Botany Bay: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Image of Botany Bay by SPOT Satellite

Botany Bay is a bay in Sydney, New South Wales, a few kilometres south of the Sydney central business district. The Cooks River and the Georges River are the two major tributaries that flow into the bay. Two runways of Sydney Airport extend into the bay.

On 29 April 1770, Botany Bay was the site of James Cook's first landing of HMS Endeavour on the continent of Australia, after his extensive navigation of New Zealand. Later the British planned Botany Bay as the site for a penal colony. Out of these plans came the first European habitation of Australia at Sydney Cove.



Black-eyed Sue and Sweet Poll of Plymouth, England mourning their lovers who are soon to be transported to Botany Bay, 1792


Archaeological evidence from the shores of Botany Bay has yielded evidence of Aboriginal settlement dating back 5,000 years. The Aboriginal people of Sydney were known as the Eora with sub-groups derived from the languages they spoke. The people living between the Cooks River and the Georges River were the Bidgigal. On the southern shores of the bay were the Gweagal.[1] On the northern shore it was the Kameygal.[2]

Bicentennial Monument at Brighton-Le-Sands


James Cook's landing

James Cook's landing marked the beginning of Britain's interest in Australia and in the eventual colonisation of this new Southern continent.[3] Initially the name Sting Ray Harbour was used by Cook and other journal keepers on his expedition, for the stingrays they caught. That name was recorded on an Admiralty chart too.[4] Cook's log for 6 May 1770 records "The great quantity of these sort of fish found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of Stingrays Harbour". However, in his journal (prepared later from his log), he changed to "The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place occasioned my giving it the Name of Botany Bay".[5] Initially the name Botanist Bay was also sometimes used.

Monument at La Perouse

First Fleet arrives

Governor Arthur Phillip sailed the Armed Tender "Supply" into the bay on 18 January 1788. Two days later the remaining ships of the First Fleet had arrived to found the planned penal colony. Finding that the sandy infertile soil of the site in fact rendered it most unsuitable for settlement, Phillip decided instead to move to the excellent natural harbour of Port Jackson to the north. On the morning of 24 January the French exploratory expedition of Jean-François de La Pérouse was seen outside Botany Bay. On 26 January, the "Supply" left the bay to move up to Port Jackson. It anchored in Sydney Cove and the British Flag "Queen Ann" was hoisted on shore. On the afternoon of 26 January, the remaining ships of First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove. The good supply of fresh water in the area led to the expansion of its population in the 19th century.

Botany Bay, view from Kurnell


Sydney Airport, Australia's largest airport, sits on north-western side of the bay Botany Bay. Land was reclaimed from the bay to extend its first north-south runway and build a second one parallel to it. Port Botany, to the east of the airport, was built in 1930 and is the largest container terminal in Sydney.

The land around the headlands of the bay is protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service as Botany Bay National Park. On the northern side of the mouth of the bay is the historic site of La Perouse and to the south is Kurnell. The western shores of the bay feature many popular swimming beaches including Brighton-Le-Sands On the southern side of the bay, a section of water has been fenced off under the authority of the National Parks and Wildlife Service at Towra Point for environmental conservation purposes.

Marine Life

Despite being such a busy port, Botany Bay has a diverse marine population and the area around its entrance is some of the best scuba diving in the Sydney Metropolitan Area. In recent times the Botany Bay Watch Project[6] has begun with volunteers assisting to monitor and protect the Bay Catchment and its unique marine life.

The world's largest population of Weedy sea dragon ever surveyed is found at the 'Steps' dive site, on the southern side (Kurnell) of the Botany Bay National Park. Weedy Sea-Dragons are just one of hundreds of territorial marine creatures that are found within Botany Bay. The Eastern Blue Grouper[7] is the state fish of New South Wales. They are commonly found following divers along the shore line of Botany Bay.

Aerial photo of Sydney showing Botany Bay in the foreground
The mouth of Botany Bay from the air

Popular culture

  • Despite the move to Sydney Cove, for many years the Australian penal colony would be referred to as "Botany Bay" in England - and in convict ballads such as Ireland's "The Fields of Athenry".
  • A song named "Botany Bay" was performed in the 1890s, based on older tunes.
  • A song entitled "The Shores of Botany Bay" was written by Brian Warfield and recorded by The Wolfe Tones in the early 1970s. This satirical song deals with a group of Irishmen volunteering for the transportation process in the hopes of finding wealth in Australia.
  • In the Star Trek universe, the SS Botany Bay is the sleeper ship that Khan Noonien Singh and his genetically modified followers are discovered on by Captain James T. Kirk and crew (the name was retained from an earlier draft of the script, when the ship was a prisoner transport).
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Prisoners", Daniel Jackson compares the British planned use of Botany Bay to the prison planet SG-1 is sent.
  • The song "Jim Jones at Botany Bay" (aka "Jim Jones") is about a prisoner who is going to Botany Bay. The song has been recorded several times, including a well-known version by Bob Dylan.
  • In the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Abel Magwitch refers to returning to England from Botany Bay.
  • In the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim it is mentioned that Sweeney was sent to Botany Bay by Judge Turpin 15 years prior to the events in the musical.
  • In the Paul and Storm song "The Captain's Wife's Lament", the Captain's Wife's cries could be heard "from here to Botany Bay"


  1. ^ Pictorial Memories ST. George: Rockdale, Kogarah, Hurstville Joan Lawrence, Kingsclear Books, 1996, Published in Australia ISBN 0-908272-45-6, page 3
  2. ^
  3. ^ Captain Cook's map of Botany Bay
  4. ^ Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World at Project Gutenberg , editor W. J. L. Wharton's footnote to 6 May 1770.
  5. ^ Ray Parkin, H. M. Bark Endeavour, Miegunyah Press, second edition 2003, ISBN 0-522-85093-6, page 203.
  6. ^
  7. ^


  • (French) Expédition à Botany Bay, La fondation de l'Australie coloniale, Watkin Tench, préface d'Isabelle Merle, 2006, Editions Anacharsis
  • George Forster, Neuholland und die brittische Colonie in Botany-Bay/New Holland and the British colony at Botany Bay, translated into English by Robert J. King, Originally published in Allgemeines historisches Taschenbuch, oder, Abriss der merkwuridgsten neuen Welt Begebenheiten enthaltend fur 1787, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2008, SR 909.7 S768.
  • (French) Le texte fondateur de l'Australie, récit de voyage d'un capitaine de la First Fleet durant l'Expédition à Botany Bay. [1]

See also

Coordinates: 33°58′S 151°10′E / 33.967°S 151.167°E / -33.967; 151.167

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Botany Bay
by Unknown
A song sung as a convict heads to the penal colony at Botany Bay in Australia.— Excerpted from Botany Bay (song) on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Black-eyed Sue and Sweet Poll of Plymouth, England mourning their lovers who are soon to be transported to Botany Bay, 1792

Farewell to Old England forever
Farewell to my old pals as well
Farewell to the well known Old Bailey
Where I once used to be such a swell
Where I once used to be such a swell.


Singing, too-ral, li-ooral, li-addity,
Singing, too-ral, li-ooral, li-ay.
Singing, too-ral, li-ooral, li-addity,
Singing, too-ral, li-ooral, li-ay.

There's the captain as is our commandeer,
There's bo'sun and all the ship's crew
There's first and the second class passengers,
Knows what we poor convicts goes through
Knows what we poor convicts goes through.

'Tain't leaving Old England we cares about,
'Tain't 'cos we mispells wot we knows,
But becos all we light finger'd gentry
Hop's around with a log on our toes.
Hop's around with a log on our toes.

For fourteen long years I have ser-vi-ed,
And for fourteen long years and a day,
For meeting a bloke in the area,
And sneaking his ticker away.
And sneaking his ticker away.

Oh had I the wings of a turtle-dove,
I'd soar on my pinions so high,
Slap bang to the arms of my Polly love,
And in her sweet presence I'd die
And in her sweet presence I'd die.

Now all my young Dook-ies and Duch-ess-es,
Take warning from what I've to say:
Mind all is your own as you touch-es-es,
Or you'll find us in Botany Bay,
Or you'll find us in Botany Bay.

PD-icon.svg This text was created in Australia and is now in the public domain because its term of copyright has expired. See Australian Copyright Council (ACC), (How Long Copyright Lasts) (Apr 2009).
PD-icon.svg This work was published before January 1, 1923 and it is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 87 years or less since publication.

See also

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BOTANY BAY, an inlet on the coast of Cumberland county,, New South Wales, Australia, 5 m. south of the city of Sydney. On its shore is the township of Botany, forming a suburb of Sydney, with which it is connected by a tramway. It was first. visited by Captain Cook in 1770, who landed at a spot marked by a monument, and took possession of the territory for the crown. The bay received its name from Joseph Banks, the botanist of the expedition, on account of the variety of its flora. When, on the revolt of the New England colonies, the convict establishments in America were no longer available (see Deportation and NEW South Wales), the attention of the British government, then under the leadership of Pitt, was turned to Botany Bay;. and in 1787 Commodore Arthur Phillip was commissioned to form a penal settlement there. Finding, on his arrival, however, that. the locality was ill suited for such a purpose, he removed northwards to the site of the present city of Sydney. The name of Botany Bay seems to have struck the popular fancy, and continued to be used in a general way for any convict establishment in Australia. The transportation of criminals to New South Wales was discontinued in 1840.

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