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July 05 , 2008

Watkin Tench's 1788


Watkin Tench sailed to Australia with the First Fleet in 1788. In his late twenties, a captain of the marines, he was insatiably curious about the new British colony of Australia. In his four years in the country, he wrote two books about the early settlement that were bestsellers in their day: A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay (1789) and An Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson (1793). Both are included in full in this edition, lovingly edited by Tim Flannery.

Tench is the most readable of writers, and his books are fascinating for the vivid portraits they provide of early Australia. He introduces us to the iconic figures of Arthur Phillip and Bennelong, and provides fascinating descriptions of the infant colony. This popular edition of his two books should be read by every Australian.

Tench stands out amongst the storytellers of Australian history because of his lively and accessible writing, his ability to tell his tale with gusto and wit.

Tench will always remain the classic contemporary witness of our beginnings.' Les Murray

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