Convicts: Bound for Australia

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Second Fleet convicts


The Second Fleet consisted of six ships - four transport ships and two storeships arrived in Sydney Cove in 1790.

Three of the transport ships carried mostly male convicts and the other transport ship, The Lady Juliana, only carried women. The Lady Juliana was the first all-female transport ship and the female population of Sydney more than doubled when it arrived.

The convicts on all the ships were mistreated, rations were poor and sickness rife. Of the approximate 1250 male convicts, over 25% died en route to NSW (in comparison to just 2.8% of those on the First Fleet) and many more died within a year of reaching Sydney (Flynn 2001).

Almost half of the convicts who arrived in Sydney required immediate hospitalisation and about 80 died within three weeks of arrival.

Flynn, M 2001, The Second Fleet: Britain's grim convict armada of 1790, Library of Australian History, Sydney.

Ships of the Second Fleet

  • The Guardian
  • Justinian
  • The Lady Juliana
  • Neptune
  • Scarborough
  • Surprize

The Guardian

The HMS Guardian left England in September, 1789, bound for New South Wales.

The ship was laden with livestock, crops and other supplies. These were desperately needed by the infant colony at Port Jackson, which had been struggling to survive since the arrival of the First Fleet in January 1788.

The Guardian took on supplies at the Cape of Good Hope in December 1789, and continued south on its way to New South Wales.

Within two weeks, the voyage turned to disaster. The Guardian struck an iceberg, leading to the loss of most of the crew and cargo.

It finally managed to get back to the Cape of Good Hope on 21 February 1790.