Last September, I read Kate Grenville’s The Lieutenant, a fictionalised account of William Dawes,
first astronomer, and his friendship with an Aboriginal girl, Patyegarang.
There was something in it that caught me, made me want to find out more about
the man, their friendship, the story. The only trouble is that such knowledge
is rather scant. Sydney
As with Arthur Stace, the ‘Eternity man,’ (another of Sydney’s key dreamers), it seems no history of Sydney is complete without mentioning Dawes, his little observatory on the headland now buried beneath the southern pylons of the Bridge, his brief relationship with Patyegarang, the Aboriginal girl who taught him fragments of her language.