The British Settlement of New South Wales
In January 1788, the British arrived in the colony of New South Wales to establish a convict settlement. Arthur Phillip was the commander of the first settlement. There were 1030 people who went to the colony of whom 736 were convicts, and the others were marines, naval officers and a number of wives and children. They used eleven ships, two warships, six transport ship and three provision ship that sailed to Sydney Cove. The colony’s first governor was Captain Arthur Phillip.
The British close to settle the colony of New South Wales for a number of reasons. First, prisoners from England were sent to North America before 1776. After the American War of Independence in 1776, the Americans refused to accept prisoners. England needed an alternative place to send prisoners. Second, Captain Cook sent a report of Botany Bay. Third, England needed timber and flax for building ships. Both products came from northern Europe. However, due to War in northern Europe, the supply routes were closed. England needed another supply route. Captain Cook had found timber and flax on Norfolk Island, which was close to Botany Bay. Finally, Britain and France were at war for eighty years. Britain wanted a naval presence in the Pacific to stop France and to keep trade routes open to China nd India.
The colonists experienced many problems during the first two years,particulary with the provsion of food. England, in May 1787, was carrying enough food to last for two years. They picked up sheep, cattle, pigs, seed and corn while they were docked at the Cape of Good Hope. However, within a few months of arriving, many of the cattle wandered off into the bush and were lost, and a great number of the sheep died. Attempts to grow crops and vegetables proved unsuccessful, very few of the first colonists knew anything about farming and the soil was unproductive. It was sandy, rough and very difficult to clear. Furthermore, the farming tools were very poor. They were easily broken and frequently lost by convicts who did not like the work.
The convicts, marines and Aborigines all caused problems for Governor Arthur Phillip and the colonists. Most of the convicts were not used to regular work. Many were extremely lazy. Others were sick or old and very few had been trained in useful trades. The marines were less helpful than Governor Phillip had hoped. Once they had arrived in the colony, they refused to supervise the convicts, claiming it was not their job. So the supervision had to be done by other convicts and this system was not always successful. On many occasions convicts were able to stray into the bush. They often stole things from the Aborigines when they were away from their camps, and this caused a lot of trouble.
Australia was settled as a convict colony by the British over two hundred years ago for economic and social reasons. In establishing a colony so far from England, the new settlers experienced many problems.