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» Settling Australia

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On August 22nd, 1770, Captain James Cook claimed eastern Australia for England, but no effort was made to settle the faraway land for more than a hundred years. In 1786 the British government decided to send convicts there in order to relieve overcrowding in England's prisons.

On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip leading the First Fleet, landed in New South Wales with a thousand people, including 717 convicts, their guards, and a few settlers. Men outnumbered women in the group by about four to one, and very few in the First Fleet had any farming experience. The colony faced many problems. In the beginning the settlers nearly starved and the Aborigines were hostile. Still the settlement, located in what is now Sydney, managed to succeed and paved the way for more and more people to come to New South Wales.

From 1788 through the 19th century more than 200,000 people made the long trip from England to the continent down under. They brought with them their language, their customs, and their religion. Many people came to Australia for the cheap land and labor it offered and they began ranching, mostly sheep. Convicts, of course, came to Australia because they were forced to do so.

Most male convicts were assigned to work for settlers, though the worst criminals worked on roads in chain gangs. Women convicts were usually assigned as settlers’ household servants. The worst of the women criminals were sent to the Female Factory, where they made rope, spun wool, and did laundry. Child convicts and the children of adult prisoners were housed in orphanages or barracks. Boys were usually trained in a skill and girls worked as house servants.

Answer the following questions from the reading.

Which statement is supported by the passage?

Cook made the first effort to settle the faraway island.
James Cook was the first person to reach Australia.
Arthur Phillip discovered the east coast of Australia.
Phillip established the first settlement in Australia.

settlers : land :: convicts :
For analogies, create a sentence that explains the relationship between the first pair of words. In this case, Settlers came to Australia for land. Then create a sentence from the third word and the answer choices with a similar structure.


Though ___ were plentiful, ___ were scarce in New South Wales.

children . . . criminals
males . . . females
prisoners . . . workers
servants . . . sheep

According to the passage, the First Fleet came and Australia established a/an

farming community.
English ranch.
penal colony.