Castle Hill Convict Rebellion By: Mike Nunzio

The Precursor to the Rebellion. (1790's -1804)

In the late 1700's. in fear of civil war or citizen revolt, England begins to transport it's political opponents and rebellion leaders to prison camps in Australia. Such actions begin to develop a large group of Irish and Wales born convicts, gathering in the same location under unfair rule.

The Start and End of the Rebellion (1804: Castle Hill)

Under the command of rebellion leaders Philip Cunningham and William Johnston, them and 1000 other Irish prisoners plan to lay siege on Castle Hill. The first part of the plan included pillaging and raiding various barns and store sheds in order to gather and collect weapons and arms. As a result sadly, various members of the uprising began to get lost on the search for weapons. However, with missing members of the rebellion and important information lacking, Cunningham forged forward towards Castle Hill.
George Johnston

News of the revolt quickly spread to the higher authorities located in the area, specifically George Johnston, an army Major at the time. After unsuccessful attempts to negotiate capture or peace between the army and the convicts, George Johnston ordered troops to fire upon the mob and to begin arresting suspects. Within a week's time, the head figures of the rebellion as well as 37 others were tried and executed for treason.

Revolution?

No, not necessarily.

The Castle Hill Convict revolt focused primarily on the topic of political change, wishing for freedom and self-rule from the British in Australia. Specifically, the members of the rebellion, being Irish, wanted a similar result to the revolts in the United Kingdom towards England. Furthermore, the revolt failed to recognize any movement or changes towards the ideas of social or economic change. They were not taxed, being prisoners, and and did not wish to develop on social problems of the age. The main goal was to break free and rule for themselves, a movement for political independence and democracy.

The revolt on Castle Hill does have slight hints at the start of the ideas towards a revolution. The underlining themes of religious freedom between Protestants and Catholics take deep root within Australian politics, and thus could allow one describe the rebellion as a call for social change. To conclude, the Castle Hill Revolt was not a revolution, or perhaps a very small one, hover it provided a basis for further need for change for the people of Australia.

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