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The First Fleet. A Digital Timeline. Before 1786. London was a poor city and many people were forced into crime to survive. The streets were crowded with beggars and thieves. Many people were imprisoned. . Before 1786.

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the first fleet

The First Fleet

A Digital Timeline

before 1786
Before 1786
  • London was a poor city and many people were forced into crime to survive. The streets were crowded with beggars and thieves. Many people were imprisoned.
before 17861
Before 1786

Because British gaols were overflowing, criminals were transported to America. But the War of Independence in 1776 stopped this. After this, convicts were confined in hulks on the River Thames.

slide4

Because the hulks were also overflowing with prisoners, the government decided to start transportation again. This time, prisoners were to be sent to Botany Bay in Australia.

slide5
1786

Convicts began to be moved to transport ships in Portsmouth Harbour . This was the scene of enormous activity as everyone prepared for the journey.

early 1787
Early 1787

Convicts began to be moved to transport ships in Portsmouth Harbour. This was the scene of enormous activity as everyone prepared for the journey.

early 17871
Early 1787

Governor Arthur Phillip was put in charge of the First Fleet. In his charge were over 750 convicts including children as young as 8. Their crimes ranged from small thefts to murder.

may 13 1787
May 13 1787

At 5 am, the First Fleet began its long voyage. The fleet was made up of 6 transport ships, 3 store ships and 2 naval ships called the Sirius and the Supply. Governor Phillip captained the Sirius.

after may 13 1787
After May 13 1787

better Most convicts had never been to sea so they were excited. However, their excitement soon turned to boredom. The cramped and suffocating conditions below decks were no than on the hulks.

june 3 1787
June 3 1787

The fleet made their first stop at Tenerife in the Canary Islands. They stayed here for a week while they gathered fresh supplies. The convicts’ quarters were extremely hot and many fainted continually.

early august 1787
Early August 1787

The fleet made a second stop in Rio de Janeiro where they stayed for nearly a month. Prisoners were allowed onto the decks to enjoy the sun and they tasted exotic fruits for the first time.

september 1787
September 1787

After leaving Rio, the fleet encountered terrible weather conditions. The violent rocking of the ships caused extreme sea-sickness. The convicts were constantly wet and freezing cold.

october 1787
October 1787

Arriving at Table Bay at the Cape of Good Hope, the fleet was able to repair damage caused by the rough weather. After a few weeks, they set off on the final and longest part of the journey.

january 18 1788
January 18 1788

The Sirius was the first ship to arrive in Botany Bay. The rest of the fleet arrived two days later. Governor Phillip was not impressed with the infertile land, so he sailed further north to discover Port Jackson.

january 26 1788
January 26 1788

The entire fleet moved to Port Jackson which was considered a much more suitable place for the new colony. Work began immediately. The voyage had taken 8 months, covered 24000 km, over 40 people had died and 7 babies had been born.

free settlers perspective
Free settlers perspective

The Second Fleet arrived in Port Jackson just in time to bring supplies to the starving colony. The first two years in Australia proved to be much more difficult than expected. British tools and farming techniques were inadequate for the harshness of the new land.

the convicts perspective
The Convicts’ Perspective

The Free Settlers who arrived on the First Fleet would have felt nervous about the unknown challenges they would face in their new home. They also would have felt hopeful of a better life in Australia. Because they were free, they would have felt more powerful than the convicts.

the aborigines perspective
The Aborigines’ Perspective

The Aborigines were introduced to white people for the first time. They would have felt frightened, confused, anxious and invaded because

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