A memorial stone to Admiral Arthur Phillip, founder of New South Wales in Australia, can be seen in the centre part of the nave of Westminster Abbey, just to the west of David Livingstone's grave. The floor stone was unveiled on 9th July 2014 by Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The sandstone memorial is by sculptor Ken Thompson. The main inscription is in the centre and reads:
Admiral Arthur Phillip Royal Navy 1738-1814
Around this in a circular inscription:
First governor of New South Wales & founder of modern Australia
At the base is a carved kangaroo.
Arthur was born in London on 11th October 1738, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Breach) and was educated at the school of the Royal Naval College in Greenwich. By the time he was nine years old he was serving at sea. He rose to be Commander of the First Fleet and he was known for the humane treatment of his men and his excellent navigation skills. As well as being a world-class seaman he was also a linguist, espionage agent against the French and a commodore in the Portuguese Navy. He served in the West Indies, South America and the Mediterranean. The New South Wales colony was founded in 1788, after overcoming extraordinary odds, with Phillip as its first Governor. He attained the rank of Admiral for his naval service. On 19th July 1763 he married widow Margaret Denison and his second wife was Isabella Whitehead. He had no children. He died at his house in Bath on 31st August 1814 and was buried at St Nicholas' church, Bathampton. In that church and in Bath Abbey he is commemorated by an Australia chapel, a window and tablet.
"Arthur Phillip…his voyaging" by A. Frost, 1987
"Admiral Phillip…" by L. Becke and W. Jeffrey, 1899
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004
Order of Service for A Service to Dedicate a Memorial to Admiral Arthur Phillp RN (PDF, 523KB)
This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library
Image © 2023 Dean and Chapter of Westminster