Warrnambool and District Historical Society Inc., Warrnambool
This is a hard cover book of 700 pages. The cover is black with gold printing on the spine and the dust cover has a cream background with light brown and black printing, black and white photographs and sepia-coloured sketches. The contents include a List of Maps, Dramatis Personae, Background and Acknowledgements, Prologue, 18 Chapters, Epilogue, Endnotes, Bibliography and Index. The pages contain maps, sketches and black and white and colour photographs.
This book gives a comprehensive and scholarly account of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition in Australia in 1860-1961. It is written by Peter Fitzsimons. The narrative includes the parts played in the expedition by two men who also had important connections to Warrnambool. One of these was Henry Foster who was Superintendent of Police in Swan Hill in the 1860s. In the early 1840s Henry Foster and Thomas Strong took up a run of 16.000 acres (St. Mary’s, Wangoom)). Their land was bounded on the south by the Southern Ocean, on the east by the Hopkins River, on the north by a fence from the Hopkins to the Merri Rivers and on the west by the Merri River and included the later surveyed site of the Warrnambool township. After Warrnambool was established Foster was able to retain 450 acres of the original run near Wangoom on the Hopkins River. He was active in Warrnambool’s early history, was a Justice of the Peace for the Belfast (Port Fairy) district in the late 1840s and his portrait is on the Warrnambool Pioneer Honour Board. The other local Warrnambool personality mentioned in the Burke and Wills book is Richard Bennett, in the 1860s, the manager of several large farming properties in N.S.W., including Canally Station on the Murrumbidgee where he came into contact with the expedition leaders. In the Warrnabool district Bennett was well-known from the 1870s to his death in 1904 as the proprietor of wool-scouring establishments on the Shaw River and at Dennington and as a public campaigner for local coal exploration, for artesian bore drilling and for numerous other projects, including the development of the local wool industry. His portrait is also on the Warrnambool Pioneer Honour Board.
This book is retained as an account of an important event in Australia’s history and because it has several references to two men (Henry Foster and Richard Bennett) who also played a part in Warrnambool’s history.