Woollarawarre Bennelong

Woollarawarre Bennelong (abt. 1764 - 1813)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Woollarawarre Bennelong aka Baneelon
Born about in Parramatta River, New South Wales, Australiamap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
Died in Kissing Point, Sydney, New South Wales, Australiamap
Profile last modified | Created 24 Apr 2017 | Last significant change: 26 Nov 2018
22:56: Veronica (Coat) Williams edited the Locked Status for Woollarawarre Bennelong (abt.1764-1813). [Thank Veronica for this | 1 thank-you received]
This page has been accessed 549 times.

Categories: Indigenous Australians | Notable Indigenous Australians | Parramatta, New South Wales | Sydney, New South Wales | Eora | Indigenous Australians Project.

Aboriginal Flag
Woollarawarre Bennelong was an Indigenous Australian.
Join: Indigenous Australians Project


Born near the Parramatta River, Woollarawarre Bennelong was named after a fish and would have been about 6 years old in April 1770 when Lieutenant James Cook and the botanist Joseph Banks-870 spent a week at Botany Bay on the discovery ship, HMS Endeavour. He was of the Wangal Clan, "part of the Eora (a.k.a. Dharawal, Darug, Dharuk) language speaking group, who contributed to contemporary Australian English words like dingo, woomera, wallaby, wombat, and waratah.[1] The Wangal area centred around what is now Homebush Bay. Miriam Corowa stated that Bennelong was of the Bidgigal clan[2].

He was aged about 24 in 1788 when the First Fleet arrived, resulting in mid-1789 in the deaths of many of his people, including his first wife, from smallpox. "It was estimated to have killed about 50% of Sydney's indigenous population."[3]

On 25 November of that year, Governor Phillip-196 had Bennelong and Colobee (Colebe of the Cadigal[4] people)[5] abducted at Manly Cove by Lieutenant William Bradley's boat crew, and taken to Sydney Cove, which changed Woollarawarre's life for ever, becoming the best known Aboriginal figure in the first decades of European settlement. He lived with Governor Phillip, whose intention was that Bennelong and Colebe act as peace makers with the local aborigines. That seemed to be the case, as in September 1790 both brought their families to the town. However, Colebe failed to bring in Pemulwuy, "a powerful Aboriginal resistance leader"[6], after the latter killed convict John McIntyre, the Governor's gamekeeper, in December of that year. In fact, by that time Colebe had already become particularly violent towards Aboriginal women (ref.5).

On 10 December 1792, Bennelong sailed on the convict ship "HMS Atlantic" with Phillip to England, where the intention had been to be presented to King George III. It is doubtful that this ever happened. He eventually returned to New South Wales on the "HMS Reliance" on 7 September 1795 after much ill health and home sickness. Sometime after 1803 he married again and had a son Dicky Bennelong-1 who was adopted and baptised as Thomas Walter Coke, by the Reverend William Walker. He returned to his old habits, preferring to taste the liberty amongst his native scenes. He spent his last years in the orchard of the friendly ex-convict brewer James Squire (c1755–1822) at Kissing Point (now Putney). His obituary was published in The Sydney Gazette, 9 January 1813.

He is understood to be buried, along with 2 other indigenous people, on land formerly part of James Squire’s estate, in what is now Hordern Avenue, Putney.[7]


  1. Wangal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wangal
  2. Message Stick. Summer Series - Pemulwuy: A War of Two Laws Pt 1, 2010. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/messagestick/stories/s3084205.htm
  3. Cumpston, J. H. L. (1914). The History of Small-Pox in Australia, 1788-1908. Melbourne: Government Printer, Government of Australia. (This epidemic is unlikely to have been a natural event. see, Warren (2013) doi 10.1080/14443058.2013.849750 [After Cook] and coinciding with Colonisation Archived 25 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.)
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadigal
  5. Colebe (?–?). http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/colebe-1909
  6. Pemulway, Keith Vincent Smith, 2010. https://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/pemulwuy
  7. Jamie McKinnell and Jean Kennedy, Woollarawarre Bennelong burial site to be preserved after Government's $3m purchase, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 18 Nov 2018

See also

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Searching for someone else?
First: Last:

No known carriers of Woollarawarre's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 1
Woollarawarre Bennelong Image 1
Woollarawarre Bennelong Image 1

  • Login to edit this profile.
  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Christopher Laughton and Australia Project WikiTree. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)
  • Public Q&A: These will appear above and in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum. (Best for anything directed to the wider genealogy community.)

Woollarawarre is 40 degrees from Rosa Parks, 25 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 20 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

B  >  Bennelong  >  Woollarawarre Bennelong