The Australind Journals of Marshall Waller Clifton 1840-1861
Edited by Phyllis Barnes, JMR Cameron and HA Willis with Ian Berryman and Andrew Gill.
ISBN 978-0-85905-483-6, (2010), Casebound, 869pp, 2.2kg
$95.00* + POST
Marshall Waller Clifton, Fellow of the Royal Society and Royal Geographical Society, and former Secretary of the Royal Navy’s Victualling Board, was Chief Commissioner for the small agricultural colony of Australind. This settlement, on Leschenault Inlet on Australia’s south-western coast, was formed in 1840 by a group of systematic coloniser supporters of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. To keep them informed of his activities, Clifton maintained a detailed daily account that he commenced on 1 December 1840, the day he left England.
Unlike its sister colonies in South Australia and New Zealand, the Wakefield-inspired venture in Western Australia did not succeed. Australind failed within three years. Clifton, although freed from having to report to London-based shareholders, maintained his practice of daily journal writing and did so until six days before his death on 10 April 1.
The result is a vivid and detailed portrait of life in a small and remote agricultural settlement on the edge of the British Empire. Clifton is an intelligent and insightful, if somewhat haughty, observer of people, events and places. His observations and reflections will appeal to a wide audience because he was heavily involved in colonial life through the activities of his large family and as local magistrate, Legislative Councillor and leading land-holder and horticulturalist. His garden at Australind was much admired, he was a pioneer of Western Australia’s wine industry, one of the first to export local produce through the port of Bunbury, and a major employer of convict labour.
Clifton’s Australind Journals are published here for the first time, annotated and comprehensively indexed to make them more accessible and useful for modern readers.