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The Menzies Australia Institute at King’s College London is delighted to announce this year's Menzies Lecture will be delivered by historian, Professor Kate Fullagar on the history of Bennelong and Phillip.

Bennelong and Phillip were leaders of their respective people in the first encounters between Britain and Indigenous Australians, Phillip the colony's first governor, and Bennelong the Yiyura leader. The pair have come to represent the conflict that flared and has never settled.

Kate Fullagar’s new book, Bennelong & Phillip: A History Unravelled (Simon & Schuster, 2023), is the first full biography of Bennelong of any kind and it challenges many misconceptions, among them that he became alienated from his people and that Phillip was a paragon of Enlightenment benevolence.

It tells the story of the men's marriages, including Bennelong's best-known wife, Barangaroo, and Phillip's unusual domestic arrangements, and places the period in the context of the Aboriginal world and the demands of empire.

To present this history afresh, Fullagar narrated these events in reverse order. In this talk she will discuss both her method and her research, asking questions of both conventional ways of writing history and of the role of the past in debates about nations and Indigenous possibility. Fullagar’s book will be on sale at this event.


Prof Kate Fullagar

About the Speaker

Kate Fullagar is Professor of History at Australian Catholic University, fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and co-editor of the Australian Historical Association’s journal, History Australia. She specializes in the history of the eighteenth-century world, particularly the British Empire and the many Indigenous societies it encountered. She is the author of The Savage Visit (Berkeley, 2012), The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist: Three Lives in an Age of Empire (Yale University Press, 2020), and Bennelong & Phillip (Simon and Schuster, 2023).

At this event

Agnieszka Sobocinska

Director of the Menzies Australia Institute

Event details

Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31)
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS