The return of Roger Tichborne: Microhistory and an Australian colonial identity (480)
The story of Roger Tichborne has attracted some scholarly attention over the years. It has even been made into a feature film – The Tichborne Claimant (1998) - starring Robert Pugh, Steven Fry and John Gielgud. This story of an Australian butcher from Wagga Wagga who claimed to be the long-lost heir of the Tichborne baronetcy in England was the focus of a cause célèbre in Victorian England. The trial in 1874 was the longest trial in English history to that point. This paper will apply the theoretical approach of microhistory – using the small-scale to illuminate or explicate the large-scale – to the Tichborne affair. In this way, it will explore ways in which the story of Roger Tichborne may be able to illuminate or explicate issues surrounding the nature of an Australian colonial identity in the late nineteenth century.