'The First Proclamation Day'
Speaker: John Lanser
Tuesday 9 February | 12pm | $70

Proc APC Feature 90226

There is nothing legally significant about 26 January 1788, when a group of uniformed men hoisted up a flag, toasted the Crown and fired some shots in the air. It was not the historical establishment of New South Wales. That came 12 days later, on 7 February 1788, Proclamation Day. It was a day of firsts: Sydney’s first public holiday, and the first to be marked with fireworks. But first there was the serious business of swearing in the colony’s first governor.

And after that ...?

Historians do not agree about whether Governor Phillip addressed the convicts, and those who say he did disagree about what he said. Then there is the urban legend, which strikes a modern chord, of a rum-fuelled orgy in the evening. Did such a salacious scandal really happen? Most of the First Fleet officers kept journals, so the question should be easily answered … surely?

John Lanser is a past president and current curator of the Australasian Pioneers’ Club, whose ancestors arrived on the Second Fleet, thereby missing the first Proclamation Day by two years.

More information will be coming soon. To reserve your place please contact our events team on (02) 8273 2322 or