//
you're reading...
Australian History

On This Day In Australia: In 1853, a Jubilee Festival was held in Hobart to mark the cessation of convict transportation to the colony


Banner of the Australasian League

On 10 August 1853, a Jubilee Festival was held in Hobart to mark the cessation of convict transportation to the colony. To avoid it being closed down, organisers told the government it was to celebrate 50 years of settlement in Tasmania.

The Jubilee anthem rang out across Launceston’s Princes Square and the people sang: “Our land is free, broken Tasmania’s chain, washed out the hated stain, ended the strife and pain, blest Jubilee”. 

While celebrations were the order of the day in the state’s North, Governor Dennison of Hobart considered that rejoicing would perpetuate feelings of hostility between the different classes, and refused to shut the government offices.

Curator of history at Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Jon Addison, believes that while the Jubilee celebrations were constructed at first to celebrate 50 years of British settlement, the real reason soon became clear.

“The Anti-Transportation League had to take the moral high ground at all times, it couldn’t be perceived to be gloating over its victory, with many still angered at cessation, its members needed to find a pretext for their celebrations,” Mr Addison said. 

“The celebrations were varied throughout Tasmania, with pig and tar barrel chasing in Port Sorell to the community celebrations held in Princes Square in Launceston, which included the erection of the Jubilee Arch, made entirely of native greenery, which took two days to assemble.”

Cessation of Transportation Medal: Commissioned by the Anti-Transportation League in 1853 and struck in England. Picture supplied by: QVMAG
Cessation of Transportation Medal: Commissioned by the Anti-Transportation League in 1853 and struck in England. Picture supplied by: QVMAG

The Anti-Transportation League had led the charge to end transportation of convicts with the help of leading figure of the time Rev. John West.  

Rev. West was involved with The Launceston Examiner in March, 1842 and became a leading editorial writer, using both his religious pulpit and the paper to exact his great moral crusade for the abolition of transportation. 

He believed convictism was socially and morally evil and he used his first article to attack transportation and its detrimental effect on building a respectable, sound and prosperous society as it brought “ignorance, disorder and crime, and intensified class struggle”.

“Our stand must not be upon commercial considerations, but upon Christian duty . . . we shall leave no measure unemployed to save our children from ruin and our fellow colonists from destruction,” he said. 

Commissioned: 9000 white medals were issued to children of Tasmania, while the bronze medals were given to the league hierarchy.
Commissioned: 9000 white medals were issued to children of Tasmania, while the bronze medals were given to the league hierarchy.

While not everyone agreed with Rev. West’s editorials, there is no doubt he drove a change in public opinion and according to biographer Patricia Ratcliffe “for the betterment of Launceston in the 1840s”. Mr Addison believes, however, that Rev. West had ulterior motives other than the well-being of convicts.

“He was not going into this with the convicts in mind, his priorities were the free settlers, the fine upstanding middle-class citizens he represented and who were a part of his congregation,” Mr Addison said. ​

Despite the dual motivation for the Jubilee Festival, the Jubilee celebrations brought the people of Van Diemen’s Land together and officially ended its convict ties to the mother country.

Social reformer: The Reverend John West, who used his influence in the church and media to influence public opinion.
Social reformer: The Reverend John West, who used his influence in the church and media to influence public opinion.

Source: The Examiner

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 15,358 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

China’s new aircraft carrier Fujian: Hit or miss 

China’s new aircraft carrier Fujian: Hit or miss 

While the United States was wrapping up its Valiant Shield 2022 exercise on 17 June, China launched its third aircraft carrier with all the fanfare. The launch was postponed twice due to logistical and technical issues. The aircraft carrier has been named Fujian with the hull number 18. It has been under construction at the world’s largest […]

In Beijing’s BRICS summit, Putin is back on the world stage

In Beijing’s BRICS summit, Putin is back on the world stage

When Russian President Vladimir Putin dials into the virtual BRICS summit hosted by Beijing on Thursday, it will be his first time attending a forum with the heads of major economies since launching an invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. For Putin, this could offer a welcome picture: his face beamed onscreen alongside other leaders […]

U.S. not seeking to create “Asian NATO,” defense secretary says

U.S. not seeking to create “Asian NATO,” defense secretary says

The U.S. Defense Secretary emphasized partnership as the main priority for the American security strategy in the Indo-Pacific during a keynote speech on Saturday. However, Lloyd Austin stressed that the U.S. does not seek to create “an Asian NATO.” Austin spoke for half an hour at the First Plenary Session of the Shangri-La Dialogue 2022 […]

Why Chinese warplanes are ‘playing chicken’ with US allies

Why Chinese warplanes are ‘playing chicken’ with US allies

Chinese warplanes are targeting US allies in a high-stakes “game of chicken” over the Asia-Pacific that risks spiraling out of control — raising the risk of an incident that could spark war. That is the view of analysts who warn increasingly aggressive maneuvers by Chinese fighter jets — accused of endangering both Canadian and Australian […]

Has China lost Europe?

Has China lost Europe?

In April and May, as Russia’s war in Ukraine entered its third month, China sent a special envoy to meet with officials in eight central and eastern European countries. The timing was not coincidental: in the two months since Russia had launched its invasion, China’s standing in Europe had sunk to new lows. European governments […]

Xi’s re-election: Opportunity for the world, curse for China

Xi’s re-election: Opportunity for the world, curse for China

China is gearing up for the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party to be held later this year. According to the consensus view, President Xi Jinping’s historic bid for a third term as the party’s General Secretary is assured. The Chinese President and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping, doesn’t have much […]

China: A political view

China: A political view

I read Dr Mohamad Zreik[2] interesting and comprehensive article on the growth of China’s economy. It has come a long way since the days of Mao Tse Tung and the days of his communist experiment, the Long March, when millions died. The years that followed Mao set the path from which the economy took off […]

Math books outrage China with ‘ugly, sexually suggestive, pro-American’ images

Math books outrage China with ‘ugly, sexually suggestive, pro-American’ images

China has ordered a nationwide review of school textbooks after illustrations deemed ugly, sexually suggestive and secretly pro-American caused public uproar. The news has alarmed some experts and parents who fear the campaign is turning into a political witch hunt and represents an unnecessary tightening of the country’s already stringent censorship of cultural publications. The […]

Why Biden didn’t mean what he said about Taiwan

Why Biden didn’t mean what he said about Taiwan

The White House has been left scrambling a little after President Joe Biden suggested on May 23, 2022, that the US would intervene militarily should China attempt an invasion of Taiwan. The comment, which Biden made during a trip to Japan, was taken by some observers as a deviation from the official US line on […]

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

United States outmanoeuvres Russia once again? 

In a recent briefing, the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Avril Haines warned, “I would characterize it as the Russians aren’t winning, and the Ukrainians aren’t winning, and we’re at a bit of a stalemate here.” So, where is the Russia-Ukraine war heading? What is Russian President Putin planning next? Is Europe ready for […]

%d bloggers like this: