Martin is an experienced writer and editor. He has published extensively in his specialist scientific fields, which included silage fermentation, ruminant nutrition, plant chemistry, alternative fuels, fermentation technology, dairy chemistry, and probiotic bacteria and prebiotic carbohydrates. For many years, he was editor of the biotechnology journal, Australasian Biotechnology, and compiled with his co-authors four editions of biotechnology business directories in Australia. Currently, he is a member of the Ancestor Editorial Team of the Genealogical Society of Victoria. Ancestor is a quarterly magazine.
Since retiring from his scientific career, he has been researching and writing family and social history. This has led him to release his first book on social history in the nineteenth century - Two Squatters. This book is the culmination of eight years research in both England and Australia on two men who became squatters and business partners in their mid life. They were quite different personalities. They migrated to Melbourne in 1839. The book is largely a social history of Gloucestershire in England, and the Port Phillip District (now known as Victoria) in Australia in the nineteenth century. It contains a tremendous amount of detailed original research, which brings new light on these men from the Age of Enlightenment. It demonstrates the usefulness of applying genealogical techniques to bring the two main characters in this non-fiction work to life and to place them firmly in history of the time.
The period spanning the years 1839 to 1854 was a fascinating one in the Port Phillip District. Melbourne had only been established three years before they arrived. When they left the colony, it had achieved separation from New South Wales and become the Colony of Victoria. The discovery of gold a few years earlier had resulted in a population boom; and Melbourne had grown from nothing to a thriving city of 250,000 citizens. It is in this setting that we explore the lives of Dr George Playne and Daniel Jennings, and their influence on the emerging colony. George Playne was a successful but poor surgeon in the Gloucestershire Infirmary, while Daniel Jennings was a rich man - a land agent and an investor. This book follows their lives. It provides an interesting re-interpretation of the events of that time. It is lavishly illustrated with some 85 images - photographs, prints, paintings, portraits and maps and plans. It is thoroughly referenced and comprehensively indexed.
The purpose of this website is to provide information on the writing and publishing activities of Martin Playne.
Martin Playne is very pleased to annnounce that he was awarded second place for his book Two Squatters in the Don Grant Award. The award is for the Best Australian Historical Biography with a family history focus. The announcement was made at a ceremony at Box Hill in Melbourne on Sunday 31 May 2015 by the President of the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies, Gail White.
This Website was launched on 25 November 2013. The author and publisher also has a blog site at www.mplayne.wordpress.com. On line information also available on Twitter, Facebook and Linked In.
The book Two Squatters was first published on 19 December 2013 and is available for purchase from this site. The book was officially launched by Emeritus Professor Graeme Davison of Monash University in October 2014.
For price of the book and postage and packing charges, click on Purchasing. We expect to sell initially through this website, and through the website of BookPOD. If you wish to purchase the book using credit cards, please visit the BookPOD website (www.bookstore.bookpod.com.au) Later, we will endeavour to provide a UK distributorship.
We are also now selling through a number of bookshops in Melbourne. Currently, these are: Prahran Mechanics Institute, 39 St Edmund's Rd., Prahran, Melbourne; Kidna Books, Hampton Street, Hampton, Melbourne; The Royal Historical Society of Victoria, a'Beckett Street, Melbourne: Melbourne Museum Shop, Carlton, Melbourne, Beaumaris Books, South Concourse, Beaumaris, Melbourne, Ulysses Bookstore, Melrose St., Sandringham, Melbourne, Thesaurus Books, Church St., Brighton, Melbourne and Top Titles, Church St., Brighton, Melbourne. We will advise on this website when we establish further outlets.
'Two Squatters' is listed on TROVE, Books in Print and Nielsen’s BookData.
Station on the Campaspe by Charles Lyall, ca. 1854 [Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria, H87.63/17]
Wool drays crossing the Campaspe, wood engraving by E & D Syme, 1864 [Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria, IAN 25/01/64/13]
Collins Street, Melbourne in the 1850s, etching by unidentified artist [Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria,H92.301/128].
Canvas Town between Princes Bridge and South Melbourne, lithograph by De Gruchy & Leigh, 1850s [Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria, H25127]