Who was the first man and woman from the First Fleet to come ashore at Port Jackson

David Collins Wrote: The governor, with a party of marines, and some artificers selected from among the seamen of the Sirius and the convicts, arrived in Port Jackson, and anchored off the mouth of the cove intended for the settlement on the evening of the 25th; and in the course of the following day sufficient ground was cleared for encamping the officer’s guard and the convicts who had been landed in the morning. The spot chosen for this purpose was at the head of the cove, near the run of fresh water, which stole silently along through a very thick wood, the stillness of which had then, for the first time since the creation, been interrupted by the rude sound of the labourer’s axe.

Worgon wrote: They Supply arrived here the Evening before, & Captn. Hunter waited on the Governor who was on shore, where, he had caused the English Flag to be displayed. At Sunset the Governor, the principal Officers of the Settlement, and many of the private Soldiers, drank His Majesty’s Health & Success to the new Colony.

Able Seaman, Royal Navy, HMS Sirius 1788 (Henry Canenaugh)
Owen Cavanough is said to be the first person to set foot ashore at Port Jackson as he secure the long boat, on 26 January 1788

Able Seaman, HMS Sirius 1788. Robert Watson may also be one of the first few men who set foot ashore at Port Jackson and possible Botany Bay too.

David Collins wrote: The disembarkation of the troops and convicts  took place from the following day (27 January 1788) until the whole were landed. The confusion that ensued will not be wondered at, when it is considered that every man stepped from the boat literally into a wood. Parties of people were every where heard and seen variously employed;—some in clearing ground for the different encampments; others in pitching tents, or bringing up such stores as were more immediately wanted; and the spot which had so lately been the abode of silence and tranquillity was now changed to that of noise, clamour, and confusion: but after a time order gradually prevailed every where. As the woods were opened and the ground cleared, the various encampments were extended, and all wore the appearance of regularity. A portable canvas house, brought over for the governor, was erected on the East side of the cove, where also a small body of convicts was put under tents. The detachment of marines was encamped at the head of the cove near the stream, and on the West side was placed the main body of the convicts. The women did not disembark until the 6th of February; when, every person belonging to the settlement being landed, the numbers amounted to 1030 persons.

Arthur Bowes Smyth wrote in his journal: Wednesday 6 February 1788, the women were brought ashore from their ships. The temperature was 70 degrees F,  They were dressed in general very clean, and some few amongst them might be said to be well dressed. The men convicts got to them very soon after they landed, and it is beyond my abilities to give a just description of the scene of debauchery and riot that ensued during the night. They had not been landed more than an hour, before they had all got their tents pitched or anything in order to receive them, but there came on the most violent storm of thunder lightening and rain I ever saw. … The sailors in our ship requested to have some grog to make merry with upon the women quitting the ship …. The sailors almost all drunk, and incapable of rendering much assistance had an accident happened and the heat was almost suffocating.”

Elizabeth THACKERY
Convict. Friendship 1788.  The story is that Elizabeth was acting as a Lady’s Maid to the Officer’s wives. However there are no records to prove this. Elizabeth travelled to Norfolk Island aboard HMS Sirius in March 1790.
She died in August 1859 Back River, age 92 years. Her death notice appeared in The Courier 7 August 1856:

Mrs. Elizabeth King, the first white woman that landed in New South Wales, died this week at the Back River, New Norfolk.


New guide for collecting cultural material released

A new guide prepared by the Ministry for the Arts for public museums and galleries outlines the legal and international obligations when purchasing or borrowing cultural works.

The Australian Best Practice Guide to Collecting Cultural Material will assist museums, galleries, libraries and archives to navigate the complex ethical and legal requirements of acquiring works by incorporating national and international guidelines into a single document. Continue reading