COLONIAL

Botany Bay
Australia Crest

The birthplace of Australia. Captain James Cook landed here in 1770 and took possession of the whole of eastern Australia in the name of Great Britain and called it New South Wales.

Cook was not the first European to set foot on the continent as William Jansz, a Dutchman, landed in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1606 and another Dutchman, Dirk Hartog, nailed a pewter plate to a post on an island off Western Australia in 1616.

Botany Bay was named for its variety of new plants by the ship's botanist Joseph Banks and in 1779 he recommended Botany Bay as a site for a penal colony. The bay was first called Stingray Bay.

The First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay on January 18th, 1788, and Captain Arthur Phillip decided the site was not as good as Cook and Banks had reported. The fleet headed north and entered Sydney Cove with Phillip going ashore on January 26th, which is now celebrated as Australia Day. This day was first celebrated as a public holiday in 1838, 50 years after first settlement.

Between 1788 and 1868 some 160,000 convicts were sent Down Under, not all finding their way to Botany Bay but to other brutal penal colonies such as Port Arthur.


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