History at home

Remember this?

Well done

First, Britain is moving back towards prison hulks and privatized prisons. This was the direction Mrs Thatcher and John Major espoused, and has never really been reversed.

Second, it's easy to make one group out to be the Bad Guys and the other to be the Good Guys. Truth is often more complex. Piking people in their sleep is hardly evidence of enlightened, humanitarian views, for example.

The British are condemned a lot in the article, but bear a few things in mind. They'd negligable supplies, and those that they were supposed to get were late or never got there. Even the sentancing decisions were late, as noted in the article.

At the same time, they were confronted with a prison population many times their number, and where many prisoners were convicted murderers and/or had been convicted of other violent offences.

Does this make the British reaction right? No, of course not! As I've said before, you can't fight violence with violence. If you become your enemy, to defeat him, then it's really you that you have defeated.

As for Oliver Cromwell, bear in mind that after his overthrowing of the monarchy, Britain -did- become (temporarily) a Republic under his rule. It was that which caused many of the problems of the time! Further, he was betrayed rapidly by his own army, who saw that they could overthrow leaders and take power. Cromwell's time in office was thus often at gun-point, with his own army seizing power from him.

Finally, Australia has had no problem with its past, in the latter half of the 20th century. "Botany Bay" became a popular song, and many comedians made extensive reference to the darker side of Australia's past. It became fashionable for people to trace their roots to specific convicts who were shipped over.

As someone who now lives right by where this battle is meant to have happened, and the descendant of a First Fleet Convict (Matthew Everingham), I got a greater insight from your story into some of the issues that surrounded the events of the time.

I love walking down the road and gazing over the pasture land that will soon become a shopping centre, and imagine the sounds, sights and smells of battle taking place on that very spot.

Apart from the memorial at the cemetary, there is no visible sign of any battle. I suppose it was too small scale to have left many artifacts like musket balls, belt buckles, pike heads etc. Has anyone ever done an archeological search for these - eg with a metal detector? I'd have thought that would settle the question of location once and for all.