I’m a fool for archaeology and paleontology and this is so up my alley. It’s long, but it’s definitely worth the read! Great piece of well-researched work! Who knew about giant marsupials?


the incurable archaeologist

There’s a giant wombat in the basement of Worcester Museum. It’s there because Henry Hughes was bored of banking. It was the starting point of a story that has led me, via mid-19th century Brisbane and the learned societies of Victorian England, into some of the darker corners of the British Empire.

In 1838, the young and ambitious Henry Hughes left his job in Worcester for a new life in Australia. He was accompanied by the Isaacs family, including two brothers whom Hughes had known well in Worcester, Henry Edward and Frederic Neville. Hughes and the two Isaacs brothers — just 22 and 18 at the time of their arrival in Australia — bought a farm in Hunter Valley, and settled awhile. But it seems that this agricultural idyll failed to satisfy their thirst for adventure. Spurred by tales of fortunes to be made on the frontier, they sold up…

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Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!


    1. Fascinating. I have to read it again later. We were on our way out the door, so it was a speed read. Now I need to read it slowly. These days with the world such an awful mess, looking back seems very comforting. We come from somewhere and surely we are also going somewhere, no matter how unlikely it currently seems.

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  1. Marilyn, if you are interested in the Mega fauna of Australia, NZ and PNG, you might enjoy Tim Flannery’s book, The Future Eaters. It is absolutely fascinating. He explores how humans moving into these regions were responsible for species extinction. Regards. Tracy.


    1. I will check it out. My problem is I don’t have TIME to read. I have to write. And process pictures. And go to doctors and veterinarians and grocery shopping … and find something called Wig Tape. Wig tape? Do not ask. Okay, so I didn’t find the Future Eaters, but I found a bunch of other books and I’ve wish-listed them. I bought one short one about extinction of animals in Australia … short enough so I might have time to read it.

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  2. I found it very interesting. I did know about the megafauna but I didn’t know about Hughes and Isaacs and their settlements. Most of the Australian history I learned at school was about Victoria and NSW and the other states only a little bit. It is the same sad story in many parts of Australia of course where the native populations were decimated by murder, evictions and disease. Tasmania was probably one of the worst for this.
    Regarding the megafauna, there used to be a very good display about them in the Tasmanian Museum in Hobart which Naomi and I saw on our first trip here in 1999. We were fascinated but could not stop laughing at the information panel about the diprotodon which said that they were “unlikely to live in burrows”.


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