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Today the Heads and Deputy Heads of School will be attending the Admiral Arthur Phillip Commemoration Service at St Mary Le Bow Church in the City of London. This service is being held to celebrate Arthur Phillip’s life and honour the bicentenary of his death.

Adirmal Arthur Philip

Admiral Arthur Phillip was born not far from St Mary Le Bow in 1738 and was educated at the Greenwich Hospital School, now the Royal Hospital School, Ipswich. He joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 and during this time he fought in the Seven Years’ War and the Spanish-Portuguese War. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1762 and later to Captain in 1781.

In September 1786 Phillip was appointed Commodore of the Fleet which was to transport convicts and soldiers to settle in Botany Bay in Australia. Eleven ships took part in this eight month voyage carrying all of the supplies needed to start a new colony. On arriving at Botany Bay, Phillip decided that it was not suitable for a settlement, he searched for a new area and on 26 January 1788 landed at Sydney Cove, named after Lord Sydney. Arthur Philip became the first Governor of New South Wales (1788-1792).

Phillip set up the colony and ensured that the settlement was well established; having to battle through a lack of supplies following the wreck of the HMS Sirius and an influx of convicts who were too sick to work. By 1792 Phillip was suffering from the poor diet and was granted permission to return to England. In 1799 he became a Rear-Admiral and retired from the Navy in 1805 with the rank of Admiral of the Blue. He continued to correspond with those in New South Wales and promote the interests of the colony with government officials until his death in 1814.

In memory of this illustrious former pupil, the Royal Hospital School is hosting the ‘Admiral Arthur Phillip Bicentenary Dinner’ on Saturday 29 March, 2014. The evening will include a superb Australian inspired three-course meal with Sir Michael Savory, Chairman of the Britain-Australia Society, as the Guest of Honour. For more information and tickets contact amurrison@royalhospitalschool.org

Arthur Phillip Dinner poster 2