The First Fleet of ships to carry convicts from England to
Botany Bay sailed from Portsmouth, England, on 13 May 1787. It
arrived at Botany Bay on 18 January 1788. When that place proved
unsuitable for a settlement the fleet made its way a short distance
up the coast and on 25 January 1788 entered what is now known as
Sydney Harbour and anchored in Sydney Cove.
This page contains statistics relating to the people who made
the voyage and provides details of the ships of the fleet. It also
provides references for further inquiry, including details of
several ebooks, which are held by Project Gutenberg Australia or
Project Gutenberg, which provide first hand accounts of the voyage
and describe the first efforts to establish the colony.
Right: The Bicentennial Monument, which commemorates the arrival
of the First Fleet and lists the names of those who arrived at
Botany Bay in 1788. The monument is at Brighton Le Sands, Sydney,
and overlooks Botany Bay.
Books about the First
ebooks available from this site:
JOURNALS, BOOKS, LETTERS AND ORATIONS BY PEOPLE ON THE FIRST
FLEET (at this site)
Arthur PHILLIP (1738-1814), The
Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Baywith an Account of
the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson and Norfolk
Island, London, 1789. This book includes the Journals of
Lieutenantss Shortland, Watts, Ball and Captain Marshall, with an
account of their new discoveries. The book also includes a List of Convicts sent to New South Wales on the
First Fleet, in 1787.
Also refer to the Wikipedia page, Journals of the First Fleet for details of works by
these other First Fleeters who wrote personal accounts:
Philip Gidley King
James Scott Letters
Henry Waterhouse Convict narrative
Also refer to the Australian
History page for ebooks which cover, in a general way, the
early settlement of Australia by Europeans.
Charles BATESON, The Convict Ships, 1787-1868, Sydney,
Mollie GILLEN, The Founders of Australia: a biographical
dictionary of the First Fleet, Sydney, Library of Australian
History, 1989. This is the definitve reference regarding those who
sailed on the First Fleet and contains a biographical entry for
every person. It is held by several local libraries in Sydney and
by the State Library of New South Wales.
The First Fleet
Fellowship web site, an historical society formed in 1984 to
provide an association for all those people who have ancestors who
arrived in Australia in 1788 aboard one of the ships of the First
Fleet. Based in Melbourne.
Fellowship of First Fleeters. A society formed in 1968 composed
of descendants of those who arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788
aboard one of the ships of the First Fleet. Based in Sydney.
Gillen notes that "during the voyage there were 22 births (13
males, 9 females), while 69 people either died, were discharged, or
deserted (61 males and 8 females). As no complete crew musters have
survived for the six transports and three storeships, there may
have been as many as 110 more seamen who have not been identified,
thus giving approximatelt 1530 people who left England and 1483 who
reached Sydney Cove.
Note that there is no definitive list of the people who
arrived at Botany Bay in the First Fleet. We will probably never
know the exact number and their names.
Updated 28 Aug 2022
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