Australian Colonial Narrative Journalism:
Over six months in 1829, Henry Savery used the pseudonym Simon Stukeley to write weekly sketches of Hobart life for the Colonial Times. The sketches were published under the heading “The Hermit – in Van Diemen’s Land”. These were collected and published under the same name in book form the following year. Savery acknowledged in the preface that The Hermit in London (1820) was the model for the title of his sketches.
The essays in the book covered “Manners, Society and Public Characters”, and contained thinly disguised descriptions of about 150 people in Hobart Town. Savery was in gaol for debt when the sketches were written but they were sufficiently accurate to cause a furore on their publication.
When Andrew Bent, the publisher of the paper, advertised the impending publication of the book, he was sued successfully by the lawyer Gamaliel Butler who had no desire to see the article about him reappear. The damages and costs forced Bent to sell the paper to Henry Melville who became a prominent publisher in the colony. Savery’s name was never mentioned in the case.
Savery’s true identity as the author was not revealed till long after his death in 1842.