May 28, 1870: On in this day in 1870 Cyrus Redding died in London at 85 years of age. Redding was one of the most accomplished journalists and travel writers of the nineteenth century. He worked for a string of newspapers such as the Examiner, The New Monthly Magazine and The Metropolitan Magazine, before switching to writing books in the 1830s. Over the next three decades he published over ten books, but few are as significant as one of his earliest, A History and Description of Modern Wines (1833). This offered the first systematic mix of historical discussion of winemaking with accounts of the best wines being produced around the world. It was based on Redding’s years of travels around Europe as a journalist. Many of Redding’s comments proved to be extremely apt. For instance, he suggested that Spanish wine was far better than it was given credit for in his day and that in time to come good Spanish reds and whites would be regarded as highly as their French cousins. Redding’s book is a classic of wine journalism. For more information, see Thomas Seccombe’s entry on Cyrus Redding, in Brian Harrison and H. C. G. Matthew (eds.), The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 Vols. (Oxford, 2004). See also Redding’s own work, A History and Description of Modern Wines (London, 1833).

May 28, 1878: On this day, John Septimus Roe died. In Western Australia, John Septimus Roe served as the first Surveyor-General. He was a well-known explorer and served in Western Australia’s legislative and administrative councils for almost 40 years. On October 28, 1834, he took part in the Pinjarra Massacre. In recognition of his 57 years of service to the Commonwealth, Queen Victoria gave 4,000 acres of property on the riverbanks at West Swan to John Septimus Roe. In honor of his first house, a priory in Berkshire, England, he gave the property the name Sandalford. Among J. S. Roe’s enduring accomplishments are the identification of Kings Park and the layout of the communities of Perth and Fremantle. James Broun Roe, the oldest of Roe and Matilda Roe’s 13 children, was given Sandalford as a present. After J.B. Roe passed away, Sandalford was given to his son John Frederick Roe, who developed a strong interest in the estate’s productive resources.

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