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Death or Liberty Plaque : 01-January-2009
Death or Liberty Plaque : 01-January-2009
Photographs supplied by Greg Reilly

The plaque commemorates the Bicentenary of the Battle for Vinegar Hill and the death of the nine rebels who were executed.

On 4th March 1804, the Governor received an urgent message that the convicts at Castle Hill Government Farm were in rebellion. A state of martial law was declared and a company of the New South Wales Corps supported by volunteers was dispatched to suppress the uprising. The rebels` aim was to join up with other convicts along the Hawkesbury, advance to Sydney via Parramatta and commandeer ships to return to Ireland. The soldiers confronted the rebels at the site later known as Vinegar Hill, from the site of the battle fought in Ireland in 1798. While negotiating under a flag of truce, the soldiers attacked the poorly armed rebels; about 20 were killed in the clash and pursuit that followed. Nine leaders were executed; one, Philip Cunningham, without a trial. Others received up to 500 lashes while still others were sent to hard labour at Coal River, where Newcastle now stands. "Death or Liberty "was the battle cry of the rebels


Address:Windsor Road, Vinegar Hill Historical Site, Castlebrook Memorial Park, Rouse Hill, 2153
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.694025
Long: 150.921604
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Government
Actual Event Start Date:04-March-1804
Actual Event End Date:05-March-1804


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 4th March, 2004
Front Inscription

This plaque commemorates the Bicentenary of the Battle of Vinegar Hill, which took place close to this spot on 5th March 1804 following an uprising of mostly Irish prisoners at the Castle Hill Government Farm on the previous evening. The battle, between the poorly-armed rebels and the New South Wales Corps, supported by armed settlers, resulted in some 20 prisoners being killed after their leaders had been taken prisoner while negotiating under a flag of truce. Nine prisoners were later hanged. Many of the rebels were sentenced to floggings of up to 500 lashes and some were sent to the coal mines at Coal River (Newcastle). The original battle of Vinegar Hill took place in County Wexford Ireland on 21st June 1798.

The nine rebels executed were :

Philip Cunningham hanged without trial at Green Hills (Windsor) 5 or 6 March 1804

The remaining eight were court-martialled at Parramatta and sentenced to death

Charles Hill, Samuel Humes, John Place hanged at Parramatta 8 March 1804.
William Johnson, John Neal, George Harrington hanged at Castle Hill 9 March 1804.
John Brannon, Timothy Hogan hanged at Sydney 10 March 1804.

"Death or Liberty"

This plaque was erected by the Irish community in NSW, the Mineworkers Trust, the Blacktown City Council and the Government and People of Ireland

Donated by Castlebrook Memorial Park

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au