unknown artist

Phillip Parker King

About this item: 

Phillip Parker King was the son of Philip Gidley King, third Governor of the colony of New South Wales, and his wife Anna Josepha King.

Born on Norfolk Island in 1791, he is often referred to as the first Australian born person to have achieved success beyond the colony. He was named for Governor Arthur Phillip rather than for his father, Philip Gidley King.

Educated in England, King entered the Royal Navy and became a skilled surveyor. In 1817, when King was appointed to continue and consolidate Matthew Flinders’ earlier exploration of the Australian coastline, he was accompanied by Bungaree from the Broken Bay region.

In 1826 King had command of HMS Adventure, surveying off the South American coast in company with HMS Beagle. Onboard the Beagle were Charles Darwin and artist Conrad Martens. Martens later settled in Sydney in 1835. Phillip Parker King returned to Sydney in 1832.

Painted in 1816, this is likely to have been an official portrait commissioned before King took up command of the Adventure the following year.

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