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About the book
  • Published: 14 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9780143572473
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $12.99

The First Dismissal: Penguin Special




How Governor Macquarie invented an idea of Australia, a convict built it – and how Britain tried to tear it down.

While violent revolution and social upheaval rocked Europe, far away in New South Wales, Governor Lachlan Macquarie was sowing the seeds for the Australian idea of the 'fair go'. Macquarie was a reformer and an emancipator. He believed that a person's worth – be they gentry, infantry or convict – lay in what they were capable of doing, not what they had done in the past. He freed the brilliant, mercurial convict Francis Greenway and appointed him government architect for the buildings that would shape a new nation. But to the Tory British government of 1820, Macquarie and Greenway's unconventional alliance threatened NSW's very legitimacy as a penal colony.

Here Luke Slattery breathes dramatic life into Australia's first political dismissal and, along the way, maps Macquarie and Greenway's bold collaborations and extraordinary architectural – and cultural – legacy.

'Short and snappy . . . It is exciting to see a writer of Slattery's quality take on the the extraordinary history of colonial Australia with such zest and conviction and present it, properly, as a story with universal human meaning . . . [a] fierce little book.' Sydney Morning Herald

'A riveting read.' Courier-Mail

  • Pub date: 14 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9780143572473
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $12.99

About the Author

Luke Slattery

Luke Slattery is a Sydney-based journalist and editor. He has spent most of his career in newspapers writing about the world of ideas for a wide audience. He has served as higher education editor at The Australian, The Age and the Financial Review, and has been the recipient of the Higher Education Journalist of the Year Award, the European Union journalist award, and the Australia Council's Keesing writing fellowship in Paris. His journalism and writing have been published in the main Australian metropolitan newspapers and internationally at the International Herald Tribune, the LA Times, the London Spectator, The Scotsman, and the US Chronicle of Higher Education; a number of his articles have been republished online at the Arts & Letters Daily web portal. Slattery is the author of Crisis in the Clever Country: Why Our Universities are Failing (with Geoffrey Maslen), Dating Aphrodite: Modern Adventures in the Ancient World, and Reclaiming Epicurus: Could an Ancient Philosophy of Happiness Save the World? He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Technology, Sydney. The First Dismissal is his fourth book.

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