Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 June 2018

First Fleet

Source:
The Oxford Companion to Australian History
Author(s):

Helen Doyle

First Fleet 

comprised 11 ships which brought the first permanent British settlers to Australia. Commanded by Arthur Phillip on HMS Supply, and led by the flagship HMS Sirius captained by John Hunter, the fleet departed from Portsmouth on 13 May 1787 and arrived at Botany Bay on 18 January 1788. Contrary to the favourable reports in Cook's journal of 1770, the bay proved unsuitable as a harbour and the fleet was relocated to Sydney Cove in Port Jackson, where Phillip raised the British flag on 26 January 1788. A total of 1023 settlers disembarked, including 751 convicts and their children (23 had died during the voyage), and 252 marines and their families. Contemporary accounts of the voyage and early settlement include The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay (1789) and Watkin Tench's Narrative of an Expedition to Botany Bay (1789). John Cobley combined these accounts into Sydney Cove (1980) and analysed The Crimes of the First Fleet Convicts (1982); Victor Crittenden has compiled a comprehensive bibliography (1981). As these works and the formation of the First Fleet Association suggest, the descendants of First Fleet settlers have made an increasing cult of its foundational significance.

Helen Doyle