Australasia 1808: Rum Rebellion
In 1806 William Bligh was made Governor of New South Wales. However, Bligh proved no more popular in this role than he had as Captain of the Bounty two decades earlier and in 1808 was deposed by the military after he attempted to crack down on dubious activities in the colony, most notably the rum trade. NSW would remain under military rule until 1810, when Major-General Lachlan Macquarie arrived from Britain to officially replace Bligh as governor.
4–5 Mar 1804 Castle Hill convict rebellion▲
In 1804 the convict Phillip Cunningham—a veteran of the Irish Rebellion of 1798—led an uprising of 233 mostly Irish convicts at the government farm at Castle Hill, northwest of Sydney, in the British colony of New South Wales. Seizing firearms, the rebels marched on Parramatta, causing alarm in the colony of around 5,000 inhabitants. Governor Philip King quickly proclaimed martial law and sent out a contingent of 97 colonial troops, defeating the rebels in battle at Rouse Hill (dubbed ‘Battle of Vinegar Hill’ after a battle in Ireland).
Jun 1806–11 Dec 1807 Java campaign▲
In 1806 British Royal Navy forces under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Pellew sailed to the Dutch East Indies—at the time ruled by the Kingdom of Holland, a client state of the French Empire—to eliminate the threat the Dutch squadron there posed to British shipping in the region. After defeating a Dutch convoy off the Celebes, the British mounted three raids on Java, capturing the frigate Maria Riggersbergen and destroying the rest of the Dutch squadron.
26 Jan 1808–1 Jan 1810 Rum Rebellion▲
On the morning of 26 January 1808 William Bligh, Governor of New South Wales, ordered the arrest of John Macarthur, an ex-army officer and ambitious farmer, after repeated quarrels between the two (most notably over Macarthur’s role in the rum trade). The New South Wales Corps sided with Macarthur and instead marched into Government House, arresting Bligh. Bligh was eventually released in January 1809, on the condition he return to England, but immediately sailed for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in an unsuccessful attempt to rally support from Lieutenant-Governor Collins. The rebellion finally ended in January 1810, when Major-General Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney and took over as governor.