Convicts: Bound for Australia

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First Fleet convicts

The First Fleet, consisting of 11 vessels, was the largest single contingent of ships to sail into the Pacific Ocean. Its purpose was to find a convict settlement on the east coast of Australia, at Botany Bay.

The First Fleet sailed from England on 13 May 1787 and arrived at Botany Bay eight months later, on 18 January 1788. Governor Arthur Phillip rejected Botany Bay choosing instead Port Jackson, to the north, as the site for the new colony; they arrived there on 26 January 1788.

The number of convicts transported in the First Fleet is unclear; there were between 750-780 convicts and around 550 crew, soldiers and family members.

Flannery, T 1999, The birth of Sydney, Text Publishing, Melbourne.


Ships of the First Fleet

  • Alexander
  • Borrowdale
  • Charlotte
  • Fishburn
  • Friendship
  • Golden Grove
  • Lady Penrhyn
  • Prince of Wales
  • Scarborough
  • Sirius
  • Supply