The Henty family emigrated from Sussex to Launceston in Van Diemen's Land in the early 1830s. Three of the brothers became pioneer settlers at Portland Bay on Australia s southern coast. Their journals, which are among the most valuable items in the manuscript collection of the LaTrobe Library, State Library of Victoria, have never before been published. Written by Edward and Francis, with some entries by John, this daily working record tells of five years in the lives of four young men variously engaged in farming, whaling and coastal shipping. These meticulous journals are enlivened by a fascinating range of contemporary illustrations. The book is an invaluable record both of the introduction of well-ordered English farming methods to a new land and of the populations of right whales that once visited Portland Bay-interspersed with events such as the arrival of Major Mitchell, Surveyor-General of New South Wales, who 'was not a little surprised to find Englishmen in this Part of the World'.
Dr Lynette Peel was brought up on a farm near Geelong. She holds a masters degree in agricultural science and a doctorate in Australian history from Melbourne and Monash universities respectively. Now living in England, she is an independent writer and consultant and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Reading, and maintains her interest in both agricultural science and history.