William Bligh, infamous for the mutiny on the Bounty, was appointed fourth Governor of New South Wales (1806): his singular management skills resulted in the only successful armed rebellion in Australian history, and his imprisonment by his own military. Bligh’s successor Lachlan Macquarie (governor 1810–21) restored order, and substantially achieved the transition from a penal to a free colony, establishing an effective justice system, introducing a currency and appointing ‘emancipists’ who had served their sentences to key roles. The first settlers had arrived at Port Jackson in 1788, with an early preponderance of convicts. As voluntary migration grew into New South Wales, new penal colonies were established in first, Van Diemen’s Land (1803), and then later in western Australia at Albany (1827). In 1829, the western outpost, previously subject to New South Wales, was converted into a separate ‘Swan River’ colony with its own governor – in part to deter potential French counterclaims.
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