Charles Joseph La Trobe was Superintendent of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales (1839 – 1851) and Victoria’s first Lieutenant-Governor (1851 – 54). His administration, which coincided with the turbulent challenges of the Victorian gold rushes, was highly controversial. He departed from office a disappointed man whose contribution to the development of the colony was not immediately recognised. His was a vision of a cultured, economically viable and Christian society, with equality of opportunity for all. Any recognition of his achievements eluded him, especially regarding the Aboriginal people and the goldfields administration. As Dianne Reilly Drury shows in this fascinating investigation of the man, La Trobe’s actions, ideas and behaviours during his fifteen years in office in Melbourne may be best understood by an examination of the way his character was shaped; especially by the influences on him of the Moravian faith and education, by his passion for travel and by the devotion and support of his family and friends in England and Switzerland.
Dianne Reilly Drury is the former La Trobe Librarian at the State Library of Victoria and has worked at both the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Centre Pompidou Library in Paris. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and Monash University, her previous published works include Sun Pictures of Victoria: the Fauchery-Daintree Collection, 1858 with Jennifer Carew (1983), and Charles Joseph La Trobe: Landscapes and Sketches (1999). She is currently Secretary of the C J La Trobe Society.
Paperback, 308pp (2006)
Publisher: Melbourne University Press