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The Australian National University

First Three Fleets and Their Families

About 4500 people set off in the first Three Fleets from England to New South Wales in 1787-91. The National Centre of Biography's project, The First Three Fleets and Their Families is examining how those, who survived the journey, 'remade' their lives in the infant colony. We are also investigating how their children and grandchildren fared. We want to know

  • what kind of society was transported to the colony?
  • did a convict past have an impact on the long-term prospects of those families?
  • what led to some families achieving prosperity over the generations while others weren’t as successful?
  • how mobile were family groups and how did they disperse across the frontier?
  • how did various attributes change over generations (such as life expectancy, occupation and number of children)?
  • what was the pattern of contact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, including miscegenation?

Biographical records are being created for all fleeters and their family members (spouses, children and grandchildren) on our websites and are being comprehensively indexed.

Updated: 7 May 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, NCB / Page Contact:  Web Publisher