Did you know?

Did you know
  • Australia was known as New Holland from 1644 until at least 1824, well after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.
  • the colony of New South Wales was founded at the time of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 and originally comprised much of the Australian mainland, as well as Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, New Zealand and van Diemens Land.
  • Tasmania was known as van Diemen's Land (VDL) until 1856.
  • VDL was considered as part of New South Wales until it received its own independent status in 1824
  • of 175,000 convicts transported to Australia, VDL received 76,000, more than any other state
  • transportation of convicts to VDL started in 1812 and finished in 1853
  • between 1772 and 1798 only the South Eastern portion of the island of VDL was visited.
  • VDL (Tasmania) was not known to be an island until Matthew Flinders and George Bass circumnavigated it in the Norfolk in 1798-99, some 10 years after the arrival of the First Fleet.
  • the world heritage listed Port Arthur penal settlement only took in harsh re-offenders which numbered less than 3% of the convicts transported to VDL.
  • the inhabitants of Norfolk Island of the First Settlement, i.e. 1788-1814 would not have survived without eating huge quantities of shearwaters, named by them as "mutton birds", in addition to fish which were reasonably plentiful.
  • Norfolk Island was totally evacuated between 1808 & 1814 with the inhabitants being resettled to VDL (hence the names New Norfolk and Norfolk Plains)
  • New Caledonia was settled as a penal colony by the French around the same time.
  • the wool industry of New South Wales exploded in the 1820's, making the fledgling colony quite wealthy. Woolgrower John Macarthur became the colony's richest man.
  • as a consequence of the Gold Rush of the 1850's, Australia's total population more than tripled from 430,000 in 1851 to 1.7 million in 1871
  • by 1856 Melbourne had overtaken Sydney as the most populous city in Australia
  • by 1880 (less than 100 years after the arrival of the First Fleet), Melbourne was the richest city in the world due to the great gold rush and was the second most populous city of the British Empire, next to London.
  • the huge wealth generated by the gold boom in Victoria was repatriated to England and was sufficient to enable England to retire its entire national debt.
  • it was the Tasmanians (or rather "Vandemonians") who were responsible for settling Melbourne; John Batman and others of the Port Phillip Association.