'Woollarawarre Bennelong (c1764-1813) was the most significant Indigenous man in early Sydney and also, in retrospect, the most misrepresented and underestimated. He was one of the first to face the dilemma of knowing two cultures. In the end he chose his own.
Bennelong did not fade into obscurity in the second part of his life after his return from England in 1795. He resumed a traditional Aboriginal lifestyle, regained authority as a leader, remarried and had a son. He died at the age of 50 as a respected elder mourned by his people.
This article is based on a careful examination and unravelling of records compiled by the British officers of the 'First Fleet', whose journals, diaries, language notebooks, official despatches, private letters and printed histories still survive. As Marcia Langton remarked: 'These officers were the first British ethnologists, whatever their purposes and whatever their prejudices.'1 Whatever their motives, these observers wrote down what they saw with their own eyes and what they were told by their Indigenous informants, principally Bennelong.' Source: Keith Vincent Smith.