‘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.

1788-1868: In the period 1788 to 1868 Britain transported approximately 163,000 convicted criminals to New Holland, now Australia, of these only 25,000 were women with one-half, 12,500, sent directly to Van Diemens Land now Tasmania.

In the ten (10) year period between 1858 and 1868 the embryonic white settlement in West Australia received ten thousand (10,000) male criminals and zero (0) women prisoners.

1786 – 8 August, London: ‘His Majesty [George 111] has thought advisable to fix upon Botany Bay’.

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

‘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 the numbers were amended; six hundred (600) men and two hundred (200) women convicts.

‘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.

‘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

1787 –  6 January, PortsmouthFirst of the men boarded Alexander from Thames River prison-hulks early in January 1787.

Together with two (2) warships HMS Sirius and HMS Supply, six (6) transports and three (3) store-ships, this large squadron of eleven (11) vessels, is known in Britain and Australia as the ‘First Fleet’.

1787 – 13 May, Portsmouth: The fleet with a complement of 1500 souls  – 1300 men and 222 women left English waters to sail 13,000 miles (21,000 km) across the globe to Botany Bay, New Holland now Australia.


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

1788 – 18/20 January, Botany Bay: After eight (8) months voyaging ‘imperfectly explored oceans’ this testosterone fuelled biological time-bomb, reached Botany Bay within thirty-six (36)  hours between 18-20 January 1788.

1788 – 26 January, Port Jackson: Arthur Phillip ordered the English ships sail nine (9) miles (15km) north of Botany Bay to Sydney Cove ‘a more eligible Situation’ sheltered deep within Port Jackson.

1788 – 7 February, Sydney Cove: There on the 7th of February 1788 Captain-General, Governor Arthur Phillip,‘raised English Colours…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’.

1788 – 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 if any Aboriginal women were raped by merchant seamen between January 1788 and their departure mid September 1788.

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

As with convict numbers the number of military men was also amended. 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 most; ‘aged between 20-45’.

‘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    


Governor Phillip did not order HMS Supply sail to ‘the Friendly islands [to] procure a further number of women’ as required by the ‘heads of a plan’ because; ‘our present situation [starvation] would answer no other purpose than…[to] bring them [here] to pine away’.

However 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

1788: The First Fleet – two hundred (200) Royal Naval personnel, two hundred and forty-five (245) marines, twenty (20) officials, four hundred and forty (440) merchant seamen, five hundred and eighty-three (583) male convicts, 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.

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.

The First Nations’ women were conscripted as ‘comfort women’ for 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 circular quay, were 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’.


Lady Juliana broke the ‘misery and horror’ – thirty- six (36) months – of profound isolation. See: Missing In Action HMS Sirius & HMS Supply

1790 – 3 June: Juliana with two hundred and twenty-six (226) women prisoners and eight (8) children brought few supplies for the settlement.

She was first of four (4) vessels that made up a second fleet with convicts and one hundred and fifteen (115) officers and men, first contingent of infantry, the New South Wales Corps.

By the end of June the fleet’s death ships Suprize, Scarborough and Neptune, arrived. Aptly named ‘Britain’s Grim Armada’, its one thousand (1000) males doubled  the white population.

One thousand and six (1006) convicts embarked at Plymouth (928) men (78) women; ‘between embarkation and arrival 256 men and 11 women, a total of 267, had died…at least 486 sick were landed’. 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 and morally degraded, when released these brutalised individuals fell on the ‘other’ – the Aboriginal.


1836 – January, Sydney: 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.

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, related viscerally to their unmet sexual needs.

[Men in] iron gangs or parties of convicts who have committed here some offense, appeared the least like England. They were working in chains, under the charge of senteries 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

After five (5) years at sea separated from friends and a family more closely entwined than most, Darwin identified as seminal this ‘absence of [sexual] comfort’.

‘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.

Britain’s brutal penal system produced cruel debased human beings.

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

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 

For Australia’s First Nations’ women and girls, given the differential in power and capacity to coerce – guns v spears – and, as Anne Summers argues, 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’ and where ‘men monopolized political, economic, legal, military, religious and [all] other forms of power’ there was no refuge, no avenue of appeal from cruelty and sexual violence.

Following World War II (1933-1945) and 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.

Australia’s First Peoples – gender imbalance and genocide – it does not take a genius. 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 home. He re-married and settled in the spa-town of Bath.

Numbered among his circle of friends and acquaintances were many who shared his keen interest in Australia and sought his advise on related matters. Arthur Phillip’s death is shrouded in mystery as are the whereabouts of his mortal remains.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply