Governor Bligh Confident Lockout Laws Will Stop Rum-Related Crime


NSW Govenor William Bligh says he expects no challenges to his authority as he implements early closing laws on the rum houses of Sydney Town.

“I’m a man who is used to getting his own way, except for that one time, so woe betide any tavern keeper who thinks he can get away with staying open after midnight,” said the Governor of NSW in a rambling proclamation that he nailed to a pole down by Sydney Cove. “The honest people of this colony are sick of the alarming rise in handkerchief stealing by rum-sodden convicts.”

“Governor Bligh’s new laws will leave Sydney Town’s nightlife stone cold dead,” complained John Macarthur from the NSW Rum Houses Association in his own proclamation titled Will The Last Person To Leave Sydney Town Please Snuff Out All The Candles. “The muddy goat tracks of this colony used to be alive late at night with the merry sounds of rummed up redcoats pushing everyone around.

“I’ve had to lay off several bawdy serving wenches and fiddle players from my own establishment. Interestingly, it seems the laws don’t apply to the Governor’s own gaming house and cock fighting pit.”

Governor Bligh ended his press conference early after taking a dislike to a question posed by nThe (un)Australian about whether if he was thinking of putting a “bounty” on the head of anyone who broke the rum serving laws.

“Yes, I think a bounty would be a very good… Oh piss off.” Governor Bligh then went and hid under his bed to avoid any further questions.

[This article first appeared in The (un)Australian on August 9, 1807. It is reproduced as part of a historical series looking back on early (un)Australian articles.]

Peter Green

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