No mariner knew the wide Pacific better than James Colnett, RN. He had sailed with Cook; he had filibustered in the north-west Pacific fur trade (nearly starting a war with Spain in the process); he had made a whaling reconnaissance to the Galapagos Islands.
Although the journal is an important record of a short-lived experiment using warships as convict transports, its wider interest lies in Colnett’s observations on New South Wales as he found it in 1803. Sensitive to criticism but with unconventionally liberal views about the administration of justice, he is probably unique in his inability to discern any redeeming feature in Sydney, not even its harbour. In fact he believed New Zealand a better prospect for a colony in the region. His description of New South Wales as mutinous was prophetic. Colnett was instrumental in having King recalled.
Ironically, King was replaced by a man who already had a bad record with mutineers: Captain Bligh of the Bounty would become Governor Bligh of the Rum Rebellion.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 07 / 2016
- 150 x 225mm