Second Fleet Convicts to Australia

The second shipment of convicts to New South Wales, known as the Second Fleet was very different than the First Fleet in that this fleet was contracted to private businesses. For the most part the fleet arrived at Sydney Cove in June 1790 but the Guardian struck ice off the Cape of Good Hope and was wrecked oin the coast.

Those on these ships suffered notoriously brutal conditions: high rates of mortality and disease, and excessive use of leg-irons. Blame for the conditions was pointed at the private shipping firm used; the company, a former slaving contractor had been undertaken to transport, clothe and feed the convicts for a flat fee of 17 7s. 6d per head whether they arrived in Australia dead or alive. Realizing the potential for profits in this arrangement, they maximized their cargo, and minimized their expenditures on food and medicine to a brutal degree. Of the 1,026 covicts who sailed, 267 died (26%) on the journey.

The Six Ships of the Second Fleet

Lady JulianaMaster Thomas EdgarConvict transport
GuardianMaster Edward RiouConvict transport
SurprizeMaster Nicholas AnstisConvict transport
NeptuneMaster Donald TraillConvict transport
ScarboroughMaster John MarshallConvict transport

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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