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Fort Dundas

On the 21st October, 1824, one bastion of the fort was completed. The Union Jack was hoisted and a Royal Salute was fired from the two 9-ponders and one pounder. The fort consisted of these three guns, three 10 pounders, and one 12 pounder cannonade. The guns were from HMS Tamar, each gun had 50 rounds of shot and eight of grape shot, with case.

The fort was named after Robert Sanders Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville, head of the Admiralty. The settlement was not a success, and there was considerable conflict between the Tiwi people (Aboriginals of the island) and the British who referred to the natives as “Indians”. On the 20th September.1826, Major Barlow and soldiers of the 3rd of Foot, and surgeon Turner were relieved by Brevet-Major John Campbell of the 57th of Foot (the Middlesex Regiment). The relieving garrison consisted of the Commandant, Campbell, 1 Subaltern, a sergeant, 2 drummers, 35 rank and file and Dr. John Gold J.P. The luckless marines were not to be relieved until the 29th August.1827. The settlement consisted of 115 males including 54 convicts, six females, and 14 sailors on board a vessel anchored in King’s Cove. The settlement area consisted of 95 acres cut but not cleared, 52 acres cleared and two acres under cultivation. The officers occupied three wooden houses, the soldiers one. There was a hospital and two stores. The Marines lived in seven huts and the convicts in 13 huts similar to the marines. Campbell took a keen interest in the Tiwi People, and wanted to be on good terms with them, but this was not to be. The Tiwi continued to be troublesome and a number of spearings took place. Major Campbell was happy to be relieved of his command by Captain Humphrey Robert Hartley of the 39th of Foot, the Dorsetshire Regiment, with Dr. William Sherman. Gloomy reports of the progress of Fort Dundas settlement began to reach England late in 1826. The East India Trade Commission and the Coronial Office decided that another settlement on the mainland should be established. Captain James Stirling was commissioned to establish the new settlement at Raffles Bay. If Raffles Bay proved successful, Fort Dundas settlement would be closed down and the inhabitants transferred to Raffles Bay.


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On the 21st October, 1824, one bastion of the fort was completed. The Union Jack was hoisted and a Royal Salute was fired from the two 9-ponders and one pounder. The fort consisted of these three guns, three 10 pounders, and one 12 pounder cannonade. The guns were from HMS Tamar, each gun had 50 rounds of shot and eight of grape shot, with case.

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