This 90 foot high obelisk was erected in 1845 at Waterloo Place in Edinburgh. It commemorates William Skirving, Thomas Muir, Joseph Gerrald, Thomas Fyshe Palmer and Maurice Margarot who were known as the Scottish Martyrs. They were tried for sedition in 1793, with the judge telling the jury that sedition in this case meant violating the peace and order of society. In fact they were only campaigning for reform of the parliamentary system to give men over the age of 21 the vote, amongst other things.
They were found guilty and transported to Australia for 14 years. In 1794 they sailed from Portsmouth on The Surprise bound for Botany Bay. William Skirving, the one that I am most interested in as I think I am related to him, died of dysentery not long after reaching Australia. His wife and children were re-housed by a landowner in Kirkcaldy.