The MCA

Napoleon and the Gardener

1796

Grace Peebles

In a land of natural resources, Sydney Dockyard’s first Master Boatbuilder, Daniel Payne, should have given England the timber and boats to strengthen the British navy.

Unfortunately, Daniel Payne built surprisingly little as Master Boatbuilder.

In fact, he didn’t build a single boat.

Unfortunately Unfortunately

He preferred to spend time in his garden. And when not in his garden he was learning about the unique native Australian timber, with the help of Aboriginal guides, which was so unlike anything in England.

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Sydney had become the hub for marine exploration in the southern hemisphere. Ships came to be restocked and repaired at the dockyards that sat below where the MCA is today. Shipbuilding, however, was a risk for the colony – private construction of boats was banned for the fear of convict escape.

Already looking for a reason

Already looking for a reason to be rid of him...

Payne was disgraced and dismissed from his position at the King’s Dockyard, and deserted the colony in shame to return to England.

Already looking for a reason to be rid of him...

Ironically, Daniel Payne’s botanical passion helped the British war effort. On the back of this research, others in Sydney harvested and packed timber for export to England, where it was transformed into the battleships that fought and eventually defeated Napoleon.

Payne was disgraced and dismissed from his position at the King’s Dockyard, and deserted the colony in shame to return to England. Ironically, Daniel Payne’s botanical passion helped the British war effort. On the back of this research, others in Sydney harvested and packed timber for export to England, where it was transformed into the battleships that fought and eventually defeated Napoleon. Ironically, Daniel Payne’s botanical passion helped the British war effort. On the back of this research, others in Sydney harvested and packed timber for export to England, where it was transformed into the battleships that fought and eventually defeated Napoleon.

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CLICK TO EXPAND CREDITS CREDITS
  • Title 1803 Lancashire View of Sydney
  • Creator John William Lancashire
  • Source Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
  • Year 1803
  • Title Sydney from the western side of the cove c.1803
  • Creator G W Evans
  • Source Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
  • Year 1803
  • Title Plan de la Ville de Sydney
  • Creator Charles Alexendre Lesueur
  • Source Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
  • Year 1802
  • Title View of Sydney, New Holland in 1802
  • Creator Charles Alexendre Lesueur
  • Source Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
  • Year 1802
  • Title The Rocks 1797
  • Creator Thomas Watling
  • Source Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
  • Year 1797
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