Author(s): Watkin Tench & Tim Flannery
"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.
'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.
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.