Victoria between 1850 and 1880 was distinguished by material progress, social divisions and constitutional crises. The colony’s upper class, a mixed bag in terms of origins and upbringing, and an uneasy alliance of pre-gold survivors and 1850s gentlemen and their families, found itself overtaken by events, derided by critics and overshadowed by rivals. The new rich had the money, the squatters controlled the land, and the people’s representatives formed the ministries. Obliged to earn their living and to come to an accommodation with a society transformed by the discovery of gold and by the great increase in population, the gentlemen attempted to uphold their beliefs in uncongenial surroundings. ‘Pounds and pedigrees’, the sequel to ‘Port Phillip gentlemen’, surveys Victoria’s upper class, and examines its composition, character, internal rivalries and contradictions, its attitudes towards gentility and equality, and its formal organizations, the clubs of Melbourne. The study ends in 1880 on the eve of the Boom which was to transform and then destroy the most energetic colony in Australasia.
Part two of the book constitutes a who’s who of colonial society between 1850 and 1880. It contains over 2000 biographical entries of clubmen, landowners, and gentlemen immigrants, with notes on their families, children and marriages. Varied in origin, achievement and fate, these colonists provided the breeding ground from which much of Victorian society for the next century emerged. With its mixture of the well-known, the briefly celebrated, the forgotten and the obscure, part two illustrates the workings of an important principle in colonial social history: the emergence and disappearance of individuals and families, and the brief tenure of position, land and fortune.
Index available on library computers: electronic resources \ indexes.