A. L. (Arthur Lincoln) Haydon.

The trooper police of Australia; a record of mounted police work in the commonwealth from the earliest days of settlement to the present time online

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THE
TROOPER POLICE

OF

AUSTRALIA



A..L.HAYDON



THE TROOPER POLICE
OF AUSTRALIA

A RECORD OF MOUNTED POLICE WORK IN

THE COMMONWEALTH FROM THE

EARLIEST DAYS OF SETTLEMENT

TO THE PRESENT TIME



BY

A. L. HAYDON

AUTHOR OF "THE RIDERS OF THE PLAINS," ETC



ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS, MAPS AND DIAGRAMS




CHICAGO
A. C. McCLURG & CO.

LONDON : ANDREW MELROSE



BUTLER & TANNER,

XHB SKLWOOD PRINTING WORKS,

FROMK, AND LONDON.



TO

MY WIFE



PREFACE



IN offering this book to the consideration of the public,
I venture to claim that its matter is its own justifica-
tion. While there are many volumes devoted to various
periods of Australian history, and in part touching upon
the trooper police, there has been no attempt to give a
comprehensive account of police administrative work
during the growth of the Commonwealth. I have long felt
that such a record was worthy of being written, as it deals
with a very notable side of Colonial development, and to
achieve this result has been my purpose in the present
book. At the same time, I am conscious that the manner
in which it is presented may require some deprecation from
the author. The record is not one of a corporate regiment,
such as the Royal North-West Mounted Police of Canada
it is concerned with the police services of six separate States,
and consequently it has been impossible to avoid a certain
amount of overlapping. Furthermore, some difficulty has
been experienced in obtaining material relating to the early
years of one or two forces. A great deal of valuable his-
torical matter was destroyed in the past, and this can never
be replaced. It is only from contemporary sources that
one is able at all to fill in the picture.

With regard to the bushranging era, which has a litera-
ture of its own, I have made it my aim to dispel some of
the popular misconceptions attached thereto. Certain

vii



PREFACE

books on the subject have an unfortunate tendency to invest
Australia's highwaymen with a false romantic glamour.
In real fact the mounted police are the heroes of the story.
They are justly entitled to the major share of whatever
romance and picturesqueness the period may possess. But
the reputation of the trooper police does not rest solely on
the criminal side of their duties, important though it be.
It is as pioneers, as the advance guard of civilization in the
wilderness, that they deserve our admiration. And this,
be it remembered, is a work that they are still performing,
and will continue to perform so long as the expansion of
Australia's settled area proceeds.

It remains now to acknowledge my indebtedness to
various Government officials who have assisted me in the pre-
paration of this volume. During my stay in Australia I
was afforded every facility for acquiring the information
desired ; I was allowed full opportunity to study the
mounted policeman in the barrack-room, in the city, and in
the solitudes of the bush. I have particularly to thank
ex-Inspec tor-General T. Garvin, I.S.O., Inspector-General
E. C. Day, Commissioner T. O'Callaghan, Commissioner
W. G. Cahill, Commissioner Fred A. Hare, Commissioner
W. H. Raymond, ex-Superintendent Martin Brennan,
Superintendent Milne, Superintendent W. C. Brophy,
Inspector J. S. Clarke, Inspector Ryan, Sub-Inspector
Allcock, Sub-Inspector Orr and Detective-Sergeant Walsh.

Among others whose help has been generously extended
to me, in regard to both material and photographs, I must
mention Mr. J. B. Castiean, of Melbourne, Mr. E. Price
Conigrave, F.R.G.S., and Mr. S. W. Copley, of Perth, Mr.
E. B. Kennedy and Mr. H. E. Garraway.

A. L. HAYDON.
LONDON, July, 1911.

viii



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

SOLDIEKS AND CONVICTS. I

1788-1821

Captain Cook's voyage Sir Joseph Banks The convict ques-
tion Mr. Matra's proposal The American loyalists
Lord Sydney's " Plan " " The First Fleet "Captain
Phillip at Botany Bay Removal to Sydney Troubles
and dissensions A " night watch " of convicts Major
Grose governor The New South Wales Corps Captain
King The " Armed Association " Captain Bligh's
stormy rule Convicts assigned as servants Governor
Macquarie The " Emancipists " Opposition to the new
scheme Exploration in the colony. .... 1

CHAPTER II

SOLDIERS AND CONVICTS. II

1821-1835

Commissioner Bigge A new order Governor Brisbane A
mounted police force Governor Darling Bushranging
Distribution of troops A ghost story Black tracking
Van Dienien's Land Early troubles with convicts Ex-
ploration in New South Wales Oxley Allan Cunning-
ham Captain Sturt discovers the Darling Sir Thomas
Mitchell Hamilton Hume at Geelong A settlement at
Port Phillip John Batman Treaty with the natives
Melbourne founded Swan River settlement in West
Australia Perth and Fremantle Wakefield's scheme
South Australia colonised ...... 17

CHAPTER III

THE FIRST POLICE

Formation and equipment Donohue the bushranger End of a
notorious gang Police Magistrates appointed in Sydney
ix



CONTENTS

Police and gaol charges The Act of 1838 Increase of
the force A smart capture The penalty of carelessness
Transportation to New South Wales abolished Patrols on
the main roads Uniforms and arms Captain Zouch
" Scotchey " Captain Battye and the Western Patrol
" Sticking up " a mail coach Capture of Day and Wil-
son Locating the " plant " Trouble on the goldfields
The affair at Lambing Flat Police charge the mob
The lesson of the riot. . . . . . .33



CHAPTER IV

EARLY BUSHRANGERS

1812-1846

Their origin The " bush " Van Diemen's Land types
Jeffries and Dunne Michael Howe Repeated escapes A
price on his head Capture and death Matthew Brady
The fate of a traitor Attack on Sorell Gaol Surrender to
John Batman Misplaced sympathy " Mosquito," bush-
ranger Martin Cash Daring escape from Port Arthur
Threat to Sir John Franklin A successful trap In New
South Wales Outbreak at Bathurst Mounted Police and
soldiers in the field The Bushrangers Act Unwarranted
arrests " Farm-constables " Jackey Jackey A Norfolk
Island rising ........ 50

CHAPTER V

THE RUSH FOR GOLD. I
1851

A new era First discoveries Count Strzlecki's reports Clarke
and Murchison The Daisy Hill nugget Edward Ham-
mond Hargraves At the Californian diggings Prospect-
ing in the Blue Mountains Summerhill Creek The ' ' rush"
begins Regulations and precautions The Mounted
Police The exodus from Port Phillip A Gold Discovery
Committee Victorian discoveries James Esmond
Ballarat goldfields Mount Alexander Bendigo Unde-
sirable elements The Influx of Criminals Prevention Act
Duties of the police Mr. William Mitchell appointed
Commissioner Dodging the " Joeys " A typical scene
Ex-Superintendent Brennan The bushrangers out-
witted Another story of Gardiner . . . .72
X



CONTENTS



CHAPTER VI



THE BUSH FOB GOLD. H

1852-1855

The Nelson gold-ship robbery Mounted Police in pursuit
Attacks on the Government Capture of the pirates
Transportation to Van Diemen's Land abolished Turbu-
lence on the goldfields Mail-coach robberies The licence
fee agitation Proposed increase of tax More misunder-
standings A police blunder Riot at Forest Creek
Bendigo the centre of disaffection Resignation of Mr.
Latrobe Sir Charles Hotham, Governor " Digger-hunt-
ing " and other grievances The Eureka Hotel murder
Ballarat in ferment Obduracy of the authorities The call
to arms Peter Lalor The Eureka Stockade Concessions
by the Government Constitutional changes . . 89

CHAPTER VII

THE POLICE AS EXPLORERS

Edward Eyre, Police Magistrate Inspector Robert
O'Hara Burke The Victorian Exploration Expedition
W. J. Wills The start from Melbourne Division
of the party At Cooper's Creek The dash for the
Gulf Wright at Menindie Burke and Wills reach the
coast The return journey Death of Gray The de-
serted depot Wright and Brah6 A series of blunders
Burke, Wills and King in the bush Among the blacks
Nardoo Burke and Wills succumb Howitt finds King
Other expeditions Frederick Walker, Inspector of
Police From Rockhampton to the Gulf Colonel Eger-
ton-Warburton In Central Australia Sub-Inspector
Robert Johnstone ....... 108

CHAPTER VIII

BUSHRANGING DAYS. 1

A new era of lawlessness Native-born bushrangers Causes
of the outbreak False hero-worship Captain Thunder-
bolt's generosity Francis Gardiner Taking to " the
road" Capture by Sergeant Middleton Trooper Hosie
shot Gardiner's rescue John Piesley, bushranger
" I've come for ' Troubadour ' ' A gold escort en route
xi



CONTENTS

Mr. Horsington and Mr. Hewitt " bailed up " The great
gold escort robbery At the Eugowra Rocks Inspector
Sir Frederick Pottinger First successes An encounter
with Gardiner More arrests Fordyce, Bow and Manns
A death sentence What became of the treasure ? .127

CHAPTER IX

BUSHRANGING DAYS. II

" Gardiner's Flying Squadron " Inspector Patrick Brennan
Catching a tartar Bushranging tactics " Bush tele-
graphs " Gardiner disappears Detective McGlone
Capture of Gardiner Trial and sentence Ben Hall
Sticking up of Canowindra Relaxations Mock bush-
rangers and a sequel Police caught napping Trooper
Sutton's pluck Trooper Burns Four to one A bush-
ranger shot Medals awarded Raid on Bathurst Police
blunders The system at fault Government action
Police reforms instituted . . . . . . 146

CHAPTER X

BTJSHBANGING DAYS. HI

Death of Lowry The Dunn's Plains affair Burke shot Sur-
render of Vane O'Meally at Goimbla station Sergeant
Parry's death The Felons' Apprehension Act Shooting
of Ben Hall Gilbert and Dunn Dan Morgan on the
Southern Road Sergeant McGinnerty Another police
tragedy Morgan at Peechalba station A Chinese bush-
ranger The brothers Clarke Murder of the special con-
stables Hunted down at last Sir Watkin Wynne, black
tracker Captain Thunderbolt Trooper Walker A hand
to hand fight Captain Melville in Victoria The " Moon-
light " gang The Wantabadgery " sticking up " . . 163

CHAPTER XI

BUSHBANGING DAYS. IV

The Kelly Gang Constable Fitzpatrick attacked The tragedy
at Stringy Bark Creek Troopers Kennedy, Scanlan and
Lonergan shot Escape of Mclntyre The police hunt
begins Hart and Byrne Proclamation of outlawry At
Euroa Robbery of the bank The raid on Jerilderie
" 8,000 Reward " Police officers in the field A chance
xii



CONTENTS

missed Sub-Inspector O'Connor The black trackers
Hoaxing the police Aaron Sherritt Superintendent Hare
A trooper's pluck Murder of Sherritt The Kellys at
Glenrowan Superintendent Sadleir Death of Byrne
Ned Kelly captured Dan Kelly and Hart A Royal
Commission. ... . 184



CHAPTER XII

POLICE WORK IN NEW SOUTH WALES

The Act of 1862 Initial difficulties Changes in uniform and
equipment Captain M'Lerie, Inspector-General Bush-
ranging suppressed Mr. Edmund Fosbery The
"Angel " and Thurston case Superintendent Day An ex-
citing encounter The Darling River mystery Ex-Supt.
Brennan " Waterloo Tom " Aboriginal murderers A
long chase Mr. Thomas Garvin Mr. Day, Inspector-
General Mounted police of to-day Necessary qualifi-
cations An " out-back " story Extraneous duties
Equipment and pay ....... 205

CHAPTER XIII

WITH THE VICTORIAN POLICE

The Port Phillip settlement Superintendent Latrobe Sepa-
ration demanded The colony of Victoria Policing
arrangementsHigh Constables Captain Lonsdale
Mounted police Captain Mair A native corps Mr.
W. H. F. Mitchell, Chief Commissioner Captain Charles
Macmahon Highway robberies The tables turned A
Melville story Uniforms Captain F. C. Standish, Chief
Commissioner Power, the bushranger An exciting cap-
ture Superintendents Hare and Nicholson Quelling a
mutiny Mr. H. M. Chomley appointed Mr. T. O'Callag-
han, Chief Commissioner Police figures At the depot
Pay .227

CHAPTER XIV

IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

First settlement, 1836 Adelaide founded Governor Hind-
marsh Colonel Gawler Early troubles Sir George
Grey Police Act of 1839 Inspector Inman Major
O'Halloran, first Commissioner The police in 1840
xiii



CONTENTS

Uniform Undesirable immigrants Jack Foley " The
black-faced robbers " Cattle-duffers A trooper's hallu-
cination After aboriginal murderers Commissioner
B. T. Finniss Mr. G. F. Dashwood Mr. Alexander
Tolmer Inspector Alford Major Egerton-Warburton
Later Commissioners Consolidating Police Act
Expansion of the colony Growth of the force Crime
Northern Territory Tom Egan's fate Police of to-
day Commissioner W. H. Raymond Distribution
Scrub and desert Varied duties Camels Training and
equipment . '. . . . . . . 247

CHAPTER XV

THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

Early history Exploration McDouall Stuart Annexation
Port Darwin founded Mounted police Criminal elements
Trooper Donegan Bogus Customs officers Borro-
loola Shanty-keepers Burnt out The Territory to-day
Native question A back-blocks tragedy Troopers
Holland and Dempsey Sub- Inspector Waters Inspector
Foelsche The northern black A startling experience
Out on patrol The brighter side The new province . 267

CHAPTER XVI

THE ABORIGINES

Origin Physical characteristics Mental qualities Spears
Sword v. shield Native huts Art Corrobborees
Superstitions " You bin settled this time " Singing a
man dead A misunderstanding ^Instances of fidelity
A dark page of history Eloquent figures^" All gone !
dead ! " A point of view Tasmanian aborigines " The
Black Line " Myall Creek massacre A salutary lesson
Queensland barbarities The aboriginal to-day Increase
of half -castes State problems. ..... 285

CHAPTER XVII

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Days of settlement Convicts introduced A military guard
Police constables appointed Superintendent Conroy
The " Enrolled Force " The Police Act of 1861 Superin-
tendent Hogan Captain Smith, Commissioner Lieut .-
Col. Phillips Captain Fred A. Hare Distribution of the
xiv



CONTENTS
CHAPTER XVII contd.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

force The north-west Native troubles " Soaks " and
" Gnamma holes " A tragedy of thirst Trooper
Richardson's murder " Pigeon " at large In the Barrier
Range Superintendent Lawrence The Jasper murder
"Major" Police rewards Arms and uniform Con-
ditions of appointment Pay The trooper to-day . 309

CHAPTER XVIII

GOLDFIELDS AND PEARLING STATIONS

The Southern Cross discovery " Bay ley's Reward " The
rush to Coolgardie On the road Inspector McKenna
Scarcity of water " To Three Camel Drinks, 12 " A
record price Kalgoorlie Other goldfields A bogus
" rush" The alluvial riots An Afghan murder " Bailed
up " in daylight Coolgardie's gold escort robbed On
the Kimberley goldfields A brutal murder Sub-Inspec-
tor Troy The pearling industry Broome " Cock-
eyed bobs " Illicit pearl-buying The Ethel case A
Malay pirate At Yampi Sound Mounted Constable
Fletcher A notable achievement. .... 330

CHAPTER XIX

AMONG THE CATTLE-DUFFERS

Notorious examples Methods of work Brand " faking "
The Kellys " Plucking a brand " Police patrols Old

Mrs. B A lost Hereford Where was the hide ?

Jack Burrell " Tom-Tit " Working a stampede A
trick cow An opal robbery Bowling out a thief
Mounted Constable Freeman An arduous trip Benjamin
Bridges, horse-thief Wonderful tracking . . . 350

CHAPTER XX

THE QUEENSLAND POLICE

The Moreton Bay settlement Convict town Expansion
Convictism again The anti-transportation movement
Dr. Lang Free immigration Black troubles Native
Mounted Police formed Frederick Walker Disband-
ment and re-organisation Brutal methods Uniform and
distribution Early days Mr. E. B. Kennedy Amour
propre Mr. G. Murray Police force established Gold
discoveries Mount Morgan mine A gold escort tragedy
Cattle-duffing and a murder Mr. D. T. Seymour, Com-
XV



missioper Police duties Mr. W. E. Parry-Okeden,
I.S.O., Commissioner Major W. G. Cahill, Commissioner
Bank and pay Present distribution. . . . 365

CHAPTER XXI

BLACK TRACKERS AT WORK

In olden days The bushranging era Notable characters Re-
cruiting An instructive art Early schooling Women
trackers " Mayella " Lost in the bush Reading a track
A Murchison story " That one Kendy track " An
object lesson in scouting A " jackeroo " hunt On the
trail Found at last " Billy " A South African test
Pay Past and present . * .' . .... 386

CHAPTER XXII

THE POLICE TBOOPEB OF TO-DAY

Entering the force Preliminary tests At the police depot
A day's routine The riding school Drill "First Aid "
Class work End of probation Practical Education
Manifold duties Compensations A long journey
" Hatters " The lighter side Wanted a divorce A
Queensland episode Summing up . . . .401

APPENDICES.

A. MEMORANDUM TO THE ADMIRALTY BY LORD SYDNEY,

AUGUST, 1786 413

B. TEXT OP TREATY MADE BETWEEN JOHN BATMAN AND

THE ABORIGINAL CHIEFS OF PORT PHILLIP DISTRICT,
1835. 416

C. THE BUSHRANGERS ACT OF 1830 . . . .418

D. LIST OF POLICE KILLED OR WOUNDED BY BUSHRANGERS,

FROM 1861 TO 1879 420

E. HOW TO JOIN THE MOUNTED POLICE .... 422

F. LIST OF POLICE COMMANDANTS AND COMMISSIONERS 424



xvi



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



INSPECTOR-GENERAL E. C. DAY, NEW SOUTH WALES

POLICE FORCE ...... Frontispiece

A COUNTRY ROAD IN THE N.S.W. BUSH . .Facing page 16

THE OLD AND THE NEW .... ,,24
MOUNTED CONSTABLE AND BLACK TRACKER

STARTING ON A PATROL .... ,, 32
A CAMP IN THE BUSH ..... ,,40
MR. THOMAS GARVIN, I.S.O., LATE INSPECTOR-
GENERAL, NEW SOUTH WALES POLICE FORCE ,, 48
ON THE TRAIL IN THE BACK COUNTRY . . ,, 56
A CONFERENCE OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS, 1903 . ,, 64
" PANNING " FOR GOLD ..... ,,80
A GOLD ESCORT OF THE SIXTIES ... ,, 88
IN A BLACKFELLOWS' CAMP .... 104

ROBERT O'HARA BURKE . . . . . Page 109

MOUNTED CONSTABLE ON ESCORT DUTY WITH

CATTLE KILLERS, NORTH-WEST TERRITORY .Facing page 112

CHIEF COMMISSIONER T. O'CALLAGHAN, VICTORIAN

POLICE FORCE ...... 128

THREE NOTORIOUS BUSHRANGERS ' . . . ,, 144

A STATION IN THE AUSTRALIAN BUSH . . ,, 160

THE CAPTORS OF THE " MOONLIGHT " GANG . 176

ON THE TRAIL OF THE KELLYS . . . 184

NEW SOUTH WALES MOUNTED POLICE, SYDNEY

HEADQUARTERS . . . . . ,, 192

TROOPERS AT MOUNTED DRILL, REDFERN BAR-
RACKS, SYDNEY . . . . . 200

THE HON. EDMUND FOSBERY, C.M.G. . . 208

INSPECTOR J. S. CLARKE, DRILL INSTRUCTOR,

N.S.W. MOUNTED POLICE .... ,, 216

CHIEF COMMISSIONER W. H. RAYMOND, SOUTH

AUSTRALIAN POLICE FORCE 224

xvii



VICTORIAN MOUNTED POLICE, ST. KILDA EOAD

BARRACKS, MELBOURNE . . . .Facing page 240

A SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED POLICEMAN . ,, 248
IN THE STONY DESERT. SOUTH AUSTRALIAN

TROOPERS ON CAMELS . . . . ,, 256
PISTOL-CARBINE USED BY THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN

MOUNTED POLICE . ... . ,, 264
NATIVES OF THE ANDROWILLA TRIBE, NORTHERN

TERRITORY V . . . . . 280
CAPTAIN FRED HARE, CHIEF COMMISSIONER WEST

AUSTRALIAN POLICE FORCE . . . ,, 288
NATIVES IN CORROBBOREE ATTIRE, NORTHERN

TERRITORY ,, 304

AT A " WATER SOAK "..... 312
WEST AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED POLICE, HEAD-
QUARTERS BARRACKS, PERTH . . . 320
" PIGEON'S " STRONGHOLD . . . . ,, 328
COOLGARDIE GOLDFIELD . . . . . ,, 336
A PEARLING LUGGER OFF THE WEST COAST . . 344
MAJOR W. G. CAHILL, V.D., COMMISSIONER QUEENS-
LAND POLICE FORCE . . . . ,, 352
GYMPIE, QUEENSLAND . . . . . ,, 360
NATIVE MOUNTED POLICE OF QUEENSLAND WITH

WHITE OFFICER . . . . . ,, 368

BLACK POLICE TROOPERS IN BARRACKS . . ,, 376

TROOPERS OF THE QUEENSLAND MOUNTED POLICE ,, 384

COURT HOUSE, DARNLEY ISLAND, N. QUEENSLAND . ,, 392

TYPES OF NATIVE TRACKERS . . . . ,, 400

A QUEENSLAND TROOPER POLICEMAN . . 408



MAPS AND DIAGRAMS.

SKETCH MAP OF THE EARLY PENAL SETTLEMENT,

NEW SOUTH WALES ...... Page 9

OLD MELBOURNE, 1838 . . . . . 29

SKETCH MAP OF VAN DIEMEN'S LAND . . 61

BALLARAT IN THE FIFTIES . . . . . ,, 99

" FOR MERITORIOUS CONDUCT " . . ,, 385

MAP OF AUSTRALIA .... .Facing page 426



xviii



THE
TROOPER POLICE OF AUSTRALIA

CHAPTER I

SOLDIERS AND CONVICTS. I

1788-1821

Captain Cook's voyage Sir Joseph Banks The convict question Mr.
Matra's proposal The American loyalists Lord Sydney's " Plan "
" The First Fleet " Captain Phillip at Botany Bay Removal
to Sydney Troubles and dissensions A " night watch " of convicts
Major Grose governor The New South Wales Corps Captain
King The " Armed Association " Captain Bligh's stormy rule
Convicts assigned as servants Governor Macquarie The " Emanci-
pists " Opposition to the new scheme Exploration in the colony.

IT is beyond the scope of this volume to dwell upon the
early discoverers of Australia. The story of the ad-
venturous voyages of the Spaniard Torres, the Dutch cap-
tains Dirk Hartog, Pieter Nuyts, Francis Pelsart and Abel
Tasman, together with that of the famous English buc-
caneer, William Dampier, has been often told, and should be
familiar to every student of colonial history. In our con-
sideration of the Mounted Police of the several states,
however, it will be necessary to make a brief survey of the
developments immediately following upon the re-discovery
of the island-continent by Captain Cook in 1770, for from
that epoch-making event we may trace the movement which
led to the ultimate settlement of the country and the genesis
of an established police force.

i - ji



THE TROOPER POLICE

In that year 1770 the Endeavour, with Cook and two
distinguished scientists, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Joseph Banks
and Dr. Solander, sailed from Tahiti, where the Transit of
Venus had been successfully observed, and, having coasted
the islands of New Zealand, arrived at the point on the Aus-
tralian mainland known as Cape Howe. Thence Cook
bore away to the north-east, until the ship dropped anchor in
an inlet which, for obvious reasons, he was disposed to call
Stingray Bay. This name was subsequently exchanged
for the better known one of Botany Bay, owing to the wealth
of plants and flowers that Banks and Solander found on its
shores.

Cook's land explorations were very meagre. Although he
proceeded westward and northward for a distance of two
thousand miles so far as Cape York, indeed he touched
only the fringe of a country which by no means impressed him
favourably. On his return to England he had little to say for
his new-found land of New South Wales, this being the name
bestowed upon it. Not so, however, the younger and more
enthusiastic Joseph Banks. From the first the latter
realised that here was a country worthy of English occu-
pation. The little he had seen of it was enough to con-
vince him of its possibilities of development, and to the end
of his life he never ceased to take a keen interest in its
progress. A few years after the Endeavour's memorable
voyage we find Banks giving evidence before a special Parlia-
mentary committee on the suitability of New South Wales
as a prospective home for surplus criminals.

The question of the disposal of convicts had by this
time assumed a most serious aspect. The American Revo-
lution of 1775, by which the New England colonies were lost
to us irrevocably, had had the effect of closing the over-seas

2



SOLDIERS AND CONVICTS, 1788-1821

plantations as a destination for convicted prisoners. Trans-
portation for certain offences had been in vogue for a long
period since the days of the first Charles, to be precise
and the system had served to populate our embryo colonies
in the New World at the same time that it provided a source
of relief to the already crowded gaols of the mother-country.

Thus, then, was the attention of the public re-directed
to the great continent which was still popularly known as
New Holland, and which, for all that any one cared, might
be left to the Dutch to be settled and fostered. But nothing
was to be done immediately. King George the Third's
Government, with Lord North at its head, had its hands full
with the revolting American colonists, and its attitude towards
the unknown southern land was, not unnaturally, apathetic.
New Holland, or New South Wales, or Terra Australis In-
cognita, or whatever you liked to call it, was very far away,
very bleak and inhospitable (except for the reports of one
or two enthusiasts), and it was peopled by a race of savages
no less formidable than those who had murdered Captain
Cook on his last voyage to the South Seas. It was really
unattractive to the popular mind.

Some years later, however, the question of Australian
settlement cropped up again with a persistency that would
not be denied. In addition to the necessity for finding an
asylum for the thousands of convicts whose increasing num-
bers were an embarrassment to the prison authorities, there
had arisen the need for affording protection to the many
American loyalists who were now refugees from their former
home. So, in 1783, one James Maria Matra came to the fore
suddenly with a proposal that offered a solution to both
these urgent problems.

Matra had been a member of the expedition that sailed in



Online LibraryA. L. (Arthur Lincoln) HaydonThe trooper police of Australia; a record of mounted police work in the commonwealth from the earliest days of settlement to the present time → online text (page 1 of 32)