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Mutiny on the Bounty

Old Feb 27th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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Mutiny on the Bounty

My husband and I are planning his retirement trip to Moorea and Australia. He wants to know if there are any museums/points of interest relating to the Mutiny on the Bounty? We know that James Hall's is in Tahiti....going to that. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated. Also....I have been trying to post a message under the "Australia & the pacific" - text - Tahiti forum but every message I have sent winds up under the "Australia & the pacific"forum which has more to do with Australia not tahiti/moorea. Can someone explain how I can do it? Thanx!!!!
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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 03:24 PM
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I dón't know of any museums, etc, relating specifically to the mutiny, but there are plenty of opportunities to 'connect' with Capt Bligh in Sydney. You probably know that Sydney is the home of the replica HMS (HMAV) Bounty which used to offer cruises round the harbour. She disappeared for a while last year but was around again Xmas 2003. See www.thebounty.com.

The log Capt Bligh kept during the journey to Batavia is included in an exhibition of special treasures on at the NSW State Library. It's a fascinating exhibition (and it's free) but not permanent.


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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 04:20 PM
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Thank you Alice13.....my husband was very excited hearing about the replica ship and the log on display....wrote it all down. Appreciate your suggestions!!!!!
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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 04:35 PM
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As I'm sure your husband knows, the mutineers under Fletcher Christian ended up on Pitcairn Island. Later the British Government resettled most of their descendants on Norfolk Island, which is an Australian territory about 1500 km NE of Sydney and which gained some notoriety as a harsh convict settlement. Mutineers' surnames, including "Christian", are so common that the local phone book distinguishes between subscribers by including their nicknames. I imagine that they still use a local dialect which includes many Tahitian words. NI is an interesting place but you'd have to be a bit of a Bligh fanatic to go out of your way to that extent.

Yes, Bligh has a strong connection with Sydney. Later in life he was appointed Governor of New South Wales, where in 1809 he suffered his second mutiny (the "Rum Rebellion") at the hands of officers of the New South Wales Corps, who amongst other things objected to Bligh's attempts to curtail their profitable liquor trade. The nominal leader of the rebellion, Lt-Col George Johnston, was later court-martialled in London and Bligh was succeeded by Lachlan Macquarie. Both, especially Macquarie, are commemorated in many street and place names in Sydney and further afield.

I've noticed that the descendants of Bligh and Christian are still at war, Bligh's descendants being keen to rescue his reputation, which they claim to have been tarnished by Hollywood accounts of the "Bounty" mutiny and to a lesser extent by stories put about by corrupt members of the NSW Corps.

Sorry I can't be more specific about Bligh memorabilia, but alice13's suggestion of a visit to the State Library is a good one. I just failed to get on to their website (www.slnsw.gov.au), but a search on "William Bligh" on the website of the National Library of Australia in Canberra returned many hits. Happy digging!

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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Neil Oz......thanks for the information....husband really enjoyed it. He said he'd look into the website for the National Library of Australia. Thanks!
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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 07:01 PM
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My pleasure, Dgentrysim. I'd suggest a look at the State Library of NSW too, perhaps especially, as it may have more Bligh material than the NLA. Especially if you don't plan to visit Canberra, which is 3 hours' drive from Sydney. BTW, I just tried www.slnsw.gov.au again and had more success.

I note that the "Bounty" sailed from England on 23 Dec., 1787 and the mutiny occurred in 1789. By this time the British government had established a penal colony in what is now Sydney. The "First Fleet" to New South Wales had sailed before the Bounty, on 13 May 1787, and arrived on 26 Jan 1788.

Presumably Bligh would have been aware of the plan to establish a colony in New South Wales - at the time it was the biggest maritime expedition ever mounted - so I suppose there were good reasons for his decision to make for Batavia and not Sydney following the mutiny.


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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 07:06 PM
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Sorry, just remembered your other question - if I've understood it correctly, I believe that you are in the right place for questions on Tahiti and Moorea, even though this board is dominated by travel question pertaining to Oz and NZ it's still "...and the Pacific".
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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 09:01 PM
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FYI - Aitutaki in the Cook Island was appearantly the last landfall of the HMS Bounty before the famous mutiny - which happened just 17 days later. Rarotonga (also in the Cooks)was later discovered by Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers.

Ken
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Old Feb 28th, 2004, 07:36 AM
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thanks all for the info..it has been very informative...
I was aware of Christian's attempted settlement on the Cook Islands, and remnants of the fort is still there...I also pondered the thought of the cruise that skirts Pitcairn, but apparently there is alot of problems there at this moment....i am truly fascinated with the Bounty story and just can't read enogh...my wife and I are really looking forward to going to Tahiti and Austrailia...I may look into a sidetrip to Nolfolk if the cost isn't too high..Rick
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Old Feb 28th, 2004, 09:22 AM
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Dgentrysim: May I suggest two "must reads" for your consideration, ones that I believe need to be read by those with interest in the history of the South Pacific.

Blue Latitudes, by Tony Horwitz. A fun way to get into the incredible journeys of Cook. Bligh was a young officer on the 3rd voyage. This was particularly enjoyable for me to read, as I have been to many of the places discussed in the book.

The Bounty, by Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance. I've only just begun this one, but I'm hooked, even though we know the ending.

I hope you enjoy your retirement trip to the South Pacific. We will be going again, and again, as long as we can.
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Old Feb 28th, 2004, 01:22 PM
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some "australian" books on Bligh are..

"Captain Bligh's Portable Nightmare"..a very readable account of his journey in an open boat across the pacific to batavia.Uses that voyage to look at Bligh's persona.

"Man of Honour-John Macarthur"
is a recent look at Bligh's protagonist in early colonial sydney.It takes a negative view of Bligh.

Both are available at the excellent bookshop at the State Library on Macquarie street in sydney.

There is a painting of Bligh being dragged out of hiding from under his bed at the time of the "rum rebellion" It is hard to reconcile this portrayal with somone who could sail 2,000 miles in an open boat (from memory)

The Museum of Sydney is on the location of the first govt house where Bligh was taken prisoner by the rebels.Well worth a visit if you have a sense of history.
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Old Feb 29th, 2004, 02:40 AM
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It's a fascinating story. And even more so when you learn that Bligh sailed with Cook, and Flinders sailed with Bligh.

George Vancouver also sailed with Cook.
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Old Feb 29th, 2004, 03:27 AM
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My understanding of the "dragged out from under the bed" story is that it was cooked up by Macarthur and his men as a way of sealing Bligh's fate as a disreputable naval officer.... they knew that the Bounty episode had left a lot of people in a lot of doubt about his character, so they exploited that.

Interestingly enough, when I was a young teacher back in the 1960's I was appointed to one of those "Deliverance-type" backwoods places about 80km from Sydney, deep in the McDonald Valley, where families had lived on the same patch of land for 150 years. The people there told me what their grandfathers used to say: Bligh knew that if he could ever escape from the custody in which Macarthur and his men had placed him, and get as far as the McDonald Valley, then he would find a safe harbour among any of the landowners there; he had, apparently, been tireless in looking after their interests at a time when the rich landowners around Sydney (I suppose they meant Macarthur) were doing their level best to wipe them out. That was about the first time I had ever heard Bligh spoken of so favourably -- since then I think there has been a general reassessment of his life which has found more to praise than to condemn.
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Old Feb 29th, 2004, 05:30 AM
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BillJ....
I will put Blue Latitudes on my reading list....I read Alexander's THe Bounty...fascinating research..although alot of focus was on Heywood and the trials at Portsmouth....I read another book that I found in her reseach...Serpent in Paradise...focusing on Modern day Pitcairn. Also recommended: Pitcirn Island..Life and Death in Eden .. very good although the book is quite expensive for only a few hundred pages...rick





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Old Feb 29th, 2004, 05:34 AM
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JohnJ...thanks for the reading list..I have seen copies of the unflattering picture you mentioned..I agree with you...no matter what character flaws Bligh may have had, he certainly never backed away from adversity...and the picture seemed to be a more negative propoganda image of Bligh rather than how he really reacted..Rick
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Old Feb 29th, 2004, 04:10 PM
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Alan, if you taught in the McDonald Valley you must have been there when the local phone book was virtually confined to three surnames. I was living in Windsor at the time and I remember my father telling me of chatting to the ferry master, whose father had forbidden him from bringing his new transistor radio home because he'd heard that there was a flu outbreak in Sydney and he didn't want the germs coming over the radio waves. A friend who'd gone to school out that way told me that he'd found the locals to be so isolated that they were still calling wombats "badgers", presumably the first label attached to them by puzzled settlers.

Pity there were no banjos.

Bligh did have much support among the farmers of the Hawkesbury Valley. One of my wife's ancestors, a prosperous former convict named Henry Baldwin, was one of his very vocal supporters.


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Old Feb 29th, 2004, 08:48 PM
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Neil, it was four surnames when I first went there..... plus a couple of new chums such as yours truly. The elctricity had only just gone through, and no one had yet discovered television. None of the kids in the school had even seen a movie; I remember taking them to Sydney to see "Oliver" when it first opened, and they were wide-eyed. Flushed with triumph, I decided to turn the old hall into a 16mm theatre on one evening a month, and the first film I rented -- a John Wayne western, can't remember which one -- attracted people from far and wide, including a few families I had never seen before and who entered the hall with some trepidation. I swear to you that when I turned the lights off to start the movie, two of these gentlemen jumpped up in fright and vacated the building. This was in the 1960s!

Two years later, everything had changed. I had exhausted all the John Wayne westerns available, and came a real cropper when I booked "Carousel", which the locals hated with a passion (if only Shirley Jones had packed a six-shooter!). Around that time the new-moneyed ABC and "60 Minutes" TV reporters discovered the valley (and the bargain-basement prices for weekend blocks there), and people like Bill Peach started turning up at the local pub at weekends. You never saw a place change so rapidly: they were followed in quick succession by an assortment of artists and flower-people, and the valley air reeked of the aroma of strange smoking substances. The children of these flower-people used to come to school barefoot, and, occasionally, without their knickers, and they'd tell me how different my school was from their previous school at King's Cross where they called the teacher by her first name and pursued activities of their own choosing all day. The farm children were (as you can imagine) absolutely aghast -- but I never again saw the two men who had fled the darkened hall!
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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 01:50 PM
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For the benefit of overseas readers who might be a bit lost at this point, we're talking about a picturesque area near Wisemans Ferry on the lower reaches of the Hawkesbury River, NNW of Sydney. The McDonald River is a tributary of the Hawkesbury.

The town of Windsor in the Hawkesbury Valley, about 40 km by road upstream of Wisemans Ferry, was the third settlement in the new colony. The alluvial flats of the Hawkesbury Valley guaranteed a rich source of food for the colony and gave rise to the prosperous farmers who supported Bligh.

As Alan has been explained, the McDonald River valley may have been a little remote from events. A friend of mine actually witnessed the arrival of electricity to St Albans, or more accurately its non-arrival. A well-attended party was organised in the local hall; at the pre-arranged time everyone snuffed their kerosene lamps and the switch was thrown. Nothing happened, whereupon the disgruntled residents made "I told you so" noises and trooped home.




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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 06:42 PM
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I know I'm coming in a little late to the conversation. And I know Fiji isn't in the plans - but I thought I'd just mention that when it comes to Bounty artifacts that the Fiji Museum in Suva is an important stop. That's where the rudder is.

Also if I recall correctly, the compass is in the Greenwhich Observatory in England. I'm glad to say I've seen both.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 08:31 PM
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As a kid I stumbled upon Captain Blighs' home in London (near the Imperial War Museum). That was an interesting surprise.

Ken
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