‘It is well known…without a sufficient proportion of that [female] sex…it would be impossible to preserve the settlement from gross irregularities and disorders…HMS Supply…may be employed in conveying to the new settlement a further number of women from the Friendly islands, New Caledonia etc…from whence any number may be procured without difficulty’.  Home Office, Heads of a Plan for Botany Bay.

London –  1786, August 8 August:‘His Majesty [George III] has thought advisable to fix upon Botany Bay’.

1786-1868:  During the period 1786 to 1868 Britain transported approximately 163,000 convicted criminals to New Holland, now Australia. Only  25,000 were women. One-half of these 12,500 went directly to Van Diemens Land now Tasmania.

West Australia: Between 1858 and 1868 the embryonic white settlement in the west, where transportation ended in 1868, received ten thousand (10,000) male criminals and zero (0) women prisoners.

‘Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group, such as;

killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

imposing measures intending to prevent births within the group;

transferring children of the group to another group’. Article 2, United Nations 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

“Rape is a biological possibility for the male”. Cited, Anne Summers, Damned Whores and God’s Police, Penguin, 1975

London – 1786, August 21:  Lord Sydney the Home Secretary informed Treasury;  ‘orders had been issued for the transportation of six hundred and eight (680) males and seventy (70) female convicts…to New South Wales’.

‘It was the custom in the eighteenth century for the authorities to consider the sex problems of convicts or others in similar positions’. Commentary, Historical Records of New South  Wales. Vol. 1

With this ‘considerat[ion] in mind numbers were amended; ‘six hundred (600) men… two hundred (200) women’ prisoners.


‘Several convicts had been tried as early as 1781 and 1782…many had already served five-sevenths of their time on embarkation and six-sevenths on disembarkation at Sydney’. Dr John Cobley, Crimes of the First Fleet, Angus and Robertson, 1982

Portsmouth – 1787, 6 January:  The first males boarded Alexander from a Thames River prison-hulk at the beginning January 1787.

Commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip RN the large convoy of eleven (11) vessels; two (2) warships HMS Sirius and HMS Supply, six (6) transports and three (3) store-ships, is known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’.

‘His Majesty has thought advisable to fix upon Botany Bay [with] two companies to form a military establishment’.

As with the convicts the number of military men was also increased. Additionally all male convicts were rationed as ‘troops serving in the West Indies’.

England – 1787, 13 May:  With a complement of 1500 souls  – 1300 men and 222 women this biological time-bomb,departed English waters to sail 13,000 miles (21,000 km) across the globe to Botany Bay, New Holland now Australia.

Two hundred (200) Royal Naval personnel, two hundred and forty-five (245) marines, four hundred and forty (440) merchant seamen, five hundred and eighty-three (583) male convict combatants, twenty (20) officials, including nine (9) physician/surgeons, one hundred and ninety-three  (193) female prisoners, thirty-one (31) marine wives and Mary Johnson wife of the fleet Chaplain, was a massive imbalance of the sexes.

Botany Bay – 1788, 18/20 January: After eight (8) months voyaging ‘imperfectly explored oceans’ the convoy reached Botany Bay.

Port Jackson – 26 January: A ‘more eligible Situation‘ had been found  nine (9) miles (17km) north of initial beach-head. At dawn Phillip landed from HMS Supply with a detachment of marines and raised the ‘Union Jack of Queen Anne’.

Sydney Cove:  That evening in fading light the fleet processed up the harbour to anchor alongside HMS Supply in the ‘snug’ cove Phillip had named after Lord Sydney.

Proclamation Day -7 February:  On the 7th of February 1788 Captain-General, Governor Arthur Phillip,’using a form of words’ claimed British Sovereignty over ‘Our territory New South Wales from Cape York in the most northern extremity…to South Cape’.


‘Four companies of Marines landed with the first Europeans to settle in Australia, and twenty five regiments of British infantry served in the colonies between 1790 and 1870’. Dr Peter Stanley, The Remote Garrison, The British Army in Australia 1788-1870, Kangaroo Press, Sydney,1986    

In Britain’s long history of colonisation the invasion of Australia was unique in that the first generation of occupiers 1788 – 1813 was almost exclusively male, criminal and military.

September: By the middle of September 1788 eight of the nine (9) chartered vessels Alexander, Charlotte, Prince of Wales, Friendship, Scarborough, Lady Penrhyn, Fishburn and Borrowdale, with crews of approximately four hundred and forty (440)  merchant seamen, had left Sydney for the return to England.

It is not possible to know how many Aboriginal women were raped by merchant seamen between January 1788 and their departure.

What is known; Governor Phillip did not comply with the ‘Heads of a Plan’. HMS Supply did not sail to ‘the Friendly islands [to] procure a further number of women’ because; ‘our present situation [starvation] would answer no other purpose than…[to] bring them [here] to pine away’.

In the same dispatch Phillip emphasised; ‘the very small proportion of females makes the sending out of an additional number absolutely necessary’.

‘The important investigations of [Manning] Clark, [L.L.] Robson, [A.G.L] Shaw have revealed that the majority of [male] convicts were sentenced at urban courts, usually single, aged between 20-45, commonly convicted of theft and the majority were convicted more than once’. Stephen Garton, Out of Luck, Poor Australians and Social Welfare 1788-1988, Allen and Unwin, 1990

‘Comfort women;  First Nations’ women were conscripted to satisfy the sexual needs of both criminal and conqueror. They bore the brunt of the; ‘gross irregularities and disorders’ flagged so clearly in the ‘Heads of a Plan for Botany Bay’.


1790 1 January, Sydney Cove: ‘No communication whatever having passed with our native country since the 13th of May, 1787, the day of our departure from Portsmouth…We have now been two [2] years in the country, and thirty-two [32] months from England, in which long period no supplies’. Marine Captain Watkin Tench, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed.F.L. Fitzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, 1961

The Robinson Cruscos of the ‘First Fleet’, English men, women and children, confined mainly to an area centred on Sydney’s deep-water  quay, were callously left to starve. See Abandoned and Left To Starve at Sydney Cove January 1788 to June 1790 

‘The misery and horror of [our] situation cannot be imparted even by those who have suffered under  it…Here on the summit of the hill [South Head], every morning from daylight until the sun sunk, did we sweep the horizon, in the hope of seeing a sail’. Tench. ibid.

‘Dejection overspread every countenance’ Tench turned to Shakespeare ‘pride, pomp and circumstances of glorious war were no more’.


Sydney Cove – 3 June, 1790:  There were no British ships in Sydney Harbour when Lady Juliana broke the ‘misery and horror’ of profound isolation. See: Missing In Action HMS Sirius –wrecked–  HMS Supply (@ Jakarta

The first of four (4) vessels that made up a second fleet Lady Juliana brought two hundred and twenty-six (226) women prisoners and eight (8) children. Other than a small flock of sheep salvaged from HMS Guardian she brought few supplies. See: Titanic – HMS Guardian Australia’s Titanic

By the end of June 1790 the fleet’s death ships Suprize, Scarborough and Neptune, brought another thousand men including one hundred and fifteen (115) officers and rank and file, first contingent of infantry, the New South Wales Corps.

Aptly named ‘Britain’s Grim Armada, of one thousand and six (1006) convicts embarked at Plymouth (928) men (78) women; ‘256 men and 11 women had died…at least 486 were landed sick’. Charles Bateson, The Convict Ships 1787-1868, Brown, Son & Ferguson, Glasgow, 1959

Of the sick 15% died within weeks of landing. Many second fleet survivors remained permanently physically and mentally damaged by their experiences. Emotionally diminished, morally degraded, when released these brutalised individuals fell on the ‘other’ – the Aboriginal.

[Men in] iron gangs or parties of convicts who have committed here some offence, appeared the least like England. They were working in chains, under the charge of sentries with loaded arms…I believe the years of assignment are passed away with discontent and unhappiness. As an intelligent man remarked to me, the convicts know no pleasure beyond sensuality, and in this they are not gratified’. Charles Darwin,Voyage of the Beagle

Charles Darwin arrived in Sydney aboard the Beagle in January 1836. A few days later the young experienced horseman struck out westwards towards Bathurst to visit “Wallerwang” a sheep station.

‘The usual number of assigned convict-servants here [Wallerawang] is about forty [40] but at present time there were rather more…Although the farm was well stocked with every necessary, there was an apparent absence of comfort; and not one single woman resided here.

‘The brightest tints on the surrounding woods could not make me [Darwin] forget that forty hardened, profligate men were ceasing from their daily labour, like the slaves from Africa, yet without their holy claim for compassion’. Darwin.  op. cit.

Born in 1809 Darwin was similar in age to prisoners he encountered on the road. There is no doubt Darwin who went on to father ten (10) children, after five (5) years on Beagle separated from friends and a family more closely entwined than most, identified as seminal the  prisoners’ sexual needs.

‘I call upon you to remember that cruel punishments have an inevitable tendency to produce cruelty’. Sir Samuel Romilly, House of Commons, Hansard.

Britain’s brutal penal system produced cruel debased human beings. Demand by ‘hardened, profligate men’ for heterosexual intercourse generated the ‘gross irregularities and disorder’ inherent in the British Government’s ‘Plan for Botany Bay’.

‘To bestow a life which may either be a curse or a blessing, unless the being on whom it is bestowed will have at least the ordinary chances of a desirable existence, is a crime against that being’. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Collins Fontana, 1977 

As Anne Summers argued, the ‘disposition amongst men to view sexual intercourse as one additional piece of weaponry in their armoury of power, one that they can use whenever and upon whomsoever pleases them’ where ‘men monopolized political, economic, legal, military, religious and [all] other forms of power’.

Given the differential in power and capacity to coerce – guns v spears  – for Australia’s First Nations’ women and girls, there was no refuge, no avenue of appeal from cruelty and sexual violence.


Following World War II and 1933-1945 – near destruction of European Jewry – The Holocaust – the United Nations 1948 Genocide Convention codified conduct constituting the crime of genocide in International Law.

‘Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as: killing…causing serious bodily or mental harm…deliberately inflicting…conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction…imposing measures intending to prevent births within the group…transferring children of the group to another group.

It does not take a genius to do the sums;  gender imbalance – Australia’s First Peoples =  genocide . See: G – for Gender

James Lavell born in Sydney in 1788 was the first named Anglo-Aboriginal child. Although his mother’s name is not known Henry, his father,  was one (1) of a rare breed, the convict who returned to England a free man. See: Blind Man’s Bluff


1792 –  December: An ailing Governor Arthur Phillip, after a five (5) year tenure as Britain’s first commissioned Governor of Australia, was repatriated. He re-married and settled in the spa-town of Bath.

Murder or suicide?  In 1814 Phillip died at home after falling from an upstairs  window. And then there is the scrap of paper found secreted under the floor boards.

The answer hangs in the air as does the definitive whereabouts of his remains.





However for strategic reasons the area was deemed unsuitable for permanent settlement.

21 January:  ‘His Excellency proceeded in a boat to examine the opening, to which Mr [James] Cook had given the name of Port Jackson [April 1770] on an idea that a shelter for shipping within it might be found’.  Marine Captain Watkin Tench, First Fleet Journal, Sydney’s First Four Years, ed. F.L. Fittzhardinge, Angus and Robertson, Sydney 1961

Port Jackson: The crew rowed south as far as Sutherland before retracing nine (9) miles north of the original beach-head. Late that afternoon they entered a vast harbour  ‘here’ Phillip wrote ‘a thousand ships of the Line can ride in Perfect Security’.

Sydney Cove – 22 January: The following day and a half  of the next was spent examining a myriad of inlets and bays. Finally a ‘snug’ deep-water cove was selected. Phillip named it Lord Sydney after the then Home Secretary.

XXXXXXXBotany Bay – January 23:  ‘The boat returned on the evening of the 23rd, with such an account of the harbour and advantages attending the place, that it was determined the evacuation of Botany Bay should commence the next morning’. Tench. op.cit

January 24:  ‘I [Tench] rose at dawn…but judge my suprize…”another sail” struck my astonished ear’.

One (1) then another sail hove into view.  La Boussole and L’Astrolabe two (2) French ships Phillip knew only too well. In August 1785, hidden in shadows, he had watched Comte Jean-Francois La Perouse lead them from Brest Harbour ‘bound for Botany Bay’.

Port Jackson – January 25:  Although Phillip had landed there on the 21st of January  he had failed to ‘raise English colours’. New Holland was still up for grabs. His choice was clear. Either get back there before La Perouse or blow the French out of the water.

xxxxxxxxxWith no stomach for the latter Phillip boarded HMS Supply and as soon as wild winds and tumultuous seas abated somewhat he sailed back arriving just on dark.

xxxxxxxxxBotany Bay – 10 March: La Perouse and his men sailed for France. La Boussole and L’Astrolabe were lost with all souls.

1790: By December 1793, upwards of three hundred and fifty (350) men had served their sentence. Free they joined soldiers and sailors also ‘usually single, aged between 20 and 45’ who too lived lonely sex-starved lives 13,000 miles (21,000 km) from kith and kin.

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