Most British colonies to this time had involved settlements of free people. For most of them the British Government authorised some sort of government with limited power to make laws for the new community.
The First Fleet enterprise was completely different. It comprised a number of convicts and a military garrison. The Governor, Arthur Philip, had military-style authority, and there was no initial provision for any sort of legislative body. It was a penal colony.
As such, it did not fit at all easily into the common law's category of 'settled colony'.
Keywords: Australia, British law, colonialism, colonisation, First Fleet, settlements, 1788-
Author: Nettheim, Garth