Weather conditions of the First Fleet voyage

HMS Sirius Lieutenant William Bradley recorded the daily noon temperature in his weather journal maintained over the course of the First Fleet’s journey from 1787-1788. He continued to record the noon temperature while the HMS Sirius was anchored at Port Jackson during the first eight months of the settlement of Sydney Cove.

Analysis of these observations is now published in The weather of the First Fleet voyage to Botany Bay, 1787–1788, Gergis et al., 2010.

This work forms part of the global effort to recover historical weather data, the Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over the Earth (ACRE) Initiative. Further details of Bradley’s weather record are available at OldWeather.org.

The route of this historic journey of the Sirius can be viewed in the video below, prepared by Dr Philip Brohan of the UK Met Office.

Climate researchers interested in downloading the data of the weather conditions of the First Fleet voyage can find it here.

People interested in more information on the different journals kept by the First Fleet can visit: https://www.jenwilletts.com/botany_bay_fleet.htm

And, there’s a volunteer journal digitisation project, transcribing the female convict ship records here: https://www.femaleconvicts.org.au/convict-ships/convict-ship-records.

*This article was updated on 28 August 2020. Unfortunately, the Google Earth animation, made in 2010, of the voyage together with the temperatures experienced by those aboard the Sirius, stopped working.