Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet landed at Port Jackson in the new colony of New South Wales on 26 January 1788. They were the first people to colonise Australia. Until the American War of Independence, Britain had sent all of its convicts to America. When America gained independence, British convicts could no longer be sent to America. This caused a huge overflow of prisoners in British Prisons. Australia, the island continent at the end of the world seemed a perfect place to send British Prisoners. The British knew this would resolve the problem with their overflowing prisons.
The First Fleet comprised of 11 ships and around 1,350 people. The 11 ships carried 759 convicts (568 men and 191 women); 13 children belonging to the convicts; 211 marines and officers to guard the convicts; 46 wives and children of naval personnel; and Phillip's administrative staff of 9. The ship was sent to the unknown continent of Australia. The only information about Australia was the information on New South Wales from Captain James Cook's voyage in 1770. From this information it was decided that the first settlement would be at Botany Bay, and later a second settlement would be established at Norfolk Island to provide wood for ships and masts. .
When Captain Arthur Phillip arrived at Botany Bay on 18 January 1788, he decided that the site was not suitable for settlement and resolved to look for another. He decided that Port Jackson, the site of modern day Sydney was the best place for settlement. He and the people of the First Fleet established Australia's first settlement on 26 January 1788. .
The First Fleet was frighteningly under prepared for the task which faced it. Very little was known about Australia's climate, animal or plant life. There were three main problems that confronted Phillip: providing a stable supply of food, developing an internal economic system, and producing exports to pay for the colony's imports from Great Britain.