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On this day …….. 10th of July 1852

The city of Sydney is Australia’s largest city, though it is not the country’s Capital city. Originally known as Sydney Town, it was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Captain Arthur Phillip, who led the First Fleet from Britain. He named it after the British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney, in recognition of Sydney’s role in issuing the charter authorising Phillip to establish a colony. The state capital of New South Wales, Sydney boasts a current population of around 4.3 million. It is built along the shores of Port Jackson, one of the world’s most spectacular natural harbours. Sydney began to develop a sense of order and prominence under Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. Macquarie was instrumental in the social, economic and architectural development of the colony, commissioning the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, churches and public buildings. He founded new towns such as Richmond, Windsor, Pitt Town, Castlereagh and Wilberforce (known as the “Macquarie Towns”), as well as Liverpool. He was also the greatest sponsor of exploration the colony had yet seen. Following Macquarie’s tenure, Sydney continued to grow and prosper. It was first incorporated as a city on the 10th of July 1852, earning it the title of Australia’s “first city”.

 

On this day …….. 3rd of July 1922

From the time the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788, capital punishment was a common form of punishment for both major and minor crimes. The first convict to be hanged in the new colony of New South Wales was seventeen year old Thomas Barrett. Less than a month after the colony was established, Barrett was found stealing “butter, pease and pork” and hanged in a ceremony which all convicts were forced to witness on 27 February. Capital punishment continued to be used as a deterrent to criminals, right up until the last man – Ronald Ryan – was executed in Melbourne in 1967. Two decades after Federation, Queensland became the first state to abolish capital punishment, doing so on the 3rd of July 1922. It was not until 1968 that the next state, Tasmania, abolished capital punishment.

 

On this day …….. 1st of July 1851

When James Cook became the first European to sight and map the eastern coastline of Australia, he claimed the eastern half of the continent for England under the name of New South Wales. After the arrival of the First Fleet, England sought to secure its claim on New South Wales be establishing further settlements south, and eventually north and west. In 1803, the British Government instructed Lieutenant-Governor David Collins to establish a settlement on the southern coast. This settlement was not a success and the site was abandoned, but expeditions continued to be mounted to explore the land between Sydney and Port Phillip. Thanks to the initiative of John Batman, Melbourne was settled in 1835, and despite being regarded as an “illegal” settlement, the foundling colony thrived. Governor Bourke formally named Melbourne in 1837. The Port Phillip Colony encompassed Melbourne and “Australia Felix”, which was the fertile western district discovered by Major Thomas Mitchell. The first petition for formal separation of the colony from New South Wales was presented to Governor Gipps in 1840, but rejected. It was another ten years before the British Act of Parliament separating Victoria from New South Wales was signed by Queen Victoria. The New South Wales Legislative Council subsequently passed legislation formalising Victoria’s separation on the 1st of July 1851.

 

On this day …….. 7th of June 1825

Tasmania was first discovered by Abel Tasman on 24 November 1642. Tasman discovered the previously unknown island on his voyage past the “Great South Land”, or “New Holland”, as the Dutch called Australia. He named it “Antony Van Diemen’s Land” in honour of the High Magistrate, or Governor-General of Batavia.
When the First Fleet arrived in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip claimed the entire eastern coast for the British Empire, including Tasmania, though it was not yet proven to be separate from the mainland. In January 1799 Bass and Flinders completed their circumnavigation of Tasmania, proving it to be an island. Tasmania was settled as a separate colony in 1803, but continued to be administered by the Governor of New South Wales. On 7 June 1825, Van Diemen’s Land was separated administratively from New South Wales, and Hobart Town was declared the capital of the colony. As the actual founding documents have not been located, there remains some conflict regarding the date, as some sources state this as occurring on 14 June 1825.

On this day …….. 11th of December 1792

Due to poor health Arthur Phillip, first Governor of Australia return to England. He departed for his homeland on the 11th December 1792, sailing in the ship “Atlantic”. Phillip resigned his commission soon after arriving back in England, and died on 31 August 1814. Arthur Phillip was born in London on the 11th October 1738. He joined the Royal Navy when he was fifteen, and alternately earned a living as a navy officer and as a farmer. In October 1786, Phillip was appointed Governor-designate of the proposed British penal colony of New South Wales. He was a practical man who suggested that convicts with experience in farming, building and crafts be included in the First Fleet, but his proposal was rejected. The First Fleet left Portsmouth, England, on the 13th May 1787, and arrived in Botany Bay on the 18th of January 1788. Phillip immediately determined that there was insufficient fresh water, an absence of usable timber, poor quality soil and no safe harbour at Botany Bay. Thus the fleet was moved to Port Jackson, arriving on the 26th of January 1788.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 25th November 1789

Bennelong, the Aborigine, is captured, to be used as an intermediary between the Aboriginal and white cultures.

The Aborigine Bennelong was a senior man of the Eora, a Koori, people of the Port Jackson area, when the First Fleet arrived in Australia, in 1788. He was captured on 25 November 1789, for the purpose of being used as a mediary between the white and Aboriginal cultures. The Governor of New South Wales, Captain Arthur Phillip, wished to learn about the language and customs of the indigenous people. Bennelong willingly liaised between the cultures, and adopted European dress and other ways. His intervention was crucial when Phillip was speared by local Aborigines as, by persuading the Governor that the attack was caused by a misunderstanding, further violence was avoided. While Governor Phillip’s intentions were honourable, the Aborigines were not people to be captured and used for white purposes. Bennelong travelled with Phillip to England in 1792, and returned to Australia in 1795. Ultimately, he suffered ostracism from the Aborigines when he found it too difficult to integrate into the European culture, and sought to return to his own people. He died on 3 January 1813.

ON THIS DAY…… 21st November 1789

Convict James Ruse establish first working farm in Australia

James Ruse was born on a farm in Cornwall around 1759. At age 22, he was convicted of burglary and, due to severe over-crowding in British gaols, spent over four years on the prison hulks in Plymouth Harbour. He was one of the convicts who was transported in the First Fleet to New South Wales, sailing on the ‘Scarborough’.
Governor Phillip was aware of the need to build a working, farming colony as soon as possible. Thus, on 21 November 1789, Phillip selected Ruse to go to Rose Hill (now Parramatta), west of Sydney Town, and establish “Experiment Farm”, the colony’s first working farm. Ruse was allocated one and a half acres of already cleared ground and assisted in clearing a further five acres. He was given two sows and six hens and a deal was made for him to be fed and clothed from the public store for 15 months. Within a year, Ruse had successfully farmed the site, proving that it was possible for new settlers to become self-sufficient, and to feed a family with relatively little assistance to begin with. As a result of the success of Ruse’s venture, he was granted another 30 acres in March 1791, in the colony’s first official, permanent land grant. This was in addition to the area he was already occupying.

On this day …….. 9th September 1803

The first European to discover Tasmania was Dutch trader Abel Tasman in November 1642. Tasman discovered the previously unknown island on his voyage past the “Great South Land”, which he later called “New Holland”. He named the island “Antony Van Diemen’s Land” in honour of the High Magistrate, or Governor-General of Batavia. After the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip claimed the entire eastern coast for the British Empire, including Van Diemen’s Land, though it was not yet known to be separate from the mainland. Tasman believed Van Diemen’s Land to be part of New Holland, and it was not until 1798-99 that Matthew Flinders and George Bass proved Van Diemen’s Land to be an island. In order to offset continuing French interests in southern parts of Australia, Lieutenant John Gordon Bowen was sent to establish the first British settlement in Van Diemen’s Land. The ship “Lady Nelson” arrived at Risdon Cove on 9 September 1803, and Bowen arrived on “The Albion” three days later to establish a settlement on the Derwent River. There were 49 people in the initial settlement party. Lieutenant-Governor David Collins, who had abandoned the new settlement at Sorrento on Port Phillip Bay due to lack of fresh water, arrived at Risdon Cove a month later. Unimpressed with the site chosen by Bowen, Collins moved the settlement to Sullivans Cove on the Derwent River in 1804. This settlement was later renamed Hobart Town.

 

On this day …….. 18th of August 1786

The decision is made in England to colonise New South Wales with convicts from Britain’s overcrowded gaols.

Conditions in England in the 18th century were tough: the industrial revolution had removed many people’s opportunities to earn an honest wage as simpler tasks were replaced by machine labour. As unemployment rose, so did crime, especially the theft of basic necessities such as food and clothing. The British prison system was soon full to overflowing, and a new place had to be found to ship the prison inmates. The American colonies were no longer viable, following the American war of Independence. Following James Cook’s voyage to the South Pacific in 1770, the previously uncharted continent of New Holland proved to be suitable. Cook had claimed the eastern half of the continent for England, naming it “New South Wales”, and determined that a small bay in the south which he named “Botany Bay” would present the ideal conditions for a penal colony. On 18 August 1786 the decision was made to send a colonisation party of convicts, military and civilian personnel to Botany Bay, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, who was appointed Governor-designate. The First Fleet consisted of 775 convicts on board six transport ships, accompanied by officials, crew, marines and their families who together totalled 645. As well as the convict transports, there were two naval escorts and three storeships. The First Fleet assembled in Portsmouth, England, and set sail on 13 May 1787. They arrived in Botany Bay on 18 January 1788. Phillip immediately determined that there was insufficient fresh water, an absence of usable timber, poor quality soil and no safe harbour at Botany Bay. Thus the fleet was moved to Port Jackson, arriving on 26 January 1788. Australia Day, celebrated annually on January 26, commemorates the landing of the First Fleet at Port Jackson, and the raising of the Union Jack to claim the land as belonging to England.

 

On this day …….. 11th of August 1824

A Crown Colony is a British colony, controlled by the British Crown and represented by a Governor, yet a distinct and separate settlement. The British Governor oversaw consultative councils composed mostly of the governor’s nominees who, in turn, delegated powers of local government to local authorities. Whilst the colony of New South Wales was settled with the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, it was not until 11 August 1824 that New South Wales was formally constituted a Crown Colony. The Government in New South Wales therefore had powers to delegate local authorities in the other colonies, such as Moreton Bay, until these colonies were, in turn, constituted Crown Colonies in their own right.

 

On this day …….. 8th of August 1789

Australia was settled by the convicts and officers of the First Fleet in January 1788. It was believed that the colony’s isolation from any civilisation would be deterrent enough for convicts attempting to escape. Many thought they could reach China by escaping into the bush; some returned, exhausted and starving, to the flogging that inevitably awaited them. Many never returned, and stories abounded that skeletons of convicts who escaped but could not survive littered the bushland surrounding Port Jackson and Sydney Cove. It was necessary to establish a police force to pursue the errant convicts, and to also guard against petty thievery that went on. On 8 August 1789, Australia’s first police force was established in the colony of New South Wales. It was made up of a dozen convicts. The NSW police force has continued to develop and change over the years. The force in its current form was established in 1862 with the passing of the Police Regulation Act and drew upon members of the Royal Irish Constablary.

 

On this day …….. 10th of July 1852

The city of Sydney is Australia’s largest city, though it is not the country’s Capital city. Originally known as Sydney Town, it was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Captain Arthur Phillip, who led the First Fleet from Britain. He named it after the British Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney, in recognition of Sydney’s role in issuing the charter authorising Phillip to establish a colony. The state capital of New South Wales, Sydney boasts a current population of around 4.3 million. It is built along the shores of Port Jackson, one of the world’s most spectacular natural harbours. Sydney began to develop a sense of order and prominence under Major-General Lachlan Macquarie, who served as Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. Macquarie was instrumental in the social, economic and architectural development of the colony, commissioning the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, churches and public buildings. He founded new towns such as Richmond, Windsor, Pitt Town, Castlereagh and Wilberforce (known as the “Macquarie Towns”), as well as Liverpool. He was also the greatest sponsor of exploration the colony had yet seen. Following Macquarie’s tenure, Sydney continued to grow and prosper. It was first incorporated as a city on the 10th of July 1852, earning it the title of Australia’s “first city”.