Activity 2: You be the judge (40 min)
This activity focuses on the conflict between the governor (Macquarie) and the new judge (Bent) appointed by the British Government. The key points are that:
- Bent wanted to apply British law and have independent courts in the colony
- in the colony the governor had complete control.
Bent opposed decisions of the governor when he thought they were wrong and the governor refused to change decisions he thought were right. This led to Bent shutting the Supreme Court. Even though the British Government supported the governor, it eventually ordered a report on the running of the colony which recommended:
- a council to advise the governor
- independence of the courts.
2a Distribute Handout 11 and read through the cartoon with students.
2b Ask students in their groups to consider the following questions:
- Why do you think Governor Macquarie wanted to force Bent to do what he was told?
- The governor thought his decisions were in the best interests of the colony.
- It was the governor's job to make all the decisions and run the colony.
- Why do you think Bent thought he should stand up to the governor?
- He believed the governor's decisions were wrong.
- He believed that as judge he should run the courts without interference from the governor.
2c Distribute Handout 12. Ask students to discuss these questions in their groups and then write down their ideas.
2d Conduct a report-back and list the student ideas on the board. The British Government sent Commissioner Bigge to report on the colony and to make recommendations on any changes that needed to be made. He recommended that:
- the governor appoint a council to advise him
- the judge take over the running of the courts from the governor.
Activity 3: Role-play - the court of the early governors
3a Display Handout 13. Discuss the structure of the court, highlighting: