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Watkin Tench's 1788 cover art

Watkin Tench's 1788

By: Tim Flannery - editor
Narrated by: Grant Cartwright
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Publisher's Summary

Tench, a humble captain-lieutenant of the marines, arrived on the First Fleet, and with his characteristic understanding, humanity, and eye for detail, recorded the first four years of European settlement. This is a classic, lovingly edited and introduced by Tim Flannery, author of the best-selling The Future Eaters, Throwim Way Leg, and The Weather Makers.

©2009 Tim Flannery (P)2009 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"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)
"Tench's work is a stunning time machine." (Chloe Hooper)

What listeners say about Watkin Tench's 1788

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When this was written it was contemporary, now it is hard core history

Early Australian history is really interesting but this is another level.

If you can imagine we discovered another planet and one of the members of the first expedition there wrote a memoir of their first impressions, of the difficulties in finding food, not knowing what lay over the hill and meeting a completely different community of people then you can appreciate what it is like to read this book.

Too little is known or understood about this period of our history both by new Australians or Aborigines and both would benefit enormously by reading this book.

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  • KB
  • 17-02-2021

A must for all Australians.

An extraordinary account of Australia’s first settlers. 1788 should be taught to all Australians and we should be proud of this history. Watkins Tench is a name that should be remembered for his honest view of life in the infancy of European settlement in Australia and the hardships endured by convicts, the indigenous and the settlers.

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my favourite book

ticks all boxes. so well written and edited. do yourself a favour listen to this great account of our early history by a wonderful wordsmith

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great historical journal

great to have an audio copy of this. I thought he spoke a bit to fast. had to drop the speed to .90

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First hand experience

Fascinating first hand account of the First Fleet and the first few years of settlement in Sydney. Written and spoken in the language of the time, which was wonderful, with some drawbacks. The author was an intellectual and elite of the time, therefore barely described the suffering of the convicts both during the passage and during settlement. First hand account yes, though a little tainted with elitism and prejudice in parts. Others rewriting the history have told it much better.

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  • Sue
  • 05-10-2023

Amazing book

What a fabulous opportunity to read about the First Fleet from someone who was part of it. How did I not know that this book existed? I found it fasinating. An absolute must read. LOVED it.

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amazing book

amazing book a must read for anyone who loves history . . . . .

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Brilliant

I thought this was such a fantastic book!
If you love Australian history and wish to learn things you never knew this one is for you. To read a first hand account of the first years of Australian colonisation was fascinating.

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Returning as free on LibriVox

This book is freely available in LibriVox and Project Gutenberg.
Aside from foreword it’s on the internet.

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every Australian needs to read this

Tenches words are thoughtfully written. It gives a view of European settlement of Australia through the eyes of a Englishman.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.