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Discovery and Settlement of Port Phillip

Date: 1856
Overall: 205 x 145 x 20 mm
Medium: Leather, Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00042681

User Terms

    In this first edition of 'Discovery and Settlement of Port Phillip: Being a History of the Country Now Called Victoria up to the Arrival of Mr Superintendent Latrobe, in October 1839, James Bonwick writes about the European discovery, settlement and progress of Port Phillip - including the development of the press and religion.

    Bonwick (1817-1906) became one of the most prolific of Australia's 19th century writers, publishing guide books, journals and newspaper articles for prospective immigrants which provided valuable advice on how to migrate, what to bring and where to find work when you arrived.
    SignificanceThis book is an important historical record of the experiences of immigrants to Australia in the mid 19th-century. Unlike some authors who simply rewrote previously published guides, James Bonwick immigrated to Van Diemen's Land, travelled to South Australia and worked as a miner on the goldfields of Victoria. Bonwick's guide is a factual and accurate account of immigration to Australia and life in the colonies in the 1850s.
    HistoryJames Bonwick was born near London, England in July 1817 and was educated at the Borough Road School in Southwark before becoming a teacher and later a Headmaster at a number of local primary schools. Deeply influenced by a Baptist clergyman he became a strict non-conformist, married Esther Beddow the daughter of a Baptist minister, and pledged himself to the Temperance movement.

    In 1841 James and Esther Bonwick were selected to manage the proposed Normal School in Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land - the chief school of Sir John Franklin's new Board of Education. The Bonwicks arrived in Hobart on 10 October 1841 and ran the school for almost two years before resigning because of poor conditions at the school. They established their own school at Hobart in 1843, moving it to Glenorchy in June 1847.

    In 1847 (or 1846) he wrote "Introduction to Geography for the Use of Australian Youth" the first of over 60 accredited publications. In 1850 the Bonwicks moved to Adelaide in South Australia, where they opened a private school and he became a lecturer at the first Australian branch of the Young Men's Christian Association and the founder of Australia's earliest teachers' association.

    Heavily in debt for building expenses associated with the school, Bonwick left for the Victorian goldfields in February 1852. After a brief stay they moved to Melbourne where, based on his experiences at the diggings James Bonwick wrote a number of guides on Victorian gold mining, as well as producing and editing a monthly magazine.

    In 1853 Bonwick opened a land agency and toured the diggings for a while as a lecturer for the Colonial Reform Association, an agency pledged to unlock the land before settling down to full time writing, producing 'Discovery and Settlement of Port Phillip' in 1856 and many other works.

    Between 1859 and 1881 the Bonwicks travelled extensively before he took up an appointment as an immigration agent, then a lecturer and historian with the Queensland Colonial Government and later archivist for the Government of New South Wales. He died at Brighton, England in 1906.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Discovery and Settlement of Port Phillip

    Primary title: Discovery and Settlement of Port Phillip: Being a History of the Country Now Called Victoria up to the Arrival of Mr Superintendent Latrobe, in October 1839

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