The Naval Pioneers of Australia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 250 pages of information about The Naval Pioneers of Australia.

Margarot, one of the “Scotch martyrs,” also fell foul of King, who sent him to Hobart for seditious practices.  The governor seems to have punished Scotch and Irish pretty impartially, for Hayes and Margarot were coupled together as disturbing characters and both sent away.

The “martyrs,” it will perhaps be remembered, were Muir, Palmer, Skirving, Gerald, and Margarot, transported at Edinburgh for libelling the Government in August, 1793, and most harshly dealt with, as everyone nowadays admits.

King was a Cornishman, a native of Launceston.  When he went home in 1790 he married a Miss Coombes, of Bedford.  By this lady he had several children.  The eldest of them, born at Norfolk Island in 1791, he named Phillip Parker, after his old chief.  This youngster was sent into the navy to follow his father’s footsteps, and in a later chapter of this book he will be heard of again.

The ex-governor wrote in September, 1808, a letter from Bath.

“As this letter may probably reach you before you sail, I just write to say that I came here on Tuesday with Mr. Etheridge, on his return to London, merely to see Admiral Phillip, whom I found much better than I possibly could expect from the reports I had heard, although he is quite a cripple, having lost the entire use of his right side, though his intellects are very good, and his spirits are as they always were.”

This letter was to the boy Phillip, then a year-old sailor, on the eve of his departure on a cruise in the Channel.  Seven days later the writer had slipped his moorings, and years earlier than his old comrade had “gone before to that unknown and silent shore.”



The details of Australian sea exploration are beyond the scope of this work, but in a future chapter some reference will be made to the marvellous quantity and splendid quality of naval surveying in Australian waters.

The story of Flinders and Bass, of the work they performed, and the strange, sad ending to their lives is worth a book, much more the small space we can devote to it.  Much has been written about these two men, but the best work on the subject, that written by Flinders himself, has now become a rare book, to be found only in a few public libraries, and too expensive for any but well-to-do book-lovers to have upon their shelves.  The printing in New South Wales by the local Government of the records of the colony has led to the discovery of a quantity of interesting material never before published, and in this there is much relating to Flinders and Bass—­so much, in fact, that the work of the two men could be described from contemporary letters and despatches, material, if not new to everyone, certainly known to very few.

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The Naval Pioneers of Australia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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