ISBN: 9780333175552
Call ID: 91938542
Added: 10 September 2018
Location: Footscray

Diary Of A Welsh Swagman, 1869-1894

by Joseph Jenkins

History By Region | Australian

William Evans was a grandson of the subject diarist, Joseph Jenkins of Tregaron, Wales. (Both have articles in Wikipedia.) Jenkins resided in Victoria, Australia, for 25 years and wrote an unbroken daily diary in English which consequently forms the most important record of daily life, people and events in Victoria for the years 1860-94. He was a religious (unitarian) and thoughtful man, aged 50 when he arrived during the gold-rushes of Bendigo and Ballarat. In Wales he had been one of the most skilled and successful farmers, but now chose to work as a labourer--cutting timber, digging drains, clearing land. He wrote poetry, mostly in the Welsh englyn form (an epigrammatic form not unlike the Japanese haiku) and won the first prize for the form at all 13 consecutive Ballarat eisteddfods he entered. The Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey rated this book as one of Australia's ten greatest books. The actual diaries were rescued from a Welsh farmhouse attic, studied by William Evans for this series of condensed excerpts, and eventually purchased by the State Library of Victoria, which regards the collection as one its greatest treasures. Readers can gain a greatly expanded understanding of the life of Joseph Jenkins from the more scholarly book "Pity the Swagman" by Bethan Phillips (CLC, Aberystwyth, 2002)

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