Categories: Convicts from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire | Port Jackson Penal Colony | Parramatta Female Factory | Escapee | Famous Australian Convicts | Earl Cornwallis 1800 | Convicts After the Third Fleet.
||Charlotte Badger was a Convict sent to Australia After the Third Fleet.|
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In 1806 band of crew and convicts, including two convict women took possession of the colonial brig,Venus in the estuary of the Tamar River in Tasmania and set sail for New Zealand one of these convict women was Charlotte Badger their destinies have remained mysterious.
Charlotte Badger was born in 1778 the daughter of Thomas and Ann Badger she was baptised on July 31st, 1778. Charlotte came from a poor family and in 1796 she stole several guineas and a silk handkerchief in an attempt to support them, she was caught and arrested Charlotte was convicted of the felony of housebreaking and was sentenced to seven years deportation by an English Assizes Court at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire she was eighteen years old at the time.Charlotte boarded the convict vessel Earl of Cornwallis the journey lasted a gruelling 206 days before she arrived in New South Wales.
In 1806 Charlotte had served five yrs and she only had two years left of her sentence. At this time she was an inmate at the old Parramatta Female Factory and Charlotte had given birth to a child. In April she and her friend, Catherine Hagerty who she had met at the Parramatta Female Factory were assigned as servants to a settler in Hobart,in late April 1806 they sailed from Port Jackson on the Venus with the child and a group of male convicts.
Samuel Chase the captain of the ship, was in the habit of flogging the women for entertainment. On 17 June while at Port Dalrymple on the north coast of Tasmania the convicts mutinied and took control of the ship with the help of the first mate, Benjamin Kelly. Accounts of Charlotte Badger's role in the rebellion vary according to one she dressed in male clothing and armed with a pistol flogged the captain and conducted a raid on another vessel to obtain supplies and weapons. In another she and Catherine Hagerty are said to have incited the male convicts to rebel the captain's report stated that Kelly was the ringleader but noted that the women were enthusiastic participants, his testimony accuses those on board of drunkenness, vandalism and immorality. He was said on one occasion to have found the crew in a state of intoxication while the two women entertained them with a dance during the voyage Charlotte Badger is believed to have cohabited with John Lancashire a fellow convict and Catherine Hagerty with first mate Benjamin Kelly.
With cargo and supplies intended for the settlement of Hobart the mutineers were able to sail across the Tasman. Charlotte Badger with her child, Catherine Hagerty and their two partners were set down with a supply of stores at Rangihoua Bay in the Bay of Islands New Zealand. They established themselves in huts on the shore while the Venus sailed on down the coast by April 1807 Catherine Hagerty had died it also seems likely that by the end of the year Lancashire and Kelly had left New Zealand.
Charlotte Badger and her child stayed on once her shipmates had left and the supplies were exhausted, she must have been accepted by the local Maori community or treated at the very least with tolerance on two occasions she was offered a passage back to Port Jackson she refused and in 1808 said she would prefer to die among the Maori.
Some stories suggest that the other mutineers all fled but were eventually caught and hanged while others suggest that they went pirating after Badger, Hagerty, Lancashire and Kelly left, despite not knowing how to navigate the ship then the Māori captured The Venus, and burned it to retrieve the scrap metal, and cooked the men on board. Meanwhile Lancashire, and Kelly were also recaptured and Hagerty died of a fever. Badger's fate remains a mystery, although it has been said that she lived with a minor chief at the Bay of Islands, or that she was picked up by a passing American whaler on Vavau in the Tonga archipelago.
Another story is Charlotte Badger's fate is not known Maori attitudes towards her may have changed when it became known that the crew of the Venus had kidnapped several Maori women after leaving the Bay of Islands in 1806 or 1807. About 1826 a ship which had visited Tonga reported that an English woman with a girl of about eight years had landed there 10 years previously the woman had said she was escaping from the Maori of New Zealand her description A very big stout woman, fitted Charlotte Badger. A proclamation at the time of the mutiny one account of her life claims that she finally escaped to America and the ship may have called at Tonga on the journey across the Pacific.
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