Men of authority in early Oz, John Hunter, Philip King and John MacArthur.

First, Naval officer John Hunter, the eldest (1737 - 1821)

Jan 1788 Arrived on First Fleet alongside Arthur Phillip.
He had been appointed successor to Governor Phillip in the event of Phillip's death/incapacity.
Started exploring the surrounding area, particularly around Parramatta.

Oct 1788 Sailed to Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) via Cape Horn (South America), on what ended up being a fairly leaky ship "Sirius" for supplies, thus, circumnavigating the globe.

May 1789 arrived back in Sydney, with his ship leaking badly. Waited for "Sirius" to be refitted, then took a load of convicts to Norfolk Island, 1400 kilometres off the east coast.

March 1790 While anchored on Norfolk Island, a violent storm drove "Sirius" onto a coral reef, wrecking it. Stayed on island while Naval officer Philip King went back to England, to report.

April 1792 Finally, John Hunter arrived back in England. Court martialled for "Sirius" shipwreck, and honourably acquitted.

Oct 1793 Applied to become Governor of Australia, following Governor Phillip's return.

Jan 1794 Appointed Governor.

Feb 1795 After a year's delay, as war developed between England and France, returned to Australia.

Sep 1795 Finally, arrived back in Australia. Numerous issues with John MacArthur and the NSW Corps over their prisoner abuse and personal profiteering. MacArthur subsequently accused Hunter (to English authorities) of rum trading and economic mismanagement.

Sep 1800 Recalled to England to answer these issues. Produced a detailed paper of the economic difficulties the colony was having. Settled in England, in retirement.

Naval officer Philip King (1758 - 1808)

Jan 1788 Arrived on First Fleet alongside Arthur Phillip.

Mar 1788 Two months later, set up convict settlement on Norfolk Island.

Mar 1790 After "Sirius" was shipwrecked, sailed back to England to provide a report.

Mar 1791 Following that report, sailed back to Norfolk Island. Oversaw settlement on Norfolk Island over next five years.

Oct 1796 Sailed back to England.

Sep 1800 Sailed back to Australia, now appointed as the new Governor in place of Governor Hunter.

Immediately, ran into an issue with John MacArthur. Apparently a certain Lt Marshall had been imprisoned for 12 months for assaulting MacArthur and Abbott when they were investigating a theft. Marshall had protested having an officer of the corps hear his case, but his objection had been ignored. Governor King upheld the objection, freed him, then sent him to England for trial.

MacArthur, miffed at King's actions, in an endeavour to ostracize him socially, ended up in a duel with a Lt William Patterson, wounding him badly in the shoulder. MacArthur now returned to England, for trial. He subsequently resigned from the corps. Returned to Australia in 1805.

In 1806 Governor King returned to England, and is replaced by Gov Bligh. Died in England in 1808.

John MacArthur (1767-1834)

1790 - 1801 Arrived on Second Fleet. Administrator of NSW Corps, commandant at Parramatta, just 23 years old. Became very wealthy via the rum trade that started in 1793. Pretty much ran the show. Lived on Elizabeth Farm (his wife's name) with his wife, his young boys, and his servants.

1794 Began first experiments in improving wool growth in sheep by crossing hair-bearing Bengal ewes from India with Irish wool rams.

1797 Arrival of his rare Merino sheep. A bit of background. The King of Spain had presented to the Dutch Government some years back some of the finest pure merino sheep from his jealously guarded "Escurial" flocks, once owned by King Philip II. These sheep had been sent under the care of a Scots gentleman to the Cape of Good Hope, but he died shortly afterwards, and after many arguments with his widow, a number were now sold to agents of Governor Hunter, who had just arrived to pick up supplies for the colony. Three rams and five ewes accordingly came back to be cared for by John MacArthur.

Nov 1801 After a duel with Lt Patterson, Governor King "sentenced" MacArthur to be the new commandant on Norfolk Island, but refusing he returned to England to defend himself against the charges. A bulky document written by Governor Hunter accusing him of various abuses accompanied the ship's captain on the same ship, though it somehow disappeared on the voyage. No penalty accrued to him at his trial, but he was told to go back and be that commandant on Norfolk Island. Instead he resigned from the corps.

1803 While in England, having taken samples of the wool with him, he reported to all who would hear how his merino sheep, where they had had a 3lb fleece in 1801, he had now learned they had become a 5lb fleece in 1802, also with much improved quality, sparking much interest.

1805 Returned to Australia. Immediately issues arose with King and Bligh over all the good land he was claiming for his sheep at Camden Park. Both Governor King and Governor Bligh disputed his claim, but were overruled by the Colonial Office in England.

1808 Military coup, following Bligh's arresting of MacArthur. The issue was over a £900 bond forfeiture. A ship had earlier failed to keep to landing regulations and a convict had, thus, escaped on it. When the ship returned, a bond it had paid was then deemed forfeited. MacArthur who had that money, refused to hand it over and refused to come to court. Bligh insisted MacArthur be arrested. In protest on the day of his trial, on 26th January 1808, Australia Day, MacArthur was released and 400 soldiers in the Corps under Major George Johnston arrested Gov Bligh. A rebel government was installed, and Gov Bligh, thus deposed, sailed to Hobart where he stayed two years, before returning to London in January 1810.
MacArthur declared himself Colonial Secretary of this rebel government in 1808, sending his 19 year old son Edward to London to convey MacArthur's version of the events. Accompanying him was the first bale of Australian wool to be exported. The British woollen mills were desperate for wool at the time because of the Napoleonic blockade, and the Australian bale sold for a record price.

1810 Governor Lachlan Macquarie arrived with a new regiment. The entire corps was disbanded, and, along with MacArthur, went to England for trial, with an arrest warrant issued for him in Sydney. But, it was the time of the Napoleonic War, again, there was no penalty for him, though MacArthur was told that in order to return to Sydney, he needed to acknowledge his wrongdoing and promise to behave himself in future. He refused.

1817 Having made some powerful friends in England, he was finally allowed to return, unconditionally. Devoted himself to his merino wool farming, plus horses, also a vineyard. The export of wool soon made MacArthur the richest man in New South Wales. In 1822, the Society for the Arts in London awarded him two medals for exporting 150,000 lb (68,000 kg) of wool to England and for increasing the quality of his wool to that of the finest Saxon Merino. Suffering failing mental health in 1832, he died in 1835.