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- April 1993 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
“Smugglers and Sailors – The Customs History of Australia 1788-1901 ” Author: Dr David Day. An AGPS Press publication
“Smugglers and Sailors” is a story of truly epic proportions. It tells of the conflicts and the endurance of a selection of men and women who battled against human corruption and geographical vastness, in their struggle towards a civilised society.
The work, to be published in early October, was commissioned by the Australian Customs Service and is the first in a set of two volumes, relating the history of the Customs Service from first settlement to the 1990s. “Smugglers and Sailors” covers the period up to Federation. The second volume relates the history from 1901 to the present day, and will be published in late 1993.
“Smugglers and Sailors” begins its tale amidst the social turbulence of a developing nation, whose roots are buried in lawlessness and poverty. Alcohol provided one of life’s few pleasures, and regulation soon became a social necessity.
This land, settled by convicts, and dependent upon supplies from Britain, offered seemingly endless profits from smuggling and market-place corruption. The taxation of undesirable substances also offered government its first source of independent income.
“Smugglers and Sailors” tells the engaging story, not only of the Australian Customs Service, but of Australian society as seen through the windows of the Custom House. It is a scholarly work that introduces Customs officers by name, and more amusingly, by habit, even those ”…whose scandals of alcohol, sex and corruption stained the leather bound pages of the official papers locked in the Customs Houses”.
In addition to the standard case bound edition, a special limited edition of 500 leather bound copies will also be published. This prestigious publication will have over 500 pages,. 25 colour plates and 120 black and white illustrations.