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Camden South And The Rum Rebellion

Aug 4, 2008
Tarea near Belgenny Farm (the home of the agricultural pioneer John Macarthur), the rebellion was the culmination of several altercations between Macarthur and the New South Wales Governor William Bligh.

Bligh was appointed to crack down on the illegal activities of the N.S.W. Corps, which included the trafficking of rum. Several clashes between Bligh and Macarthur lead to a mutiny, after Macarthur refused to turn up to a court but was arrested and given bail to appear in court at a later date (Bligh attempted to curb Macarthurs illegal importation of brewing equipment, sale of alcohol to the corps, and other activities). The N.S.W. Corps sided with Macarthur (who was a lieutenant in the corps) and overthrew Bligh, the first and only recorded armed overthrow of the government in Australias history.

Macarthur was found not guilty and subsequently appointed colonial secretary. All this occurring on the doorstep to Camden South, on Australia Day 1808! Visit Camden South today and see a re-enactment of the Rub Rebellion at Belgenny, the home in Camden South of Macarthur.

The William Bligh of the Rum Rebellion in todays Camden South was indeed the same William Bligh from the Mutiny on the Bounty fame when Bligh and 18 of his supporters found themselves cast adrift on a small boat after being overthrown by Fletcher Christian in 1789. Sir Joseph Banks recommended Bligh as commander of the ocean expedition to Tahiti to retrieve plants, with a view to making their fruits a cheap food for slaves. Once at Tahiti, Christian married a native, and three other men attempted to escape and upon their recapture, instead of being hung (as was the standard punishment) they were flogged all three men would become mutineers.

Ironically, the man Fletcher replaced as acting lieutenant on board the Bounty, stayed loyal to Bligh, despite blaming his demotion on personal rivalries between Bligh and himself. Fletcher and several other mutineers took the Bounty, along with Tahitian men and women, and sailed to avoid recapture. They ended up on Pitcairn Island, burned the boat, and lived in relative peace and happiness until war in 1793. This heralded a period of unease which ended in about 1800.

Although not part of the immediate history of Camden South, the story of Bligh and the Mutiny on the Bounty is closely linked to Camden South through Bligh and Banks, and their mutual dislike of the pioneer of Camden South, Macarthur. By understanding the background of these men, you can see how the present Camden South is shaped by its past.
About the Author
Donna Mathews

www.camdensouth.com
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