History Tuesday/NSW

1788 map

Ok it is history Tuesday and today I am going to touch a little on the history of the state I call home New South Wales.

New South Wales (NSW) was first established in 1788 with the arrival of the first fleet which consisted of 11 ships under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, there was over a thousand settlers including 778 convicts with 192 of them being women and 586 being men.


The fleet arrived at Botany Bay but soon moved to a more suitable area known as Port Jackson where a settlement was established at Sydney Cove on the 26 January 1788, this date would later become our national day i.e. Australia Day.

The colony was formally proclaimed by Governor Phillip on the 7 February 1788 at Sydney, Sydney Cove offered a fresh water supply and a safe harbour which Governor Phillip described as being “with out exception the finest harbour in the world”

ArthurPhilipGovernor Phillip

Governor Phillip had complete authority over the inhabitants of the colony, he was enlightened for his age with a personal intent of establishing harmonious relations with the local Aboriginal people, he also tried to reform as well as discipline the convicts.

Between 1788 and 1792 around 3546 male and 766 female convicts landed at Sydney with many of those sick and unfit for work and the conditions of the healthy convicts deteriorated with the hard labour and lack of food in the settlement.

map of states

Between 1788 and 1792 the majority of the population was made up of convicts and their gaolers, but after this there was a population of emancipated convicts who could be granted land and it was these people who pioneered a non-government private sector economy, later they would be joined by solider whose military service had ended, finally free settlers began to arrive from Brittan.

Governor Phillip left Australia for England on 11 December1792, with the new settlement having survived near starvation and immense isolation for four years. The following year on the 16 February the first free settlers arrived they were Thomas Rose his wife and four children, Edward Powell, Thomas Webb, Joseph Webb and Frederick Meredith.

artwork first contact

Prior to the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1770, New South Wales was inhabited by Aborigines for at least 40,000 years, although how on earth anyone knows that I don’t get. For many Aborigines the 26 January is not a day of celebration but one of mourning and protest, for these Australians the founding of the modern Australian nation led to the disruption of their traditional way of life.

However, by 1820 Australia was beginning to look prosperous and sentiments of Australian patriotism were being expressed at gatherings of ex-convicts. The sense of belonging to a new nation must have been encouraged from 1817 when Governor Macquarie recommended the adoption of the name of “Australia” for the entire continent instead of New Holland.

aboringal people 1

By 1847 the convict population of Sydney accounted for only 3.2% of the total population.

I could write more but I won’t I will leave that for another post, don’t want to bore you all too much.



3 thoughts on “History Tuesday/NSW

  1. As someone from a place where the aboriginal people were–achem–“displaced,” I empathize with the aborigines in this story.
    I think people give a bad rap to Australia as being a land of “convicts.” These were’t convicts in the modern sense. Back in the 1700’s the Brits would straight up murder people accused of simple thievery. So these had to be unexceptional pseudo-crimes, non-violent offenders of the most mild of offenses. Like, maybe they were accused of coveting their neighbors horse-and-carriage. But I guess that’s a little off-topic. Love your history posts as always.

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