Essential reading for all aussies and brits,
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This review is from: Dancing With Strangers: The True History of the Meeting of the British First Fleet and the Aboriginal Australians, 1788 (Kindle Edition)
I am 65 years old - fifth generation Australian - ashamed to admit to utter ignorance of my country's first years. This book was not just a great read, it was easy going, but made me a bit ashamed, perhaps something wrong with our auzzie education system. It took me back to my grandmother chatting about her 1890's - the ship wreck and gold rush of the 1850's, but the book was about first european contact in the 1780/90's. We are so swept into the 21st centuary it is almost impossible to relocate ones mind to that era.
Practically every one knows about the Sydney Opera House, and perhaps they know it is built on Bennilong point - a spit of land charging into Sydney Harbour from the botanical gardens and the Governors residence .
Aurther Phillip, England's initial governor in New South Wales, was a good man doing a very hard job. More or less he has now been lost to history, but this book brings him back from the dead. More importantly it bings back Bennilong, the first native Australian to learn properly to speak English. Bennilong so loved the govenor, he camped out with his extended family in the garden of government house. This became impossible and while most of the resident in Sydney were living in tents or mud brick shacks the governer built Bennilong a 4 room stone quasi mansion. The house is long gone, but the Opera House now stands proud on Bennilong point.
Enjoy - as history goes this book is great.