Alexander Sutherland, Australian polymath
Alexander Sutherland (born 1852) was the son of Scottish immigrants to Australia who settled in Sydney during 1864. Sutherland trained as a schoolteacher and had successful careers in teaching and journalism, during which he was particularly associated with Melbourne, where his family had moved.
In spite of his busy working career and relatively early death in 1902, Sutherland emerged as a colonial intellectual and important local cultural figure. He co-wrote a standard school text, A History of Australia, which was published in 1877 and retained currency into the 20th century. Apart from producing other historical and biographical material, Sutherland published in 1898 The Origin and Growth of the Moral Instinct. Here he sought to associate the development of human morality with Darwinian evolutionary theory.
Sutherland was a fine example of a colonial intellectual, showing that links and networks between the colonies and the imperial metropolis were cultural and intellectual, as well as economic and political.
According to the accompanying binding, this is a photograph of a drawing of Alexander Sutherland at around age 20, which was made by his father in 1872.
You can read further details about Alexander Sutherland online in P H Northcott’s article in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
Australasia through a lens
This, and thousands of other early Colonial Office photographs and drawings from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and other Pacific Islands have been uploaded to the photo-sharing website Flickr so that you can tag and contribute comments and suggestions to help improve the descriptions.