Saturday, 24 December 2011

George Guest and Governor Bligh

 On 26 January 1808 Governor William Bligh was arrested at his home by the military led by Major Johnston. Martial law was imposed in the colony and the Governor and his daughter were held under guard at Government House. In February 1809 a deal was made that Bligh and his party should board the naval ship, the Porpoise, which was in Sydney Harbour and return to England. Bligh boarded the ship on the 20th February and took control of the ship telling the Captain that at the first opportunity the ship was to sail to sail to the colony on the Derwent River. On 19 March the ship left Sydney waters to make the journey south arriving on 30 March.

Initially Lieutenant Governor Collins welcomed Bligh and pledged his support until Captain Foveaux sent orders from Sydney that any support for Bligh should be withdrawn. Governor Bligh and his daughter once again took refuge on the Porpoise. An account of the events in Hobart is provided in chapter 16 of the book, Captain Bligh's other mutiny, by Stephen Dando-Collins (2007).

"At first, to counter Collin's ban, Bligh bought food for the ship's crew and passengers from local suppliers who remained loyal to him. One in particular, George Guest, openly defied Colonel Collins' order. Collins cracked down. Guest was arrested and imprisoned, and Bligh was to hear that settlers who had sent mutton and chickens out to the ship expressly for Mary were arrested and flogged." (p206)

The ship was moved to the mouth of the Derwent and remained there, commandeering stores from passing ships, until January 1810 when the ship returned to Sydney.

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