The 11 Ships of the First Fleet
The First Fleet is the name given to the 11 ships that departed from Portsmouth, England on 13 May 1787 to found the penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia.
The Fleet consisted of two Royal Navy vessels, three store ships and six convict transports, carrying between 1,000 and 1,500 convicts, marines, seamen, civil officers and free people and a vast quantity of stores.
From England, the Fleet sailed southwest to Rio de Janeiro, then east to Cape Town and via the Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay, arriving over the period of 18 to 20 January 1788, taking 250 to 252 days from departure to final arrival.
For more information on the 11 Ships of the First Fleet, see https://firstfleetfellowship.org.au/ships/eleven-ships/
John Hudson, with no parents to care for him was a child chimney sweep. After he was caught breaking and entering a house and arrested at his trial in 1783, he was the youngest first fleet convict to be sentenced at 9 years old, arriving in Australia on the 26 January 1788
A Behind The News (ABC) Video on The First Fleet
Alice Harnsworth—a marine’s wife
Alice Harnsworth embarked aboard Prince of Wales with husband Thomas, a marine, on the First Fleet to Australia in 1787 with their two children. Thomas died soon after arrival and she remarried another marine, Daniel Stanfield, finally ending their days as successful farmers in Tasmania.
The First Fleet in Song—Col Millington
Since I started writing songs in the early 1970s, I consistently found myself writing songs of Australia or of its Bushrangers, or it’s towns or places.
I wrote this song ‘The First Fleet’ after my good friend Philip Lock suggested it. Phillip is a First Fleeter, a descendant of the First Fleet and also the vice president of the First Fleet Fellowship in Victoria. Without his influence, I would never have written this song, and this album would not have been released. I do hope the album finds it’s way into libraries around Australia and the songs used for special events to celebrate this great nation.
You can order his CD: The First Fleet with 16 original songs of Australia by emailing: [email protected]
Download the words and music here: