James Bonwick

James Bonwick (18171906), teacher and historian, taught in England and was recruited to Tasmania, arriving in 1841. He left the government system after two years and ran his own school, where he pioneered new teaching methods which avoided rote learning, and produced textbooks. He also worked for temperance.

In 1850 Bonwick left for the mainland and led a peripatetic life, but continued to write about Tasmania, publishing John Batman (1867), Curious Facts about Old Colonial Days (1870), Daily life and origin of the Tasmanians (1870) and The Last of the Tasmanians (1870), the last two about the Tasmanian Aborigines. He also transcribed historic documents for governments. Author of over sixty publications, Bonwick had a passion for work and wide interests, but his work was intelligent rather than profound.

Further reading: ADB 3; J Bonwick, An octogenarian's reminiscences, London, 1902.

Alison Alexander