Governor Arthur Phillip (1738 - 1814)
source: Australian National Botanic Gardens
Arthur Phillip was born in 1738 in London, the son of Jacob Phillip, a language teacher who came from Frankfurt, and Elizabeth, nee Breach. He attended the Greenwich school for the sons of seamen and was apprenticed to the Merchant Navy, graduating in 1755, after two years at sea. He transferred to the Royal Navy and was promoted to lieutenant in 1762 before being retired in 1763 when the Seven Years War ended.
Phillip spent the next 15 years farming in Hampshire, returning to the sea during the Spanish-Portuguese war when he served with the Portuguese navy from 1774 to 1778. During the American War of Independence in 1778, he returned to the English navy and became a post captain in 1781. After the war, Phillip was doing survey work for the British Admiralty when he was appointed as first governor of New South Wales in October 1786. He had risen in the navy by his own effort at a time when patronage was the norm, and was considered reliable and trustworthy. His knowledge of farming may have also influenced the decision.