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Suzanne Rickard

George Barrington was a fascinating man, and Nathan Garvey is his latest ‘victim’. Barrington’s life was a source of almost daily fascination to eighteenth-century contemporaries; some mystery still surrounds him. His birth date remains equivocal – was it 1755 or 1758? Church records don’t survive to help here, but it was probably the former. Were his parents artisans to the Irish gentry – a silversmith and mantua-maker – or less skilled workers? Even his name is a matter of antiquarian enquiry. The fact remains that George Barrington, the gentleman Prince of Pickpockets, well-known convict traveller to Botany Bay and putative author, appeared to the world in various celebrated guises and captured popular attention. He occupies an ambiguous place in the world of crime, history and fiction.

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India, China, Austraila: Trade and society 1788 - 1850 by James Broadbent, Suzanne Rickard and Margaret Steven

March 2004, no. 259

Studies of nineteenth-century decorative arts in Australia have largely focused on objects – furniture, silver, ceramics – produced in Australia for the home market, rather than on a systematic study of imports. The design sources for Australian-made furnishings during the nineteenth century were mostly British; this is also reflected in Britain’s being the principal source of exports to Australia. Given the vast amount of imports from Asia available today – from tableware to mobile telephones, and much of it demonstrating the latest in technology – one could be excused for thinking that our reliance on Asian trade is a twentieth- century phenomenon. Not so. As India, China, Australia: Trade and society 1788–1850 amply demonstrates, our trade with Asia began in the eighteenth century even ensured the survival of the fledgling port of Sydney – and we have never looked back.

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