Monday, January 25, 2010

A rebel tale

Thomas Lynch was transported to New South Wales in 1796 aboard the Marquis Cornwallis. A lad from County Meath, he and a group of his friends were found guilty in 1795 under the Whiteboy Act of inciting rebellion against the government in Ireland. Initially sentenced to hang, his sentence was commuted to transportation for life.

By 1800 he was assigned to work at Mr Balmain's farm near Windsor and it was there he started to re-establish his rebel tendancies. Lynch was one of the leaders who were to bring other rebels to Parramatta (above, pictured in 1798) from the farm and surrounds in September of that year. The plan was to take Parramatta, command the soldiers weapons, "put the gentlemen to death ... and starve Sydney out" in a bid for their freedom.

The authorities thwarted the rebellion while it was still in the planning stages. Most of the leaders were punished with 1000 lashes and sentenced to hard labour on Norfolk Island. Lynch appears to have escaped punishment, but died soon after from natural causes.

Thomas Lynch's full biography appears in A Desperate Set of Villains by Barbara Hall.

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