Van Dieman's Land
Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania)
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48th Foot .The
Northamptonshire Regiment 1817 - 1824
- Lieutenant Henry Edward Robinson led the first
party of the 48th to Van Diemen's Land, leaving Sydney,
- September 1817 with a small detachment of one
Corporal (John Simpson) and nineteen Privates on board
the transport "Pilot" as guards of 279 convicts.
They arrived at Hobart Town on the 28th of September 1817.
Corporal John Simpson and three privates returned to
Sydney in November on board the "Frederick" as
escort guards for two soldiers of the 46th charged with
murder. Lieutenant Henry Edward Robinson was to spend
most of his remaining service time in Van Diemans Land .
It was not until 1853 that Van Dieman's Land became known
- On the 24th of March, Major General Cimitiere (
one of very few to actually earn his rank without
- purchase) with Lieutenent John Cuthbertson ,
Ensign Lachlan McAllister and 80 men of Captain Watkins
company of the 48th set sail for Port Dalrymple. They
were to replace Stewarts 46th regiment who had become
uncontrolable. The 46th were to be sent to India, while
serving in Van Dieman's Land they had robbed and
destroyed property, had become insubordinate and were in
a total state of disarray . Major Cimitiere on leaving
Sydney also carried with him very strict orders to remove
the chief settlement at Port Dalrymple,issued by Govenor
Macquarie. This was carried out and the settlement moved
to George Town, a site chosen by Macquarie. On May the 25th
1819, the garrison moved to Georgetown. Many of the tasks
of the 48th was the pursuit of convicts. This occurred on
many occasions and became a very mundane chore of the 48th,
but was always carried out with diligence.
- A bushsranger of Van Dieman's Land, Michael Howe
, (Royal Navy & Army deserter ) who had been
- transported for highway robbery absconded,
returned to his robbery trade was eventually killed
during a gun fight with the pursuing members of the 48th.
In a published account of this incident,Howe was run down
by two members of the 48th (Major Bell and Private
William Pugh known in the regiment as Big Bill ,at 5'2"
tall it was a very strange title. ) . Pugh, being the one
to remove Howe's head. Beheading at this time was to be,
according to records, a fit ending for any bushranger.
- During the 48th's service in Van Diemens's
scandal and inuendo followed them in many ways, bringing
- disrepute to the regiment . In all cases it
involved the officers, and not the men, who were to be
responsible for the name of the 48th being bought in such
disrepute . Cimitiere and many other officers eventually
having to answer to Colonol James Erskin commander of the
48th for their actions.
- During the 48th's term in Van Dieman's Land ,they
were responsible for the capture of many
- escaped convicts, more than any regiment
stationed before and after their departure. Undoubtedly,
the major achievement of the 48th regiment in Van Diemen's
Land was the establishment of the settlement at Macquarie
Harbour. The opinion of the time was that the convicts
were subjected to harsh conditions in this secondary
settlement. This view haunted the 48th for many years.
One should take into account the conditions , the terrain
and the position of this harsh part of Van Dieman's Land.
Lack of access and communication as well as the many
terrain difficulties to overcome made the final
achievment by both the 48th regiment and their charges
one to be admired not condemened.
- On the 7th of April 1824, the 48th regiments
service was ended in Van Diemen's land .On return of
- the regiment ,from Macquarie Harbour, 1 Captain (
Major) [ Brevet Major Bell ] 1- Ensign , 5-Sergeants, 5-
Corporals, 1- Drummer , 132- privates, with 32 wives and
72 children departed on the "Tritan" for India
, The 48th had done their duty in Van Diemen's Land.
- Excerpt from Clem Sargant's book
THE COLONIAL GARRISON 1818-1824 published 1996
- Accounts from local residents
& library material (.,personal memoirs of those
- The information is intended for
historical value only
E- mail address
© Copyright B
& M Chapman (QLD) Australia
Last revised: March 01, 2002.