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John Hunter (29 August 1737 13 March 1821) was an officer of the Royal Navy duri ng the eighteenth

and nineteenth centuries, rising to the rank of vice-admiral. He succeeded Arthur Phillip as the second governor of New South Wales, Australia and served as such from 1795 to 1800.[1] Both a sailor and a scholar, he explored the Parramatta River as early as 1788, and was the first to surmise that Tasmania might be an island. As governor, he t ried to combat serious abuses by the military in the face of powerful local inte rests led by John MacArthur. Hunter's name is commemorated in Hunter Valley, Hun ter River, Hunter's Hill and Hunter Street. Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Family and early life American War of Independence Explorations around Australia and Tasmania Governorship Later life and legacy Further reading References External links

Family and early life John Hunter was born in Leith, Scotland, the son of William Hunter, a captain in the merchant service,[2] and Helen, ne Drummond, daughter of J. Drummond and nei ce of George Drummond, several-time lord provost of Edinburgh.[1][2] As a boy Hu nter was sent to live with an uncle in the town of Lynn in Norfolk, where, and a lso at Edinburgh, he received the classical education of the time. Hunter was se nt to University of Edinburgh, but soon left it to join the navy as a captain's servant to Thomas Knackston in HMS Grampus in May 1754.[1][3] In 1755 he was enr olled as able seaman on HMS Centaur, became a midshipman and served on HMS Union and then HMS Neptune.[1] While aboard Neptune he was present at the Raid on Roc hefort in 1757, and afterwards served during cruises off Brest in 1758 and the c apture of Quebec in 1759.[3] Serving aboard Neptune at this time as her first li eutenant was John Jervis, who became an acquaintance of Hunter's.[3] Hunter spent the rest of the war as midshipman on several of Admiral Phillip Dur rell's flagships, serving aboard HMS Royal Anne, HMS Princess Amelia and the 100 -gun HMS Royal George, the latter in the Bay of Biscay until the Treaty of Paris ended the war in 1763.[3] Hunter passed examinations and qualified for promotio n to lieutenant in February 1760.[1] He was not, however, appointed lieutenant u ntil 1780. Hunter remained active in the navy during the years of peace, going o ut to Newfoundland aboard the frigate HMS Tweed and then serving as master's mat e aboard HMS Launceston during her time in North America in 1767 with the fleet under Commodore Samuel Hood. Hood gave Hunter an acting-order as master in 1768, and after passing his exams with Trinity House in 1769, Hunter had the order co nfirmed.[3] His first appointment was to the 28-gun HMS Carysfort for service in the West Indies. Hunter spent his time there making charts and plans of parts o f the coast and of the Spanish fortifications at Havana, which he sent back to t he Admiralty.[3] Carysfort was nearly lost after running aground on Martyr Reef in the Gulf of Florida in 1771, while being sailed by a pilot, but Hunter's exer tions allowed her to be saved with the loss of her masts and guns.[3] Hunter served as master of HMS Intrepid in the East Indies between 1772 and 1775 , after which he became master of HMS Kent. The Kent was at this time commanded by Captain John Jervis, Hunter's companion from HMS Neptune. Jervis took Hunter with him to his next command, HMS Foudroyant. Also serving aboard Foudroyant at this time was Evan Nepean, then the ship's purser, but later a leading civil ser vant and First Secretary to the Admiralty.[3] From Foudroyant Hunter was moved i nto HMS Eagle in 1776, at the request of Admiral Lord Howe, who was then going o

ut to North America as commander-in-chief of the fleet, with Eagle as his flagsh ip.[3] American War of Independence The American War of Independence having broken out, Hunter served under Howe for the duration of his time in command, acting virtually as master of the fleet. H e was active in the Chesapeake raid and the expeditions on the Delaware, as well as the defence of Sandy Hook. On Howe's recall, by now out of favour with the S andwich administration, Hunter was not able to have his request to be made lieut enant honoured. Instead he joined the 74-gun HMS Berwick as a volunteer in 1779, under her captain, Keith Stewart.[3] He was appointed lieutenant of HMS Union b y Sir Charles Hardy, but the Admiralty refused to confirm the appointment and Hu nter returned to the Berwick as a volunteer in 1780, and went out the West Indie s. There he received a commission from the commander in chief, Sir George Rodney . Hunter returned to England aboard the Berwick in 1781, and was present at the Battle of Dogger Bank on 5 August that year.[4] Howe appointed him third lieuten ant of his flagship HMS Victory in 1782, and was advanced to first lieutenant by the time she took part in the relief of Gibraltar and the Battle of Cape Sparte l. Following these engagements Hunter was appointed to his first command, that o f the 14-gun sloop HMS Marquis de Seignelay, on 12 November 1782.[4] When the preparation of the First Fleet was in progress, Lord Howe, by then firs t lord of the admiralty, arranged for Hunter to be promoted to post captain on 1 5 December 1786, and appointed to command HMS Sirius. The fleet was under the ov erall command of Commodore Arthur Phillip, was going out to take up his post as governor of the new colony of New South Wales.[4] Hunter carried a dormant commi ssion as successor to Phillip if he should have died or was absent.[1] Explorations around Australia and Tasmania The expedition arrived in Port Jackson in January 1788. Hunter led an expedition to explore the Parramatta River early in 1788. This expedition explored and mad e soundings as far as Iron Cove, Five Dock Bay and Hen and Chicken Bay on the Pa rramatta River. The Sir William Dixson Research Library at the State Library of New South Wales holds the original copy of the chart of the expedition, entitled "Chart of the coasts and harbours of Botany-Bay, Port-Jackson and Broken-Bay, a s survey'd by Capt.n John Hunter of H.M.S. Sirius". The expedition was significa nt because it may have marked the first contact to take place between the Britis h and the Indigenous owners of the land, the Wangal Clan, in 1788. William Bradl ey's log says that this contact took place while Hunter was having breakfast and is remembered in the name of the suburb, Breakfast Point. Hunter was ordered to the Cape of Good Hope for supplies in October 1788. He sai led around Cape Horn to the Cape of Good Hope, and from there back to New South Wales in May 1789, thus performing the circumnavigation of the globe. The voyage was made more difficult by leaky state of the ship, which rendered continual pu mping necessary. Sirius was then refitted and sent to Norfolk Island with a larg e party of convicts, but was caught in a violent storm while anchored there. She was driven onto a coral reef and wrecked.[4] A number of the crew returned to P ort Jackson aboard the brig HMS Supply, the remainder, including Hunter, waited for nearly at year on the island before being taken off. Hunter and some of his men returned to England aboard the chartered vessel Waakzaamheid after a long an d arduous voyage. Finally arriving at Portsmouth in April 1792, Hunter was court -martialled for the loss of the Sirius but was honourably acquitted.[4] Hunter t hen prepared for publication his interesting An Historical Journal of the Transa ctions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, With the Discoveries That Have Been M ade in New South Wales and the Southern Ocean Since the Publication of Phillip's Voyage, published at the beginning of 1793. An abridged edition appeared later in the same year. In the first edition of this work is found the earliest refere nce to the possibility of there being a strait between the mainland and Tasmania . On page 126 Hunter says: "There is reason thence to believe, that there is in

that space either a very deep gulf, or a straight, which may separate Van Diemen 's Land from New Holland."[2] The French Revolutionary Wars having broken out during Hunter's time in England, he went to see again as a volunteer aboard the 100-gun HMS Queen Charlotte, the flagship of his old patron Lord Howe. Hunter was present at the Glorious First of June on 1 June 1794, and remained in the ship until 1795. With Arthur Phillip 's resignation from the governorship of New South Wales in July 1793, Hunter had applied for the position in October and was appointed governor in January 1794. Various delays occurred, and it was not until February 1795 that he was able to sail. Hunter arrived at Sydney on 7 September 1795 on HMS Reliance and took up the office of governor on 11 September 1795.[1] Governorship Hunter's difficulties began before he arrived back in Sydney. Phillip left the c olony in 1793, at the end of his term as governor, and for the following two yea rs the military were complete control. During the lieutenant-governorship of Fra ncis Grose, who unmercifully exploited the convicts, a great traffic in alcoholi c spirits sprang up, on which there was an enormous profit for the officers conc erned. They had obtained the control of the courts and the management of the lan ds, public stores, and convict labour. Hunter realised that these powers had to be restored to the civil administration, a difficult task. And in John Macarthur he had an opponent who would ruthlessly defend his commercial interests. Hunter found himself practically helpless. A stronger man might have sent the officers home under arrest, but had Hunter attempted to do so he likely would have preci pitated the rebellion which took place in William Bligh's time. Anonymous letter s were even sent to the home authorities charging Hunter with participation in t he very abuses he was striving to prevent. In spite of Hunter's vehement defence of the charges made against him, he was recalled in a dispatch dated 5 November 1799 from the Duke of Portland, one of the three secretaries of state.[1] Hunte r acknowledged this dispatch on 20 April 1800, and left for England on 28 Septem ber 1800, handing over the government to Lieutenant-Governor Philip Gidley King. When Hunter arrived he endeavoured to vindicate his character with the authorit ies but was given no opportunity. Hunter was obliged to state his case in a long pamphlet printed in 1802, Governor Hunter's Remarks on the Causes of the Coloni al Expense of the Establishment of New South Wales. Hints for the Reduction of S uch Expense and for Reforming the Prevailing Abuses,[1] which has become a valua ble document in early Australian history. Hunter was courageous, and a good officer, but the circumstances in which he was placed made it very difficult for him to be completely successful as a governor . As his successor Philip Gidley King said, his conduct was "guided by the most upright intentions", and he was "most shamefully deceived by those on whom he ha d every reason to depend for assistance, information, and advice." Of his sojour n in the colony Hunter said that he "could not have had less comfort, although h e would certainly have had greater peace of mind, had he spent the time in a pen itentiary". Hunter did good work in exploring and opening up the country near Sy dney, and also encouraged the explorations of Matthew Flinders and George Bass. Hunter continued his interest in Australia for long after he left it, and the su ggested reforms in his pamphlet were of much value. When the platypus was first discovered by Europeans in 1798, a pelt and sketch were sent back to the United Kingdom by John Hunter[5] Later life and legacy Hunter tomb in St John's Church Gardens In summer 1804 Hunter was given command of the 74-gun HMS Venerable, serving wit h the fleet off Brest under Admiral William Cornwallis. While sailing out of Tor bay on the evening of 24 November, a sudden fog came down. The ships of the flee t, unaware of each other's positions and their own location became disorganised. Hunter twice narrowly avoided colliding with other ships, but ran aground at 8p

m on the cliff near Paignton, and soon afterwards bilged.[4] A gale then struck the area, and with Venerable fast going to pieces, her crew were evacuated with little loss by HMS Impetueux. Hunter again underwent a court-martial, and was ag ain fully acquitted.[4] Hunter was promoted to rear-admiral on 2 October 1807, and then to vice-admiral on 31 July 1810 but never hoisted his flag at sea. Vice-Admiral John Hunter spen t his final years at Judd Street, New Road, Hackney, London; where he died on 13 March 1821.[4] His tomb can be seen in the churchyard of St John-at-Hackney. The Hunter River and Hunter Valley north of Sydney are both named after him, as is the suburb of Hunters Hill in Sydney, and (partly) the John Hunter Hospital i n Newcastle. In 1986 he was honoured on a postage stamp depicting his portrait i ssued by Australia Post.[6]