English Imperial Authority - The Colonial ruling Class

Pecking Orders 1799 - 2009

Massmedia or Guns

In general terms, the Anglo-Australians are the descendants of the "man with the gun" who arrived here in 1788. 

That the "man with the gun" and the "man in chains" would evolve into separate classes initially, and eventually into separate Nations each with their own Culture, Traditions and social customs was decided by the first Governor of NSW, Arthur Phillip, when he said

 "As I would not wish convicts to lay the foundations of an empire.  I think they should remain separated from the garrison, and other settlers that may come from Europe, and not allowed to mix with them, even after 7 or 14 years for which they were sentenced may be expired." 

In fact it is misleading to treat them as separate, even though that is how we have chosen to see ourselves, us and them, over the last two and a quarter centuries.  It is more correct to think of them as Siamese Twins, conjoined at the Heritage.  We are a Yin-Yang couplet and only function at our best when we act in harmony with each other.  (It is just a pity that none of us see it that way.)


Of course we need to distinguish between the naval and military personnel who formed the actual invasion force, the First Fleet and those who settled in that first wave.  generally fine English officers such as Capt. Watkins Trench, who arrived with Phillip and served with distinction, exploring west to the Blue Mountains where he discovered and named the Nepean River, and then went home to England;  from those who were enticed here on the promise of free land and a government regulated slave labour force to work it. 

Equally there is a distinction to be made between initial Royal Marine invasion force and the NSW Corpse that replaced it, but having made all these subtle distinctions, a ruling class was established here in Australia to administer the Authority of the Crown.  They were, perhaps typically, the land owners, the officer class, the Magistracy and latter the professionals and academics within the Colony.  (The rich end of the business class would also be allowed membership in the second half of the 19th and early 20th Centuries.)

This ruling class presided over a four tear Colonial Social Class structure that saw the Imperial Ruling Class on top, the Multiculturals in second place.  They had no more power but back then the European countries did have ambassadors over in London who could go around to Whitehall and make trouble, so it was probably seen as being generally better to be polite to them.  In third place in the Colonial Class structure where the Convicts, who were recognised as existing but enslaved, and no-one felt any need to be polite to them at all.  The Aborigine of course, having no recognition of existence under English Law, occupied the lowest place in the Colonial pecking order. 

Their own preferred name for themselves was/is "Polite Society"; but it is fascinating to look at the other names the Imperial Ruling Class have been called over the Centuries, the Nobs, the Black Hats, the Old School Tie, the White Shoe Brigade and most recently of course the Monarchist Movement.  They are nothing if they are not sartorial.  

This is not a complete list of course, up until the end of WW2 another common Convict name for the Anglo-Australians or Polite Society or the Imperial Ruling Class was "Them Pommy Bastards".  This name worked perfectly well (from the Convict point of view) up until the "10 Quid Tourists" started arriving.  (Newly arriving English migrants following WW2)  Unfortunately they thought we were talking about them.  Back in the 1940 and 50's, we True Blue Australians had no difficulty sorting them Pommy Bastards out from the "Wingin' Poms" ( the 10 Quid Tourists), but unfortunately the confusion on the part of the Tourists got so bad that the term eventually dropped out of common use.  (Bit of a shame really.)

My purpose here is only to note the existence of  Polite Society in order the bookmark for future growth.