Governor Phillip and the Eora | The Dictionary of Sydney
The first section of the article locates Bennelong in relation to his names, kin .. 21 For a full account of Bennelong's relationship with Governor Arthur Phillip and . and diaries of several first fleet officers, as well as Governor Arthur Phillip himself. Bennelong's The work explores his personal character, his conflicts, his relationships, his community, and his .. From the poem by Oodgeroo Noonnuccal. Tip: searches only the name field; Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase Bennelong (?), Aboriginal man, was captured in November and brought to the settlement at Sydney Cove by order of Governor Arthur Phillip, .
They were seemingly still unaware that payback was Aboriginal Law and had to be upheld. Because the Eora continued to extend their Law to white colonists, conflict was inevitable. McIntyre had earlier wounded a warrior and probably his spearing was payback. Many believed he had committed other serious crimes as well. The Eora needed to be taught a terrifying lesson, once and for all.
As well, he wanted ten more men beheaded, and their heads brought back to town. Friendly relations of all kinds were suspended: Phillip agreed but insisted that those not executed would be exiled to the small colony at Norfolk Island. He added that if warriors could not be arrested, they were to be summarily shot. The party was provided with hatchets for the chopping and bags to carry the heads, so presumably the beheading order was still in force. Despite marching around the area all day, Tench wrote that they failed to find a single person.
So they headed east towards the 'south west arm' of Botany Bay — Georges River. But their guides lost their way and they found themselves on the 'sea shore…about midway between the two arms' that is, the Georges and Cooks Rivers where they saw and tried to surround five Aboriginal people.
But these people escaped, disappearing into the bush. Tench then marched the party to a known 'village' of huts on the 'nearest point of the north arm' — most likely on the south shore of Cooks River near its mouth present day Kyeemagh. But here again the Aboriginal people swiftly paddled to safety to 'the opposite shore'.
The mosquito-bitten party returned to Sydney, exhausted and frustrated. He sent Tench and the soldiers out again. The second expedition, on December 22, left Sydney at sunset, in the hope they would surprise, arrest or kill people while asleep in their camps by now the British knew that the Eora were heavy sleepers.
The party forded two rivers before almost drowning in quicksand in a creek. When they arrived back at the village on Cooks River, it was deserted and had been for some days.
A final attempt to locate, arrest or shoot warriors was made at 1. Tench says he gave up four hours later and marched the soldiers back to Sydney. Contrary to Tench's account, Private Easty says they finally found a group of Aboriginal people on the beach at Botany Bay — but then returned to Sydney. Those who admire Phillip find it difficult to accept that the enlightened, fair-minded and humane governor gave such gruesome orders and intended the arrest and execution of innocent people rather than just the guilty man.
Inga Clendinnen, taking cues from Tench's perhaps unintentionally comic account, interprets the whole incident as an elaborate piece of farcical theatre performed for the benefit of the unruly and resentful convicts. Wise Phillip knew the party would not find anyone, she says, let alone behead them.
He never intended anyone to get hurt, and just to make sure, he put the sympathetic Watkin Tench in charge. As we have seen, guns and the threat of violence were fundamental to the settlement project from the start.
Governor Phillip and the Eora
Once Bennelong and his people agreed to 'come in' to Sydney in latePhillip believed he had an agreement that the attacks and killings of unarmed convicts would stop because he thought he had finally brokered peaceful relations via leaders Bennelong and Coleby. When McIntyre was speared and killed, Phillips saw it not only as a final betrayal of all his kindness and patience, but also as a breaking of the 'agreement' for peaceful relations.
The fact that Phillip sent out two expeditions, rather than just one, is significant. Had this been a piece of theatre for the benefit of the convicts and others, one would surely have sufficed. Two — the second starting out at dusk to catch people while they slept — signifies the seriousness of Phillip's intent. So does the fact that Tench scoured the country from the head of Botany Bay to the coast — thus while the intended targets may originally been Pemulwuy's Bidgigal clan, other groups were soon hunted as well.
Lieutenant William Daweswho was also sympathetic to the Eora, at first refused to take part but was then persuaded to go. Afterwards he was disgusted with the whole expedition and would not retract this opinion. He was forced to leave the colony as a result, even though he wanted to stay. It is also possible that someone was wounded.
Tench was not entirely truthful in his account — Collins reported that the soldiers on the expedition did in fact shoot at Aboriginal people, though he insisted that they failed to hit anyone.
But there are no more details on what happened that night. To return to the key question: As an eighteenth century naval officer, his actions were not out of character — though grandiose play-acting would have been. Nor did his orders constitute unusual conduct, any more than for succeeding governors, including Governor Lachlan Macquariewho despatched even larger, and fatal, military reprisal parties against Aboriginal people. Botany Bay Project [media] Meanwhile the larger Botany Bay Project was already unfolding up the Parramatta River on the clusters of small, carefully planned farms Phillip had set out there.
Here it is important to note that we cannot separate Phillip's relations with Eora and the inland Aboriginal people from his role as the founder of this colony. New South Wales was, after all, never intended as a gaol, or a dumping ground for convicts, but a colony — a rather astonishing penal experiment in making a new society from transported felons.
Convicts who were pardoned or had done their time were to be given land and everything they needed to become farmers. They would thus 'cease to be enemies of society… and became proprietors and cultivators of the land'. But the lynchpin of the whole Botany Bay Project, the path to redemption for the convicts, was land, taken from Aboriginal people. And so it was on those early farms that the first signs of frontier conflict broke out in the latter months of His actions towards the Aboriginal people there were strikingly different to his relations with the Eora on the coast.
- First Contact
- Australian Dictionary of Biography
At Parramatta there were no meetings, no dancing, no gifts or high hopes of 'living in amity'. This is the untold story of Phillip and the Aboriginal people: The new public farm there took a large swathe of land right on the river, land the Burramattegal relied upon for food and access to water. This was the first recorded formal Aboriginal protest in Australia. Maugoran told Phillip that the people at Parramatta were very angry at the invasion of their country. Phillip noted it all down, but observed bluntly that 'wherever our colonists fix themselves, the natives are obliged to leave that country'.
Instead of attempts at compromise or amelioration one might expect from a governor so committed to peaceful relations, Phillip immediately reinforced the detachment at Parramatta with more soldiers. In October a nervy settler at Prospect began indiscriminately shooting into a group of Aboriginal people. They responded by burning down his hut. After that, Phillip posted soldiers on every farm until all the land was clear of trees. Without trees, Aboriginal people would have nowhere to hide.
But from the start the Australian frontier was also an edgy place, and guns were the backbone of colonisation. Maize raids, constant attacks on unarmed settlers on the lonely roads, bloody military reprisals, corpses strung up in trees, terrible paybacks on both sides, and massacres were still in the future.
But before all that, an ailing Phillip had decided to leave. Was he a hero or a villain, a good guy or a bad guy? Do we keep him on his pedestal or knock him off? Or, do the twin lenses reveal something else: At least two scenarios are possible: He had conciliated them, as instructed, and he had done his job. He knew that they were not cowardly, weak people who could simply be moved on, as Cook and Banks had described them. Although plenty of Sydney people now had Eora friends, Phillip's earlier policy of kindness and gifts could not completely stop Eora violence, any more than he could stop settler transgressions.
First Contact - Barani
The new farms made the situation still more complex and dangerous. They were spread over a much greater area than the town of Sydney, they were isolated, and they would disrupt many different Aboriginal groups. How would it even be possible to use the policy of patient kindness with all of them?
But his mission was to found an agricultural colony and he followed his orders to the letter. He armed the convict farmers because he knew that otherwise they probably would not stand a chance out there, either through their own wrongdoing, or because of Aboriginal anger, payback and resistance to the invasion of their lands.
Phillip did not want any disasters. The two aspects of Phillip's humane policies we most celebrate contradicted one another: Phillip sailed away in December One of his legacies was that Sydney was and remained a town of both settlers and Aboriginal people. They shared urban spaces, harbour places, houses, conversations, hunting trips, popular culture.
Aboriginal Law continued to be imposed among Aboriginal people in Sydney well in the s and throughout the colony for much longer. The presence of Eora and other Aboriginal people in Sydney town was normal and accepted. This is not a story of instant culture loss and degradation either, for Aboriginal people combined their own dynamic culture with the strands and rhythms of pre-industrial Sydney. Perhaps this explains why Sydney's history of early race relations is so different to Melbourne's, where the local Aboriginal people were evidently subjected to harsh regulation, forced out and banished.
Governor Macquarie tried hard to persuade 'the Sydney Tribe' to leave, but they never did. Phillip had invited them in to Sydney, and they were here to stay. Historian Ernest Scott began his history with the statement: This critical stance swelled in the s and s with the rise of Aboriginal history and the Aboriginal rights movement. Anthropologist William Stanner painted Phillip as initially well-meaning but soon disillusioned, but also a fool for failing to recognise Eora protocols William Stanner, 'The History of Indifference Thus Begins', Aboriginal History, vol.
Archaeologist Isabel McBryde explored the actual relationships between Phillip and the Eora, highlighting the fact that the Eora did not disappear, but were present in early Sydney, inside the yard and walls of the first Government House Isabel McBryde, Guests of the Governor: Yet recent research reveals he married, had at least one son, was a leader among his people and much lamented when he died, see Keith Vincent Smith, Wallumedegal: Kohen, The Darug and their Neighbours: Kunitz cited in Tom Griffiths, 'Empire and Ecology: Paul Irish's research reveals that Aboriginal people occupied the coastal parts of Sydney continuously throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, see Paul Irish, Hidden in Plain View: Libraries Board of South Australia, Adelaide, f.
Cadell and W Davies, London,vol. Despite spelling variations, the other four are given as Wolarrebarre, Wogultrowe, Boinba, and Bundabunda.
He then married the Cammeray clanswoman Barangaroowho died shortly after in On his return, he had a son, Dicky, by another woman. His last wife, who was buried with him, was Boorong. At that time the Eora conscientiously avoided contact with the newcomers, and in desperation Phillip resorted to kidnap.
A man named Arabanoo was captured, but he, like many other Aboriginal people near the settlement, died in a smallpox epidemic a few months later in May His age, at the time of his capture, was estimated at 25, and he was described as being 'of good stature, stoutly made', with a 'bold, intrepid countenance'.
His appetite was such that 'the ration of a week was insufficient to have kept him for a day', and 'love and war seemed his favourite pursuits'. Four months later, he was sighted by officers in Manly Cove, and Phillip was notified. One account has it that, on the day Phillip had organized a whale feast in order to reestablish relations with the Eora,  the Governor hurried over and approached Bennelong, who was with a group of roughly 20 warriors.
Phillip took a gesture by Bennelong towards another Aboriginal person, Willemering, as an invitation for an introduction, and extended his hand to the latter, who responded by spearing Phillip in the shoulder. Willemering was a 'clever man' koradgee a Gurugal Karegal from Broken Bayand some readings have it that he had been enlisted by Bennelong to carry out payback for the latter's sense of injury on having been kidnapped.
In this view, some form of atonement was necessary as a prelude to any further arrangements with the intrusive colonial power. Inthe governor built him a hut on what became known as Bennelong Point now occupied by the Sydney Opera House. Visit to England[ edit ] Bennelong and another Aboriginal man named Yemmerrawanne or Imeerawanyee travelled with Phillip on the Atlantic to England in