Len Kenna 05.04.2015
When I say that Indians were Pioneers in every sense of the word; I don’t mean that they pioneered Australia in the romantic image of today; fighting their way through the virgin bush with their herds of animals, riding on horses or in wagons going out into the vast blue yonder.
This image of pioneers evolved after the Blue Mountains in New South Wales were crossed in 1823 and settlers spilled out onto what appeared to be limitless grass lands that was theirs for the taking.
No! I mean the involvement of Indians, Indian animals and things imported from India in the formation days of the settlement of New South Wales.
India’s involvement commenced in Australia prior to Settlement, with extensive negotiations between the British Government and the English East India Trading Company on the conditions that Settlement could take place in Australia, as the English East India Trading Company had a monopoly over trading in the Indian and Pacific Ocean areas. It was agreed that all trade generated in Australia had to pass through an Indian Port and customs and excise collected by the English East India Trading Company. Boat Building and other matters were also agreed upon to protect their trading monopoly.
Australia was placed under the military protection of the East Indian Naval Base at Bombay. Religiously, Australia was under the control of the Arch Bishop of Calcutta.
Governor Phillip; the first Governor of New South Wales and his Officer Corp, were recalled from India, to mount the First Fleet. They brought their experience and knowledge gained in India to administer and build a frame work in Australia which would form the basis of our political, legal and economy to this day. In fact the next four Governors of New South Wales all had worked and lived in India.
Also the first Fleet consisted of 11 vessels: Two English War Ships own by the Admiralty, and nine vessels which were owned or under license to the English East India Trading Company and anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that all of the ships, including the two war ships were manned by crews of mixed nationalities many of whom were Indians.