I just had to submit Arthur Phillip, (11 October 1738 – 31 August 1814) the first Governor of New South Wales. He founded the British penal colony that would eventually become the city of Sydney. If like me you watched the miniseries “Banished” you’ll know Phillip was portrayed most superbly by gorgeous David Wenham. The real Phillip was even more awesome. The colonialism of Australia by the west and its impact on native cultures isn’t viewed favourably today. Because of this it’s easy to forget that Phillip formed a remarkable friendship with an Eora man called Bennelong, and took him to visit England. Phillip ordered that the Eora people must be well-treated, and that anyone killing Aboriginals would be hanged. He also resolved to try to reform as well as to discipline the convicts transported from Britain. He pardoned several of them for good conduct. Despite being in charge of a penal colony, Phillip hated slavery.
He famously wrote, when preparing for the expedition of the First Fleet, that ‘there shall be no slavery in a free land’.
Phillip was given the name Wolawaree by the Eora. He built a hut for Bennelong on the site where the Sydney Opera House currently stands. His first wife Margaret was 17 years his senior, but his second wife Isabella was over 10 years his junior.
Here in England an annual service of remembrance is held on Phillip’s birthdate by the Britain–Australia Society to commemorate his life.
A worthy history crush in my opinion!
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