The Second Fleet was a convoy of six ships carrying settlers, convicts and supplies to Sydney Cove, Australia in 1789. It followed the First Fleet which established European settlement in Australia in the previous year.
Sydney Cove is a small bay on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, one of several harbours in Port Jackson, on the coast of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
The First Fleet was the 11 ships that departed from Portsmouth, England, on 13 May 1787 to found the penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia. The Fleet consisted of two Royal Navy vessels, three store ships and six convict transports, carrying between 1,000 and 1,500 convicts, marines, seamen, civil officers and free people, and a large quantity of stores. From England, the Fleet sailed southwest to Rio de Janeiro, then east to Cape Town and via the Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay, arriving over the period of 18 to 20 January 1788, taking 250 to 252 days from departure to final arrival.
The Second Fleet has achieved a historical notoriety for the poor conditions aboard the vessels, and for cruelty and mistreatment of its convicts. Of the 1006 convicts transported aboard the Fleet, one quarter died during the voyage and around 40 per cent were dead within six months of arrival in Australia.The captain and some crew members of one vessel were charged with offences against the convicts, but acquitted after a short trial.
The ships were intended to sail to Australia together, arriving at Sydney Cove in 1789. However, one was disabled en route and failed to make the destination, while another was delayed and arrived two months after the other ships. The colony had expected that the Fleet would contain fewer unskilled convicts and more supplies: the arrival of so many sick and dying and so few additional provisions brought the settlement close to starvation before the Third Fleet reached Sydney Cove in 1791.
The Third Fleet comprised 11 ships that set sail from the United Kingdom in February, March and April 1791, bound for the Sydney penal settlement, with more than 2,000 convicts aboard. The passengers comprised convicts, military personnel and notable people sent to fill high positions in the colony. More important for the fledgling colony was that the ships also carried provisions.
|Ship||Image||Type||Master||Crew||Dep. England||Arr. Sydney||Duration||Male convicts arrived (boarded)||Female convicts arrived (boarded)|
|Lady Juliana||convict transport||Thomas Edgar||35||29 July 1789||3 June 1790||309 days||n/a||222 (226)|
|Guardian||converted gun ship to convict transport||Edward Riou||12 September 1789||disabled en route||n/a||20 (25) – see below||n/a|
|Justinian||storeship||28 June 1789||15 April 1790||291 days|
|Surprize||converted merchant ship to convict transport||Nicholas Anstis||19 January 1790||26 June 1790||158 days||218 (254)||n/a|
|Neptune||convict transport||Donald Traill||19 January 1790||27 June 1790||159 days||? (421) + 12 from Guardian||? (78)|
|Scarborough||converted transport to convict ship||John Marshall||19 January 1790||28 June 1790||160 days||180 (253) + 8 from Guardian||n/a|
|TOTAL||859  (973)||300  (304)|
Lady Juliana sailed before the other convict ships and is not always counted as a member of the Second Fleet. It carried female convicts. Guardian set out before the convict ships but struck ice after leaving the Cape of Good Hope, returned to southern Africa, and was wrecked on the coast.The storeship Justinian did not sail with the convict ships and arrived before them. HMS
Lady Juliana, was launched at Whitby in 1777. She transported convicts in 1789 from Britain to Australia.
HMS Guardian was a 44-gun Roebuck-class fifth-rate two-decker of the Royal Navy, later converted to carry stores. She was completed too late to take part in the American War of Independence, and instead spent several years laid up in ordinary, before finally entering service as a store and convict transport to Australia, under Lieutenant Edward Riou. Riou sailed the Guardian, loaded with provisions, animals, convicts and their overseers, to the Cape of Good Hope where he took on more supplies. Nearly two weeks after his departure on the second leg of the journey, an iceberg was sighted and Riou sent boats to collect ice to replenish his water supplies. Before he could complete the re-provisioning, a sudden change in the weather obscured the iceberg, and the Guardian collided with it while trying to pull away. She was badly damaged and in immediate danger of sinking. The crew made frantic repair attempts but to no apparent avail. Riou eventually allowed most of the crew to take to the Guardian's boats, but refused to leave his ship. Eventually through continuous work he and the remaining crew were able to navigate the ship, by now reduced to little more than a raft, back to the Cape, a nine-week voyage described as 'almost unparalleled'. Riou ran the Guardian aground to prevent her sinking, but shortly afterwards a hurricane struck the coast, wrecking her. The remains were sold the next year, in 1790.
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.
Surprize , Neptune, and Scarborough were contracted from the firm Camden, Calvert & King, which undertook to transport, clothe and feed the convicts for a flat fee of £17 7s. 6d per head, whether they landed alive or not. This firm had previously been involved in transporting slaves to North America. The only agents of the Crown in the crew were the naval agent, Lieutenant John Shapcote, and the Captain of the Guard; Camden and Calvert supplied all other crew.[ citation needed ].
Surprize was a three-deck merchant vessel launched in 1780 that made five voyages as a packet ship under charter to the British East India Company (EIC). The fourth of which was subsequent to her participating in the notorious Second Fleet transporting convicts to Port Jackson (EIC). Her fifth voyage for the EIC was subsequent to her second voyage transporting convicts to Australia. In 1799 a French frigate captured her in the Bay of Bengal.
The three vessels left England on 19 January 1790, with 1,006 convicts (928 male and 78 female) on board. They made only one stop on the way, at the Cape of Good Hope. Here 20 male convicts, survivors from HMS Guardian, were taken on board. The three vessels made a faster trip than the First Fleet, arriving at Port Jackson in the last week of June 1790, three weeks after Lady Juliana, and one week after the storeship Justinian.
The passage was relatively fast, but the mortality rate was the highest in the history of transportation to Australia. Of the 1,038 convicts embarked, 273 died during the voyage (26%) and 486 landed sick.This sits in stark contrast to the mortality rates reported on the First Fleet where "with nearly an equal number of persons, only 24 had died and not thirty landed sick. The difference can be accounted for only by the comparing the manner in which each fleet was fitted out and conducted."
On Neptune the convicts were deliberately starved, kept chained, and frequently refused access to the deck. Scurvy could not be checked. On Scarborough, rations were not deliberately withheld, but a reported mutiny attempt led to the convicts being closely confined below decks.
Captain William Hill, commander of the guard, afterwards wrote a strong criticism of the ships' masters stating that "the more they can withhold from the unhappy wretches the more provisions they have to dispose of at a foreign market, and the earlier in the voyage they die, the longer they can draw the deceased's allowance to themselves".
On arrival at Port Jackson, half-naked convicts were lying without bedding, too ill to move. Those unable to walk were slung over the side. All were covered with lice. At least 486 sick were landed (47% of those embarked). Of these, 124 died shortly after they had landed. Of the rest the Rev. Johnson, who went among them as soon as the ships reached port, wrote that "the misery I saw amongst them is indescribable ... their heads, bodies, clothes, blankets, were all full of lice. They were wretched, naked, filthy, dirty, lousy, and many of them utterly unable to stand, to creep, or even to stir hand or foot."
For his part Governor Phillip noted, "I will not, sir, dwell on the scene of misery which the hospitals and sick tents exhibited when these people were landed, but it would be want of duty not to say that it was occasioned by the contractors having crowded too many on board these ships, and from their being too much confined during the passage."
Among the arrivals on the Second Fleet were D'Arcy Wentworth and his convict mistress Catherine Crowley, on Neptune, and John Macarthur, then a young lieutenant in the New South Wales Corps, and his wife Elizabeth, on Scarborough. Macarthur's eldest son, Edward Macarthur, who accompanied his parents on the Neptune and Scarborough, is believed to be the only person who sailed in the Second Fleet of whom we have a photograph as well as being the last survivor of the voyage (see reference below).
When news of the horrors of the Second Fleet reached England, public and official response was shock. An enquiry was held but no attempt was made to arrest Donald Traill, master of Neptune and described as a demented sadist, or bring a public prosecution against him, the other masters, or the firm of contractors. They had already been contracted by the government to prepare the Third Fleet for sailing to Port Jackson in 1791.
Traill and his Chief Mate William Ellerington were privately prosecuted for the murder of an unnamed convict, seaman Andrew Anderson and John Joseph, cook. But, after a trial lasting three hours before Sir James Marriott in the Admiralty Court, the jury acquitted both men on all charges "without troubling the Judge to sum up the evidence".
Admiral Arthur Phillip was a Royal Navy officer and the first Governor of New South Wales who founded the British penal colony that later became the city of Sydney, Australia.
Vice Admiral John Hunter was an officer of the Royal Navy, who succeeded Arthur Phillip as the second governor of New South Wales, Australia and served as such from 1795 to 1800.
Captain Philip Gidley King was the third Governor of New South Wales, and did much to organise the young colony in the face of great obstacles.
Lieutenant General Watkin Tench was a British marine officer who is best known for publishing two books describing his experiences in the First Fleet, which established the first settlement in Australia in 1788. His two accounts, Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson provide an account of the arrival and first four years of the colony.
John Marshall was a British explorer of the Pacific. The Marshall Islands are named after him.
Scarborough was a double-decked, three-masted, ship-rigged, copper-sheathed, barque that participated in the First Fleet, assigned to transport convicts for the European colonisation of Australia in 1788. Also, the British East India company (EIC) chartered Scarborough to take a cargo of tea back to Britain after her two voyages transporting convicts. She spent much of her career as a West Indiaman, trading between London and the West Indies, but did perform a third voyage in 1801-02 to Bengal for the EIC. In January 1805 she repelled a French privateer of superior force in a single-ship action, before foundering in April.
Friendship was a merchant brig built in Scarborough, England, and launched in 1784. She is most notable for her transport of convicts as part of the Australian First Fleet. Due to problems manning her, her crew scuttled her in 1788.
Charlotte was an English merchant ship built in the River Thames in 1784 and chartered in 1786 to carry convicts as part of the First Fleet to New South Wales. She returned to Britain from Botany Bay via China, where she picked up a cargo for the British East India Company. Charlotte then spent much of the rest of her career as a West Indiaman in the London-Jamaica trade. She may have been lost off Newfoundland in 1818; in any case, she disappears from the lists by 1821.
Alexander was a merchant ship launched at Hull in 1783 or 1784. She was one of the vessels in the First Fleet, that the British government hired to transport convicts for the European colonisation of Australia in 1788. On her return voyage from Australia the British East India Company permitted her to carry a cargo from Canton back to Britain. Thereafter she traded out of London until 1809, when she is no longer listed.
Neptune was a three-decker East Indiaman launched in 1780 at Deptford. She made five voyages for the British East India Company (EIC), the last one transporting convicts to Port Jackson as one of the vessels of the notorious Second Fleet. This voyage resulted in a private suit against the master and chief officer for wrongful death. A fire and explosion in 1796 at Cape Town destroyed Neptune.
The history of Australia from 1788–1850 covers the early colonial period of Australia's history, from the arrival in 1788 of the First Fleet of British ships at Sydney, New South Wales, who established the penal colony, the scientific exploration of the continent and later, establishment of other Australian colonies. It was due to this incident that the word 'Invasion' came into use, and later words such as 'Massacre' and 'Dispossession' became common in media.
William Bryant was a Cornish fisherman and convict who was transported to Australia on the First Fleet. He is remembered for his daring escape from the penal colony with his wife, two small children and seven convicts in the governor's cutter, sailing to Timor in a voyage that would come to rank alongside that of fellow Cornishman William Bligh as one of the most incredible ever made in an open boat.
The Hawkesbury and Nepean Wars (1794–1816) were a series of incidents between settlers and New South Wales Corps and the Indigenous clans of the Hawkesbury river in west of Sydney that began in 1794, when the British established farms along the river. A minority of these settlements were established by soldiers.
There are 20 known contemporary accounts of the First Fleet made by people sailing in the Fleet, including journals and letters. The eleven ships of the Fleet, carrying over 1,000 convicts, soldiers and seamen, left England on 13 May 1787 and arrived in Botany Bay between 18 and 20 January 1788 before relocating to Port Jackson to establish the first European settlement in Australia, a penal colony which became Sydney. At least 12 people on the Fleet kept a journal of their experiences, some of which were later published, while others wrote letters home during the voyage or soon after their arrival in Australia. These personal accounts of the voyage were made by people including surgeons, officers, soldiers, ordinary seamen, and Captain Arthur Phillip, who commanded the expedition. Only one known account, that of James Martin, was by a transported convict. Their journals document the day-to-day experiences of those in the Fleet, and record significant events including the first contact between the European settlers and the Aboriginal people of the area. In 2009, the manuscript journals were included in The Australian Memory of the World Register, a regional register associated with the UNESCO international Memory of the World programme.
Arthur Bowes Smyth was a naval officer and surgeon on the First Fleet that established the colony of New South Wales. Smyth kept a diary and documented the natural history he encountered in Australia.
George Atkinson, also known as George Atkins, was an English convict sent to Australia aboard a ship of the First Fleet. He was a chimney sweeper.
James Scott (d.1796) was a Sergeant of Marines in the New South Wales Marine Corps and commander of the first quarter guard in New South Wales. He is notable for his journal describing his experiences in the First Fleet, which established the first European settlement in Australia in 1788.