Historical information

This book belonged to John Cowtan. He was a purchaser of land near Cassady’s Bridge in Warrnambool and an important and early settler in Port Fairy. The land that John Cowtan selected was bought by Williaam Cassady whose sister, Ann, was married to John Cowtan. Cassady established the property, Boughton where Cassady’s Bridge is today. This book came from a Cassady estate sale early in the 21st century. Between 1839 and 1844 John Cowtan was a ship’s captain for John Griffiths, a shipowner and entrepreneur. In 1844 Cowtan established a merchant trading and produce business in Port Fairy with John Bland. In the 1860 John Cowtan went to live in Melbourne.


This book is of great interest because of its early date (one year after the founding of Warrnambool) and because of its association with John Cowtan, a pioneer settler of Port Fairy with connections to Warrnambool.

Physical description

This is a brown leather cover book of 385 pages. The spine has gold lettering. The binding has come apart and has been mended with white cotton material on the inside of the cover. The insides of the cover have a brown, white, blue and yellow mottled pattern. The cover is stained and torn at the edges and has a deep gouging on the front. The first page has been torn and mended with tape and some of the pages are stained. There are two pressed fern fronds, one loose newspaper cutting and a bookmark with a sepia-coloured image, lace paper edges and coloured embroidery contained within the pages. The book has a preface and 58 chapters. The inscription is handwritten in black ink.

Inscriptions & markings

‘J. Cowtan 1848’