Backhouse, James (1794 - 1869)

Born: England (Darlington, Durham)

Naturalist and member of the Society of Friends. With fellow Quaker, George Walker, Backhouse travellled through the Australian and African colonies between 1832 and 1841. They visited the Wellington Valley mission in September 1835. Backhouse was driven by his `initiative, imagination and adveturous spirit', and admired for his `sense of humour and straightforward simplicity' .

Career Highlights

Backhouse and Walker left London in September 1831 for Australia, arriving in Hobart in February 1832. They travelled to Sydney shortly after and spent two years touring NSW, inspecting many of the settled districts and some remote outposts including the Norfolk Island penal settlement and the Wellington Valley mission. They returned to Tasmania in 1837, then inspected the fledgling settlements at Port Phillip, South Australia and Western Australia, before sailing to Cape Town. They returned to England in 1841. Backhouse's A Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colonies was published in London in 1843.


ADB, s.v. "Backhouse, James", by M.B. Trott, 1:45-6.