British Empire
The rise of the British empire - Australia
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Painting from 1799 showing the arrival of British colonists in Australia in 1788
(The British Museum/Heritage-Images)
  • This painting was done in 1799 but it shows a scene from 1788 - the founding of the first prison colony in Australia at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson.
  • Port Jackson was the name given to the place where the convicts and other settlers arrived, along with the essential supplies from India and the rest of the empire that kept the colonists alive in the tough early years of the colony.
  • The first fleet brought about 750 convicts, with officials and guards, to New South Wales and the colony soon grew. Over the next 80 years or so, around 160,000 convicts were shipped out to Australia.
  • In this image there are many interesting and useful details. The settlers have brought cattle and pigs with them to the new land. They are hunting and killing turtles and birds for food. A British soldier is questioning an Australian Aborigine.
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