compensating land elsewhere.  That had to wait until Governor Macquarie arrived.

The book includes a copy of the actual petitions together with almost one hundred biographies of the wives and partners of those who signed them.  It also lists the land grants made by Bligh (6) and by contrast the grants made by the interregnum military government up to the arrival of Macquarie (404) which demonstrates the impact of the rebellion.  Also listed are members of the New South Wales Parliament who descend from families of the colony, most notably descendants from the Petitioners.

This is the most thorough analysis of the Mutiny that I have ever read.  Donohoe goes behind the facts and suggests conspiracies which cannot be proved but which seem to be very probable.  This little book is a must read for anyone interested in the early days of the colony at Sydney Cove.

Bert MOFFATT (Descendant of Nathaniel Lucas an Olivia Gascoigne)