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  • Recently we celebrated Australia day on the 26th of January. But why do we mark it on

  • that day in particular? To answer that question, Sarah will take you back in time to 1788,

  • to meet some kids who came to Australia on the First Fleet.

  • My name is Elizabeth Haywood and I'm 13 years old. I was apprenticed to a clog maker in

  • London, but I was paid so little, so I stole some clothes and tried to sell them.

  • For the theft of one linen gown, value 4 shillings, a silk bonnet value 2 shillings, and a cloak,

  • value 1 shilling. You are found guilty!

  • My name is John Hudson and I'm nine years old. I've been an orphan ever since I can

  • remember. I made a living by chimney sweeping. It was horrible work and dangerous too.

  • In the summertime there's no need for sweeping so I took to thieving to survive.

  • For the theft of one pistol, value 5 shillings, and two aprons, value 2 shillings. You are

  • found guilty!

  • [Dreary violin music]

  • In London in the 1700s, gaols were full of people like Elizabeth and John; poor, hungry,

  • unwanted. People who stole to survive. The city's population had exploded and mass poverty

  • had led to a rise in crime.

  • You are sentenced to death by hanging.

  • England's laws were really, really harsh. Stealing something could land you with a death

  • sentence. But they couldn't hang everyone. And with the gaols full there was the problem

  • of what to do with all the criminals.

  • One solution was transportation. Britain had colonies in Africa and America where it sent

  • criminals. But then Americans rose up against the English so that was no longer an option.

  • So the government decided to set up a new penal colony in a land called New South Wales;

  • claimed for England by Captain Cook in 1770.

  • John Hudson, you are sentenced to transportation across the seas for a period of seven years.

  • Eleven ships were prepared for the voyage to New South Wales. Six would transport convicts:

  • The Alexander, the Friendship, the Charlotte, the Lady Penryn, the Prince of Wales and Scarborough.

  • Then there were two navy ships and three ships full of the supplies they'd need to build

  • a new colony.

  • Captain Arthur Phillip was chosen to lead that colony. He knew it was an important job

  • and that one day, New South Wales could be great.

  • The sanguine might form expectations of extraordinary consequences, and be justified, in some degree,

  • by the reflection, that from smaller, and not more respectable beginnings, powerful

  • empires have frequently arisen.

  • The convicts probably weren't so hopeful. More than 700 were packed onto the crowded

  • ships, including around 17 children. Many were sick and malnourished when they boarded.

  • Around 20 wouldn't survive the journey.

  • The ships sailed from Portsmouth, England, on 13 May 1787. As they sailed through the

  • tropics the weather was hot and humid. There were rats, cockroaches and other pests and

  • water had to be rationed. On the 5th of August they arrived in Rio De Janiero and took on

  • food and water. Then they sailed to the Cape of Good Hope in Africa.

  • On the 19th of January the first ships arrived in Botany Bay. Seven days later they found

  • a place to anchor and Arthur Philip planted a British flag in a place he called Sydney

  • Cove.

  • The land had been home to Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years but, to the

  • convicts it was new, strange and harsh.

  • I never thought I'd end up in a place like this; so far away from home. But I've survived

  • this far and I'll keep on surviving.

  • We'll make the best of what we have and maybe some day build a better future here

  • in New South Wales.

Recently we celebrated Australia day on the 26th of January. But why do we mark it on

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First Fleet - Behind the News

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    minipa posted on 2016/02/01
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