Painting of Captain Arthur Phillip

H. Macbeth-Raeburn (1860-1947), The pioneer, in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip R.N. proceeded from Botany Bay to Port Jackson ...  1936, nla.obj-136096089

National Republicans: The organisation of Australian Nativism website claims a speech was given by Captain Arthur Phillip at the flag raising ceremony on arrival at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788. The site contains an excerpt of the speech given by Phillip. However, the source of the quotation is not cited and the website is of dubious provenance.

Published biographies of Arthur Phillip make no mention of this significant speech. This seems a remarkable omission if the text was, in fact, recorded anywhere. Historical Records of New South Wales also contains no reference to the speech.

The original source of the quoted excerpt is in fact The History of New South Wales by Roderick Flanagan supposedly "compiled from official and other authentic and original sources". However, other commentators such as G.B. Barton, author of History of New South Wales from the records. Vol. I, Governor Phillip, 1783-1789 are firmly of the belief that this speech is "a work of the imagination" by Flanagan.

Additionally, three eyewitnesses to the flag-raising ceremony on 7 Feb 1788 all recorded their memories of the proceedings independently but none of them mentioned anything like the words in this "speech" having being said.

The speech quoted in the Flanagan book was supposedly made on February 7, not January 26 1788. It is the only version of a speech in the few days around the landing that seems to be in existence. On page 29, the Flanagan book simply states that, on January 26, "the principal officers and others assembled round the flag-staff, drank the king's health and success to the settlement" with no indication of the words that were said.