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Book Review - Captain Bligh’s Other Mutiny

By: Satephen Dando-Collins (475/35715)
Publisher: Random House ISBN: 978-1-74166-798-1

William Bligh is notorious as captain of the Bounty, the ship he lost to mutineers led by Fletcher Christian. But few people know that Bligh was the centre of a later, much larger mutiny, when he lost not just a ship but the entire continent of Australia.

On 26 January 1808, the British army corps stationed in Australia rose up and deposed the British governor. Locking him up, a greedy cabal of military officers and colonists then brutally ran the colony as their private kingdom for two years. The imprisoned governor was none other than William Bligh, by this time famous for the Bounty affair and for fighting heroically under Admiral Nelson.

The British Government had thought Bligh’s reputation as a tough, no-nonsense commander made him the right man to clean up rampant corruption in New South Wales. They were right – John Macarthur and his New South Wales Corps cronies found the only way they could beat the ‘Bounty Bastard’ was by overthrowing him by force and taking over the colony.

Captain Bligh’s Other Mutiny is the story of two men Bligh and John Macarthur – hell-bent on crushing each other. From Bligh’s capture by the rebels and year of house arrest to his escape and blockade of Hobart; then from his rescue by Colonel Macquarie to the deposed governor’s dogged pursuit of justice, culminating in a dramatic London trail, international historian Stephen Dando-Collins brings this crucial time in Australia’s history vividly to life.

October 2007


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