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Charles Darwin (International) assertion Charles Darwin i(A59406 works by)
This international person is included in AustLit to identify a relationship with Australian literature.
Born: Established: 12 Feb 1809 Shrewsbury, Shropshire,
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England,
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United Kingdom (UK),
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Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 19 Apr 1882 Kent,
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England,
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United Kingdom (UK),
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Western Europe, Europe,

Gender: Male
Visitor assertion Arrived in Australia: 12 Jan 1836 Departed from Australia: 13 Mar 1836
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BiographyHistory

Charles Darwin is an English botanist, geologist and scientist and author of On the Origins of Species (London, 1859) and The Descent of Man (London, 1871).

In 1831 Darwin was appointed to the post of naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle. On 27 December the Beagle began a five year survey voyage to Cape de Verde and other islands of the Atlantic, the South American coasts and adjacent islands, Galapagos, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), Keeling Island, Maldives, Mauritius, St. Helena, Ascension, Brazil, de Verdes and Azores arriving back in Great Britain on 2 October 1836.

During the voyage the Beagle visited the colony of Sydney, New South Wales, from 12 to 30 January 1836. While in the colony Darwin journeyed through the Blue Mountains to Bathurst. Near Bathurst he stopped and observed an antlion and an ant. ‘It would be nice’, Susannah Fullerton writes, ‘to regard this moment on an Australian riverbank as … the instant when his theory of the origin of species flashed upon him … In reality [it] … would be just one of the many thousands of thinking sessions that would lead him to the full development of his evolutionary theory‘. (3)

The Beagle left Sydney on 30 January and sailed down the east coast to Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land, arriving on the 4 February. As in New South Wales, Darwin ‘did a lot of walking and botanising... Every excursion resulted in interesting specimens – of the 119 species that he gook back on board ship [from Tasmania] sixty-three were unknown to science.’ (Fullerton 20-21) Leaving Van Diemen's Land on 17 February, the Beagle sailed along the southern coast of Australia and reached King George Sound (now Albany, Western Australia) on 6 March 1836. Despite Darwin finding the tiny settlement of King George Sound uninteresting, the area yielded many new specimens and geological samples. The Beagle left Australia on 14 March 1836. Darwin published his diary of the voyage, Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle, in London in 1839.

K. A. Townley in his entry for Charles Darwin in the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online writes that 'Darwin maintained a continuing interest in Australia through correspondence with a number of her scientists … He also corresponded with [artist] Conrad Martens and [Darwin’s servant and assistant, Syms] Covington’. Covington had returned to settle in New South Wales and letters to him from Darwin were published in the Sydney Mail newspaper in 1884. Townley notes that ‘[w]hen (Sir) Joseph Hooker published the Flora Tasmaniae (London, 1860), Darwin expressed to [Hooker] his pride in his "adopted country" and confided that emigration to Tasmania was his castle in the air.'

However although, as Fullerton writes, ‘Darwin remained interested in the people … and in the country’ (30) Darwin never returned to Australia, in fact, after the five year voyage on the Beagle he never left England again.

Sources: Susannah Fullerton, ‘Charles Darwin’, Brief Encounters: Literary Travellers in Australia 1836-1939 (2009): 1-35; K. A. Townley, 'Darwin, Charles Robert (1809–1882)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/darwin-charles-robert-1957/text2355, accessed 7 November 2013.

Most Referenced Works

Notes

  • Charles Dickens is included in AustLit because his work is published (in part or in full), advertised or reviewed in Australian colonial newspapers and magazines; and/or is the subject of Australian literary comment, adaptation or creative writing.

Last amended 12 Jan 2015 06:06:42
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