After a long career as a journalist with a number of newspapers Dr Keith Vincent Smith developed a strong interest in the history of the First Australians of the Sydney Region, while taking his first university degree as a mature age student at Macquarie University.  His passion for this subject was so intense that he then completed a Masters degree, and a PhD.

Keith Vincent Smith continues his research locally and far away to St Petersberg, London and Dublin, where some of the most significant first record documents now exist.  He has now  published many stories about individual named First Australians, who were witness to the invasion of their country by “Redcoats” and “Gubbas”.

Keith is an invaluable resource to the Keeping Place Project, for checking facts about how the life of the Gadigal, Gameragal and Garigal peoples were so greatly effected by the arrival of that First Fleet on 26th January 1788.   Probably no other single person knows so much about the life of so many named individuals, whose lives were thrown into turmoil by those first British arrivals, who were mostly convicts and provided the foundation for our modern Australian society.


  • The Illustrated Earth Garden Herbal, Nelson, 1978 / Elm Tree Books, London 1979
  • King Bungaree: A Sydney Aborigine meets the great South Pacific Explorers, 1799-1830, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, NSW, 1992
  • Bennelong: The coming in of the Eora, Sydney Cove 1788-1792, Kangaroo Press/Simon & Schuster 2001
  • Wallumedegal: An Aboriginal history of Ryde, City of Ryde, 2005
  • MARI NAWI: Aboriginal Odysseys, Rosenberg, 2010


  • Governor Phillip and a man named Bennelong, Australian Heritage, vol. 1 (Summer 2005); ‘Bennelong, Ambassador if the Eora’, Australian Heritage vol. 2 (Autumn 2006)
  • Historical articles published in National Library News, National Library of Australia, Canberra, include Words are Clues (February 2004); Port Jackson People (July 2005) and Moorooboora’s Daughter (June 2006)
  • Bennelong among his people, Aboriginal History, Vol. 33, ANU Press, Canberra 2009 (also online)
  • Warrane and Built on the Past in SITE, MCA, Sydney 2013
  • The many faces of Bungaree, in Bungaree The First Australian, at Mosman Art Gallery 2013-2014


  • 15 biographical entries at The Dictionary of Sydney. His entries on Bennelong and Pemulwuy were rated the most visited articles for the three years 2012-2015
  • Entries on Daniel Moowattin and Cora Gooseberry Bungaree, are published in print and online in The Australian Dictionary of Biography, which has commissioned forthcoming profiles of Arabanoo and Bennelong
  • Two biographies of Indigenous artists are published at the Design & Art Australia Online website:  Bowen Bungaree, b. 1804, artist, 2007 and Mickey of Ulladulla b.1825
  • A series of ‘Provenance’ articles in SL Magazine, about Bennelong’s sister Carangarang, his travelling companion Yemmerrawanne, Bennelong’s Letter (Summer 2012-13), Sailing into History (Mari Nawi exhibition, Spring 2010) etc. published by The State Library of New South Wales.
  • Three articles articles online in The Electronic British Library Journal, London: Tupaia’s Sketchbook 2005, Confronting Cook 2009, A Song of the Natives of New South Wales 2011
  • Keith Vincent Smith is the author of the Timeline series ‘Incidents between Aboriginal people in NSW and the British colonisers’ from 1770-1822 published online by The Board of Studies, NSW
  • The City of Ryde website Finding Bennelong is based on his historical research.


  • Keith Vincent Smith was employed as senior researcher by Blackfella Films for Episode 1 and for images and parts of other episodes in the SBS television documentary First Australians (2009)


  • Keith Vincent Smith was curator of two exhibitions about Sydney’s Indigenous people at the State Library of New South Wales
  • He was co-curator with Anthony Bourke for EORA: Mapping Aboriginal Sydney 1770-1850, (2006), curator of MARI NAWI: Aboriginal Odysseys, 1790-1850Bennelong’s River at Macquarie University Art Gallery (2008) and,
  • Gamaragal at Manly Art Gallery and Museum (2013-14)

John Young