Family & Local History Talks
will give a talk on
Blackmailing the Governor: Australia's first strike
In January 1817 Governor Macquarie commenced a massive public works programme. He was alarmed at the numbers of convicts arriving in the colony and the lack of suitable employment for them. It has been suggested that the return of soldiers seeking employment after the end of the Napoleonic Wars was the cause or the rise in crime and transportation, but that is only part of the story. Macquarie built barracks, hospitals and churches and upgraded the roads, wharves, quarries and brick fields. At Pennant Hills he moved and upgraded the sawing establishment. The sawyers here went on strike in late 1819. The strike was timed to cause maximum embarrassment to the governor, and it is likely the convicts were blackmailing him to better their conditions. The outcome was a stunning success for all government workers. As Macquarie was sailing out of Sydney Heads in 1822, one convict clerk manipulated the government records to provide a cheeky twist to the end of the story.
Date: Thursday 13 June
Place: Hornsby Shire Library
28-44 George Street, Hornsby
(entry via Hunter Lane).
Bookings: Please call Hornsby Library on 9847 6614 or email firstname.lastname@example.org