What was the Rum Rebellion?

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What was the Rum Rebellion?

Post by Admin Fella » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:07 pm

The Rum Rebellion

Source: Wikipedia & NSW Parliment

The military force stationed in NSW from 1792-1810 was a specially raised unit, the NSW Corps. They were nicknamed the 'Rum Corps' because of their monopoly in trading in spirits. From 1806, the Governor of NSW was Captain (later Admiral) William Bligh. Bligh, a talented and strong naval officer, has been somewhat vilified as an excessive disciplinarian in the accounts of the mutiny that took place on his ship, HMS Bounty, in 1789. He recognised that the officers, in particular, of the NSW "Rum" Corps were an entrenched power acting in their own interests. In particular, Bligh saw that the small, non-military farmers were being discriminated against by the Corps.

As Bligh attempted to assert his legitimate authority, the Corps officers clashed with the Governor over several issues including his support of small settlers and tensions grew.

What resulted on January 26 1808 was the Rum Rebellion, also known as the Rum Puncheon Rebellion. It was the only successful armed takeover of government in Australia's recorded history. The Governor of New South Wales, William Bligh, was deposed by the New South Wales Corps under the command of Major George Johnston, working closely with John Macarthur. The rebellion happened 20 years to the day after Arthur Phillip founded European settlement in Australia. Afterwards, the colony was ruled by the military, with the senior military officer stationed in Sydney acting as the Lieutenant-Governor of the colony until the arrival from Britain of Major-General Lachlan Macquarie as the new Governor at the beginning of 1810.

A contemporary "propaganda" image from the time showing the arrest of Bligh.

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Re: What was the Rum Rebellion?

Post by Bluewillow » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:00 pm

The NSW Corps later became the 102nd Line and later the 100th Line batn (1816) and served in Europe, a number of the officers returning to England later served with valour in the Peninsula and in the bungled 1812 American campaign and at Waterloo.

Most of the retired Officers become the landed Aristocracy in NSW, especially in the Southern Tablelands and the Hunter Valley. Interestingly all of the Land Grants granted to NSW corps Officers stood up in the Court of Law along with a number of Dubious Government Military Contracts, some even remained (within Ancestral Families ) in place till after the 1st World War . The worst case being the meat contracts awarded to the Lt Charles Throsby (surgeon to the Colony) and his descendants.

A number of the officers also used senior NCO’s wife’s to start Wine and Spirits Licences to on sell the Alcohol bought from the supply ships by the NSW Corps Officers, the most famous being the “Jolly Sailor” in Kent Street (which apparently laundered 3 Million Pounds worth in 5 years!), it was still held by the Guise Family till 1911. Richard Guise was granted land at Bankstown that bordered Throsby’s huge Grants. Later Guise won the contracts to supply the military contracts to supply fodder for 80 years and ended up being granted large land grants in the Yass, Goulburn and Canberra regions.

A great book that deals with the remaining Officers of the corps in Australia is “Bill Wannan, Early Colonial Scandals: The Turbulent Times of Samuel Marsden.

"if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything"


Cardinal Biggles

Re: What was the Rum Rebellion?

Post by Cardinal Biggles » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:24 pm

and the light company of the regiment that burnt down the White House, in 1812, before it was painted white to cover the burns , known as the Botany Bay rangers the regiments number escapes me


Re: What was the Rum Rebellion?

Post by starkadder » Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:22 pm

HV "Doc" Evatt wrote a great account of it as well. "The Rum Rebellion" is a classic and was one of the first pieces of genuine historical analysis I ever studied (early 60's, and yes, I am that old).

Every school library had one. Back in the days when Australian historical study was a genuine subject.

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