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  • Title
    Collection 11: Blackburn family - Letters received from David Blackburn, Master of HMS Supply, together with his silhouette and other papers relating to his career and death, 1779-1796
  • Creator
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  • Date

  • Type of material
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  • Physical Description
    0.13 metres of textual material (1 box)

    David Blackburn was born at Newbury, Berkshire on 1 January 1753 to Reverend John Blackburn and Elizabeth (nee Martineau).

    In April 1787, following a term of unemployment (he was no.226 on the navy office list), Blackburn was appointed Master of Supply, bound for Botany Bay. Supply and Sirius provided the naval escort for the First Fleet, comprising 11 vessels in total. Supply was an armed tender and rated at 170 tons, carrying eight guns and 50 men.

    Once the Fleet arrived at Botany Bay, Blackburn was in the first expedition party to explore Sydney Harbour. On 17 February 1788, the Commander of Supply, Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, discovered Lord Howe Island while en route to Norfolk Island to land the first settlers there. On the return journey to Port Jackson, Ball charted the island.
    In 1790, Lieutenant Ball fell ill in Batavia and Blackburn took command of Supply, taking her back to Port Jackson and making two voyages to Norfolk Island. Governor Phillip appointed him acting Commander of Supply in March 1791. Ball resumed command in November 1791 when Supply sailed for England. Upon reaching England in May 1792, Blackburn was discharged and appointed to HMS Dictator in September 1793.

    Blackburn died on 10 January 1795 at the Haslar (naval) Hospital in Gosport, Hampshire of a probable consumptive complaint.
  • Scope and Content
    The Blackburn family papers are described in the following series:

    SAFE/MLMSS 6937
    1. Margaret Blackburn - letters received (14) from her brother David Blackburn, 1787-1791
    2. Elizabeth Blackburn - letter received from her son David Blackburn, 1787
    3. David Blackburn - letters received (2) from his sister Margaret Blackburn, 1785 & 1789
    4. David Blackburn - papers relating to his service in New South Wales, 1788-1792
    5. Blackburn family - miscellaneous papers, being mainly correspondence relating to David Blackburn's death, 1779-1796

    MIN 379
    6. Lieutenant David Blackburn [silhouette], undated
  • Published Information
    This series of letters is also discussed and transcribed in: Blackburn's Isle / by Derek Neville (Suffolk : Terence Dalton Limited, c1975) located at ML 991.9/9 & 9A.
  • General note

    Microfilm copy available at CY 4084, frames 1-179.
    A microfilm copy of this collection is also located at AJCP Reel M971.

    See also other letters by David Blackburn held by the Mitchell Library: 2 letters to Richard Knight, 12 July 1788 and 19 Mar. 1791, with list of native names and their English equivalents, located at ZSafe 1/120 (formerly Ab163): issue microfilm CY 1301; and copies of 2 letters to P.G. King, 13 & 25 Oct. 1788, located at C187 pp.22, 30-31.
    Digital order no:a128427
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