Unlock the Past Cruises

Round the Compass in Australia

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Consisting largely of articles appearing first in journals and then published in 1892 as a complete work, Gilbert Parker gives a glimpse of life and social conditions at the time in Australia.

In the main the material was originally printed in Harpers Weekly, the Sydney Morning Herald, St. James's Gazette, The English Illustrated Magazine, Black and White, and The Illustrated London News. In twenty-three chapters the author takes the reader around each of the colonies looking at various aspects of the life – in time of flood, in time of drought, rural Australia, and urban Australia. There are chapters on Melbourne and Adelaide, and Broken Hill in 1888 and on Brisbane, Cairns, the Hinchinbrook Channel, Townsville, Charters Towers, Mackay, Rockhampton, Mt Morgan, Maryborough, Gympie, Albany, Perth and Freemantle in 1889.

"Perth is not inviting at first sight, bit it improves on acquaintance. There is nothing of the “bounce” about it; it is built for use, and that use is an humble one. Architecture? Look at the Roman Catholic bishop's palace, it is like a remnant of past glory—Corinthian pillars and portico, balconies and broad front; but come near it, how forlorn and dilapidated it looks! The floor of the portico is rotten and full of huge cracks, the pillars are discoloured and unstable-looking, and when you knock at the door, a feeling of loneliness comes upon you, for the sounds appear to re-echo through empty rooms."