Minutes of the meeting of the St. George Historical Society Inc held on Saturday 20th February 2021 in Rockdale Senior Citizens Centre, 36 George St, Rockdale.
Meeting Opened: 2.25pm Chair: President Wesley Fairhall
Present: 20; Apologies:9
Guest Speaker: Kieren Hannon – The Cato Street Conspirators
The Cato Street Conspiracy was a plot to assassinate the entire British cabinet in February 1820 and thus lead to a people’s uprising. Members who joined were angered by the Peterloo Massacre of the year before in which peaceful protesters in Manchester were attacked by armed soldiers and many killed or seriously injured. Many were also angered by the mass poverty following the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
There was an informer in their ranks, a George Edwards, who produced a newspaper article stating that there was to be a grand cabinet dinner. This news – found nowhere else-was false.The conspirators met in a barn in Cato Street where their weapons were stored in preparation for the assault on the Cabinet members at the dinner . Cato Street was already under the surveillance of the Bow Street Runners who broke in and arrested as many of the men as they could.
The five leading men Arthur Thistlewood, William Davidson, James Ings, Richard Tidd, and John Brunt were tried for treason and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered – the last prisoners to be condemned to this grisly form of execution. This sentence was later commuted to hanging and beheading. Five other conspirators were compelled to watch their comrades die and had their sentences commuted to transportation for life to Australia. These five: James Wilson, John Shaw Strange, Charles Cooper, John Harrison, and Richard Bradburn were taken to the ship “Guildford” immediately after the executions, with other convicts, though kept separate.
On arrival in Sydney in 1821 They were despatched in chains to hard labour in the gaol gang at Newcastle under Major Morisset. Despatches to Governor Macquarie declaring that the men did not repent of their deeds and presented a possible danger to the colony. Morisset found otherwise and soon released them to work on town gangs.Later all received tickets of leave and went on to lead ordinary lives in the colony. Two even became police constables at Bathurst. They seem to have kept in touch and never publicly regretted their past. One even acknowledging his past and that of the others in Australia in a letter to the editor of a Bathurst newspaper.
3.05pm Moved L.Bondfield / R. McGarn “That the minutes of the meeting held on 15/2/2020 be accepted as a true record” Carried
1. Marrickville Heritage Society Newsletter March 2020
2. Marrickville Heritage Socety Newsletter May – June 2020
3. History RAHS March 2020.
– September 2020
– December 2020
4. Kogarah Historical Society Newsletters
– March – April 2020
– May – June 2020
– July – August 2020
– September – October 2020
– November – December 2020
– January – February 2021
Moved: L. Bondfield / R. McGarn “That the correspondence as read be accepted” Carried
Financial Report – T.Workman
CBA accounts as at 31/1/21 including $700.00 in membership fees, $100 donation $8,000 in long term deposit Total $12,251.78
Lydham Hall Report – G. Rankin, supplementary information T.Workman
Council have so far repaired the roof, including dormer windows, but there has been subsequent leaking in the roof near the 1970s addition. The box gutter has been temporarily replaced by a 150mm plastic downpipe. The verandah uprights have been painted heritage green, which is not the underlying original colour. These matters are being taken up with Councillor Barlow. The upstairs museum, which had to be dismantled before the work began took 7 – 8 weekends with the help of several councillors as well as Tina. A partial cataloguing of object took place then and will be completed as the objects are returned to the museum. Some extra funding ($165,000) to repaint the upstairs interior is awaiting Heritage approval. Tina has applied for a Council grant to buy new chairs for the Orientation/Meeting Room. The Lydham Hall Committee is hopeful that the house will be reopened to the public in September and are planning a series of events to celebrate it.
The President announced that Tempe House will be open to the public next Sunday 28th February from 11 am to 4pm. Guided tours will be conducted and a book about the house launched.
Meeting closed 4pm.
As part of the COVID safe plan:
1. All chairs were placed 1.5 metres apart as marked on the hall floor and cleaned with disinfectant wipes before being stacked away.
2. Members and visitors signed in with name and phone number for easy contact.
3. Social distancing was observed.