William Bligh

William Bligh (1754-1817) was a naval officer whose rigid and abusive temperament marred his considerable attainments. His command of the Bounty ended in mutiny in 1789. On becoming Governor of New South Wales in 1806, he alienated military officers and leading citizens, challenging their vested interests and arousing intense opposition. A group of officers mutinied and deposed him in 1808.


26 January 1808

Rum Rebellion

Tensions over power in the new colony erupt when Governor William Bligh arrests John Macarthur, a prominent pastoralist, and refuses him the bail granted by an illegally constituted court. The commander of the NSW Corps, Major George Johnston, deposes Bligh and assumes government of the colony. Macarthur serves as colonial secretary until Bligh is replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Foveaux. Johnston is later dismissed for his part in the mutiny, while Macarthur is exiled from the colony for seven years.


Arrest of Governor Bligh, January 26 1808.