Many marines were permitted to bring their families with them to NSW.
Around 32 marine wives and 24 of their children made the journey, including Jane Scott, the wife of Sergeant James Scott. On 29 August 1787, while the fleet was sailing across the southern Atlantic Ocean, Sergeant Scott recorded that his wife ‘was Deleved of A Daughter at one oClock P.M. After being ill 27 hours …’ The Scotts’ daughter, Elizabeth, was one of around 20 babies born during the voyage, to both marine wives and convict women.
Once in the colony, women and children weren’t exempt from the hardships of daily life. The women’s ration of government-issued staple goods – pease, flour, salted meat, rice and butter – was two-thirds what men received, while children were given half the adult male ration. An oversight also meant that no additional clothes for the marine wives and children were included in the supplies sent with the First Fleet. Jane, her marine husband and two children, Elizabeth and William, returned to England in June 1792.
James Scott, Remarks on a passage Botnay [sic] bay 1787, 13 May 1787 – 20 May 1792.
Numbers of wives and children from Mollie Gillen, The founders of Australia: a biographical dictionary of the First Fleet, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1989.