A new joint biography offers a bold, innovative portrait of Bennelong and Governor Arthur Phillip.
The two men were leaders of their sides in the first encounters between Britain and Indigenous Australians: Phillip the colony's first governor, and Bennelong the Yiyura leader.
Kate Fullagar's account is also the first full biography of Bennelong and challenges many misconceptions. Among them is that he became alienated from his people and that Phillip was a paragon of Enlightenment benevolence.
It tells the story of the men's marriages, including Bennelong's best-known wife Barangaroo, and Phillip's unusual domestic arrangements, and places the period in the context of the Aboriginal world and the demands of the empire.
To present a fresh take on this history, the story relates events in reverse, helping to strip away assumptions.
Fullagar is professor of history at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences in the Australian Catholic University.
Bennelong & Phillip: A History Unravelled, by Kate Fullagar (Scribner Australia) RRP $55.