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ON THIS DAY…… 28th November 1918

Aged 106

After reaching the extreme age of 106 years Mr. William Smith died in the Old
Colonists’ Home, North Fitzroy, on this day in 1918. Born in Devonshire in 1812, he came to Australia when 21 as a botanist with the expedition to explore the country west of Port Jackson. It is believed his real name was John Roberts, and that he was related to the late Lord Roberts.

ON THIS DAY…… 24th November 1642

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman

On the 24th of November 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovered a previously unknown island on his voyage past the “Great South Land”, or “New Holland”, as the Dutch called Australia. He named it Van Diemen’s Land after the governor of Batavia. The Dutch, however, did not settle New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land. The First Fleet, which arrived in Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788 comprised eleven British ships carrying officers and convicts from England.

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 …….. 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 …….. 27th of April 1806

Moehanga Ngāpuhi, became the first recorded Māori visitor to England when the Ferret berthed in London on the 27th of April 1806. Moehanga had boarded the Ferret when it visited the Bay of Islands late in 1805. While Māori had travelled as far as Tahiti and Australia in the late 18th century, Moehanga was the first to make it to the other side of the globe. While in England he met King George III and Queen Charlotte. He sailed with the Ferret when it left for Port Jackson, Sydney, New South Wales, in June. After spending the summer in Port Jackson he returned to his home in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand in March 1807.

 

On this day ………… 6th March 1788

When the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson in January 1788, Phillip ordered Lieutenant Philip Gidley King to lead a party of fifteen convicts and seven free men to take control of the Norfolk island and prepare for its commercial development. They arrived on 6 March 1788. Neither the flax nor the timber industry proved to be viable, and the island developed as a farm, supplying Sydney with grain and vegetables during the early years of the colony’s near-starvation. More convicts were sent, and many chose to remain after they had served their sentences. By 1792, four years after its initial settlement, the population was over 1000.

 

 

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.

 

 

On this day …….. 6th of January 1791

Australia, the land of Shark attacks. There hasn’t been many summers since records were started that there hasn’t been a fatal shark attacks some where in Australia. The first recorded shark attack happened to an aboriginal woman in Port Jackson, Sydney in 1791. She was bitten in half.

 

On this day …….. 31st of December 1790

The First Fleet, containing the officers and convicts who would first settle Australia, arrived in Botany Bay on the 18th of January 1788. The colony’s Governor, Captain Arthur 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. The penal colony of New South Wales struggled, but managed to survive largely through the efforts of Governor Phillip. He was a practical man who had suggested that convicts with experience in farming, building and crafts be included in the First Fleet, but his proposal was rejected. Phillip faced many obstacles in his attempts to establish the new colony. The convicts were not skilled in farming, and unwilling to work hard in the intense heat and humidity of Australia. British farming methods, seeds and implements were unsuitable for use in the different climate and soil, and the colony faced near-starvation in its first two years. On this day in 1790, twenty-five bushels of barley were successfully harvested. This went a long way towards alleviating food shortages. The colony finally succeeded in developing a solid foundation, agriculturally and economically, thanks to the perseverance of Captain Arthur Phillip.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 28th November 1918

Aged 106

After reaching the extreme age of 106 years Mr. William Smith died in the Old
Colonists’ Home, North Fitzroy, on this day in 1918. Born in Devonshire in 1812, he came to Australia when 21 as a botanist with the expedition to explore the country west of Port Jackson. It is believed his real name was John Roberts, and that he was related to the late Lord Roberts.

ON THIS DAY…… 24th November 1642

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman

On the 24th of November 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovered a previously unknown island on his voyage past the “Great South Land”, or “New Holland”, as the Dutch called Australia. He named it Van Diemen’s Land after the governor of Batavia. The Dutch, however, did not settle New Holland and Van Diemen’s Land. The First Fleet, which arrived in Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788 comprised eleven British ships carrying officers and convicts from England.

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.