The Arthur Phillip 1987 Two Hundred Dollar coin was issued to commemorate Phillip's departure from England two hundred years earlier in 1787. The
Arthur Phillip was born in 1738 in London, England. In his early years, he attended the Greenwich school for the sons of seamen. His progress all revolved around seamanship and eventually served two years apprenticeship at sea under Captain Redhead aboard the Fortune. He rose through the ranks during the Seven Year War. Over the next fifteen years he served sporadically for the Navy, but most of his focus was taken with farming. He also married and divorced during this time. He served with the Portuguese fleet as Captain and was given command of a ship bound for India too.
Whilst surveying for the Admiralty, he was appointed as governor of New South Wales on the 12th October 1786. His maturity and commanding presence had placed him in this position. He commanded the First Fleet which included the flagship HMS Sirius, HMS Supply, Charlotte, Scarborough and Friendship. There were 11 ships that made up the First Fleet and they all left Great Britain in order to establish the first European Colony on Australia on 13th May 1787. The entire journey which included stops at Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope took a total of 252 days. On board all 11 ships were a total of 1044 passengers. This was made up of officers, their families, free settlers and convicts. During his five years as governor, he was diligent and methodical.
Eventually, ill-health meant a return to England which took place in December 1792. His outstanding achievement was highly commended. After his health had been restored, he was given a last task to help the New South Wales colony. He was ordered to assemble another company to service the colony within the New South Wales Corps. He continued to be unofficially consulted on matters pertaining to the colony for some time. Ill-health had prevented him returning to the colony as he had wished to do. He did, however, return to Naval duties and continued through the ranks until he retired in 1805. He passed away on the 31st August 1814, three months after receiving his last promotion to Admiral of the Blue.