Journalist Nicole Lindsay used her 2013 creative fellowship to research 19th Century Melbourne publican John Byng using the Library's collections.
Nicole's project explored the extent of non-white settlement in pre–gold-rush Melbourne through the story of African-American publican John Byng, one of Melbourne’s earliest publicans. Byng came to the Port Phillip settlement some time before April 1839, when he is first recorded applying for a licence for the Victoria Inn. He died in 1858 in Kyneton, thus his life in Australia corresponds roughly with that of Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe. Significantly, the colour of Byng's skin is never mentioned in official documents or newspaper records.