Amongst the criminals who arrived on the First Fleet was a giant black-man named John Caesar. He was an ex-slave from the West Indies, who somehow had escaped and reached London. Not being able to find a job he became a petty thief and pickpocket, and following his capture was transported to Botany Bay. Now more commonly known as “Black Caesar” he came ashore in January 1788.
Due to the failure of supply ships to reach the colony, the meager rations handed out to the convicts meant that they were starving, and for a big man like Caesar, the hunger pains must have been unbearable and is probably why he decided to escape into the bush and forage for himself. He took a musket, an iron cook pot, and some food, and headed into unknown territory. For some time he and several other “bolters” who joined him managed to survive. But Black Caesar was recaptured and returned to the convict gangs.
He did this repeatedly until the Governor, George Hunter, offered a reward of five gallons of rum to the person who could capture the convict. A settler named William Blakehurst, captured him without a struggle and received the reward. Black Caesar escaped once more but this time the reward was taken up by a man named Wimbow. On locating Black Caesar near Concord, Wimbow without uttering a word, shot him dead.
Gary J Dean, F.A.I.H.A.
Image Size: 155 x 101cm
Medium: Oil and Wax on Canvas
This artwork is unframed
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