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¡ SOCIAL STUDIES. The First Fleet.

! AUSTRALIA WAS A PENAL COLONY

ON May 13, 1787, the first fleet to sail for Australia left

Softhead (England). I

? It consisted of a warship, i Sirius; an armed tender, « Supply; six transports and ¡ three storeships.

¡ Joseph Banks had recommended , Botany Bay. and. although there l had been an earlier proposal to I send United Empire Loyalists I people who did not wish to remain ? in America after the colonies tttere

j had broken with England-1-so I much delay had occurred that I these people settled elsewhere, i mostly in Canada.

I To relieve the overcrowded I state of English prisons, it was I ., decided to make Australia, a new

j settlement, a penal colony.

i But conditions were to be dif-

ferent from those under which convicts had been sent to America 1 before the War of Independence.

They had been slaves then, but under the new system the Govern- ment did aim at reforming the

convicts.

Governor Phillip was empowered to "emancipate and discharge from their servitude" any deserving con-

victs.

He was to give them grants of land and such things as they

needed to establish themselves in a new way of life.

When Governor Phillip arrived in the new land-the whole fleet was not in Botany Bay until Janu- ary 20, 1788-^the first thing was to explore Port Jackson.

By singular chance, French ' ships arrived under command of

the famous captain La Perouse.

A monument still stands on the site to commemorate the death of the Frenchman.

The French sailed away on March 10, and they were never heard of again.

Many years later it was discov- ered that they had been wrecked by a cyclone.

After cutting down the dense scrub covering the shores of

Botany Bay, Governor Phillip ' assembled the entire company.

There were more than 1,000 of them, and he read his commission; gave a short address-in which he

promised the 717 convicts that ' industry would be rewarded and rebellion punished-and took the

oath of office.

It was February 7, 1788-"the memorable day which established a regular form of government on the coast of New South

Wales."

ft

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