Did you know ?
The First Fleet sailed from Spithead, England on 13th May 1787 carrying food ,clothing & other supplies for 2 years.
568 male, 191 female convicts & 13 children, 206 Marines with 27 wives, 19 children & 20 officials travelled 15,000 miles in a little over 8 months to reach Australia.
20% of the first convicts transported were women, most were in their middle 20's, a few were early teens , several were aged up to 82 years. 50% had been tried in Middlesex, some at county Assizes (Devon, Kent & Sussex), the rest were at Quarter Sessions.
Most common crime was theft.....of money, clothing or food.
No convict of the First Fleet was convicted of a political crime.Nearly all were English from London & its suburbs, principal cities & towns.
The first religious service in the colony was conducted by Reverend Richard Johnson under some trees near the landing site in the cove on Sunday February 3rd 1788.
The first criminal court was assembled on 11th Feb 1788. President was Judge Advocate Collins with 3 Naval Officers & 3 Marine Officers as members. A convict was sentenced to 200 lashes for hitting a marine with an adze.Another to 50 lashes for stealing some wood (later remitted ). A third convict who stole some bread was put in irons and marooned for 1 week ( on bread & water) on a small island in the harbour..........Pinchgut.
On April 12th 1790 one Thomas HALFORD was found guilty of stealing 3 pounds of potatoes valued at one shilling & six pence. He was sentenced to 2,000 lashes.
The first harvest of crops for the colony in 1789 from the government farm at Rose Hill yeilded 200 bushels of wheat & 35 bushels of barley.
From October 1788 to March 1789 ,7 marines robbed the government stores while they were on guard duty. Six were sentenced to death and were hanged the day following their trial.The seventh turned King's evidence and was acquitted.
Surgeon General White's 1st return for the colony showed since foundation of the colony, 4 marines, 27 male , 13 female convicts & 11 children had died from illness. Four convicts were killed by natives, 5 had been executed and 14 " were lost in the woods & were presumed to be dead " The most common cause of death was "heat sickness" ( heat stroke) followed by snake bite.
In the Muster & Census returns those over 12 years were classified as adults.
Governor Philip lost 5 of his precious sheep when they were"barbequed"by lightning
First child born on Norfolk Island was in January 1789. Ann Inett gave birth to a boy she named Norfolk. The following year another son was born & named Sydney. The father of both these children was Lieutenant King.
Twelve years after the first general muster of the colony in 1800, there were 958 "Australian children" born.Of this number about 398 "were either orphans or totally neglected by their parents".
Money used in the colony was similar to Spanish coins. The middle was cut out and the words New South Wales stamped on both parts.
The term "currency lads & lasses "stems from a letter written by Peter Cunningham, RN (Superintendent of Convict Transports..made 4 voyages)"Our colonial born brethren are best known here by the name Currency in contradiction to Sterling ( he was referring to those born in the Mother country )The name was originally given by a facetious paymaster in the 73rd Regiment...the pound currency at the time inferior to the pound sterling.
POME the meaning of, Australian nick name for those who showed any attachment to England...1800's PRISONER OF MOTHER ENGLAND.
According to parish records from 1804-1814 only 55% of males & 24% of females of those born overseas were able to sign their name. The percentages were slightly better for the local born..63% of males & 44% of females.
The first Australian state school was opened by Governor Macquarie in 1810.
The Female Factory at Parramatta was given the nick name of "The Bride Factory".Well behaved young male convicts were encouraged to marry & choose a wife from the "Bride factory" The women were lined up for inspection & if they were lucky were chosen. Many escaped the harsh treatment dished out to them at the factory this way.They were treated worse than animals, some examples were...2 women were chained together for a month for "using language un beffitting ladies" For stealing,another woman was chained to a dog for 2 months. A common punishment was to shave a prisoners head and clamp a spiked iron collar around her neck.
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