The Friends of the First Government House Site Inc. was formed following a public meeting held at Macquarie Place, Sydney, on Sunday morning, 14 August 1983.
The Bloodworth Association, descendants of James Bloodworth, convict builder of Governor Phillip's First Government House in Sydney, called the 14 August meeting. It was attended by federal and state MPs, archaeologists and citizens concerned about Australia's early colonial heritage.
At the inaugural meeting of the Friends at the old School of Arts Building, Pitt Street, Sydney, on 17 August 1983 a committee was formed and Mrs Nell Sansom, a Bloodworth descendant, was elected as chairman. Mrs Sansom, now in her 90's, remains honourary chairman of the Friends and was awarded an OAM for her dedicated part in helping to save the site.
In 1984 the Friends decided to hold an annual Foundation Day lecture to commemorate the laying of the foundations stone by Governor Phillip on 15 May 1788. The inaugural guest speaker was Professor John Mulvaney, Department of PreHistory and Anthropology at the ANU, Canberra. It was the first of several Foundations Day talks to be turned into book form.
These talks have become the highlight of the Friends annual programme of functions which also include Heritage Week, the AGM and our Christmas party. "The Site Gazette", the Friends mouth-piece and quarterly newsletter, is professionally written and presented by editor Cam Ford. Also, Friends members have been well represented in the Letters to the Editor pages of major newspapers and continue to have an input.
We raised funds mainly through holding street stalls, membership fees and functions. The Friends became established over the years as a dedicated volunteer self-funded heritage group, and has never had a government grant.