The First Governor – a Bicentenary Symposium on Arthur Phillip

To commemorate the bicentenary of Arthur Phillip’s death, Sydney Living Museums presented a symposium on the man, his life and his legacy at the site of first Government House, Museum of Sydney.

At this full-day event, some of Australia’s most significant scholars of colonial history revealed the contributions Phillip made to the founding of modern Australia. From his role preparing for the voyage of the First Fleet, to his five years as the colony’s first governor, the symposium was a fascinating and intimate exploration of the founding of the colony, and the life, career and continuing importance of the man who governed it.

Order of Ceremonies

Arrival 9am for 9.15am


  • Welcome – Mark Goggin, Director, Sydney Living Museums
  • Welcome to Country –  Metro Land Council
  • Introduction – Caroline Butler-Bowdon, Assistant Director, Sydney Living Museums

9.30am - 11am

Session 1 - Phillip’s life

Chair – Andrew Tink, Collections & Access

  • Michael Pembroke - Phillip before Sydney
  • Michael Flynn – Researching Phillip's life

11am - 11.30am: Morning Tea

11.30am - 1pm

Session 2: Phillip’s Leadership

Chair – Caroline Bulter-Bowdon, Assistant Director, Creative Services

  • Gary Sturgess – Commodore of the Fleet
  • Grace Karskens  - Phillip and the Eora

1pm - 2pm: Lunch

2pm - 3.30pm  

Session 3: Phillip’s Sydney

Chair – Dr Sophie Lieberman, Head of Programs

  • Andrew Tink – Governor of the Colony 
  • Jane Kelso, historian – The first Government House
  • Jacqui Newling, interpretation curator – Phillip's table – food in the early colony

3.30pm - 4pm: Afternoon tea

4pm - 5pm

Session 4: Phillip’s Legacy – Panel discussion

Chair – Grace Karskens 

  • Michael Pembroke, Michael Flynn, Gary Sturgess and Andrew Tink

5pm - 5.15pm

Vote of thanks and close

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When & Where

Friday 5 September 2014 9AM–5PM

Museum of Sydney

Corner Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney, NSW 2000
Museum: 02 9251 5988