The parameters of the St. John’s First Fleeters collection were clearly defined from the outset: this was a project about the First Fleeters who were buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta. However, working with such rich documentary evidence has a way of illuminating other stories, which are significant in their own right and also cast their light upon the stories we originally set out to tell. Not every biographical subject below is buried at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta, nevertheless every single one is inextricably linked in some way to the First Fleet if not to a specific First Fleeter buried at the cemetery. Far from being merely interesting tangential stories from the main feature collection, though, the majority of these biographies feature First Peoples and as such amplify indigenous experiences, particularly the long-term intergenerational effects of the First Fleet’s arrival in the land now known as ‘Australia.’ While only a small contribution to date, these are therefore an essential part of what is ultimately intended to collectively tell a larger and more complex ‘dual history’ of that encounter through individual yet deeply interconnected life stories.
Dicky Bennelong (coming soon)