In 1788 Watkin Tench stepped ashore at Botany Bay with the First Fleet. This curious young captain of the marines was an effortless storyteller. His account of the infant colony, introduced by Tim Flannery, is the first classic of Australian literature.
On leaving England, Tench was commissioned by the publisher John Debrett of Piccadilly to write a book about his adventures. In fact he wrote two. A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay was published in 1789, and A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson in 1793. They are both included in full in this edition of 1788.Watkin Tench was born around 1758 in Chester, England. He joined the marine corps in 1776 and served in the American War of Independence before sailing to Botany Bay with the First Fleet. Tench returned to England in 1792. He stayed with the marine corps before retiring as a lieutenant-general in 1821. Tench died in 1833.
Tim Flannery is a bestselling writer, scientist and explorer. He has published over a dozen books, most recently Among the Islands: Adventures in the Pacific. In 2011 he was appointed chief commissioner of the Australian Climate Commission.
'Tench will always remain the classic contemporary witness of our beginnings.' Les Murray
'Don't for a minute believe that Australian history is a bore. This is a marvellous read.' Sun Herald
'Tench's work is a stunning time machine: he takes us back to the promise and disaster at the beginning of our nation's story; and we stand at the edge of history, laughing and crying.' Chloe Hooper
'Tench is a most charming man of the Enlightenment, and his journal is similarly by far the most disarming and enthusiastic of the First Fleet journals. Where others damned the place, he showed curiosity.' Thomas Keneally
'I fell in love with Tench, as most of his readers do. He is a Boswell on the page: curious, ardent, gleefully self-mocking. He didn't fit my image of a stiff-lipped British imperialist at all.' Inga Clendinnen
'His record sparkles with precision, each word so apt.' Marcia Langton
Tench was back in England by 1792. In October of that year he married Anna Maria Sargent. He served in the war against France but was captured. Imprisoned for six months, he wrote an account of French politics and society. After his release he continued to serve until he retired as a major-general in 1816.
Watkin and Anna Maria had no children of their own but adopted four of Anna’s sister’s children who had been orphaned. Tench died in England in 1833.
First published in 1995, the third novel by the acclaimed writer Peter Goldsworthy is unique in Australian literature: a dazzling, moving story about scientific experimentation and ethics, language and love.
This edition comes with a new introduction by James Bradley.
Peter Goldsworthy has won the FAW Christina Stead Prize for fiction, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and a Helpmann Award, shared with the composer Richard Mills, for the opera Batavia. His poetry and novels have been widely translated; four of his novels and the short story 'The Kiss' have been adapted for the stage. His most recent book is the short-story collection Gravel, shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal for Literature. This year Penguin is publishing His Stupid Boyhood, a comic memoir, and Maestro, his debut novel, is being reissued as an Angus & Robertson Australian Classic.
'[Goldsworthy's] greatest achievement...Brave, brilliant, as intellectually challenging as it is playful, it is testament to a restless and unpredictable imagination.' James Bradley
'Stylish, imaginative, poignant, and hugely unsettling.' Australian
'A deeply satisfying book...represents a new achievement in his fiction...Read it. You won't find another novel like it.' Adelaide Review
As this publication enters the world with the name of the author, candour will, he trusts, induce its readers to believe, that no consideration could weigh with him in an endeavour to mislead them. Facts are related simply as they happened, and when opinions are hazarded, they are such as, he hopes, patient inquiry, and deliberate decision, will be found to have authorised. For the most part he has spoken from actual observation; and in those places where the relations of others have been unavoidably adopted. He has been careful to search for the truth, and repress that spirit of exaggeration which is almost ever the effect of novelty on ignorance.
The nautical part of the work is comprized in as few pages as possible. By the professional part of my readers this will be deemed judicious; and the rest will not, I believe, be dissatisfied at its brevity. I beg leave, however, to say of the astronomical calculations, that they may be depended on with the greatest degree of security, as they were communicated by an officer, who was furnished with instruments, and commissioned by the Board of Longitude, to make observations during the voyage, and in the southern hemisphere.
An unpractised writer is generally anxious to bespeak public attention, and to solicit public indulgence. Except on professional subjects, military men are, perhaps, too fearful of critical censure. For the present narrative no other apology is attempted, than the intentions of its author, who has endeavoured not only to satisfy present curiosity, but to point out to future adventurers, the favourable, as well as adverse circumstances which will attend their settling here. The candid, it is hoped, will overlook the inaccuracies of this imperfect sketch, drawn amidst the complicated duties of the service in which the Author is engaged, and make due allowance for the want of opportunity of gaining more extensive information.
In 1835 John Batman sailed up the Yarra and was astonished by the beauty of the land. It was a temperate Kakadu, teeming with wildlife and with soils rich enough to spawn pastoral empires. With the discovery of gold, the city was transformed almost overnight into 'marvellous Melbourne'. And yet, as Tim Flannery writes, the price paid was environmental ruin and the tragic loss of societies that had flourished on Port Phillip Bay for millennia.
The Birth of Melbourne includes voices that range from tribal elders to Chinese immigrants, from governors to criminals. Among many others, John Pascoe Fawkner, Georgiana McCrae, J. B. Were, Ned Kelly, Marcus Clarke, Anthony Trollope and Rudyard Kipling contribute to this biography of our most surprising city.
'For me, a story is always more vivid when I can marry it to a particular place...I recommend this book to anyone with an affection for Melbourne and a lively interest in its past.' Martin Flanagan, Age