• Sydney

There are many accounts of Bennelong's life. These are the spirits and the energies of the characters, as told by Bangarra. Created by Bangarra's Artistic Director Stephen Page, Bennelong explores the life of one of history's most iconic Aboriginal figures.



Bennelong gestures to the facts of the man Bennelong’s history but has no intention to be an historical recreation and only loosely a chronology of the events of his life. Instead Bennelong is both a particular individual and a bold abstraction, a burden, a role model, a victor, a tragedy, a signpost to the future and an opportunity for contemporary ritual and ceremony.

This production features the First Nations language Sydney language (Sydney basin).

Sections of Bennelong

Sacred - Respecting the space
Birth of Bennelong - The birth of the man who carries five names
Wangal - Eora Nation people, living off the land on their Country, hunting and gathering
Native Vaccinate - Intuition tells the clan unsettling spirits are coming and they must vaccinate and protect themselves
Fleet - The arrival, of which sets a course of destruction for the next two centuries
Observation Smell - First Contact, with both cultures observing mind, body and spirit
Rewind 1788 - Spirit of the Land and Knowledge, consciously reflecting the spirit of Bennelong, the land and the people
Bait - Governor Phillip sends for the capture of Bennelong
Responding - First archetype of assimilation through the wearing of colonial clothing
Onslaught - Smallpox wipes out a whole clan; Bennelong survives
Resistance - Signs of resistance through the energy of Pemulwuy
Rejection - Spearing of Governor Phillip at Manly Cove in a men's initiation
Spirit of Barangaroo - One of Bennelong's wives, Barangarroo, dies
Crown - Bennelong and Yemmerawanye travel to London with Governor Phillip and are feted as a triumph of assimilation; Yemmerawanye dies in London
Repatriation - The ongoing battle for our bones and spirits to be returned from London|
Wives - Bennelong returns from London and does not belong in either world; the five strong female energies who influenced his life
1813/People of the Land - The year Bennelong dies; questioning what he has left, and mourning his own spirit

Duration: 75 minutes

Bennelong premiered in 2017.





Premiere Season: Australian Tour | 2017

Adelaide Festival | 2018

Regional Tour | 2019

Perth Festival | 2020

Western Sydney Season | 2020

    • Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ
      13 - 14 March