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Research in November 2023

Murray-Pinjarra Military Posts – research continues

There were no new pages added to the website in November. I have been continuing reading for and drafting the upcoming page about the Murray-Pinjarra military posts. I have two people to thank for assistance with this during November: Wendy Durant, Curator of the Rockingham Museum, who has been most patient with my loan of a couple of books from the Museum’s Library which relate to this topic. Sally Kenton who has been doing her own research on the location of Clarence, the first settlement for immigrants from Gilmore, Hooghly and Rockingham. Always generous with her research, she has shared her thoughts, early survey plans from SRO and newspaper articles on the Woodman Point vs. Mount Brown debate.

Port Leschenault and Bunbury Military Posts

I was in Bunbury for a few days in November with a friend – the primary reason was for a flight in a De Havilland 1943 Tiger Moth which took us over the magnificent waterways and the City of Bunbury.  Before and after the trip, I did a small amount of ‘homework’ on the Redcoats of the 63rd, 21st, 51st, 96th and 99th regiments who were detached at Port Leschenault and Bunbury military posts from 1830 to 1852. A walk along the foreshore at Point McLeod identified the area populated by the Port Leschenault troops; a visit with Jenny Stains of the Bunbury Historical Society at King Cottage Museum helped to pinpoint the siting of the detachments’ barracks in Bunbury. There will be a page on this website of these military posts at a later date. A visit to the Bunbury City Museum confirmed the location of the Bunbury Convict Hiring Depot built and populated by Redcoats of the Royal Sappers and Miners and the convicts who arrived in Bunbury later.

FHWA Military Special Interest Group

The Military SIG met on Saturday, 18th November 2023 at the Family History WA Meeting Room, 48 May Street, Bayswater. Topic: ‘Do you have a prisoner of war in your family?’ The SIG members and guests looked at some of the resources available. This was the last meeting for the year. Please contact Angela Heymans at military.sig@fhwa.org.au to find out more about this group and its meetings in the New Year.

This Website was launched 10th June 2019.
Minor design changes occurred on 13th April 2022.
It currently comprises 227 pages and 1098 images.

My ARCHIVED websites can be found as follows:

Crimean War Veterans in Western Australia archived 02 August 2023
https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20230802071118/https://crimeanwar-veteranswa.com/

Royal Sappers and Miners in Western Australia 23 February 2023
https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20230222202005/https://sappers-minerswa.com/

Please do not attempt to ‘view the live webpage’ as suggested. This will produce errors that occurred during the archiving process. There are no longer ‘live’ pages – only the archived pages shown in the links above.

Redcoat Settlers in Western Australia 1826-1869

God and the soldier we both adore
When at the brink of ruin, not before
The danger over, both are alike requited,
God is forgiven, and the soldier slighted.

[A rhyme popular in the days of Marlborough]

A Private in the Marines Corps

The first British Redcoats to garrison in Australia wore red tunics and white trousers, but these were not the Army but the Marines who arrived with the First Fleet in 1788. The first red-coated soldiers to arrive, in 1790, were in the New South Wales Corps, formed in Britain, very soon after to be known as the Rum Corps. The first line regiment to arrive in Australia was the 73rd Regiment of Foot (1810) and, of course, its soldiers wore redcoats. However, this website is dedicated to Redcoats in Western Australia and the first of these came not from Britain, but from New South Wales.

The French are coming, the French are coming!

Due to the presence of French survey ships in the seas around the Colony of New South Wales, it was feared France may lay claim and settle the deserted West Coast of New Holland, motivating the British Government to consider establishing a settlement there to protect its interests. In a letter dated 11th March 1826 Earl Bathurst instructed Governor Darling that if found suitable, a settlement should be established at King George’s Sound as it was located on the shipping route between Britain and Port Jackson. Despite his reluctance Darling complied with Britain’s wishes and ordered an expedition to be dispatched.

The King George’s Sound Penal Settlement

Major Edmund Lockyer

Major Edmund Lockyer, 57th Regiment of Foot arrived in King George’s Sound on Christmas Day 1826 on the brig Amity. The original military post comprised Captain Joseph Wakefield, one sergeant, two corporals and 16 privates of the 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment; Ensign Edmund Morris Lockyer, 57th Regiment on detachment to 39th (Storekeeper); William and Thomas Wood, Royal Veterans Corps (Convict Overseers). A surgeon, a gardener and 23 convicts made up the balance of that first settlement. Major Lockyer was appointed Commandant. Over the next four years or so, there would be three other Commandants, all of the 39th Regiment: Captain Joseph Wakefield, Lieutenant George Sleeman and Captain Collet Barker. During their term in ‘Frederickstown’ (the name of the settlement declared by Lockyer on 21st January 1827), other Redcoats and civilians came and went; more convicts arrived from NSW and some escaped.

The Swan River Free Settlement

Captain James Stirling

Meanwhile Captain James Stirling had arrived on Parmelia to proclaim the Swan River settlement a free Colony (free of convicts, that is). On 8th June 1829 Sulphur arrived in Fremantle with the 63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot comprising five officers, two sergeants, three corporals, one drummer and 46 privates. By the end of 1829 more ships, carrying Swan River settlers, further 63rd Regiment troops, and some 39th Regiment relieving troops bound for King George’s Sound, arrived in Fremantle.

Not only did the settlers of Swan River object to the presence of convicts within the Colony, but Captain James Stirling was unhappy about having a military outpost in the West under the command of the Governor of New South Wales. It is likely that even had the KGS settlement been successful, Stirling would have intervened.

The Redcoats are coming, the Redcoats are coming!

Memorial to Private William Banks permanently on Frederickstown soil

A new detachment of Redcoats of the 63rd Regiment had arrived in Frederickstown on Isabella on 19th March 1831. It was this ship that took the 39th Regiment detachment back to Sydney, along with the civilians and convicts who had settled there over the previous four years. The region was now declared to be under the control of the Swan River Colony. One convict was officially allowed to remain at his own request; others had escaped and not been captured; none of the 39th Regiment of soldiers took a discharge from the Army in the new Colony. But at least one of the original complement was left permanently on Frederickstown soil: Private William Banks who had died and was buried on 8th March 1827. On 1st January 1832, Frederickstown was renamed Albany.

 

Thus we begin the story of the Redcoats whom, after serving in many parts of Western
Australia, discharged from their various regiments and settled in this Colony/State.

For further information about the scope of the Project and how the website works,
click this link to About.

 

Diane Oldman
Website Author and Administrator
1st December 2023