©National Archives

Map of Australia in 19th century showing distribution of convicts On 13th May 1787, eleven ships transported 736 convicts, 188 of whom were women, to Australia. Commanded by Captain Arthur Phillips, manned by 443 officers and men, and supported by 210 marines, the voyage did not reach Australia until January 1788 by which time over 40 people had died. Finding Botany Bay unsuitable, Phillips sailed north for several miles to a huge natural harbour and named it Sydney Cove after the Home Secretary - even though Cook had called it Port Jackson. Most prisoners transported were sentenced to terms of seven or fourteen years, but some went for life. The last shipment of convicts carried a cargo of Irish Fenians in 1868. During the 80 year operation of this policy 137,161 convicts were transported; 60,000 to New South Wales, 67,000 to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), and 10,000 to Western Australia. This map shows the distribution of Australian convicts in the 19th century.

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