THE FIRST FLEET
Part two of this story deals with the arrival of
the Fleet at Botany Bay, the landing at Sydney Cove and some
members of the Fleet, both bonded and free and some of their
descendants. Sources for this talk were taken from..
The Historical Records of Australia Vol 1
"The Founders of Australia" by Mollie Gillen AM FF John Small
and Mary Parker.
"Sydney Cove 1788" by John Cobley." Sydney Cove 1791-1793" by
"Australia the First 12 Years" by Peter Taylor.
"The People of the First Fleet" by Don Chapman.
Archives of the Fellowship of First Fleeters.
"Where First Fleeters Lie" Joyce Cowell and Rod Best
Leaving Cape Town 0n 12th November, Phillip decided to divide
the fleet in two, in the hope that the faster ships would reach
Botany Bay to prepare for disembarkation. He transferred his
pennant to the Supply and left Captain John Hunter in charge of
the Sirius. The ships, however, arrived at their destination
within two days of each other, Phillip having anchored on the
18th January. A magnificent piece of navigation.!!
Immediately Phillip went ashore and we are told that, on making
contact with the original inhabitants, he ordered all weapons to
be laid down and the Aborigines responded in like manner,
accepting beads and trinkets albeit in a suspicious manner. We
are also told that on the following day a large band of natives
assembled at Cape Solander waving their spears above their
heads. Many of the newcomers could not think otherwise that they
were not welcome.
After visiting Port Jackson, on 21st January, Phillip decided to
prepare a settlement at Sydney Cove. On the 25th January, in the
afternoon, he sailed the "Supply" to Port Jackson with orders
for Hunter to follow with the 10 remaining ships later that day.
Phillip anchored in Sydney Cove prior to dusk. Thea Stanley
Hughes puts it so well in her book on Phillip…
"Now there was a slight pause-one night- between the sense of
urgency about getting the Fleet to its destination, a a new
sense of urgency about the fulfilling of his destiny"
The 26th January in the year of Our Lord, 1788 was a Saturday,
clear weather, a light sou-sou east breeze and a temperature of
70 degrees Fahrenheit. They had, indeed, been transported to
Paradise, unknowingly and unwillingly.!!
To the utter astonishment of Captain Hunter , leading the Fleet
to Port Jackson, there appeared two French ships preparing to
anchor in Botany Bay.
In the meantime Phillip and his party began clearing ground near
a run of fresh water, later known as the Tank Stream, a
flagstaff was erected close to the landing site, the Queen Ann
jack was raised and possession was taking for His Majesty King
George the Third. A toast was proposed, not only to the Royal
Family, but also to the success of the colony. At about 6 pm on
that day the ten remaining ships anchored in Sydney Cove.
Arthur Phillip had accomplished an incredible feat of endurance
- undaunted by unknown dangers, navigating some 15000 miles of
distance with nearly 1500 souls in his care he found a safe
haven. Twenty-two babies were born en-route and 55 souls were
lost during the voyage. The only outbreak of fever occurred on
the Alexander where 16 convicts died - the ship was fumigated
and cleansed which fact seemed to have abated the epidemic.
On arrival the male convicts were landed together with most of
the marines - more land was cleared - a tent hospital was set up
on the western side of the cove now known as the rocks, a site
for barracks was laid out nearby, and Phillip chose the site of
his Government House slightly uphill south east of the cove.
On 3rd February the first Religious service was held be the Rev
.Richard Johnson, Chaplain. His text was taken from Psalm 116,
verse 12…"What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits
One wonders what the convicts may have thought about that
text.!! Little would most of them have known that those promised
benefits would come their way in future years.
On Wednesday 6th February, the convict women from the Lady
Penrhyn were disembarked [one might say- LET LOOSE
Arthur Bowes-Smyth noted in his diary and I quote..
"We had long wished for the pleasure of seeing the last of them
leave the ship. They were dressed, in general, very clean and
some few amongst them might have been said to be well dressed."
He went on to record a night of debauchery which ensued, and in
the midst of which there occurred a most violent thunderstorm!
The next day all were assembled to hear the Governor's
commission read by the Judge-Advocate, Captain Collins.
Phillips's authority was well defined in this Commission, by Act
of Parliament establishing the colony and, in Letters Patent,
constituting the Courts of Law, from the very genesis of our
Amongst instructions, the Governor was enjoined thus….."to
endeavour by all possible means to open an intercourse with the
natives and conciliate their affections, enjoining all to live
in amity and kindness with them". [Something went astray
there.!!!] He was also given power to emancipate convicts for
good behaviour and industry but more importantly, much more
importantly, Governor Phillip was given the power to grant them
land. This was to be a salvation for many of the convicts who
had, indeed, for the want of circumstances and upbringing, had
never had a chance in life, and, for past misdeeds, no matter
how petty, had been jettisoned from one hostile environment to
On the 14th February 1788, under the command of Phillip Gidley
King, the Supply sailed for Norfolk Island with a party of
marines and some 15 convicts. The idea of settlement was
threefold - to harvest flax for yarn and investigate the Norfolk
Island pine trees for shipbuilding. Both eventually being found
unsuitable. The 3rd reason was, that the authorities in Britain
were rather nervous re French exploration in this region. A
foreign settlement so close to the new British acquisition was
unthinkable. More convicts and Marines were later sent there to
alleviate victualling problems at Port Jackson, supplies were
sent to the island by the "Sirius" which was wrecked at Sydney
Bay on the 19th March 1790, adding to the problems of both
In 1791, Phillip in a letter to Lord Sydney reported……
"I can still say with great truth and satisfaction that the
convicts, in general, behave better than every could have been
expected and that their crimes, with very few exceptions, have
been confined to the procuring for themselves, the common
necessaries of life"
In 1797 the second Governor, John Hunter reported to Lord Sydney
-" The vast number of women for whom we have had little work are
a heavy weight on the stores of Government - if we estimate
their merits by the charming children with which they have
filled the colony, then, they deserve our care."
This was one of the most telling reports emanating from the
infant settlement. At this time there was estimated some 400
young children of varying ages, descended, not only from First
Fleet convict men and women and Marines, but also 2nd and 3rd
And bearing these sentiments in mind, two centuries later, Dr
Portia Robinson of the History Department at the Macquarie
University, observed in her book "The Hatch and Brood of Time"
that these children - the so called currency lads and lasses of
these First Fleeters, were a most law abiding generation.
The first generation of First Fleeters came into their own - Dr
Craig Smee in his book "First Fleet Families of Australia" says,
and I quote…
"whatever the circumstances of their arrival the First Fleeters
planted a seed of native born, who soon acquired a character
which is both different in nature from their origins in England,
and similar to each other in their newly adopted land. A
character with characteristics such as self-reliance, initiative
and a sense of fair play. Over succeeding generations and with
an influx of migration, we are still integrating those qualities
handed down by our first arrivals. Also from these early days,
our distinct Australian accent evolved.
Contrary to opinion that the First Fleet was made up entirely of
Anglo-Celtic people is wrong. We know for instance that there
were at least 15 West Indians and Negroes, there were Dutch,
Portuguese, Swedes and one Indian from Bengal. Some Asians were
included in the Fleet.
At least 14 Jewish folk, in the main convicts, were also on the
Fleet. It is of interest to note that these Jewish folk were
mostly Sephardim… during the Diaspora or the dispersion of the
Jews from Israel one tribe moved across the Northern African
continent and settled in Spain. During the Inquisition in the
16th Century, they scattered north to Holland, France and
England and most of those convicts from England were Sephardim.
Some of us in the Fellowship of First Fleeters have this blood
in our veins.
There were 33 Scottish people on the fleet and, of these, only
one convict, John Ramsay, the rest being marines and seamen. The
Scots certainly looked after their own!!!!
Of the free men, one was John Hunter, the second Governor, and
another was Surgeon William Balmain.
The Welsh weren't left out - nine in number including four
convicts. There were 141 persons known to have been born in
Ireland, mostly convicts convicted in England for petty crimes.
It is interesting that the so called Irish rebels arrived at a
Some 732 convicts were landed on these shores on that January
day, about one third female, together with 245 Marines, some 20%
of these stayed, married or co-habited with convict women and
thereby formed dynasties which are still with us to-day. About
35 Marines brought with them a wife and children. Most returned
to England but 3 families of Marines remained. Again within the
Fellowship of First Fleeters, we count some descendants of these
as members. There are many success stories in our historical
records from both fettered and free.
It seems to be the fashion in this day and age with some in our
community to be politically correct, as opposed to being
historically correct. The history of the early efforts of the
Friends of First Government House site bears this out only too
well.!!! Let me give some examples taken from the pages of The
Sydney Morning Herald in 1988.
1] Governor Phillip and his hoard of Georgian louts invaded the
shores of Botany Bay.
2]The convicts of the First Fleet did not amount to much, nor
contributed anything of value to the colony
3]We must be careful to play down the part of the first European
arrivals for fear of upsetting some members of the community.
What utter rubbish….
History is founded on facts and the history of European
settlement of our nation is well and truly documented. We have
with us to-day volumes of "The Historical Records of New South
Wales" giving a day to day record of the colony under the
Governorships of Phillip to Macquarie. We also have the diaries
of some of those First Fleeters who were literate.
What of some of the people of the First Fleet and their
- convicted in March 1785 for stealing clothhing and
other goods - his sentence was 7 years transportation. Having
served his time he received several grants of land at Prospect
and later at Minto. In 1803 he married Susannah Smith, convict
and had an issue of four daughters. As a landowner he wasn't
that successful and whilst he found no brilliant career in the
Colony he did found a family and among his descendants was one,
Stella Maria Miles Franklin.
ELEANOR [MCCABE] MAGEE.
This is the sad story of a lass who was 22 years of age
when convicted in 1785 for, and I quote, "feloniously assaulting
John Harris and putting him in corporeal fear and danger of his
life AND feloniously taking from him, against his will, coins to
the sum of 3/3". At her trial at Old Bailey, Eleanor was one of
four women who attacked the prosecutor and nearly tore him to
pieces. Despite all of this she was let off with a 7 year
sentence. But poor Eleanor couldn't take a trick… on the voyage
out she gave birth to a stillborn child. In 1788 she married
fellow convict Charles Williams, alias Magee. They received a
grant of 30 acres on the south side of the Parramatta River near
to-day's Camellia Railway station. They seemed to succeed for a
while growing maize, wheat and tobacco. By 1792 they seemed to
have both given themselves up to "idleness and dissipation". In
January 1793 Eleanor was drowned together with her infant child.
She, her husband, and another female companion had taken a small
boat to Sydney for supplies, and, on returning, the boat
capsized near Breakfast Point. A combination of the overloading
of the boat and the imbibing of alcohol by the travellers caused
this catastrophe. Charles Magee managed to escape unharmed and
for many years he was seen to be sitting by the side of
Eleanor's grave near his house with a bottle of rum in the hand,
actually drinking one glass and pouring another over her grave
declaring how well she loved the grog during her life.
A sad story, but no hallowed ground contains the remains of
Eleanor, she is buried in the grounds of a factory, rather in
the news at this time, that of James Hardie near RoseHill
Racecourse on the banks of the Parramatta River.
This grave is one of the oldest in the continent and in February
1982 the Fellowship of First Fleeters held a plaque ceremony on
the site denoting it to be the last resting place of a First
Fleeter. It is the practise of the Fellowship, in locating a
grave of a First Fleeter that we place a plaque upon the
headstone denoting the last resting place of one who first
arrived on the First Fleet. Our Vice- President at the time gave
the eulogy and concluded with these words…." It is not for us to
pass judgement on the character of these people nor on the way
in which they lived or died. We realise they were victims of the
primitive places and times in which they lived. We pay homage to
a sad lady and child and the contribution made, no matter how
small, in the establishment of this wonderful country of ours."
LIEUTENANT GEORGE JOHNSTON. -
Much has been written about this military man. By 1790 he
was Captain in the Marine Corps, later transferring to the N.S.W.
Corps. He helped put down the Castle Hill rebellion in 1804. In
1808 he overthrew Governor Bligh and, for his sins, was court
martialled and cashiered in London. Despite all of this he was
allowed to return to the colony to resume not only a number of
land grants, but also a 25 year de facto relationship with one,
Esther Abrahams, a Sephardic Jewess who came under his
protection on the "Charlotte" on the way to the colony.
Macquarie evidently insisted on Johnston's arrival back in the
colony that he make an honest "girl" of Esther and they were
duly married. A marriage to last some years longer. His grants
included land at Annandale, Cabramatta and Lake Macquarie and on
his death in 1823 he was buried on the Annandale estate, now the
site of Annandale Public School, Johnston St, Annandale. Later,
on subdivision of this estate, his coffin was re-interred in the
family vault at Waverley Cemetery. Plaques were placed on the
site at Johnston St by the Fellowship. Esther , who rose from a
convicted thief to first lady of the land, albeit for only a
short period, died in 1846 leaving quite a large estate.
One hundred and eighty years after George Johnston forcibly
entered Government House and arrested Governor Bligh, his
descendant, Rear-Admiral Sir David Martin became Governor of New
South Wales. Quite a coincidence.. but I must tell you about
David's successor, Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair. Most Australians
say that they know that there is no First Fleeter in his or her
family.!! When Peter Sinclair became our Patron he said those
Little did he know that he was indeed descended from William
Broughton who arrived as a servant on the Fleet. If one delves a
little deeper one may find a First Fleeter.!!!
Arrived as a servant to Surgeon John White. As a
storekeeper at Parramatta he received a grant of 30 acres at
Concord in 1793. We find him in 1800 at Norfolk Island , again
as a storekeeper and also as Acting Deputy Commissary.
In 1805 he was appointed Deputy Commissary in New South Wales.
He had an association on Norfolk with a convict Elizabeth
Heathorn also known as Ann Glossop, who arrived in the colony in
1792 on the "Pitt". There were 5 children of this union.
In 1809, Elizabeth left the colony on the "Boyd" with youngest
child Betsy Ann for England via New Zealand. An incredible turn
of events ensued. The ship was captured by Maoris most of the
crew some say, were eaten but Betsy, at the age of 2 years, was
one of a few survivors. Some time later they were rescued by the
"City of Edinburgh".. Alexander Berry was supposed to have been
the captain.. Betsy was bound for England but the ship was
diverted, after a storm at Cape Horn, to Peru where Betsy was
nurtured by a Spanish couple. She was returned to Sydney and
reunited with father William in 1812.
William Broughton certainly prospered in the colony. We learn
that he had a house in Summer Row, no 11 to be precise. That
street we now know as Macquarie St. He also received a grant of
1000 acres at Appin where he died in 1821.
Macquarie described him as a faithful, honest and useful
official for 30 years.
Other than Peter Sinclair one of his more notable descendants
was Sir William Throsby Bridges, the founder of Duntroon and who
fell in Gallipoli in 1915.
HENRY KABLE AND SUSANNAH HOLMES -
The love story of the First Fleet.
Henry was convicted with his father and sentenced to death at
Thetford Assizes in March 1783 for stealing. Henry was let off
with a 7 year sentence, whilst his father and another accomplice
were hanged. Henry was aged 19 years and for nearly three years
was incarcerated in Norwich Castle, during which time he met and
fell in love with convict Susannah. A son was born within the
walls of the castle early in 1786. The three, all due for
transportation, softened the hearts of the authorities who
allowed them to travel together on the Friendship . He and
Susannah were married on 10th February by Chaplain Johnson ,
both signing the register with a cross. In July of that year the
first civil law suit in N.S.W. was filed by Henry against the
master of the transport Alexander, for the loss of a parcel of
goods donated by well wishers to the unfortunate couple prior to
sailing. Judgement was given in Henry's favour and the Court
awarded him 15 Pounds damages. Perhaps Henry and Susannah, both
illiterate, both convicted felons, realised that here in this
new land a fresh start could be made. Indeed, that princely sum
in those days was used to start the first free enterprise in the
Colony, for Henry entered into partnership with Simeon Lord and
James Underwood in the ship building business which proved
extremely profitable. Previously he had been appointed overseer
to some convicts, and later became Chief Constable, settling on
a property in George St, now the site of the Regent Hotel. The
main dining room in this hotel is called the Kable Room!!. Henry
died in Windsor in 1846 aged 82 years ,whilst Susannah had
predeceased him in 1820 . They had eleven children, the
daughters all marrying into well-known pioneering families.
Plaques were placed on their graves at St. Matthews, Windsor by
the Fellowship in 1982. Henry ,junior, died unmarried at his
property at The Oaks, near Camden in 1852 and in November 1985
another plaque ceremony was held at his graveside .This quiet
little churchyard was the scene of much activity on that day..
the church was packed with Kable descendants and the whole was
filmed by the B.B.C. for British Television. I was informed
recently by James Donohue, a former President of the Fellowship
and an author of a number of publications relating to the early
days of the colony, that on the site of the Shakespeare Memorial
in front of the Mitchell Library, there once stood a windmill
erected by First Fleeter Nathanial Lucas, but later known as "Kable's
It could be possible that there was a relationship and
inter-marriage between these two First Fleet families.
WILLIAM TUNKS -
Was a marine on the Sirius and after a stint on Norfolk
Island, where he met and married Sarah Lyons, a Jewish Second
Fleet convict, returned to take up a grant at Mulgrave and later
at Castlereagh. The floods of 1806 wiped them out and William
settled at Parramatta. He died at Sydney in 1821 and was buried
at the Sandhills Cemetery, now the site of Central Railway
Station. Many of his descendants are buried in a large vault at
St Johns Cemetery, Parramatta. His son, John, became a
well-to-do merchant in that area, whilst his grandson, William
became a member of the State Legislature and for many years,
Mayor of St.Leonards.
Some 20 years ago when I was delving into the Tunks history,
cognisant of the fact that I was descended from a Marine.. no
convicts in our family!!!..
I found that William had "married" a Sarah Lyons on Norfolk
Island. So far, so good. I also found that Sarah, a Second Fleet
convict, was subpoenaed to give evidence in a court case at
Parramatta. She was sworn, before giving evidence, on the OLD
TESTAMENT. There it was in black and white.. she was JEWISH.
Some further heritage of which to be proud.!!
I related this to my 80 year old aunt.. she was horrified.. did
not speak to me for at least 6 months!!!!!
MATTHEW EVERINGHAM -
Was a lad of 15 years when he stood in the dock of Old
Bailey accused of purloining some law books, the property of his
employers, and valued at 10 shillings. All he could say in his
defence that "I was in dire circumstances"
His many descendants have endeavoured without success to find
his roots in England. He remains a mystery as do his
For this he received 7 years transportation. Matthew did not
seem to fit into the pattern of his contemporaries in the Colony
as he was literate. He married Second Fleet convict Elizabeth
Rymes and they first settled on a grant at The Ponds on the hill
behind the present suburb of Ermington, later he received a more
sizeable grant of 50 acres at Sackville Reach on the Hawkesbury
River. Here he was appointed District Constable and between the
years 1791 and 1814 his wife bore 11 children. Matthew met an
untimely death at the age of 48 years by drowning in the river
whilst on duty on Christmas Day 1817.
St.Anne's churchyard, Ryde, holds the remains of a number of
First Fleeters in addition to other pioneers of this area. John
Small, Richard Hatton, James Bradley and Edward Goodin to name
but a few. Time unfortunately only permits me to dwell on the
misfortunes and later fortunes of John Small, and his wife Mary
John was convicted and sentenced to death for highway robbery in
1785, the sentence later being commuted to seven years
transportation. He met and married his convict wife on 12th
October 1788 and later settled on a grant of 30 acres at Ryde.
Actually most of the area contained these days by Top Ryde.!!
In 1808 he was sworn in as District Constable in which capacity
he served for some 17 years. He died at the age of 88 years in
1850, a well respected citizen in a community amongst whom he
had laboured so well in his new found way of life. He and Mary
raised seven children, poor Mary had drowned in a dam on the
property some descendants of whom became famous within the
Commonwealth. A great of these two pioneers married the son of a
newspaper proprietor by the name of Fairfax. grandaughter he
became the first Lady Fairfax !!!
Another famous descendant is Richard Bonynge, spouse of Dame
I could go on for ages here, but I have to share with you, the
fact that the Packer family through Gretel Bullmore, the late
Lady Packer, was a descendant of Frederick Meredith, a seaman
who arrived on the Fleet and received grants of land including
most of Bankstown, where some descendants still reside to-day.
Thereby hangs another tale!!!
In a bush cemetery at Castlereagh where the Hawkesbury River
becomes the Nepean lie the remains of many pioneers of the
Penrith-Richmond area. Two First Fleeters are buried here,
Anthony Rope and Elizabeth Pulley. Just imagine this
Elizabeth was convicted and sentenced to death, later reprieved
to 7 years, for the theft of 2 cheeses, four pieces of bacon,
several ½ pints of butter, a quarter stone of raisins, ½ stone
of flour and two rolls of worsted. At the age of 26 years,
Elizabeth was embarked on the Friendship unwittingly for a new
beginning in life. She met and married Anthony Rope, convict on
19th May 1788.
In their early years they seemed to be in and out of trouble,
even their wedding breakfast landed then in trouble.
They had a number of guests on that day in May 1788 and partook
of something called "sea pie".
Well, George Johnston was missing a goat at this time…. and the
two newly weds were hauled up before the magistrate charged with
stealing the said goat. They both maintained, with witnesses,
that they found the goat as if it had been savaged by a wild
animal and used part of it for their feast.!!
Charge was dismissed.. another plus for justice in this far
He was convicted and sentenced to 7 years transportation
in 1785 for theft. Transported on the "Charlotte" he left behind
a wife and 3 children at Kingston-on Thames.
On emancipation he received 30 acres at Kissing Point on the
banks of the Parramatta River. Here he experimented with the
growing of hops and excelled in the brewing of beer, so much so,
that he erected an inn on the banks of the river called "The
Business flourished and he was able to increase his holding to
over 1100 acres from the river, up the hill, to Victoria Rd. He
befriended Bennelong who on his death was buried on the Squires'
property at Putney.
In the colony he had a number of children from some
"housekeepers" and, on his death, left legacies not only to his
illegitimate children and one remaining housekeeper, but also to
his wife and children in England.
He was buried at the Sandhills Cemetery, now the site of Central
Railway Station, Sydney, and had a rather magnificent headstone
with the following epitaph…
"In Sacred Respect to the Loving Remains of Mr. Jas. Squire,
late of Kissing Point who departed this Life May 16th 1822at the
age of 67 years.
He arrived in the colony in the First Fleet and by Integrity and
Industry acquired and maintained an unsullied reputation. [note
no mention of convicts!!!]
Under his care the Hop Plant was first Cultivated in this
Settlement and the first Brewery erected which Progressively
matured to Perfection. [aside.. the beer or the brewery???]
As a Father, Friend and Christian he Lived Respected and Died
That fine epitaph, now lost for posterity, may be compared with
a rather lowly grave and headstone in Parramatta Cemetery to a
settler, which simply states,…
"Ye who wish to lie here, drink Squire's beer."
A descendant of James , actually his grandson, by name James
Squire Farnell, became Premier[Prime Minister] of New South
Wales in the 1880's, evidently keeping it very quiet that he was
descended from a convict or two!!!!]
There are many, many stories of success in the colony pioneered
by both bonded and free and it would take some considerable time
to relate the history of these men and women . I would commend
to you a volume called " The Founders of Australia" written by a
Dr. Mollie Gillen AM., a Life Member of the Fellowship of First
This book contains the profile of each person who arrived at
Sydney Cove on the 26th January 1788.
It tells one of pioneers such as Ann Forbes, a descendant of
whom is a millionaire to-day, and I, might add, an extremely
proud member of the Fellowship, John Herbert, Thomas Acres,
Robert Forrester, James Ruse who saved the infant colony from
starvation, Augustus Alt, Nathaniel Lucas, James Bloodworth, the
convict who built first Government House and on his demise was
given a State Funeral.
Assistant Surgeon to the colony, arrived free, albeit
under a cloud!!!, set up the first hospital at Parramatta and
was succeeded in this enterprise by the reputed first
emancipated convict, John Irving. Their deeds and those of their
descendants are indelibly etched into the history of our nation
from its very birth pangs and we remember them with pride.
So this is the story, in part, of some who arrived in such
inauspicious circumstances. For generations the shame of having
a convict forbear was well and truly hidden among citizens of
our land until the 1950's when we dusted the skeletons out of
the cupboard and found .. well they weren't that bad after all.
. We must remember that the majority made a new start, some even
attempted to make this start, but fell by the wayside.
Personally I believe that it would be an inevitable accident of
history that any settlement of this land in the Eighteenth
Century would have encroached on the original inhabitants. Given
these circumstances one may be forgiven that it was fortuitous
to the Aborigines that it was the British who arrived first and
not the French, Dutch or Spanish.. but there is another side to
In her introduction to this book, Mollie Gillen writes…
"Little enough attention has been paid to the destruction of
Aboriginal Society which began with the First Settlement" OK
lets look at this statement.. On reflection the First Fleet did
bring the diseases.. diseases from which the natives had no
immunity.. we brought alcohol and we also brought an alien
culture , incomprehensible to the original inhabitants of this
Gillen goes on to say….
"Maybe if we can bring ourselves to face the reality of this
event it may help to contribute to a spirit of Reconciliation
and forge a new and confident sense of identity."
Whilst I hope and fervently pray that a spirit of Reconciliation
will eventually come to reality, some prejudices must be put
aside from both sides. This is the way modern Australia was
founded and there should be no "beg your pardons" about this.
We, all of us, should never forget that our land sprung from
man's inhumanity to man.
In conclusion I leave you with some words by Dame Mary Gilmour…
"I am old Botany Bay, stiff in the joints, little to say
I am he who paved the way that you may walk at ease to-day,
I was the conscript sent to hell, to make the desert a living
I bore the heat, I blazed the track - furrowed and bloody upon
I split the rock,
I felled the tree,
The nation was, because of me.
Sources for this article have been taken from :
The Founders of Australia by Dr Mollie Gillen AM.
Sydney Cove 1788 by John Cobley
Sydney Cove 1791-1993 by John Cobley
Australia the First 12 Years by Peter Taylor
1788 The People of the First Fleet by Don Chapman
Archives of the Fellowship of First Fleeters
Where First Fleeters Lie by Rod Best and Joyce Cowell
Arthur Phillip by Thea Stanley Hughes
Historical Records of NSW Vol.1.
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