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The Letters of George and Elizabeth Bass

by: Miriam Estensen
published by: Allen & Unwin

On 9 January, 1801, the brig Venus, under the command of George Bass set sail from Portsmouth on a trading mission. Bass left behind his wife, Elizabeth, whom he had married only two months earlier.

The couple could now only communicate through letters. George is preoccupied with his work, and tersely describes his voyage to Sydney via Brazil and South Africa, and his later Pacific expedition to collect food for the starving colony. Elizabeth clearly misses her husband, and describes her domestic and social life to her husband in great detail.

On 5 February, 1803, Bass and the Venus left Sydney again for the Pacific. They simply disappeared; no trace of captain, crew or ship has been found. Elizabeth continued to write to her husband, until 19 October 1803.

Miriam Estensen, author of The Life of George Bass, has collected and annotated the letters of the couple, separated first by distance, and ultimately by death.

RRP: $45

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