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Collection 19: Letter from Arthur Phillip to the Marquis of Lansdowne, 3 July 17883 July 1788

by Phillip, Arthur, 1738-1814

Arthur Phillip was appointed first Governor of the colony of New South Wales on 12 October 1786. He was commander of the First Fleet which sailed from Spithead on 31 May 1787 and disembarked at Port Jackson, New South Wales, on 26 January 1788. In December 1792, Phillip returned to England, resigning his post as Governor on 23 July 1793. He died in 1814. 
William Petty, 1st Marquis of Lansdowne and 2nd Earl of Shelburne, was a British politician. Both he and Phillip were associated with a group advocating free trade.


a late excursion seen Smoke; which, with my having traced the Natives thirty miles towards these Hills, leaves no doubt but that there are Inhabitants in the interiour parts of the Country. I thought these Hills worthy the Name I have giving them, and at the foot of which I flatter my self that I shall find a River, that communicates with the Sea, at no great distance from Port Jackson, which I have preferd to Botany bay as affording a more eligible Situation for the Colony, & being with out exception the finest Harbour in the World. my reason for thinking there must be a large River, is the having found pools of water which did not appear to be formed in the Rainy Season. the want of time prevented ye tracing them to their Sauce.

The Woods by which we are surrounded are not removed but with a labour of which no Idea can be formed, & unfortunately the Timber is only fit for fire wood, & I was obliged to fix on this Spot, on account of Water which in the dry Season is scarce, as here are not any Runs of fresh water but