hms_guardianHMS Guardian and the Island of Ice

The lost ship of the First Fleet and Lieutenant Edward Riou.1789 - 1790.

Compiled and annotated by Rod Dickson

ISBN 978-0-85905-511-6, (N, 2012), A4, 128pp, illust., 355grams

$30.00* + POST

In 1788 the first British settlement was established in New South Wales at Port Jackson, now Sydney, by a fleet of ships, Naval and chartered civilian vessels, loaded with convicts and their Military guards. When the fleet arrived at, firstly, Botany Bay and then Port Jackson, there was nothing to greet them, just sandy soil and scrub. Once the convicts and their guards were ashore it was necessary to establish a tented village, gardens and small farm holdings to till the soil and plant crops.

It was realised by the Authorities in London that this would, of necessity, take some time as the land had to be cleared, tilled and the seed planted. It was expected that it would be at least two years before any proper farming system could be established and running to make the new Colony self sufficient in staple foods.

To keep supplies arriving at the settlement it was arranged to have frigates fully loaded with barrels of salted beef and pork, flour, molasses, pease and etc. With those items other necessities were carts and wagons, building supplies, clothing and most importantly, live stock, particularly horses, cattle and sheep. It was originally proposed that the storing frigates would depart England approximately every six months, which would, hopefully, maintain a healthy supply of foodstuffs for the Colony. The first of these fast frigates to be commissioned into the Supply Service was H.M.S. GUARDIAN, commanded by Lieutenant Edward Riou. She was designated part of the First Fleet but was to leave later with a large shipment of stores, totalling 1,003 tons.

Following is the near forgotten story of the GUARDIAN, her Heroic Commander and his Crew. It is one of the great stories of survival at sea and the importance of leadership.