The Sydney Opera House is located on an historic piece of land called Bennelong Point. This area was named after an Aboriginal man kidnapped from the Manly district in 1789 by Governor Arthur Phillip and taken to Sydney Cove to be an interpreter and go between.
Intelligent, communicative and affable, Bennelong involuntarily became the first Aboriginal person to live with the invading colonists.
In 1791 Governor Phillip had a brick hut built for him on Bennelong Point and many other Aboriginal people came to camp and live around it.
It would appear he became used to European ways and in adopting them became somewhat alienated from his own family and people.
In 1791 and again in 1795 Sydney Aboriginal people held ceremonies at the head of Farm Cove (originally called Wuganmagali) now the Botanic Gardens.
Bennelong ran the first ceremony as a gesture of reconcilliation between the races. Many other Aboriginal people took part in the 1795 initiation ceremony ironically held on the 26th of January now commemorated as Australia Day or to many, Invasion Day.
The events were recorded in some detail at the time and are probably the first documented dance performances in the history of the nation.
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