If he was still alive today, Captain William Bligh would be celebrating his 265th birthday this year, and his telegram from the Queen would probably include an invitation to high tea. Obviously he is not alive, but he is survived by his descendants and they, along with other seafarers and history fans, are invited to high tea at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) on Sunday September 8.
The event complements the new exhibition, Bligh: Hero or Villain? and will include a private tour. Fellow former NSW Governor and Bligh enthusiast, Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir will attend as special guest, as will Pyrmont resident, John Bligh, a descendant of Captain Bligh, and Trent Christian, a descendant of lead mutineer, Fletcher Christian.
The infamous tale of the mutiny aboard HMS Bounty has been the subject of debate, research, and many a swashbuckling film, with fact dissolved in fiction like salt in seawater. Captain Bligh and a group of loyalists were cast adrift in a long boat by rebellious sailors led by Bligh’s one time protege, Fletcher Christian. Bligh and his men somehow navigated the small, over-populated boat some 6,700km across open sea until they reached the shores of Timor 47 days later. He was admonished and rapped over the knuckles for losing the Bounty and many years later became governor of NSW.
But there was something about Bligh that must have rubbed people the wrong way, because, yet again, he was the target of a rebellion, this time over rum.
Bligh: Hero or Villain? is an immersive, interactive exhibition that brings visitors into Bligh’s world. It includes a replica of the long boat which you can actually sit in, real breadfruit trees, and a range of fascinating items related to the ambiguous historical figure. At the end of the exhibition you can cast your own vote on whether you believe he was a hero or villain.
Bligh’s 265th Birthday High Tea
September 8, 3:30pm – 6pm
Australian National Maritime Museum
For details and tickets for the special birthday event and/or for the exhibition visit: