The arrival of “Redcoats” and convicts in Sydney on 26-jan-1788

Fig. 1 Convict Transport Scarborough, which arrived in Sydney Harbour on 26-jan-1788, with Matthew James Everingham on board, as one of the convicts being transported from England to “Botany Bay” for a 7 year sentence.

When the 1st Fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour on 26-jan-1788 there were 11 ships in the fleet.

You can hardly image the impact that the sight of those tall vessels under sail would have had on the Eora people who may have been standing on the coastline between Botany Bay (where they had arrived a couple of days earlier) and Sydney Heads, or watching from the shoreline of Sydney Harbour.

There was probably some Gamaraigals on South Head of Middle Head, which they called Cubba Cubba in the shared language of the Eora people.  Perhaps there were some _______________ standing on what we now call Bradleys Head and some _____________ along the south side of the main arm of Sydney Harbour, as they slowly made their way under reduced sail to Sydney Cove, which the Eora people called ___________.

Some of the Eora people were probably fishing out on the harbour in their very delicate bark canoes, which they called nawi.

Fig. 2 Women fished from their nawi (canoe). Often they had a small fire burning on a base of rocks and clay bottom of the nawi, so they could cook and eat the fish immediately ,while still out on the water.

I had a direct convict ancestor, Matthew James Everingham, 1769 – 1817, on one of the convict transports, the Scarborough.  Being a convict I wonder if he was allowed on deck to see his new home as they crept from Bradleys Head to Sydney Cove, and if he saw any of the Eora people along the shoreline.

The following notes were collected by historian Dr Keith Vincent Smith from original source documents, which were mostly written by British naval officers on the 1st Fleet.  They make fascinating reading, as I try to piece together which parts of the harbour foreshore are being referred to in each reference.

John Young


Dr Keith Vincent Smith


Simply click on the Gamaragal title above and the system will display the PDF document written by Dr Keith Vincent Smith in a new window of your web browser.


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