Perspectives | Finding Bennelong
21 For a full account of Bennelong's relationship with Governor Arthur Phillip . called a Dynamometer to test the strength of Aboriginal men in the Sydney area. It was Friday 18 January that Captain Arthur Phillip, Commodore of A contemporary correlation, Phillip's biographer, Michael Pembroke, .. With all his rational and humanitarian approaches, Phillip would be quickly tested. .. Bennelong reportedly (for there were several versions from the British. In fact the First Fleet was a 'one off' to test the plausibility of such a venture. . Bennelong with whom Phillip was establishing a good relationship and who lived .
One of the things that could be very powerful is driving home his humanity … sometimes when you get down to race politics people overlook this or downplay it because it suits their purpose.
Maureen Reyland, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June As much as Bennelong was using the situation to his advantage, he was being used to the advantage of other people. He's working both sides of the fence here. Allen Madden, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June To try and tell people who he is based on the history of him - I think that does him a lot of injustice, because there's the other side of the man. There's the family man, the married man and there's the resistance man.
Allen Madden, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June Bennelong was a person in a particular time with a particular set of circumstances that he had to deal with. Tanya Koeneman, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June The idea of choice, that Bennelong had a choice - we probably need to think about that Heidi Norman, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June The adaptation that took place in those opening years was phenomenal and Bennelong is a strong example of that Heidi Norman, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June It's important to bear in mind that a lot of what we think we know about Bennelong is what people have chosen to record Tanya Koeneman, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June What they said about him being a drunk and addicted to alcohol … it was the currency of the time.
They the colony ran out of money … everybody was drinking. People of the time virtually drank more rum and wine than water … Djon Mundine, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June The way Aboriginal people lived was a choice, it was an informed choice Bennelong is an embodiment of that choice Tanya Koeneman, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June Everyone was trying to make out who these Martians were that had arrived here.
Bennelong would have been doing the same. Djon Mundine, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June He seemingly rejected a lot of the trappings of 'civilised' life. He stripped off and went back to the bush and took up where he left off.
Heidi Norman, Bennelong Aboriginal Consultation Workshop, 28 June I suppose when you think about it everyone one of us in this room knows a blackfella that has a Bennelong in him.
Was he a traitor? On 11 February, only four days after commissioning the two Courts of Justice, the Criminal Court was called into service under the Judge Advocate, assisted by three naval officers and three officers from the Marines.
Worse was to come. On 27 February four convicts came before the Criminal Court for stealing large quantities of provisions from the stores and were condemned to death. Lashings of varying vigour were also administered there. Justice was to be seen to be done and the convicts were required to attend these sombre occasions.
Heavy lashings were a common punishment, usually with less for women. There were other initiatives. Among his Instructions Phillip had received a directive to establish an auxiliary settlement on Norfolk Island, which Cook had discovered and which Britain was anxious to prevent falling into foreign hands.
- Bennelong review: A tragic history told with beauty and splendour
- Arthur Phillip
In addition to its strategic value, the island offered items of interest to a naval nation in its flax for sail making, hemp for ropes, and good mast timber. Enlightened, many were soon eager for release from these formal bonds. Meanwhile, Phillip was extending his reach of knowledge outwards.
Two officers from the Sirius, his second-in-command Captain John Hunter, and first Lieutenant William Bradley, had begun making provisional examination of the Harbour on 28 and 29 January and conducted a thorough harbour survey on February, penetrating the many inlets in a six-oared boat and marking multiple depths with great exactitude.
At the end of that active month of February, with the foundations of settlement in ordered place, Phillip invited Bradley to draw a Map of the colonial encampment.
Many of the described structures and placements would be developed and built across the year of Extending his map south into the harbour edging Sydney Cove, Bradley scattered the water with myriad depth soundings — the safety of ships was crucial — with the eleven ships of the First Fleet drawn in position together with their anchors and ropes. Observing this singular, delicately drawn plan, the reader experiences a deep sense of order and conceptual care.
Diversely talented as cartographer and artist, Bradley made several further contributions to the knowledge of Australia. Compared with contemporary temperature measurements taken at Sydney Observatory Hill, these founding records reveal a striking correlation and accuracy and today form an important component of an international measurement effort to recover historical weather data — The Google Earth records by the UK Meteorological Office, a part of the Atmosphere Circulation Reconstruction over the Earth ACRE initiative.
There they encountered not a garrison town framed by marching, military procedures and the violence connected with its purpose, but a society conscious of the rights of the whole community.
Twenty babies had been born on the thirty-six weeks journey, three were baptised by the Rev Johnson on 3 February, and the participation of some fifty children and their mothers in the earliest days of settlement was a salient feature of the young colony.
The women convicts looked to the court to override the power men chose to exert over them, to decide questions of insults and relationship assaults, to consider matters affecting health and children, and to attend to trivial disputes among themselves. It was also notable that the women were not officially required to work.
The presence of family proved integral to the settlement. Thirty-one marines brought a wife and together some twenty-three children to the colony. Among the convicts there were at least two sets of brothers in the First Fleet and at least two cases of convict brothers and sisters.
And, alert to the importance of close relationships, Phillip had dispatched four-year-old Edward Parkinson, and Mary Fowles, the seven-year-old daughter of a convict woman, to add this dimension to the community on Norfolk Island. As a result, soon after the placing of the assigned tents, the male convicts were allowed to visit the women with a view to marriage, and time was allowed for the women to make arrangements with men they had known before sailing. The most abandoned were encouraged to become prostitutes.
There were many degrees of diversity. Over half the male convicts were literate and a quarter of the women had enough schooling to sign their own names although early communications from the women was scant. As Commander in Chief, Phillip was in command of both the naval and marine forces and, ably served by his naval officers, he sought a measure of co-operation from the marine officers that ran against the grain of their tradition.
Major Ross and his officers with the exception of such prominent figures as Collins, Tench and William Dawes refused to do anything other than guard duty, claiming that they were neither gaolers, nor supervisors or policemen.
Hampered by a lack of formal laws to underpin his authority in this, Phillip suffered from their persistent stonewalling and discontent, and their clear disregard of his principles for a participatory society. There was, accordingly, no such thing as a police force in the colony, the planners had sent no overseers, and the Governor was obliged to look to the convicts themselves, the majority serving the customary sentence of seven years, to carry out the task of policing. The problem of how to deal with convicts whose seven-year sentence was soon to expire would come to confront Phillip in The naval officers conducted their professional duties with pride and purpose as in any station, but the marine officers, deprived of normal garrison soldiering, endured empty days with jobs little to their taste.
One aspect of the colony of interest from the outset was the surprising multiculturalism of the community. While the European settlement was predominantly British, there was a mixture of nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Some eight seamen were natives of Portugal, France, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, and there were four negroes of likely West Indian or American background who had escaped to England, among the male convicts, all offering a sense of difference.
Evidence suggests that men and women coming from the same counties or regions in the United Kingdom rarely sought each other out. Convicts had mixed with each other on the outward journey, forming new friendships, and change itself and new opportunities appeared to overrun the boundaries between regions and dialects providing an incipient sense of nationhood. From the beginning convicts lived together in groups of various sizes, sharing a roof often put up by their joint labour, together with a fire and cooking implements.
They made their own choice as to who they shared with. The presence of Irish convicts, with their own rising sense of nationalism, began to emerge with the Second Fleet in and grew when, and after, ships sailed directly from Ireland in As the trajectory of settlement moved forward there were occasional public celebrations. The governor also issued a free pardon to the three convicts then in confinement for trial.
Explorations of survey extended out from the settlement in attempts to disentangle the surrounding river systems. A farm was established on the site of the Botanic Gardens under the charge of Henry Dodd who had agricultural skills.
Placed under Dodd it was serviced by a hundred convicts and a detachment of marines. It marked the early development of the necessary training of convicts for the further extension of public agricultural gardens. The hospital was expanded into a stouter structure and used extensively under Surgeon White as dysentery and scurvy spread early in the settlement and the cold, rainy months of June — July brought a further horde of patients — up to more — to its rudimentary wards.
Shortages of such vital materials as blankets and sheets and adequate medications remained a pressing need. The challenges of the first winter season were sharp.
Arthur Phillip - Wikipedia
Phillip proved an attentive final arbiter given to reducing, moderating, waiving but never increasing sentences. Clear principles had been enunciated in Britain before he departed.
The shedding of native blood was prohibited as a crime of the highest nature and the Indigenous people could not be deprived of their land without consent. They soon learnt that they were not dealing with one people, but a dispersion of different groups of the Eora people that required a repetition in their overtures of friendship.
Australian Dictionary of Biography
Eager to comprehend, they turned their interest on how these very different people related to each other, what signs there were of status or hierarchy, what systems of governance ordered their affairs. There he often found himself in company with large numbers of them.
And going forth, it became his custom to greet the people with his arms open and outstretched, or with a handshake, the muskets laid clearly visible on the ground. The role of the Aboriginal women was of particular interest to the officers. However, they were consistently protected by the men. The practical Collins had recognised the warning cries of the Aborigines as the ships entered Botany Bay: Phillip, however, went to intense lengths to understand and befriend the Indigenous people.
On the very last days of his first year as governor two officers had rowed into Manly Cove and lured two local men by the offer of gifts, pulling them, resisting, onto the boat.
One got away, the other, Arabanoo, was overpowered and taken to the settlement. Placed in a tub, cleaned and clothed, after his first fright he was, according to his captors, of a docile temperament and quickly accustomed himself to captivity. Tench was especially enthralled by Arabanoo and learnt much from him while Arabanoo was eager to teach him his language.
When the British arrived, the local people were, as Clendinnen points out, one of the few hunter-gatherer societies left on earth and for the Eora people around Sydney Cove, their seasonal resources were essential for their survival.
Colbee escaped within a week while Bennelong remained in captivity. The matter came to a head on 7 September when Phillip was speared at Manly Cove among a throng of Aborigines numbering Bennelong among them. Arriving on shore the Governor, stepping forth in his confident fashion, met a strangely silent gathering.