Top Travel Questions – Answered

When did the Second Fleet leave England?

1. Introduction: The Historical Departure of the Second Fleet from England

The departure of the Second Fleet from England is of great historical significance, marking a pivotal moment in the annals of maritime exploration and travel. This article delves into the details surrounding this momentous event, shedding light on the precise timeline, circumstances, and implications associated with the fleet’s departure. By analyzing primary sources and historical records, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of when the Second Fleet set sail from England and the impact it had on subsequent travel endeavors.

2. The Genesis of the Second Fleet: A Brief Background

In order to understand the departure of the Second Fleet, it is crucial to examine its origins. The fleet was commissioned by the British government in the late 18th century, at a time when England was actively engaged in expanding its colonial interests and seeking new trade routes. The primary purpose of the Second Fleet was to transport convicts from England to the newly established penal colony of Australia, thereby relieving the overcrowded prisons on British soil.
After the success of the First Fleet, which left England in May 1787, the need for a second voyage became apparent due to the increasing number of convicts awaiting transportation. As a result, the British authorities authorized the formation of the Second Fleet, consisting of several ships dedicated to this arduous task. The meticulous planning and preparation for this expedition finally led to its departure from England.

3. The date of departure: Unveiling the Timeline

The date of the Second Fleet’s departure from England was a carefully orchestrated event, involving meticulous planning and logistical arrangements. After extensive research, it has been determined that the Second Fleet sailed from England on January 19, 1790. This date is a crucial milestone, as it marked the beginning of a long and perilous journey across the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to Australia.
The departure of the Second Fleet was not without its challenges. Delays were caused by inclement weather and the need for extensive provisioning for the voyage. Nevertheless, after overcoming these obstacles, the fleet embarked on its momentous journey, carrying with it the hopes, aspirations, and weight of a burgeoning colonial enterprise.

4. Impact of the Second Fleet’s Departure

The Second Fleet’s departure from England had far-reaching implications for both the British Empire and the history of travel. First, it marked a significant milestone in the expansion of the British colonial presence in Australia. The successful transportation of convicts to the distant shores of Australia paved the way for the establishment of the penal colony and laid the foundation for future settlements in the region.
Second, the departure of the Second Fleet underscored the growing importance of sea travel in the 18th century. This voyage represented a remarkable feat of seamanship and navigation, as the fleet navigated treacherous waters and endured the challenges of an extended ocean voyage. The knowledge and experience gained during the expedition contributed to the advancement of navigational techniques and the further exploration of new territories.

5. Legacy and historical significance

The Second Fleet’s departure from England left a lasting legacy and is of immense historical significance. It symbolizes the resilience, determination and pioneering spirit of the British people during an era of colonial expansion. The successful completion of this voyage demonstrated the capabilities of British naval power and facilitated the growth of the British Empire in Australia and beyond.

The departure of the Second Fleet also marked a turning point in the history of travel, demonstrating the possibilities of long-distance travel and opening up new frontiers of exploration. The challenges and triumphs of this voyage laid the foundation for future maritime expeditions and inspired generations of explorers, navigators, and adventurers.
In conclusion, the departure of the Second Fleet from England in January 1790 was a momentous event that shaped the course of history. This article has provided a comprehensive overview of the background, timeline, impact, and legacy associated with this momentous voyage. By understanding the historical context and significance of such expeditions, we can gain valuable insight into the evolution of travel and exploration throughout the ages.


When did the Second Fleet leave England?

The Second Fleet left England on January 19, 1789.

Why was the Second Fleet sent from England?

The Second Fleet was sent from England to transport convicts to the Australian penal colonies.

Where did the Second Fleet arrive after leaving England?

The Second Fleet arrived in Port Jackson, Australia, on June 28, 1790.

How many ships were part of the Second Fleet?

The Second Fleet consisted of six ships: the Guardian, Justinian, Surprize, Neptune, Scarborough, and Lady Juliana.

What were the conditions like during the Second Fleet’s journey?

The conditions during the Second Fleet’s journey were extremely harsh. The convicts and crew endured overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate food and water supplies, and outbreaks of disease, resulting in a high mortality rate.