Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It be 19 September, ye bilge rats . . .


Arrhh, today be a special day, it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Written about it previously, I have (I give up, now I’m starting to sound like Yoda).

Graham, aka Mr Trivia, sent me an item that he thought might be interesting for Talk Like a Pirate Day.


At first I had my doubts about the accuracy of what he sent me, particularly the end part, thinking it might be one of those things that does the rounds by emails, but on looking into it, I found that it was factual.

Below is Graham’s email to me, censored by leaving out the poem at the end.


English born Charlotte Badger was sentenced to be transported to Australia for the crime of theft. During her term of penal servitude she performed hard manual labour in a factory, and also gave birth to a daughter.

After her sentence had ended, Charlotte, her baby, and Catherine Hagerty (a fellow convict whose term was also served) took ship in the Venus heading for New Zealand.

The captain of the Venus was a sadistic bully, and drove the crew to mutiny. By this time, both Charlotte and Catherine had taken lovers among the crew, and they all continued onto North Island without the captain. They turned to piracy along the way, even though no-one left on board could actually navigate properly.

Legend has it that after the two women and their lovers settled ashore, the crew continued their piracy, and were eventually captured by Maori tribesmen; the Venus was burned to the waterline, and most of the crew were eaten!

They are remembered today as the first white women to settle in New Zealand. Catherine is reported to have fallen ill and died, but nothing is known for sure about the fate of Charlotte, or her child, once settled in New Zealand.

The story of "The Good Ship Venus" is now (in)famous in the words of a vulgar drinking song.

The following amplified version is from Wikipedia at:
That item also provides citations for the various facts provided.
Charlotte Badger

Charlotte Badger (1778 – in or after 1818) is widely considered to be the first Australian female pirate. She was also one of the first two white female settlers in New Zealand.

Early life 
Badger was born in 1778, the daughter of Thomas and Ann Badger. She was baptised on 31 July 1778. Her family was poor, and one day in 1796, she stole several guineas and a silk handkerchief in an attempt to support them, but was caught and arrested. She was sentenced to seven years' penal servitude in New South Wales.


Badger arrived on the Earl Cornwallis in 1801. In 1806 she was serving at the Parramatta female factory, during which she gave birth to a daughter.

In 1806, she travelled with her child aboard The Venus, with plans to become a servant in Van Diemens Land. The captain of the ship, Samuel Chase, was in the habit of flogging the women for entertainment, until his charges and crew mutinied. Badger and another convict, Catherine Hagerty, talked the men on board into seizing the ship, while the captain was ashore at Port Dalrymple in northern Tasmania.

In 1806, Badger and Hagerty and their lovers, John Lancashire and Benjamin Kelly, went to the Bay of Islands in the far north of New Zealand, where they settled at the pa at Rangihoua. By April 1807, Hagerty had died and by the end of the year Lancashire and Kelly had also left.

In 1826, the American ship the Lafayette landed in Vavaʻu. On the ship's landing in Sydney, they reported that Charlotte Badger and her daughter had stopped there eight years earlier. Badger could speak Māori fluently and could communicate in Tongan and was travelling on a whaling ship to America.

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.

In the 1825 convict muster there is listed a Charlotte Badger, with 10-year-old daughter Maria, who arrived on the Earl Cornwallis in 1801. While the birth date is estimated at 1785, it's highly unlikely there were two Charlotte Badgers – one who became a pirate and another who was listed in Parramatta in 1825. 

Wikipedia also has a post on the poem/song The Good Ship Venus at:

It contains the following:

It is possible that this song was inspired by an actual event, where a female convict (Charlotte Badger), sailing on the colonial brigantine Venus, convinced members of the crew to commandeer the vessel, sailing from Port Dalrymple in Van Diemens Land (now Tasmania) in 1806.

Despite various reports, the ultimate fate of the Venus is unknown. This may have led to speculation by those left behind, with fantasies leading to the creation of this drinking song. One of the verses also refers to a 'Charlotte' . . .

The Poem/Song:

You’ll have to find it yourself by googling it.

'Twas on the good ship Venus,
By God you should have seen us,

And that's about all of it that is suitable to post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.