Across Bass Strait is a history of the connection which commenced in the 1840s between squatters, merchants and mariners to develop the livestock trade from the mainland to Van Diemen’s Land. The trade established nineteenth-century Gippsland as a prime beef producer exporting through Port Albert, a now-forgotten port, and this account is based on merchants’ records and letters from two families who were major players in this trade.
This long distant connection is reflected in the transformation of the landscape, both on land and sea. The stories, underwritten by the need to provide meat, link distant shores which until now have been barely acknowledged in the national narrative, yet from the edges of the two coast lines, illustrate the layered environmental history of our continent.
This little-known story deals with food miles to supply the fresh meat, wind power, seasonal conditions, competition and determined people, all themes still relevant today.
Dr Jane Lennon AM grew up in rural Victoria and has an affinity for the stormy southern shores. She has spent her working life delving into the history and conservation of heritage places and is the author of numerous books and articles on pastoral history, cultural landscapes and heritage. In December 2020, Jane was made an Honorary member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for her distinguished service to conservation in Australia and internationally.