Skip to content
  • 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission
  • Shop

Why were convicts transported to Australia? Find out about what life was like for First Fleet convicts when they got to Australia.

First Fleet convicts 08:34


  • Imagine you are a First Fleet convict. Write a diary entry on your daily life as a convict serving your punishment in New South Wales.
  • Create an idea for a new law that you would like Australians to follow today. Write a persuasive text to convince your teacher that this should become a law.

Australian Curriculum links

Year 4 History

Stories of the First Fleet, including reasons for the journey, who travelled to Australia, and their experiences following arrival (ACHASSK085)

Year 3 Civics and Citizenship

Who makes rules, why rules are important and the consequences of rules not being followed (ACHASSK071)

Year 4 Civics and Citizenship

The differences between rules and laws, why laws are important and how they affect the lives of people, including experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACHASSK092)

Related resources

Captivity Narratives 14:51

Australia's convict history: prison or paradise?

In our collection

George III beef wood and tulipwood banded Pembroke White-Hamond table from the First FleetA rectangular wooden Pembroke-style table, with fold-down side leaves. The table features narrow inlaid tulipwood borders, including a wide inlaid border of contrasting timber in a geometric pattern on the table top. Each side leaf is held when open by a hinged wooden support. The table has four square tapering wooden legs, each...
Wedgwood medallion made from dark grey clay from Sydney Cove, 1789This medallion commemorating the landing of the First Fleet was made by Josiah Wedgwood in 1789, from Sydney Cove clay collected by Governor Arthur Phillip. On 16 November 1788 Governor Arthur Phillip sent a sample of clay, possibly taken from the Government House site, to the President of the Royal Society of London, Sir Jose...
Copper Charlotte MedalA circular copper medal bearing an inscription on both sides detailing the voyage of the Charlotte from England from 13 May 1787 to 20 Jan 1788. The medal records the nautical details of the voyage and the date the arrival of the Charlotte in Botany Bay as 20 January 1788. The inscription on one side begins, 'Sailed the / Charlo...
Convict made brick from Port Macquarie with whipping triangle frog markBrick with whipping triangle frog mark from Port Macquarie
Convict love token from 1820A convict love token, made up of a coin, engraved on both sides. One side features the text '... / AGED 20 / YEARS' with further text above scratched out. The other side features the text 'J. CHURCH. / WHEN THIS YOU SEE / REMEMBER ME. / WHEN I AM FAR AWAY / 1820'.
Handstitched leather shoe with iron nails in sole and heel [punishment shoe]This punishment shoe was found under floorboards in the original Commandant's cottage, which was built in 1830 in Granton, northern Hobart. It is called a 'punishment shoe' because the leather was cut away near the ankle so that the leg irons worn by convicts would cut into their flesh. Convicts working on chain-gangs would be s...
Return to Top