Saturday, March 18, 2017

True Girt: the unauthorised history of Australia - volume 2

The sequel to Girt: the unauthorised history of Australia by David Hunt has arrived providing readers with another chance to explore the alternative history of our country. This time topics examined include the European settlement of Tasmania, New South Wales after Macquarie (briefly), European settlement of Victoria, gold, bushrangers, explorers and the treatment of Aborigines.

David Hunt continues his irreverent investigation of events in Australian history with copious footnotes often referring to possibly parallel recent events. Like the first volume the book provides a usually humorous interpretation of history though some of the incidents described, particularly the treatment of indigenous Australians, may make the reader feel uncomfortable. However other sections make entertaining reading and may encourage readers to explore Australian history more thoroughly.

The Australian reviewed this book in November.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Botany Bay: the real story

In 2011 Alan Frost published his book, Botany Bay: the real story, based on a thirty-five year study of original documents relating to the establishment of a colony in New South Wales. In his research he discovered records that had not been explored thoroughly by other historians and consequently some of his findings differ from previous research.

The first two chapters are about crime and punishment in eighteenth century England. Dealing with convict problems via the use of hulks and enlistment 1776-1783 is followed by chapters on proposals to reintroduce transportation to a number of countries in various parts of the world. One chapter looks at the possibility of forthcoming war while another chapter examines investment and return resulting from having an overseas convict colony. In the final chapters Alan Frost examines the arguments made leading to the final decision of Botany Bay as the site for a convict colony including:

Botany Bay had been recommended by James Cook and Joseph Banks and Pitt respected their judgement.
This was not a hasty decision as it had taken seven years to develop between 1779 and 1786.
Sending the First Fleet was an expensive way of relocating convicts but it became more cost efficient by the time of the Third Fleet.
The new colony would be suitable for providing supplies for the navy, especially timber and flax from Norfolk Island.
There was a need to establish a colony in the region before the French did.

This book is useful for the information it provides on the background for the implementation of transportation to New South Wales.