Alexandra Hasluck Books

Royal Engineer

A biography of the prison administrator, Edward Du Cane, published by Angus and Robertson in 1973 with drawings by subject.
by Alexandra Hasluck

Publication Details:
Angus & Robertson, 1973
Hardback 125 pp
ISBN: 0 207 12482 5

Cover notes:
"Sir Edmund Du Cane has a place in the history of both Australia and England. As a young lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, he volunteered in 1851 to go to Western Australia to superintend works for the convict establishment there. He shared in the life of the colony as engineer and magistrate and, perhaps more importantly, made a unique record of it in his paintings and in the sketches included in his lively letters home. Settlers, officials, scenes of Aboriginal life, buildings, and ships, all provided subjects for his brush and pen.

Du Cane found a bride in Western Australia, not the least interesting event in his career to readers who were charmed by Georgiana Malloy in Alexandra Hasluck's earlier book, Portrait with a Background, for the future Lady Du Cane was Georgiana's daughter Mary Dorothea.

After returning to England Du Cane became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Convict Prisons. He brought to the work a more enlightened attitude than was common at the time, interesting himself particularly in the prevention of crime, as well as encouraging early research into fingerprints and the physical characteristics of criminals.

Royal Engineer is a welcome addition to the list of Alexandra Hasluck's historical studies, and like its predecessors it is distinguished not only by its value as history but by its lively and elegant style and its perceptive human sympathy."

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