First Fleet Arrival
Australia Crest

On May 13th, 1787, the First Fleet of some 11 ships and more than 700 convicts, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, left Plymouth, England heading for Australia and the soon to be dreaded Botany Bay. In total there were 1,044 people and provisions for two years on board the vessels..

On 20th January, 1788, the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay but found it too inhospitable and so moved up the coast to what we now know as Sydney Harbour or Port Jackson.

The Union Jack was raised but without the cross of St. Patrick, this wasn't added to the flag until 1801.

Convicted thief Thomas Barrett was the first criminal to be sentenced to death in the fledgling colony of NSW on 27th February, barely a month after the arrival of the First Fleet.

By 1790 the first crops had failed and a Second Fleet arrived. This arrival put even greater strain on the diminishing reserves.

On 19th March, 1790, the First Fleet supply ship HMS Sirius was wrecked on a reef near Norfolk Island.

Relief came in 1791 with the arrival of a Third Fleet.

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