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Bennelong is considered as one of the most significant and well-known Aboriginal people in the early history of Australia. Bennelong became one of the first Indigenous Australians to be ‘civilized’ into the European way of life, enjoying its ‘benefits’ and living with the British settlers.
See the fact file below for more information on the Bennelong or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Bennelong worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Woollarawarre Bennelong was the son of Goorah-Goorah and Gagolh.
- He was born approximately in 1764 in New South Wales, Australia.
- Bennelong was a member of the Wangal clan, connected with the south side of the Parramatta River.
- Bennelong resided in the Sydney region when the British came and established the first permanent colony in Australia.
- Bennelong had many sisters, Wariwéar, Karangarang, Wûrrgan, and Munânguri, who married prominent men from nearby clans, thereby creating political links for their brother.
- Bennelong had 4 different names (Wolarrebarre, Wogultrowe, Boinba, and Bundabunda) that were given to him at different times during the several ritual inductions he underwent.
- Memel’s island in Port Jackson was part of his own property, inherited through his father.
- He had different wives: the first one, whose name is unknown, died, probably from smallpox, before he was captured. Then, he married the Cammeray clanswoman Barangaroo, who died soon after in 1791. He then took up with a Gweagal woman, Kurubarabüla, after kidnapping her, and they lived together for a year until his departure for England. He had a son named Dicky on his return, by another woman. His last wife, Boorong, was buried with him.
- Bennelong was brought to the settlement at Sydney Cove in November 1789 by order of King George to the governor, Arthur Phillip.
- King George III had ordered the first governor of the settlement, Arthur Phillip, to set up friendly connections with the Aborigines. However, during that time the Eora would not come anywhere near and avoided contact with the new settlers.
- Out of desperation, Phillip decided to kidnap an Eora person so that he could learn their language and their customs.
- A man named Arabanoo was captured but died from smallpox a few months later in May 1789. Smallpox caused a lot of deaths among the Aborigines around Sydney.
- In November 1789 Bennelong, along with Colbee, was captured by a group of soldiers and taken to Sydney Cove. Two weeks later, Colbee was able to escape, while Bennelong remained as a prisoner in the Governor’s house.
- Bennelong, like as Arabanoo, soon adopted European dress and ways and was trained in the English language.
- Bennelong served the British by teaching them about Aboriginal customs and language.
- After six months, Bennelong escaped and went back to his clan.
- Phillip was speared in May 1790 at Manly, most likely as punishment for the kidnappings.
- Bennelong was at Manly but did not take part in the attack on Phillip but was worried about Phillip’s injury and returned to the settlement to make sure he was alright. Bennelong stayed friendly with Phillip, and even gave the new settler the Aboriginal name Wolawaree.
- Later in 1790, Bennelong asked Phillip to build him a hut on the edge of Sydney Harbour that became known as Bennelong Point and is currently the site of the Sydney Opera House.
VISIT TO ENGLAND
- In 1792, Bennelong and another Aborigine named Yemmerrawannie or Imeerawanyee sailed with Phillip to England.
- They were presented to King George III on May 24, 1793. When they arrived in England they were instantly made clothes suitable for a meeting with the King.
- Yemmerrawannie died and was buried in Britain, but Bennelong arrived back in Sydney in September 1795 obviously influenced by the British way of dressing and behavior, something he tried to impart on his family.
- Bennelong held an honored position in the colony, teaching Governor Hunter about the indigenous people.
- Bennelong was also a significant position in the political and cultural life of Eoras.
- He often participated in local battles and ceremonies, including the last recorded initiation ceremony in Port Jackson in 1797.
- Bennelong was the leader of a 100-strong clan living on the north side of the river, west of Kissing Point in Wallumedagal country by the early 19th century.
- In 1796, Bennelong wrote a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, the first written in English by an indigenous Australian.
- Bennelong, who had long been troubled by alcohol, died at Kissing Point (now known as Putney, in Sydney’s North West) on January 3, 1813.
- A memorial in Cleves Park, in Putney, New South Wales, points to the spot where he is believed to be buried.
- A park at Kissing Point, near where Bennelong died, is named Bennelong Park.
- Being the first Australian indigenous person to be honored in the name of an electoral division, the seat of Bennelong in the Federal parliament is named after him.
- The site of the Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, is named after him.
- Bennelongia, an ostracod genus, was named after him in 1981. This genus can be found only in Australia and New Zealand.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Bennelong across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Bennelong worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Bennelong who is considered as one of the most significant and well-known Aboriginal people in the early history of Australia. Bennelong became one of the first Indigenous Australians to be ‘civilized’ into the European way of life, enjoying its ‘benefits’ and living with the British settlers.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Bennelong Facts
- Life Summary
- Locating Sydney
- Find the Words
- Fact or Bluff?
- Bennelong: A Timeline
- The Aboriginal People
- Bennelong and Arthur Phillip
- Bennelong’s Letter
Link/cite this page
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Link will appear as Bennelong Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 2, 2020
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.