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Rosetta Phillips (1786–1844)

by Colin Choat

The Enchantress, 376 tons, Captain David Roxburgh, left London on 4 December 1832 with a general cargo and a number of passengers. After a voyage of more than four months the vessel arrived in Sydney on 24 April, 1833. The passenger list published in The Sydney Herald on 25 April 1833 was incomplete because Rosetta Phillips had made the voyage but her name did not appear on the passenger list. In The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, on 30 April 1833 was a note of thanks to the captain of the ship for “kindness and polite attention” given during the voyage. The note was signed by 12 people including Rosetta Phillips.

Rosetta arrived with her son, Solomon, and his wife, Caroline. Solomon and Caroline (nee Solomon) had married in London, on 24 October 1832. Rosetta's daughters, Hannah and Sarah, were also on board the ship. Another daughter, Catherine, had arrived in Sydney on the Palambam on 10 January 1833. She married Abraham Joseph Levy in Sydney in November 1833. Yet another daughter, Julia, remained in England, having married Aaron Woolf in 1821.

Rosetta Moses had married Philip Phillips in London. His name is shown on the marriage certificate of Solomon Phillips and Caroline Solomon. Philip Phillips probably died before the family came to Sydney as no record has been found of his presence in Australia.

Once in Sydney Rosetta Phillips and her son, Solomon set up business, “next door to the British Standard Hotel, opposite the Gaol,” selling ironmongery and tools.

Rosetta Phillips died at Parramatta on 3 March 1844 and was buried in the Jewish section of the Devonshire Street cemetery. She was 57 years old. When the cemetery was resumed in 1901 to allow for the development of Central Railway Station the remains and tombstone of Rosetta were transferred to the old Jewish section of Rookwood. Her tombstone is one of the oldest in the section.

To date nothing more is known of the life of Rosetta Phillips. However, she left an impressive legacy. Her descendants include Malcolm Fraser, a Prime Minister of Australia; Emanuel Phillips Fox, a prominent Australian artist; Philip David Phillips, a founding partner of Phillips Fox Solicitors; and many other men and women who were prominent in diverse areas.

Citation details

Colin Choat, 'Phillips, Rosetta (1786–1844)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 30 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Moses, Rosetta



3 March, 1844 (aged ~ 58)
Parramatta, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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