November 2, 2012

The Lost Clothes Behind Australia's First Court Case

Missed out on History Week or didn’t get to everything you wanted to see? Over the next six weeks we will be bringing you six videos of our speakers as they toured NSW during History Week 2012.
This week’s star?
Andrew Tink spoke at the Wyalong Museum. View video.

In 1787, the captain of a First Fleet transport refused to let a convict take her baby with her. When this decision was overturned by Lord Sydney, the mother and her family, the Cables, became instant celebrities. And clothes were donated to them for use in Botany Bay. The clothes went on one ship, the ‘Alexander’ while the Cables travelled on another. But upon arrival at Botany Bay, it was found that the clothes had been stolen. So the Cables sued the captain of the ‘Alexander’ for damages. And they won. As convicts under sentence they could not have sued in England and so in this, Australia’s first civil case, they made new law.

Until March 2006, Andrew Tink was Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Leader of the House in the New South Wales Parliament. After a year studying in the United States, he graduated in Arts and Law at the Australian National University and practised as a barrister in Sydney before being elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1988. Since retiring from Parliament, Andrew has concentrated on two of his great passions – writing and history. He is a Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University’s Law School.

Brought to you by the History Council of NSW as part of the History Week 2012 Speaker Connect program in partnership with the Royal Australian Historical Society and proudly supported by the Copyright Agency Limited and the Your Community Heritage Program.

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