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Colonial Events

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In 1790 drought continued.... and great numbers of bats invaded the colony  

The number of deaths in the colony during 1790 was 156 persons - (The Analytical Review, of History of Thomas Christie. John Hunter's Voyage);  

Governor Philip introduced a land grants scheme; and a dry store on the east side of Sydney Cove was completed.


Departure of the Supply for Norfolk Island with more convicts. A party left on Lord Howe Island to 'turn turtles'.

Providence Petrel- Extinct on Norfolk Island by 1800

January 19 Departure from England of the Second Fleet

March 6 Departure from Port Jackson of H.M. ships to Norfolk Island. The ships carried 186 convicts

March 19
The melancholy loss of HMS Sirius off Norfolk Island March 19th 1790 - George Raper, National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia
Sirius wrecked at Sydney Cove off Norfolk Island. Capt. Hunter and the crew landed safely

Lieut-Gov. Ross' correspondence to Governor Philip March 1790 re the loss of the Sirius at Norfolk Island

.......The melancholy loss of HMS Sirius off Norfolk Island March 19th 1790 - George Raper, National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia

April 15

Governor Arthur Phillip
News of the wreck of the Sirius reached Sydney by the Supply.

Famine threatened the colony necessitating a reduction of rations

Governor Philip requested permission to return to England because of his failing health

April 17

Female Convicts Ships to NSW 1790 - 1791

Departure of the Supply for Batavia to obtain supplies


First salt made at Dawe's Battery, Sydney

June 3

The Lady Juliana in tow of the Pallas Frigate. (Wikipedia)
Arrival of the Lady Juliana with provisions and 221 female convicts and news of the outbreak of the French Revolution

June 20

From the History of Sydney Hospital by Dr. J. Frederick Watson on the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone of the hospital.....By the Justinian, a portable hospital was brought out, but in addition to this It was necessary to pitch between 80 and 100 tents about the hospital, each to contain four patients. In these tents there were no comforts, except a bed of grass for each Invalid, and one blanket for four occupants which was naturally seized by the strongest, and utilised for himself alone on the cold winter nights. To attend on these sick people were the five surgeons and a number of convicts as nurses. (Sydney Morning Herald 28 October 1911)

Arrival of storeship Justinian in Sydney Cove

June 20 - 28

Arrival of the Second Fleet - Surprise Neptune and Scarborough with the first detachment of New South Wales Corps sent to replace the Marines. Darcy Wentworth assistant surgeon

The Second Fleet brought provisions but food shortages were exacerbated because of the number of convicts on board.

July 23

He was in a small boat with three marines in the harbour when a whale was seen near them. Sensible of their danger they used every effort to avoid the cause of it by rowing in a contrary direction from that which the fish seemed to take but the monster suddenly arose close to them and nearly filled the boat with water By exerting themselves they baled her out and again steered from it. For some time it was not seen and they conceived themselves safe when rising immediately under the boat it lifted her to the height of many yards on its back whence flipping off she dropped as from a precipice and immediately filled and sunk The midshipman and one of the marines were sucked into the vortex which the whale had made and disappeared at once. The two other marines swam for the nearest shore but one only reached it. Captain Tench's Account of the Colony in The British Critic Volume 2
Two marines and a midshipman drowned in Sydney Harbour when their boat was destroyed by a whale

This month was marked by nothing worth communication except a melancholy accident which befel a young gentleman of amiable character one of the midshipmen lately belonging to the Sirius and two marines......


The preservation of stock was an object of so much consequence to the colony, that it had become indispensably necessary to protect it by every means in their power. Had any lenity been extended to this offender, it might have been the cause of many depredations being made upon the stock, which it was hoped his punishment would prevent.

Each woman that could work at her needle had materials for two shirts given her at a time; and, while so employed, was not to be taken for any other labour. The storehouse which was begun in July was finished during this month. Its dimensions were, one hundred feet by twenty-two. - An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales

In this month one convict was executed for sheep-stealing.

The female convicts were now employed in making the slops for the men, which had been sent out unmade.

September 7

Governor Phillip speared in the shoulder by aborigine Willemering

September 26

Five convicts escape from Rose Hill - John Tarwood, Joseph Sutton, George Lee, George Connoway and John Watson.  

Read David Collin's account

Return of the Supply with provisions

December 9

"Pimbloy: Native of New Holland in a canoe of that country", engraving Samuel John Neele (1758-1824) - State Library of Victoria
John McEntire, Governor Phillip's game shooter, speared by native Pemulwuy of the Bejigal tribe

More about Pemulwuy

"Pimbloy: Native of New Holland in a canoe of that country" Samuel John Neale. State Library Victoria


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