On this day in 1787, the first ships set sail from Portsmouth, England en route to Australia with the intention of setting-up colonies.
The boats were filled with military servicemen, civilians and, most famously, convicts. There was believed to be 775 convicts on board as they were deported to the relatively uncharted lands across the globe.
The convicts’ children and families were also on board with them, totalling 600+ in themselves.
There were, initially, very high mortality rates amongst the initial settlers due to a lack of skilled farmers and workmen – their original food-stocks were only sufficient to last until they could establish agricultural means, which they could not do.
Also throughout history On This Day:
- A hunger strike begins in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China. (1989).
- The trademark for ‘Velcro’ is first registered. (1958).
- Jazz pioneer Chet Baker died. (1988).
- Alison Hargreaves becomes the first woman to climb Mt. Everest without an artificial oxygen supply. (1995).