WHO could believe that after more than 140 years, a remarkable new work of Australian and Queensland literature could be found?
That’s exactly what happened when Gerard Benjamin’s family history research in Melbourne uncovered a notebook of almost 600 pages of faded copperplate script. The author’s name was John Clavering Wood, Gerard’s great-great-grandfather! The date was 30 January 1865.
After only five years working in colonial Queensland’s outback, this 27-year-old Shropshire lad put pen to paper to record – in the form of a novel – remarkable exploits and encounters on the pastoral frontier.
Three years after Queensland became a separate colony in 1859, another novel had been penned, but published in London. By being published and printed in Queensland, Tom Hurstbourne will go into the record book as being the first Queensland novel to be written, published and printed in Queensland – even if the publishing and printing took another 145 years to happen.
Tom Hurstbourne or A Squatter’s Life was the subject of “A First for Queensland Literature”, an article in The C Q Genie-ologist (Dec 2009, No. 94), the journal of the Central Queensland Family History Association.