The Andrew Bent Project

Sally Bloomfield and Craig Collins (profiles below)

The life and legacy of Andrew Bent has been hard to reconstruct. The documentary record is fragmented and dispersed. His origins trace to the London underworld and he died utterly destitute – like so many of his kind left invisible to history.  In between, he fits the archetype of ‘the convict made good’. Yet it seemed to suit others, but also his own values, volition and proficiencies, for Bent to be the one to raise his head and pave the way for the free press in the Australian colonies. Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur was caught completely by surprise. Bent paid a heavy price – partly as a soft target, partly self-inflicted. Beneath the acres of print composed at his hands – and his public trials and tribulations – we begin to glimpse the man and hear the cockney accent of his voice. This website gathers together many fragments, as a prelude to our book telling Bent’s story within the larger context of his times. Of that story, there is so much more to be told…

Please contact us below to connect with our Project – especially if any fragments about Andrew Bent’s life and printing have been carried your way…

Sally Bloomfield


Sally has a BA Hons and Dip Ed (Tas) and a Grad Dip Lib (CCAE). She has worked as a librarian in special libraries and was at the National Library of Australia for 11 years prior to her retirement.

Sally grew up in Tasmania and has many early Van Diemen’s Land ancestors (convict and otherwise). She is an enthusiastic family history researcher. She is descended from Andrew and Mary Bent through their second daughter Catherine (b 1820) and her dentist husband Thomas Sydney Hall.

Craig Collins


Craig is ACT Senior Mentor & Lawyer at the Leo Cussen Centre for Law and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University. He was formerly a litigation partner with Gadens Lawyers Melbourne, specialising in defamation law.

Craig has a LLB/BEc (ANU), LLM (Melb) and GradCertHigherEd (NE).  After schooling in Geelong, he was awarded a National Undergraduate Scholarship to attend ANU. Craig is descended from Andrew and Mary Bent through Andrew Bent Jr (b 1824) – who worked for some decades as printing foreman at The Geelong Advertiser.