The first two British Colonies formed in the Southern Hemisphere were established at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island during the first three months of 1788. The third settlement was established on the Derwent in Van Diemen s Land some 15 years later, in September 1803. This third settlement was to become the future home of the Norfolk Island residents.
On the 6 March 1788, less than two months after the establishment of the colony of New South Wales, Lieutenant Philip Gidley King and 22 settlers (including 9 male and 6 female convicts) landed at what is now Kingston on Norfolk Island. Although the party would have had difficulty in preventing any counter annexation by the French or Dutch, it was no doubt of sufficent size to establish a presence and possession by the British. It is interesting to note that all the early Australian settlements in NSW and Van Diemen s Land were chosen by their commanders for their strategic value and as potential military posts. Aspects such as future growth and accessibility to farming land had very little to do with it!
The island experienced its first increase in population with the arrival of the Golden Grove in October of that year, carrying 46 persons. More convicts and supplies arrived in March, June and December 1789. In January 1790 a further 22 male and 1 female convicts arrived but this time there were no provisions. There was a critical shortage of food and other supplies and it was considered that Norfolk Island was in a better position than Port Jackson to provide for itself. Back at Port Jackson things were in a poor state, with hope, along with the food supplies diminishing daily. The colonists felt like they had been abandoned by Mother England, having heard nothing since leaving England some 36 months earlier. One can easily imagine the jubilation when the Lady Juliana suddenly appeared in Port Jackson in June 1790 with 228 female convicts and 2 years supplies for the convicts. Later that month the storeship Justinian arrived and the food crisis was over.
The settlement at Norfolk Island met with mixed success. The soil was fertile, but clearing
the rainforest proved difficult and early crops were attacked by rats and parrots.
Within a few years the Norfolk settlers were producing large quantites of pork, but the lack
of an off-island market for their produce (now that Sydney was self-sufficient) depressed
prices offered by the Commissary. There was no safe harbour and the few ships that visited
the island were often at risk when loading and unloading cargo. Even those resources which
had triggered the colonisation of Norfolk Island, Norfolk pine for ship s masts and flax for rigging,
had proved worthless. The cost of maintaining the civil administration, a military presence
and providing stores and shipping for the island had become a burden. With no economic
advantage, the settlement was doomed.
On the 24th June 1803, the first blow fell when Lord Hobart advised Governer King:
"It appears to be advisable that a part of the establishment now at Norfolk Island should be
removed, together with a proportion of the settlers and convicts, to Port Dalrymple..."
The Norfolk population which had been over 1,100 for many years, started to dwindle from
1805 onwards as people were withdrawn or forced to emigrate from the island.
On the 9th of November 1807, the Lady Nelson sailed from Norfolk Island with the first group
of settlers to be relocated at the Derwent. Although it only carried 34 persons, the evacuation
had begun in earnest. Certainly one of the most devastating events in the life of the
Norfolk Islanders would have been having to come to terms with leaving the established farms
behind and re-locating to Van Diemen s Land.
The Norfolk families, who were resident for so many years on a balmy sub-tropical island were thrust into Tasmanian winters with only the most meagre of shared housing to protect
them from the icy winds, rain and frosts. Over the next two years more than half the island s population were evacuated and by 1814 the settlement on Norfolk Island was abandoned, and all buildings were destroyed to discourage unauthorised occupation of the Island. Norfolk Island was to remain uninhabited for the next 11 years, then it was opened again as another penal colony.
Tasmania sourced from Wikipedia
Main article: History of Tasmania
In 1803, the first British expedition was sent from Sydney to Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen s Land) to establish a new penal colony there. The small party, led by Lt. John Bowen, established a settlement at Risdon Cove. From this location a second expedition was sent to locate other suitable locations, and in 1804 the settlement at Sullivan s Cove, Tasmania was founded by Captain David Collins.
This later became known as Hobart, and the original settlement at Risdon Cove was abandoned.n 1803 the Lady Nelson sailed from Sydney under the command of 23-year-old Lieutenant John Bowen. Most of the 49 people on board were soldiers and settlers, but 21 men and three women were Van Diemenís Landís first convicts. They all settled on the banks of the River Derwent at Risdon but a few weeks later moved downriver to settle what would soon become the town of Hobart.
*Starting in 1816, free settlers began arriving from Great Britain and on 3 December 1825 Tasmania was declared a colony separate from New South Wales.
The Macquarie Harbour penal colony on the West Coast of Tasmania was established in 1820 to exploit the valuable timber Huon Pine growing there for furniture making and shipbuilding. Macquarie Harbour had the added advantage of being almost impossible to escape from, most attempts ending with the convicts either drowning, dying of starvation in the bush, or (on at least two occasions) turning cannibal. Convicts sent to this settlement had usually re-offended during their sentence of transportation, and were treated very harshly, labouring in cold and wet weather, and subjected to severe corporal punishment for minor infractions.
In 1830, the Port Arthur penal settlement was established to replace Macquarie Harbour, as it was easier to maintain regular communications by sea. Although known in popular history as a particularly harsh prison, in reality its management was far more humane than Macquarie Harbour or the outlying stations of New South Wales. Experimentation with the so called model prison system took place in Port Arthur. Solitary confinement was the preferred method of punishment.
Many changes were made to the manner in which convicts were handled in the general population, largely responsive to British public opinion on the harshness or otherwise of their treatment. Until the late 1830s most convicts were either retained by Government for public works or assigned to private individuals as a form of indentured labour. From the early 1840s the Probation System was employed, where convicts spent an initial period, usually two years, in public works gangs on stations outside of the main settlements, then were freed to work for wages within a set district.
Edward Lord built the first house in Hobart Town. In April 1805 he sailed to Sydney on the Sophia. During his visit he chose Maria Riseley from the Female Factory to accompany him to Hobart Town. It was not long before Maria set up a shop in the struggling settlement. In 1807 Edward became First Lieutenant. Food was becoming scarce in the settlement. Convicts, marines and free settlers had to rely on native game to survive. Edward married Maria on the 8th October, 1808.
By March 1808, Port Dalrymple consisted of 14 civil officials, 96 military personnel, 19 settlers and free people, and 115 prisoners.
Wright, R. (1986) "The Forgotten Generation of Norfolk Island and Van Dieman s Land", Library of Australian History.
Shaffer, I and McKay, T (1992) Exiled Three Times Over, Profiles of Norfolk Islanders exiled in Van Diemans Land 1907-13 Published by St Davids Park Publishing, GPO Box 307C Hobart, Tasmania 7001
*Elizabeth Bradshaw arrived free in 1808.