Dr Liz Rushen

Book manuscript: Edmund Finn (alias Garryowen): Colonial master of media in Port Phillip and Victoria, 1835–52

Liz's project will research the life and times of Edmund Finn, an Irish migrant to Port Phillip, a journalist for 30 years and an eyewitness to the development of early Melbourne and Victoria. The impact of Finn's work will be expressed through blogs, seminars, an article and exhibition, and ultimately a biography published as a non-fiction text.

The media has a strong presence in Victoria today, and this presence was just as critical in colonial Melbourne. Finn worked for 13 years as a journalist for the Port Phillip Herald, recording the citizens' everyday lives and the significant events in colonial Melbourne. By 1888, when his Chronicles of early Melbourne 1835 to 1852 was published, Melbourne was 'Marvellous', one of the world's richest cities. During this pivotal period in Victoria's history, under his pseudonym 'Garryowen', Finn collected stories and anecdotes to entertain and inform.

Finn's contribution to recording Victoria's history is well recognised and his accounts are drawn upon frequently by historians, but little attention has been paid to the influences on his life or the man behind the journalist. This project will assess Finn's writings as the basis for a biography of this remarkable and complex man.

Dr Liz Rushen is an independent historian with the following honorary roles: Adjunct Research Associate, Faculty of Arts, Monash University; Chair, History Council of Victoria; Member, Professional Historians' Association (Victoria); Founder and Member, East Melbourne Historical Society; and Member, Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand.