Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Fortnight Hobart Went On A Bender

Things weren't too flash in Hobart Town in 1807 what with a lack of food and spirits. People were feeling peckish and peevish when the ship Duchess of York pulled up in port on March 5.

On board was the delicious rice, tea, sugar, coffee, soap, candles.... and plenty of Bengal Rum.

You can see where this is going, can't you ?

Lieutenant-Governor Collins, no doubt missing that tot of rum (for medicinal purposes only,of course) lifted ALL restrictions.
Silly lad.
Within hours everyone was plastered ; with the lack of recent nourishing food and unused to the grog, the populace was pickled.
But it didn't stop there. Oh no, they had plenty of rum - a fortnight's worth of drinking was in order!

The good Reverend Knopwood toddled off home with 223 gallons all for his lonesome and for some strange reason church services were cancelled for March 7 and several days following.
By March 14 no church service was happening again, with Knopwood taking a tumble down his front steps and doing himself a minor mischief.

By the time March 19 dawned, the town was out of control.
Marines and convicts were having pitched battles in the streets, the gaols crowded with convicts awaiting to see the magistrate - Reverend Knopwood (hic).
Obviously feeling a tad under the weather, Knopwood sentenced the convicts to 100-200 lashes each.
That night, grog was smuggled into the gaol (some things never change) ; they had no chance of sobering up at all, and some, including Knopwood's own servant, were too soused to even walk to the parade ground to receive their lashes, so it was postponed.

Oddly enough a ship rocked up that day with rather sharp-ish orders from Governor Bligh that there was now a total ban on rum and a ban on any bartering of rum for other goods or labour.



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