Botany Bay

Botany Bay is located a few km from Sydney's CBD. If you fly into to Sydney you will get a great view, as the runaways extend into the bay.The area was the home of the Eora Aboriginal people for over 5,000 years. The Bidgigal people lived between the Cooks and Georges Rivers, the Gweagal on the southern shores and the Karmeygal on the northern.

The bay became famous when James Cook and his crew became the first recorded Europeans to set foot on the Australian continent on the 29th of April, 1770. Originally Cook named the bay 'Sting Ray Harbour' but later, in recognition of the two botanist, Joseph Banks and Dr Solander, who accompanied him on the expedition, he renamed it Botany Bay.

Meanwhile back in Britain, the government was becoming increasingly nervous about the goings on in America. Many of the states had begun to band together to break free from British rule, diiscontented with basically everything about British control including taxes, political coruption and social freedoms. On the 4th of July, 1776, America declared independence from Britain, causing somewhat of a dilemma. Where were the British going to send their convicts now?
The British Government soon saw the potential of Australia as an alternative dumping ground for convicts. On the 18th of January, 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip and around 1,487 people sailed into Botany Bay to establish the first penal colony of Australia. It was soon became clear to Arthur Phillips that Botany Bay was not an appropriate site for settlement as it had sandy infertile soil, so instead decided on Sydney Cove after a little exploratory expedition. The British flag was hoisted on shore of Sydney Cove on the 26th and Botany Bay was all but forgotten, except for Irish ballads.

Today the land around the headlands of the bay is protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and is known as Botany Bay National Park. The suburbs of Botany Bay are La Perouse on the northern side with Kurnell directly opposite on the southern side.

Things You May Not Know About Botany Bay

On the southern side in Kurnell you can find the world's largest population of weedy sea dragon at the 'Steps' dive site.

The bay is also a popular hang out for the eastern blue grouper, the state fish of New South Wales.

Forby Sutherland has the title of being the first British subject to die in Australia ( 30th of April, 1770). For this honor there is a memorial plaque dedicated to him near the first landing site where he was buried on the 2nd May. Sutherland was a seaman on the H.M.S Bark Endeavour under the command of Captain Cook. He reportedly died of consumption.