A RE-ENACTMENT and storytelling of the harrowing accounts of the men, women and children banished to Australia for petty crimes on the forgotten 'first fleet' 235 years ago, will be performed on Friday (13).

The Friends of Monkton Arts will host several free performances at Appley Tower, Appley Beach, Ryde, from 2pm onwards.

They will commemorate the lives of those who left as cargo — convicted of one the so-called '19 crimes' — on the first fleet of ships that sailed to Botany Bay, on May 13, 1787.

Those deported to Australia were convicted of crimes as petty as theft of a value under one shilling, stealing fish from a pond or river, cutting or burning clothes and impersonating an Egyptian!

The convict fleet comprised 11 ships, led by HMS Sirius, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, which set sail from the ‘Motherbank’ moorings near Appley Tower.

The cargo was 766 people, which comprised men, women and children — all convicted of offences on the infamous 19-crime list, which dictated whether they suffered either the death penalty, or transportation to the colonies.

A free performance of One Day They’ll Say, written by playwright, Annemarie Bowler, will take place, along with songs from the Island — She Shells and The Watch.

To round off the commemorative event, the audience is invited to sample and raise a glass of 19 Crimes wine, courtesy of the Friends of Monkton Arts.