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Having arrived with his parents from Ireland in New South Wales in 1840 as a 'bounty emigrant', the young Roderick Flanagan (1828–62) quickly developed a passionate interest in his adopted country. Following an apprenticeship with a city printer, the educated and astute Flanagan worked for a number of Australia's early newspapers, including Melbourne's Daily News and the Sydney Morning Herald, where he acquired his distinctive, journalistic approach to history. Published shortly after his early death in London in 1862, Flanagan's two-volume chronicle of New South Wales represents a lifetime of research, and demonstrates the author's balanced and unpartisan approach to politics. Opening with Cook's voyage of 1770, early expeditions inland, and initial encounters with aboriginal peoples, Volume 1 covers the first sixty-eight years of European immigration, and the various political, criminal and military skirmishes that shaped the new colony.