3rd January, 1788: Captain Arthur Phillip, having sailed ahead of the rest of the first fleet, sights the coast of Van Diemen's Land.
18th January, 1788: 2:15pm, Capt. Phillip's brig, HMS Supply anchors on the northern side of Botany Bay. He begins inland explorations and makes first contact with the Aborigines.
19th January, 1788: On this morning, Aborigines gathered on Point Solander watching the ships, Alexander, Friendship and Scarborough arrive in Botany Bay.
20th January, 1788: The last seven ships from the first fleet arrive in Botany Bay.
21st January, 1788: Capt. Phillip, deciding Botany Bay unsuitable for a settlement, sets out to find a better place to settle the new colony. Early in the afternoon they sail into Port Jackson (NSW) hailing it as "the finest harbour in the world, in which a thousand Sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security"
24th January, 1788: The French ships La Boussole and L'Astrolabe, commanded by the Comte de la Perouse, appear off Botany Bay.
25th January, 1788: Capt. Phillip sails his brig Supply out of Botany Bay, and arrives in Sydney Cove in the evening.
26th January, 1788: Now at Port Jackson, Capt. Phillip, concerned about the French ships entering Botany Bay, hastily takes a party ashore and raises the British flag, formally taking posession of New South Wales for the King. Surgeon George B. Worgan describes: 'On the Evening of our Arrival (26th January 1788) The Governor & a'Number of the Officers assembled on Shore where, they Displayed the British Flag and each Officer with a Heart, glowing with Loyalty drank his Majesty's Health and Success to the Colony..
27th January, 1788: Convicts are disembarked to help clear the area, preparing for the new settlement. Captain Watkin Tench describes; 'In one place a party cutting down the woods; a second setting up a blacksmith's forge; a third dragging along a load of stones or provisions; here, an officer pitching his marquee with a detachment of troops parading on one side of him, and a cook's fire blazing up on the other.'
28th January, 1788: The first European women and children came ashore. Seventeen marine wives and fourteen children disembarked from the Prince of Wales. The first livestock was also brought ashore.
3rd February, 1788: The first religious service in the colony (Church of England) was held "on the grass" by Rev. Richard Johnson.
6th February, 1788: A 'scene of debauchery and riot' ensued once the women convicts were brought ashore. Accompanied with a violent thunderstorm.
7th February, 1788: The whole colony had gathered on the west side of Sydney Cove to hear Deputy judge-advocate David Collins read aloud the Kings commission establishing Phillip's Governorship over the colony. This also included the letters patent establishing civil and criminal courts. Phillip then took the oaths of office, and gave a short address in which he promised the 717 convicts that orderliness, obedience and industry would be suitably rewarded, and warned them that any transgressions would as certainly be punished. He wished them reformation, happiness and prosperity in this new country.
10th February, 1788: Australia's first marriages are solemnised.
11th February, 1788: Thomas Hill received a sentence of 8 days in irons on bread and water for the theft of a biscuit from another convict. Another convict was sentenced to 150 lashes for assault in the first sitting of Australia's court of criminal jurisdiction.
14th February, 1788: Lieut Philip Gidley King sailed with a party of 23, including 15 convicts, in the Supply to found a settlement on Norfolk Island, where native flax was to be harvested and other crops including hemp were to be grown.
17th February, 1788: Reverend Richard Johnson celebrated holy communion for the first time in the colony, according to the rites of the Church of England. The ritual took place in the tent of Lieut Ralph Clark.
17th February, 1788: Lieut Henry Ball, commander of the Supply, on its way to Norfolk Island, discovered an island that he named after Admiral Lord Howe.
27th February, 1788: Australia's first execution. Thomas Barratt was hanged for stealing stores.
29th February, 1788: James Freeman was pardoned for stealing flour, on the condition he became the public executioner.
2nd March, 1788: Phillip set out to explore Broken Bay. He discovers and names Pittwater.
6th March, 1788: Lieut King takes possession of Norfolk Island for the King.
10th March, 1788: The two French ships leave Botany Bay. They were later wrecked near Santa Cruz, north of the New Hebrides.
March, 1788: Governor Phillip orders that no trees be cut down within 15 metres of the stream that runs into Sydney Cove.
26th April, 1788: Governor Phillip and his party of explorers find and name the Blue Mountains.
6th May, 1788: After an outbreak of scurvy from eating mostly vegetables, the ship Supply sails for Lord Howe Island to catch turtle to supplement the colonies meat supply.
21st May, 1788: Aborigines kill one convict and seriously wound another.
25th May, 1788: The Supply returns from Lord Howe Island without catching any turtles for the settlement.
30th May, 1788: Two rushcutters, William Okey and Samuel Davis, were found dead, pierced with spears and beaten in reprisal for stealing a canoe belonging to the Aborigines.
31st May, 1788: Governor Phillip led a party to apprehend the Aboriginal murderers of Okey and Davis.
June, 1788: Two bulls and four cows strayed from the settlement.
5th July, 1788: In a dispatch to the under-secretary of state, Evan Napean, Phillip recorded the rations for marines and male convicts. For seven days each received 7lbs of bread or in lieu thereof 7lbs of flour, 7 lbs of beef or in lieu therof pork, 3 pints of pease, 6 oz of butter, 1 pound of flour or in lieu thereof 12lbs of rice. The women received two-thirds of this amount and the children generally had one-third although some recieved as much as the women.
20th August, 1788: Lieut William Bligh in HMS Bounty, en route to Tahiti, anchored at Adventure Bay, Van Diemen's Land. The party planted apple trees, fruit stones and various vegetables.
August, 1788: Captain John Hunter draws map of Sydney Cove showing layout of the camp. (below)
John Hunter's Map
4th September, 1788: Lieut William Bligh leaves Adventure Bay.
September, 1788: The last remaining cow was killed.
2nd November, 1788: Marines and ten convicts leave to establish a farming settlement at Rose Hill. (Parramatta)
19th November, 1788: The Golden Grove and Fishburn become the last of the first fleet ships to leave the colony carrying dispatches and reports.
11th December, 1788: Phillip set out to explore Botany Bay, where he examined the Cook's, George and Woronora rivers.
31 December, 1788: An Aborigine named Arabanoo was captured and held in confinement. Phillip hoped to learn their language and so promote good relations between Aborigines and Europeans.
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