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Anniversary of The British First Fleet – 26 January 1788

233 years today, the 26th January 1788, The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sailed into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on Australia. Marked nowadays as Australia Day.


I was looking around the Internet for an interesting article to add to this post when I came across this piece from 2015. It was first published at the time of a BBC TV programme Banished . While it was a ficticious drama by Jimmy McGovern, it turns out that some of the characters were based on real people that can be found in the records of people transported! This includes James Freeman the convict that, as "Finisher of the Law", had the dreadful task of executing his fellow prisoners who had stepped out of line in the penal colony. His task each time was to hang or be hanged himself.

See some of the fascinating records for James Freeman that were found here:


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