Australia: Filling in the Ghastly Blank

Australia's first census was as simple as counting sheep — black sheep, that is.

On Jan. 26, 1788, when British Royal Navy Captain Arthur Phillip mustered his sea-beaten "First Fleet" on the banks of Botany Bay, he came up with a tally of 756 convicts (including prostitutes, purse snatchers, forgers, highwaymen and housebreakers), 211 military persons, 209 chickens, 74 pigs, 29 sheep, 19 goats, five rabbits, five cows, three mares, two bulls and a stallion.

It was hardly the Mayflower; yet in front of Phillip's molting, motley crew stretched a continent as vast and varied as the United States, its interior...

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