Sydney Cove is a bit grander now, more than 220 years after William arrived. The little ferry in the foreground is named Scarborough and all the ferries of this type are
named after First Fleet vessels.
On the morning of 26 January 1788, the Navy and Marines personnel came ashore at Sydney Cove with Captain Philip and a small ceremony was held to raise the
English flag and the land was again taken in the name of the King. The soldiers and a small party of convicts then began to set up a temporary camp to house
themselves and the rest of the male convicts. The men were set to work felling trees and clearing the ground around what is now Circular Quay and The Rocks in the
heart of modern Sydney. At that point, the place had no European name but Captain Arthur Philip, now proclaimed as the colony's first Governor, named it after the
Home Secretary Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney. We can all be grateful that Philip's first choice for a name, New Albion, quickly faded from view.
January in Sydney is very hot and humid and the new colonists and their guards must have sweltered in northern hemisphere clothing as they established a foothold
on the eastern edge of this vast land, variously the world's smallest continent or the world's largest island. As the rest of the First Fleet came up the coast from Botany
Bay, they reported a French squadron of two ships, Astrolabe and Boussole, under the command of Captain Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse. The
French probably had designs on settlement despite James Cook's act of possession eighteen years earlier and it is a continuing joke that, but for a few days, we speak
English in Australia and not French.
William was a fit young man of twenty and he had already served five years of his seven year sentence. He was set to work with the other convicts to provide shelter
for more than 1400 people, the majority being convicts. William's behaviour must have been such that in August 1789, some nineteen months after arrival, he was
appointed a member of the Night Watch formed at the Governor's request to act as the colony's first Police Force. The soldiers were responsible for law and order
during the day and the Night Watch was instructed to patrol the streets of the infant settlement at night to apprehend thieves and prevent robberies. Theft from the
dwindling food stores was treated as the most serious crime and if offenders were found guilty, they were hanged.