Arthur Phillip

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Admiral Arthur Phillip RN (11 October 1738 – 31 August 1814) was a British admiral and colonial administrator. Phillip was appointed Governor of New South Wales, the first European colony on the Australian continent,[1] and was the founder of the site which is now the city of Sydney.[2]


Early life and naval career

Arthur Phillip was born in 1738, the son of Jacob Phillip, a German, Frankfurt-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.

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

Seven Years War

Phillip joined the Royal Navy at about 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.

In 1774 Phillip joined the Portuguese Navy as a captain, serving in the War against Spain. While with the Portuguese Navy, 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.[3] 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.[4]

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