4. A Great Advantage

A Great Advantage


The King’s Orders to Arthur Phillip


 “You are to endeavour by every possible means to open an intercourse with the natives, and to conciliate their affections.

And if any of our subjects should wantonly destroy them, or give them any unnecessary interruption in the exercise of their several occupations, it is our will and pleasure that you should see such offenders brought to punishment according to the degree of the offence.

You will endeavour to procure an account of the numbers inhabiting the neighbourhood of the intended settlement, and to report your opinion to the secretaries of state in what manner our discussions with the people may be turned to the advantage of the colony.”

We must  protect ourselves


In his ‘Views on the Conduct of the Expedition and the Treatment of Convicts’, Phillip wrote his plans for dealing with Aboriginal people.


“On landing in Botany Bay it will be necessary to throw up a slight work as a defence against the natives – who, tho’ only seen in small numbers by Cook, may be very numerous on other parts of the coast…”

Things to civilise them


“I shall think it a great point gained, if I can proceed on this business without having  any great dispute with the natives; a few of them I shall endeavour to settle near us and whom I mean to furnish with everything that can tend to civilise them, and give them a high opinion of their new guests, for which purpose it will be necessary to prevent the crew from having any intercourse with the natives. The convicts must have none, for if they have, the arms of the natives will be very formidable in their hands, the women abused, and the natives disgusted.”

Aboriginal people were angered when “their ‘guests’” chopped down trees and failed to share their large fish catches. They avoided the ‘settlement’ entirely.

The kidnapping of Arabanoo was Phillip’s first attempt to “civilise them”.

The second attempt was when Bennelong and Colby were captured, after Arabanoo had died in the smallpox epidemic.

A Great Advantage


We must protect ourselves
from the natives

When we land in Botany Bay

Though Cook said there
were just a few

More could be on their way

But I’ve heard that they like hatchets

We’ll be happy to exchange –

So they will like their guests instead of

Thinking we are strange!

I shall think it a great advantage

To be friendly with a few

We’ll give them things to civilise them

They could even live with us too

Or else they could fall into the hands

Of the convicts or the crew

They’d think we were a sorry old lot

They’d be disgusted too!