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.