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Showing posts from September, 2013

That infernal brothel: the story of Bet Carter (c1770 - ?), a convict to New South Wales

At the end of April 1794 The Surprize convict ship set sail from Portsmouth bound for Botany Bay. Her master was Patrick Campbell and the first mate was Mr McPherson. On board were 23 soldiers of the New South Wales Corp, the regiment established in 1789 to serve in Australia. Six of the soldiers were deserters who had been taken from prison.    Amongst the 94 convicts were four men known as the Scottish Martyrs: radicals Thomas Muir, Thomas Palmer, William Skirving and Maurice Margarot, who had all been sentenced to transportation for campaigning for parliamentary reform. During the voyage the four men fell out and in an atmosphere of spying and treachery, Thomas Muir and William Skirving ended up on charges of plotting to incite a mutiny. Several people were drawn into this brutal affair, during which the suspects were confined without trial, witnesses were bullied, and accused soldiers flogged and kept chained to the poop in cramped positions and left exposed to the elements