Old Tales of a Young Country


Marcus Clarke

THE NARRATIVES which follow have, with one exception, already been published in the Australasian weekly newspaper.

They were dug out by me at odd times during a period of three years, from the store of pamphlets, books, and records of old times, which is in the Public Library; and in their narration, I lay claim but to such originality as belongs to the compiler. The fact, that, being in a measure themselves records of bye-gone days, they have tickled the memories of old colonists, and so attracted an attention altogether out of proportion to their literary merits, is my reason for publishing them in a collected form.

I have done my best to secure accuracy in names, dates, and minute particulars; but the meagreness of the early colonial newspapers, the wanton destruction or mutilation of many of the early colonial official documents, the jealousy with which colonial families guard the secret histories bequeathed to them by their ancestors, and the fact that the rude, adventurous life of those early colonial days prevented the registration of the very romances which it induced, render it difficult to obtain correlative evidence of many statements quoted, and have compelled me in some few instances to accept the narrative as correct on the sole authority of the first and only narrator.

I shall therefore be glad to receive any corrections or suggestions from persons whom accident has furnished with fuller information than I possess, on the subjects treated of in the following pages.

                MARCUS CLARKE.

        The Public Library, Museums, &c.,
        Melbourne, 30th November, 1871.

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