On This Day …

Friday 18th August, 1876

“CHARLOTTE” 335 TONS. At Portsmouth prior to departure, May 1787. Frank Allen

One decision on this day in 1876, changed, or rather began, a whole nation’s history. Today is the day the decision was made in England to begin a colony in Australia, a penal colony. The British prisons were overflowing, and even the prison hulks in the bays were full to capacity. America had declared her independence, so the colonies there were not an option. Something needed to be done.

Sixteen years earlier, Captain Cook had claimed the east coast of Australia for England — New South Wales — and declared it to be habitable. This new land seemed a good choice for the over-abundance of criminals in England.

I wonder what it was like for Captain — soon to be Governor — Arthur Phillip as he departed familiar lands for an uninhabited (in their eyes) country. Was it a daunting thing having the lives of over 700 convicts and almost as many military, crew and civilians under his care? Did he worry they would not survive? What a huge undertaking to set up a new colony, with no easy or quick way to obtain extra supplies. Home would be eight months away by sea.

The new colony did struggle to survive for a number of years, but survive she did. And now look at us. A whole nation, grown from very humble beginnings.

It is amazing how one decision, changes history so dramatically. The same happens with our lives. Have you ever made a decision that changed the course of your life in a major way?

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Published in: on 17th August, 2012 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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