Born in New York in the turbulent eighteenth century, African-American Billy Blue fought with the British against France and America, led a press gang in Deptford, lumped cargo on the Thames, was transported to Australia for pilfering and became a ferryman on Sydney Harbour. In Sydney, he flourished for some years as a man of property, on terms of friendship with Governor Macquarie. Cassandra Pybus speculates that this friendship, which helped secure Blue’s stature in Sydney society, might have owed something to an earlier acquaintance when both men served in the same campaigns in America.
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