> Skip to content

Watkin Tench sailed to Australia with the First Fleet in 1788. In his late twenties, a captain of the marines, he was insatiably curious about the new British colony of Australia. In his four years in the country, he wrote two books about the early settlement which were bestsellers in their day. These are A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay (1789) and An Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson (1793). Both are included in full in this edition under the title 1788.

Tench is the most readable of writers, and his books are fascinating for the vivid portraits they provide of early Australia. He was commissioned to write them by a London publisher before he left, as the British were so hungry for information about unknown lands. Tench introduces us to the iconic figures of Arthur Phillip and Bennelong, and provides fascinating descriptions of the infant colony.

This popular edition of his two books should be read by every Australian. Tench stands out amongst the storytellers of Australian history because of his lively and accessible writing, his ability to tell his tale with gusto and wit. 1788 is without doubt the most detailed and comprehensive account of the first years of British settlement.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    January 5, 2009


    320 pages

    RRP $25.95

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Watkin Tench

1788: Text Classics


Ned Kelly
The Fatal Shore
The Great Race
Agitate, Educate, Organise, Legislate
Histories of Controversy
Old Age in Australia
The Reef: A Passionate History
Napoleon's Australia
The Civilisation of Port Phillip
Beersheba Centenary Edition
Into the Heart of Tasmania
From the Edge
Shooting the Picture
Human Race
Modern Love
Watson's Pier
Defending Gallipoli
An Inconvenient Genocide: Who Now Remembers the Armenians?
The Naturalist
Simpson and the Donkey Anniversary Edition