A Parramatta exhibition to mark the two centuries since the first Governor of NSW’s death will be one of several commemorative events around the world.
Earlier today, a memorial stone to Arthur Phillip was unveiled at London’s Westminster Abbey at a ceremony attended by retiring NSW governor Dame Marie Bashir, and where the Duke of Edinburgh laid a wreath.
Closer to home, the 200th anniversary exhibition for the first fleet commander’s death will be held at Parramatta’s Hambeldon Cottage from August 1.
It will explore the admiral’s life and feature the seascapes and landscapes through which he moved, for example images of the Arctic seas, where the trained seafarer hunted whale.
Phillip, who established and named the settlement of Parramatta, died in England 200 years ago this year in August 1814.
Parramatta and District Historical Society president Trevor Patrick told the Sun Governor Phillip was the most important person at the head of the first fleet to Australia due not only to his leadership skills but also his knowledge of farming.
“He had a good understanding of farming requirements and that was the key to the success of the settlement,” Mr Patrick said.
“If he hadn't been as skilled in selecting land for agriculture and hadn't had the stamina to direct the colony in all its aspects from day one in 1788, the colony would have been abandoned.
"It could well have been, if the British hadn't established a viable colony - the country could well have instead become an outpost for France."
The exhibition will be held in Hambledon’s Lucas Gallery at Gregory Place from August 1 and run every day to group bookings or Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm for the general public. Guided tours are available with volunteers of the Parramatta and District Historical Society.
"It will show the life interests of Governor Phillip way beyond just setting up the colony."
Mr Patrick said Phillip will also be commemorated later this year at Bath in England, where he is buried.
Tickets: Adults $6, concession $5, children $2.