4. Journeys of Transportation
John White, c. 1756–1832
Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales: With sixty-five plates of non descript animals, birds, lizards, serpents, curious cones of trees and other natural productions
London: Printed for J Debrett, 1790
White was the chief surgeon for the First Fleet. He was also a keen naturalist. His observations on exotic animals and birds presented in this work are significant as some of the earliest descriptions of Australian species. The sketches were carried out by him and by a convict artist named Thomas Watling who was assigned to him. The plates were executed in England by leading artists of the day. The book also presents a detailed account of the journey, including descriptions of Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and Norfolk Island.
John Hunter 1737–1821
An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island: With the discoveries which have been made in New South Wales and in the Southern Ocean since the publication of Phillip’s voyage, compiled from the official papers …
London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1793
Hunter was second captain under Governor Phillip aboard the HMS Sirius. This journal offers a firsthand account of the First Fleet’s voyage, exploration and settlements at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island. The ‘View of the Settlement on Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, 20th August, 1788’ is the first known published view of Sydney. Philip Gidley King’s rendition of an Indigenous family was engraved by William Blake.
Watkin Tench 1758–1833
A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales: Including an accurate description of the situation of the colony; of the natives; and of its natural productions
London: Sold by G Nicol ... and J Sewell, 1793
Captain-Lieutenant Watkin Tench was responsible for two of the six published First Fleet journals, the second being A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay (1789). His accounts offer a vivid portrayal of the journey, arrival and first four years in the fledgling colony. He makes sympathetic observations of daily activities, convict life and interactions with Indigenous Australians. This copy is bound in its original blue boards.
The Extraordinary Life of James Stewart the Unhappy Transport
The story of James Stewart in this chapbook is a bizarre adaptation of an earlier work titled The Poor Unhappy Transported Felon’s Sorrowful Account of his Fourteen Years Transportation, at Virginia, in America (c. 1800). Personal and place names have been changed to update the story to a contemporary tale of transportation to New South Wales. On arrival in Port Jackson, he is sold, alongside African slaves, to a New Caledonian tobacco plantation owner. He is later returned to NSW and finishes his sentence in Smoaky Town. The story’s anomalies perhaps show how little many people in England knew of the distant colony.
Marcus Clarke 1846–1881
His Natural Life
Melbourne: George Robertson, 1874
Purchased with Friends of the Library funds from the estate of Theodore Alexander Scheps, in memory of Ida Scheps
Later known as For the Term of His Natural Life, this work is a fictional account of a convict’s transportation to Van Diemen’s Land, his imprisonment at Port Arthur and his ensuing escape, which results in his untimely death. Clarke undertook extensive research in order to weave both fictional and factual elements into the narrative. This copy includes the bookplate of Bernard Gore Brett, a major Australian collector, and a tipped-in signature of the author.