Mutiny of Convicts

(previous ... New South Wales Corps)

Most of the convicts , on their arrival in the colony, were "assigned" to work as shepherds or farm labourers for the free settlers in the country. But the prisoners of the worst class were chained in gangs and employed on the roads or on the government farms. One of these gangs, consisting of three or fourr hundred convicts, was stationed at Castlehill, a few miles north of Paramatta. The prisoners, encouraged by their numbers and inflamed by the talk from a number of political exiles, broke out into open resistance.

They flung away their hoes and spades, removed their irons, seized about 250 muskets (rifles) and marched towards the Hawkesbury, expecting to be greeted by additional convicts, which would enable them to overpower the military. Major Johnston, with 24 soldiers of the New South Wales Corps, pursued them, when the convicts stopped and turned around to fight, the soldiers charged them, catching many off guard. The convicts fled in all directions as the soldiers opened fire, leaving many dead on the spot. Three or four of the ring leaders were caught and hanged while the remainder returned quietly back to work. 

(continues ... Origins of Wool Growing in Australia)

 

History of Australia