Arthur Phillip was Captain in the British Royal Navy when commissioned to command and colonise New South Wales in 1786. This biography is significant as it concentrates on Phillip as a person; earlier publications tend to cover his naval career, governorship, or both. His life is depicted on a canvas of the world as he knew it in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries clearly illustrating the character of Australia’s first governor.
Research in Germany and England posed the question ‘did Arthur Phillip have French blood’? Historians have always supposed he was of German extraction. Fergusson introduces the possibility Phillip was of French Huguenot descent. Careful examination of the Portuguese Rebello Transcipts provides clarification of Phillip’s service with the Portuguese Navy and subsequent visits to South America. His name frequently disappeared from Admiralty records, inexplicable until his service as an agent in France for the Home Office became apparent. His time as Commander of the Sea Fencibles is covered, as is his retirement and the mystery surrounding his death. It puts to rest any notion his capabilities were unknown to the British Government when commissioned to lead an expedition of such magnitude to the far side of the world. Includes a foreword by the 37th governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir.