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First Fleet members can trace their lineage back to a person or persons who arrived in Sydney Cove with Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788. The process of finding a First Fleet forebear has been made easier with the introduction of the internet ... More about us

First Fleet Ships

The Eleven Ships

Alexander, weighing in at 452 tons, 114 ft long and 31 ft at the beam, the Alexander was commanded by Master Duncan Sinclair. She carried 192 male convicts and was the largest ship in the fleet.  Continue Reading »

Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales was added to the number of transports in December 1786, on representation being made to the Treasury Board, that such an addition was necessary to carry female convicts to Botany Continue Reading »

Scarborough

Scarborough was named after the town on the East Coast of England where it was built in 1782.  She was a 430 ton, three-masted cargo ship; 111 feet 6 inches (34 m) long and 30 feet 2 inches (9.2 m) Continue Reading »

Stories

Dorothy Handland / Gray

Dorothy Handland is claimed to be the oldest female convict to have sailed on the First Fleet and one of the most colourful.  Arthur Bowes Smyth estimated Dorothy be 82 years old, but in Newgate Prison she was recorded as 60; another entry has her as 62, which is most likely correct.  Bowes Smyth’s penContinue Reading »

Nancy Yates

Like many of his fellow officers, Captain David Collins who became the Colony’s Judge Advocate, took convict women as mistresses during his years in Sydney Cove and Hobart Town, Van Diemen’s Land. One of his mistresses was convict milliner Nancy / Ann Yates / Yeates.  She was tried as a single-woman aged 17, at YorkshireContinue Reading »

Seamen

Seamen were are tough bunch of men.  They crewed the First Fleet ships, fathered children to convict women, settled in the new colony, while others died on the inward and outward voyages. Life at sea during the age of sail was filled with dangers, even though these men were familiar with the discomfort and hardshipContinue Reading »