The Retrospectors - Today In History / Arriving At Botany Bay

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Episode notes

‘The First Fleet’ - the eleven ships carrying around 1400 people from Britain, most of whom were convicted criminals - landed in New South Wales on 18th January, 1788.

Australia had been home to indigenous people for at least 50,000 years - but was a barren and shocking destination for 'the poms', who’d endured an epic 252-day voyage to get there; a journey about which Robert Hughes wrote: “before them stretched the awesome lonely void of the Indian and Southern oceans, and beyond that lay nothing they could imagine.”

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explore how Captain Arthur Phillip motivated his prisoners to build a new settlement; unpick what Captain Cook got wrong about Botany Bay; and explain why the descendants of convicts in modern-day Oz maintain a certain swagger… 

Further Reading:

• ‘From Captain Cook to the First Fleet: how Botany Bay was chosen over Africa as a new British penal colony’ (The Conversation, 2020):

• ‘Australian Penal Colonies’ (Simple History, 2020):

• ‘Australian Genocide: How It Happened And How It Haunts Us To This Day’ (All That’s Interesting, 2016): 

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.

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