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Blog post from Wednesday, 9 September, 2015

On this day, 9th September 1754, William Bligh, of the “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame was born.

William Bligh was born in Plymouth, England, the son of a boatman in the customs service and was only 8 when he first went to sea. At age 22, he was chosen to join Captain Cook’s crew on the ‘Resolution’, and became commander of the 'HMAV Bounty’ eleven years later.

Read more about the Mutiny on the Bounty and see Bligh’s logbook in our Discover Collections

Bligh survived the Mutiny and later became Governor of New South Wales in 1805, but another mutiny, the Rum Rebellion, caused him to be imprisoned from 1808 to 1810. He was exonerated in 1811, after which he returned to England. He lived in Lambeth for a time and gave valuable evidence to the 1812 select committee on transportation; but after the death of his wife in April 1812 and the grant of a pension in April 1813 he moved to Farningham, Kent. He died on 7 December 1817 and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s, Lambeth.

The State Library of New South Wales holds manuscripts and mementos of William Bligh, including his telescope,signet ring and seal.

[William Bligh, ca. 1814 - watercolour on ivory miniature]