How would you feel if you yourself were transported back in time to the colonial period in early Queensland's potted history? Apart from drinking in the unfamiliar environment, would you religiously record everything for posterity so that those of us now living could substantially profit from your own direct knowledge and involvement?
Picture this: Thomas Welsby, Brisbane pioneer hero, cultural identity of note and revered Moreton Bay historian, had a distinct advantage over later historians and social commentators who often followed attentively in his wake: he saw and recorded early history as it actually occurred and was himself a significant part of its very creation.
This audacious, breath-taking account of Welsby's early and adult life follows his search for an abiding philosophy to the genesis of, and purpose behind his major works, to his twilight years and eventual demise. Telling the tale cheekily in the first person, as if the author was indeed the great man himself allows Jim Lergessner to take the reader on a rollicking ride through Welsby's life. From his presence at the very cradle time of early Queensland's drab European beginnings in the convict era to proud, steady Statehood, the reader is introduced to the initial settlers, Aborigines, shipwrecks, exploration, European presence, and other intriguing tales.
Welsby lived during a time when such causes as the ongoing sad plight and gradual disappearance of many of the Aboriginal peoples, or the preservation and conservation of Moreton Bay and its surrounds were largely unpopular, unknown, dismissed or merely an afterthought. Then, demonstrating his tendencies as a genuine Renaissance man, he trumpeted these ideals in the public domain whenever or wherever it was possible to do so.
Overall, the author's aim in I, Thomas Welsby is simply to tempt the reader with a lively account of Welsby's extraordinary life while giving full vent to the flair often found within this humble path finder's large body of writings.