University Of Tasmania
whole_McMahonJohnFarquhar2004_thesis.pdf (30.58 MB)

External and internal security in the Australian colonies from their founding to the end of the Macquarie era

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posted on 2023-05-26, 18:04 authored by McMahon, JF
This thesis considers external and internal security in the Australian colonies from the founding of New South Wales to the end of the Macquarie era. As history is a continuum, matters outside the nominated time frame of 1788 to 1821 are, where relevant, considered. This study is not a sociological history of British forces, nor concerned with their many roles, unless applicable. However, to appreciate European concepts of sovereignty which influenced Pitt's government in selecting secure colonial borders, consideration is given to the discovery of New Holland and New South Wales. New South Wales lay athwart zones of strategic interest to the Dutch in the East Indies and the Spanish in the Pacific. Spanish claims were ignored, but to prevent international tension with Holland, Britain selectively prescribed the colony's western border. Additionally, with France, under the Bourbons and Napoleon, apparently planning settlements in Australia, Britain established outposts at Norfolk Island, Risdon Cove and Port Phillip, After 1815, possible Dutch and French intrusion in the region saw the establishment of outposts at Melville Island, Albany and Westernport. At Swan River in 1829, sovereignty was proclaimed and a settlement established, ensuring the whole of Australia became a British domain. The garrisons' internal security role was to support and defend the civil power. From the arrival of the Second Fleet in 1790, until 1810, the New South Wales Corps carried out these duties (receiving historical notoriety for their insurrection in 1808). Thereafter, other regiments were posted to the colony for shorter periods. Tasks included guarding convicts, hunting bushrangers, and protecting settlers on the spreading colonial borders. The Castle Hill Rebellion of 1804, was the most serious internal security situation faced. After the Napoleonic Wars, economic stringencies seriously limited the garrison's strength, yet the number of convicts transported significantly increased, placing a heavy load on the security forces. Until 1810, internal security was weakened by a long running struggle for domination between the military and civil powers. This commenced with Marine officers' dissatisfaction with Phillip's government and culminated with the New South Wales Corps mutiny against Bligh. From 1810, Macquarie established the primacy of the civil over the military power. By his departure in 1821, Sydney Cove had developed from a penal settlement into a colony ready for civic reforms resulting from the Bigge Inquiry. Maintenance of internal security allowed colonial development to take place, whilst threats to external security were the prime reason for the continent of Australia coming under British sovereignty.


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Copyright 2004 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

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