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The Present State and Prospects of the Port Phillip District
Dublin,: William Curry, 1845.. Octavo, with a frontispiece, a fine copy in recent tan half calf with ornate gilt spine ornament. The first edition, published in Dublin, of a scarce Port Phillip account in unusually attractive condition.A guide to Port Phillip and the rich grazing lands of 'Australia Felix' by Charles Griffith (1808-1863), an Irish pastoralist who later served on the Victorian Legislative Council. The aim of this book is an unbiased and informative account of the colony for future settlers, and in this respect the author is critical of the government with regard to the rights and tenures of the squatters. Griffith wrote most of his book in the bush 'to divert the solitude of an Australian hut' and apologises that some issues may have assumed undue importance due to his isolation. The book was finished for publication while visiting Dublin in 1844 and Griffith later returned to Australia to pursue a career in parliament.The Present State and Prospects of the Port Phillip District describes conditions both in the city of Melbourne and further afield, with sections on colonial society, crime, the squatting system and the strong desire for separation from New South Wales. Of the two chapters devoted to the life and customs of the Aborigines, the second addresses the issue of their rights as original occupiers of the land. The author maintains that settlement is the correct and justified course of action, but that the Aborigines are entitled to due care and protection by the state. Overall Griffith was a cautious yet insightful observer of the settlement during a time of significant change, indeed Ferguson describes this book as 'a simple and temperate statement of the squatting life and interests'. It forms a valuable contribution to the social and pastoral history of the Port Phillip district in the decade prior to independence.Ferguson, 4055.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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