First Fleet in Sydney Cove 1788

The voyage of the First Fleet from Portsmouth to the Great South Land ranks as one of the greatest achievements in the history of sailing. True to his responsibilities, Arthur Phillip guided his fleet through rough seas and foreign ports with unmatched skill.

He deemed Botany Bay unsuitable and gained a viable place to establish a settlement at Sydney Cove where he founded a colony beyond the limits of the unknown.


One could say the colony began as large scale experiment. A cutting from a northern stock was planted on this temperate shore and left to itself All outside influences were cut off; the experiment was isolated. The soil promised little; the climate offered a fair field. These thousand odd people were set down in neutral country and with centuries of civilisation behind them; they had to begin at the beginning in a new physical environment. They had to solve the problem of living of living with an alien soil, and of living with one another. They had to create their world, spiritual as well as material, from scratch. There was loneliness. They were bounded by sky and sea and a hinterland as impenetrable and more unkind than either. How to live together in the harsh environment was something the colonists had to discover.


Helensburgh Historical Society

Governor Phillip guided the settlement through periods when starvation was likely and encouraged cultivation. The early days saw contact between Europeans & Aboriginal people marked by curiosity on both sides and a desire to live together. Unfortunately for some; relations broke down into confusion, anger & open hostility. Governor Phillip had demanded kindness towards the Aborigines, a policy he maintained even after he was speared in the side.


Albeit the privations, there can be no doubt the First Fleet Arrivals developed the ability to cope with an entirely different life in a new and sometimes harsh and unfriendly environment. The First Fleet Pioneers had written the first of many pages that would live forever in the history of Australia.


Compiled by Jean Mortimer,

Sources of information;

National Museum Canberra, Phillip of Australia by: MB Eldershaw, My memory of history studied.




Australia- the word Australia is Latin for southern. For many years before its settlement the Europeans posited a great land in the south, which they called Terra Australis. With the Dutch discoveries of the 17th century however the continent was named "New Holland".

This remained the name of the area until Matthew Flinders published a book on his explorations entitled A Voyage to Terra Australis

In a footnote to this work Flinders stated that he preferred the name "Australia" .

Macquarie read this and began to use the name in his official correspondence. The name "New Holland" persisted in some quarters until the 1840s.


First Fleeter Buried on the South Coast.

John Gowen

HMS Sirius

Corporal of Marines

26th January 1788

1791  John Gowen became a marine settler on Norfolk Island.

1794 Returned to Sydney and joined the NSW Corps as a non-commissioned officer.

1880 Resigned and became Official Government Storekeeper.

1805 John married convict Ordery Appleyard. John had been granted land in Sydney, Liberty Plains, Bankstown, Prospect Creek, Minto and Petersham Hill.

Moved to Liverpool on the corner of Elizabeth and George streets.

1819 Orderly passed away.

1821 John married convict Mary Wood.

1827 Mary passed away.

1837 John Gowen died at Kiama age 74 while staying with his daughter Frances.

Buried at Christ Church Anglican Church Kiama.


John Gowen born circa 1761 died 28th April 1873.

By Ordery Appleyard had the following children.






b  17-5-1806

b   circa 1807

b   15-12-1810

b    circa  1813

b   24-4-1816

By Mary Wood no surviving children.




Jane/Jenny Rose (nee) Jones

Jane Jones (Jenny) was born in England circa 1778,and came free on the First Fleet in 1788 with her mother Elizabeth Evans (alias Jones) on the 'Lady Penrhyn'.


Elizabeth a 29 y/o, had been transported for 7 years for the theft of 3 pounds of tea from a shop.


She was nine years old, when she arrived with the First Fleet on 26th January 1788


On 4th March 1790 the ship 'Supply' transported Jane (aged 11) and her mother Elizabeth Evans to Norfolk Island.


(* Note Jenny Jones was on Norfolk Island at the same time as 13 y/o Mary Wade, who was sent to Norfolk Island on 1st Aug 1790 on the "Suprize". Mary Wade became Mary Brooker. She is buried in Pioneer Park Wollongong (The Old Church of England Cemetery, Kembla & Banks Sts). Our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is a descendant.)


They returned to Port Jackson in 1794, and her mother Elizabeth was granted 20 acres at Concord on 19th November that year. From at least 1794 onwards Jenny's mother was recorded in Colonial Records as Elizabeth Jones


Elizabeth later sold the land to James Wilkinson, and then held a lease from 23 rd November 1797 in Sydney (a lot 60ft x 100 ft). This allowed her to support herself and Jane by keeping 9 pigs.


On 24th May 1800, when she was just 21 y/o Jane married Thomas Rose junior at Sydney and they had two children Thomas c 1800 and William c 1802.

Thomas had arrived on the Bellona in 1793 aged 14 years, with his family.


Jane and Thomas parted in 1803 when he went back to England with his brother Joshua on family business. It is suggested that Thomas went to the Napoleonic Wars.

However he was away for around 3 years, and did not return to the Colony until 1806.


When Jane's husband Thomas Rose finally returned from England in August1806 on the Lady Magdelina Sinclair , he found the Jane now aged 27 y/o, was now living with the emancipated convict Matthew Conroy ( Friendship 1800) and they had four sons. Two of those sons are believed to be Thomas & William Rose


Thomas then formed a de facto relationship with Ann Crew, who born him 14 children between 1813 & 1839.


In 1810 Jane's mother Elizabeth now aged 51 years married 45 y/o James Vandercom (Bardwell 1798)


In 1814 Jane is noted as being the wife of Thomas Jones, but not living with him.


In 1818, Jane's son Thomas, then aged 18 y/o, was granted 60 acres at South Bulli


Jane's mother Elizabeth died in Sydney on 27th September 1820-aged 60.


By 1825 as Jane Rose, she was listed with convict James Walsh (Atlas 1802) and a two-year-old child.


In the 1828 census she was recorded as wife of James Walsh (both Catholics), at Airds, where he was a landholder. They had 55 acres, of which 50 are cleared and cultivated, plus 2 horses, 24 cattle and some sheep.


They also have 2 assigned convicts living/working for them- James Chard, aged 20 and Henry Morton, aged 59 (Duke of Portland 1806).


In addition there is two additional labourers who were born in the colony on the property- John Ryan, aged 20 & Edward Whittle aged 17.


Jane's son Thomas Rose now 28 was also labourer on the property.


Jane's son Thomas left Australia in 1829 and was not heard from again.


By the 1830's they had moved to Bulli & Jane then ran his farm at Bulli until her death in 1849.


In 1831 James was a signatory to an address, published in the Sydney Gazette on 1st February to George Sleeman Esq, the Resident Magistrate of Illawarra upon his retirement from that office. William Rose, and Edward Whittle also signed the address.


James Walsh/Welsh is listed in Illawarra on the 1833 road petition.

He also appeared on the schoolhouse petition of 7th August 1840.


John Jones son of Jane Jones who was baptised, at the age of 16, in the Catholic church at Wollongong in 1839 may have been the two year old child recorded in 1825.


In 1839 Jane was granted 60 acres at Bulli- This became Seafield Farm


Son William married Bridget Neil in 1840 at the Roman Catholic Church Wollongong. They had 4 children Elizabeth (1841), Jane (1842), Thomas James (1844) and Johanna (1845)


William died 25th June1845 and is also buried in the Old Roman Catholic Cemetery


Jane Rose died at Wollongong on or about August 1849 and was buried on 29th August 1849, aged 70, with her son William.


She was described in a Police Report dated 10th September 1849, into her death as Jane Rose commonly known as Jane Walsh late of Crown St Wollongong shopkeeper departed this life on or about the 29th day of August 1849.


Jane/Jenny Rose (nee Jones) was the last known Free Female survivor of the First Fleet in Australia.


Compiled by John Boyd

Fellowship of First Fleeters

Woolloomooloo NSW



-The Founders of Australia- Mollie Gillen Library of Australian History 1989

-Settlers & Convicts of the BELLONA 1793-a biographical dictionary- Megan Martin 1992

-Wollongong Old Roman Catholic Burial Ground Wendy E Nunan 2005

-The Rose Family of the Bellona-The Thomas and Jane Rose Family Society 1995

-Convicts to NSW 1788-1812- society of Australian Genealogists 2002

-Census of NSW 1828- Keith Johnson & Malcolm Sainty 2001


The JANE ROSE PLAQUE CEREMONY was conducted on Saturday 10th October 2009,At Andrew Lysaght Memorial Park- Lower Crown St Wollongong NSW



Albion Park / Macquarie Rivulet.

Surveyor General Oxley, by order of Governor Macquarie, on the 2nd Day of December 1816, met the grantees of and located the first lands in Illawarra. Royal Marine George Johnston from the First Fleet was one of the recipients.

George Johnston, Esquire, Senior, (Major Johnston), 1500 acres (Macquarie Gift), on the west side of Macquarie Rivulet.


1887 Across the Macquarie Rivulet from Albion Park lived Mr. E.H.Weston. a grandson of Major Johnson, the original grantee of Johnson's Meadows. Mr. Weston was a great horse lover and breeder. He was particularly successful with his jumping horses at all the district shows. At that time too, he was a prominent member of the Illawarra Lancers (later Illawarra Light Horse), rising to the rank of Major. From this body several volunteers went with the Australian Light Horse to the Boer War.



The Broad Arrow

 The Broad Arrow - used to identify property of the government and probably best known on convicts' uniforms. Henry Sidney, Earl of Romney, Master of Ordnance to William and Mary, was asked to mark all government property to reduce theft. He chose to use his family emblem which is a broad arrow, or Pheon, and this is still in use today by the UK government 300 years later.


Copyright Fellowship of First Fleeters South Coast Chapter