Postcards from 100 years ago



  Captain Cook Statue - Governor Phillip Statue

Captain Cook Statue

Capt Cook Statue

The statue was officially unveiled by the Governor Sir Hercules Robinson, on Tuesday 25th February, 1879 at a cost of £4400.

The Colony didn't have a lasting memory of its founder, Captain James Cook, so in 1869 the Australian Patriotic Association set about to right a wrong and erect a statue. They were hoping that the statue would be completed in time to correspond with a visit by Prince Albert, but they were wrong (ten years too wrong).  

Capt Cook

The statue would take ten years to complete, due to a shortage of fund and just in time to mark the hundredth anniversary of Cook’s death in Hawaii. The Australian Patriotic Association formed a committee and on the 12th August, 1870, they gathered to discuss how they would raise the funds. The meeting sooned turned from funding to rather more pressing matters, like whether they should erect an iron palisade fence around the statue or whether it should be cast in England or locally (despite the fact they had no possible means of casting it here). The Colonial Secretary, Henry Parkes, at this stage intervened and organised English sculptor Thomas Woolner to send a quote (which was accepted, despite the exorbitant cost). On its completion, in 1878, the statue was briefly displayed opposite the Athenaeum Club in Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, before being shipped to Sydney. It was estimated that over 60,000 people turned out for the unveiling of the statue and 12,000 people joined the procession. 


Governor Phillip Statue

Governor Phillip Statue- Fifty-foot (15.24 m) high monument, created by Italian sculptor Achille Simonetti, honours Captain Arthur Phillip, the 1st Governor of NSW. Unveiled during Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria in 1897.

Messrs Galli Bros of Florence executed the bronze casting of the fifteen-foot (4.5 m) statue of Phillip, and the base statues of Agriculture, Commerce, Neptune (navigation) and Cyclops (mining). Carrara marble pedestal and basins were completed by Coriolano Fontana in Genoa.   

Arthur Phillip was born in Fulham, England in 1738, the son of Jacob Phillip, a German, Frankfort-born language teacher, and his English wife, Elizabeth Breach, who had remarried after the death of her previous husband, a Royal Navy Captain Herbert, R.N. a collateral descendant of the noble family of Herbert, Earl of Pembroke.179 Gov Phillip Statue

Phillip was educated at the school of the Greenwich Hospital and at the age of 13 was apprenticed to the merchant navy.

Phillip joined the Royal Navy at fifteen, and saw action at the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in the Mediterranean at the Battle of Minorca in 1756. In 1762 he was promoted to Lieutenant, but was placed on half pay when the Seven Years War ended in 1763. During this period he married, and farmed in Lyndhurst, Hampshire.

Palace Gardens and Gov.Phillip statue

In 1774 Phillip joined the Portuguese Navy as a captain, serving in the War against Spain. While with the Portuguese Phillip commanded a frigate, the Nossa Senhora do Pilar. On this ship he took a detachment of troops from Rio de Janeiro to Colonia do Sacramento on the Rio de la Plata (opposite Buenos Aires) to relieve the garrison there; this voyage also conveyed a consignment of convicts assigned to carry out work at Colonia. During a storm encountered in the course of the voyage, the convicts assisted in working the ship and on arrival at Colonia Phillip recommended that they be rewarded for saving the ship by remission of their sentences. A garbled version of this eventually found its way into the English press when Phillip was appointed in 1786 to lead the expedition to Sydney. In 1778 England was again at war, and Phillip was recalled to active service, and in 1779 obtained his first command, the Basilisk. He was promoted to captain in 1781, and was given command of the Europe, but in 1784 he was back on half pay.Palace Gardens and Statue

In October 1786, Phillip was appointed captain of HMS Sirius and named Governor-designate of New South Wales, the proposed British penal colony on the east coast of Australia, by Lord Sydney, the Home Secretary. His choice may have been strongly influenced by George Rose, Under-Secretary of the Treasury and a neighbour of Phillip in Hampshire who would have known of Phillip's farming experience.

Phillip had a very difficult time assembling the fleet which was to make the eight-month sea voyage to Australia. Everything a new colony might need had to be taken, since Phillip had no real idea of what he might find when he got there. There were few funds available for equipping the expedition. His suggestion that people with experience in farming, building and crafts be included was rejected. Most of the 772 convicts (of whom 732 survived the voyage) were petty thieves from the London slums. Phillip was accompanied by a contingent of marines and a handful of other officers who were to administer the colony.

The First Fleet, of 11 ships, set sail on 13 May 1787. Captain Arthur Phillip collected a number of Cochineal-infested plants from Brazil on his way to establish the first white settlement at Botany Bay. The leading ship, HMS Supply reached Botany Bay setting up camp on the Kurnell Peninsula, on 18 January 1788. Phillip soon decided that this site, chosen on the recommendation of Sir Joseph Banks, who had accompanied James Cook in 1770, was not suitable, since it had poor soil, no secure anchorage and no reliable water source. After some exploration Phillip decided to go on to Port Jackson, and on 26 January the marines and convicts were landed at Sydney Cove, which Phillip named after Lord Sydney.

Shortly after establishing the settlement at Port Jackson, on 15 February 1788, Phillip sent Lieutenant Philip Gidley King with 8 free men and a number of convicts to establish the second British colony in the Pacific at Norfolk Island. This was partly in response to a perceived threat of losing Norfolk Island to the French and partly to establish an alternative food source for the new colony.

The early days of the settlement were chaotic and difficult. With limited supplies, the cultivation of food was imperative, but the soils around Sydney were poor, the climate was unfamiliar, and moreover very few of the convicts had any knowledge of agriculture. Farming tools were scarce and the convicts were unwilling farm labourers. The colony was on the verge of outright starvation for an extended period. The marines, poorly disciplined themselves in many cases, were not interested in convict discipline. Almost at once, therefore, Phillip had to appoint overseers from among the ranks of the convicts to get the others working. This was the beginning of the process of convict emancipation which was to culminate in the reforms of Lachlan Macquarie after 1811.

Phillip showed in other ways that he recognised that New South Wales could not be run simply as a prison camp. Lord Sydney, often criticised as an ineffectual incompetent, had made one fundamental decision about the settlement that was to influence it from the start. Instead of just establishing it as a military prison, he provided for a civil administration, with courts of law. Two convicts, Henry and Susannah Kable, sought to sue Duncan Sinclair, the captain of Alexander, for stealing their possessions during the voyage. Convicts in Britain had no right to sue, and Sinclair had boasted that he could not be sued by them. Someone in Government obviously had a quiet word in Kable's ear, as when the court met and Sinclair challenged the prosecution on the ground that the Kables were felons, the court required him to prove it. As all the convict records had been left behind in England, he could not do so, and the court ordered the captain to make restitution. Phillip had said before leaving England: "In a new country there will be no slavery and hence no slaves," and he meant what he said. Nevertheless, Phillip believed in discipline, and floggings and hangings were commonplace, although Philip commuted many death sentences.

Arthur PhillipPhillip also had to adopt a policy towards the Eora Aboriginal people, who lived around the waters of Sydney Harbour. Phillip ordered that they must be well-treated, and that anyone killing Aboriginal people would be hanged. Phillip befriended an Eora man called Bennelong, and later took him to England. On the beach at Manly, a misunderstanding arose and Phillip was speared in the shoulder: but he ordered his men not to retaliate. Phillip went some way towards winning the trust of the Eora, although the settlers were at all times treated extremely warily. Soon, smallpox and other European-introduced epidemics ravaged the Eora population.

The Governor's main problem was with his own military officers, who wanted large grants of land, which Phillip had not been authorised to grant. The officers were expected to grow food, but they considered this beneath them. As a result scurvy broke out, and in October 1788 Phillip had to send Sirius to Cape Town for supplies, and strict rationing was introduced, with thefts of food punished by hanging.




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