Chis Maxwell and Alex Pugh are passionate about Australian colonial history.
Their first book, The Merchant of Sydney, a biography of James Chisholm (1772-1838), was published in November 2015 after four years’ research. James, among like-minded emigrants, had a vision of a society and a nation that was bigger than being just a gaol on the other side of the world. Coming from an underprivileged background in Scotland James joined the New South Wales Corps and arrived on the Britannia in 1791. After a long career as an NCO he left the army in 1810, and established himself as a merchant with significant landholdings in Sydney. He became one of the leaders in the politics that transformed NSW from a penal settlement into a civil society. A new nation was developing which people would build for their descendants and where they would stay and live for generations, and not just return to the old country after a period of time. These were the very first steps taken towards the maturing of Australia.
James Chisholm was a Christian with a strong faith in Jesus Christ. He was significantly involved with the foundation of the Presbyterian church in Australia, and with the education and immigration schemes that church undertook. These were movements of great faith and great vision.