Monday 20 November 2023

The Rum Corps


Good morning all, and hello Monday, since I just told you all a bit about the history of the NSW Police Force o thought I would take a step backwards and look at the Rum Corps.

The New South Wales Corps, sometimes known as The Rum Corps was a regiment of the British Army, formed in England in 1789, to relieve the New South Wales Marine Corps, which had accompanied the First Fleet to Australia. The regiment was comprised of officers on half pay, troublemakers, soldiers paroled from military prisons and those with few prospects.

It became known as the 'Rum Corp' because of the monopoly its officers held over the lucrative rum trade, taking full advantage of the shortage of official currency in the colony at the time. Rum was used in place of cash.

The use of rum as a currency began around 1790. Rum was brought into the colony and controlled by a small number of people who became very rich. The problem with rum as a currency was that many workers were paid in rum and, instead of using it to buy the goods and services they needed, they drank it.

The comes the Rum Rebellion, which started on the 26 January 1808 which saw an uprising in which Gov. William Bligh of New South Wales (1806–08), who had earlier been the victim of the famous Bounty mutiny, was deposed by local critics, most of whom had ties with the New South Wales Corps.

It was fuelled by Bligh's drastic methods of limiting the rum traders' powers and his attempts to end the domination of the officer clique, while an immediate cause was the arrest of the sheep-breeder John Macarthur in his role as liquor merchant and distiller.

This was the only time in Australian history that a government was overthrown by a military coup. The military stayed in power for two years until Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth Governor of NSW, assumed office at the beginning of 1810.

What became of the Rum Corps well they along with, Botany Bay Rangers, Rum Puncheon Corps, The Condemned. After being renamed, it was transferred to Bermuda and Nova Scotia, before seeing action against the United States in the War of 1812. The regiment was disbanded in 1818.


  1. Very interesting. I didn't know the history of Australia.

  2. All new history for me, Jo-Anne. I'm sure enjoying the lessons you share with us.

  3. I had no idea the military ran the government there for a couple of years. Interesting stuff. :)

  4. I can see a few pros and many cons in a Rum economy. Not to be sympathetic to Bligh, but he sure knew how to rub people the wrong way. Before you mess with people's booze, you'd best have a better way to keep loyalty in your pocket!

    1. Oh yeah you don't mess with one's grog, us Aussie would rather surrender their guns over their grog

  5. How interesting Jo-Anne, didn't know about this Rum business back then..

  6. Thanks. I know very little about it.
    A warm greeting to you.


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