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1788  : Text Classics - Watkin Tench


Text Classics

By: Watkin Tench, Tim Flannery (Introduction by)


Published: 26th April 2012
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RRP $12.95

I do not hesitate to declare that the natives of New South Wales possess a considerable portion of that acumen, or sharpness of intellect, which bespeaks genius.

In 1788 Watkin Tench stepped ashore at Sydney Cove with the First Fleet. This curious young captain of the marines was a natural storyteller. His account of the infant colony is the first classic of Australian literature.

About the Author

Watkin Tench was born around 1758 in Chester, England. He joined the marine corps in 1776 and served in the American War of Independence before sailing to Botany Bay with the First Fleet. Tench returned to England in 1792. He stayed with the marine corps before retiring as a lieutenant-general in 1821. Watkin Tench died in 1833.


First Hand Account of Early Australian History


This valuable first hand account of the initial years of New South Wales is a must read for Australians. It describes the journey to Botany Bay, geographic exploration and discovery, economic struggles and development, and relationships and interactions between the settlers and aboriginal people.

Sydney, NSW


Compulsory reading for all australians!


A wonderful book for a first hand account of what it was like for the First Fleet to land in Sydney and struggle to survive for the first few years. Marvellous accounts of the early interaction with the aborigines.



Very interest period language


Worth reading for the historical information of day to day life in late 18th century Sydney. Also wonderful example of English language usage of the late 18th century.



time capsule in a book


A time capsule in print, overall there wouldnt be a better book about early settlement in Australia.You are right there in the colony on the day they arrive and through the the first year and a half with the soldiers , the settlers and the convicts. Present at the first contact with Aboriginals and their first contact with white settlers recording their reactions and disposition towards the new arrivals . There can be no better argument of the complete fallacy of Terra Nullius than this account . It may have been a day by day account of normal everyday life in the Colony for Capt Tench but it is so much more when read some 225 years later. A tour de force.

Newcastle nsw


History of the colony


I am loathe to cvmeent yet because I have only started The book will be of interest to me as I have an interest in history.




4.4 5


'Not to have read Watkin Tench is not to know early Australia. An eye that noticed everything, a young man's verve, a sly wit, an elegant prose style - all brought to bear on an unimagined place and a very strange micro-society. This is the most readable classic of early Australian history.' - Robert Hughes. 'Tench will always remain the classic contemporary witness of our beginnings.' - Les Murray.

'I do not hesitate to declare that the natives of New South Wales possess a considerable portion of that acumen, or sharpness of intellect, which bespeaks genius.'

ISBN: 9781921922312
ISBN-10: 1921922311
Series: Text Classics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 26th April 2012
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 12.9  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.21
Edition Number: 1