|It had now been ten years since Lieut.
Shortland first sailed up the coast from Port Jackson and discovered the
entrance to the Hunter River.
A penal settlement had been
established and coal was being hewn from the hills by convict coal
miners many of whom had been sent to the little outpost as
punishment for colonial crimes. The work was hard and living
conditions harsh. The convicts were guarded by sixteen rank and file
and one serjeant of the New South Wales Corps.
Charles Throsby who remained
in the position at the Coal River
(Newcastle) settlement from March 1805 through until September 1808
except for a brief interval in 1806 when
William Lawson took over.
John Tucker was again appointed Storekeeper in March 1807
replacing William Sutton who had been dismissed for behaving
disrespectfully towards Charles Throsby.
At the Coal River
Settlement there were always convicts who managed to escape leaving
havoc and disaster in their wake. In September five men were
captured after absconding. It was found that they had
stolen provisions and other necessary items in their possession
prior to their escape.
The five men John Fitzwilliam,
Charles McMahon, Fitgerald, McCardle and Thompson were all severely
punished. — 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. New orders were issued to
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
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
Notes & Links:
William Bligh commenced duties
as Governor of the colony in August 1806 and Governor King returned
to England on the Buffalo in February 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
Henry Browne Hayes,
William Gore and
Newcastle Through the Years
1791 1797 1801 1802 1804 1805 1807 1808 1809 1810 1811 1812 1813 1814 1815 1816 1818 1820 1821 1822 1823 1824 1825 1826 1827 1828 1829 1831 1833 1836 1837 1838 1841 1844 1855 1857