In December 1792 Governor Arthur Phillip returned to England accompanied by Bennelong and Yemmerawanne. Following a six-month voyage, they landed in Falmouth, England on 19 May 1793. Bennelong and Yemmerawanne stepped ashore into an alien world where they were cast as both colonial exhibits and Eora diplomats.



They are cruel, particularly to their women, whom they beat in a most barbarous manner on every occasion. That instinct which teaches to propagate and preserve the species, they possess in common with the beasts of the field, and seem exactly on a par with them in respect to any further knowledge of, or attachment to kindred. 

 - Lloyd's Evening Post, 29 May 1793



From the description given of the natives of Jackson’s Bay they appear to be a race totally incapable of civilization, every attempt to that end having proved ineffectual … no inducement, and every means have been perseveringly tried, can draw them from a state of nature …

- Lloyd's Evening Post, 29 May 1793



Governor Phillip signified a determination of quitting his government, and returning to England in the Atlantic. To this he was induced by perceiving that his health hourly grew worse, and hoping that a change of air might contribute to his recovery

- Judge Advocate David Collins, An account of the English colony in New South Wales, Volume 1, (October 1792) 1802



With the governor there embarked, voluntarily and cheerfully, two natives of this country, Bennillong and Yem-mer-ra-wan-nie, two men who were much attached to this person; and who withstood at the moment of their departure the united distress of their wives, and the dismal lamentations of their friends, to accompany him to England, a place that they well knew was at a great distance from them.

- Judge Advocate David Collins, An account of the English colony in New South Wales, Volume 1, (December 1792) 1802



Governor Philip has brought home with him two natives of New Holland, a man and a boy, and brought them to town. The Atlantic has also on board four kangaroos, lively and healthy, and some other animals peculiar to that country.

- Lloyd's Evening Post, 29 May 1793



With Phillip to return to Britain in 1792 Bennelong and his Wangal kinsman Yemmerawanne, a young man much attached to Phillip, were asked to accompany the Governor. Both were travelling as exhibits and as diplomats. Bennelong boarded HMS Atlantic with Phillip on 10 December 1792.[1] Collins noted that at the moment of their departure both Bennelong and Yemmerawanne seemed relaxed and cheerful despite the lamentations of their friends and relatives. The journey would form the next stage in the process of political and personal negotiations with a people who were likely to become permanent fixtures in the landscape.  Phillip was following a well-established tradition of displaying indigenous people who would now enjoy the benefits of British protection and civilization. The Atlantic landed at Falmouth on 19 May 1793 after a six-month voyage.

[1] Collins 1975[1798–1802] I: 211.


Primary Text
Dawes – language notebooks
Dumont d’Urville/1
Dumont d’Urville/2


 Secondary Texts
Aboriginal History Vol 33
Aboriginal History Vol 33

Kate Fullagar -Woollarawarre Bennelong: rethinking the tragic narrative

Aboriginal History Vol 33

Keith Vincent Smith -Bennelong among his people

Aboriginal History Vol 33

Kate Fullagar -Bennelong in Britain

Aboriginal History Vol 33

Emma Dortins -The many truths of Bennelong’s tragedy

Attenbrow, Valerie

‘Aboriginal placenames around Port Jackson and Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia Sources and uncertainties’ inAboriginal Placenames.Naming and Re-naming the Australian LandscapeAboriginal History Monograph 19 Edited by Harold Koch and Luise Hercus ANU E Press 2009

Attenbrow, Valerie

Sydney's Aboriginal past: investigating the archaeological and historical records, Sydney, UNSW Press, 2002.

Dictionary of Sydney

Contains biographical entries for many of the people mentioned in text

Powell, Michael and Hesline, Rex

‘Making tribes? Constructing aboriginal tribal entities in Sydney and coastal NSW from the early colonial period to the present.’Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society