The First Fleet

A facilitated 45 minute workshop in which students consolidate their learning about the rationale for sending the First Fleet to NSW in 1788, the experience of different groups, the voyage and the impact of European settlement for the  Aboriginal people  of  the  region. Particular emphasis is placed on the experience of the convicts below decks as students explore our Life On Board exhibition and unpack their rations and conditions.

Suitability: Can be adapted for Years 3 – 7


$7 per student (without a Port River cruise)

$9.50 per student (with a Port River cruise)

Availability: Monday – Friday (subject to availability)

Program includes:

  • Participation in a workshop to learn about the voyage of the 11 First Fleet ships.
  • Understanding and identifying the purpose of the First Fleet, its route and experiences of the First Fleet convicts and crew.
  • Investigation of the range of crimes punishable by transportation and looking at the groups who were transported.
  • Consideration of the initial impact of European colonisation on the Aboriginal population.
  • Exploration of our Life On Board exhibition and learning about the conditions faced by convicts below and above decks.

Australian Curriculum: History

Historical skills, knowledge, understanding, discovery, exploration, maritime history, colonisation, cause and effect, perspectives, significance and life at sea

Year 4:

What was life like for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples before the arrival of the Europeans?

Why did the Europeans settle in Australia? Who travelled to Australia? What were their experiences following arrival?

What was the nature and consequence of contact between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and early traders, explorers and settlers?

Year 5:

What were the reasons people migrated to Australia from Europe and what were the experiences and contribution of a particular migrant group within a colony?


For further information/bookings please phone 8207 6255.

Image: “The Founding of Australia. By Capt. Arthur Phillip R.N. Sydney Cove, Jan. 26th 1788” / Original [oil] sketch [1937] by Algernon Talmage R.A. Acknowledgment: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales


The History Trust’s South Australian Maritime Museum is committed to keeping our visitors, our people and our volunteers safe.

As corona virus restrictions begin to ease the full range of programs listed here may not be available to help keep you and other  visitors COVIDSafe. Please continue to contact us with education inquiries and stay in touch to find out about our digital education programs as they develop.

The South Australian Maritime Museum and History Trust of South Australia acknowledges the First Nations peoples of South Australia, whose connection to country and living cultures began in time immemorial and continues to the present. We affirm our commitment to advancing reconciliation.