Australasia 1815: Settling the Australian interior
Until the 1810s all British attempts to penetrate the interior of Australia by crossing the Blue Mountains which surrounded Sydney failed, severely limiting available farmland in New South Wales and forcing the young colony to rely on food imports. In 1813 a route was finally found across the mountains, allowing for the establishment of Bathurst—the first inland town in Australia—two years later. With the opening up of the interior, the settler population began expanding rapidly, much to the detriment of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the continent.
4 Aug–18 Sep 1811 British invasion of Java▲
In April 1811 two British divisions left Madras and Calcutta, British India, to invade Java—at the time a titular French colony due to the annexation of the Kingdom of Holland to the French Empire in 1810. After a rendezvous at Malacca, the British landed on Java on 4 August, capturing the undefended capital of Batavia four days later. The Franco-Dutch withdrew to Fort Cornelis, then into the interior, where they finally surrendered on 18 September.
1 Oct 1812–1 Jan 1817 British Banjarmasin▲
In October 1812 a British East India Company expedition led by Alexander Hare signed a treaty with Sultan Soleiman of Banjar, who had been abandoned by the Dutch in 1809. As part of the agreement, the Sultan granted Hare some 1400 square miles on the south coast of Borneo by the Moluko River. Banjar was restored to the Dutch sphere of influence in 1816—confirmed in a treaty with the Sultan in January 1817—although Hare’s Moluko colony—by now notorious for kidnapping women from neighboring islands—would not come under Dutch control until the following year.
11 May–6 Jun 1813 Crossing of the Blue Mountains▲
Until the 1810s the rugged Blue Mountains had proved impassable to the British settlers of Sydney, New South Wales, preventing the expansion of the colony due to a shortage of farmland (although indigenous people knew of at least two routes through the mountains). In 1813 an expedition led by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson, and William Charles Wentworth finally made a successful crossing by methodically traveling along the ridges instead of through the valleys, reaching Mount Blaxland on the western side of the mountains after a 21 day journey.
20 Nov 1813 Driemanschap▲
On 20 November 1813 Prussian and Russian troops entered the French-ruled Netherlands, prompting Charles-François Lebrun, the French Governor-General, to withdraw from the country. Three Dutch statemen—Frans Adam van der Duyn van Maasdam, Leopold of Limburg Stirum, and Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp—immediately took control, inviting Prince William VI of Orange to the Hague to prevent anarchy. The following day the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands was proclaimed, with William accepting sovereignty on 2 December.
Feb 1814–Oct 1816 Hawkesbury Nepean War▲
During the drought of 1812–16, conflict broke out between British settlers and Aboriginal peoples in the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers on the outskirts of Sydney, New South Wales. The drought ended in January 1816 but was followed by floods and further fighting, including the Appin massacre (in which settlers drove some 16 Aboriginals—mostly women and children—into a gorge and to their deaths). In May troops were ordered in from Sydney, bringing the war to an end by late 1816.
10 Jun 1814 Mission to New Zealand▲
In 1814 Samuel Marsden, member of the Church Missionary Society and a chaplain in New South Wales, sent lay missionaries Thomas Kendall and William Hall to the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, aboard the brig Active. There the missionaries met with influential Māori chiefs, including Hongi Hika—who they persuaded to visit Sydney with them. Marsden arrived in the Bay of Islands later that year, giving the first Christian sermon (in English) to a Māori congregation on Christmas Day. Despite this, Māori were more interested in exploiting the missionary presence for trade—especially for muskets—than accepting Christianity and no converts would be made until 1826. Missionary activity in the rest of the South Pacific would soon follow.
13 Aug 1814 Anglo–Dutch Treaty of 1814▲
Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, representing the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, signed the Convention of London with Hendrik Fagel, of the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands, agreeing to restore to the Dutch most of the colonial possessions they had held as of 1 January 1803 (prior to their seizure by the British during the Napoleonic Wars). The exceptions were the Cape Colony, Dutch settlements in western Guiana (later British Guiana), and some Dutch settlements in India—all of which the British retained. In return Britain agreed to cede its possessions in Sumatra to the Dutch.
7 May 1815 Founding of Bathurst▲
In 1814 Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of the British colony of New South Wales, approved William Cox’s offer to construct a road crossing the Blue Mountains from Emu Plains, the existing road terminus west of Sydney, to the Bathurst Plains. The road was completed on 14 January 1815 and in April Macquarie set out in his carriage from Sydney. At the end of Cox’s road, Macquarie raised the British flag and proclaimed the foundation of the town of Bathurst (named after the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, 3rd Earl Bathurst). Bathurst would be the oldest inland town in Australia.