A three-sided monument stands in the Rocks area of Sydney. The Rocks is the site of the first European settlement in Sydney, and each side of the monument commemorates one of the groups of people who first set foot there: the Settlers, the Convicts and the Soldiers.
It is a moving piece of carved stone into which the figures have been indented so that they seem almost lifelike, as if they had been moulded into the rock.
Australia’s first eleven free immigrants landed in Sydney in 1793. These were the first to arrive in response to calls for experienced farmers, mechanics and convict supervisors to come and live and work in Australia. Settlers and freed convincts were given free parcels of land until 1831, when the Land Grants were abolished.
Eleven ships brought 1500 people into Sydney Harbour in January 1788. Of these, about 780 were convicts. Their first job was to clear the land around The Rocks area. They had nothing but the clothes they stood in and they were treated no better than animals.
211 marines arrived with the First Fleet, and their job was to preserve good order among the convicts. The Second Fleet brought a 100-strong corps specifically for the colony. They later became known as the Rum Corps, and eventually received Land Grants in 1793.
Sydney is a vibrant, prosperous and cosmopolitan city in an area that boasts beautiful sandy beaches and leafy hilly suburbs. The diverse collection of convicts, soldiers and settlers who came ashore and settled in what was then a harsh and dangerous environment could never have dreamed of the lives their descendants now enjoy.