Governors of New South Wales

The first five governors of New South Wales were instrumental in the development of Australia since Europeans arrived on the First Fleet in 1788. Governors Arthur Phillip, John Hunter, Philip Gidley-King, William Bligh, and Lachlan Macquarie were given the momentous task of establishing and managing the development of a new British society on the other side of the world.

Each one fought for fairness and justice to prevail in a rapidly changing and dangerous environment.

Their challenge was to establish a new colony with the unwanted felons who were rejected by British society.

Click on an image to go to the Governors page:

Arthur Phillip John Hunter Philip Gidley-King William Bligh 
Lachlan Macquarie

The position of Governor in the New Colony

Lord Sydney chose Captain Arthur Phillip to fill the role as the first governor of New South Wales, as he believed this was a man of great integrity and fairness who would be sympathetic to the plight of the poor souls being transported.  Click here to learn about Lord Sydney.

In the initial days of arrival, the colony was still essentially a prison facility and Captain Phillip looked to the Charter of Justice written by Townshend for guidance and direction. The challenge was great as his officers were going to be dealing with convicts who had endured everything to survive and were afraid of nothing.

The Charter of Justice was first established on January 26, 1788 when Governor Arthur Phillip landed in Botany Bay. It outlined how the colony had to be structured, with new language and terminology.

It left some traditions of the old British legal system such as how the common law would be implemented, but also included the new ideas about freedom of liberties and individual rights, that were still emerging throughout the 18th century.

Some traditions needed to be changed in order to cater for the challenging society that was being established. It was not going to be like the British class system of entitlement; such as first class, second class, and the peasants.

This was seen in the first civil case in the new Colony that took place on 1 July 1788, where two convicts were able to sue the powerful ships captain for a parcel of belonging lost on the First Fleet.  Click here to learn more.

Governor Phillip endeavoured to administer principles in fairness, justice, and supporting individual freedoms as the fledgling society developed in harsh conditions.

Read this great article from ABC News: Five Surprising things about Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of NSW



Colonial Capers! is a fun way for your students to develop their knowledge and understanding about the contribution of past people, who have shaped the course of Australian history, and learn about the nature of history from key changes that have occurred in the past.

This quiz game can be used as a diagnostic resource to introduce the topic of European settlement, or it can be a useful assessment tool to complement the study of European settlement in Australia
(ACHASS1077, ACHASSK085, HT2-3, HT2-4).

PART 1 – the teacher’s edition. It’s got all the answers!
PART 2Colonial Capers SMARTBOARD Quiz

This resource will enable teachers to play the game with their class. Questions are presented in a way where your students can easily see all components for each question.

Answers can be found by discovering clues presented in the question, or are easily identified by using logic.

Other questions are simply a wonderful learning opportunity to discover new knowledge.
It’s a fun way for students to discover important facts about some of the most influential individuals in Australian history.