First Fleet Convicts to Australia

The earliest group of permanent settlers to arrive in Australia from Britain has come to be known as the First Fleet. This group of 11 ships, packed with convicts and free settlers, set sail from England in May 1787 and landed at Botany Bay in January of 1788. Soon after, they moved to the more sheltered harbor at Port Jackson, which fleet leader Captain (later Admiral) Arthur Phillip (1738-1814), renamed Sydney cove. This was the first European colony in New South Wales and marked the beginning of convict transportation to Australia.

The Eleven Ships of the First Fleet

H.M.S. SiriusCaptain John HunterEscort
H.M.S. SupplyCaptain Arthur PhillipEscort
AlexanderMaster Duncan SinclairConvict transport
CharlotteMaster Thomas GilbertConvict transport
FriendshipMaster Francis WaltonConvict transport
Lady PenrhynMaster William ServerConvict transport
Prince of WalesMaster John MansonConvict transport
ScarboroughCaptain John MarshallConvict transport
BorrowdaleMaster William SharpStoreship
FishburnMaster Robert BrownStoreship
Golden GroveMaster Houston ReedStoreship

Notable First Fleet members

  • Augustus Alt, surveyor
  • Richard Johnson, chaplain
  • Arthur Phillip, governor
  • Philip Gidley King, 2nd lieutenant, later lieutenant governor of Norfolk Island, and 3rd governor of the colony
  • John Hunter, captain of H.M.S. Sirius, later 2nd governor of the colony
  • Henry Lidgbird Ball, captain of H.M.S. Supply
  • John White, principal surgeon
  • Thomas Arndell, assistant surgeon, later settler
  • William Balmain, assistant surgeon, later principal surgeon
  • Arthur Bowes Smyth, assistant surgeon, author of journal
  • Dennis Considen, assistant surgeon
  • Thomas Jamison, surgeon's mate
  • Henry Brewer, clerk to Phillip, provost marshall, administrator
  • Quartermaster Henry Hacking, settler, explorer
  • Major Robert Ross, commander, later lieutenant governor of Norfolk Island
  • 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Clark, author of journal
  • Captain David Collins, judge advocate, later commandant of first settlement at Hobart
  • Lieutenant William Dawes, engineer, surveyor, humanitarian
  • Lieutenant George Johnston, later commander of NSW Corps
  • Captain Watkin Tench, author of journal
  • Lieutenant William Bradley, author of journal, water colourist
  • Mary Braund and William Bryant, escapees from colony
  • John Baughan, carpenter, mill owner, attacked by NSW Corps

See Also


  1. ^ Davison, Grame (ed.) et al, The Oxford Companion To Australian History, Oxford University Press, 1998
  2. ^ Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1989
  3. ^ Bateson, Charles, The Convict Ships, 1787-1868, Sydney, 1974
  4. ^ Hughes, Robert, The Fatal Shore, London, Pan, 1988
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