Australia Day: The First Fleet on Geni

Posted January 26, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment

Today Australia celebrates Australia Day! The holiday commemorates the day in 1788 when British settlers arrived on the shores of Australia for the first time. Led by Captain Arthur Phillip, the first boats arrived at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788. On shore, Phillip raised the British flag to signal the beginning of the colony.

In honor of Australia Day, we’re highlighting the genealogy projects for the First Fleet!

first fleet

Before the American Revolutionary War, the British, faced with overcrowded prisons, transported convicts to the Thirteen Colonies. However, after the war ended in 1783, the United States refused to accept further convicts. So on December 6, 1785, the order was issued to establish a penal colony in New South Wales on land claimed by explorer James Cook in 1770. The voyage to New South Wales would be led by Captain Arthur Phillips.

On May 12, 1787, the First Fleet departed from Portsmouth, England to found what would become the first European settlement in Australia. The First Fleet was comprised of 11 ships (two Royal Navy vessels, three store ships and six convict transports), carrying about 1,487 people, including over 700 convicts.

The ships were:

When the first ships arrived at Botany Bay on January 18, 1788, it was quickly realized that the location was less than ideal to establish a settlement. Philip ordered the fleet moved to Sydney Cove and on the morning of January 26, Phillip and his men rowed ashore. On February 7, 1788, the Colony of New South Wales was formally established and Phillips was officially named governor.

Are you a descendant of Australia’s early settlers? Join and collaborate on these genealogy projects and help connect all the convicts and settlers of the First Fleet to Geni’s World Family Tree.

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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