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Arthur-Phillip

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									                                     Arthur Phillip

Arthur Phillip was born to Jacob Phillip, a language teacher from Frankfurt, and Elizabeth Breach, the
widow of a navy captain, on the 11th of October 1738. Phillip was educated at the Greenwich
Hospital School for poor boys, until he was thirteen, when he then was apprenticed to the merchant
navy. Phillip joined the Royal Navy at 15. Phillip saw action during the Seven Years’ War in the
Mediterranean in 1756 and six years later was promoted to Lieutenant. When the war ended in
1763 he was put on half-pay. He married and became a farmer in Hampshire. In 1744 Phillip joined
the Portuguese Navy as a captain. He served in the Spanish-Portuguese War. Arthur Phillip took a
group of convict ships from Portugal to Brazil. This trip was a success because not many people died,
and that was partially the reason why Phillip was asked to lead the voyage to Sydney. In 1788
England went to war again and Phillip was recalled to service. In 1779 he was given command of the
ship Basilisk and was promoted to captain two years later.

In October 1786, Phillip was made the New Governor of New South Wales, under the instructions of
the Home Secretary, Lord Sydney, to establish the first British Colony in Australia. ‘You are therefore
carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of Governor in and over our said territory by doing and
performing all and all manner of things thereunto belonging... and you are to observe and follow
such orders and directions from time to time as you shall receive from us, or any other your superior
officer according to the rules and discipline of war, and likewise such orders and directions as we
shall send you under our signet or sign manual...’1 The British government wanted to start a penal
colony on the east coast of Australia. Phillip knew about faming, and had already taken prisoners to
Brazil for the Portuguese, so that made him a good choice to be leader. The First Fleet sailed on the
13th of May, 1787. Phillip landed in Port Jackson. The trip was successful, as only 40 convicts died,
and the Australian colony began.

Arthur Phillip was the ideal candidate for the leader of the new colony in Australia because he was
experienced in farming, which would be the only way to get food in Australia, had already taken
prisoners to other countries without casualties, and he wasn’t as needed as other naval officers, so
the Navy wouldn’t miss him as much as another captain if he died (as callous as that sounds).

Arthur Phillip’s greatest achievement would be the fact that he navigated the First Fleet safely to
Australia, losing only 40 convicts. The early days of the settlement were chaotic and difficult. ‘On
the 18th of January, we landed at Botany Bay. We bumped and bashed up across the rocky shallow
sand by the bay. When we got there, we realised the soil was awful and dry. We had to stay here for
two weeks trying to find better soil so we could grow our crops. There was no fresh water at Botany
Bay, so we did not have enough water to drink. I so worried and confused that I took some of my
soldiers to explore further in this new land. We went round a bend and we found this most beautiful
land with a wonderful harbour. There was terrific soil and water, so we decided to move to this
harbour which is now known as Port Jackson.’2 With minimal supplies, the growing of food was
important, but the soil around Sydney was poor, the climate was unfamiliar and very few of the
convicts had any knowledge of agriculture. The colony was on the verge of starvation for a long time.
Phillip proved his leadership by appointing overseers to get the convicts to work, saving the colony
from starvation. Arthur Phillip turned the colony from a military prison into a civil colony with courts
of law. Phillip believed in discipline and although it didn’t make him popular among the punished, he
gained the respect of much of the colony.

Phillip also adopted a policy towards the Eora Aboriginal People, who lived around the waters of
Sydney Harbour. Phillip ordered that they must be treated well, and that anyone killing Aboriginal
people would be hanged. Phillip befriended an Aboriginal man Bennelong, showing the rest of the
colony that communication with Aborigines was possible. Arthur Phillip took the first step towards
having a friendly relationship with the Aborigines, and he should be commended for the fact that he
believed that the Aborigines were similar to the English, even when the others thought that they
were just animals or pets, and he was one of the first white pe to communicate with the Indigenous
Australians.


Arthur Phillip contributed to Australian society by opening a doorway of communication between
the Aborigines and the new Australians. He learnt the language of one of the tribes by befriending
an Aboriginal man called Bennelong, and in turn, taught Bennelong to speak English. Arthur Phillip
changed the attitude of the settlers towards the Aborigines by showing the settlers that the
Aborigines were just like them, but with a different skin colour and culture. He improved the
communication between the settlers and the natives, and gained the respect of both races alike.



1. Lord Sydney, Instructions from the Home Secretary, Lord Sydney, to Captain Arthur Phillip, 25th of
April, 1787
2. Arthur Phillip, Diary of Arthur Phillip, 26th of January, 1788

Bibliography
“Arthur Phillip”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_phillip, 04/08/2011
“First Fleet – Stories”, http://firstfleet.uow.edu.au/stories.html, 07/08/2011
“Biography – Phillip, Arthur”, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/phillip-arthur-2549, 07/08/2011
“The First Fleet”, http://www.australianhistoryresearch.info/the-first-fleet/, 07/08/2011

								
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