The political career of Sir George Grey, governor and later Premier of New Zealand, has been well described in several biographies – it has even been the subject of a TV series. Much less attention, however, has been paid to Grey’s scholarly activities, which covered a vast range of subjects, from philology and ethnology to natural history. These activities led to Grey corresponding with some of the leading lights of his day – examples include Charles Lyell, the founder of the modern science of geology, Charles Babbage, pioneer of the computer, and Richard Owen, one of Britain’s leading natural historians and a colleague of Darwin. Why was Grey corresponding with these Victorian thought-leaders? Were his interests purely scholarly – or were there other reasons for this correspondence? This seminar considers the work of Grey the academic and scholar – the “other” Sir George Grey.
John O’Leary writes about Victorian colonial cultures. He has published two books: Savage Songs & Wild Romances – settler poetry and the indigene, 1830-1880 (Rodopi, 2011) and A Peculiar Gentleman: George Rusden – a Life (ASP, 2016).
Date: Wednesday 22 November 2017
Time: 4.10pm to 5.30pm, Tea and Coffee at 3.45pm
Venue: Stout Research Centre, 12 Waiteata Road, Kelburn