The Liberalism of Richard Bourke

David Kemp’s account of Australian liberalism is exceedingly interesting. He has put heart and soul into the first volume, The Land of Dreams: How Australians Won Their Freedom 1788–1860, part of a projected series of five books. Nowhere are his judicious insights more apparent than in his account of Sir Richard Bourke (1777–1855), Governor of New South Wales from 1831 to 1837, whom Kemp rightly identifies as an important champion, defender and instigator of freedoms in the formation of the nation that became the Commonwealth of Australia. The range of assessments of Bourke’s character, impact, deficiencies and achievements is one…

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