On this day ………… 10th February 1788
The First Fleet of convicts to New South Wales consisted of eleven ships. One of these was the ‘Golden Grove’ which carried Reverend Richard Johnson, the first chaplain to the New South Wales colony. The Fleet departed Portsmouth, England on 13 May 1787 and arrived in Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. Within two weeks of the arrival of the First Fleet on Australia’s shores, Johnson was called upon to officiate at the weddings of five couples. The marriage ceremonies were performed on 10 February 1788. Two of the most notable couples were Henry Kable and Susannah Holmes, and William Bryant and Mary Brand. Making an impression on Governor Arthur Phillip, Henry Kable was promoted to several positions of responsibility, including eventually becoming chief constable. Later he established a successful sealing and whaling business. The Bryants, on the other hand, became notorious for their daring escape from the colony. Stealing away into one of the ships bound for the new Norfolk Island colony, the Bryants then acquired a compass and maps, stole one of the longboats and sailed for Timor, along with their young son Emmanuel and daughter Charlotte. After being handed over to an English captain and sent to Java, Indonesia. William and his son eventually died from tropical fever, and Charlotte died after she and her mother were sent on a ship back to Sydney. Mary Bryant’s story was reported back in England and, due to extensive public sympathy, Mary was pardoned.