New perspective on Australia’s first vines

Few people realize the first grapevines were brought to Australia on the First Fleet; that they were planted in Governor Phillip’s garden, and that the garden was at Circular Quay, writes Julie McIntyre, whose scholarly book on the history of wine in NSW has just been released. Even fewer know that the earliest white settlers intended the new colony to be the British Empire’s own vineyard. Ms McIntyre says her book “First Vintage…Wine in Colonial New South Wales” (UNSW Press; $49.95) explores the ‘forgotten history’ of the early wine industry.

The author is a lecturer in Australian and European history at the University of Newcastle, and a grand-daughter of Mudgee winemaker Alf Kurtz. Ms McIntyre’s work is a great read for anyone interested in the state’s, and hence the nation’s, early wine history. It brings a fresh perspective on the subject and the detailed and thoroughly documented research is interspersed with some marvelous early photographs. Available from Postage is $12.50 extra.

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