Front cover image: King Parrot (Alisterus Scapularis), Go-mah (Murry), part of John Hunter, Birds and Flowers of New South Wales drawn on the spot.1788-1790, Rex Nan Kivell CollectionReproduced with permission of National Library of Australia, pic_an 3149631.
Ellis Bent was the son of a London merchant trading to the West Indies. He was appointed Judge Advocate to the colony of New South Wales in 1809 and travelled with Governor Macquarie and the 73rd Regiment on board the Dromedary troop ship to the colony.
On board ship he kept a journal, wrote sketches of Porto Praya, Madeira and Rio de Janeiro, and was careful to copy all letters he sent to his family. He also wrote from the Cape of Good Hope and from New South Wales until 1811.
Ellis Bent has a merchant’s eye for detail and these documents give us a remarkable insight into the manners, customs and power play of the early nineteenth century including the customs of sea faring ships.