First Fleet

Fleet of eleven ships which left England in 1787 to found a penal colony in Australia. It consisted of two Royal Navy Vessels, three store ships and six convict transports which carried over 1000 convicts, marines and seamen to the colony.

Milestone
Arrived Sydney
18 Jan 1788 - 20 Jan 1788
Arrived Sydney
25 Jan 1788 - 26 Jan 1788
Relationship
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HMS Sirius

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2010

Flagship of the first fleet, Sirius was vital to the survival of the young colony.

The myth of Sydney's foundational orgy

,
2011

Despite many debunkings over the years since it was first concocted in 1963, the myth of Sydney's foundational orgy persists. In fact the arrival of convict women did not create licentious scenes in the colony, and produced many flourishing and devoted families.

Manly Cove, Kai'ymay

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

Manly Cove was the site for first encounters between people from opposite sides of the globe; the site of greeting, gift-giving and dancing, of goodwill and curiosity, as well as betrayal, violence, justice and retribution.

First Fleet

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

Phillip described the transportation of convicts to New South Wales as a voyage 'to the extremity of the globe'. Having successfully managed both the ships and the convicts, the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove brought Phillip new challenges: how to keep men and women, convicts and alcohol, camp and fleet, apart.

Alexander

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

The Alexander was the largest and most notorious convict transport in the First Fleet carrying 'ye worst of land-lubbers'.

Charlotte

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

The Charlotte was one of six transports among the 11 ships of the First Fleet that arrived at Sydney Cove on the 26 January 1788 under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip. She left Sydney Cove bound for Canton on 8 May 1788, arriving back in England in June 1789.

Lady Penrhyn

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

The Lady Penrhyn was the slowest ship of the First Fleet with the largest number of female convicts. She entered Port Jackson on 26 January but it was not until 6 February that the convict women disembarked, having spent a total of 13 months confined to the transport.

Scarborough

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

The second largest of the First Fleet vessels, Scarborough carried male convicts to the penal colony of New South Wales as part of both the First and Second fleets. Scarborough was the only ship of the First Fleet whose convict passengers plotted a mutiny, albeit one that was swiftly uncovered and thwarted

Golden Grove

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

Golden Grove was one of the three storeships of the First Fleet and is credited as having made the fastest return journey of any of the First Fleet ships.

Friendship

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

The Friendship was one of the six convict transports in the First Fleet. She was scuttled and sunk on her return voyage after becoming stuck on sandbanks off the coast of Borneo.

HMS Supply

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

HMS Supply was the smallest and fastest ship in the First Fleet. A naval vessel, she carried 16 marines and accompanied the flagship HMS Sirius on the voyage to Sydney Cove. Over the next three years she made 11 more voyages, the last causing her so much damage that she was ordered back to England. She reached Plymouth on 21 April 1792.

Prince of Wales

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

The Prince of Wales was the last ship to join the First Fleet on its epic voyage to Botany Bay in 1787-88. It remained at Sydney Cove for five months while its stores were unloaded.The ship returned to Falmouth on 25 March 1789 with many of the crew having suffered from scurvy on the voyage home.

Borrowdale

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

The Borrowdale, along with the other storeships of the First Fleet, took on board two years' worth of provisions and stores for the new colony including 'implements of husbandry, clothing for the troops and convicts and other necessaries'.

Fishburn

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2015

Fishburn was the largest of the three store ships of the First Fleet stocked with provisions for the new colony. After her return to England, Fishburn was lost in a storm off Gun Fleet Sand in October 1789.

The colonial observations of Surgeon John White

CC BY-SA 2.0
,
2016

Surgeon John White, an officer of the First Fleet, was responsible for the health of the infant penal colony. His journal, and those of his contemporaries, reveals that food shortages were a serious problem for colonial officials, convicts and Aboriginal people. While there was some early collaboration between Aboriginal people and colonists regarding food, tensions escalated into violent incidents and an unknown number of fatalities. White, however, offered care to all the residents of Port Jackson, including Nanbaree, who White took to England.