The little known part Charles II had in the naming of Sydney

Friday, 6 January, 2012

Former Australian politician turned author Andrew Tink’s new book, “Lord Sydney”, contends Australia’s most populous city derives its name from Algernon Sidney, a British politician executed in 1683 for treason, following the 1784 decision by his nephew Tommy Townshend, as Britain’s home secretary, to establish a penal colony in its distant territory.

In 1784, as home secretary, Lord Sydney had responsibility in cabinet for choosing the new destination for transportation. He chose Botany Bay. He was the first minister to do so. On his recommendation, the government nominated NSW as the site for convict transportation, and Lord Sydney instructed the Treasury to finance a fleet. On January 22, 1788, the first governor of the colony, Arthur Phillip, found a safer mooring for his fleet than Botany Bay. He named it Sydney Cove. He did so in honour of the home secretary who, after setting the destination, had sponsored the expedition. (The news of this small honour would not reach Lord Sydney for 14 months.)

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