The brutal colonization of the Australian continent, beginning in 1788 with the landing in Botany Bay of England's first prison fleet.
They had expected grassland with deep black soil and well-spaced trees, where crops could be planted without clearing; an ample source of building-stone; a protected anchorage.
But what Capt. Phillip saw from the deck as his ship rounded Point Solander and hauled into Botany Bay on Friday, Jan. 18, 1788, was a flat heath of paperbark scrub and gray-green eucalyptus, stretching featurelessly away under the grinding white light of that Australian summer. The dry buzzing monotony of the landscape did not match Cook's account. The bay was open and unprotected, and the Pacific rollers gave it a violent, persistent swell; the water was shallow, the holding-ground poor.
Supply anchored in the north of the bay, so that she could plainly be seen by ships in the offing. Phillip and some officers, including Lt. Philip Gidley King, hoisted out the boats in the afternoon and went looking for water. They made tentative contact with the Aborigines, giving them beads and mirrors. These "trembling" savages, King thought, "seemed quite astonished at the figure we cut in being clothed. I think it is very easy to conceive the ridiculous figure we must appear to these poor creatures, who were perfectly naked."