Botany Bay, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the southeastern coast of New South Wales, Australia. It is south of Sydney between Cape Banks and Cape Solander. The bay is almost circular and has a diameter of about five miles (8 km). Captain Cook discovered Botany Bay in 1770 and claimed possession of eastern Australia in the name of England. The bay was named by Sir Joseph Banks, a botanist on Cook's ship, who discovered new plants here.
In 1788 the British government founded a colony for convicts on the site of what is now Sydney. The colony, Australia's first permanent settlement, was popularly known as Botany Bay until about 1840.