Plymouth Men Who Helped Found Modern Australia

Captain Tobias Furneaux was born on  August 21st, near Plymouth; he was a navigator and explorer and he accompanied Captain James Cook on his second expedition. Tobias was the first man to circumnavigate the world in both directions. He died on the 18th September 1781 and is buried in Stoke Damerel; the Furnaux Islands are named after him.

John MacArthur was also born near Plymouth in 1767; he was an army officer but much more besides – businessman, politician, architect and was the man who introduced the Merino sheep to Australia. he died in Australia in 1834.

William Bligh, 1754-1817) is famous for being the captain of the Bounty when Fletcher Christian and others mutinied; however he should be remembered for more than that. He was born in 1754 and as well as being Captain of the Bounty, he commanded many other ships. He also served under Captain Cook, and in fact was on Cook’s last and fatal voyage;  eventually Bligh became a Vice-Admiral but he was also the governor of new South Wales.

George Arthur is of interest to me because he was governor of Van Diemen’s Land, before my great-grandfather was born there, though from 1822-1837; Arthur is associated with the decimation of the native Aboriginal people of Tasmania, in what was called the Black Wars . He was born in 1784, and like the others commemorated here he was born in Plymouth; he was a soldier and served in the Napoleonic campaigns before going on to become governor of Honolulu. From Honolulu he went to what is now Tasmania, and then to Bombay in India. he died in 1854.

Edmund Lockyer, born in Plymouth in  1784, was a soldier and explorer in Australia, especially up the Brisbane River and along the west coast of the continent.

DSCF3851I came across this commemorative plaque on a wall by the harbour in Plymouth.

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