The History of Australia
London’s population had doubled between 1750 and 1770, as people flocked from country side to seek non-existent work in the cities. Many resorted to petty crimes most often theft of food and essentials. Government dealt with this crisis by introducing death penalty for smuggling and forgery. But lenient judges, instead of sending the offenders to gallows, commuted sentences to transportation to America. But after 1776, that option also became non-existent after the American victory over the British and subsequent declaration of Independence.
In 1770, English explorer Captain James Cook, led an expedition to South Seas, discovered Australia and claimed the territories for Britain. James Cook made a land fall to Botany Bay in Australia.
Lord Sydney, Secretary of State for the Home Office in the Government of William Pitt, became an advocate for transporting convicts to Botany Bay in Australia to address the overcrowding issue of British gaols. The Dutch and the Portuguese set foot in Australia much before the British, but none had set up colonies in Australia. By sending the convicts to Australia, Britain hoped to solve their convict problem and claim the land.
In 1786, convicts began to be loaded into ships. They were shackled below decks, and many died of malnutrition and diseases even before the fleet departed. In 13th May 1787 the first fleet left Portsmouth Harbour.
Within a week into the voyage, the crew went on strike, demanding an increase in daily rations. Their intention was to use the extra ration as a bribe to the convicts for sexual favours. But the captain refused to increase the rations, but promised a pay rise. After months of travel, when the new arrivals reached the Botany Bay, the first encounter with the natives were friendly. The aboriginal population was naked and carried spears, but were helpful towards the new arrivals. In the next fifty years , British fleets brought in 160000 convicts . When the Aboriginal people saw the extra ships arriving , they gathered in large numbers around the shore, brandishing spears and shouting ‘ Go Away;.
Phillip (who became the Governor of the first settlement) soon decided that Botany bay is unsuitable for settlement. On 21 January, he and a group of his men sailed north and entered Port Jackson, which cook had mentioned in passing , but did not enter . Phillip called it the finest harbour in the world. They explored several coves, eventually finding a hospitable location with deep water close to the shore, and fed by a small river. Phillip named it Sydney cove. There began the birth of Another British Colony named Australia.