Journals from the First Fleet

The State Library holds the world's largest collection of original First Fleet journals and correspondence. Of the eleven known journal manuscripts, nine are held in the Mitchell Library and Dixson Library collections, State Library of New South Wales.

Of the contemporary records which survive documenting the First Fleet, the original, private manuscript journals written by those who actually sailed with the expedition occupy a central place.

A view of Botany Bay from The voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay, 1789 by Arthur Phillip, Engraving DL Q78/26

A view of Botany Bay from The voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay..., 1789, by Arthur Phillip

Engraving DL Q78/26

The manuscript journals held by the State Library are written by John Hunter, Second Captain and Philip Gidley King, Second Lieutenant; William Bradley, First Lieutenant; Jacob Nagle, a seaman; and George Worgan, surgeon, all serving on the Sirius; Ralph Clark, Second Lieutenant of Marines on the Friendship; James Scott, Sergeant of Marines on the Prince of Wales; John Easty, private Marine on the Scarborough; and Arthur Bowes Smyth, surgeon on the Lady Penrhyn.

All give insights into shipboard life, the convicts, officers and crew, ports of call, discipline, injuries and deaths and daily life in the colony.

Select a name below to read selected accounts:

 Botany Bay; Sirius and convoy going in, by William Bradley

Entrance of Port Jackson, 27th January 1788, by William Bradley

Watercolour Safe 1/14

> View the full collection of First Fleet journals, correspondence and drawings, via the Library's catalogue catalogue link

 

 

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