To establish territorial ownership of the east coast of the Great South Land, the British Government assembled 11 vessels which sailed out of Plymouth with around 1350 personnel on board together with stores. The Commodore of this First Fleet, Captain Arthur Phillip was to be the Governor of this first European settlement in Australia which it was proposed would be created at Botany Bay in New South Wales.
On arrival in Botany Bay, there were two major surprises. A French vessel was already there preening and repairing, and there was no supply of fresh water. It was the latter that compelled Phillip to seek another location, which was found in the next inlet northward, Port Jackson, which has become known as Sydney Harbour. In a cove, now Circular Quay, the 11 vessels anchored or tied up to trees on the shore, with the HMS Sirius and HMS Supply taking up their defence positions at the entrance to the cove.
The First Fleet anchored and Governor Phillip went ashore on January 26, 1788.
The 11 vessels in that First Fleet are now commemorated by a class of ferries that ply Sydney Harbour and its Parramatta River. I have photographed the currently operating First Fleet class ferries.
The First Fleet included Naval Flagship and 20 guns warship HMS Sirius, Naval Tender and 8 guns Brig HMS Supply, Convict Transport Alexander, Convict Transport Scarborough, Convict Transport Prince of Wales, Convict Transport Charlotte, Convict Transport Lady Penrhyn, Convict Transport Friendship, Storeship Fishburn, Storeship Golden Grove, and Storeship Borrowdale.
As a footnote, my wife's ancestors include a "passenger" on the Transport "Alexander" and another passenger on the Transport "Scarborough". These First Fleet convicts were Thomas Hilton Tennant alias Philip Devine and Robert Forrester, respectively.
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Photo taken in Sydney NSW, Australia
Misplaced? Suggest new location