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Australian History

Monday, February 15, 1796. :   Australia's first bushranger, John 'Black' Caesar, is shot.

     John Caesar, nicknamed "Black Caesar" was Australia's first bushranger. Most likely born in Madagascar, he was a slave on a sugar plantation until he escaped and headed for London. The theft of 240 shillings resulted in his transportation on the First Fleet, and he one of the first black people to be part of Australia's colonisation.

Due to difficulties with establishing farms and the limited supplies purchased during the journey of the First Fleet, Governor Arthur Phillip was forced to reduce convict rations in the early part of the penal settlement. This meant that hunger was rife. 'Black' Caesar was a big man and powerfully built, and like many convicts, resorted to theft to feed his hunger. He was tried and punished in April 1789. Two weeks later, he escaped to the bush, taking stolen food supplies and a musket with him.

Caesar apparently had difficulty hunting native wildlife, and began stealing food from both free settlers and convicts' supplies. He was caught on 6 June 1789, and following his trial, was sent to Garden Island to work. He managed to escape yet again, on 22 December, but survived for only a short while before giving himself up on 31 December.

Governor Phillip pardoned Caesar, but sent him to Norfolk Island as a free settler, where Caesar fathered a child. Three years later he returned to Sydney and took up his life of bushranging once more. He was captured several months later. He enjoyed brief recognition when he directly assisted the capture of the Aborigine Pemulwuy, who had led numerous attacks against Europeans and their occupation of aboriginal land. In 1795, Caesar escaped once more, but on 15 February 1796 was shot and killed by a bounty hunter.


Today in History

Thought For Today
I have been calling you, inviting you to come, but you would not listen. You paid no attention to me.
Proverbes 8:24 (c) GNB
If we will only reach out to God, we will find he is already reaching out to us.

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