Arthur Phillip (1738-1814), by unknown artist (State Library of New South Wales)
A special commemorative stone will be unveiled in Westminster Abbey in a gesture to honour Captian (later Admiral) Arthur Philip’s founding of the British colony of New South Wales, Australia in 1788 when the first Brits set foot on Australian soil
Marking the 200 year anniversary of the admiral’s death the stone, engraved with the image of a kangaroo will be unveiled in Westminster Abbey, London.
The efforts to honour the memory and work of Admiral Philip are spearheaded by the Duke of Edinburgh.
London born Admiral Philip commanded the First Fleet of 11 ships which carried convicts, Marines, officials, a few wives and supplies in an eight-month voyage to Botany Bay where they arrived in 1788.
The Britain-Australia Society’s Sir Christopher Benson said Phillip’s efforts and humanitarian principals ensured that he remained a respected member of society who took care with all the passengers on the voyage and partly for his efforts to ensure that New South Wales was governed well and subject to the rule of law.
Opposed to slavery, he ensured that his ‘human cargo’ was safely transported, a spokesman for the society said: “His prisoners were safely transported and arrived fit, healthy and ready to work the land. He embraced the local population, despite being stabbed by a spear, and insisted on fair treatment, including equal rations for all.”
Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, said: “We have a high regard for the relationship with the Commonwealth and Australia.
“Being the Commonwealth Church is an important aspect of the life of Westminster Abbey. It seemed to me to be quite a good thing to have this rather permanent way of marking the relationship.”