Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are advised that this essay contains names and images of deceased Aboriginal People.
John Harris, like many of his contemporaries in colonial society, has been memorialised in street names, suburbs, and other places throughout New South Wales. Ultimo is named after Harris’s house and estate, which lay where the University of Technology Sydney stands today and through which runs modern Harris Street. Harris Park next to Parramatta also bears his name, as does Mount Harris in central New South Wales. As the son of Protestant tenant farmers in present-day Northern Ireland, his imprint on urban and rural geography is a testament to the prominent role he played in colonial society as an army officer, public servant, explorer, and landowner. Harris came to the colony as a surgeon with the 102nd Regiment on the disastrous Second Fleet in 1790. He shared a relatively humble background with many of his fellow army officers and saw service in New South Wales as an opportunity to amass a personal fortune and so improve his standing in British imperial society. He was one of the major players in the early officers’ monopoly in retail trade and acquired land through grants and purchase as soon as he could. Over the years he would accumulate several thousand acres between Cadi (Sydney) in Cadigal Country, Parramatta, Shane’s Park in Dharug Country, and the South West Slopes region of New South Wales in Wiradjuri Country. Harris was sensitive to his image as a learned man although others would privately and publicly ridicule the difference between his lowly origins and what they saw as a public affectation of refinement at odds with his rough language. Harris would always insist, however, on maintaining his status above lower social strata. Convicts were in his eyes a labouring class to meet his ends, whilst Aboriginal People he dismissed as losers in an inevitable war for possession of the land. Harris arguably embraced a larger public role in colonial society than other officers and his association with Governor Philip Gidley King strained his relationship with the Corps. Beyond his duties as a surgeon, Harris involved himself in public works, including road construction, and served as Naval Officer, a role in which he communicated with ship’s masters, collected bonds and enforced port regulations. He was also police magistrate at Cadi (Sydney) in the 1800s. Memorials to Governor King and Major George Johnston reflect the real popularity he enjoyed amongst the traders, retailers, and other residents of Cadi (Sydney). Yet when he served as police magistrate at Parramatta in the 1820s, Harris became a target of new social forces that resented the old elite he represented, particularly when the magistracy, and him specifically, came under sustained attack from W. C. Wentworth’s Australian newspaper. In the 1830s, as a hip problem confined him to a wheelchair, Harris fell out of public view to manage his pastoral and agricultural holdings from his Shane’s Park estate on the Yandhai (Nepean River). He died in late April 1838, leaving behind an estate worth an estimated £150,000. Harris was never as notorious as John Macarthur, but in many ways embodies the original colonial elite.
Ulster and the British EmpireJohn Harris was born in 1754 on the Moy McIlmurry farm near Moneymore, Londonderry County, in the province of Ulster (present-day Northern Ireland). His family were Protestant tenant farmers working 68 acres leased from the Salters Company, which had received a large grant from the Crown in 1611. Harris’s early life was relatively prosperous, yet as he grew into adulthood a combination of rising rent, population growth, and Catholic demands on dispossessed land made for a turbulent time in Ulster. In 1789 the Masonic Lodge at Magherafelt, near Moneymore, certified that Harris regularly attended their meetings and ‘has during his stay with us Behaved himself as an honest Worthy Brother.’ At the time, Freemasonry emphasised international brotherhood and equality and many army and navy officers took advantage of reduced fees to become members of the Irish lodges. Although the Grand Lodge of Ireland formally forbade political activity, many Freemasons in Ulster aligned themselves in the 1790s with republican reform movements, especially the Society of United Irishmen. Formed in Dublin and Belfast in 1791, the United Irishmen initially called for parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation and sought to revive a local tradition of a militia. Whilst some masonic lodges expressed loyalty to the government, others broke with the Grand Lodge to throw their support behind reform. In Tyrone, not far from Magherafelt and Moneymore, an assembly representing 1,423 Freemasons, and led by United Irishmen Dr. James Reynolds and Dr. James Caldwell, adopted a resolution supporting the Society’s reform agenda:
How could any of you, whose benevolence should be [as] extensive as the habitations of man, behold two-thirds of your countrymen miserable, oppressed, naked, literally living on potatoes and point, labouring under sanguinary penal laws, taxed without being represented, unable in sickness to procure assistance, and obliged annually to desert their hovels at the approaching ravages of the hearth collector.The United Irishmen’s attempt to revive local Irish militia, the Volunteers, was met with repression and the raising of a government militia, partly because some supporters invoked the French Revolution as an example of republican progress. Harris learned of these developments when his mother Ann and brother William wrote to him in 1793. William wrote of the ‘Great Disturbances through Ireland lately caused by Raising Volunteers which wore Green Cock,’ possibly referring to the Belfast 1st Volunteer Company, or the Green Company, ‘for which the Great of Ireland was much Displeased as they said they were French colours.’ He further noted that many of the local republican leaders had been summoned to Dublin for a trial,
and imprisoned some of them four or five months – Doctor Reynolds Being one of them that had that fortune – There is Great work at present through all this Kingdom with Drawing Militia men those that are Drawn must Attend or send one in their place or be liable to severe punishment – We are all Missed as yet thank God.Harris’s mother Ann also noted the repression of the Irish Volunteers and Harris’s own personal connections to some of the leaders: ‘Government have set against it fearing they would do as France don [sic] with their King – Them that raised and was head of them was summoned to Dublin sum [sic] confessed others got pardons Doctor Cardwell Doctor Reynolds … Mr Bunton and many others of your acquaintance.’ Whether Harris would have embraced the political activity of his Freemason colleagues in Ulster is unclear. In New South Wales he became part of the colonial elite, but his Irish origins occasionally came to the surface. When Judge-Advocate Richard Atkins sued Harris for defamation in 1799, Atkins referred to the influence of the French Revolution on the Irish rebellion the previous year:
the same fraternizing, equalizing and disorganizing System which has overturned that Country to her Foundations has lately been attempted to be introduced into the Country that has the Honor of recording Mr Harris’s nativity. Had it succeeded there it might perhaps have extended itself to this place, in that case I presume Mr Harris would have made Interest for the Office of Public Accuser or Censor General.Harris did not respond to such a suggestion, but the following year he was ironically part of a committee that recommended punishment of 1000 and 500 lashes to the ringleaders of a plot amongst Irish convicts who had been transported in February for their role in the 1798 rebellion. Harris’s early schooling would have given him a familiarity with Latin, classics and mathematics before he joined the navy, but heritage consultant Sue Rosen has found no evidence that he had any higher education in medicine or surgery. He likely only took a basic examination by the Company of Surgeons before learning and developing his skills in practice. This does not mean that he was not engaged with professional development. Rosen points out that he attended conferences of the Medical Society of London in the 1780s, kept abreast of and drew on recommendations of the Royal Humane Society, and brought standard texts like Elements of Chemistry (1764) and Observations on the Diseases of Seamen (1785) with him to New South Wales. In 1795 he oversaw the earliest vaccinations in the colony. In 1808 Harris was part of the board that examined and certified former convict William Redfern to practice surgery, noting the latter’s familiarity with the ‘necessary collateral Branches of Medicine Literature.’ Redfern would later defend his professionalism against Commissioner John Thomas Bigge’s disdain for the emancipist surgeon by pointing out that Harris and his colleagues ‘just entered the Navy & Army on the same examination as I did’: ‘In those days it was not quite so fashionable to be dubbed an M.D. from St. Andrew, where I might for the customary fee have procured one for My Horse.’ Harris would have developed most of his knowledge and skills during his service on the HMS Defence in the 1780s, especially in the Bay of Bengal, where the Battle of Cuddalore saw 102 British dead and another 375 wounded. There are few records of Harris’s work as a surgeon in New South Wales, but he was called on to perform amputations, including one performed on a soldier in 1795. As David Collins described it, the soldier had received a gunshot wound in the upper thigh very close to the man’s groin, so that when Harris performed the surgery ‘the tourniquet was fixed with much difficulty and hazard.’ At times Harris was obliged to transfer his skills to veterinary surgery, including a failed amputation of his own Arabian mare’s broken leg. In 1789 Harris decided to take advantage of the generous conditions offered to encourage men like him to join the 102nd army regiment that would travel to New South Wales with the Second Fleet, which included immediate promotion. In fact, Harris was immediately promoted again to Surgeon when his superior decided instead to accept an appointment in Canada. The voyage of the Second Fleet was an extremely stressful one, not only due to the well-known sickness and loss of life amongst the convicts, but also for the way Harris found himself in the middle of disputes between the officers and the masters of the Neptune. On one occasion Captain Gilbert reacted angrily to John Macarthur’s complaints about smells around his cabin. Tensions escalated into public insults by Macarthur and a challenge to a duel at Plymouth, in which Harris served as Macarthur’s second. The dispute was peacefully resolved, but Gilbert later flew into a rage over the officers’ handling of a riot amongst female convicts. According to Harris, Gilbert ‘took hold of me by the shirt-breast, and dam’d me and Cap’n Nepean several times, as I told him I acted by his orders [sic].’ Harris then criticised Gilbert for ‘endeavouring to raise dissentions [sic] in the ship,’ but Gilbert then grabbed a guard by the neck, which only drew a threat of retaliation. The army officers claimed they had authority over the convicts whilst Gilbert eventually agreed to cede what he believed was his absolute authority on board the ship. Captain Nepean, who had grown friendly with Harris, nevertheless ordered that Gilbert’s muskets be confiscated in order to prevent a more severe outbreak of violence. These incidents capture the way Harris would continue to find himself in the middle of conflicts, especially the many later disputes over the correct relationship between civil and military authorities in New South Wales and the tensions between commercial activity and one’s status as an officer and a gentleman.
First ImpressionsGrace Karskens has recently challenged the assumption that early colonists’ encounters with the Australian environment were harsh, confusing or profoundly disappointing. Many felt a sense of wonder at the flowers, trees, birds, and animals and could appreciate the natural beauty of Port Jackson. Harris, however, fell into that category of colonists whose first impressions dashed all hope for prosperity and wealth. In one of his earliest surviving letters to an anonymous acquaintance in 1791, Harris described Cadi (Sydney) as ‘the most miserable looking place I ever beheld’ and seems to have accused Watkin Tench of being ‘much too sparing in his opinion of the place.’ All the land around the settlement was ‘poor’ and Warrane (Sydney Cove) could be ‘justly termed one of the most Barren Rocky Situations for a Colony under Heaven nor do I see any inducement Whatever that could … justify a Settlement to be formed here.’ He admitted that there was a lot of material to keep botanists busy and also noted that the ‘Climate is indisputably the pleasantest I ever saw and very healthy’ in its freedom from many of the endemic diseases he had encountered whilst stationed in Bengal. Yet the climate seemed to be the main compensation in such a ‘dreadful place’ of ‘intense heat’ and ‘tough ground.’ The only glimmer of hope for Harris was the possibility of better land in the interior that had not been extensively explored yet: ‘To survey the heart would be very remunt’ve as it is every bodys opinion that this placed must sooner or later be relinquished [sic].’ In these early years of restricted rations and crop failures Harris already felt a sense of solidarity with the officer class against the convicts. When Governor Phillip ordered reduced rations to cope with shortages he insisted on equality between officers and convicts. In Harris’s March 1791 letter he noted this policy with a sense of resentment and an expectation that it may not last: ‘There is no kind of distinction made between the Officers and convicts whatever and we are all serv’d alike without any kind of preference but believe me should we ever come to be hard drove by hunger that those who wear swords will then make a material distinction.’ Harris clearly had no reservations about a colonial society founded on military force. His membership of the officer class in fact underpinned the wealth and status that was to draw criticism from youthful, reformist social forces in the 1820s. Harris wrote about Aboriginal People in these early years, but unlike some officers he had little sympathy or patience with them and had low expectations about the possibility of friendly relations. In his private correspondence he included basic ethnographic observations about their weapons, tools, hair, and diet. He noted the practice of removing front teeth from teenage males and of removing part of the little finger of girls with a ligature around the second joint. ‘The people are about the middle size,’ he wrote, ‘and pretty stoutly made except their Limbs which are but small I think they are full as dark as the Africans but not so well form’d.’ As Shino Konishi notes, British explorers and colonists in New South Wales described and debated the skin colour of Aboriginal People in ways that reflected emerging conceptions of racial human difference. Harris was among the less positive observers, describing the Eora as ‘a very nasty dirty set of wretches’ and their nowie harbour craft as ‘the most Miserable Machins I ever saw.’ Harris provided an account of the recent relationship between Aboriginal People and the colonists that included increasing assaults of convicts in the woods, the kidnapping of Bennelong and Colbee, Bennelong’s departure, the spearing of Governor Phillip at Manly, and the subsequent ‘coming in’ of people at Warrane (Sydney Cove) after the resolution of the conflict. Relations were thereafter much closer and Aboriginal People in the area spent much more time moving freely through the British camp at Warrane (Sydney Cove), even sleeping in officers’ huts, with Bennelong serving as an intermediary with Phillip, all while maintaining their own culture and economy. For Harris and other officers their presence was increasingly frustrating. ‘The Whole Tribe with their visitors have plagued us ever since,’ he wrote, ‘nor can we now get rid of them they come and go at pleasure.’ Harris was one of the chroniclers who depicted Aboriginal society as especially violent, particularly towards women, and related an incident in which Phillip had to intervene to prevent a beating of a woman from a neighbouring people. Harris was thus much more pessimistic than Phillip was:
I know of no good they have as yet been to use nor do I think they will and from their Vindictive Disposition I am certain they will never be in friendship with us specially when their part is stronger than ours – They Diffr tribes are continually at war with each other and savage like are savage to each other [sic].Harris would later join an expedition up the Coquun (Hunter River) in Wonnarua Country in 1801 and in official correspondence sounded more sympathetic. He informed Governor King that whilst charting the mouth of the river the local people had been ‘remarkably shy,’ speculating that ‘they have been badly used by the white people here some time since.’ The expedition, adopting an old tactic of explorers and colonisers, ‘caught two of them in the woods, treated them kindly, and let them go about their business. I hope it may have a good effect.’ Seventeen years later Harris volunteered for John Oxley’s expedition along the Wambool (Macquarie River) in Wiradjuri Country, which concluded with a trek down the coast from Guruk (Port Macquarie) in Birpai Country to Muloobinba (Newcastle) in Awabakal and Worimi Country. Whilst setting up camp behind a beach near Sugarloaf Point in Worimi Country in October, they were approached by a group of unarmed Aboriginal People, which grew to about thirty men, women and children. Oxley believed they had been at Muloobinba (Newcastle) and ‘appeared a friendly and peaceable set.’ Much like the First Fleet officers had done in the first years of the settlement, Oxley’s party presented them with small gifts, shaved the men and cut the children’s hair as gestures of friendship. Indeed, Oxley wrote, it seemed that ‘They were so far from showing the least jealousy of their women, that every circumstance indicated that their favours might be purchased: however that may be, we did not avail ourselves of this privilege.’ The next morning, however, a number of men appeared and threw spears at Harris and George Evans whilst they were bathing, both of whom managed to escape in the water. The men attacked again when Oxley, Harris and Evans were discussing the event in Oxley’s tent. Tensions continued in the following days as the expedition kept their distance from more armed groups on the way down the coast to Port Stephens in Worimi Country. For Oxley these incidents were evidence of the ‘treachery’ of the Aboriginal People of northern New South Wales. It seems more likely that they viewed the explorers’ gestures of friendship and worthless gifts as inadequate compensation for the invasion of their land.
In December 2019, the Manning River Times reported that midden sites—traditional Aboriginal eating grounds—had been identified and were being assessed at Seal Rocks’ Number One Beach, one of the beaches behind Sugarloaf Point.
An Officer and a GentlemanWith the departure of Governor Phillip in 1792 the officers of the New South Wales Corps, under Paterson and Grose, took control of the colony. They immediately implemented changes that served their material wealth and social status. Indeed, it was partly their reluctance to relinquish their privileges that underpinned tensions between the officers and successive governors, culminating in Major George Johnston’s arrest of Governor Bligh in January 1808. Yet Harris also developed a strong relationship with Governor King that compelled him to break with a culture of self-interested solidarity against civil authority that had developed amongst the officers of the Corps under the influence of John Macarthur. William Bligh’s assault on private property and his ‘bad language’ drew Harris and the officers together again, if only for a moment. Harris was one of the major beneficiaries of the suspension of rules against officers receiving or purchasing land. In 1793 he received a grant of 100 acres at Parramatta, Burramattagal Country, which grew the next year to 110 acres. At the same time he purchased Experiment Farm from James Ruse, betraying Governor Phillip’s vision of emancipist yeoman farmers becoming the foundations of the colony. It may have been around this time that Harris constructed Experiment Farm Cottage, on land adjoining Macarthur’s Elizabeth Farm, though the age of Harris’s house has been controversial. Harris also took advantage of the monopoly officers enjoyed in trading with the ships that visited Cadi (Sydney) on speculative voyages. He contributed money to the Britannia’s voyages to the Cape Colony in 1794 to purchase goods for sale in Cadi (Sydney). He also purchased goods from the Halcyon when it arrived. Officers like Harris were then able to sell such goods at hugely inflated retail prices, with estimates ranging from a 100–500 per cent mark-up. If the officers’ homes and estates were expressions of their newfound social status, it was this dominance of retail trade that underpinned their wealth. The accumulation of wealth and power by the officers led to an increasingly tense relationship between them and the civil authorities who tried to suppress the trade in spirits. During the military regime colonists like William Balmain, Thomas Arndell and the Reverend Samuel Marsden painted a picture of a place of ‘riot,’ ‘dissipation,’ and ‘licentiousness,’ and plagued by violent bullying by soldiers and officers. Governors were subsequently instructed to put a stop to the trade, which prompted many officers to react with barely concealed contempt for civil authority. As historians have pointed out, the officers of the New South Wales Corps were, more often than not, ‘marginal men’ of lower middle-class status who had purchased their commissions in the hopes of making a fortune on the colonial periphery. In this context, officers vigorously resisted policies that impacted on their freedom to accumulate wealth whilst also reacting indignantly to public accusations about their character as gentlemen. This often spilled over into civil litigation or military legal proceedings concerning language, manners, and conduct.  Atkins had detained one of Harris’s assigned convict servants over an alleged assault of a constable at Parramatta. Accompanied by Balmain, Harris had gone to remonstrate with Atkins for not notifying him about this loss of vital labour. As a parting shot, Harris called Atkins a ‘swindler,’ ‘word of the most defamatory and libellous Tendency that inventive malice could suggest.’ This was too much to bear for Atkins, yet he may have regretted pursuing the matter. Atkins had arrived in the colony in 1796 to escape his creditors in England and was appointed Judge-Advocate by Hunter despite his near complete ignorance of law. He quickly made a name for himself as an inveterate alcoholic who never paid his bills. The case is an interesting one that is worth closer examination for what it illustrates about the social dynamics of the time. Harris’s defence drew on William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England to argue that the claim Atkins was a ‘swindler’ could not be defamation because it was true. He then used the civil court as a theatre to publicly humiliate Atkins: ‘Gentlemen, the time has now come which has been long wished by every Person of Character in the Settlement, when the black and disgusting Catalogue of Crimes Committed by my opponent will be displayed.’ It is impossible to hear what these addresses to the court sounded like, but the rhetoric is brutal on the page. Atkins, Harris stated, was not only a ‘swindler,’ but ‘so depraved a Character that to associate with him is to become infamous,’ a ‘man “Whoe lies, cheats, drinks, forbears no lewd Delight / A hateful Fiend by Day – a monster thro’ the night.”’ He then proceeded to question Macarthur and others over a litany of instances of unpaid bills, forcing Atkins to acknowledge his history of alcoholism and debt. Atkins forcefully responded by accusing Harris of being a ‘Tool and Mouthpiece’ of Macarthur, who he described as ‘a Toad in a Hole feeding on his own Poison. At present his sense of Shame is blunted and he stalks abroad like Sin and Death seeking whom he may devour.’ Atkins’s own faults, he proposed, were nothing compared to the abuses of the officers: ‘I have no fine house built on the general misery and raised by the sweat of unhappy wretches made work for nothing.’ The animosity between Atkins and Macarthur dated back to 1796 when Atkins bristled at not being addressed in writing as ‘Esquire,’ prompting Macarthur to ask of Governor Hunter,
is it possible that the use of a trifling appellation can produce a change in the public opinion of a man so deeply plunged in infamy; or how can he be imagined to possess one feeling of the gentlemen when the enormities he is committing daily are considered?Years later, Harris stated in his defamation case that Atkins was an ‘unacknowledged outcast from his most respectable family who consider him a disgrace and a Pest.’ Atkins, responding in a tone that somehow combines snobbery and plaintiveness, asked the court,
is it for an obscure Individual like Mr. Harris to judge and bring before a Court the private Concerns of a family too respectable to be known either by him or his consanguinity[?] Is it for him to weigh in a Balance the quantum of affection that may subsist in a family and to judge of the Reasons why one Brother does not assist the wants of another?He further declared that he did not care about the ‘private Trade’ of Mr. Harris, who ‘may sell his Pins and Needles to whom he pleases.’ Atkins was here setting up a moral distinction between his failings and the grubby commerce of Harris and the officers. ‘Pleasure may have been my pursuit and Pleasure I may have obtained at too high a price,’ he declared, ‘but I never broke in upon the peace of others. I never defamed the fair Character of any man nor did I ever oppress the poor and needy for sordid Lucre.’ Atkins looked down his nose at the army officers despite squandering his inherited social status, whilst Harris was one of those trying to improve his own social status by exploiting his privileged position on the peripheries of the British Empire. Whilst he participated in the same activities that brought officers like Macarthur, George Johnston, Anthony Fenn Kemp, and John Piper great wealth and fine homes and estates, Harris increasingly sought to engage with colonial society to a greater degree than others. In 1800 Governor King appointed Harris to the committee of the new Orphan School and to the magistracy. The following year Harris accepted King’s offer to appoint him Naval Officer and police magistrate in Cadi (Sydney). The Sydney Gazette was replete with stories of Harris investigating cases of theft and murder or organising for the capture of bushrangers. On one occasion Harris organised the response to a dangerous fire in Cadi (Sydney), during which a falling piece of building work severely burned his leg and foot. As Governor King’s relationship with the New South Wales Corps deteriorated, Harris became a confidant and ally of the Governor. When a dispute between Macarthur and Lieutenant John Marshall in mid-1801 escalated into an aborted duel, Marshall assaulted Macarthur and Captain Edward Abbott. Harris gave expert testimony at Marshall’s trial, responding to the prosecution’s line of inquiry by stating that Abbott’s injuries amounted to severe bruising rather than anything potentially fatal: ‘I deny, as a professional Man, that the Place where Capt. Abbott rec’d the Blow is so dangerous as the Head [sic].’ The court convicted Marshall, but Governor King intervened in response to Marshall’s appeal concerning the bias of some members of the bench. Macarthur objected to King’s actions and orchestrated not only the officers’ refusal to obey his order to reconvene the court but to boycott Government House as well. When King asked Harris for more information, he could only reply that Macarthur was ‘notorious’ for that kind of behaviour. Macarthur’s attempt to force Paterson’s participation in the boycott through blackmail prompted Paterson to challenge Macarthur to a duel, which ended with Paterson suffering a wound in his shoulder. King had intended to exile Macarthur to Norfolk Island, but Macarthur claimed he was a victim of ‘treachery’ and ‘ingratitude’ and demanded a court-martial. King now had an opening to get rid of Macarthur and sent him home to England for his trial. Getting Macarthur out of the colony did little to improve King’s standing in the eyes of the officers and Harris now played a central role. In June 1802 when the convict ships Hercules and Atlas arrived at Warrane (Sydney Cove) having suffered high rates of sickness and mortality en route, King decided to confiscate the large quantity of spirts the Atlas was carrying. King was committed to following through on his orders to suppress the ‘infamous Traffic’ that he knew had made fortunes for many officers. He thus allowed an amount sufficient for rationed domestic use to be landed and gave the remaining 800 gallons to the French explorer Nicholas Baudin, whose expedition was visiting Cadi (Sydney) and the Port Jackson area at the time. King was conscious that his actions would be unpopular amongst the ‘Monopolizers’ [sic] who would organise ‘Secret Opposition’ as a protest against their lost profits. Claims about French officers selling spirits started to circulate within the New South Wales Corps, with Captain Anthony Fenn Kemp questioning his informant publicly on the parade ground without notifying the Governor. When King did find out, an investigation found no evidence to support the claims, forcing Kemp to formally apologise to the French officers, including Louis de Freycinet. Harris’s central role in the conflict was to act as King’s informant. Harris, in his capacity as Naval Officer, told the Governor of the original conversation between several officers, including Lieutenant-Colonel William Paterson, the commander of the Corps, regarding King’s decision to give the bulk of the Atlas’s spirits to the French. In compelling Kemp and Ensign William Minchin to apologise to the French officers, King had won a moral victory over conspirators in the Corps. His good relationship with Paterson quickly soured, however, as the officers turned Harris’s actions against him. Following a meeting of the officers, Minchin and the others changed their story, now claiming that the conversation was not a ‘complaint’ and took place on Paterson’s verandah, not in Paterson’s presence, whilst Paterson expressed the hope that these ‘declarations of the officers assembled will exculpate me in not having reported to you a private conversation which I could not conceive to be a complaint, or in any degree injurious to your Excellency’s character as Governor of this territory.’ King became frustrated at the way the testimony of the officers, especially the unprompted use of the term ‘complaint’ and inconsistent statements about the location of the officers’ conversation, seemed to change as correspondence flew back and forth. King’s anxiety about resentment and insubordination increased as he reiterated to Paterson how important it was that he, ‘Having been unfortunate enough to be present at several mutinies of serious import,’ be ‘informed of every subject that could give a shadow of cause for discontent.’ Minchin now complained of being ‘unjustly accused’ by Harris whilst Kemp claimed that it would have been ‘unbecoming me to be carrying tales backwards and forwards on such subjects as the French officers being accused of selling spirits.’ Paterson now stated that ‘Mr. Harris’s conduct is, in my mind, much worse’ than that of either Minchin or Kemp since it ‘has occasioned the reflections and unpleasant constructions upon my conduct, and consequently wounded that good understanding between us which once existed.’
place yourself, sir, in my situation as his Commanding Officer. He is going with information, ‘that the officers of the New South Wales Corps had made many reflections of the Commodore and the French officers being allowed to purchase spirits,’ &c., &c., as stated in your Excellency’s letter of the 4th instant … I say, sir, in this instance he has neither acted openly or honourably to me: he has acted, sir, with contempt and disrespect to me as his Commanding Officer … If any officer is allowed to act unnoticed as Mr. Harris has done, there is an end to all discipline, command, and respect which is due to me as his Commanding Officer.Harris’s actions had embarrassed officers who resented King’s obstruction of the trade in spirits and Paterson perhaps felt the need to shore up his standing with those officers. In fact, Harris was in an ambiguous position as both army surgeon and Naval Officer. King wrote a marginal note in Paterson’s letter of 9 October 1802, stating that Harris had acted ‘in the just discharge of his duty as a Naval Officer.’ Harris was caught in a conflict between civil and military authority, but there was nothing that King could do when Paterson asked the Governor to initiate court-martial proceedings against Harris and Minchin ‘to decide which of the officers had acted with candour.’ The charges against Harris in his court-martial included ‘ungentlemanlike Conduct in accusing Ensign and Adjt. Minchin of having advanced a Circumstance which Ensign and Adjt. Minchin denies’ and ‘disrespect to his Commanding Officer in not informing him of a Circumstance … which effected his Character.’ The Colonial Secretary Chapman was Harris’s main witness and stated that Harris had never used the term ‘complaint’ to describe the officers’ conversation. He also stated that Harris acted not to damage the honour of any officer but to provide ‘information incumbent on you to give to the Governor officially as Naval Officer.’ Paterson had no further evidence of his own to present so the court acquitted Harris. Yet Paterson had also objected to Harris occupying any civil office. Despite having recommended Harris due to the amount of free time he had, Paterson now claimed that those positions were contrary to instructions from his Commander-in-Chief preventing officers being taken away from their military duties. A group of Sydney residents responded to Harris’s dismissal as Naval Officer and police magistrate with a petition asking the Governor to reconsider:
the first moment John Harris, Esq’re, was appointed as a magistrate, they have to return him thanks for his assiduity in administering justice, and his unremitting attention to the high situation he held; his vigilance in detecting vice, and his faithful representation of all such matters as came before him. Under his magisterial eye we have enjoyed perfect security in person and property. We could lay down in safety, knowing that Mr. Harris was always awake. His ear was always ready to hear the tale of the unfortunate, and the public voice is, that he administered justice most impartially.King claimed that Harris, ‘who had ever maintained the most respectable character as a gentleman,’ had ‘long been the object of secret resentment for his assiduity in assisting me to carry the King’s Instructions respecting spirituous liquors into effect.’ At the same time King played a game with Paterson by giving him responsibility for ‘hitherto well-conducted police of this settlement.’ Knowing the burden this would place on him Paterson asked King to reinstate Harris as a magistrate but Harris refused. Tensions continued to simmer into January and February 1803 when a number of satirical and ‘seditious’ papers began circulating around the New South Wales Corps, some of them being read aloud at Parramatta. One of these was written in the form of a conversation that referred to King’s recovery from a serious illness, with the first verse put into the mouth of ‘H-r-s’:
To every loyal Christian heart,
The earnest news I hastily impart;
Congratulate you all, Te Deum sing!
Escaped from death and gibbet is our K—g!King reiterated how Harris’s cooperation in the suppression of spirits ‘rendered him obnoxious to the trading gentlemen and importers of spirits.’ Following an investigation, King initiated court-martials against Lieutenant Thomas Hobby, Ensign Nicholas Bayly and Captain Kemp and appointed Harris to serve as Judge-Advocate on his behalf. At the time Paterson had withdrawn from his duties, leaving the Corps under the command of Major George Johnston. In the middle of Kemp’s trial, after Harris had completed the prosecution’s case, Johnston stopped proceedings and arrested Harris on the charge of having disclosed the votes of judges in the trials of Hobby and Kemp to witnesses. Johnston communicated the formal charge of ‘Scandalous, Infamous behaviour, unbecoming the Character of an Officer and a Gentleman … on Saturday last, the 19th Ult’o’ to King but insisted that the Governor, instead of suspending Kemp’s trial and proceeding with Harris’s court-martial, should immediately replace Harris with another Deputy Judge-Advocate in order to conclude the case against Kemp. Harris and King saw Johnston’s actions as an attempt to close ranks and protect Kemp. In tense correspondence between King and Johnston, each accused the other of acting contrary to the law and the peace of the colony. King frankly stated that Harris was the only officer he trusted and asked for a copy of the transactions of the court. Johnston flatly refused and stated that King’s dismissal of Kemp’s court-martial was ‘totally irregular, contrary to the Rules of the Service and all kind of Justice as well as discipline.’ Johnston was simply refusing the Governor’s orders to convene Harris’s court-martial, a defiance which, King, remarked, ‘I cannot but regard it as annihilating my Authority Delegated to me by the King, Destroying the Charter by which the Colony is Governed, And introducing general Revolt, Rapine, and Murder.’ Johnston was taking advantage of legal uncertainties and contested jurisdictions to disregard the orders of the Governor, who had lost all trust in the Corps and could not rely on Judge-Advocate Atkins for good advice. There was no real resolution to the crisis and King ultimately referred the whole matter to London. The eccentric exile Sir Henry Browne Hayes wrote a letter to Lord Hobart stating that the,
General contempt and universal hatred had left Gov. King with only one single adherent, Mr. Harris, the military surgeon, who, sent here a raw, ignorant boy, is indebted to this colony solely for his learning and accomplishments, and to Governor King for his consequence.Harris’s relationship with King certainly had its rewards as the embattled Governor granted him 34 acres in December 1803. It was the nucleus of his ‘Ultimo’ estate in Cadi (Sydney), Cadigal Country, so named because Johnston’s charges against Harris earlier that year had read ‘ultimo’ instead of ‘instant.’ In 1806 Harris received a further grant of 135 adjacent acres and purchased the adjoining properties of John Malone and William Mitchell. Harris kept a small painting of the grand, two-storey house that stood where the University of Technology now stands in Cadi (Sydney). By 1807 Harris’s stock holdings amounted to 3 bulls, 40 cows, 11 oxen, 256 sheep, and 10 pigs spread across 2299 acres of pasture. A herd of spotted deer imported from India roamed the grounds too, completing the picture of an English gentleman’s country estate. If Harris’s cooperation and friendship with Governor King had alienated him from the officers of the New South Wales Corps, the abrasive and uncompromising character of William Bligh brought them back together again in shared loathing of the new Governor. Bligh signalled his intention to cancel all the land grants and leases that had taken place since Governor Phillip’s original instructions, including one undeveloped lot belonging to Harris that was ‘detrimental to the Parade.’ This clash over land was the primary focus on Bligh’s conflict with the colonial elite, with the ever-belligerent Macarthur proving to be the main instigator. In what appears to have been part of a concerted letter writing campaign designed to discredit Bligh in London, Harris wrote two letters to King and his wife Anna in which he excoriated Bligh as a ‘tyrannical villain.’ He told Mrs King that Bligh ‘began in the small way with finding fault with everything Gov’r King had done’ and became a colonial Robespierre or Caligula. He emphasised especially that while Bligh enriched himself with land grants and livestock he also ‘destroys and makes away with all private property, saying everything is his.’ Meanwhile he ignored public building and improvements. Bligh was so obnoxious that Harris was able to relate how,
every description of persons (a few who you can guess excepted) heaping blessings on the head of my friend, the late Governor and his family, praying for his return, for his health, and for his goodness to them when here – nay, even those who were the most censorious and abusive are now his greatest advocates.Indeed, Harris passed on the well-wishes of people like Minchin and Johnston, stating that they ‘desire to be remembered kindly to you.’ Harris, meanwhile, had resigned or been dismissed from all his civil offices. The conflict between Bligh, Macarthur and the New South Wales Corps has been well-documented. Tensions reached breaking point when Macarthur defied an arrest warrant for sedition and libel, partly related to his importation of illegal stills. Harris had in fact given evidence in a previous trial concerning the stills, testifying that the pieces of the still that Macarthur had taken possession of were not functional. The January 1808 trial of Macarthur, on the most serious charges he had ever faced, collapsed when Macarthur objected to Atkins’s serving as Judge-Advocate whilst the sympathetic Corps officers on the bench howled Atkins out of the court room. The following day Johnston led the New South Wales Corps up to Government House along Bridge Street to arrest Bligh, who was eventually found hiding under a bed. Harris certainly participated in the mutiny, though during the search for Bligh he played the chivalrous role of comforting Bligh’s daughter, later claiming that she was ‘very much alarmed, and she clung to me for protection; I never left her for an instant.’ According to Nicholas Devine’s testimony at Johnston’s court-martial, Harris’s barracks quarters were one of the places where the officers persuaded other Sydney residents to sign a petition against Bligh after the mutiny had taken place. As the rebel government fell apart, however, Harris again found himself at loggerheads with Johnston and his new colonial secretary, Macarthur. When they proposed that Harris take the despatches explaining events back to England, Harris replied enigmatically that ‘I trust I shall be able to explain to His Majesty’s Ministers many things which otherwise might never have reached them.’ Harris provided no further explanation for his remark, to which Johnston replied with a reminder that Harris had been party to the mutiny: ‘You will naturally explain your own reasons for joining with the Officers and Inhabitants in calling upon me to assume the Command, and to put Governor Bligh in arrest.’ Harris later declared, ‘very conveniently’ in Macarthur’s view, that he was too ill to go. Harris did eventually return to England to serve as a witness in Johnston’s court-martial in 1811. In contrast to the scathing critiques he communicated to the Kings, Harris’s testimony was mild in its treatment of Bligh. He said he was ‘a passionate man; but otherwise, I heard nothing against him’ and denied any suggestion that Bligh had intervened in cases in which he had served as a magistrate. Harris stated that he ‘always considered [Macarthur] a troublesome character’ and denied the defence’s claim that the colony faced an imminent insurrection that necessitated Johnston’s actions. In the end Johnston and others could have faced more serious consequences had Bligh been more popular with senior government officials. It was Macarthur who suffered the worst, remaining in England in the knowledge that Governor Lachlan Macquarie had orders to arrest him on unspecified charges. Harris stayed in England and Ireland for two years to catch up with family and marry 25-year-old Eliza Jones in Covent Garden. In July 1813 he sent a memorial to Lord Bathurst asking permission to return to New South Wales, noting that he had resigned his commission and, given the duration of his service, was entitled to retirement on full pay. He stressed that he already possessed considerable property in land and stock and, noting his prior public service, asked whether he might be ‘indulged by such Grants of Land, as your Lordship, in your protecting Wisdom and liberality, may deem him worthy of.’ He even claimed that after decades of service in a ‘Tropical Climate, He finds his health endangered even by a Sojourn in England.’ Under-Secretary of State Goulburn wrote to Macquarie about Bathurst’s doubts concerning Harris’s culpability ‘in the transactions of the year 1808’ but in any case left the question of land grants to Macquarie’s discretion. By April 1814 Harris was in New South Wales again as a free settler.
A Public FigureHarris returned to New South Wales on the same ship as the convict architect Francis Greenway. Greenway would later design and build the urban landscape of the Macquaries’ Sydney, but not before Harris contracted him to design renovations for his house at Ultimo. Harris had met Elizabeth Macquarie years earlier in Rio de Janeiro, he returning to England for Johnston’s court-martial, she travelling with Lachlan Macquarie to assume the governorship of New South Wales. Her description of him in her diary was an unflattering description of a pretentious man. Harris showed Macquarie an image of his Ultimo house, prompting her to ask why he had named it so:
the Dr. with an air of utmost importance strutted up to me & said, I can explain that to you Madam, I was once summon’d to attend a Court martial, the Gentleman in reading the charge happen’d to say this Court being commenced on the 12th. Ultimo, instead of instant; they were not classical, but I Madam being classical immediately perceived the mistake; I ridiculed them, and wrote verses on the subject.Harris, Macquarie suggested, ‘seemed to think himself a very great man, & to wish that other persons should think the same,’ whilst Ellis Bent gave him the nickname ‘Major Sturgeon’ after a character from Samuel Foote’s farce The Mayor of Garrett. She also related an anecdote that again highlights the tensions that Harris likely felt between his status as a learned gentleman and the trading activities that had originally brought him wealth in Cadi (Sydney). Harris wore a splendid uniform coat on board but other passengers told Macquarie that they had seen him earlier on shore ‘dress’d like a Jew, in a shabby little Shop making merchandise of some precious stones he had brought for sale from New Holland.’ Harris’s fellow surgeon Thomas Jamison had likewise been seen selling shoes and stockings: ‘it appear’d strange to us that the Surgeon-General of a Colony should be concern’d in such matters, tho’ highly respectable to those whose province it belongs [sic].’ Harris’s status as a learned gentleman was subject to scrutiny and ridicule at times. Henry Browne Hayes had privately sneered at such claims when he described Harris as a ‘raw, ignorant boy’ when he had arrived in the colony. In a running spat between the Australian newspaper and Harris in the mid-1820s, the editors W. C. Wentworth and Robert Wardell declared that ‘village politics prevail at Parramatta as in all other small places; where little people think themselves great folks.’ Harris’s status always seems to have been uncertain, his wealth and influence undeniable, but his respectability vulnerable. Harris arrived in New South Wales on the General Hewitt, a convict transport that had suffered from high morbidity and mortality. Harris immediately volunteered his services for the inquiry that followed. Harris initially focused on his land but he slowly resumed many of his public roles. He received 1500 acres of land in grants near the Yandhai (Nepean River) in 1817 and after volunteering for John Oxley’s expedition received another 1100 acres in 1819. In 1820 he began working on a house at his Nepean estate, which he named Shane’s Park, after the Gaelic form of John, and which adjoined the property of the King family. In 1817 Harris was a founding director of the Bank of New South Wales and by 1819 was again a magistrate, now at Parramatta alongside Hannibal Macarthur and D’Arcy Wentworth. During Commissioner Bigge’s investigation of government in New South Wales it emerged that Macquarie had delayed the appointment of Harris and others despite the large existing workload, with Macquarie denying that he felt Harris was hostile to him. As police magistrate at Parramatta, Harris was drawn into a number of controversies that took place in a changing social context. In 1819 Harris had been appointed to a committee formed to draft a petition to the Governor regarding free trade and trial by jury, amongst other subjects. Yet more often than not Harris was a target for criticism from a younger generation who saw men like him as old, authoritarian elitists. In 1825 Harris was among a number of magistrates who were identified as having sentenced people to cruel punishments. Suspects were to be given a certain number of lashes, usually 25, on a daily or weekly basis until they revealed the location of stolen goods or the identity of perpetrators or accomplices. The worst offender was Henry Grattan Douglass, but Harris admitted to Attorney-General Saxe-Bannister that he had done the same. Harris became a target of public criticism of his behaviour as police magistrate at Parramatta on other occasions too. In July 1826 Harris sat on the bench at Parramatta for a preliminary trial of Samuel Scott and George Wilson for stealing a pig belonging to William Lawson. Harris committed Scott to a trial by jury at the Liverpool Quarter Sessions, but later decided that Wilson should receive 50 lashes. The Sydney Gazette initially ignored the case but the Australian made it an emblematic ‘Commentary on the Police Magistrate of Parramatta’ who exercised powers ‘extended beyond all rational limits.’ Referring to Harris’s age and experience, the newspaper declared that ‘the longer a person has been in the Commission, the more easily is he satisfied with the proofs, and the less scrupulous he becomes of committing for trial.’ Harris had refused to hear the testimony of Alice McCann, who claimed that the pig seen in possession of Scott and Wilson had been hers, entrusted to the care of Scott and Wilson. Harris should have known, the Australian argued, that he was obliged to ‘ascertain whether there is a reasonable ground for admitting the plea’ but instead dispensed ‘fifty lashes “to satiate the longings” of tyranny.’ The editors of the newspaper, Robert Wardell and W. C. Wentworth, were also lawyers and took every opportunity to frustrate the elite ‘Merinos’ like Harris and Macarthur. In this case they publicly called on Governor Ralph Darling to dismiss Harris from the magistracy. In championing Wilson’s cause the Australian also attacked Harris for expelling one of its reporters, Hugh Taylor, invoking both the principle of a free press and the language that Harris had used. ‘Profane swearing is disgraceful enough in the mouth of any one, and at any time,’ read the editorial, ‘but that awful imprecations should be the common language of the Head Magistrate of a district, when sitting on the judgement seat, and addressing a defendant or a culprit, is a degradation to a Country and its legal Institutions.’ In reporting court proceedings accurately the newspaper ‘prevents a prostitution of the Law to sordid motives or inflamed passions,’ ‘protects the helpless and the timid,’ and ‘prevents them falling a sacrifice to the tyrannous decisions of Judges or Justices.’ Harris, the Australian claimed, had instead arrogated ‘to himself the right of denying a privelege [sic] universally claimed and universally conceded, wherever the British Laws are in operation.’ The Australian’s ‘animadversions’ were serious enough to prompt a response from Harris published in the Sydney Gazette. According to Harris, Taylor had adopted a ‘menacing posture’ and ‘contemptuous demeanour’ and was ordered to leave the police station. When Taylor ‘defied my authority,’ Harris wrote, he ordered a constable to eject the reporter: ‘Had the said accredited reporter shown a spirit of submission, he might have remained a spectator and auditor in common with others.’ Harris clearly did expect a level of deference and obedience in light of his status and authority in colonial society. He also stated, bluntly, that Wardell, an editor of the Australian, could never match Harris’s character as a gentleman, ‘a reputation that he will never possess.’ ‘Although, from occasional aggravated circumstances, I may have made use of expressions, that, in cooler circumstances, I would condemn,’ Harris wrote, ‘I should be sorry to place myself on a par with him in reference to morality in any shape.’ Harris was in fact referring to Wardell’s behaviour in seeking out a man like Taylor from a ‘hovel’ in Parramatta for the purpose of discrediting Harris publicly. Although Harris only noted that Taylor was incapable of fair and accurate reporting due to his bad character and illiteracy, a supportive editorial in the Sydney Gazette noted that Harris had recently dismissed Taylor from the Parramatta constabulary for extorting money from a convict. The Australian stuck by its view and even disputed Harris’s version of events: ‘Age often impairs the memory and we are charitable enough to suppose that Dr. Harris, like many other elderly folks, has forgotten much of the past.’ For its part, the Sydney Gazette had defended Harris on the basis of the length of his public service as a magistrate. As the dispute went on in the pages of the Australian and The Sydney Gazette it appears the editors became more circumspect and each newspaper softened its criticisms and support respectively. The Gazette reminded readers of recent revelations about cruel punishments enacted by the magistracy that ‘deluged our land with human gore.’ It continued to defend Harris’s expulsion of the Australian’s reporter but also insisted that ‘We have no desire to allow the Public to foster the supposition that we took … the pen to defend Dr. Harris through thick and thin’ and that ‘Dr. Harris … nor any other Magistrate, must never calculate on support at our hands when charges of cruelty are established.’ For their part, the Australian condemned any ‘sweeping attack upon the whole body of the Magistracy’ due to the ‘occasional delinquencies’ of men like Harris and affirmed that ‘we believe that the Commission of the Peace is tolerably well made up’ of men ‘well fitted for the office they sustain.’ The editors thus promised to make clear that their scrutiny related to specific cases and that their reporting would ‘uphold the credit of the Magistracy generally; and fix, not destroy, the confidence of the people, in the administrators of the Laws.’ It is striking that the newspaper felt the need to assure the public and the government that it was not seeking to foster a revolutionary spirit in the community. In a subsequent story the Australian claimed responsibility for an improvement in Harris’s conduct, especially his avoidance of ‘blustering and profane swearing.’ A year later, the newspaper even stated that as an ‘active and efficient performer of his public duties,’ Harris’s retirement or dismissal as police magistrate ‘would be a public loss to Parramatta.’ He had again emerged unscathed at the end of a very public conflict.
* * *In the 1830s, Harris largely retired from public service to his home at Shane’s Park, Dharug Country in order to manage his farms and pastoral land, including a property named Kalangan or Callaghan, over the mountains near Harden and Murrumburrah, in Wiradjuri Country. He never visited those pastoral stations as he was increasingly confined to a wheelchair by his long-term hip injury. His wife Eliza died in February 1837 and he followed in April the following year, leaving an estate worth £150,000. His neighbour, Harriet King, wrote that ‘he was much softened before his death but he appeared not to know where to look for comfort.’ Elizabeth Macarthur was less kind, stating that after the death of his wife ‘he had given way to the most miserly habits and lived in a comparative degree of wretchedness and discomfort.’ Harris left his mark on the landscape of Cadi (Sydney), as most of his contemporaries have, but he has never been as notorious as John Macarthur or Samuel Marsden. He managed to slip through the political and social conflicts he found himself in. Like his fellow officers, he wanted to improve his standing in British society through success on the colonial margins of the Empire. Yet doubt about his status as a gentleman followed him throughout his life, his learned respectability and public service undermined through his coarse language, his participation in commerce, and a perception of pretention. Harris was not as large a character as Macarthur or Bligh, but in many ways he was emblematic of colonialism, his life illustrating many of the political and social dynamics of the first decades of settler colonial Australia.
CITE THISAlexander Cameron-Smith, “A ‘Raw, Ignorant Boy’: John Harris, Esquire,” St. John’s Cemetery Project, (2020), https://stjohnscemeteryproject.org/bio/john-harris, accessed [insert current date]
- John Thomas Bigge, Report of the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of the Colony of New South Wales, (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1966).
- F. M. Bladen (ed.), Historical Records of New South Wales, (Sydney: William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer, 1892–1901).
- David Collins, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, with remarks on the dispositions, customs, manners, etc, of the native inhabitants of that country, (Sydney: A. H. and A. W. Reed, 1971).
- John Harris Papers, A 1597, State Library of New South Wales.
- Harris Family Papers, 1789–1855, MLDOC 2452, State Library of New South Wales.
- John Oxley, Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales: Undertaken by Order of the British Government in the Years 1817–18, (Sydney: University of Sydney Press, 2002), http://setis.library.usyd.edu.au/ozlit/pdf/p00066.pdf, accessed online 27 April 2020.
- Frederick Watson (ed.), Historical Records of Australia, Series I. Governors’ Despatches to and from England, (Sydney: The Library Committee of the Commonwealth Parliament, 1914–1925).
- Alan Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia, Vol. I, (Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2016).
- Maurice J. Bric, “The United Irishmen, International Republicanism and the Definition of the Polity in the United States of America, 1791–1800,” Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literacy, Vol. 104C, No. 4, (2004): 81–106.
- Nancy J. Curtin, The United Irishmen: Popular Politics in Ulster and Dublin 1791–1798, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
- Greg Dening, Bligh’s Bad Language: Passion, Power, and Theatre on the Bounty, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
- Ross Fitzgerald and Mark Hearn, Bligh, Macarthur and the Rum Rebellion, (Sydney: Kangaroo Press, 1988).
- Grace Karskens, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney, (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010).
- Bruce Kercher, Debt, Seduction and Other Disasters: The Birth of Civil Law in Convict New South Wales, (Sydney: The Federation Press, 1996).
- Shino Konishi, The Aboriginal Male in the Enlightenment World, (Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2015).
- John Ritchie (ed), A Charge of Mutiny: The Court Martial of Lieutenant Colonel George Johnston for deposing Governor William Bligh in the Rebellion of 26 January 1808, (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1988).
- Sue Rosen, Australia’s Oldest House: Surgeon John Harris and Experiment Farm Cottage, (Sydney: Halstead Press, 2009).
- J. Ryan, Land Grants, 1788–1809, (Sydney: Australian Documents Library, 1981).