Arthur Phillip Bicentenary


Sydney Living Museums announces Governor Arthur Phillip Bicentenary commemorative events

Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Heritage today announced a program of special events, led by the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, to mark the Bicentenary of the death of Governor Arthur Phillip on 31 August 1814.

One of the founders of modern Australia, Governor Phillip was the Commander of the First Fleet and first Governor of New South Wales.

“Governor Phillip made an outstanding contribution to New South Wales and this Bicentenary is an appropriate moment for the Government to commemorate his achievements through a program of events across our cultural institutions and gardens.” said Mr Stokes.

The commemorative program includes the installation of a Phillip memorial bust on First Government House Place, the forecourt of Museum of Sydney, a dedicated symposium exploring the life and legacy of Governor Phillip, a series of daily tours at the Museum of Sydney, talks and collection displays at the State Library and Royal Botanic Gardens, and special tours of Sydney Cove and Parramatta River.

This announcement comes on the eve of an official commemoration, marking the death of Governor Phillip at London’s Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 9 July. At this service a memorial stone will be dedicated to Admiral Arthur Phillip RN in the presence of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and attended by Her Excellency Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Governor of NSW.

Mark Goggin, Director of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, said: “Our special program of events celebrates the life and work of Governor Arthur Phillip and invites people of all ages to gain insight into the significant contribution he made to the early colony that has shaped the modern nation of Australia.”

A memorial bronze bust of Governor Phillip will be installed on First Government House Place at the Museum of Sydney in a free public event at 11.30am on Thursday 28 August. Sculpted by Jean Hill in 1952 and originally located in First Fleet Park before being moved into storage during the renovations of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority has recently undertaken conservation work on the bust. The installation of the bust has been supported with a gift from the Friends of The First Government House Site and the Kathleen Hooke Memorial Trust.

On 5 September, the Historic Houses Trust will host a full-day symposium inspired by the life and work of Governor Phillip at the Museum of Sydney. Showcasing the work of some of Australia’s most significant scholars of colonial history including Michael Pembroke, Associate Professor Grace Karskens and Andrew Tink, OAM, the symposium will explore Phillip’s contribution to modern Australia.

From July onwards, new daily half-hour tours at the Museum of Sydney offer fresh insights into Governor Phillip’s story. The tour, entitled A Good Foundation: Phillip’s House, guides visitors around the foundations of what was once the most prominent building in the colony. Visitors will learn that the house was a significant meeting place between Gadigal people and Europeans and discover some of the important events that took place in the building including printing the first newspaper, making the first laws of the colony and the nation’s first and only political coup.

The program, presented by the Historic Houses Trust, is supplemented by events across greater Sydney, commemorating Governor Phillip, including talks, tours and activities at the State Library of NSW, Royal Botanic Gardens and Western Sydney Parklands.

Click here for more on Governor Phillip.


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Lara Dawson
Lara Dawson
Former Media Manager
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Lara, the former Sydney Living Museums’ Media Manager, covered a variety of heritage and cultural topics including architecture, heritage...

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