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Annie Baxter in Van Diemen's Land : an abridged and annotated version of her journal, 1834 ‚Äö- 1851
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 07:07 authored by Sherwood, TA
The day after Annie Baxter embarked with her husband, a British army officer, on the Augusta Jessie to travel to the Australian colonies, she began a journal which she maintained for the next thirty-four years. This thesis presents an edited scholarly edition of those sections of Annie Baxter's extant manuscript journal which record her five visits to Van Diemen's Land and her experiences in the colony between 1835 and 1851, together with a detailed commentary. During her first visit she resided in Launceston with her husband for almost four years; subsequently she visited alone, travelling each time from Yambuk, a grazing property in the Portland region of Port Phillip. After her initial visit in the 1830s, she made three visits between November 1844 and February 1849 for periods which varied in length from three to seven months, to stay with her brother, a Royal Engineer then stationed in Hobart Town. From June 1849 she lived in Hobart Town with her brother following the death of his wife, before returning to England in January 1851. The text of Annie Baxter's journal included in this thesis maps Annie's experiences at a difficult and eventful time of her life in a particular colonial location, while also tracing the journal's development as a serial life writing project. Stylistically, I refrain in the thesis from aesthetic evaluation of the journal but emphasise its complexity as literary endeavour. And while these aspects of the journal are explored, in line with the requirements of responsible scholarly editing, care has been taken to preserve the integrity of the manuscript in terms of the writer's preoccupations, emphasis, and interest. The thesis comprises a general introduction which provides necessary background material and establishes editorial practice, then an abridged reading text presented in four parts: one for each of the first, fourth and fifth visits, while the journal records of the second and third visits are presented together. Each of the four parts is supported by an introductory essay that contextualises the journal record and provides relevant cultural and stylistic commentary, and annotations which are both interpretative and explanatory. The thesis is completed with a full electronic transcription to accommodate the imperative for editorial transparency.
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