Abstract

This article is a contribution to the debate over Australia’s convict beginnings and the nature of the British colonization of New South Wales. The early agriculture of the convict colony is set in the maritime context of imperial rivalries and visions of empire in the Pacific Ocean. When the Port Jackson settlement is viewed from this maritime perspective, it is apparent that agriculture was an imperial imperative of the Pitt administration. The design and early function of the settlement as a port of shelter and refreshment ensured that, despite initial despondency and drought, a bountiful and secure agricultural hinterland was in the making. Within five years after the planting of New South Wales, convict settlers, mixed agriculture, and imperial designs had transformed "a rude, wild country into a pleasant garden." As a planned, self-sufficient, maritime settlement, Port Jackson rapidly developed its capacity to produce a surplus of antiscorbutic seamen’s greens essential for a distant port and naval base to become an assured resource of refereshment, services, and supplies necessary for Britain to "effectively occupy" the oceanic territory of New South Wales and thereby integrate the development of a global empire.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.

Notes

1 Brian Fitzpatrick ,
British Imperialism and Australia, 1783–1838: An Economic History of Australasia
(London: George Alien and Unwin,
1939
),
14
Alan Atkinson ,
The Europeans in Australia: A History. Vol. 1, The Beginning
(Melbourne: Oxford University Press Australia,
1998
),
xviii
,
58
Angus R. McGillivery , "British Convicts, Polynesian Women, and Imperial Designs," Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society89 (Part 2,
Dec.
2003
):
179
-85
2 James Matra, "Testimony to the House of Commons Committee on Transportation (Beauchamp Select Committee), May 9,1785," Home Office [hereafter HO] 7-1: Proceedings, 2, Public Record Office, London [hereafter PRO]
Sir Joseph Banks, "Testimony, Beauchamp Committee, May 10,1785," HO 7-1: Proceedings, 2, PRO
Beauchamp Select Committee, "Report of the Committee of the House of Commons relative to the Transportation of Felons, June 21,1785," HO 42-6:449–67, at Report 11-13, PRO
3 Sydney to Lord Commrs of the Admiralty, Aug. 31,1786, HO 29-2: 37r–39v, at f. 38r, PRO
"Secret," Draft to Governor Phillip, Mar. 1790 from Secretary of State, Whitehall, Cabinet Office [hereafter CO] 201/1:19r–24v, PRO
Robert J. King , "Terra Australis, New Holland and New South Wales: The Treaty of Tordesillas and Australia," The Globe47 (
1998
):
35
-55
4 D. L. Mackay, "Direction and Purpose in British Imperial Policy, 1783-1801," The Historical Journal17 (Sept.1974):
487
-501
Alan Frost and Glyndwr Williams, "The Beginnings of Britain’s Exploration of the Pacific Ocean in the Eighteenth Century," The Mariner’s Mirror83 (
Nov.
1997
):
410
-18
Glyndwr Williams , ’"
To Make Discoveries of Countries Hitherto Unknown’:The Admiralty and Pacific Exploration in the Eighteenth Century
," in
Pacific Empires: Essays in Honour of Glyndwr Williams
, ed. Alan Frost and Jane Samson (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press,
1999
),
13
-31
Brian Fletcher ,
Landed Enterprise and Penal Society: A History of Farming and Grazing in New South Wales Before 1821
(Sydney: Sydney University Press,
1976
),
24
Watkin Tench , "
A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay
" reproduced in
Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of A NARRATIVE OF THE EXPEDITION TO BOTANY BAY and A COMPLETE ACCOUNT OF THE SETTLEMENT AT PORT JACKSON
, by Captain Watkin Tench, ed. L. F. Fitzhardinge (Sydney: Angus and Robertson,
1961
),
1
-79,121
George III, Instructions of Apr. 25,1787, Draft delivered to Phillip with an appended note dated Apr. 28,1787, CO 201-5: 29, PRO
Robert J. King , "The Territorial Boundaries of New South Wales in 1788," The Global Circle3 (
Oct.
1981
):
70
-89
H. V. Bowen , "British Conceptions of Global Em¬ pire, 1756-83," The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History26 (
Sept.
1998
):
1
-27
Alan Frost ,
The Global Reach of Empire: Britain’s Maritime Expansion in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, 1764–1814
(Melbourne: Miegunyah Press,
2003
)
Robert Hughes ,
The Fatal Shore
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
1987
),
xxvi
David Day ,
Claiming a Continent: A New History of Australia
(Sydney: Angus and Robertson,
1997
),
400
5 Frank Broeze , "From the Periphery to the Mainstream: The Challenge of Australia’s Maritime History," The Great Circle11 (
Apr.
1989
):
1
-13
Lionel Frost, "Australian Agricul¬ tural Historiography: A Survey," Agricultural History71 (Fall1999):
479
-90
Tom Griffiths and Libby Robin, eds.
Ecology and Empire: Environmental History of Settler Societies
(Se¬ attle: University of Washington Press,
1997
)
Alan Frost ,
Botany Bay Mirages: Illusions of Australia’s Convict Beginnings
(Carlton: Melbourne University Press,
1994
),
3
,
234
Captain Sir George Young, Memorial, c. 1784, MSS in Young’s hand enclosed in R. P. Arden to Mr. Attorney General, Jan. 13,1785, CO 201-1: 51–3v at f. 52r. PRO
Robert J. King , "’Ports of Shelter, and Refreshment . .. ’: Botany Bay and Norfolk Island in British Naval Strategy, 1786-1808," [Australian] Historical Studies22 (
Oct.
1986
):
199
-213
6 Phillip to Sydney, May 15,
1788
,
Historical Records of New South Wales
(Sydney: Charles Potter, Government Publisher, 1892-1901),
1
:
121
-36.
7 Richard H. Grove ,
Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600–1860
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1995
),
98
John Prest ,
The Garden of Eden: The Botanic Garden and the Re-Creation of Paradise
(London: Yale University Press,
1981
),
38
-56
John White ,
Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales by John White
, ed. Alec H. Chisholm (Sydney: Angus and Robertson,
1962
),
91
8 Oct. 14,1787, "Journal of the Proceedings of His Majesty’s Ship Sirius Commencing the 25th October 1786 and ending the 24th October 1787," Adm. 51/832A: Part 2, PRO
Oct. 15,1787 and Nov. 7,1787, "A Journal of the Proceedings of His Majesty’s Ship Sirius John Hunter Esqr 2nd Captain between the 15th December 1786 and the 14th December 1787," Adm. 51/832A: Part 3, PRO
James Scott ,
Oct. 25
, Nov. 1,3,12,1787 in
Remarks on a Passage to Botany Bay 1787–1792. A First Fleet Journal by James Scott, Sergeant of Marines
(facsimile of The William Dixson Foundation, publication no. 1, State Library of New South Wales,
1963
)
Oct. 12–15,1787, HMS Prince of Wales Captain’s Log, Adm. 51/4376: Part 8, PRO
Nov. 6,1787, HMS Friendship Captain’s Log, Adm. 51/4376: Part 7, PRO
Oct. 17–21, Nov. 4, 7, 8,1787, HMS Sirius Captain’s Log, Adm. 51/832A, PRO
"A Journal of the Proceedings on Board the Scarborough Jn Marshal Commander from London to New South Wales," Adm. 51/4376: Part 1, f. 27, PRO; Nov. 5,1787, HMS Lady Penrhyn Captain’s Log, Adm. 51/4376: Part 9, PRO
David Collins ,
An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales...
(London: T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies,
1793
),
xxviii
9 John Palmer to Treasury, "Returns of Commissary to His Majesty’s Territory of New South Wales, July 2 to Aug. 19,1790," CO 201/7:410v, PRO
"Provisions ledger, debtor-andcreditor accounts, Oct. 7–Nov. 1,1791," CO 201/7:415v, PRO
Henry Waterhouse to William Waterhouse, Aug. 20,1797, "Waterhouse Family Papers, 1792–1819," MS. ZML MSS 6544: 37–42, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales [hereafter ML]
10 Phillip to Marquis of Lansdowne, July 3,1788, MSS 7241:3, ML (formerly in S: 161/ 11, Shelburne Papers, Bowood House, Wiltshire, United Kingdom)
Alan Frost ,
Arthur Phillip, 1738–1814: His Voyaging
(Melbourne: Oxford University Press,
1987
),
59
,
178
T. M. Perry , "
Charts and Views
," in
The Art of the First Fleet and Other Early Australian Drawings
, ed. Bernard Smith and Alwyne Wheeler (New Haven: Yale University Press,
1988
),
70
-108
11 "A Journal of the Proceedings of His Majesty’s Ship Sirius, Captain Arthur Phillip, Commander between 25 October 1787 and 24 April 1788," Adm. 51/832A: Part 5, PRO.
12 Waterhouse to Waterhouse, July 11,1788, MS. ZML MSS 6544:9
Feb. 20,1789, MS. ZML MSS 6544:14, ML
Collins, English Colony in New South Wales, 237
13 Jan.24–26,1788, "A Journal of a Voyage to Botany bay By Permission of Providence on Board the Fishburn Kept by me, Robt Browne, 1786," Adm. 51/4375: Part 4, PRO
Phillip, The Voyage of Governor Phillip, 131
Robert J. King ,
The Secret History of the Convict Colony: Alexandro Malaspina’s Report on the British Settlement of New South Wales
(North Sydney: Alien and Unwin,
1990
),
38
Robert J. King , "What Brought Laperouse to Botany Bay?" Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society85 (
Dec.
1999
):
140
-47
Nance Irvine , ed.
The Sirius Letters
.
The Complete Letters of Newton Fowell Midshipman and Lieutenant Aboard the Sirius Flagship of the First Fleet On Its Voyage to New South Wales
(Sydney: Fairfax Library,
1988
), Letter 13,
53
-55
14 Phillip to Sydney,
May 15
,
1788
,
Historical Records of New South Wales
,
I
:
122
Alan Frost , "
Nookta Sound and the Beginnings of Britain’s Imperialism of Free Trade
" in
From Maps to Metaphors: The Pacific World of George Vancouver
, ed. Robin Fisher and Hugh Johnston (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press,
1993
),
123
-25
Alan Frost ,
The Voyage of the Endeavour: Captain Cook and the Discovery of the Pacific
(St. Leonards,
NSW: Alien and Unwin,
1998
),
90
-106
James Hingston Tuckey, "The most eligible routes from Port Jackson to various places at different Seasons, General Sketch of the Winds in the Indian and Eastern Seas [1804–5]," MS. A 2001:51–8, ML
15 William H. Quinn and Victor T. Neal, "El Nino Occurrences over the Past Four and a Half Centuries," Journal of Geophysical Research92 (
Dec.
1987
):
14
, 449-67
James Shields to S. Enderby and Sons, Mar. 6,1790, "Whale Fishery Papers, 1553–1809," MS. A 322:511–13, ML
Phillip to Sydney, Nov. 11,1791, "Arthur Philip Letters 1 Nov. 1786,5 July2 Apr. 1792," Papers of Sir Joseph Banks, MS. Q 162: 29–37, Dixson Library of New South Wales, Sidney [hereafter DL]
Thomas Melville to Enderby and Sons, Nov. 22,1791, MS. A 322: 518–25, ML
J. S. Cumpston ,
Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Sydney, 1788–1825
(Canberra: Roebuck Society,
1964
)
Scott, Remarks on a Passage to Botany Bay, 68-9
16 Tench, "A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson in New South Wales," in Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. Fitzhardinge, 298
Acts of Parliament for the Southern Whale Fishery: 26 Geo. III, c. 50 (1786), 28 Geo. III, c. 20 (1788), 33 Geo. III, c. 58 (1793), 35 Geo. III, c. 92 (1793), 38 Geo. III, c. 57 (1798), 42 Geo. III, c. 18 (1802)
John Parker , "
Minutes of conferences on the propriety of establishing a Whale-Fishery on the Coast of New Holland, c. Oct.–Nov. 1791
," in Mary Ann Parker,
A Voyage Round the World, in The Gorgon Man of War: Captain John Parker
(London: John Nicols,
1795
), chapter 6
Samuel Enderby and Sons to George Chalmers, Nov. 14,1797, A 322: 527–29, ML
"Whaling Voyages Round the World in the Britannia and Speedy Transports," 1791–1796, MS. Q 36:1, DL.
17 New South Wales were listed as William (302 tons)
Speedy (313 tons)
Resolution (317 tons)
Britannia (305 tons)
S. Enderby and Sons, "Vessels employ’d in the Southern Whale Fishery Sailed in the Year 1793," Jan. 10,1794, MS. A 322: 535–36, ML
A. G. E. Jones , "The British Southern Whale and Seal Fisheries," The Great Circle3 (
Apr.
1981
):
20
-29
part 1, "A General Overview," Table 5 at p. 25
18 Cumpston, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, 7
Act of Parliament for the Southern Whale Fishery: 38 Geo. III, c. 57 (1798)
Enderby and Sons, "Vessels returned from the South Whale Fishery in the Year 1793 with an Account of their Cargoes," Jan. 10,1794, MS. A 322:537, ML
19 John St. Barbe’s Britannia whaler of 305 tons
Port Jackson July 27, 1792
The Enderby’s Britannia
Captain Thomas Melville, sailed for New South Wales Mar. 1791
Port Jackson Oct. 14,1791
Enderby and Sons, "Vessels employ’d in the Southern Whale Fishery Sailed in the Year 1793."
20 Phillip to Sydney, Nov. 11,1791
Phillip to Banks, Apr. 2,1792, MS. C 213: 86–9, ML
Collins, An Account ofthe English Colony in New South Wales, 242
21 Chief-Surgeon White to Mr. Skill ,
Apr. 17
,
1790
,
Historical Records of New South Wales
,
I
, Part 2,
332
-34
Ross to Nepean, Nov. 16,1788, CO 201/3: 191–92,191r and 191v, PRO
Ross to Nepean, July 18,1788, CO 201/3,173, PRO
Iain H. Murray ,
Australian Christian Life from 1788: An Introduction and an Anthology
(Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust,
1988
),
8
,
15
Rose Hill, estimated for Captain Tench that the "Roots and stumps ... account for a tenth part of surface in every acre"
Fitzhardinge, Sydney’s First Four Years, 194
George Mackaness , ed.,
Some Private Correspondence of the Rev. Samuel Marsden and Family, 1794–1824
(Sydney: George Mackaness,
1942
),
23
-5
22 James-street, Oxford Road, Dec. 29,1790
Officer, Port Jackson ,
Apr. 14
,
1790
,
Historical Records of New South Wales
,
II
:
758
-62
Henry Waterhouse to James Luttrell, Apr. 14,1790, MS. 6544: 405–10, ML
23 Irvine, The Sirius Letters, 112
24 Fitzhardinge, Sydney’s First Four Years, 264
James Scott, Remarks on a Passage to Botany Bay 1787–1792, 14
July 5–11, 1794, "Proceedings of a Log on Board HMS Swift from the 9th Day of Decr 1793 to the 16th Day of Septr 1794 Kept by me (William) Wilson Master," Adm. 52/3474, PRO
25 Fitzhardinge, Sydney’s First Four Years, 247-49
King ,
Historical Records of New South Wales
,
II
:
626
Jethro Tull’s, The New Horse-Houghing
W. M. Mathew , "Marling in British Agriculture: A Case of Partial Identity," Agricultural History Review41 (Part 2,
1993
):
97
-110
Chambers and Mingay, The Agricultural Revolution
Bruce M. S. Campbell and Mark Overton, "A New Perspective on Medieval and Early Modern Agriculture: Six Centuries of Norfolk Farming c. 1250-c. 1850," Past and Present141 (Nov.1993):
38
-105
Mark Overton ,
Agricultural Revolution in England: The Transformation of the Agrarian Economy, 1500–1850
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1996
)
Steven Stoll ,
Larding the Lean Earth: Soil and Society in Nineteenth-Century America
(New York: Hill and Wang,
2002
)
26 Malcolm Thick , "Garden Seeds in England Before the Late Eighteenth Century: I. Seed Growing," Agricultural History Review38 (Part 1,
1990
):
58
-71
Sutton and Sons,
The Cultivation of Vegetables and Flowers from Seeds and Roots
(London: Simpkin Marshall,
1942
)
King ,
Historical Records of New South Wales
,
2
:
759
-62
G. E. Fussell ,
Studies in English Farming and Topography
(London: Pindar Press,
1991
),
62
Malcolm Thick , "Garden Seeds in England Before the Late Eighteenth Century: II. The Trade in Seeds to 1760," Agricultural History Review38 (Part 2,
1990
):
105
-16
27 John Donaldson , Bayldon’s Art of Valuing Rents and Tillages . . .5th ed. (London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green and Longmans,
1840
),
64
-69
Angus R. McGillivery, "From Sods to Seed-beds: Cultivating a Familiar Field at Port Jackson," Journal of Australian Colonial History (forthcoming, 2004)
Fitzhardinge, Sydney’s First Four Years, 264
King ,
Historical Records of New South Wales
,
I
: Part 2,
613
28 King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony, 151-68.
29 Collins ,
English Colony in New South Wales
,
I
:
249
Phillip to Sydney, Nov. 11,1791
Anne Scott-James ,
The Cottage Garden
(Harmondsworth: Penguin Books,
181
),
48
-61
William Cobbett ,
The English Gardener
, ed. Peter King (London: Bioomsbury Gardening Classics,
1996
),
7
-34
30 King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony, 151-68.
32 Eric Jones and Geoffrey Raby, "
The Fatal Shortage: Establishing a European Economy in New South Wales, 1788–1805
," in
Studies from Terra Australis to Australia
, ed. John Hardy and Alan Frost (Canberra: Highland Press,
1989
),
153
-68
M. F. Péron ,
A Voyage of Discovery in the Southern Hemisphere, Performed By Order of The Emperor Napoleon, During the Years 1801,1802,1803, and 1804
(London: Richard Phillips,
1809
),
271
33 Peron, A Voyage of Discovery, 276-77
James Bird ,
Seaport Gateways of Australia
(London: Oxford University Press,
1968
),
1
-12
34 Peron, A Voyage of Discovery, 278.
35 King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony, 92-125.
36 William Kent, "Remarks on His Majesty’s Settlement in New South Wales and on the Harbour of Port Jackson," n.d., enclosed in Kent to Banks, Nov. 5,1806, Banks Papers, MS. A 78-3:280–87 at 284, ML.