New Holland Journal: November 1833-October 1834
Melbourne University Press at the Miegunyah Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 539 pages
Baron Charles von Hugel was an Austrian diplomat, army officer and courtier, and was celebrated across Europe, during the mid-nineteenth century, for his magnificent gardens and his cultivation of exotic plants, including the fashionable 'New Holland plants'.
In 1831 he set out from Europe on six years of travel to mend his broken heart. His betrothed, the Hungarian Countess Melanie Zichy-Ferraris had broken their engagement and become the third Princess Metternich. In the course of several years of travelling the world, he spent most of 1834 in the young Australian colonies of Swan River, Van Diemen's Land, Norfolk Island and New South Wales, observing the flora and collecting the seeds for his gardens. This is Hugel's journal of his travels on this continent. Translated into English for the first time and previously unpublished, it is an insightful record of the flora he found here and the people he met, interspersed with acute and generally unflattering commentaries on British administration, the transportation system, Sydney social life, missionary efforts, and the treatment of Aborigines.
Apart from the romantic melancholy which occasionally colours Hugel's journal, his account of the colonies is unique, because he saw them from a perspective quite unlike that of most observers of the time. He was an Austrian aristocrat, a devout Catholic, a passionate supporter of the reactionary Hapsburg Empire and an intimate of the all-powerful Prince Metternich - no friend of the new 'democracies'.
He hobnobbed with all the notables wherever he went, but also had many encounters - often described in comic dialogue - with convicts and ex-convicts, bushrangers, shanty-keepers, and common folk. An indefatigable traveller, on horseback and on foot, he also drove a gig over the primitive road over the Blue Mountains, and far and wide in the interior.
Back in Europe, Hugel's descriptions of the vegetation of this 'great southern land mass' were to inspire Ferdinand von Mueller, later to become director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. Hugel's botanical influence is still evident also in a number of Australian plant names, such as Acacia huegelii and Hardenbergia, which was named after his sister, Countess von Hardenberg.
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Swan River and King George Sound
Van Diemens Land
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Aborigines Alligator appear arrived Australia banks Bathurst beautiful Blaxland Blue Mountains boat Bong botanical Botany Bay brought called Capt climb coast colony convicts Cox's River deep Diemen's Land dinner distance district emancipists England English favourable feet flowers forest Fremantle garden Government Governor harbour Hietzing Hiigel hill Hobart Town Holland horse Hunter Illawarra interior James Macarthur kangaroo King George Sound leave Lhotsky lives look Macarthur Macleay Macquarie magnificent miles morning Mount natives Nepean night Norfolk Island o'clock officers Parramatta Parramatta River plain planters plants Port Jackson prisoners rain reached rise road rocks round sail sand seeds seen servant settlement settlers ship side soil soon South Wales species spot stay Swan River Sydney took track trees Twofold Bay vegetation walk whole wind