Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Phillip, Arthur

British naval officer who became first Governor of New South Wales, leading the colony for five difficult years.

Allhallows, London, England
11 Oct 1738
Departed Sydney
10 Dec 1792
Bath, England
31 Aug 1814
Commemorated by
Commemorated by
Commemorated by
Commemorated by
1786 - 1787
1787 - 1788
26 Jan 1788 - 10 Dec 1792
10 Dec 1792 - 19 May 1793

Governor Phillip and the Eora

CC BY-SA 2.0

What was Governor Arthur Phillip's relationship with the Eora, and other Aboriginal people of the Sydney region? Phillip's policies, actions and responses have tended to be seen as a proxy for the Europeans in Australia as whole, just as his friend, the Wangal warrior Woolarawarre Bennelong’s allegedly tragic life has for so long personified the fate of Aboriginal people since 1788. To fully imagine those early years, we must see them through the twin lenses of British and Eora perspective and experience to glimpse what was happening, and why. This allows a nuanced and complex view, and the banishment once and for all the notion that there can be only one 'right' story.

Phillip’s Table: Food in the early Sydney settlement


In the days of the early settlement, the governor's table was a place for administration, negotiation, revelation and celebration. What can we discover about this period in our history from a gastronomic perspective, and what does Phillip's table reveal about life at Government House?