Philip Gidley King

Slightly to my surprise, I have been asked to attend a service in Westminster Abbey today to commemorate the arrival of the first fleet in Sydney on 26th. January 1788.   Sadly, I can’t.   It transpires that my grandmother Muriel was encouraged to visit Australia just before the first world war by her aunt Emmeline (Muriel met my grandfather in Sydney).   Emmeline was the granddaughter of Philip Gidley King, one of the first settlers, who travelled out to Australia as second lieutenant on HMS Sirius, established the first settlement on Norfolk Island, and became the third Governor of New South Wales.  I am not sure whether I like or am disconcerted by these strange leaps of genealogy such that with two jumps I am semi-descended from a man who built the first huts on Norfolk Island and whose first children were by a convict.

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