Australian History: COLONISATION (1788-1900)

At the time of colonisation of Australia, Great Britain was in need of new land to place its convicts. After early sightings of Australia by James Cook, it was decided that Australia would become a new British colony where convicts would be sent and used for labour in establishing the new colony. In 1788, the first fleet of ships landed in Botany Bay and so began the colonisation of Australia.

European Exploration European Exploration (1400-1788) - Before the English officially landed on Botany Bay in 1788, tthere were many expeditions to find the Great Unknown South Land, that was believed to be full of gold. The first European to discover was thought to have been Willem Jansz, a Dutchman who sailed along part of the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1606 and landed on Australian soil.


First LandingFirst Landing - In August 1786, the British government decided to start a convict settlement in New South Wales. This also allowed England to claim Australia and stop France or Spain from taking it.


Lachlan MacquarieEarly Years - Governor Phillip left Sydney in December 1792. By then the settlement had survived its first and worst five years. Sydney was a rough place but it was still there and growing.


Burke and WillsAustralian Explorers - After the troubles and hardships of the early years, the adminstration were pushing to find out more about what lay beyond the shores and coastline of Australia.


ConvcitsConvicts - During the period between 1788 and 1868, about 160,000 convicts were sent to Australia. What happened to them when they got to Australia depended on their skills or education, how they behaved themselves and some luck.


GoldGold - Many people believe that in 1851 Edward Hargraves was the first person to discover gold. This isn't true. Before 1851 gold had been found by convicts, shepherds, a clergyman and a Polish explorer. Hundreds more people probably found gold but did not bother telling others about it.


Owen SuffolkBushrangers - In the early days of Australia’s history, bushrangers roamed the countryside. They lived by stealing horses, holding up farms and travelers and robbing banks and stores. Many were escaped convicts. Others were just young men looking for adventure and freedom from the boredom of everyday work.


Eureka StockadeEureka Stockade