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Colonial Events 1791
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February 16.........First Ship of the Third Fleet, the Mary Ann departed England.

The Mary Anne, bound to Botany Bay, sailed from Gravesend with near 100 women convicts on board. The Matilda also sailed at the same time to receive convicts at Portsmouth. Two other ships have sailed within these nine days, the William and Anne, and the Britannia, both with men convicts, supposed to have on board about 200 each. The other ships still lying at Gravesend, to receive the men convicts from Newgate, are the Albemarle, the Barrington, and the Active......  The Lady's Magazine: Or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex ..., Volume 22

March 28................Remarkable escape from the colony by convicts William and Mary Bryant and others.   Read accounts of the escape

March 30..............Signing of first land grant in Australia.

(Parramatta) James Ruse, a convict whose sentence had expired and who had recently married (to Elizabeth Perrey on 5th September 1790), was granted 30 acres on 30th March 1791. HRA Return of Lands Granted dated 5 November 1791 records that there was already 8 acres, 2 roods of land under cultivation. Prior to the Grant, Ruse was allowed 1 acre and a hut by Governor Phillip in November 1789 in order to establish the time it would take a man to cultivate sufficient quantity of ground to support himself (HRA, Series 1, Vol. 1., 1788 - 1796 p. 183)  

The 30 acre grant was sold to surgeon John Harris in 1793.

Experiment Farm Postcard 1906

April........................The greater part of the live stock having been killed in 1790, the colony was distressed for provisions. A laying hen sold for 20 shillings; pork a shilling a pound and a roasting pig sold for 10 shillings.

June.........................Re-naming of Rosehill to Parramatta

July 9.....................Convict Mary Talbot's Letter published  in The Times in October 1791  gives an account of the voyage of the First Ship of the Third Fleet  Mary Ann which arrived at Sydney Cove on 9 July 1791 with 141 female convicts and six children, almost all in good health. The Mary Ann brought stores and nine months provisions for the women. The convicts were landed on 11th July 1791

Condition of the convicts received in the colony in the Third Fleet - Governor Phillip to Lord Grenville

August..................12 prisoners settled between Prospect Hill and the Ponds on the Hawkesbury Road

August - October...... The ships of the Third Fleet arrived in Sydney between August and October 1791

Ships of the Third Fleet in 1791

August 1 - Arrival of the Matilda.

A total of 205 male convicts were brought out on the Matilda.24 prisoners died on the passage out.  

Matilda Convict Matilda Convict Daniel Phillips accompanied John Howe on his expedition of discovery in 1819.

August 8................Mary Anne received the Matilda's cargo with 99 male convicts, and sailed for Norfolk Island having on board 133 male convicts, one female convict and two children.

August 20............The Atlantic anchored at Sydney Cove about mid-day.  

August 21..............Arrival of the
Salamanda with 12 privates of the NSW Corps and 154 male convicts and stores and provisions.

Most of the convicts were in a weak emaciated state, and complained that proper attention had not been paid to them.

August 28..............Arrival of the
William & Ann  

16 privates and one sergeant and a corporal of the NSW Corps formed the guard. Master of the William and Ann was an American Captain - Eber Bunker.......

Captain Bunker on the William and Ann and Thomas Melville on the Britannia were two of the first men who embarked on whaling voyages in 1791.....

In 1791 a fishery for spermaceti whales on the coast of New South Wales was commenced by Captain Melville, commander of the Britannia, a ship belonging to Messrs. Enderby and Sons, the first British merchants who adventured in the southern whale fishery. Having discovered in his passage to Port Jackson with a load of convicts, that the spermaceti whales are more abundant in the seas adjacent to that country than near the coasts of South America, he sailed from that port on a whaling expedition, and was followed by several other vessels, which, like his own, were fitted for the whale fishery, and according to the original destination of their voyages, were to have stretched across the Pacific ocean to the coast of Peru on that pursuit. Captain M. got only one out of four whales that he killed, nor were the other vessels more successful, owing to the very tempestuous weather while they were out. But they were sufficiently encouraged to consider those seas as very favourable for the prosecution of the most valuable branch of the whale fishery.A Treatise on the Laws of Commerce and Manufactures By Joseph Chitty   

September 4........The Salamander sailed for Norfolk Island with 160 male convicts, stores, provisions, two non-commissioned officers and 11 privates

September 21.....
Arrival of the Gorgon  

Governor King arrived as passenger under Captain John Parker, with His Majesty's Authority for granting Pardons Absolutely or Conditionally. 

September 26.... Arrival of the convict ship Active - Master John Michinsonn.  

Celebrated pickpocket George Barrington arrived on the Active.
George Barrington

September 26.....First Irish convicts arrive on the
Queen With provisions and 126 male convicts and 21 female convicts. The Queen and the Active brought a part of the cargo of the Guardian which had been w which had been wrecked, and detachments from the New South Wales corps.

September 28......Arrival of H.M.S. Discovery.

October 5...........William & Mary Bryant delivered to Captain Edward Edwards, of his Majesty's ship Pandora, by Timotheus Wanjon, Esq., Governor of the Dutch Settlements at Timor.

October 13...........Arrival of the Albemarle;

250 male and six 250 male and six female convicts landed between 13th and 17th October, soldiers landed 21st October, Stores & Provisions landed 26th October. The convicts, during the passage, attempted to seize the ship.

October 14...........Arrival of the convict ship

October 16..........Arrival of the Admiral Barrington

Guard - A Captain, three non-commissioned officers and 24 privates

264 male convicts264 male convicts; four women came out with their husbands, and two children.

October 26........Twenty-nine Marines, 4 wives & 10 children request to settle at Norfolk Island and depart on 26th October. The 'Atlantic' to continue to Calcutta after Norfolk Island

List of Marine Settlers to Norfolk Island

November...........A Vineyard was established on the Parramatta River

December...........Public protest after reduction in rations.

December 12....Duel fought between Major Robert Ross of the Marines and Captain William Hill

December 19......The   Gorgon cleared the Heads with a fair wind on her return voyage to England with the main body of the First Fleet Marines.   Those who departed on the Gorgon included Sergeant James Scott and his wife and children; Major Robert Ross; Ralph Clark; Watkin Tench; William Dawes

Beginning of the Whaling and sealing industries




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