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Date notes
Pamela Statham-Drew writes that Stirling and his family 'arrived at Portsmouth around 23 May [1839].' [1, p 347]
Biographical information
Stirling and his family left Western Australia on 6 January 1839. Pamela Statham-Drew writes that 'The colony had weathered the storm of infancy but it was by no means prosperous, and any dreams he might have had of materially benefting from the position had not been realised.' [1, p 373] Stirling had struggled for colonial support in establishing the colony. The Australian Dictionary of Biography states: 'At various times Stirling was strongly criticized for his inept administration, for his aloofness or domineering attitude towards his civil officers, for his lack of humour, for his occasional acts of nepotism in the public service, and for his erratic and blundering land policies.' [2] After reaching Portsmouth in late May 1839, Stirling and family went to Ellen's family home in Woodbridge, Guildford. Within a week Stirling was back in London. [1] He considered another colonial appointment, but was appointed to command ships Indus and Howe in the Mediterranean. He continued campaigning for more land in Western Australia, but was unsuccessful. [2]
Links to slavery
Stirling had multiple connections to the slave trade. His intergenerational family businesses traded in slave-produced goods in the United States and Caribbean. His brother Walter Stirling received compensation for the loss of enslaved people in Guiana and Barbados. Stirling was stationed in the Royal Navy at Jamaica, where his Uncle Charles Stirling was Commander-in-Chief. They received prize money for capturing ships, some of which contained slave-produced goods. Stirling's father-in-law James Mangles owned a ship which transported enslaved people between Africa and the Caribbean. [Georgie refs]
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Images notes
Link to People Australia entry