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Captain Arthur Phillip was a British Royal Navy officer who became the first Governor of New South Wales. He founded the British penal colony – the first permanent European settlement in Australia – that is now the city of Sydney in Australia.
See the fact file below for more information on the Arthur Phillip or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Arthur Phillip worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
- Arthur Phillip was born on October 11, 1738 on Cheapside Street, London, England.
- He was born the youngest child of Jacob Phillip, a teacher and Royal Navy seaman, and Elizabeth Breach, a seafarer’s widow.
- Arthur’s father died in 1739.
- In 1751, he was accepted into the Greenwich Hospital School, a charity school for the sons of poverty-stricken seamen, where he was a competent student.
- He became literate and learned navigational skills and cartography in the charity school.
- Arthur studied in Greenwich Hospital School for two and a half years.
- Afterwards, he signed a seven-year apprenticeship contract aboard Fortune, a 210-ton whaling vessel, at the beginning of the 1754 whaling season.
ARTHUR THE VOYAGER
- As an apprentice, Phillip was in charge of stripping fatty tissues from whale carcasses and packing the blubber into barrels.
- It was not an easy life being an apprentice aboard Fortune because the food was scarce.
- Phillip continued to be an apprentice until July 1755.
- In October 1755, he enlisted in the Royal Navy and assumed the rank of ordinary seaman aboard the HMS Buckingham.
- As part of the HMS Buckingham crew, Phillip rendered active service in the Seven Years’ War.
- He transferred to HMS Stirling Castle in 1762.
- The Siege of Havana in 1762 led to Phillip’s promotion to Lieutenant.
- Phillip retired on half pay and returned to England after the Seven Years’ War ended in 1763.
- On July 19, 1763, Phillip married Margaret Denison and moved to Glasshayes in Lyndhurst, Hampshire.
- He was able to build a farm in Glasshayes, known as the Vernals Farm.
- He and his wife separated in 1769.
RETURN TO THE NAVY
- In 1774, Phillip returned to active service as captain of the Portuguese fleet in the Portuguese-Spanish War.
- In 1778, Phillip returned to serve in the English Navy and obtained command of HMS Basilisk in 1779, then HMS Europa in 1781.
- After peace treaties were signed and ended the wars, Phillip retired on half pay on May 25, 1784.
- On October 12, 1786, Phillip was appointed the command of HMS Sirius and the duty of founding a British penal colony in New South Wales.
- He became the first Governor of New South Wales.
- The voyage to Australia was planned to span eight months and Phillip had to first assemble his fleet.
- In building a new settlement, Phillip initially planned to assemble people with farming and construction backgrounds.
- However, what he got was convicts accompanied by troops.
- On May 13, 1787, eleven ships of the First Fleet set sail from Portsmouth, England to Australia.
- The journey was not easy; the fleet experienced the threat of famine on the Kurnell Peninsula. Nonetheless, they successfully established settlement at Port Jackson on February 15, 1788.
- Despite the struggle of building a permanent colony amidst limited supplies and prolonged starvation periods, Governor Phillip focused on establishing order.
- Instead of running the colony as a prison camp, he administered based largely on the courts of law.
- He also adopted a conciliatory policy towards the Eora Aborigines who were settled around Sydney Harbour.
- Personally, he extended friendship towards an Eora native named Bennelong.
- Even with a policy that declared that the indigenous tribe must be treated well and fairly, complete trust was never formed between the Aborigines and the settlers.
- The Eora tribe was later wiped out because of diseases brought to the land by the European settlers.
STABLE COLONY AND RETURN TO ENGLAND
- The colony finally stabilised in 1790 and became well-established by 1792 after the arrival of two more fleets.
- The colony established a whaling industry, farming, trade, importing of sheep, and agriculture.
- Because of poor health, he resigned from his governorship in 1792 and set sail to England aboard the Atlantic, together with his Eora friend Bennelong.
- He left the European colony with a population of more than 4,000 (of whom around 75% were convicts.)
- Phillip made it to London in May 1973.
LIFE AFTER GOVERNORSHIP
- In 1794, Phillip married Isabella Whitehead, and lived in Bath, England where he recovered to good health.
- In 1796, he returned to serve at sea in the wars against the French.
- He was promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1799.
- At 67 years old, he retired from the Navy with the rank of Admiral of the Blue.
- Arthur Phillip died in Bath in 1814.
- Various places in Australia were named after the governor, such as Phillip Island in Victoria, Phillip Island in Norfolk Island, and Phillip Street in Sydney.
Arthur Phillip Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Arthur Phillip across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Arthur Phillip worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Captain Arthur Phillip who was a British Royal Navy officer who became the first Governor of New South Wales. He founded the British penal colony – the first permanent European settlement in Australia – that is now the city of Sydney in Australia.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Arthur Phillip Facts
- All About Arthur
- New South Wales
- False Alarm
- Before and After Governorship
- Service in the Navy
- Life as Governor
- Explorers of Australia
- According To Arthur
- If I Were Governor
- Letter to the Late Governor
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Link will appear as Arthur Phillip Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 19, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.