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Thomas Peel of Swan River by Alexandra Hasluck

Thomas Peel of Swan River by Alexandra Hasluck

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Thomas Peel of Swan River

by Alexandra Hasluck

Oxford University Press, 1965, [First Edition], black and white photographic plates, black and white photographic frontispiece, illustrated endpapers, hardcover, dustjacket

Very Good Condition, some edge and shelf wear, some rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, previous owners embossed inscription on front endpaper, dustjacket shows some edge and shelf wear, with some rubbing, bumping, chipping and small tears (see photographs)

“This is the first biography of an extraordinary man whose name has been for many years a byword for notorious failure.  When Thomas Peel died in December 1865 the newspapers in Western Australia reported the fact in a single line and later writers and historians have consistently labelled him as inefficient, indolent and careless.
Peel’s initial Swan River scheme to bring our hundreds of migrants with their stock and equipment and settle them on the land may have been too ambitious.  Yet he should be given the credit due to him as a pioneer of free emigration and land settlement in Australia who was prepared to back up his ideas in person.
His subsequent thirty five years in the colony, when, in his own peculiar way, he did more than most settlers to help its development have also been largely ignored by historians and should be recorded.  All this Alexandra Hasluck has now done in this sensitive, and penetrating portrait of a man who stood out among his contemporaries not only for size but also for oddity.  Brave, hardy, enterprising, independent but hospitable according to his means, he bore hardship and disappointment with fortitude and deserves better of history than the reputation that has so far been accorded to him.  This book should do much to redress the balance.”


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