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Colonial Events 1789
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In 1789 drought threatened the colony, and the small freshwater stream that ran into Sydney Cove proved an inadequate source of water. To overcome this, holding tanks were later cut into the sandstone banks to provide storage for the water. This stream became known as the 'Tank Stream'.

January 1......... Officers of the Marines invited to dine at the Governor's table
Example of the uniform of the Marines from a painting by Charles C. Stadden on the jacket of The First Fleet Marines by John Moore

.......Example of the uniform of the Marines from a painting by Charles C. Stadden on the jacket of 'The First Fleet Marines 1786 - 1792' by John Moore (ISBN 0 7022 2065 5)

February 2
......... Death of Captain John Shea of the Marines who died of consumption after a long illness.

March 17........ Six marines executed in Sydney for stealing food - James Baker, James Brown, Richard Dukes, Thomas Jones, Luke Haynes and Richard Askew. - An awful and terrible example of justice took place towards the close of this month, which I record with regret, but which it would be disingenuous to suppress.—Six marines, the flower of our battalion, were hanged by the public executioner, on the sentence of a criminal court, composed entirely of their own officers, for having at various times robbed the public stores of flour, meat, spirits, tobacco, and many other articles. - Extract from "A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson: In New South Wales" ... By Watkin Tench

April 15........ Outbreak of Smallpox amongst the aborigines at Port Jackson.

In April and May, 1789, an extraordinary calamity was observed among the natives. In all the coves and inlets of the harbour of Port Jackson, were found dead Indians, whose bodies were covered with pustules similar to those occasioned by the small pox; and the disease being ascertained to exist in several others, the sick were, by the directions of the governor, treated with all possible attention. To the gentlemen of the hospital the malady seemed inexplicable; and Captain Tench has given the following note on the subject: * No solution of this difficulty had been given when I left the country, in December, 1791. I can, therefore, only propose queries for the ingenuity of others to exercise itself upon. Is it a disease indigenous to the country? Did the French ships under Perouse introduce it? let it be remembered, that they had now been departed more than a year; and we had never heard of its existence on board of them.—Had it travelled across the continent from its western shore where Dampier and other European voyagers had formerly landed. - Was it introduced by Mr. Cook .'—Did we give it birth here? No person among us had been afflicted with the disorder since we had quitted the Cape of Good Hope, seventeen months before. It is true, that our surgeons had brought out variolous matter in bottles.; but to infer that it was produced from this cause were a supposition so wild as to be unworthy of consideration.'The English Review

Image of a child suffering smallpox (20th century)

...... Image of child illustrating effects of smallpox (20th century) Mear, Craig., The Origin of the Smallpox Outbreak in Sydney 1789 Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society (June 1, 2008)

April 28....... Mutiny on the Bounty .

The Mutineers turning Lieut. Bligh and part of the officers and crew adrift from his Majesty's Ship the Bounty / painted and engraved by Robert Dodd

May 18........ Death of Arabanoo from small pox

June.......... First play performed in Australia - George Farquhar's comedy -  The Recruiting Officer

August 8......... First Police Force in the colony - The Nightwatch. - Names of the first Night watch

October 5.......... First Launching of vessel in Sydney - The launch that was begun in May by thecarpenter of the Supply being completed, was put into the water on the 5th October. From the quantity of wood used in her construction, she appeared to be a mere bed of timber; and, when launched, was named by the convicts, with a felicity that is sometimes visible in the allusions of the lower order of people, The Rose Hill Packet; but she was afterwrads better known as The Lump- An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales

November 21...... James Ruse -  farm - supported from the public store until 25 February 1791.


November 25......Aborigines Colbee and Bennelong taken prisoner

December......  Lieutenant William Dawes led a party into the mountains across the Nepean River, penetrating 15 miles (24 km) in 3 days   An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales From Its First Settlement in January 1788, to August 1801 An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales From Its First Settlement in January 1788, to August 1801 By David Collins

December 24..... The Store ship Guardian, Captain Riou, laden with stores and carrying 25 convicts and and a crew of 123 struck an iceberg 400 leagues from the Cape of Good Hope.

 The Guardian




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