Thursday, 24 November 2011

The First Fleet ships - notes

Eleven ships made up the First Fleet:
Lady Penrhyn
Prince of Wales



The transports were fitted out for the journey at Deptford on the Thames before travelling to Woolwich, Plymouth and / or Portsmouth to collect their cargo of prisoners.

Seven hundred and fifty-nine convict (568 male and 191 female) travelled on the First Fleet. However in total there were almost 1500 people aboard the eleven ships including naval and merchant seamen and other officers and crew including cooks and carpenters who sailed the ships,  marines and some family members of crew plus children of some female convicts. The expedition to the other side of the world was to establish a convict settlement and marines were required to help establish and maintain the settlement.

Convicts aboard the transports at time of sailing:
Alexander 195 male convicts
Charlotte 88 male & 20 female convicts
Friendship 76 male & 21 female convicts
Lady Penrhyn 101 female convicts
Prince of Wales 1 male convict & 49 female convicts
Scarborough 208 male convicts

Forty convicts (36 male and 4 female) died from time of embarkation to arrival at Port Jackson.
Deaths aboard the convict ships:
Between embarkation and sailing 16 male & 1 female convicts
Between the Motherbank & Teneriffe 7 male & 1 female convict
At Teneriffe 1 male convict
Between Teneriffe & Rio de Janeiro 5 male & 1 female convicts
Between Rio de Janeiro & Port Jackson 7 male & 1 female convicts

First hand accounts of the voyage of the First Fleet have been recorded in surviving logbooks of the ships and diaries of crew on some ships.

The ships left the Motherbank on 13 May 1787 and arrived in Port Jackson on 26 January 1788.
The journey to Botany Bay took the Supply 256 days to complete, the Alexander, Friendship and Scarborough 257 days and the rest of the fleet 258 days.

  • Bateson, Charles. The convict ships 1787-1868. Library of Australian History, 2004
  • King, Jonathan. Australia's First Fleet: the voyage and the re-enactment 1788 / 1988. Robertsbridge & Fairfax Magazines, 1988

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