Recently we celebrated Australia day on the
26th of January. But why do we mark it on that day in particular? To answer that question,
Sarah will take you back in time to 1788, to meet some kids who came to Australia on
the First Fleet. My name is Elizabeth Haywood and I’m 13 years
old. I was apprenticed to a clog maker in London, but I was paid so little, so I stole
some clothes and tried to sell them. For the theft of one linen gown, value 4 shillings,
a silk bonnet value 2 shillings, and a cloak, value 1 shilling. You are found guilty! My name is John Hudson and I’m nine years
old. I’ve been an orphan ever since I can remember. I made a living by chimney sweeping.
It was horrible work and dangerous too. In the summertime there’s no need for
sweeping so I took to thieving to survive. For the theft of one pistol, value 5 shillings,
and two aprons, value 2 shillings. You are found guilty! [Dreary violin music] In London in the 1700s, gaols were full of
people like Elizabeth and John; poor, hungry, unwanted. People who stole to survive. The
city’s population had exploded and mass poverty had led to a rise in crime. You are sentenced to death by hanging. England’s laws were really, really harsh.
Stealing something could land you with a death sentence. But they couldn’t hang everyone.
And with the gaols full there was the problem of what to do with all the criminals. One solution was transportation. Britain had
colonies in Africa and America where it sent criminals. But then Americans rose up against
the English so that was no longer an option. So the government decided to set up a new
penal colony in a land called New South Wales; claimed for England by Captain Cook in 1770. John Hudson, you are sentenced to transportation
across the seas for a period of seven years. Eleven ships were prepared for the voyage
to New South Wales. Six would transport convicts: The Alexander, the Friendship, the Charlotte,
the Lady Penryn, the Prince of Wales and Scarborough. Then there were two navy ships and three ships
full of the supplies they’d need to build a new colony. Captain Arthur Phillip was chosen to lead
that colony. He knew it was an important job and that one day, New South Wales
could be great. The sanguine might form expectations of extraordinary
consequences, and be justified, in some degree, by the reflection, that from smaller, and
not more respectable beginnings, powerful empires have frequently arisen. The convicts probably weren’t so hopeful.
More than 700 were packed onto the crowded ships, including around 17 children. Many
were sick and malnourished when they boarded. Around 20 wouldn’t survive the journey. The ships sailed from Portsmouth, England,
on 13 May 1787. As they sailed through the tropics the weather was hot and humid. There
were rats, cockroaches and other pests and water had to be rationed. On the 5th of August
they arrived in Rio De Janiero and took on food and water. Then they sailed to the Cape
of Good Hope in Africa. On the 19th of January the first ships arrived
in Botany Bay. Seven days later they found a place to anchor and Arthur Philip planted
a British flag in a place he called Sydney Cove. The land had been home to Aboriginal people
for tens of thousands of years but, to the convicts it was new, strange and harsh. I never thought I’d end up in a place like
this; so far away from home. But I’ve survived this far and I’ll keep on surviving. We’ll make the best of what we have and maybe
some day build a better future here in New South Wales.