Government Rules


Newcastle 1807


William Bligh commenced duties as Governor of the colony in August 1806 and Governor King returned to England on the Buffalo in February 1807.

Except for a brief interval in 1806 when William Lawson took over, Charles Throsby remained Commandant at the Coal River (Newcastle) settlement from March 1805 through until September 1808.

John Tucker was again appointed Storekeeper in March 1807 replacing William Sutton who had been dismissed for behaving disrespectfully towards Charles Throsby.

Sixteen rank and file and one serjeant of the New South Wales Corps formed the Guard at the Settlement however there were always convicts who managed to escape leaving havoc and disaster in their wake. Some of the absconders from Coal River included:

J. Hughes, John Coleman and Edward Munday/Mundy who murdered the father of Burragong

Thomas Desmond was a constant absconder over the course of many years......

Five prisoners who had absconded from His Majesty's settlement at Hunter's River were all charged with having stolen provisions and other necessaries prior to their escape. These men were Fitzwilliam, Fitzgerald, McMahon, McCardle, and Thompson. They were sentenced as follows:— John Fitzwilliam and Charles McMahon as ringleaders, to receive 250 lashes each; Fitzwilliam to be fined 6 months to commence when a fine under which he now labours shall expire; and the others 200 lashes each; and all to be returned to Newcastle.

It was thought necessary to prevent the prisoners at the settlement having any contact with the outside world and to that end Crews of Vessels at Newcastle were forbidden to Trade Stores........

ALL Masters of Colonial Craft, or any persons that belong thereto, or who take a passage therein, are hereby forbid purchasing by any means whatever from the Prisoners at the Out settlements any food, or articles that have been issued from the Government Store, whether Tools or Clothing. And in case any person is detected in violating this Order, the offender or offenders shall, on conviction before a Bench of Magistrates, work in the gaol gang at hard labour for the space of six months; while the person who will be the means of bringing the offenders to justice, shall receive the whole of the property so illegally bartered away.

Vessels trading to Newcastle failing under this Order shall be subject to be sent away without their lading, and disqualified from returning to the said settlement.

Any person having King’s stores in their possession which they cannot legally account for, will be subject to the severities of the Laws of Great Britain therein provided....The Sydney Gazette 29 March 1807

Throughout the year 1807 there was a rising tide of resentment against Governor Bligh culminating in the dramatic events of 26th January 1808 that came to be known as the Rum Rebellion. There were however  Bligh supporters, many of whom were treated badly by those who took power. Some were sent to Newcastle including Sir Henry Browne Hayes, William Gore and George Crossley.




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