2016 is the bicentenary of the opening of Sydney’s ‘Rum Hospital.’ It earned its name from the partial monopoly Governor Macquarie granted to three local merchants to import rum in return for building it Prior accounts of the Hospital’s origins focus on Macquarie, the merchants and their disputes. Yet John Laurie, the contractor’s clerk of works, was also an interesting figure. Transported for larceny, he became a wealthy trader only to lose his fortune, become embroiled in a constitutional crisis, find himself transported to Moreton Bay and re-establish himself in New Zealand.
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About the Author
Welcome to my Smashwords profile. I am a New Zealand-born writer, based in Sydney. My main interests are nature and history. My thesis was on the negotiations between the British and Chinese governments over the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997. It was used as a source in Dr John Wong’s Deadly Dreams: Opium, Imperialism and the Arrow War (1856-1860) in China, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998, the standard work on that conflict. I wrote a column on the natural history of the Wolli Creek Valley for the Earlwood News (sadly, now defunct) between 1992 and 1998. My short biography of the leading Australian ornithologist, Alfred North (1855-1917), was published in 1998. I write regular reviews on books about history for my blog,’ Justin Cahill Reviews’ and Booktopia. I’m also a regular contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald's 'Heckler' column. My current projects include completing the first history of European settlement in Australia and New Zealand told from the perspective of ordinary people and a study of the extinction of Sydney’s native birds. After much thought, I decided to make my work available on Smashwords. Australia and New Zealand both have reasonably healthy print publishing industries. But, like it or not, the future lies with digital publishing. So I’m grateful to Mark Coker for having the vision to establish Smashwords and for the opportunity to distribute my work on it.