Highlights from First Fleet Collections of the State Library of NSW
First contacts were made in Port Jackson with the Eora, the local indigenous people, who seemed curious but suspicious of the newcomers.
It was the British Government's official policy to establish friendly relations with any Aboriginal Australians encountered. Governor Phillip ordered that all Indigenous people should be well treated but it was not long before conflict began.
William Bradley accompanied John Hunter to survey and chart Sydney Harbour - the naming of various harbour landmarks included Bradley’s Point (now Bradley’s Head).
Over the next three months Bradley also accompanied Arthur Phillip on exploratory trips to Broken Bay, Manly Cove and the upper reaches of the Parramatta River, the site of the colony's first successful farming community.
Convicts transported to Australia were sentenced for 7 years, 14 years or for the term of their natural life.
A convict who re-offended could be sent to work on the chain gang. Well-behaved convicts, having served part of their sentence, could apply for a 'ticket of leave' allowing greater freedom to lead a normal life, to marry and raise a family.
Once freed, 'emancipated' convicts were allowed to return to England but many stayed, contributing greatly to the development of the colony.
Curator: Margot Riley
Technical support: Chris Burns