AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2016... no. 18 2016 of Journal of Australian Colonial History est. 1999 Journal of Australian Colonial History
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


  • Contents indexed selectively.


* Contents derived from the 2016 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
The Legend of Frank the Poet : Convict Heritage Recovered or Created?, Jeff Brownrigg , single work criticism

' In 1979, the then eminence grise of Australian folk music, John Meredith, with his co-researcher Rex Whalan, published what they claimed were the extant literary remains of 'Frank the Poet'. They gathered seventeen items of verse which they attributed to an Irish convict, Francis MacNamara, adding what appears to be a quite thorough investigation of surviving convict records to create a brief biography. Invited to write the foreword, the celebrated historian, Professor Russel Ward, offered a prediction.' (Introduction)

(p. 1-22)
[Review Essay] David Syme : Man of the Age, Kate Matthew , single work essay

'Elizabeth Morrison's biography of David Syme makes excellent use of limited historical sources to show us the man behind the Age in the nineteenth century. Never extrapolating too far, Morrison has written an engaging history that explores Syme's life before the Age, and how those experiences impacted the way he ran the newspaper. Syme's strict editorial control over the Age for over thirty years is his public legacy. His contribution to Victorian politics through the editorial stance of the paper, and his own direct intervention in promoting particular candidates, was extensive. He also made a significant contribution to the newspaper industry, undermining monopolies on telegraph news from overseas, challenging the dominance of the Argus, and experimenting with different publications to meet the needs and interests of the reading public. What Morrison has uncovered in this biography is the influence.' (Introduction)

(p. 198-199.)
[Review Essay] Ned Kelly : A Lawless Life, David A. Kent , single work essay

''Mad, bad and dangerous to know' was Lady Caroline Lamb's pithy description of Lord Byron but, as Doug Morrissey shows, the words might be even more appropriately applied to Ned Kelly. With irrational delusions that merged into paranoia Kelly was a career criminal, in an organised network of criminals, for whom extreme violence was simply part of his stock in trade. He lived A Lawless Life — as the subtitle indicates — but the scale and nature of his violent criminality is all too often either ignored or excused by his biographers. Ned's modern equivalent in organised crime might be the leader of an outlaw motor-cycle gang, with fingers in many criminal pies (but especially in the re-birthing of stolen cars), ready to use extreme violence including murder to advance his plans or evade arrest, and generally indifferent to the mores of society at large. It is hard to imagine that such a figure, whose behaviour would be condemned by all except his fellow gang-members and, perhaps, their families, could ever have a sympathetic and romantic mythology develop around his activities. But Ned Kelly, with his bloodthirsty gang whose behaviour outraged the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries, has generated a literature and framed a popular perception that, most often, places him somewhere on the martyrdom spectrum. This sentiment is at the heart of Peter FitzSimons' Ned Kelly: The Story of Australia's Most Notorious Legend (2013) and is merely the latest reworking of the popular myths. Morrissey's book is more than a simple account of A Lawless Life. It is an important revisionary attack on the dominant historiography with its 'old cliches and metaphors' and he highlights the limited research and repetition of multiple errors that are characteristic of most Kelly biographies.' (Introduction)

(p. 199-200)
[Review Essay] The Profilist, Helen Stagg , single work essay

'What an enthralling tale of early colonial life! I enjoyed this novel by Adrian Mitchell which is based on the paintings and sketches of artist, Samuel Thomas Gill. Mitchell's character, Ethan Dibble, fictionally 'represents' Gill, and the novel takes shape through Dibble's journal, fleshing out the period of development between the early years of European settlement in Adelaide about 1839 and the death of Ned Kelly in Melbourne in 1880. In addition to this personal 'eye-witness' account of history, the bonus for me was a familiarisation with some of Gill's works, to which previously I had not given much attention. A relevant image from Gill's collected works comprises the page beginning each chapter.'  (Introduction)

(p. 215-217)
[Review Essay] Fighting Hard : The Victorian Aborigines Advancement League, Julie McIntyre , single work essay

'As one of Australia's foremost historians of Aboriginal Australia, Richard Broome's account of the principal Aboriginal activist organisation in twentieth century Victoria is presented with great skill, and with the profound respect due to its subjects. As Broome explains, another history of the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League (VAAL) was published thirty years ago that did not make use of the organisation's archive. Access to the VAAL's extensive archive is at the core of Broome's stated intention to portray Aboriginal agency in activism. The chronological narrative is contextualised with interviews, and comparisons with the North American black rights movement.' (Introduction)

(p. 223-224)
[Review Essay] Blood Revenge : Murder on the Hawkesbury, Lyndon Megarrity , single work essay

'In 1799, five white men were founding guilty of unlawfully killing two Aborigines at Hawkesbury River settlement in a New South Wales court. However, because of various circumstances, the guilty were allowed to go free and disappear from the pages of history. Blood Revenge is a well-researched study of this law case, and it highlights a number of key factors which influenced the nature of the crime and the way in which the court case was ultimately botched.' (Introduction)

(p. 224-225)
[Review Essay] Caroline's Diary : A Woman's World in Colonial Australia, Ian M. Johnstone , single work

'This is a splendidly readable and meticulously transcribed book of extracts from the colonial Australian diaries kept by Caroline Thomas from 1851, at age 19, to 1895, at age 63. She died seven years later in 1903 aged 70. It is a fascinating, authentic and valuable addition to our intimate knowledge of a courageous pioneering woman. Social and colonial historians will devour it for its details of daily life, and local and family historians, particularly Armidale ones, will be glad of her first hand responses to the early settlers during her sixteen years here. This review concentrates on Caroline Thomas's seventeen years at Saumarez, just west of Armidale airport, from 1857 to 1874'  (Introduction)

(p. 226-227)
[Review Essay] First Fleet Surgeon : The Voyage of Arthur Bowes Smyth, Robert Haworth , single work essay

'Arthur Bowes Smyth was chief surgeon on the Lady Penrhyn, the one of the eleven ships of the First Fleet that carried exclusively female convicts. As well as writing a regular diary for the round journey to Australia and back from 1787 to 1789, he ensured the best health of the convicts and crew by a programme of meticulous cleanliness and good order. As he was not a regular employee of the Royal Navy, but on loan with the ship from the East India Company, he could express  independent views in his diary, though he kept several copies with his more acid comments deleted from the ones most likely to be submitted to his superiors.' (Introduction)

(p. 227-229)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 22 Dec 2017 12:18:41
Informit * Subscription service. Check your library.
    Powered by Trove