Australia and New Zealand ~ Volume 1
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Introduction by Peter Edwards
533 pages with index (vol 1)
This book was the result of Trollope’s journey which he took in 1871 – 1872. He spent thirteen months in Australia and two months in New Zealand. His wife Rose accompanied him for this trip, the primary reason for which was the opportunity to see their younger son Fred, a ‘squatter’ in New South Wales since 1865. Trollope visited many of the larger towns, visiting gold mines, sheep stations (including Fred’s in the chapter entitled ‘Station Life in the Bush’). He hunted kangaroos, attended duck shoots, and also made sure to stay with anyone of importance on his visits to the capital cities.
Trollope found much to admire on his visit. He was impressed by the way in which class divisions seemed to have been reduced amongst the colonials he met, a form of the advanced conservative liberalism he was to propound a few years later in An Autobiography. But this is somewhat challenged by views which we find unpalatable today, particularly towards the Aborigines whom he describes as ‘ineradicably savage’, and the Maoris, whom he finds labouring under ‘the incubus of barbarous superstition’. Trollope predicts that ‘civilisation’ will take its inevitable course, and that both cultures will soon all but vanish under the pressure of colonialism. Trollope’s journey found outlet in two of his novels: Harry Heathcote of Gangoil, based on his son Fred’s experiences as a squatter; and John Caldigate, where his eponymous hero makes his fortune in the gold-prospecting fields Trollope had himself inspected.