Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...
s which sailed from Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...
on 13 May 1787 with about 1,487 people, including 778 convicts (192 women and 586 men), to establish the first Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...
an colony in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
, in the region which Captain Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...
had named New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...
. The fleet was led by Captain (later Admiral) Arthur Phillip
Admiral Arthur Phillip RN was a British admiral and colonial administrator. Phillip was appointed Governor of New South Wales, the first European colony on the Australian continent, and was the founder of the settlement which is now the city of Sydney.-Early life and naval career:Arthur Phillip...
. The ships arrived at Botany Bay
Botany Bay is a bay in Sydney, New South Wales, a few kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. The Cooks River and the Georges River are the two major tributaries that flow into the bay...
between 18 and 20 January 1788. HMS Supply arrived on 18 January; Alexander, Scarborough and Friendship arrived on 19 January, and the remaining ships on 20 January.
Food and Supply Transports:
Scale models of all the ships are on display at the Museum of Sydney
Museum of Sydney
The Museum of Sydney, on the Site of First Government House is built on the ruins of the house of New South Wales' first Governor, Arthur Phillip on the present-day corner of Phillip and Bridge Street, Sydney. The original house, which was Australia's first Government House, was built in 1788 and...
Nine Sydney harbour ferries
Sydney Ferries is an agency of the New South Wales Government Department of Transport, providing ferry services on Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River in Sydney, Australia....
in current service were named after these First Fleet vessels (the unused names are Lady Penrhyn and Prince Of Wales).
The number of people directly associated with the First Fleet will probably never be exactly established, and all accounts of the event vary slightly.