Free Settler or Felon?


Colonial Events 1788
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Captain Arthur Phillip. - On the outward journey, soon after leaving the Cape of Good Hope, Captain Phillip transferred to the tender Supply, hoping to make an advance survey of their destination at Botany Bay; he placed Hunter in the Sirius in command of the main convoy, though in the result the entire fleet of eleven ships made Botany Bay within the three days

Governor Arthur Philip - National Portrait Gallery, London
Governor Arthur Philip National Portrait Gallery, London

Arrival in Botany Bay of the Supply, 12 guns - first ship of the First Fleet at Botany Bay.

John Shortland (senior) was appointed naval agent to the First Fleet. He also procured appointments on the expedition for his sons, John Shortland and Thomas George Shortland.


Arrival in Botany Bay, of the ships :

Alexander, Captain Duncan Sinclair, (210 male convicts) Marine Officers - Lieut. J. Johnston, Lieut. Shairp. Assistant Surgeon William Balmain.
Scarborough (210 male convicts) Marine Officers - Captain Shea, Lieut. Kellow, Lieut. Morrison. Surgeon Mr. Dennis Considen.

Friendship (male and female convicts) Assistant Surgeon Thomas Arndell; Marine Officers - Capt. Lieut. Meredith, Lieut. Clarke, Lieut. Faddy.


Arrival of the remainder of the First Fleet.....  

Sirius - 26 guns.  Captain John Hunter, Quartermaster Henry Hacking. Surgeon George Worgan. George Raper was Midshipman on the Sirius. Purser John Palmer.
Journal of surgeon George Worgan at Project Gutenberg

George Bouchier Worgan's piano....George Worgan's piano
Prior to George Worgan returning to England in 1791, he gifted the piano to Elizabeth MacArthur. It eventually became a part of the Stewart Symonds Collection, which was donated to Edith Cowan University in 2016.  The First Fleet piano was on loan to the WA Maritime Museum until the 2nd of February 2017.

Daniel Southwell also Midshipman promoted to Lieutenant on the voyage.

Captain William Bradley's Journal

William Reed seaman

Charlotte  (male and female convicts) Captain Thomas Gilbert, Surgeon John White, Marine Officers - Captain Tench, Lieut. Cresswell, Lieut. Poulden

Prince of Wales (female convicts) Marine Officers: Lieut. Davy, Lieut. Timmins  

Lady Penrhyn (female convicts) Marine Officers: Capt. Campbell, Lieut. G. Johnston, Lieut. William Collins, surgeon John Turnpenny Altree and Store ships

Golden Grove (Commander William Sharp, Rev. Richard Johnson)

Fishburn (Commander Matthew Brown) and

Borrowdale (Commander Hobson Reed) with provisions, implements, clothing etc. &

Female Convicts Ships to NSW in 1788  


Governor Phillip accompanied by officers set off in three open boats to examine the coast in the hope of finding a more suitable site for settlement than Botany Bay. Finding in a cove of 'this noble and capacious harbour' a sufficiency of water and soil, he returned to Botany Bay after an absence of 3 days and gave directions for immediate removal to Port Jackson.
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Arrival of La Perouse to the coast of 'New Holland'


Sydney Cove

Sydney Cove. National Archives of Australia Image no. : C4078, N7012BWith a party of marines and some artificers, Governor Phillip anchored off the mouth of the Cove.


Collins - Account of the Colony of NSW - The Monthly Review By Ralph Griffiths, George Edward Griffiths

In the evening of the 26th the whole of the party present assembled where they had first landed and a union jack was displayed. The marines fired several vollies and toasts to the health of His Majesty and the success of the new colony were given.

Disembarkation of the troops and remainder of the convicts on this day. A portable canvas house brought for the Governor was erected on the East side of Sydney Cove and a detachment of marines were encamped at the head of the Cove. The main body of the convicts were placed on the West side

List of 1788 Convicts


French ships L'Astrolabe and La Bussole under Commanders De la Perouse and De d' Angle anchored in Botany Bay. Assisted into Botany Bay by Lieut. Henry Ball of HMS Supply

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Account of the English Colony in New South Wales From Its First Settlement in January 1788, to August 1801 By David Collins

Colony of NSW formally proclaimed and Governor's commission read, appointing Captain Arthur Phillip to be captain general and governor in chief over the territory of New South Wales. The ceremony was performed by the judge-advocate, David Collins. An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales From Its First Settlement in January 1788, to August 1801 By David Collins



3 February

First Church Service in Australia conducted by Rev. Richard Johnson at Sydney Cove. 

From the History of Sydney Hospital by Dr. J. Frederick Watson on the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone of the hospital......In the beginning of February, 1788, the erection of the first hospital was commenced on the west side of Sydney Cove, near what are now known as the Commissariat Stores, George street North; it was completed by twelve convict carpenters and sixteen hired men from the ships. An soon as it was finished it was filled, and the overflow occupied tents around it. Some of the drugs were found to have perished during the prolonged voyage, and others were of inferior quality; but it is interesting to read that the native sarsaparilla proved to be powerfully anti-scorbutic, and an infusion of "wild myrtle" astringent in dysentery, the honour of these discoveries being claimed by Dennis Considen. (Sydney Morning Herald 28 October 1911)


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The Monthly Review By Ralph Griffiths, George Edward Griffiths

Philip Gidley King appointed Superintendent and commandant of Norfolk Island - Departed on 14th February in the Supply for Norfolk with a petty officer, surgeon's mate, two marines, two men who understood cultivation of flax and 9 men and 6 female convicts.



Discovery of Lord Howe Island by Lieut. Ball

The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay With an Account of the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson & Norfolk Island By Arthur Phillip, John Marshall, John Stockdale, Henry Lidgbird Ball By Arthur Phillip, John Marshall, John Stockdale, Henry Lidgbird Ball.


First Execution in the colony - Convict Thomas Barrett hanged for stealing provisions. Thomas Barrett arrived on the Charlotte. He had been a survivor of the Mercury Mutiny in 1784 and is believed to have engraved the Charlotte Medallion.


Formal establishment of settlement at Norfolk Island. -  Lieutenant King's description of Norfolk Island


Governor Phillip led an expedition to Broken Bay. Others on the expedition included Lieutenant William Bradley, Jacob Nagle and George Worgan

10 MARCH  

Departure of Jean-François de Galaup La Perouse {Comte de La Pérouse} from Botany Bay after a six week stay. He was not heard of again.

 Jean Francoise Gallaup de La Perouse

30  MAY

Convicts William Okey and Samuel Davis killed while cutting rushes


On the point of land which formed the west side of Sydney Cove, an Observatory building was constructed under the direction of Lieutenant Dawes who was charged with observing the expected comet. (HRA.,Vol.1., p47)


Providence Petrel- Extinct on Norfolk Island by 1800

Departure of Lieutenant Ball on the Golden Grove with provisions for Norfolk Island. Strong gales on the passage there. Returned to Sydney 26th August.


Buildings damaged by heavy rain


Duel fought between Surgeon-General White and his assistant Major William Balmain


Departure of the Sirius to the Cape to obtain provisions after the failure of crops and destruction of grains and seeds


Departure of the Golden Grove store ship for Norfolk Island with provisions and a detachment of marines, 2 seamen and 11 convict women . David Collins' description of Norfolk Island in November when the Golden Grove returned to headquarters


Convict Cooper Handley murdered by aborigines


Capture of Arabanoo..... When the news of his arrival at Sydney was announced I went with every other person to see him. He appeared to be about thirty years old not tall but robustly made and of a countenance which under happier circumstances I thought would display manliness and sensibility his agitation was excessive and the clamorous crowds who flocked around him did not contribute to lessen it. Curiosity and observation seemed nevertheless not to have wholly deserted him he shewed the effect of novelty upon ignorance he wondered at all he saw. Though broken and interrupted with dismay his voice was soft and musical when its natural tone could be heard and he readily pronounced with tolerable accuracy the names of things which were taught him. To our ladies he quickly became extraordinarily courteous a sure sign that his terror was wearing off




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