This website does readability filtering of other pages. All styles, scripts, forms and ads are stripped. If you want your website excluded or have other feedback, use this form.

Dictionary of Australian Biography F

Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership

Home Our FREE ebooks Search Site Site Map Contact Us Reading, Downloading and Converting files



Angus and Robertson--1949


Main Page and Index of Individuals 
A  Ba  Be-Bo  Br-By  Ca-Ch  Cl-Cu  D  E  F  G  Ha-He  Hi-Hu  I-K  L  Mc
Ma-Mo  Mu-My  N-O  P-Q  R  Sa-Sp  St-Sy  T-V  Wa  We-Wy  X-Z

^Top of page

FAIRBAIRN, STEPHEN (1862-1938), always known as Steve Fairbairn,

oarsman and coach,

was the son of George Fairbairn (1815-1895), an early Victorian pioneer who married a Miss Armytage. George Fairbairn came to Adelaide in 1839 but soon afterwards moved to Victoria and became a successful pastoralist. He took much interest in the preservation of meat and made many experiments which were not successful. In 1878, however, he was associated with Andrew and Thomas McIlwraith (q.v.) of Queensland in sending the first successful cargo of frozen meat to England in the Strathleven. He was also one of the earliest to export tallow. He died at Queenscliff, Victoria, on 18 July 1895, leaving a family of five sons and a daughter. His eldest son, Sir George Fairbairn (1855-1943), was well-known in his younger days as a rowing man, became a leading pastoralist and politician and was knighted in 1926. Stephen Fairbairn, one of his younger sons born on 25 August 1862, was educated at Wesley College, Melbourne, and Geelong Grammar School, where he was a good footballer and cricketer. He went to Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1881, and won the hammer throwing and putting the weight at the Freshmen's sports. He was at Cambridge for six years, assisted in bringing the Jesus crew to the head of the river, and rowed for Cambridge in 1882, 1883, 1885 and 1886. He mentions in his autobiography that he also attended one lecture (Fairbairn of Jesus, p. 35). He, however, graduated B.A., became a barrister of the Inner Temple, and returned to Australia where he was engaged as a pastoralist until 1905. Coming to England again he made the coaching of rowing crews his hobby and revolutionized the style of rowing. His first principle was that the legs were the strongest part of the body and that at the beginning of the stroke everything must be sacrificed to get a good leg drive. The oarsman must not think too much about his body but concentrate on correct blade movements, some relaxation of the body is permissible, and on the forward stroke the blade must be kept well clear of the water. This is necessarily an inadequate account of a method which Fairbairn has discussed in detail in four books: Rowing Notes (1926), Slowly Forward (1929), Some Secrets of Successful Rowing (1931), and Chats on Rowing (1934). He continued to coach until near the end of his life, and his huge figure perched on a bicycle was continually to be seen on the river banks at Cambridge and London. In 1925 he founded the head of the river race at Putney at which anything up to 1000 oarsmen compete. His autobiography Fairbairn of Jesus, a lively book, appeared in 1931 with an excellent portrait by James Quinn. Fairbairn died in England on 16 May 1938. He married Nellie Sharwood who survived him with two sons. He was the most picturesque figure of his time in British rowing, and his coaching had an immense influence on the sport not only in Great Britain but on the continent.

For George Fairbairn Sen., The Argus, Melbourne, 21 May 1938; J. T. Critchell and J. Raymond, A History of the Frozen Meat Trade. For Stephen Fairbairn, The Times, 17, 18 and 19 May 1938; Fairbairn of Jesus; Who's Who, 1938; private information.

^Top of page


founder of the Fairbridge schools,

was born at Grahamstown, South Africa, on 5 May 1885. His father, Rhys Seymour Fairbridge, was a government land-surveyor. He was educated at St Andrew's College, Grahamstown, until he was 11 years old, when the family moved to Rhodesia. He had no further schooling until he prepared to enter Oxford. At 13 he became a clerk in the Standard Bank of Africa at Umtali, and two years later tried to enlist for the Boer war, then took up market gardening and early in 1903 visited England. He was away for about 12 months and could not help being impressed by the contrast between the crowded cities of England and the open spaces of Rhodesia. On his return he worked for two and a half years for a Mr Freeman who was recruiting natives for the mines at Johannesburg. He began writing verses and was pleased to have two poems accepted by the South African Magazine. Slowly a scheme was being formulated in his mind to bring poor children from London to South Africa where they could be trained as farmers. He applied to the Rhodes trustees for a scholarship, feeling that once in England he would find ways of developing his scheme. He was informed by the Rhodes trustees that if he passed the Oxford entrance examination his application would be favourably considered, and in 1906 he went to England to be privately coached. Greek was essential and he had never done any. He worked hard at it and succeeded in passing the required examination at the fourth attempt. In October 1908 he entered Exeter College, Oxford, with a Rhodes scholarship. There he obtained his blue for boxing, beating Julian Grenfell twice in the trials, and made many friends. He began to write on child emigration until he was advised by a friend that speaking might be more effective. His first rebuff was from the British South Africa Company, which informed him that they considered Rhodesia too young a country in which to start child emigration. He was, however, cheered by a favourable answer from the premier of Newfoundland.

In October 1909 Fairbridge made a speech to the Colonial Club at Oxford, and at the end of the meeting a motion was carried that those present should form themselves into a society for the furtherance of child emigration to the colonies. The movement had begun. The next two years were spent in trying to interest people in the project and collecting money which came in slowly. He obtained his diploma in forestry, in 1911, and in December of that year was married to Ruby Ethel Whitmore who had been encouraging and helping him for some time. In March 1912 they sailed for Western Australia with a total capital of £2000. A property of 160 acres was purchased near Pinjarra about 60 miles south of Perth, and the Western Australian government agreed to help by paying £6 for each child towards the cost of the passage money. The first party, 13 children aged between 7 and 13, soon arrived, and was followed by another party of 22 boys some months later. Some kind of shelter had to be prepared for them, the utterly neglected orchard had to be pruned, and the English committee had to be satisfied that every item of expenditure was necessary. Fairbridge and his wife worked unceasingly and gradually each difficulty was overcome. But when the war came financial difficulties became very pressing, until a grant was obtained from the Western Australian government which tided the school over the war period. After the war Fairbridge went to England and so impressed everybody that a sum of £27,000 was procured for the development of the school. A more suitable site of 3200 acres was found and new buildings were put up. In 1922 the help of the Commonwealth government was secured, and in 1923, after years of discomfort, Fairbridge and his wife and family were able to move into a suitable house of their own. He had, however, suffered much from intermittent bouts of malaria and he now found himself often in pain. On 19 July 1924 he died after an operation. He was survived by his wife and four children. Three years after his death there were over 200 children at the school, and in 1935 the number had reached 370. In that year over 1000 employers applied for the 100 boys ready to go out to work. Other schools have since been established at Vancouver Island, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and Molong, New South Wales.

Kingsley Fairbridge was tall, athletic and good-looking with an attractive personality. He had vision and determination and a capacity to make his dreams become realities. His volume of poems Veld Verse, published in 1909, contains verse of more than average quality, his Autobiography written with simplicity and charm ends before he was 25. With the never-failing help of his wife he showed how an emigration farm school for children could be successfully carried on at a low cost in money, and that ill-nourished children from the slums could be made healthy, vigorous and worthy citizens of a new land.

The Autobiography of Kingsley Fairbridge; Ruby Fairbridge, Pinjarra; The Times, 23 July 1924; W. Murdoch, The Argus, 20 March 1937; Rev. A. G. West, The Quarterly Review, April 1941.

^Top of page

FAIRFAX, JOHN (1804-1877),


the son of William Fairfax and his wife, Elizabeth Jesson, was born at Warwick, England, on 24 October 1804. The family of Fairfax was an old one, for many years its members were landed proprietors, but its estates had been lost and William Fairfax at the time of John's birth was in the building and furnishing trade. At the age of 12 John was apprenticed to a bookseller and printer at Warwick, and when he was 20 went to London where he worked as a compositor in a general printing office and on the Morning Chronicle. A year or two later he established himself at Leamington, then a growing town, as a printer, bookseller and stationer. There, on 31 July 1827, he married Sarah Reading, daughter of James and Sarah Reading. He became the printer of the Leamington Spa Courier, and in 1835 he purchased an interest in another paper The Leamington Chronicle and Warwickshire Reporter. In 1836 he published a letter criticizing the conduct of a local solicitor who brought an action against him. Though judgment was given for the defendant the solicitor appealed. Judgment was again given for Fairfax but the costs of the actions were so heavy that he was compelled to go insolvent. There was much sympathy for him and his friends offered assistance, but he decided to make a fresh start in a new land, and in May 1838 sailed for Australia in the Lady Fitzherbert with his wife and three children, his mother and a brother-in-law. After a trying voyage of about 130 days Sydney was reached towards the end of September 1838.

Fairfax worked as a compositor for some months, but early in 1839 was appointed librarian of the Australian subscription library and began his duties on 1 April. The salary was only £100 a year but he had free quarters for his family in pleasant surroundings. He found he was able to get some typesetting, and he also contributed articles to the various Sydney newspapers. What was possibly more important was his getting in touch through the library with the best educated men of Sydney with some of whom he became friendly. One of these was a member of the staff of the Sydney Herald, Charles Kemp, an able and lovable man, with whom he joined forces to purchase the Herald for the sum of £10,000. The paper was bought on terms, friends helped the two men to find the deposit, and on 8 February 1841 they took control as proprietors. It was an ideal combination for each had qualities that supplemented the other's, they worked in perfect harmony for 12 years and firmly established the paper as the leading Australian newspaper of the day. It was given the fuller title of the Sydney Morning Herald in 1842, and in spite of a period of depression both partners by 1853 were in prosperous positions. Kemp then decided to retire. The partnership was dissolved in September 1853 and Charles the eldest son of Fairfax became a partner. In the previous year his father had visited England and seeking out his old creditors repaid every man in full with interest added. Under Fairfax and his sons the paper continually increased in public favour, and the great increase of population in the 1850s added much to its prosperity. It was always conservative; G. B. Barton in his Literature in New South Wales said in 1866 that its Toryism had "increased in a direct ratio to the Radicalism of the constitution, and its prosperity in a direct ratio to its Toryism". But this is an overstatement. The Herald was moved to its present site in 1856, and at that date claimed to have the largest circulation in the "colonial empire". A weekly journal, the Sydney Mail, was established, its first number was published on 7 July 1860, and it continued to appear until 1938. On 26 December 1863 Charles Fairfax, the eldest son and the right hand man of Fairfax on the paper, was thrown from his horse and killed. John Fairfax never fully recovered from his son's death, but the work of the newspaper went on. In 1865 Fairfax and his wife again visited England where the latest newspaper methods were studied. Fairfax became a member of the legislative council in 1874 but never took an active part in politics. His wife died on 12 August 1875 and soon afterwards his own health began to fail. He died at Sydney on 16 June 1877.

Fairfax was a sincerely religious man, much interested in the Congregational church. But his paper was kept free from religious bias, and was in no way responsible for the strong sectarian feelings which then existed in Sydney: His household was typically Victorian in its outlook, but in the newspaper due importance was given to music and the theatre, literature and art. To Fairfax the conduct of the press was a sacred trust and he never betrayed his trust. Of his children his second son, Sir James Reading Fairfax (1834-1919), entered his father's office in 1852 and was admitted as a partner in 1856. When his father died he was in control of the paper, and in his hands it went from strength to strength. He was intimately associated with it for 67 years, for a long period he was the Herald. Like his father he was a religious man, for a long period was president of the Y.M.C.A., and he did much for other social services of the community. He died on 28 March 1919. Two of his sons carried on the traditions of the paper, Geoffrey Evan Fairfax (1861-1930) and Sir James Oswald Fairfax (1863-1928). They entered the office on the same day in 1889 and each had a large share in the conduct of the paper. A third son, Charles Burton Fairfax, retired in 1904 and went to live in England. His son Captain J. Griffyth Fairfax, born in 1886, was a member of the house of commons for some years, and has published several volumes of verse of which a list will be found in E. Morris Miller's Australian Literature. Warwick Oswald Fairfax son of Sir James Oswald Fairfax born in 1901 became managing director in 1930.

J. F. Fairfax, The Story of John Fairfax; A Century of Journalism; C. Brunsdon Fletcher, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XVII, p. 91.

^Top of page



the son of Jacob Farjeon and his wife Dinah, formerly Levy, was born in London in 1838. Both parents were Jewish by race and faith and were too poor to be able to give their son much education. When about 13 he went to work as printer's boy on the Nonconformist, a Christian journal, did much reading, and was helped in his self-education by a kindly schoolmaster. The boy broke away from the strict faith of his father, and partly on this account decided to go to Australia in 1854. An uncle bought him a steerage passage, and he arrived in Australia practically penniless. He obtained work, went to the diggings, and at once started a newspaper. Meeting with hard times he went to New Zealand in 1861, and obtained a position on the Otago Daily Times, the first daily paper established in New Zealand. (Sir) Julius Vogel was editor and part proprietor and Farjeon became manager and sub-editor. In 1865 he published his first book, Shadows on the Snow: a Christmas Story, dedicated it to Charles Dickens, sent him a copy and suggested that he might care to print it in All the Year Round. Dickens in May 1866 wrote him a kind but certainly not encouraging letter, but it was enough for Farjeon, who threw up his excellent prospects in New Zealand and returned to London, where in 1870 he made a reputation as a novelist with Grif: a Story of Australian Life. This was followed by about 50 other novels which will be found listed in E. Morris Miller's Australian Literature. The early books showed Farjeon to be a follower of Dickens, his later were often concerned with crime and mystery. His seven years in Australia made a deep impression on him, and many of his books have their setting in that country. He died at Hampstead, London, after a short illness on 23 July 1903. He married Margaret, daughter of Joseph Jefferson (q.v.), who survived him with three sons and a daughter. Of the children Herbert and Eleanor Farjeon became capable writers, especially in connexion with the drama, and Harry Farjeon a well-known musician and composer.

Farjeon was mercurial and unpredictable, except that he could always be relied upon to be kind and charitable. This is reflected in his books, and he was much touched to learn that one of them had suggested the founding of homes for orphans in the United States. His books had much popularity in their time, one of them, Grif, was in its seventeenth edition in 1898, but they belonged to their period and are gradually being forgotten.

Eleanor Farjeon, A Nursery in the Nineties, which gives a charming account of Farjeon's happy married life; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; The Times, 24 July 1903; Who's Who, 1943; Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

^Top of page


premier of New South Wales,

was born at Parramatta, New South Wales in 1827. At a comparatively early age he began travelling with stock and learnt much about his own colony. The gold discoveries in California in 1848 led to his visiting America, and he also travelled in New Zealand before finally returning to New South Wales. In 1860 he was elected to the legislative assembly for St Leonards, but lost his seat at the next election. He was returned at Parramatta in 1864 and held the seat for 10 years. He became secretary for lands in the first Parkes (q.v.) ministry from May 1872 to February 1875, and for a short period was also secretary for mines. From December 1876 until October 1877 Farnell was an excellent chairman of committees, but towards the end of that year he organized a "Third Party", in November carried an amendment to the address in reply by two votes, and the Robertson (q.v.) ministry resigned. Farnell succeeded in forming a ministry and on 18 December 1877 took office as premier and secretary for lands. In October 1878 he brought in a land bill which was defeated on 5 December. Farnell resigned and was succeeded by Parkes. When the Stuart (q.v.) ministry was formed in January 1883 Farnell was again secretary for lands, and showed much patience and tact in his management of the land bill which became law in 1884. In the succeeding Dibbs (q.v.) ministry formed in October 1885 he was minister of justice and representative of the ministry in the upper house, but this government lasted only a few weeks. He was subsequently elected for Redfern in the assembly and represented that constituency at the time of his death on 21 August 1888.

Farnell was a hard-working legislator who gave much study to the land question and also tried hard for some years to pass a bill for the regulation of contagious diseases. He declined a knighthood. His wife survived him with 11 children, one of whom, Frank Farnell, was a member of the New South Wales parliament at the time of his father's death.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 August 1888; Official History of New South Wales; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

^Top of page

FARRELL, JOHN (1851-1904),

poet and journalist,

was born at Buenos Aires, South America, on 18 December 1851. His father, Andrew Farrell, left Ireland about 1847 and settled in Buenos Aires as a chemist. Towards the end of 1852 he went to Victoria, Australia, with his wife and children, and engaged first in gold-digging, and then in carrying, before finally settling down as a farmer. John Farrell was at first educated by his parents and then at a private school. His mother died before he was 12 years old, and thereafter he had little formal education although his father encouraged his taste for reading. The boy worked on farms, and when he was 19 obtained a position in a brewery at Bendigo. He wandered about Australia for some time, went into brewing again, and alternated this occupation with farming for some years. In 1878 he published, under the name of John O'Farrell, Ephemera: An Iliad of Albury, a little pamphlet of verse now one of the rarest of Australian publications. In 1882 Two Stories, a Fragmentary Poem was published at Melbourne, and about this period he began to be a regular contributor to the Bulletin. He was then working in a brewery at Albury, and in 1883 was a partner in a brewery at Goulburn. He became much interested in the tenets of Henry George after reading Progress and Poverty. In January 1887 a collection of Farrell's verses was published in Sydney under the title of How He Died and Other Poems which was favourably reviewed, and in 1887 he sold his brewery interests and went to Sydney hoping to obtain employment as a journalist. He bought a paper, the Lithgow Enterprise, but was unable to make it a financial success, and in 1889 returned to Sydney to edit the Australian Standard, a single tax paper for which Farrell did much writing. In October 1889 he began a series of articles on George's theories for the Daily Telegraph, and in the following year joined its staff. When Henry George arrived in Sydney in March he was met by Farrell who accompanied him on his inland tour. The two men became great friends. In June 1890 Farrell was appointed editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, but found the responsibility too great and resigned three months later. He continued, however, to be a regular contributor until shortly before his death on 8 January 1904. He married in November 1876 Eliza Watts, who survived him with seven children. A memorial edition of Farrell's poems was published in 1904 with a memoir by Bertram Stevens under the title of My Sundowner and other Poems. This was re-issued in 1905 as How He Died and other Poems. The contents differ considerably from those of the 1887 volume with the same name.

Farrell as a poet was a precursor of the Bulletin school of the nineties. Much of his work is no more than vigorous, unpolished popular verse, and Farrell had no illusions about it. His "Australia to England", however, is an example of first rate occasional verse and contains more than one memorable phrase. He was an excellent journalist and a first-rate talker, much interested in political economy generally, and the single tax theory in particular. His attitude to life was sanely humorous. He was modest about his own work, thoroughly appreciative of the work of others, generous with his own time and money, and considerate and courteous to all; no literary man of his period was more beloved.

Bertram Stevens, Memoir in My Sundowner and Other Poems; Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph, 9 January 1904.

^Top of page


wheat breeder,

was born near Kendal, Westmoreland, England, on 3 April 1845. His father was a country gentleman who came of a long line of comparatively small landowners known as "statesmen". Educated at Christ's Hospital school, where he showed proficiency in mathematics, Farrer went on to Pembroke College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. in 1868 as twenty-ninth wrangler in the mathematical tripos. He began to study medicine, but poor health led to his seeking a warmer climate and he went to Australia in 1870. He had intended to settle on the land, and while he was learning something about the country took a position as tutor in the family of George Campbell of Duntroon station near Queanbeyan. The loss of some of his money compelled him to give up his intention of buying land, and in July 1875 he passed the examination for licensed surveyors. He immediately obtained a position with the lands department and for the next 11 years, except for a visit to England in 1878-9, was carrying out surveys in New South Wales. In July 1886 he resigned his position and retired to his home at Lambrigg near Queanbeyan. He had published in 1873 Grass and Sheep-farming A Paper: Speculative and Suggestive dealing largely with the suitability of various soils for grasses, and the more scientific side of sheep-farming. This pamphlet showed the bent of his mind, but he had had little time to follow it up with other investigations. He had noted the prevalence of rust in wheat crops, and he became interested in the problem of producing wheats of good milling quality which would also be rust-resisting. He obtained samples of wheat from various parts of the world and set to work crossing those that appeared to have valuable qualities with the various varieties in use in Australia. The problem of rust-resistance was, however, not the only one. He was convinced that it is more profitable to the farmer to allow his wheat to become ripe before harvesting it, and that it was most important that varieties should be bred that would hold the grain firmly when it is ripe. At conferences of government officials and experts held in Sydney in 1891 and in South Australia in 1892, Farrer contributed valuable papers dealing with the many problems involved. He kept in touch with the New South Wales agricultural department, and in 1898 was appointed wheat experimentalist to the agricultural department at a salary of £350 a year. The smallness of this salary in relation to the value of the work done has sometimes been commented upon, but Farrer was not thinking about salary, and would never have attempted to make money out of his discoveries even if he had not joined the department. He continued experimenting on his own land and at various experimental farms in different districts, and had the usual disappointments inseparable from work of this kind. It was difficult too for some of the people in authority to understand how slowly experimental work proceeds. Farrer found it necessary to point out in the Agricultural Gazette that it takes at least four years to fix a type, that when that was done it had to pass a high standard of milling excellence, and that another three years must pass before there could be a sufficient stock of seed for a fairly wide distribution of it. His own health was uncertain, but he was so engrossed in his work that he would frequently begin it at 6.30 in the morning. He took up another problem, the resistance to bunt or smut-ball in wheat, and was able to produce varieties practically bunt-resistant. He was greatly pleased when the government decided to establish a 200 acre experimental farm near Cowra. He was also much interested in the question of manuring and particularly in the value of green-manuring. His famous variety of wheat, Federation, was fixed about the turn of the century, was made available to farmers in 1902-3, and soon established itself as the most popular variety in Australia. He produced several other varieties that were generally cultivated, but towards the end of his life he was over-taxing his strength. He died of heart disease on 16 April 1906. He married in 1882 Miss de Salis.

Farrer was a man of wide culture and reading, sensitive and somewhat reserved in disposition, but generous and sympathetic. He was a born experimenter, never losing his enthusiasm, untiring in labour, thinking only of the work in hand and never of himself. The value of his work to Australia can hardly be overstated, for though in course of time all his varieties will be superseded by better strains, for many years they added enormously to the value of the wheat crops, and later investigators have owed not a little to his methods of producing new and valuable varieties. His memory has been perpetuated by the Farrer Memorial Trust, which provides Farrer research scholarships for students wishing to do research work in connexion with wheat-growing.

F. B. Guthrie, Department of Agriculture, New South Wales, Science Bulletin, No. 22, William J. Farrer and the Results of his Work; W. S. Campbell, "An Historical Sketch of William Farrer's Work", and G. L. Sutton, "The Realization of the Aims of William J. Farrer, Wheat Breeder", Report, Australasian Association for Advancement of Science, vol. XIII, p. 525; W. S. Campbell, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XIX, pp. 269-85.

^Top of page

FAVENC, ERNEST (c. 1846-1908),

explorer and author,

[ also refer to Ernest FAVENC page at Project Gutenberg Australia]

was born in London in 1845 or 1846, and educated in Germany and England. Emigrating to Australia in 1863 he worked for a year in Sydney, and then had experience on a station in northern Queensland. He began to write for the press, under the name of "Dramingo" and in 1878 was asked by the proprietor of the Queenslander to organize a party to go out and report on the country between Blackall and Darwin. It had been proposed that the Queensland railways should be linked up with Darwin, but not much was known of the country to be traversed. In July 1878 Favenc with two other white men and an aborigine set out from Blackall, made their way to Cork station on the Diamantina, and then proceeded north-west through unexplored country between the Burke and Herbert Rivers to Buchanan's Creek, which was followed for some distance. Striking north the party came to Corella Lagoon. Still keeping north they came to Creswell Creek, which was followed for some distance west. The last permanent water found, named Adder waterholes, was only 90 miles from the telegraph line. But it was by now extremely hot and the first attempt to reach the line resulted in the loss of three horses from want of water. It was decided to wait for better weather and, though their rations were rapidly running out, the party succeeded in living on the country by shooting wild ducks and other birds, and using blue bush and pig-weed as vegetables. In January 1879 some thunderstorms brought them welcome water, and Powell Creek station and Darwin were quickly reached. Some good pastoral country was discovered which has since been stocked. Four years later Favenc did some useful exploring in the country to the south of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and he also explored country in the north-west of Western Australia.

Favenc was doing a fair amount of journalistic work at this time and by 1887 settled down to literary work. His first separate publication had been an interesting little pamphlet, The Great Austral Plain, which appeared in 1881, in which he discussed the future of the interior of Australia with much knowledge and good sense. In 1887 he published a short book on Western Australia and in 1888 appeared his excellent History of Australian Exploration. He collected some of his short stories from periodicals The Last of Six: Tales of the Austral Tropics in 1893, of which another edition under the title of Tales of the Austral Tropics appeared in 1894. The Secret of the Australian Desert, a short novel, was published in 1895, and was followed by Marooned on Australia and The Moccasins of Silence, both published in 1896. My Only Murder and other Tales another collection of short stories appeared in 1899, a pamphlet on the Physical Configuration of the Australian Continent in 1905, and in the same year a collection of his verse Voices of the Desert, dedicated to his wife. His last work, The Explorers of Australia and their Life-work, was published in 1908. He had been in broken health for some years and he died on 14 November of that year.

Favenc was an excellent explorer, resolute yet careful, a born bushman. His own experiences enabled him to speak with authority in his two books dealing with the exploration of Australia. He was a good journalist who did much work for the Bulletin, his verse is capable and vigorous, his three romances are still readable, and his short stories are always competent and interesting.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 November 1908; The Bulletin, 19 November 1908; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; E. Favenc, History of Australian Exploration, pp. 274-6 and 284.

^Top of page


pioneer, a founder of Melbourne,

son of John and Hannah Fawkner née Pascoe, was born at London on 20 October 1792. He came to Australia with his father and mother in Lieut.-colonel Collins's (q.v.) expedition, which attempted a settlement in Port Phillip bay near the present site of Sorrento in October 1803, and went to Tasmania in February 1804. His father, though a transported man, does not appear to have belonged to the criminal class, he soon obtained a conditional pardon, and his subsequent life was thoroughly respectable. For some time he had a small farm near Hobart where his son assisted him. In 1814 the young man became a sawmiller and soon afterwards fell into trouble. A letter dated 19 October 1814 from Lieut.-governor Davey (q.v.) to. Lieutenant Jeffreys instructs him that he is to receive on board John Fawkner, "one of those persons who lately absconded from the settlements after committing some most atrocious robberys and depredations, and is under sentence of transportation for five years; he proceeds to Sydney for the purpose of being sent to the Coal river during the period of his sentence, and also to break the chain of a very dangerous connexion he has formed in this settlement". This gives a misleading account of what had occurred. Fawkner's account of this incident, which appears to have been true, was that "a party of prisoners, determined to escape, sought his assistance and that in a moment of foolish sympathy he undertook to help them". (J. Bonwick, Port Phillip Settlement, pp. 281-2).

In 1818 Fawkner was back at Hobart and in 1819 removed to Launceston where he worked as a baker and bookseller. In 1825 he became a timber merchant and at about this time opened the Cornwall Hotel. In 1829 he was defending people in the lower court as an authorized "agent" and in the same year became the proprietor of his first newspaper the Launceston Advertiser. In 1835, like Batman (q.v.) Fawkner was considering the colonization of the Port Phillip district. He communicated his plans to some of his friends and a party was made up to cross the straits. Fawkner sold seven acres of his land in Brisbane-street, Launceston, bought the schooner Enterprise and loaded her with agricultural implements, fruit trees, grain, garden seeds, blankets and tomahawks for the aborigines, and a large stock of provisions. His party consisted of William Jackson, carpenter, Robert H. Marr, carpenter, J. H. Lancey, master mariner, George Evans, plasterer, and four other employees. The Enterprise sailed on 27 July 1835 but met bad weather and Fawkner became so ill that the vessel returned on 30 July and he was landed at George Town. The Enterprise arrived at Western Port on 8 August and afterwards sailed on to Port Phillip and arrived at the mouth of the Yarra on 20 August. On 29 August the vessel anchored near where is now Spencer-street, Melbourne, and four days later everything had been put on shore. On the same day J. H. Wedge (q.v.) as representative of John Batman arrived from Indented Head and informed Fawkner's party that they were trespassing on land bought by Batman from the natives. On the following day they were given a courteous letter repeating this statement and expressing the hope that they would "see the propriety of selecting a situation that will not interfere with the boundaries described in the deed of conveyance". Wedge had no power to eject the party and indeed, in the view of the government at Sydney, both parties were trespassers.

Fawkner arrived on 11 October 1835 an very soon took a leading part in the community. On 6 November he occupied the first house erected in Melbourne and opened a public-house without licence. Soon afterwards he began cultivating land between the river and Emerald Hill, now South Melbourne. But the position of the settlers was very unsatisfactory as no-one had any security of tenure and there was no resident magistrate. On 1 June 1836 a public meeting was held and Fawkner moved resolutions appointing Mr James Simpson as an arbitrator on all questions except those relating to land, and that all subscribing parties should bind themselves not to cause any action at law against the arbitrator. He also proposed the resolution asking Governor Bourke (q.v.) to appoint a resident magistrate, and seconded one pledging the meeting to afford protection to the aborigines. In reply to the petition Captain Lonsdale (q.v.) was appointed police magistrate in September 1836, and he brought with him a party of surveyors to lay out the town. On 1 June 1837 the first sale of crown land was held at Melbourne, and on 1 January 1838 Fawkner published the first newspaper, the Melbourne Advertiser. Seventeen weekly issues appeared, of which the first nine were in manuscript, and the remainder were the first printed publications to appear in Melbourne. The paper was suppressed by Captain Lonsdale because Fawkner had not complied with the newspaper act. On 6 February 1839 he published the first number of the Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser, at first a weekly, but in July it became a bi-weekly. The advertisement of Fawkner's hotel which appeared in the fourth issue throws an interesting light on him. He says little about what is usually found at hotels but stresses the mental pabulum to be expected. "There are provided seven English and five colonial weekly newspapers, seven British monthly magazines, three British Quarterly Reviews up to October 1837; a very choice selection of Books including Novels, Poetry, Theology, History, etc. N.B. A late Encyclopaedia. Any of those works will be free to the lodgers at the above hotel." Surely no other hotel in the world ever advertised an encyclopaedia among its attractions, but Fawkner really believed in the value of books and education. On 21 November 1840 he published the first number of the Geelong Advertiser.

In November 1841 Fawkner was appointed one of the first market commissioners, and at the first municipal election on 1 December 1842 he was elected one of the councillors for the Lonsdale ward and with two intervals was a member for about three years. In 1845 largely on account of other people not fulfilling their obligations to him, Fawkner became insolvent; fortunately half of his farm of about 800 acres at Pascoe Vale near Melbourne had been settled on his wife and he was able to make a fresh start. In a few years he was again in comfortable monetary circumstances. At the anti-transportation and separation meetings he was a vigorous speaker. He was elected a member of the first legislative council in 1851 and continued to sit until shortly before his death. He watched closely all matters before the house and spoke frequently and with decision. He became an institution in the house and nothing but illness prevented his attendance. He died on 4 September 1869.

Fawkner played many parts in his time. He triumphed over his first mistake, and if he never quite became a popular leader he earned the gratitude and respect of the community he served. He was abstemious in his habits and full of energy; "a short, squat, hard-mouthed little man with a determined chin and a shambling gait, passionate and fiery in his speech." He was in advance of his period in his demand for education, and when Melbourne was little more than a village he could visualize the desirability of a philharmonic society and a university. He founded what was practically the first library in Victoria, and some household relics, preserved in the historical museum at the public library, Melbourne, suggest that essentially he was a man of culture although his outward manners were unpolished. He was quick to realize the needs of his young community and early fought for a magistrate and police, a hospital, water supply, and flood protection. The respective claims of Fawkner and John Batman to be the founder of Melbourne are discussed under Batman, but the latter died about three years after his arrival and for the greater part of that period was a disabled man. Fawkner on the other hand was a power in the land from the beginning and continued to be so for 30 years.

Fawkner married Elizabeth Cobb at Hobart in November 1818. She survived him but there were no children. His portrait is in the historical collection at the public library, Melbourne.

J. Bonwick, Port Phillip Settlement; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vol. VIII; H. G. Turner, History of Victoria; D. Blair, Cyclopaedia of Australia; R. D. Boys, First Years at Port Phillip; The Age, 6 September 1869; The Argus, 6 September 1869; William Westgarth, Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne and Victoria, pp. 65-71; E. Finn, The Chronicles of Early Melbourne.

^Top of page

FELTON, ALFRED (1831-1904),

public benefactor,

was born at Maldon, Essex, on 8 December 1831. He came to Victoria on the ship California in 1853, no doubt intending to search for gold, but there is no record of what success he had. In 1857 he was in business in Collins-street, Melbourne, as a commission agent and dealer in merchandise, and in 1859 was an importer and general dealer. Two years later he was in business in Swanston-street, as a wholesale druggist. In 1866 he went into partnership with F. S. Grimwade and founded the well-known business of Felton Grimwade and Company, wholesale druggists and manufacturing chemists. The business grew and as the years went by the partners acquired interests in associated industries such as Melbourne Glass Bottle Works, and Cuming Smith and Company, makers of artificial manures etc. Felton also had large grazing interests and he became a rich man. His own wants were few and he never married. He gave away considerable amounts to charity, and formed large collections of pictures and books which at times threatened to push him out of his rooms at the Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda, near Melbourne. He died there on 8 January 1904.

The net value of Felton's estate was £494,522. When legacies totalling £58,900 were deducted and probate duties and other expenses paid £378,033 remained. The income from this sum was left to the state, one half to be spent on charities, the other on works of art to be presented to the national gallery of Victoria. At the time of Felton's death Melbourne had not completely recovered from the financial crisis of 1893. By careful management the value of the capital fund has since increased to over £1,000,000 It has been calculated that the income paid away to charity and for works of art reached half a million each by 1936. In this way the national gallery at Melbourne has been able to acquire works by Van Eyck, Memling, Rembrandt, Titian, Van Dyck, Tiepelo, Corot, Manet, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Turner and many other artists whose pictures would otherwise have been quite beyond its means.

Felton has been described as "a tallish spare man, with pointed beard and kindly grey eyes". Not a recluse, he liked to mix with his fellow-men on public occasions, though he had few intimate friends. His habits were simple and undeviating, his breakfast was nearly always a whiting, his dinner, chicken. No lunch. "In moments of exhilaration his excesses seemed to amount to a cigar." He liked to discuss questions of art, and was interested to some degree in music. A portrait painted from photographs by Sir John Longstaff is at the national gallery, Melbourne.

Basil Burdett, The Felton Bequests an Historical Record, 1904-1933; Alfred Felton and His Art Benefactions; Historical Record of the Felton Bequests; W. Russell Grimwade, The Home, January 1926.

^Top of page

FIELD, BARRON (1786-1846),

judge and author,

was born on 23 October 1786. His father Henry Field was a well-known London medical man and his brother, Frederick (1801-85), became a distinguished biblical scholar. Field was educated as a barrister and was called to the Inner Temple on 25 June 1814. He was a great student of poetry and frequently contributed to the press, being for a time theatrical critic for The Times. He became acquainted with Lamb and his circle; Crabb Robinson called on Field in January 1812 and found Lamb and Leigh Hunt there, and he records in another place that at Lamb's house on 23 May 1815 he met Wordsworth, Field, and Talfourd. In the following year Field accepted a commission as judge of the supreme court in New South Wales, and arrived in Sydney on 24 February 1817. Governor Macquarie (q.v.), writing to Under-secretary Goulburn in April thanked him "for making me acquainted with Mr Field's character. He appears to be everything that you say of him and I am very much prejudiced in his favour already from his mild modest and conciliating manners, and I am persuaded he will prove a great acquisition and blessing to this colony". Field was soon at work framing the necessary "Rules of Practice and Regulations for conducting the Proceedings of the Court". His salary was £800 a year with a residence, government servants, and rations for himself.

In 1819 he published First Fruits of Australian Poetry, the first volume of verse, if it may be called a volume for it had only twelve pages, issued in Australia. Lamb reviewed it far too kindly in the Examiner for 16 January 1820. An enlarged edition appeared in 1823. Though Field carried out his duties ably and conscientiously he does not appear to have been able to keep himself clear from the petty squabbles and jealousies of a small settlement. An echo of this may be found in the description of Field by John Dunmore Lang (q.v.) as a "weak silly man who fancied himself a poet born". Sir Thomas Brisbane (q.v.), writing to Earl Bathurst in January 1824, stated that Field "had embraced every opportunity of falsely and foully slandering me and my government". But Brisbane could be irascible if he thought his honour or dignity was touched, and his first ground of complaint appears to have been that "during his first two years in the colony, Field had never once entered Government House". However, word was already on the way to Brisbane that Field had been recalled, and Lamb, writing at the end of 1824, mentions that "Barron Field is come home from Sydney. He is plump and friendly; his wife really is a very superior woman". Field had been granted a pension of £400 a year from 4 February 1824. He was subsequently appointed chief justice at Gibraltar. Disraeli called on him there in 1830 and gave an unflattering description of him in a letter to his sister. In 1836 Crabb Robinson spoke of intending to visit him at Gibraltar, and in 1841 Field printed another small volume of verse, Spanish Sketches, at the press of the garrison library there. In 1844 he was back in England writing to Crabb Robinson from Torquay. He died on 11 April 1846.

Field's claim to distinction does not rest entirely on the fact that he wrote the first volume of verse to appear in Australia, he also founded the first savings bank in June 1819. He is spoken of with respect in Miss Marion Phillips's A Colonial Autocracy. He was the B.F. of one of the most famous of Lamb's essays and the recipient of more than one of his delightful letters, which suggests that he must have had likeable qualities. His verse has no value, but he could do better work in prose and had some claims to be an Elizabethan scholar, his special interest being Thomas Heywood. His Geographical Memoirs on New South Wales, published in 1825, is an interesting collection of some of the earliest scientific papers relating to Australia.

Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. IX to XII; C. Lamb, Letters; Crabb Robinson, Diary; Marion Phillips, A Colonial Autocracy; Gentleman's Magazine, 1846. See also Richard Edward's preamble to the 1941 reissue of First Fruits of Australian Poetry, and "Some Bibliographical Notes" by George Mackaness in Manuscripts, No. 11.

^Top of page


Imperial federationist,

fourth son of the tenth Earl of Winchelsea, was born on 23 August 1856. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, and at 19 years of age went to Queensland. He took up land in the Mackay district and later worked on the Nebo goldfields. Returning to England in 1883 he published in 1885 an account of his travels Advance Australia! (2nd ed. 1886). It is written in an entertaining way, but his statements about the aborigines and his views on Australian politicians must be accepted with caution. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the house of commons in 1885, 1886 and 1892, but was returned as a conservative for Newark in 1895. He resigned in 1898 on account of disagreement with the policy of his party. He was one of the founders of the Imperial Federation League, and when the North Queensland Separation League was formed he was appointed chairman of the London committee. He also worked for the development of the Pacific route to Australia, and was secretary to the Pacific Telegraph Company for the formation of a line from Vancouver Island to Australia. He died suddenly at London on 16 May 1904. He was unmarried.

The Times, 18 May 1904; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1900.

^Top of page

FINK, THEODORE (1855-1942),

politician and educationist,

son of Moses Fink, was born at Guernsey in the Channel Islands on 3 July 1855. Brought to Victoria by his father in 1860 he was educated at the Flinders School, Geelong, at Geelong College, and at the Church of England Grammar School, Melbourne. He qualified as a solicitor at the university of Melbourne and practised his profession successfully. In September 1894 he was elected to the Victorian legislative assembly as member for Jolimont and West Richmond and held the seat for 10 years. On 5 December 1899 he became a minister without portfolio in the McLean (q.v.) ministry. The treasurer William Shiels (q.v.) had been in bad health and the intention was that Fink should act as an assistant to him. He, however, objected to some personal remarks made by Shiels at a public meeting referring to the ministry just displaced, and resigned from the ministry. (The Argus, 21 and 22 Dec. 1894). It was generally felt that his reasons were insufficient, and his action did harm to his future career as a politician. He supported the federation movement and stood for the house of representatives at the first federal election in April 1901, but was defeated by William Knox. He still held his seat in the Victorian assembly but retired in 1904 and never afterwards entered politics.

During this period, however, Fink had been doing valuable work in another direction. He was president of the royal commission on technical education in 1899-1901 which resulted in reforms in primary and technical schools, and he was also president of the royal commission on the university of Melbourne in 1902-4. In August 1904 he was thanked by parliament for his services to education. Subsequently he was chairman of conferences on apprenticeship in 1906-7 and 1911, chairman of a board of inquiry into the working-men's college in 1910, vice-president of the council of public education, vice-chairman of the state war council of Victoria, and chairman of the Commonwealth repatriation board for Victoria in 1917-19. In yet another direction he was an important influence. In his earlier days he had done some writing for the press and in 1889 became a director of the Herald and Weekly Times newspapers. A few years later he became chairman of directors. It was generally believed that Fink was an important factor in the great improvement that took place in the conduct of the Herald, and that he was largely responsible for the appointment of such excellent editors as Guy Innes and (Sir) Keith Murdoch. He retained his interest in the press until the end of his long life. He died at Melbourne on 25 April 1942. He married in 1881 Kate, daughter of George Isaacs, who predeceased him. He was survived by two sons and two daughters.

Fink was much interested in the arts and literature and was widely read. In his earlier days he was well-known as an excellent after-dinner speaker, and his witty speeches at social gatherings of artists and literary men were much appreciated. Though he was also well-known in the business life of Melbourne as a lawyer and a power in the newspaper world, comparatively few people realized the full value of his educational work. The advance in education in Victoria during the first quarter of the twentieth century was based on the report of the commissions over which he presided, and his recognition of the ability of Frank Tate (q.v.) led to his appointment as director of education and the great expansion which followed.

The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903; The Argus and The Herald, Melbourne, 27 April 1942; personal knowledge.

^Top of page

FINN, EDMUND (1819-1898),

pioneer journalist,

was born in Tipperary, Ireland, on 13 January 1819. Originally educated for the priesthood he emigrated to Australia and arrived at Port Phillip in July 1841. He was a tutor in classics for four years, and then joined the staff of the Port Phillip Herald as a general reporter. He was a good journalist and made a point of knowing everyone and everything that was going on; it was said that he had held every position on the paper from reporter to editor. In 1858 he was appointed clerk of the papers in the legislative council and remained in that position until his retirement in 1886. In 1880 he had published anonymously The "Garryowen" Sketches which were eventually expanded into The Chronicles of Early Melbourne, 1835-1852, published in two large volumes in 1888. Although unfortunately without an index, this is a valuable book and contains a large amount or generally reliable information about the early days of Melbourne.

Finn was a genial, kindly man, short in stature and very near-sighted. He took a great interest in Irish affairs in Melbourne and was for some time president of the St Patrick's Society. He died on 4 April 1898. He was married twice and left a widow and children by both marriages. A son, Edmund Finn, the younger, who died in 1922, was also an author. Among his books were A Priest's Secret and The Hordern Mystery, readable but now quite forgotten short novels.

The Age, Melbourne, 5 April 1898; The Advocate, 9 April 1898; Men of the Time in Australia, 1878; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; P. E. O'Grady, The Victorian Historical Magazine, vol. XV, p. 108; The Herald, Melbourne, 4 August 1945.

^Top of page


pioneer and first premier of South Australia,

was born at sea on 18 August 1807. He was educated at the school of the Rev. Charles Parr Burney at Greenwich, and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. In May 1825 he became an ensign in the 56th Foot, was promoted lieutenant in 1827, and subsequently spent three years in Mauritius in the department of roads and bridges. In 1835 he sold his commission and, having been appointed assistant surveyor under Colonel Light, arrived in South Australia in September 1836. He supported Light's choice of the site of Adelaide; his correspondence during the early years shows him to have been a man of sound judgment and he was an able assistant during the early surveys. In 1839 he was appointed deputy surveyor-general and in 1843 he became commissioner of police and police magistrate. He was made colonial treasurer and registrar general in 1847, and in 1851 was nominated to the legislative council by the governor Sir Henry Young (q.v.). In 1852 he received the appointment of colonial secretary, and in July 1853 had charge of the bill to provide for two chambers in the South Australian parliament. In the interim between the departure of Governor Young in December 1854 and the arrival of Sir Richard McDonnell (q.v.) in June 1855, Finniss acted as administrator. The bill of 1853 was not accepted by the British government, and a new bill was brought forward in 1855 providing for two purely elective houses. This received the royal assent in 1856. Finniss was elected one of the representatives for the city of Adelaide and became the first premier and chief secretary of South Australia. There were early difficulties between the two houses but Finniss during the four months his ministry was in session succeeded in passing measures to deal with waterworks for Adelaide, and the first railway in South Australia. He was treasurer in the Hanson (q.v.) ministry from June 1858 to May 1860 and at the new election in that year was one of the representatives for Mount Barker. In 1864 the South Australian government, desiring to open up the Northern Territory, organized a survey party under Finniss, giving him instructions to examine the Adelaide River and the coastline to the west and east of it. Finniss selected a site for the settlement at the mouth of the Adelaide River but his choice was much criticized, he had great trouble with his subordinates, and was eventually recalled. In 1875 he was a member of the forest board and in the following year was acting auditor general. He retired from the government service in 1881, and spent his leisure in preparing an interesting but discursive Constitutional History of South Australia which was published in 1886. He died on 24 December 1893. Finniss was twice married and left a widow, a son and two daughters.

Finniss was a man of varied capacity and determined character. A slow and somewhat prosy public speaker, he was a capable administrator with a high sense of duty and excellent judgment.

B. T. Finniss, The Constitutional History of South Australia, p. 248; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; J. Blacket, History of South Australia; A. Grenfell Price, Founders and Pioneers of South Australia; South Australian Register, 26 December 1893.

^Top of page

FISHER, ANDREW (1862-1928),

prime minister of Australia,

son of Robert Fisher, was born at Crosshouse, Ayrshire, Scotland, on 29 August 1862. He was educated at the local school, and as a young man worked as a coal-miner. Emigrating to Australia he arrived in Queensland in 1885, worked as a miner for some years, read largely in economics and social science, and became a union leader. In 1893 he was elected to the legislative assembly for Gympie, an even-tempered tall young Scotchman, full of hopes for social reforms, and fully recognizing the power of the forces opposed to him. He was secretary for railways and public works in the Dawson (q.v.) ministry which lasted only a few days in December 1899, and in the following year brought in a workers' compensation bill which, however, did not become law.

At the first federal election held early in 1901 Fisher was elected to the house of representatives for Wide Bay, Queensland, and held the seat until his retirement 15 years later. When Watson (q.v.) formed the first labour ministry in April 1904, Fisher became minister for trade and customs, but Watson was defeated less than four months later and in 1907 resigned his leadership of the party on account of failing health. There were men of greater ability than Fisher in the ranks of labour, but none so safe and dependable, and he was elected leader. In November 1908 he withdrew his support from Deakin (q.v.) and became prime minister and treasurer. He brought in a defence act on similar lines to Deakin's, but found, in the then state of parties, that it was almost impossible to do really useful work. He was displaced by the so-called fusion government in June 1909, but at the general election held in April 1910 labour for the first time secured a majority of the house, and Fisher became prime minister and treasurer again. During his rather more than three years in office much important legislation was passed. The Commonwealth bank was inaugurated, compulsory military training was introduced, the transcontinental railway was begun, maternity allowances were brought in, and the Commonwealth took over the responsibility of the Northern Territory from South Australia. These were some of the more important of over 100 acts passed and few parliaments have had a more prolific record. In 1911 Fisher represented Australia at the Imperial conference and was made a privy councillor. He visited his birthplace, a remarkable homecoming for the man who had left as a young miner with no apparent prospects 26 years before, and returned the honoured prime minister of a great dominion. In the June 1913 general election labour lost some seats and Fisher resigned, but after the wartime election held in September 1914 he came back with a working majority. It was during this campaign that he made his famous declaration that Australia was prepared to spend her "last man and her last shilling". The labour cabinet was not entirely a happy family, Fisher began to feel the strain, and handed over the leadership to W. M. Hughes in October 1915. He became high commissioner in London in January 1916 and held the position until 1921. After a visit to Australia he returned to London and lived quietly until his death on 22 October 1928. He was survived by five sons and one daughter.

Fisher had no great gifts as an orator. He could speak clearly and vigorously, he was modest, sincere, hardworking and courageous, and he believed that the ideals of his party were for the good of humanity. At Australia House he was a little out of his element, for one thing his special gifts did not lie in the direction of after-dinner speaking, though he did good work in looking after the interests of the Australian soldiers. His greatest value to Australia was the sanity and moderation of his leadership from 1910 to 1913. Flushed with success at the polls his party might easily have gone to extremes in legislation under a less stable leader.

The Age, Melbourne, 23 October 1928; The Times, 23 October 1928; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; H. G. Turner, The First Decade of the Australian Commonwealth; Who's Who, 1928.

^Top of page

FISHER, SIR JAMES HURTLE (c. 1789-1875),


son of James Fisher a London architect, was born in 1789 or 1790. He studied law and practised as a solicitor in London from 1811 to 1832. In 1836 he was appointed resident commissioner in South Australia, and sailed for that colony on the Buffalo in July 1836 as representative of the South Australian board of commissioners. He arrived with Governor Hindmarsh (q.v.) on 28 December 1836. Unfortunately authority was divided between Hindmarsh as governor and Fisher as representative of the commissioners, with the powers of neither clearly defined. It was a contest between a bluff, honest, somewhat tactless man and a shrewd lawyer, and the quarrels that ensued were not entirely creditable to either. There were difficult financial problems and Fisher's management of them was unsatisfactory, though no doubt he was much hampered by the impossibility of carrying out his instructions. Hindmarsh was recalled and when his successor Gawler (q.v.) arrived on 12 October 1838 he combined the offices of governor and resident commissioner. Fisher then began private practice in the law, and was subsequently for some years leader of the bar at Adelaide, well known as a painstaking and fighting advocate. He was elected first mayor of Adelaide in 1840, and between then and 1853 was five times re-elected to that position. He was chosen a member of the legislative council in 1853, lost his seat at the next election, but was in the council again in 1855 as a nominee member and was unanimously elected speaker. He was elected to the council in 1857 under the new constitution and was its president for eight years. He retired from his profession about 1860 and from politics in 1865, He lived to be 85, retaining his mental faculties to the end, and died on 28 January 1875. He married and was survived by four sons and four daughters. Personally Fisher was a man of ready wit, humour and courtesy, who filled the positions of speaker and president with impartiality and distinction. He was knighted in 1860.

The South Australian Advertiser, 29 January 1875; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; A. Grenfell Price, The Foundation and Settlement of South Australia.

^Top of page

FISON, REV. LORIMER (1832-1907),


was born at Barningham, Suffolk, on 9 November 1832. His father was a prosperous landowner, his mother a daughter of the Rev. John Reynolds, a woman of ability and personality. Fison was sent to a good school at Sheffield, proceeded from there to Cambridge where he read with a tutor before becoming a student of Caius College in 1855. In the following year he went to Australia and while at the diggings the news of the unexpected death of his father led to his conversion to active Christianity. He went to Melbourne, joined the Methodist church, and after some further study at the university of Melbourne offered himself for missionary service in Fiji. He was ordained a minister and sailed for Fiji in 1864. His first term as a missionary, which lasted for seven years, was very successful. The Rev. George Brown in an article in the Australasian Methodist Missionary Review said that Fison was "one of the best missionaries whom God has ever given to our church". His honesty, kindliness, tact and commonsense were appreciated alike by government officials, white settlers, and the natives themselves. He became much interested in Fijian customs and in 1870 was able to give Lewis H. Morgan, the well-known American ethnologist, some interesting information relating to the Tongan and Fijian systems of relationship. This was incorporated as a supplement to part III of Morgan's Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity published in 1871. When Fison returned to Australia in that year he began investigating similar problems in connexion with the aborigines. This led to his becoming acquainted with Alfred William Howitt (q.v.) with whom he was afterwards to do such valuable work in Australian anthropology.

Fison returned to Fiji in 1875 and, when the training institution for natives was established, he became its principal. He did excellent work and the effects of his influence on the Fijians was long felt. He published a life of Christ Ai Tukutuku Kei Jisu and also wrote a valuable pamphlet on the native system of land tenure in Fiji. This little treatise became a classic of its kind and was reprinted by the government printer, Fiji, more than 20 years later. Though so far away he continued his study of the Australian aborigines, his preface to Kamilaroi marriage descent and relationships in Kamilaroi and Kurnai (1880), by Lorimer Fison and A. W. Howitt is dated Fiji, August 1878. The materials for the interesting legends afterwards published under the title of Tales from Old Fiji (1904), were also collected about this time.

Fison returned to Australia in 1884 and for most of the remainder of his life lived near Melbourne. From 1888 to 1905 he edited the Spectator and made it one of the best Melbourne church papers. At the meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science held at Hobart in 1892 he was president of the anthropological section, and from the chair, with charming candour, pointed out that a theory of the Kurnai system, which he had worked out with infinite pains in Kamilaroi and Kurnai, was "not worth a rush". In 1894 he visited England and attended the meeting of the British association at Oxford. There he met Max Müller, Professor Tylor and many other distinguished scientists. At Cambridge he became acquainted with Dr afterwards Sir James Frazer who was much impressed by his frank and manly nature. Fison continued to do a large amount of journalistic work and even when he was past 70 years of age had to work very hard to make a bare living. In 1905 he was granted a civil list pension of £150 a year by the British government. He had now become very feeble in body though his mind retained its keenness. He died on 29 December 1907. Before going to Fiji Fison had married Jane Thomas of Pembroke, Wales, who survived him with two sons and four daughters.

Fison was six feet in height, "a big burly man, powerfully and heavily built, with a jolly good-humoured face, a bluff almost jovial manner, tender-hearted but bubbling over with humour, on which the remembrance of his clerical profession, as well as his deep, absolutely unaffected piety, perhaps imposed a certain restraint". (Sir James G. Frazer, Folk Lore, 1909, p. 172.) He was a great missionary, an excellent journalist, and with Howitt he did remarkable pioneer work on the Australian aborigines which carries the respect of all scientists and can never be entirely forgotten.

The Methodist Church of Australasia, Victoria and Tasmania, Minutes Seventh Annual Conference, p. 41; Sir J. G. Frazer, Folk Lore, 1909; C. Irving Benson, A Century of Victorian Methodism; The Victorian Naturalist, April 1908, p. 186.

^Top of page


author and educationist,

the son of a schoolmaster, was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1842. He came with his parents to Australia in 1854 and his father died soon after. Fitchett first worked in a quarry near Geelong, then became a jackeroo on a station in Queensland, and largely self-educated, entered the Methodist ministry in 1866. His first charge was at Mortlake, Victoria, and for 16 years he was a circuit minister at Echuca, Bendigo, South Yarra and Hawthorn. He continued his studies after entering the ministry and in 1876 took the degree of B.A. at the university of Melbourne. In 1878 he moved and carried a resolution at the Methodist conference that a committee should be appointed to seriously consider the question of starting a secondary school which would do for girls what Wesley College was doing for boys. Nothing was done but in the following year he became secretary of a new committee which, after three years work, succeeded in starting the Methodist Ladies' College at Hawthorn. The financial difficulties were great but they were overcome, Fitchett became the first principal and held the position for 46 years. Under his guidance it developed into one of the largest and most successful girls' schools in Australia.

Fitchett at this period had already entered journalism having during the seventies, contributed a regular column to the Spectator, the Methodist church paper, signed XYZ. Some time later he became editor of the Southern Cross, a Sunday magazine for the home, and held this position until his death, a period of over 40 years. Articles by him appeared in its pages a month before he died. But what brought him really before the general public was a series of articles which were published in the Melbourne Argus under the title of Deeds that Won the Empire. They were collected and published in book form in Melbourne in 1896 and by Smith Elder and Company, London, in 1897. The book eventually ran into 35 editions and about 250,000 copies were sold. Similar volumes followed in steady succession, Wellington's Men (1900), The Tale of the Great Mutiny (1901), Nelson and his Captains (1902), Fights for the Flag (1909), How England Saved Europe, 4 vols. (1909), The Great Duke, 2 vols. (1911), The New World of the South (1913). Interspersed with these were three Volumes of fiction, The Commander of the Hirondelle (1904), Ithuriel's Spear (1906), A Pawn in the Game (1908), and four books with a religious interest, The Unrealized Logic of Religion (1905), Wesley and his Century (1906), The Beliefs of Unbelief (1908), Where the Higher Criticism Fails (1922). Other literary work included the editorships of the Australasian Review of Reviews, and of Life a popular magazine, the first number of which appeared in 1904.

These activities were not allowed to interfere with his life-work. First and foremost he was principal of a great school for girls steadily expanding, with problems continually arising which required his careful attention. His writing was done in the early hours of the day much of it before breakfast, and the Methodist Church as a whole called for much interest and thought. Towards the end of the nineteenth century it was split into five sections and many efforts were made to bring a union of them about. In 1895 Fitchett, as president of the conference of 1895, organized a public demonstration in favour of the union. The question came up again at successive yearly conferences, but it was difficult to obtain the requisite two-thirds majority. In 1898 union was decided upon, the necessary act of parliament was passed, and at the conference of 1902 the union was accomplished and Fitchett was elected the first president of the united church. Another of his interests was the public library of Victoria of which he was a trustee for 35 years. Working until the last month of his life, he died after a short illness on 25 May 1928. He married (1) in 1870 Clara Shaw who died in 1915 (2) the widow of the Rev. William Williams who survived him with five sons and one daughter of the first marriage. A brother, Dr Frederick Fitchett, C.M.G., was at one time attorney-general of New Zealand, and another brother, Dr Alfred Fitchett, was dean of Dunedin, New Zealand.

Fitchett's versatility was remarkable. He was an excellent debater and leader at church conferences, a preacher of extraordinary ability with a special appeal to young people, a successful administrator of a great girls' school from its inception to the time when it had a roll of over 700 pupils, a first-rate man of business, a capable editor of different types of magazines, and a competent writer of stories like the Commander of the Hirondelle. His books on religion are interesting though Where the Higher Criticism Fails, written away from his library, is one of his least worthy books, Wesley and his Century is, however, an able piece of work which became a textbook in the leading Methodist theological colleges in the United States of America. He had the faults of a man who writes too quickly, but he made a well-deserved reputation as a great man in his church, and in his own way he was an almost incomparable journalist and popular historian.

The Southern Cross, 8 June 1928; The Herald, Melbourne, 26 May 1928; The Argus, Melbourne, 26 May 1928; C. Irving Benson, A Century of Victorian Methodism; The Spectator, 30 May 1928; W. H. Fitchett, 40 Years at the Methodist Ladies' College.

^Top of page


writer on orchids,

son of Robert David FitzGerald, a banker, was born at Tralee, Ireland, on 30 November 1830. When a boy he became interested in ornithology, continued his study of it while doing a civil engineering course at Queen's College, Cork, and became a good taxidermist. He emigrated to Sydney in 1856, and in August of that year joined the staff of the lands department. In 1864 while on a trip to Wallis Lake he became much interested in the orchids he found on its shores. He began studying them, received some assistance from William Carron of the botanic gardens, Sydney, and later on had some correspondence with Darwin. Several references to FitzGerald will be found in the second edition of Darwin's book on the fertilization of orchids. FitzGerald became deputy surveyor-general in 1873, and while in this position succeeded in having permanently reserved for the public the areas fronting the Katoomba, Leura, and Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, and reservations were also made in other parts of the country.

In 1875 FitzGerald published the first part of his great book on Australian Orchids. Other parts were issued at intervals and the first volume was published in 1882 and dedicated to the memory of Charles Darwin. In the first part the illustrations were in monochrome drawn by FitzGerald, but in the second part they began to be coloured. The intention was merely to reproduce the originals in facsimile, but FitzGerald had an artist's eye for colour and the illustrations are beautifully done. They were drawn in the spare time of a busy public servant in a growing department, but in 1884 the passing of the crown lands act led to the work of his department being decentralized. Fifteen district offices were created and, on a commission being appointed, of which FitzGerald was a member, to inquire into the conduct of the department at Sydney, it was found necessary to retire a large number of senior officers. This inquiry was a cause of great worry to FitzGerald, his own health became affected, and he retired on a pension in 1887. He continued working on his book until his death at Hunter's Hill, Sydney, on 12 August 1892. He married Emily Hunt and was survived by three sons and three daughters. His grandson, Robert David FitzGerald, born in 1902 became a well-known Australian poet. At the time of FitzGerald's death four parts of his second volume had been published and a fifth was in preparation . This was completed by Henry Deane (q.v.) and Arthur J. Stopps, the lithographer of many of the earlier plates.

FitzGerald was an amiable and versatile man, an excellent departmental officer, a surveyor, civil engineer, geologist, ornithologist and botanist of great ability. He will always be remembered for his great work on Australian orchids, and is commemorated in the following species:--Sarcochilus Fitzgeraldi, Dracophyllum Fitzgeraldi, and Eugenia Fitzgeraldi.

The Sydney Mail, 3 September 1892; Mrs C. A. Messmer, The Victorian Naturalist, April 1932; J. H. Maiden, Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, vol. XLII, p. 102; Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, vol. XXI, p. 827; private information.

^Top of page



son of John FitzGerald of Trinity College, Dublin, was born at Tullamore, Ireland, on 1 August 1838. He was educated at St Mary's College, Kingston, and studied for the medical profession at Mercer's hospital, Dublin. He passed his examination for licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, in 1857 and in the following year went to Australia. He arrived in Melbourne on 7 July and shortly afterwards was appointed house surgeon to the Melbourne hospital. In 1860 he began to practise in Lonsdale-street, where he afterwards established a private hospital, and in the same year he was elected full surgeon to the Melbourne hospital, a position he held for over 40 years. His reputation as a surgeon grew steadily and it eventually spread all over Australia. He was rapid, resourceful and successful in the operations that were possible at that period, and invented original methods such as the subcutaneous introduction of gold wire in cases of inguinal hernia and fractured patella, special appliances in operating for cleft palate, and an original method in the operation for talipes. To his dexterity as an operator was joined remarkable skill in diagnosis, it seemed almost to be an extra sense and he could describe the position of fragments of a fracture as though he could see it in an X-ray skiagraph. In 1884 FitzGerald visited Ireland and obtained the diploma of fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He was twice president of the Medical Society of Victoria, and in 1889 was elected president of the Australasian medical congress. In 1900 he went to the South African war as a consultant surgeon to the Imperial forces. An account of his visit was published in the Intercolonial Medical Journal of Australasia for December 1900. Soon after his return FitzGerald relinquished much of his private practice and retired from hospital work. His health began to fail and a voyage to Europe gave him little benefit. He died at sea while on a voyage to Cairns, Queensland, on 8 July 1908. He married Margaret, daughter of James Robertson, who predeceased him, and was survived by three daughters. He was knighted in 1897; C.B. 1900.

FitzGerald was slightly below medium height with a fine head and natural dignity of manner. Though a man of great rapidity of thought he was not expansive in conversation, and his pupils learned more from what he did than from what he said. He was extremely active, played tennis regularly until late in life, and did much riding and driving. Under the name of T. Naghten he bred and raced horses with some success. His surgical life covered a period in which the arts of surgery and medicine were revolutionized. In an interesting presidential address to the Medical Society of Victoria delivered in January 1900, FitzGerald reviewed some of the changes that had occurred in the previous 40 years. "Will such a difference ever re-occur", he said. "Shall we ever again go through such a period of unlearning, such a period of relinquishing beliefs, of learning that almost all those remedies in which we at one time had so much faith, were in reality delusions, more harmful than beneficial." In his own branch he felt that it was "not until 1874, about 10 years after Lister had commenced his experiments, that things began to wake up in operative surgery . . . In some respects, perhaps no art or science has had so much to unlearn as ours". It was possibly his recognition of this that helped to make FitzGerald so great a surgeon. Though he had made a reputation at an early age and had gained some renown for methods he had himself introduced, he refused to get into a rut, and kept abreast of all the advances in surgical knowledge. At the time of his death two old friends and pupils (Sir) H. B. Allen (q.v.) and (Sir) G. A. Syme (q.v.) wrote appreciations of him and his work in which both speak of him as "a genius".

Intercolonial Medical Journal, 1908, p. 379, 1900. pp. 1, 549; The Lancet, 18 July, 1908; The Argus, Melbourne, 10 July 1908; The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903; The Australasian Medical Gazette, August, 1908, p. 428.

^Top of page



third son of Gibbon Carew FitzGibbon, a descendant of the White Knight, was born at Cork, Ireland, in 1825. When about five Years old he was taken to London where he was educated privately; he never went to a school. He was employed by a committee of the privy council on education, and at one time contemplated entering the Anglican ministry. He emigrated to Australia in 1852 and spent about a year on the diggings, but coming to Melbourne to meet a brother, he obtained a position as proof reader of the papers of the legislative council. In 1854 he entered the office of the Melbourne city council and in 1856 became acting town clerk. The mayor, J. T. Smith (q.v.), was anxious that John Rae (q.v.) of Sydney should be the new town clerk, but it was decided that the position should be given to FitzGibbon, and he held it with great ability for 35 years. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1860, but never practised. His legal knowledge, however, proved useful in the framing of regulations, and he twice appeared at the bar of parliament to argue for bills in which the city council was interested. In the early years of the Victorian constitution the parliamentary machine worked badly, and in 1872 FitzGibbon published a pamphlet, Government by Committee, which was followed in 1875 by Parliamentary Reform, aimed to defeat the party wrangling of the period. In 1876 he visited Europe and prepared a report on sewerage, tramways, markets, water and gas supply, which was also published as a pamphlet. He had early impressed his personality on the councillors and one writer of the period summed up the position in a couplet "Of power I shall demand the lion's share. I'll be FitzGibbon; you can be the mayor". FitzGibbon in fact did not hesitate to rise from his chair and courteously set the council right if he found it straying on to a wrong track. In 1879 at the time of the parliamentary deadlock FitzGibbon published another pamphlet What Next? and tried to supply the answer with a plan for the two houses sitting together. In 1891 when the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works was constituted FitzGibbon was appointed chairman for a period of four years, and in spite of his advanced age, he was reappointed for the same term on three occasions. In 1904 he was involved in a carriage accident from the effects of which he never completely recovered; though he continued to carry on his work until a few weeks before his death in the early hours of 12 December 1905. He married in 1873 Sarah, daughter of Richard Dawson, who died in 1899. He was survived by five sons. In addition to the pamphlets mentioned, FitzGibbon published in 1884 a reply to the theories of Henry George, Essence of "Progress and Poverty", and in 1893 appeared Party Government and Suggestions for Better.

FitzGibbon was a fluent speaker with a masterful personality, which mellowed as he grew older. He was an excellent town clerk and set a standard of absolute integrity in municipal government. Though criticized as chairman of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works by a section of the press in Melbourne, his work was of great value especially in regard to the prevention of the alienation of land in the watersheds. He was created C.M.G. in 1892. There is a statue to his memory in the St Kilda-road, Melbourne.

The Argus, Melbourne, 12 December 1905, 15 May 1943; The Age, Melbourne, 13 December 1905; Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1905; E. Finn, The Chronicles of Early Melbourne, p. 318.

^Top of page


governor of New South Wales,

son of General Lord Charles Fitzroy, second son of the third Duke of Grafton, was born on 10 May 1796. He entered the army and was gazetted lieutenant in 1812 and captain in 1820. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1825 and made deputy adjutant-general at the Cape of Good Hope. Returning to England he was elected to the house of commons in 1831. He retired from the army, was knighted in 1837, and in the same year appointed lieutenant-governor of Prince Edward Island. Four years later he became governor and commander-in-chief of the Leeward Islands. In 1845 he was appointed governor of New South Wales. His predecessor Sir George Gipps (q.v.) had been a strong governor who had incurred the enmity of many of the colonists. It is not unlikely that one of the reasons for the appointment of Fitzroy was that he was likely to be more conciliatory in his methods.

Fitzroy, who had married in 1820 Lady Mary Lennox, daughter of the fourth Duke of Richmond, arrived at Sydney with his wife and son George on 2 August 1846. Another son and a daughter arrived later. Almost immediately he was asked to use his influence to procure the disallowance of an act of the Tasmanian legislature imposing a duty of 15 per cent on products imported from New South Wales. Fitzroy brought before the British government the advisability of some superior functionary being appointed, to whom all measures passed by local legislatures should be referred before being assented to. In the long discussion over the separation of the Port Phillip district, Fitzroy showed tact and himself favoured bi-cameral legislatures for the new constitutions. The necessity of some kind of a federation between the various colonies was recognized, and as a step towards this Fitzroy was given a commission in 1850 appointing him governor-general of the Australian colonies. During his governorship great strides were made in the development of New South Wales. Transportation of convicts ceased, a university was founded at Sydney, a branch of the royal mint was established and responsible government was granted. Fitzroy terminated his governorship on 17 January 1855. The legislative council passed a complimentary farewell address, but it was not carried unanimously. In December 1847 his wife had died as the result of a carriage accident, and the subsequent conduct of Fitzroy and his two sons caused some scandal. When the address was brought forward Dr Lang (q.v.) moved an amendment stating that Fitzroy's administration had been "a uniform conspiracy against the rights of the people" and ending with a statement "that the moral influence which has emanated from government house during his excellency's term of office has been deleterious and baneful in the highest degree". Lang obtained only five supporters, but they included Charles Cowper (q.v.) and Henry Parkes (q.v.). After Fitzroy's return to England he married Margaret Gordon in December 1855. He died at London on 16 February 1858. He was created K.C.B. in 1854.

Whatever faults there may have been in Fitzroy's character, he was an impartial administrator who took much pain in making himself acquainted with the outlying parts of the colony. He was tactful and industrious, not afraid to accept responsibility when it was necessary, and generally bore his part well in a period of many transitions.

F. Watson, Introductions to vols. XXV and XXVI, Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, and dispatches therein; The Official History of New South Wales; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; The Gentleman's Magazine, 1858, vol. I, p. 449.

^Top of page


chief justice of Tasmania,

was the son of Captain Valentine Fleming and his wife Catherine, daughter of John Hunter Gowan. He was born at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England, in 1809 and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated with honours in 1834. He was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in 1838 and was appointed commissioner of insolvent debtors, Hobart, in 1841. He became solicitor-general in 1844, attorney-general in 1848, and chief justice of the supreme court of Tasmania in 1854. He retired on a pension of £1000 a year at the end of 1869 but was acting chief justice from 1872 to 1874, and from March to May 1874 administered the government. He died in England on 25 October 1884. He married (1) Elizabeth Oke, daughter of Charles Buckland, and (2) Fanny Maria, daughter of William Seccombe, who survived him. He was knighted in 1856.

The Times, 28 October 1884; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1884.

^Top of page



was born at Auckland, New Zealand, in 1850. His father, the Rev. Joseph Horner Fletcher (1823-1890), a Methodist clergyman, came to Australia early in 1861, and, after a term of four years in Queensland, went to Sydney to become principal of Newington College, from 1865 to 1887. From this school his son went to the university of Sydney and graduated B.A. in 1870 and M.A. in 1876. Between these years he was a master at Wesley College, Melbourne, under Professor M. H. Irving (q.v.), in 1876 resigned this position and went to London, where he studied biology at a very inspiring period and took his B.Sc. degree at London university in 1879. In 1881 he decided to return to Australia, and, before leaving England, prepared a Catalogue of Papers and Works relating to the Mammalian orders, Marsupialla and Monotremata, which was published in Sydney soon after his arrival in 1881. There were no openings for young scientists in Sydney at this period, so Fletcher joined the staff of Newington College where his father was still principal. He was four years at the school and was a successful teacher, encouraging his pupils to find out things for themselves instead of merely trying to remember what their teacher had told them. During this period he joined the Linnean Society of New South Wales, met Sir William Macleay (q.v.), and in 1885 was given the position of director and librarian of the society. This title was afterwards changed to secretary. He entered on his duties on 1 January 1886 and for over 33 years devoted his life to the service of the society. During this period he edited 33 volumes of Proceedings with the greatest care. He also published in 1892 a selection of Sermons, Addresses and Essays by his father, with a biographical sketch, and in 1893 edited The Macleay Memorial Volume, for which he wrote an excellent memoir of Macleay. He had done some very good research work in connexion with the embryology of the marsupials, and on Australian earthworms. Later he took up the amphibia, on which he eventually became an authority. In January 1900 he was president of the biology section at the meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, and chose for the subject of his address "The Rise and early Progress of our Knowledge of the Australian Fauna", a work of much value to all interested in the history of research in the natural history of Australia. In addition to being secretary of the Linnean Society and editor of its Proceedings, Fletcher was an executor of Macleay's will and he had much work in carrying out the provisions of it as financial and legal difficulties arose in connexion with the appointment of a bacteriologist and the foundation of the research fellowships. In later years he gave more and more time to botany, and did important work on acacias, grevilleas and Loranthaceae. On 31 March 1919 he resigned his position as secretary to the Linnean Society and was elected president in 1920 and 1921. His address on "The Society's Heritage from the Macleays", a very interesting record, occupies nearly 70 pages in volume XLV of the Proceedings. After an accident in 1922 he was much confined to his home for the remainder of his life. He overhauled and completed the arranging and labelling of his own zoological collection in 1923 before presenting it to the Australian museum, and died suddenly on 15 May 1926, leaving a widow. He was awarded the Clarke Memorial Medal by the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1921.

Sir W. Baldwin Spencer, The Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, vol. LII, p. XXXIII; ibid, p. V; The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 1926.

^Top of page

FLINDERS, MATTHEW (1774-1814),

captain in the navy, discoverer,

[ also refer to Matthew FLINDERS page at Project Gutenberg Australia]

was born at Donington, Lincolnshire, England, on 16 March 1774. His father Matthew Flinders was a surgeon and a son of a surgeon, his mother's name was originally Susannah Ward. He was educated at the free school at Donington, which had been founded and endowed by Thomas Cowley in 1718, and at the Horbling Grammar School. In October 1789 he entered the royal navy having been in his own words, "induced to go to sea against the wishes of my friends from reading Robinson Crusoe". One friend who tried to restrain him was his uncle, John Flinders, who had himself been 11 years in the navy without having reached the rank of lieutenant. He concluded his letter of advice by saying that if the boy did decide to join he should study Euclid and the books on navigation of John Robertson and Hamilton Moore. It is probable that Flinders's early study of these books helped to make him the excellent cartographer he subsequently became. Flinders joined his first vessel, the Alert, in October 1789, from her was transferred to the Scipio, and in July 1790 he became a midshipman on the Bellerophon. In 1791 With his captain's concurrence he joined the Providence as midshipman, and served under Captain William Bligh (q.v.) who was making his second expedition to the South Seas. One of the objects of the expedition was to obtain breadfruit-trees for the West Indies, which was successfully accomplished in January 1793. Flinders had opportunities during this voyage of preparing charts and making astronomical observations, and generally fitting himself for the tasks he was to undertake later on. On his return he reported himself to his former chief, Captain Pasley, on the Bellerophon, and rejoined her. On her he took part in the naval battle fought off Brest on 1 June 1794, generally known in history as the glorious First of June. Flinders kept a diary and wrote in it a full and interesting account of this battle. He was never afterwards in action; his work was to lie in other directions.

In February 1794 Captain John Hunter (q.v.) was appointed governor of the infant settlement at Port Jackson. He sailed in February 1795 on the Reliance, and Flinders was on board as a mid- shipman. On the same vessel was George Bass (q.v.) as surgeon, another Lincolnshire man, with whom he became very friendly. Both were interested in maritime discovery, and soon after their arrival in Sydney began an exploring expedition along the coast and up George's River in a small boat called the Tom Thumb. The Reliance sailed for Norfolk Island in January 1796, and, when she returned in March, the two men, accompanied by a boy, made a second survey of the coast south of Sydney. They had bad weather and nearly went down in a gale, but found the entrance of Port Hacking and were back in Sydney nine days after their start. Flinders next went on the Reliance to Cape Town to obtain stock for the settlement, and as it was found on her return that the vessel was badly in need of repairs he had to remain on board, while Bass on 3 December 1797 went off on the voyage during which he discovered Bass Strait. In February 1798 the schooner Francis was sent by Hunter to rescue some sailors who had been wrecked on the Furneaux Islands, some 15 months before. "I sent in the schooner", said Hunter in a dispatch, Lieutenant Flinders of the Reliance (a young man well qualified) in order to give him an opportunity of making what observations he could amongst those islands." Flinders was then barely 24 years of age. He was away about five weeks, having discovered the Kent group and made a most interesting record of the bird and animal life found on the various islands. He also observed the strong set of the current westward which made him strongly suspect that a strait existed, but the terms of his commission did not allow him to investigate further. On his return to Sydney he discussed this with Bass who had just completed his famous voyage in a whaleboat which had practically settled the question, but it was not until September that the friends had an opportunity of putting it beyond all doubt. Hunter then gave Flinders command of the Norfolk, a leaky 25-ton sloop. Flinders and Bass were not inclined to grumble, they gladly received their commission "to sail beyond Furneaux Islands, and, should a strait be found, pass through it, and return by the south end of Van Diemen's Land". They started at daylight on 7 October 1798, and, having discovered Port Dalrymple, sailed through Bass Strait and round Tasmania, arriving at Sydney again on 12 January 1799. During the voyage much of the coast was surveyed for the first time, and Flinders's notes range from how best to bring a ship to anchorage in Twofold Bay, to an account of meeting Tasmanian aborigines. The discovery of Bass Strait, for so it was named after their return, was most important for it meant a considerable saving in the duration of ships' voyages from England. Flinders's next voyage along the southern coast of Queensland did not have important results, and in March 1800 he went back to England in the Reliance, now in a very leaky condition. He had been a midshipman when he left five years before and was now a lieutenant. His work was being recognized among the scientists of his time, and he had come especially under the notice of Sir Joseph Banks (q.v.). He dedicated to him his Observations on the Coasts of Van Diemen's Land, on Bass's Strait, etc., which was published in 1801. He also wrote to Banks offering to explore minutely the whole of the coasts of Australia, provided that the government would give him a proper ship. Banks used his influence and Earl Spencer the first lord of the admiralty was sympathetic. On 25 January 1801 Flinders was given command of a 334-ton sloop the Investigator, and on 16 February he was promoted to the rank of commander. Unfortunately the ship was an old one and she had not been long at sea before she became very leaky. She was, however, well stored and Flinders had a specially selected crew of 83. Attached to the expedition were Robert Brown (q.v.) as naturalist, Ferdinand Bauer (q.v.) botanical draftsman, and William Westall (q.v.) landscape and figure draftsman. It is pleasing to know that though England and France were then at war, the French minister of marine and colonies issued a passport to Flinders, and, as the Investigator was on a voyage of discovery which would extend human knowledge, French officers were commanded not to interfere with the ship, but on the contrary to assist it if necessary. On 17 April 1801, Flinders was married to Ann Chappell, and hoped that his wife would be allowed to accompany hint on his voyage, but the lords of the admiralty would not agree and he was reluctantly obliged to leave her in England. He did not receive his sailing orders until 17 July, and it was not until 6 December that he sighted Australia. He immediately began making a complete survey of the southern coast. Others had been before him as far as a point near the line dividing Western from South Australia, but no one had done the work so carefully as he was to do it. From this point he was the first to record the outline of the coast and the map is now strewn with the names of people associated with the expedition from the first lord of the admiralty downwards. When the well-known names gave out he was able to use place names from his native Lincolnshire. He explored Spencer's Gulf and the Gulf of St Vincent and a few days later, on 8 April 1802, a sail was seen on the horizon. It proved to be Le Géographe, under the command of Captain Nicolas Baudin, part of a scientific expedition sent out by the French government. The vessels hailed each other and Flinders had a boat hoisted out, and, accompanied by Brown who was a good French scholar, called on the French captain. They had an amicable interview and Flinders breakfasted with Baudin next morning. A few days later Baudin went to Kangaroo Island and Flinders continued his survey of the coast. His actual discovery work on this coast had been completed. Baudin had done the work from the mouth of the Murray eastward to Cape Banks, and Captain Grant (q.v.) in the Lady Nelson had followed the coast farther eastward until the turn towards Port Phillip. Flinders, continuing on his course in bad weather, found it prudent to keep well to the south and came upon King Island, which, however, had been discovered previously. With better weather he headed for the coast again, and on 26 April 1802 came to Port Phillip and congratulated himself on a new discovery, only to find on reaching Sydney that it had been discovered 10 weeks before by Lieutenant John Murray (q.v.) who had succeeded Grant on the Lady Nelson. Flinders carefully examined Port Phillip, but his stores were running low and in a few days he left for Sydney. He arrived on 9 May having completed one of the most important voyages of discovery in the history of Australia. Moreover he landed his crew in perfect health, a remarkable record in the days when scurvy was so great a scourge.

Flinders wasted no time before continuing his explorations, A few weeks were spent in refitting the Investigator, and on 22 July he journeyed north making many discoveries as he went. He passed through Torres Strait and skirted the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and, though his vessel was getting into a bad condition, he decided that there would be no more risk in continuing than in retracing his path. He eventually circumnavigated Australia and arrived at Port Jackson on 9 June 1803. His ship by now was in so bad a state that had they met with one severe gale it must have foundered. Another vessel had to be found and of those available the Porpoise appeared to be the best. She was not really a sound ship for exploration purposes, and it was decided that she should go to England with Flinders as a passenger, so that he might put his charts and journals before the admiralty and endeavour to obtain another more suitable vessel. On 17 August 1803 the Porpoise was wrecked about 740 miles north of Sydney. Ninety-four survivors were cast upon a small island little more than a sandbank. Fortunately a large amount of the stores was rescued, and it was decided that Flinders should take the largest boat available and go to Sydney for assistance. He started on 25 August and on his arrival the captain of the Rolla which was bound for China agreed to call at the island and take some of the survivors to Canton. The Francis was also sent to bring the remainder back to Sydney. Flinders took command of the Cumberland, a schooner of only 29 tons, so that he might sail for London with his charts and papers. Flinders was joyfully received on his arrival at the island, and with a crew of 10 he parted from the other relieving ships on 11 October and set out on his long cruise of 15,000 miles. He sailed through Torres Strait across the north of Australia and then south-west for the Cape of Good Hope. The little ship leaked badly and on 6 December 1803 he found that the only prudent course was to make for Ile-de-France (Mauritius). On his arrival he discovered that war had again broken out between England and France, but he had a passport which had been made out by the first consul and the king of England and hoped that all would be well. General Decaen, however, as governor of the island was not unnaturally suspicious, and first put Flinders under guard and then closely questioned him. Flinders unfortunately became affronted and declined to accept an invitation to dine with the governor and his wife. It is not improbable that if Flinders had accepted the invitation and talked the position over with the governor, his detention might have been short. As Flinders was so uncompromising, if not indeed even arrogant, General Decaen referred the matter to the French government which meant a probable delay of about 12 months.

Flinders was kept in close confinement at first and his health suffered, but on being transferred to what was known as the Garden Prison, a large house standing in two acres of ground, it improved again. No word was received from France, Napoleon had become emperor and Flinders's case was probably overlooked. He busied himself with improving his Latin, playing the flute, making a fair copy of the log of the Investigator, walking, and playing billiards. He received much courtesy from visiting French officers, and in August 1805 he was informed that if he wished he could live in the interior of the island. A home was found for him in the house of Madame D'Arifat at Wilhelm's Plains. He gave his parole that he would not go more than two leagues from his house, and conditions were made as pleasant as was possible for a man who was virtually a prisoner of war. He became friendly with his neighbours, was treated with kindness and courtesy, and having been given access to his papers, wrote the history of his voyages. Many efforts were made to bring about his release. A literary and philosophical society on the island addressed a memorial to the Institute of France with this object. The governor-general of India made a request to Decaen that Flinders might be released and allowed to go to India, and Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Pellew tried to have him exchanged for a French officer. The truth may have been that Decaen was afraid that Flinders had learned too much about the condition of the defences of the island, and that if he were released a British expedition would have been sent to capture it. Even when he received in July 1807, what was practically an order of release, he decided as a matter of expediency for the good of his country, that he should postpone the carrying out of the order. Flinders might possibly have escaped but he would not break his parole, and his captivity dragged on. In June 1809 the British Fleet began to blockade the island, and early in the following year Decaen recognized that he could not hope to hold it much longer. Mr Hugh Hope was sent by the governor-general of India to negotiate for the exchange of prisoners, and on 15 March 1810 Flinders received a letter from him informing him that the governor had agreed to his being liberated. On 7 June he signed a parole agreeing not to act in any capacity against France during the war, his sword was given him, and on 13 June he sailed for India. He had been a captive for a little under six and a half years. A few days later he was transferred to the Otter which was going to Capetown, where he was delayed for some weeks. He arrived in England on 23 October 1810, after being away nine years and three months, and had an affecting reunion with his wife, who came up to London to meet him.

Flinders was well received in England. Banks gave a dinner in his honour, Bligh took him to see the Duke of Clarence, afterwards William IV, but he was anxious to get on with his charts, which are monuments of his unremitting care and knowledge. He completed the text of A Voyage to Terra Australis, but his health was failing towards the end of 1813, and he lived only long enough to see the book through the press. The first copy arrived on 18 July 1814, the day before he died, his wife placed it on the bed beside him, but he was not conscious of it. He died on 19 July 1814 at 14 London-street, Fitzroy Square, London, and was buried in the graveyard of St James, Hampstead Road. His grave is not now traceable. He was only 40 years of age, but the hardships of his voyages and the anxieties of his captivity, had made an old man of him. When he was 39 his wife wrote to a friend that he looked 70. He was 5 feet 6 inches in height, spare of frame, but well-proportioned. He had bright eyes and a commanding, almost stern look, which could not disguise the real kindliness of his character. One of the first things he did on his return was to procure the release of some French prisoners of war connected with families who had shown him kindness in his own captivity. He took great care of his men and their health, and, though he immortalized many of his friends by giving their names to geographical features of the coast, he never named anything after himself. He was the first to systematically use the name Australia, and after the publication of his book, the name was gradually adopted, although New Holland was sometimes used up to the middle of the nineteenth century. He was a great seaman who successfully brought ships home that were utterly unseaworthy, and was one of the great cartographers and discoverers of the world. When he died the applications of Banks and others for a special pension for the widow and the daughter that had been born in 1812 were refused. Mrs Flinders received no more than the trifling pension of a post-captain's widow until she died in 1852. In 1853 the governments of New South Wales and Victoria, not being aware of her death, each voted a pension of £100 a year to her with reversion to her daughter, Mrs Petrie. In her letter of thanks, Mrs Petrie expressed her extreme gratification that the pension would enable her "to educate my young son in a manner worthy of the name he bears Matthew Flinders". That son became Professor Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) the distinguished Egyptologist. In 1877 Mrs Petrie presented the manuscript of her father's Narrative of an Expedition to Furneaux Islands to the public library of Victoria, and Professor Flinders Petrie also presented other valuable manuscripts relating to his grandfather to the same institution. The Mitchell Library at Sydney has a most important collection of Flinders's manuscripts, including two of the three volumes of the log of the Investigator, his private diary from December 1803 to July 1814, and four letter-books 1801-14. Most of these manuscripts were presented by Professor Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie. In addition to Flinders's two published books he wrote a valuable paper "0bservations on the Marine Barometer" which was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society In 1806. There are three statues of Flinders in Australia. One by W. R. Colton. R.A., stands at the west end of the Mitchell Library, Sydney, another by C. Web, Gilbert is alongside St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, the third is in North Terrace, Adelaide.

Sir Ernest Scott, Life of Matthew Flinders; Historical Records of New South Wales, vols. III to VII; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. II to V; Flinders's Manuscripts at Public Library, Melbourne; Charles H. Bertie, Journal Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. III, pp. 295-325; Matthew Flinders, A Voyage to Terra Australis.

^Top of page



was born in the County of Wicklow, Ireland, on 23 August and at the age of 18 emigrated to Canada. Subsequently he went to New York, studied drawing and contributed illustrations to magazines of the day. In 1852 he went to Munich and spent two years at the drawing school of the Royal Academy. He then went to Paris and for a few months was a pupil of Thomas Couture. Returning to Munich he worked for five years under Carl von Piloty. In 1864 his picture "Bunyan in Prison," was purchased by the national gallery of Victoria. He continued to live at Munich but occasionally exhibited in Ireland and England; his "The First Lesson" was hung in the Royal Academy in 1869 and "Lady Jane's Victory over Bishop Gardener" in 1871. He was awarded medals for historical paintings at the exhibitions held at Vienna in 1871 and Philadelphia in 1873. In 1879 he left Munich and settled at Melbourne, and becoming director of the national gallery in 1882, reorganized the painting school. The practice of making copies of pictures was discontinued, and every encouragement was given to working from life. Among his pupils were (Sir) John Longstaff (q.v.) and Aby Altson, the winners of the first and second travelling scholarships. He died at Melbourne on 4 January 1891.

Folingsby was a sound painter of historical pictures and portraits and a good teacher. In addition to "Bunyan in Prison" the national gallery at Melbourne has his "First Meeting Between Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn" and three portraits. Another portrait by him is at the national gallery at Sydney. He married Clare Wagner, a landscape painter, who predeceased him, and was survived by a daughter.

U. Thieme, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler; W. G. Strickland, Dictionary of Irish Artists; The Argus, 5 January 1891; E. La Touche Armstrong, The Book of the Public Library, Museums and National Gallery of Victoria; Catalogue of the National Gallery of Victoria, 1894.

^Top of page

FOOTT, MARY HANNAY (1846-1918),


was born at Glasgow on 26 September 1846. Her father, James Black, was a merchant who had married a Miss Grant, and came to Australia in 1853. Miss Black lived for some years with her parents near Melbourne and went to Miss Harper's school. She was afterwards one of the first students at the Melbourne national gallery schools, and also studied painting under Louis Buvelot (q.v.). In 1874 she married Thomas Wade Foott and lived for three years at Bourke, New South Wales. In 1877 her husband took up country in south-west Queensland. One of her poems, "New Country", is descriptive of her own experience, and the next seven years in this country had a great influence on her writings. Her husband died in 1884 from over-work and exposure during the drought of that year, and the losses of stock were so great that Mrs Foott was obliged to sell her interest in the property and move to Toowoomba. In July 1885 she went to Rocklea, near Brisbane, and opened a private school which supported her family. In the same year she published her first volume Where the Pelican Builds and Other Poems, and began to do journalistic work for the Queenslander and Brisbane Courier. In 1887 she joined the staff of the Queenslander and wrote under the pen-name of "La Quenouille", but several stories also appeared in her own name. These have never been collected. Morna Lee and Other Poems, largely a reprint of her first volume, was published in 1890. Mrs Foott continued her literary work for many years at Brisbane, and from 1907 at Bundaberg, where she died in September 1918. Her younger son was killed in action at Passchendaele in September 1917, and she was survived by her other son, Brigadier-General Cecil Henry Foott, C.B., C.M.G., who was born on 16 January 1876, educated as an engineer, and serving with distinction through the great war was six times mentioned in dispatches. He commanded the 4th Division A.M.F. 1929-31, and died on 27 June 1942.

Mrs Foott's published verse was small in quantity but usually of good quality. One of her poems "Where the Pelican Builds" is included in most Australian anthologies.

Information supplied by Brigadier-General Foott; The Argus, 29 June 1942; W. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.

^Top of page

FORBES, SIR FRANCIS (1784-1841),

first chief justice of New South Wales,

was born at Bermuda in 1784, the son of Francis Forbes, M.D. He entered as a student at Lincoln's Inn under Mr Sugden, afterwards Lord St Leonards, and was called to the bar in 1812. He was appointed attorney and advocate-general at Bermuda in 1813 and returned to England in 1815. In the following year he was appointed chief justice at Newfoundland and remained there until 1822. He became chief justice of New South Wales in 1823 and arrived at Sydney on 5 March 1824. A supreme court was constituted and henceforth crimes were tried by the chief justice and a jury of seven officers; and civil issues by the chief justice and two magistrates acting as assessors, unless both parties desired a jury, in which case the jury was to consist of twelve civilians. Under the new act the chief justice became a member of both the executive and legislative councils, and, before any act passed in the colony became law, he had to certify that it was not opposed to the law of England. Forbes realized the difficulties that might arise before he left England and only consented to this reluctantly. The governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane (q.v.), was most favourably impressed by Forbes, and took occasion in his dispatches of 1 July and 12 August 1824 to mention that "since the arrival of the chief justice the state of the Colony has assumed a new tone". Forbes had no difficulties with Brisbane, but it was not long before he came in conflict with the new governor, Sir Ralph Darling (q.v.). It was proposed to pass acts for the purpose of restraining the liberty of the press, and Forbes refused to certify to them as he considered they were repugnant to the laws of England. He pointed out how necessary it was to go carefully, as in the then conditions of the colony the people looked upon the supreme court as their protection against absolute power. "I had been appointed by Parliament," said Forbes, "to see that the laws of the Empire were not encroached upon . . . I refused to certify the Governor's Bills because I thought them repugnant to law . . . What legal right could the Governor claim to press me further?". After much discussion the whole matter went to the colonial office whose legal advisers were of opinion that in refusing to grant his certificate to the act for licensing newspapers, Forbes was right, and that in regard to the newspaper stamp act he was wrong. but as there was no reason to doubt that the judge had formed his conclusion honestly, he had executed his duty in acting upon that opinion. Forbes's work had been and continued to be heavy, his controversy with Darling was harassing, and his health became undermined. In February 1834, writing to Governor Bourke (q.v.), he mentioned that during the previous 12 months he had not been able to get through the business of an entire term without serious illness. On 30 June 1834 he was granted 12 months leave of absence, but did not actually leave until April 1836. Before his departure a public meeting was held and he was presented with an address which spoke of him in the highest terms. Governor Bourke in his dispatch dated 12 April 1836, in recommending him for a knighthood said, "I believe it would be difficult in the whole range of Colonial Courts to point out a person on the bench who, from integrity and ability, legal knowledge and devotion to His Majesty's Service, is better entitled to the honour than chief justice Forbes". Another contemporary, R. Therry (q.v.), speaks of Forbes's "imperturbable calmness of temper, acute discrimination and thorough acquaintance with legal principles. The rules and regulations he framed were well adapted for conducting the business of the Supreme Court. In many of them he anticipated the legislation of modern times by simplifying pleadings, and dispensing with the costly course of procedure then prevalent in the Courts of Westminster . . . his main intellectual endowment was his masterly analysis of evidence". Forbes was knighted soon after his arrival in England, but early in June 1837, finding his health no better, resigned his position. A pension of £700 a year was given to him, and he returned to Sydney, where he lived in retirement until his death on 8 November 1841. He married in 1813, Amelia Sophia, daughter of David Grant, who survived him. Two sons are mentioned in the Historical Records of Australia.

David Forbes. Memoir of Sir Francis Forbes; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. XI to XXI; R. Therry, Reminiscences of Thirty Years Residence in New South Wales and Victoria; C. H. Currey, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XIX, pp. 73-89; Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 1841.

^Top of page

FORBES, JAMES (1813-1851),


son of a farmer, Peter Forbes, and his wife Margaret, was born in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie, 27 miles from Aberdeen, Scotland, early in 1813. He was educated at a local school and at Aberdeen, and entering King's College, Old Aberdeen university, received the degree of master of arts in March 1836. On 29 June 1837 he was ordained by the Presbytery of Glasgow and in the following month sailed for Australia with Dr Lang (q.v.). They arrived at Sydney in December and in January 1838 Forbes was given a passage to Port Phillip, and became the first settled minister in Melbourne. The Rev. James Clow was there when he arrived, but though Clow took services he did not engage in regular ministerial work. In November 1838 Forbes opened the Scots Church and school in Collins-street, West, and in September 1839 a much larger school was opened in Collins-street East. Soon afterwards it was decided to build a brick church to hold 500 people. Forbes was the leading spirit in these activities and for the next 12 years was constant in his devotion to the educational needs of Melbourne. In 1842 a series of seven long letters from Forbes on education appeared in the Port Phillip Gazette. These are reprinted in his biography, and show how thoroughly Forbes had gone into the whole question. He was also interesting himself in the temperance movement, the foundation of the Melbourne hospital, and the founding of a secondary school. It was hoped that a grant of land might be obtained for this school, but the attempts had to be given up for a period. At the end of 1843 news of the disruption in the Presbyterian Church in Scotland came to Melbourne. Forbes championed the Free Church party and there was much controversy. In September 1846 he failed to carry a motion in synod expressing sympathy with the Free Church, and shortly afterwards he resigned his pastorate of Scots Church, Collins-street.

Forbes now became leader of the Free Church party in Melbourne. Many of his congregation went with him and services were held in the Mechanics' Institute building. In January 1816 he had brought out the Port Phillip Christian Herald, principally educational and religious in its articles. This continued to appear for over five years. He built another church and school in Swanston-street, and reviving the question of a secondary school the Chalmers' Free Church school in Spring-street was founded. This became the Melbourne Academy of which Robert Lawson was appointed rector. He arrived on 11 September 1851 but Forbes had died on the previous 12 August. He had never been a robust man and his never ceasing labours probably had much to do with his early death. He married in 1845 Helen Johanna, daughter of the Rev. J. Clow, who survived him with at least one son and one daughter. The Melbourne Academy grew into the Scotch College, one of the great public schools of Australia.

Edward Sweetman, Victoria's First Public Educationist; History of Scotch College, Melbourne; J. Campbell Robinson, The Victorian Historical Magazine, vol. XIII, pp. 115-33, also issued as a pamphlet as Melbourne's First Settled Minister.

^Top of page



[ also refer to John and Alexander FORREST page at Project Gutenberg Australia]

son of William Forrest and younger brother of John Forrest (q.v.), was born in Western Australia in 1849. He was second in command of his brother's expedition in 1870, and proved himself to be a worthy lieutenant. In 1871 he was in charge of a party which went about 600 miles south-east of Perth and found good country, and in 1874 he again did valuable work as first assistant to his brother. In 1879 he led a party of eight men from De Grey River to the telegraph line. The expedition left on 25 February and reached Beagle Bay on 10 April. The coast was then skirted to the Fitzroy River which was followed for 240 miles; but Forrest was then stopped by mountains which appeared to be impenetrable. He eventually worked round the southern end of the range and discovered some valuable country. Good water was found until the Victoria River was reached on 18 August, but great difficulties were met with before reaching the telegraph line 13 days later. From there they made their way to Palmerston, then the capital of the Northern Territory, and they arrived on 7 October. The party was often in danger of starvation, more than once a packhorse had to be killed for food, and in the last dash for the telegraph line, Forrest and one companion who had gone on ahead nearly perished from thirst. The two aboriginal assistants were quite helpless for the last 300 miles of the journey, and one of them never recovered from its effects, and died a few months later. The expedition ranks among the most valuable pieces of Australian exploration as large tracts of good pasturage were discovered. Forrest's Journal of Expedition from De Grey to Port Darwin was published at Perth in 1880. In the same year he married Amy Lennard, who died in 1897. He was elected M.L.A. for West Kimberley in 1890, and held the seat until his death on 20 June 1901. He was also mayor of Perth from 1893 to 1895 and from 1898 to 1900, and was created C.M.G. in May 1901. He was survived by four children.

Forrest was a first-rate explorer, resourceful as a leader, and absolutely dependable when second in command. His good work in public life was somewhat over-shadowed by that of his brother. A memorial to his memory was erected at Perth.

Alexander Forrest, Journal of Expedition from De Grey to Port Darwin; John Forrest, Exploration in Australia; E. Favenc, The History of Australian Exploration; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; Year Book of Australia, 1901 and 1902; The Register, Adelaide and The Argus, Melbourne, 21 June 1901.

^Top of page


poet, novelist and journalist,

daughter of James and Margaret Mills. was born near Yandilla, Queensland, on 6 March 1872. She began writing at an early age but did not publish her first book, The Rose of Forgiveness and other Stories, until 1904. She became well-known as a writer of verse following the publication of her first volume of poems, Alpha Centauri, which appeared in Melbourne in 1909. Her first novel A Bachelor's Wife, was included in the Bookstall series in 1914. The Green Harper (prose and verse) followed in 1915, and Streets and Gardens, a small collection of verse, in 1922. In 1924 The Wild Moth, a novel, was published in London, and was followed by four other novels, Gaming Gods (1926), Hibiscus Heart (1927), Reaping Roses (1928), and White Witches (1929). Poems by M. Forrest, a collection of her verse contributions to Australian English and American magazines, was published at Sydney in 1927. She died at Brisbane after a long illness on 18 March 1935. Mrs Forrest was twice married and was survived by a daughter. Gaming Gods was dedicated to the memory of her second husband, John Forrest. In addition to her work in book form, for the last 30 years of her life Mrs Forrest poured out a constant stream of verse and short stories for newspapers and magazines. Probably no other woman in Australia ever maintained herself so long by free-lance journalism. Her verse, though excellent of its kind, was possibly too facile to be ranked highly as poetry, though she is represented in several anthologies. Her novels were perhaps little more than stories written to fulfil the demands of the circulating libraries, but Mrs Forrest was an admirable journalist who lived a life that had many misfortunes with great industry, ability and courage.

The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 19 March 1935; The Argus, Melbourne, 19 March 1935 and 6 April 1935; Who's Who in Australia, 1933; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.

^Top of page

FORREST, SIR JOHN, first Baron Forrest of Bunbury (1847-1918),

explorer and statesman,

[ also refer to John and Alexander FORREST page at Project Gutenberg Australia]

was born at Bunbury, Western Australia, on 22 August 1847. His father, William Forrest, a son of James Forrest, a writer to the signet, came from Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, Scotland, arrived in Western Australia in 1842, and settled near Bunbury. At 12 years of age John Forrest was sent to the Bishop's School, Perth, the forerunner of Perth high school, and showed ability at his studies. On leaving school in 1863 he studied surveying, and served his articles with T. C. Carey the government surveyor of his district. Two years later he entered the survey department of the colony where his ability soon marked him out for future work. In 1869 a report was received of some human bones having been discovered which it was thought might be those of Leichhardt's (q.v.) party. Forrest was selected to lead an expedition in search of them which left on 15 April 1869. He had three white-men and two blacks with him, the route was generally north-easterly from Perth and then easterly, and they returned after 113 days, having travelled over 2000 miles. Some hardships were suffered and they found no remains, but one outcome was Forrest's suggestion that geologists should be sent to the interior to investigate indications of the presence of minerals. It was then proposed that Forrest should lead another expedition from the Murchison River to the Gulf of Carpentaria, but the project did not receive sufficient support. (Sir) Frederick A. Weld (q.v.), governor of Western Australia, however, suggested that an attempt should be made to reach Adelaide by way of the south coast. Eyre had nearly perished in the same country in 1841, but the arrangements for the new expedition were very carefully thought out, and though the members of it ran very short of water on several occasions the journey, which began on 30 March, was brought to a successful conclusion on 27 August 1870. Forrest had as second in command his brother, Alexander [Forrest] (q.v.), and arrangements were made for a vessel to meet them with supplies at Esperance Bay, Israelite Bay and Eucla. The expedition had a great reception at Adelaide and on Forrest's return to Western Australia he was granted 5000 acres of land. He visited England during the following year and was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society.

In 1872 Forrest suggested a new expedition which was to start from Champion Bay, follow the Murchison River to its source, and then continue eastwards to the telegraph line across Australia, then nearing completion. The legislative council voted £400 towards the cost and Forrest undertook to get subscriptions for an additional £200 which he considered would be sufficient to finance it. All of his explorations were conducted at a surprisingly low cost. It happened, however, that some expeditions were being organized from the South Australian side, and it was thought better not to appear to be competing with the other colony, so Forrest's expedition was postponed until 1874. He left Perth on 18 March with his brother Alexander again acting as his lieutenant, four other men, and 18 packhorses to carry provisions for eight months. They found much difficulty in watering their horses, and Forrest regretted he could not have had camels which would have saved him many deviations in search of water. They reached the telegraph line on 27 September with but four horses left for the party of six. Several times they were in danger of death by thirst, but Forrest was a good bushman and his faithful aboriginal, Windich, who had accompanied him on former expeditions, was a great help in finding water. They arrived at Adelaide on 3 November and received an enthusiastic welcome. Forrest was able to report that there was good country to the head of the Murchison, but that the spinifex desert running to the east would probably never be fit for settlement. The whole expedition was a remarkably well-managed piece of exploration. An account of his journeys, Explorations in Australia, was published in 1875.

In 1876 Forrest was appointed deputy-surveyor-general of Western Australia and in 1878-9 acted as commissioner of crown lands with a seat in the executive council. Between 1883 and 1886 he, as surveyor-general, was engaged in settling the Kimberley district, and in the legislative council he succeeded in getting land laws passed providing that there should be no alienation of land without improvements, and he also introduced the deferred payments system. In 1885 he selected the route of the southern line of railways and worked hard for the introduction of responsible government. When it was granted in 1890 he was returned unopposed as member for Bunbury in the first legislative assembly. The action of the governor Sir William Robinson in sending for Forrest to form the first government was generally approved, and for a record period of over 10 years he continued to be premier. He brought in a vigorous public works policy including extensions of the railway and telegraph systems and important harbour improvements. The franchise was extended, and free grants of land were made to settlers willing to settle on and work it. With the growth of the gold-mining industry there came a great increase of population, the opportunities for a leader were there and Forrest proved himself to be a great leader. One difficulty was the supply of water to the goldfields. It was realized that tanks and bores could not cope with the demand, and the engineer-in-chief, C. Y. O'Connor (q.v.), brought forward his scheme for a pipeline 330 miles long. It was fortunate that the colony had in Forrest a premier who was both courageous and hopeful. In July 1896 an act was passed authorizing a loan of £2,500,000 to provide for the cost of the line. The work was begun in 1898 and in January 1903 the first water reached Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. Though Forrest was in power for so long his task had many difficulties. The influx of people from the other states to the goldfields led to some friction in the colony, the earlier inhabitants feeling that too much attention was being paid to the goldfields, while the newcomers were satisfied that the prosperity of the colony was due to the mines. Forrest though sometimes called a dictator could bow to the storm when necessary, and managed the situation with tact. There was much congestion in the post and telegraphs and railway services, and time was required to make improvements. The population of Western Australia increased by 300 per cent between 1889 and 1900 and difficulties of this kind were inevitable. In the early days of responsible government parliament had spent most of its time in the development of a bold loan policy, but towards the end of the century federation came more and more to the fore. Forrest was a member of the convention which met in 1897 and 1898 and at its close he was prepared to recommend Western Australia to adopt the constitution as it stood. Afterwards he became less favourable to it, and a select committee of the legislative assembly reported that Western Australia could not safely join the Commonwealth unless certain amendments were made in the constitution. Forrest visited the eastern colonies in January 1900 and attended the premiers' conference at Sydney hoping to secure assent to the amendments. But it was now too late for anything to be done as the other five colonies had accepted the constitution. There was too a strong federal feeling in Western Australia, especially on the goldfields, and Forrest, feeling that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages, fought hard for the bill, though some of his colleagues opposed it. At the referendum there was a large majority for the proposed constitution.

Forrest was elected for Swan electorate in the first federal parliament and held the seat until his death. In the first federal ministry he was postmaster-general under Barton (q.v.) and he held office in every subsequent liberal ministry, except the Reid-McLean, as postmaster-general, minister for defence, minister for home affairs and, for five years altogether, treasurer. In 1907 he was acting prime minister while Deakin (q.v.) was at the colonial conference, but resigned from the cabinet a few weeks after Deakin's return. He was opposed to what he considered to be Labour domination, and felt he could no longer keep his place in a cabinet dependent on Labour support. In September 1911 he was greatly pleased at the announcement in the governor-general's speech at the opening of parliament that the construction of the railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie was to be begun. He had strenuously fought for this railway from the beginning of federation. It was completed towards the end of 1917, and Forrest was a passenger in the first train to go through and the leading figure at the celebrations of the event at Perth. He had been made C.M.G. in 1882, K.C.M.G. in 1891, a privy councillor in 1897, G.C.M.G. in 1901, and on 2 February 1918 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Forrest of Bunbury, the first native-born Australian to attain that honour. A long illness had caused him to resign as treasurer on 21 March, and he left Perth on 27 July for England seeking medical advice. He died at sea on 3 September 1918 and was buried at Sierra Leone. His remains were afterwards brought back to Western Australia. In 1876 he married Margaret Elvire Hammersley, who survived him. He had no children. His statue is in the King's Park, Perth.

Forrest did great work in Western Australia both as explorer and statesman. No prophecy of failure could deter him from going on with the scheme for supplying the goldfields with water, and he persevered with the transcontinental railway in spite of the continued opposition of the eastern states, until it was brought to a successful conclusion. His courage was unbounded, his optimism was tempered with common sense, and Western Australia found in him the man for the hour. There he reigned supreme, but in federal politics he was less successful. Possibly he was too much inclined to look upon his opponents as people to be overcome rather than convinced. In the troubled first 10 years of the federal parliament and the manoeuvring resulting from the presence of three parties in the house he never gained a large personal following. He was liked by all except possibly the Labour party, with which he fought strenuously, and no one begrudged him his reputation for rugged honesty. He was physically big, six feet in height and in later years 18 stone or more in weight, and he looked at things in a big way. During his 35 years of political life he was over 26 years in office; yet he never intrigued for office. He had faith in himself and faith in the future of his country, and he will long be remembered as one of the greatest men it has produced.

The West Australian, 5 September 1918; John Forrest, Explorations in Australia; J. S. Battye, Western Australia; Quick and Garran, Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth; H. G. Turner, The First Decade of the Australian Commonwealth; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1917.

^Top of page


governor-general of Australia,

son of Major John Forster, was born on 21 January 1866. He was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford, played cricket for Oxford, Kent and Hampshire, and twice represented the gentlemen against the players. He gave up first-class cricket at an early age though he always kept his interest in the game. In 1890 he married Rachel Cecily, daughter of the first Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and in 1892 was elected a conservative member for Sevenoaks in the house of commons, holding this seat until 1918 when he became member for Bromley. Forster was a lord of the treasury from 1902 to 1905 and showed ability and wisdom in the difficult position of financial secretary to the war office from 1915 to 1919. He was raised to the peerage, as Baron Forster of Lepe in December 1919, and in June 1920 was appointed governor-general of Australia. He arrived at Melbourne and was sworn in on 6 October 1920, and his popularity and that of his wife was soon unbounded. He disliked snobbery and pretence and appreciated the directness of the Australians. The countryside appealed to him very much and he was much interested in the bird life. He did not care much for racing but cricket still retained its interest, and he was able to find time for some golf and yachting. The period of post-war reconstruction was a somewhat difficult one, but no important constitutional question arose during Forster's governorship, and he was more than equal to the usual calls made upon him. He had lost his two sons in the war, one was killed in action in the first year and the other died of wounds some months after the war's conclusion, and he gave much attention to returned Australian wounded in hospitals. He did a great deal of travelling throughout Australia, visited the mandated territory of German New Guinea, and after his return to England in 1925 kept his interest in the dominion. Though in reality of a somewhat diffident nature he was a good debater and generally his public speaking was excellent. He was elected president of the M.C.C. in 1918, was made a member of the privy council in June 1917 and G.C.M.G. in 1920. He died at London on 15 January 1936 and was survived by Lady Forster and two daughters.

The Times, 16 January 1936; The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 1936; The Argus, Melbourne, 17 January, 1936; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1935.

^Top of page

FORSTER, WILLIAM (1818-1882),

premier of New South Wales, and poet,

son of Dr T. Forster (Aust. Ency.), was born at Madras, India, in 1818. He was brought to Australia when 11 years old and educated at W. T. Cape's (q.v.) school. He became a squatter, but from 1844 onwards contributed largely to the Atlas, the Empire, and other papers. His clever squib in verse, "The Devil and the Governor", became well-known. When responsible government was granted Forster was elected to the first parliament as member for Murray and, though conservative in tendencies, he opposed the nominee upper house and advocated railway construction on a large scale. He did not believe in party government and endeavoured to maintain an independent position but, when the Charles Cowper (q.v.) government was defeated in 1859, he became leader of a ministry which lasted for only a little more than four months. Forster was elected for East Sydney in 1861 and in October 1863 was again asked to form a ministry. He was unable to do so but became colonial secretary in (Sir) James Martin's (q.v.) ministry until February 1865. Though he had been a bitter opponent of (Sir) John Robertson (q.v.) he was given a seat in Robertson's first cabinet as secretary for lands in October 1868 but retained his portfolio for only three months after Charles Cowper became premier in January 1870. In February 1875 he was colonial treasurer in Robertson's third ministry and a year later was appointed agent-general for New South Wales in London. After the third Parkes (q.v.) ministry was formed in December 1878 Forster was recalled on account of a disagreement as to the nature of his duties. He returned to New South Wales, was elected for Gundagai, and was offered and declined the position of leader of the opposition. He died on 30 October 1882.

Forster in his younger days was a clever journalist but he did not publish anything in book form until towards the end of his life. His one work in prose, Political Presentments, which appeared in London in 1878, includes able discourses on the working of parliament, the development of democracy in Europe, and the political situation of the time. His volumes in verse were The Weirwolf: a Tragedy (1876), The Brothers: a Drama (1877), Midas (1884), works of a vigorous and poetic mind, which in spite of their length can still be read with interest.

Forster was described in his youth as a "sallow, thin, saturnine young gentleman". He was not a great orator but was a debater of ability, though his habit of indulging in bitter personalities detracted from the effectiveness of his speeches. He was once described as "disagreeable in opposition, insufferable as a supporter, and fatal as a colleague" but, however true that may have been, it was only one side of his character. A cultured and honest man, thoroughly aware and disdainful of the tricks and shifts of party government, he tried to hold an independent course and do what was best for his country. This was appreciated by the constituencies that elected him to all but one of the parliaments of his lifetime.

Sydney Morning Herald, 31 October 1882; C. E. Lyne, Life of Sir Henry Parkes; P. Serle, Bibliography of Australasian Poetry and Verse.

^Top of page



son of Luke Forster, was born at Rothbury, England, on 7 October 1846. He came to Melbourne with his parents when he was six years old, was educated at St Luke's school, South Melbourne, and on leaving school was employed by a softgoods merchant. When only 16 he began business for himself as a commission agent and later as a general merchant in Little Bourke-street, Melbourne, where he had business relations with the Chinese and was much respected and trusted by them. In 1871 he went to New Zealand and returning three years later went into partnership with his father in a saddlery business in Melbourne. About the beginning of 1883 he realized that many boys in Melbourne had nothing to occupy their evenings and were falling into habits of life detrimental to themselves and the community. In February 1883 he invited three boys off the streets to come to his own home in Canterbury-road, Toorak, Melbourne, to meet his sons. The evening was a success, other boys were invited, and soon a society was organized which met at St John's Sunday-school. In 1885 this room was no longer available and the classes were temporarily suspended, but classes were started in other suburbs and an amalgamation was made with a boys' society conducted by William Groom at North Fitzroy. Forster then gathered the newsboys of the city together in a room in Little Collins-street, and started the Herald Boys' Try Excelsior Class, afterwards known as the City Newsboys' Society. Permissive occupancy of a piece of land in Bowen St. was granted and the Gordon Institute for Boys was built and the Newsboys' Society was transferred to it. In 1890 the Gordon Institute was handed over to the management of Charles D. Barber, and Forster established another Newsboys' Society in a more central position at 192 Little Collins-street. He looked after this society with great success until 1901 and remained a member of committee until his death. More than 20 years later its work was being admirably managed by Miss E. C. Onians. Forster's original society made a new start in March 1886, Mrs Margaret Hobson of South Yarra having given him some land. £2000 was collected within a few months and a hall built. Other buildings were added in later years, and the institution became in effect a boys' club, largely managed by themselves, with gymnasium, swimming-pool, a library, and many classes, the fees for which were of the most trifling nature. Included in these classes were bookkeeping, shorthand, typewriting, singing, boot-repairing, carpentry, printing, painting and others. Situations were found for boys in town and country, and frail and delicate boys who found their way to the society were often provided for at a country home at Berwick. Other boys who had come before the police court and had been placed on probation were helped to make a fresh start in life and many of these ultimately became respected citizens. Forster's health in his later years did not allow him to give so much time to the society, but he retained his position as honorary leader with a seat on the board of management until his death on 6 June 1921. He was twice married, and was survived by five sons and six daughters of the first marriage, and by his second wife and one son of this marriage. The work continued after Forster's death and by 1943, 60 years after the founding of the society, over 25,000 boys had passed through the institution. One of these was the Hon. William Slater, first Australian minister to Soviet Russia. and numberless others have justified the work of the founder and his many helpers. Forster himself was a kind-hearted, deeply religious man who believed in the efficacy of prayer and perhaps even more firmly believed that much could be done by those who would help themselves and use sound business methods. He was quite unselfseeking and never advertised himself, but his social work can scarcely be overvalued. A son, W. C. D. Forster, who had been connected with the movement all his life, was a vice-president of the society at the time of its jubilee.

Forty-first Annual Report of the William Forster Try Boys' Society, South Yarra, 1924; The Argus, Melbourne, 13 February, 1913 and 7 June 1921; The Southern Cross, 17 June 1921; private information.

^Top of page

FOVEAUX, JOSEPH, (1765-1846),

early administrator,

was born in 1765. When the New' South Wales corps was founded in 1789 he was an ensign in the 60th regiment, but on joining the corps became a lieutenant. He reached the rank of major on 10 June 1796 and became acting commandant at Norfolk Island in April 1800 and acting lieutenant-governor in the following June. In December, receiving information that there was a plot to murder the officers, he hanged two of the ringleaders. Holt (q.v.) in his memoirs states that the men were executed two hours after arrest without any trial. Evatt in his Rum Rebellion accepts a statement in the Bligh (q.v.) papers in the Mitchell library that the men were "summarily hanged . . . without ever being told their crime, much less confronted with their accuser . . . merely upon the private information of a vagabond convict". This is not strictly accurate. Foveaux stated that other information had come to his knowledge when the matter was brought before the judge-advocate and five other officers all signed the warrant of condemnation. Foveaux succeeded in satisfying both Governor King (q.v.) and the English authorities that his action was justified. (See H.R. of N.S.W., vol. IV, pp. 266, 325 and 688.) Foveaux was succeeded by Captain Piper (q.v.) in 1804, sailed to England on 9 September, and did not return to New South Wales until the middle of 1808. He took over the administration of the colony from Major Johnston (q.v.) and issued a proclamation dated 31 July to the effect that he was not competent to judge between Bligh and the officers who had deposed him, and would not interfere with the status quo until he received instructions from the British authorities. His statement that there would be "the most impartial justice between persons of every description" was, however, apparently not intended to apply to Bligh as on 16 August he wrote for Colonel Paterson a completely biased statement relating to the acts and designs of Bligh, and on 4 September 1808 sent similar charges to Viscount Castlereagh. Foveaux apparently accepted without question everything that was said by his brother officers. Evatt in his Rum Rebellion bluntly speaks of his "lying", but that is probably going too far. In January 1809 Colonel Paterson took over the administration from Foveaux who returned to England in April 1810. He received an appointment on the Irish staff in 1811, and was promoted colonel in that year, major-general in 1814 and lieutenant-general in 1830. He died at London on 20 March 1846.

Macquarie (q.v.) described Foveaux as a "man of very superior talents . . . of strict honour and integrity" and recommended that he should be appointed lieutenant-governor at Hobart. This opinion, however, was formed on very short acquaintance. Foveaux's administration at Norfolk Island appears to have been cruel and callous, and his conduct in connexion with Bligh was more politic than just. His own justification of his career may be found in vol. VII of the Historical Records of New South Wales, pp. 295-9.

Historical Records of New South Wales, vols. II to VII; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. II to VII; H. V. Evatt, Rum Rebellion; The Gentleman's Magazine, May 1846, p. 551; The Times, 21 March 1846; T. C. Croker, Memoirs of Joseph Holt; Journal and Proceedings, Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. I. p. 215; Ida Lee, The Coming of the British to Australia.

^Top of page



was born at Melbourne on 12 March 1865, the son of Alexander Fox, photographer, who had married Rosetta Phillips. The boy's first education was at the model school, Melbourne, which was followed by private tuition, and he then began his art studies at the national gallery, Melbourne, under G. F. Folingsby (q.v.). Among his fellow students were (Sir) John Longstaff (q.v.), Frederick McCubbin (q.v.), David Davies (q.v.) and Rupert Bunny. In 1886 he went to Paris and worked first at Julien's Atelier, where he gained first prize in his year for design, and then tinder Gérôme at the Beaux Arts where he was awarded a first prize for painting. He first exhibited at the Salon in 1890 and in the same year returned to Melbourne. In 1894 he was awarded a gold medal of the third class at Paris for his "Portrait of My Cousin" now in the national gallery of Victoria. In Melbourne he established a school of art in conjunction with Tudor St George Tucker (q.v.), and had a considerable influence as a teacher on Australian art at this period. In 1901 he was given a commission under the Gilbee bequest to paint an historical picture of "The Landing of Captain Cook" for the Melbourne gallery. One of the conditions of the bequest was that the picture must be painted overseas and Fox accordingly left for London. In 1905 he married Ethel Carrick an artist of ability. They settled in Paris and in 1908 Fox was elected an associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts. He returned to Melbourne on a visit in that year and held a successful one man show at the Guildhall gallery. Two years later he became a full member of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, the first Australian artist to attain that honour. He was also exhibiting regularly at the Royal Academy. In 1912 he was elected a member of the International Society of Painters and in the same year spent some time painting in Spain and Algeria. In 1913 he returned to Australia and held successful one man shows. He died on 8 October 1915. Mrs Fox survived him, but there were no children.

Fox was modest, unobtrusive and completely sincere. His drawing was good, his colour beautiful, and his open-air groups were full of light and atmosphere. He was much influenced by French painting at the end of the nineteenth century and fully realized the good effect of the impressionists on that period. His portraits were excellent, soundly drawn and modelled, and showing great appreciation of the characters of the sitters. One of the most distinguished of Australian artists, he is represented in the Luxembourg gallery, Paris, in the national galleries at Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, and at Canberra.

The Argus, Melbourne, 9 October 1915; The Age, Melbourne, 22 October 1932; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; The Book of the Public Library of Victoria; private information.

^Top of page



son of J. G. Foxton, was born at Melbourne on 24 September 1849. He was educated at the Melbourne Church of England Grammar School and privately, and went to Brisbane when he was 15. He was articled to M. Thompson, solicitor, at Ipswich and was admitted to the bar when he was 22. He practised as a solicitor at Stanthorpe, and then came to Brisbane and went into partnership with his old mentor, J. M. Thompson. In 1883 he was elected to the legislative assembly as member for Carnarvon and held this seat continuously until 1904. He was secretary for public lands in the Nelson (q.v.) and Byrnes (q.v.) ministries from May 1896 to October 1898 and home secretary from October 1898 to December 1899 in the Dickson (q.v.) ministry, and from December 1899 to April 1903 in the Philp (q.v.) ministry. He was secretary for public lands in the same ministry from April to September 1903. Defeated at the 1904 elections he entered federal politics as a member for Brisbane in the house of representatives in 1906, and was minister without portfolio in the third Deakin (q.v.) ministry from June 1909 to April 1910, when he was defeated at the general election. He died at Brisbane on 23 June 1916. He married in 1874 Emily Mary, daughter of the Hon. John Panton, who survived him with two sons and two daughters. He was created C.M.G. in 1903.

Foxton had many interests. He joined the old volunteer forces when a very young man and rose to be brigadier in command of the Queensland field force (Commonwealth military forces). He represented Australia at the Imperial conference on naval and military defence of empire in 1909, and was for some time A.D.C. to the governor-general of Australia. He was keenly interested in cricket, was president of the Queensland Cricket Association, chairman of trustees of the Brisbane cricket ground, and a member of the Australian board of control. He received the certificate of the Royal Humane Society of Australia for saving life in 1884 and its bronze medal in 1891. He showed much ability as a politician and administrator. He brought in a factories and shops act in 1896 which showed a distinct advance in humanitarian legislation, and its provisions were further extended in his factories and shops act of 1900. These acts made him justly known as the father of shop and factory legislation in Queensland.

The Brisbane Courier, 24 June 1916; C A Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; Who's Who, 1916; Liber Melburniensis, 1937.

^Top of page


author of religious tales,

was the daughter of Dr Henry Congreve and was born in 1827. She came to South Australia in 1852, started a school at Mount Barker and about the year 1859 married the Rev. E. Evans, a Baptist minister, who died some four years later. In 1860 Mrs Evans opened a school at Angaston which was still in existence in 1868. She wrote her first story, Marian; or the light of Some One's Home while she was at Mount Barker and it appears to have been immediately successful. The British Museum catalogue records an edition published at Bath in 1860, a second edition was published by John Darton and Company in 1861, and another edition published by Sampson Low appeared in the same year. She had chosen as a pseudonym Maud Jean Franc, but in her later books variations in the spelling of both Maud and Jean appeared. Her second book Vermont Vale came out in 1866 and during the next 19 years 13 other volumes were published. She died in 1886 and was survived by two sons. The elder, Henry Congreve Evans, who died in 1899, was leader of the staff of the Adelaide Advertiser and author of the libretto of Immomeena: an Australian Comic Opera published in 1893. The younger, William James Evans, was joint author with his mother of Christmas Bells, a collection of short stories published in 1882. He also published in 1898 Rhymes without Reason and died in 1904.

The stories of Maud Jean Franc were often reprinted. A collected edition in 13 volumes was published in 1888 and 40 years after, her publishers, Messrs Sampson Low, stated that they were still selling (The Bookman, Sept. 1928). They are pleasantly told tales somewhat sentimental and rhetorical in style, sincerely religious and didactic in theme.

The Centenary History of South Australia, p. 353; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature, for a list of her books see vol. II, p. 602; information from H. R. Purnell.

^Top of page


premier of Victoria,

was born in London in 1819 and emigrated to Tasmania in 1834. In 1837 he was employed by James Hamilton, a storekeeper at Campbell Town, and three years later was taken into partnership. In October 1840 he visited England to see his parents and in 1847, in partnership with Duncan McPherson, bought the business of Boys and Pointer, merchants, at Hobart. In 1853 Francis opened a branch of this business at Melbourne and took charge of it himself. He was appointed a director of the Bank of New South Wales in 1855 and in 1857 was elected president of the Melbourne chamber of commerce. He was also a director of other companies and was taking a prominent part in the business life of Melbourne. In 1859 he was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Richmond, and was at once appointed vice-president of the board of lands and works and commissioner of public works in the Nicholson (q.v.) ministry. He resigned these positions in September 1860. He was commissioner for trades and customs in the first McCulloch (q.v.), ministry from June 1863, to May 1868, and was treasurer in the third McCulloch ministry from April 1870 until June 1871. When Duffy (q.v.) was defeated a year later Francis became premier and chief secretary. His Ministry passed some important legislation during its life of a little more than two years. Its most important act was one dealing with education, free, compulsory and unsectarian, which continued for a long period to be the basis of primary education in Victoria. A vigorous railway policy resulted in the building of several new lines of railway at a cost of about £2,250,000. Francis also endeavoured to bring in a system to prevent deadlocks between the two houses by providing that if a bill had been passed in two successive sessions of the lower house and rejected by the council, it should be brought before a joint meeting of the two houses. It was, however, feared by some members that this might eventually result in the assembly losing its control of money bills, and the proposal was carried by only two votes and eventually abandoned. Francis had a severe illness in 1874 and though Higinbotham (q.v.) and Service (q.v.) together waited on him with a request that he should remain at the head of the administration, and take leave of absence until his health was restored, Francis found it necessary to resign and retire from politics for a time. He visited England with his family and was away two years. After his return he was elected for Warrnambool in 1878 and retained that seat until his death. He did not desire office, but was an influence in the house and was frequently consulted by individual members. From March to August 1880 he was minister without portfolio in the first Service ministry. His health failed again for the last two years of his life and he died at Queenscliff on 25 January 1884. He was survived by his wife and a family which included at least three sons. He declined a knighthood on three occasions.

Francis was a leading figure in Victorian politics for 20 years. When a young man in Tasmania he pluckily grappled with a burglar and was struck on the head with a hatchet. This was the beginning of the ill-health from which he so frequently suffered, and which prevented him from doing even more important work than he did. He was not a good speaker, his style was too parenthetical and involved, but he always had a grasp of his subject. He was bluff in manner but genuinely kind, and his ability and sturdy honesty of character were recognized by friends and opponents alike.

The Argus, Melbourne, 26 January 1884; The Age, Melbourne, 26 and 28 January 1884: A. S. Kenyon, The Victorian Historical Magazine, vol. XV, p. 96; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

^Top of page

FRANKLIN, JANE, LADY (1792-1875),

second wife of Sir John Franklin (q.v.),

was the second daughter of John Griffin. a liveryman and later a governor of the Goldsmith's Company, and his wife Jane Guillemard. There was Huguenot blood on both sides of her family. She was born in 1792, was well educated, and her father being well-to-do had her education completed by much travel on the continent. Her portrait painted when she was 24 by Miss Romilly at Geneva shows her to have been a pretty girl with charm and vivacity. She had been a friend of (Sir) John Franklin's first wife who died early in 1825, and in 1828 became engaged to him. They were married on 5 November and in 1829 he was knighted. During the next three years she was much parted from her husband who was on service in the Mediterranean. In 1836 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Tasmania where they arrived on 6 January 1837.

Lady Franklin at once began to take an interest in the colony and did a good deal of exploring along the southern and western coast. In April 1839 she visited the new settlement at Melbourne, where she received an address signed by 65 of the leading citizens which referred to her "character for kindness, benevolence and charity". With her husband she encouraged the founding of secondary schools for both boys and girls. In 1841 she visited South Australia and persuaded the governor, Colonel Gawler (q.v.), to set aside some ground overlooking Spencer Gulf for a monument to Flinders (q.v.). This was set up later in the year. She had much correspondence with Elizabeth Fry about the female convicts, and did what she could to ameliorate their lot. She was accused of using undue influence with her husband in his official acts but there is no evidence of this. No doubt he was glad to have her help in solving his problems, and probably they collaborated in the founding of the scientific society which afterwards developed into the Royal Society of Tasmania. When Franklin was recalled at the end of 1843 they went first to Melbourne and then to England by way of New Zealand. Franklin started on his last voyage in May 1845, and when it was realized that he must have come to disaster Lady Franklin devoted herself for many years to trying to ascertain his fate. By 1860 all had been done that could be done, and for the remainder of her life Lady Franklin divided her time between living in England and travelling in all quarters of the world. She died in London on 18 July 1875.

Lady Franklin was a woman of unusual character and personality. One of the earliest women in Tasmania who had had the full benefit of education and cultural surroundings, she was both an example and a force, and set a new standard in ways of living to the more prosperous settlers who were now past the stage of merely struggling for a living. Her determined efforts, in connexion with which she spent a great deal of her own money to discover the fate of her husband, incidentally added much to the world's knowledge of the arctic regions.

W. F. Rawnsley, The Life, Diaries and Correspondence of Jane Lady Franklin; H. D. Traill, The Life of Sir John Franklin, R.N.

^Top of page

FRANKLIN, SIR JOHN (1786-1847),

fifth governor of Tasmania and arctic explorer,

[ also refer to Sir John FRANKLIN page at Project Gutenberg Australia]

was born at Spilsby, Lincolnshire, England, on 15 April 1786. He was the fifth son of Willingham Franklin, was educated at the grammar school at Louth, in the autumn of 1800 became a first-class volunteer on H.M.S. Polyphemus, and fought at the battle of Copenhagen at the end of the following March. In July he joined the Investigator and sailed under Captain Flinders (q.v.) to the south seas. He was cast away on the Porpoise, went to Canton and returned to England on the Earl Camden in 1804. He joined the Bellerophon, fought at the battle of Trafalgar as a signal midshipman, and was one of the comparatively few men on that vessel who escaped without a wound. After some years of patrol work Franklin, now a lieutenant, fought in actions near New Orleans in the United States in December 1814 and January 1815. After the peace Franklin spent three years in England and in 1818 sailed as commander of the Trent in an expedition to the arctic regions. In 1819 in connexion with another expedition under Captain Ross and Lieutenant Parry, Franklin was instructed to make an overland journey from the north-western shore of Hudson's Bay and if possible meet Parry as he voyaged westward from the northern end of Baffin's Bay. It was three and a half years before Franklin returned to England. The account of this wonderful journey will be found in Franklin's Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea in the Years 1819, 20, 21 and 22, published in three volumes in 1823. During his absence he had been promoted to the rank of commander and after his return he was made a post-captain and elected a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1823 preparations for another expedition were made which was to approach the Arctic Ocean by way of the Mackenzie River. It did not start until February 1825 and occupied two years and seven months. Franklin reached England on 26 September 1827 and published in 1828 his Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar Sea. The geographical and scientific reports of this expedition were of great value.

Franklin had married in August 1823, Eleanor Anne Porden, who died on 22 February 1825, leaving him an infant daughter. In 1828 he became engaged to Jane Griffin and they were married on 5 November. In the spring of 1829 he was knighted and in the same year received the honorary degree of D.C.L. from the university of Oxford. He declined the offer of commissioner of the Australian Company in New South Wales at a salary of £2000 a year as he felt it might injure his future prospects in the service. On 23 August 1830 he was given the command of H.M.S. Rainbow and saw three years service in the Mediterranean. In April 1836 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Tasmania.

Franklin arrived in Tasmania on 6 January 1837. In the 12 years of Arthur's (q.v.) administration there had been much progress. The population had reached 40,000 and revenue and trade had increased enormously. But Arthur had not been popular and, though he had his admirers, a great many people felt aggrieved by his actions. Two of his nephews, John Montagu (q.v.), colonial secretary, and Matthew Forster, chief police magistrate, held very important positions at Hobart and when Franklin, as was only courteous, made complimentary references to the work of Arthur it was felt by many people that he had allied himself with the "Arthur faction". His private secretary, Captain Alexander Maconochie (q.v.) had strong views on the management of convicts, and on these being made public they were taken as a reflection on the judicial administration of the colony. Franklin felt obliged to dismiss his assistant. Thus early Franklin, a kindly and humane man, found himself involved in the jealousies and strong feelings that make life difficult for the governors of small communities. There was also a virulent press which did not hesitate to interfere with the privacies of domestic life or to make the most insulting charges. Franklin showed good sense in connexion with the founding of a high school at Hobart, resisting Dr Arnold of Rugby's suggestion that the principal should be appointed turn and turn about from the Anglican and Presbyterian communions. "Might it not be better," said Franklin, "to make learning and character the sole qualifications?"

During Franklin's period there was much inquiry being made into the convict system. Franklin believed that the assignment system if properly controlled would work well, but this system was abolished and he loyally endeavoured to have the new regulations carried out. But the changing of these regulations affected the economic life of the colony and other troubles arose because a period of high prices for grain and live stock had led to extravagant speculation in land. There were difficulties too, in the absence of direct taxation, in squaring the finances of the colony. Franklin did his best, but unfortunately came into conflict with the colonial secretary, John Montagu, a man of ability with a much more subtle mind than Franklin's. At last the governor dismissed Montagu who went to England and so succeeded in impressing his side of the case on the colonial authorities that, though Montagu was not reinstated, Franklin was recalled. He did not receive the dispatch recalling him until 21 August 1843, four days after his successor had arrived. Lord Stanley's readiness to accept the unconfirmed statements of Montagu showed little evidence of good judgment, and generally Franklin was treated with discourtesy and ingratitude. He left Tasmania on 3 November 1843, and on arriving in England endeavoured vainly to persuade Stanley to take a more lust view of his case. He published privately in 1845 Narrative of Some Passages in the History of Van Diemen's Land During the Last Three Years of Sir John Franklin's Administration of its Government, which sets out in detail his account of his relations with Montagu.

Franklin left England on his last voyage to the arctic regions in May 1845, and his last letter to Lady Franklin was written from Whalefish Island on 1 July. His ships were seen and spoken with by a whaler on 26 July but it was several years before the actual fate of the explorers became known. Franklin died on 11 June 1847. Many expeditions were sent to search for or ascertain the fate of the members of the expedition, at first officially, and afterwards by Lady Franklin alone. A document dated 25 April 1848 was found, which gave the date of Franklin's death, and stated the total loss by death had been nine officers and 15 men. It is probable that the remaining members of the expedition died in the winter of that year. In addition to Lady Franklin, who is noticed separately, Franklin was survived by the daughter by his first marriage. Monuments to his memory are at Spilsby, Waterloo Place, London, in Westminster Abbey and at Hobart.

Franklin was a man of medium height, in middle life very heavily built. His personality was attractive, he had the bluff straight-forward honesty associated with sailors, great courage and fortitude and a simple piety and humanity which endeared him to all his associates and made him one of the great explorers of all time. As a governor he showed sound judgment and conscientiousness, and had an invaluable influence on the education of the colonists. However, though undoubtedly popular, he had not a nature that could cope successfully with people less honest and less disinterested than himself. In the changing conditions of Tasmania, slowly emerging from a convict settlement to a constitutional colony, it was necessary that a man should have more finesse and subtlety to be completely successful as a governor.

H. D. Traill, The Life of Sir John Franklin, R.N.; A. H. Markham, Life of Sir John Franklin; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXV, pp. 213-26; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania; R. J. Cyriax, Sir John Franklin's Last Arctic Expedition.

^Top of page

FRENCH, CHARLES (1840-1933),


was born at Lewisham, Kent, England, on 10 September 1840. His father died when he was a child and his mother marrying again, the boy was brought to Melbourne in 1852. The family settled at Cheltenham, where French began to be interested in natural history. In 1858 he was apprenticed to James Scott, a nurseryman at Hawthorn and later on met Baron von Mueller (q.v.). In 1864 Mueller placed French in charge of the glass-house at the botanic gardens, and in 1881 he was made custodian of the botanical museum. He was appointed first Victorian government entomologist in 1889 and in 1891 published Part I of his A Handbook of the Destructive Insects of Victoria. Four other parts were published by 1911. A sixth part dealing with beneficial insects was completed but has not been published. French was also the author of some pamphlets, and papers by him were published in the Victorian Naturalist and other journals. In 1907 he attended the International Conference of Entomologists in London, and in 1908 he retired and was succeeded by his son, Charles French, Jun. He had founded the Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria in 1880. It grew into a flourishing organization and remained a great interest to French during a long retirement. He died at Melbourne on 21 May 1933. He was married twice and left a widow, a son and two daughters.

Comparatively little work in entomology had been done in Australia when French began his researches, and his work in showing how insect pests could be controlled by the use of sprays was of great value. He also fully realized the value of insectivorous birds in keeping the balance of nature at a time when there was a tendency to look upon all birds as a danger to crops.

E. E. Pescott, The Victorian Naturalist, July 1933; ibid, May 1940; The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903; The Argus, Melbourne, 23 May 1933.

^Top of page



was born at Leeds, England, in 1879. He studied at the Royal College of Art, South Kensington, and in 1912 had an exhibit in the black and white room at the Royal Academy. He also showed a water-colour and two oils at the 1919, 1920 and 1921 exhibitions. He came to Australia in 1921 and was elected an associate of the Royal Art Society of New South Wales in 1922. He established a reputation as an etcher and is represented in the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth galleries. His etchings are soundly drawn and competent. He returned to Europe in 1930 and died at Cannes in the south of France about the beginning of June 1931.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 June 1931; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Royal Academy Catalogues, 1912-21, which spell his name Friedenson.

^Top of page



son of George W. Froggatt, an English architect, was born at Blackwood, Victoria, on 13 June 1858. His mother was the daughter of Giacomo Chiosso, who came of a noble Italian family. As a child Froggatt, who was delicate, was encouraged by his mother to find interests in the open air and at an early age began collecting insects. The family having moved to Bendigo, he was educated at the high school, Bendigo, and on leaving school spent four years on the land. In 1880 he went to a goldfield near Milparinka, New South Wales, and then worked his way northward and through Queensland to Mackay, Herberton, Cairns and other parts of the colony. Wherever he went he kept up his collecting of insects. In 1883 he returned to Bendigo, worked with his father on a lease near Mount Hope, and about this period got in touch with Charles French Sen. (q.v.) and Baron von Mueller (q.v.). It was partly through Mueller's good offices that Froggatt was appointed entomologist and assistant zoologist to the expedition sent to New Guinea in 1885 by the Royal Geographical Society of New South Wales. The party left in June 1885 and returned on 4 December. Early in 1886 Froggatt was engaged by William Macleay (q.v.) as a collector. He at once proceeded to North Queensland and formed large collections. In March 1887 he went to north-west Australia, began collecting in the Derby district and later in the more inland country. He returned to Derby after severe attacks of fever and then went to the Barrier Range to recover his health. Returning to the coast he took steamer on 22 February 1888 for Fremantle and thence to Sydney, where he arrived on 31 March. He then went to England at the invitation of an uncle and gained much experience in European museums and universities. On his return he worked at the Macleay museum until it was transferred to the university, and in 1889 was appointed assistant and collector at the Sydney technological museum. In the following year the first of a long series of papers by him was published in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. In 1896 he was appointed government entomologist to the agricultural department of New South Wales.

Froggatt's work was not confined to entomology, he was also vine inspector and later inspector under the vegetation diseases act. In the many papers he was writing at this time there is an increasing tendency for his attention to be given to insect pests. He published in 1907 his work on Australian Insects, the first comprehensive text-book on Australian entomology, and in this year was sent abroad to study the best ways of dealing with fruit flies, etc. His Report on Parasitic and Injurious Insects was published by the New South Wales department of agriculture in 1909. In this year he went to the Solomon Islands to report on pests attacking coconut palms and sugar-cane, and in 1913 went on a similar mission to the New Hebrides. During the war he spent much time on the control of weevils in stored wheat, and in 1922 investigated pests attacking banana-trees in Queensland. He retired from the department of agriculture in 1923 but was forest entomologist in the department of forestry until his final retirement on 31 March 1927. His volume on Forest Insects of Australia was published in 1923; in the following four years many papers on forest entomology were also published, and in 1927 another volume, Forest Insects and Timber Borers, appeared. In his last years he did much writing on popular science in the Sydney Morning Herald, in 1933 his The Insect Book, the first of a series ,of elementary "Nature Books" for children, was published at Sydney, and in 1935 Australian Spiders and Their Allies appeared. He died at Croydon, New South Wales, on 18 March 1937. He married Ann Emily, daughter of John Lewis, in 1890, and was survived by a son, John L. Froggatt, entomologist to the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, and two daughters. One of the daughters, Gladys Harding Froggatt, was the author of The World of Little Lives (1916), and More About the World of Little Lives (1929).

Froggatt was loyal and unselfish, the guide, philosopher and friend to a long succession of young naturalists. He was a member of the council of the Linnean Society of New South Wales for a period of 40 years and was president from 1911 to 1913. He gave enthusiastic support to the various scientific societies with which he was connected, and was much interested in the planting of Australian trees and in gardening generally. He had a fine collection of books on science and general literature. His collection of insects was acquired by the Commonwealth government and is now at Canberra. He was a leading Australian entomologist and an untiring worker; Musgrave lists over 300 of his papers in his Bibliography. In addition to his books on entomology, Froggatt also published a volume on Some Useful Australian Birds in 1921.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 March 1937; Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, vol. LXVII. pp. 77-81; A. Musgrave, Bibliography of Australian Entomology.

^Top of page

FRY, DOUGLAS (1872-1911),


was born at Ipswich, Suffolk, England, in 1872. He was educated at Ipswich Grammar School and studied art at Julien's, Paris, and in London. He did some illustrative work in London and in 1899 came to Australia. He stayed at Melbourne for some time, did some paintings of horses, and then went on to Sydney where he became a member of the Society of Artists. In 1908 his "Mountain King" was purchased for the national gallery of New South Wales. He did illustrative work for the Lone Hand and exhibited regularly with the Society of Artists. His reputation was steadily growing when he died from pneumonia on 9 July 1911 at the early age of 39. A quiet, rather reserved man, much liked in sporting and artistic circles, Fry did some of the best animal painting ever done in Australia. He was much interested in the differing characteristics of horses and made many studies of them before finishing each work. He was an excellent draughtsman and as a painter quite frankly endeavoured to paint the thing exactly as he saw it, with a high degree of finish.

L. Lindsay, The Lone Hand, 1 November 1911; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 July 1911.

^Top of page



was born near Birmingham in 1863, and studied art at evening classes in that city. He came to Sydney in 1881 and obtained work as a lithographic draughtsman and designer. He joined the Art Society of New South Wales in 1884, and shortly afterwards obtained a position on the staff of the Picturesque Atlas of Australia, for which he travelled a good deal in the north and did many drawings. He afterwards worked on the Sydney Mail and other illustrated papers of the time. He kept up his painting, and in 1892 two of his water-colours were purchased for the national gallery at Sydney. In 1895 he took a leading part in forming the Society of Artists at Sydney and was a member of its first council. He returned to Europe in 1900 by way of America, holding on the way a very successful exhibition of his work at New York. He made London his headquarters, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1901, 1904, and later years, and also at various exhibitions in Europe. During the war he was a sergeant in the R.A.M.C. and later an Australian official war artist. He returned to Sydney in 1920 and worked chiefly in water-colour and etching. He died on 1 October 1930.

Fullwood was a happy-natured man who was in all the artistic movements of his time, and did sound and capable work in black and white, oils, and water-colour. His etchings were on the whole less successful. He is represented in the national galleries at Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, at Dresden and Budapest, and in the war museum at Canberra.

B. Stevens, Art in Australia, 8th Number; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; The Herald, Melbourne. 18 September 1920; The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 October 1930.

^Top of page

FULTON, HENRY (1761-1840),

early clergyman and schoolmaster,

was born in 1761. He was educated at a university, graduated B.A., and towards the close of the eighteenth century was a clergyman in the diocese of Killaloe, Ireland. He became involved in the insurrection of 1798 and was transported to New South Wales. Though sometimes afterwards referred to as an ex-convict, he was really a political prisoner. The bishop of Derry, in a letter to the archbishop of Canterbury written in August 1807, stated that Fulton "agreed to transport himself for life to Botany Bay" (H.R. of N.S.W., vol. VI, p. 276). He left Ireland with his wife and son on the Minerva on 24 August 1799, and shared the same cabin with Joseph Holt (q.v.) (Memoirs of Joseph Holt, vol. II, p. 33). They arrived at Sydney on 11 January 1800. Fulton was conditionally emancipated in November, and began to conduct services at the Hawkesbury on 7 December. In February 1801 he was sent to Norfolk Island to act as chaplain, in December 1805 he received a pardon from Governor King (q.v.), and in the following year he returned to Sydney to take up the duties of Marsden (q.v.) who had been given leave of absence. At the time of the revolt against Bligh, Fulton stood by him and, showing no disposition to yield to the officers, was suspended from his office as chaplain. On 18 May 1808 he wrote to Bligh testifying to his justice and impartiality, and in April and July 1808 and on 14 February and 23 March 1809, he wrote letters to Viscount Castlereagh giving accounts of what had happened and severely censuring the conduct of the officers. Immediately after the arrival of Governor Macquarie (q.v.) Fulton was reinstated as assistant chaplain. He went to England as a witness at the court martial of Colonel Johnston (q.v.), and returned to Sydney in 1812. In 1814 he was appointed chaplain at Castlereagh and was made a magistrate. He also established a school and had for a pupil Charles Tompson (q.v.) who dedicated his volume Wild Notes from the Lyre of a Native Minstrel to Fulton. This was the first volume of verse written by a native-born Australian and published in Australia. The first poem in the book "Retrospect" has complimentary references to Fulton. as a teacher and as a man. In 1833 Fulton was still chaplain at Castlereagh, and in that year published a pamphlet of some forty pages entitled Strictures Upon a Letter Lately Written by Roger Therry, Esquire, and in 1836 his name appears as a member of a sub-committee at Penrith formed to work against the introduction of the system of national education then established in Ireland. He died at the parsonage, Castlereagh, on 17 November 1840.

Fulton was a man of the highest character who lost his living in Ireland on account of his sympathy for the Irish, and in Australia again went against his own interests in supporting Bligh. He was married and had one son and three daughters.

The Sydney Herald, 21 November 1840; Historical Records of N.S.W., vols. IV, VI, VII; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. III, VI to XI, XIII, XIV, XVIII.

^Top of page



[ also refer to Tom COLLINS page at Project Gutenberg Australia]

was born at Yering Station, the site of Yarra Glen, Victoria, on 26 September 1843. His father, Samuel Furphy, who had come from the north of Ireland with his wife in 1841, was head gardener on the station. There was no school in the district and at first Joseph was educated by his mother. The only books available were the Bible and Shakespeare, and at seven years of age Furphy was already learning passages of each by heart. He never forgot them. About 1850 the family removed to Kangaroo Ground, and here the parents of the district built a school and obtained a master. In 1852 another move was made to Kyneton where Samuel Furphy began business as a hay and corn merchant. A few years later he leased a farm and also bought a threshing plant. This was worked by Joseph and a brother and both became competent engine-drivers. In 1864 Furphy bought a threshing outfit and travelled the Daylesford and surrounding districts. At Glenlyon he met Leonie Germain, a girl of 16, of French extraction, and in 1866 they were married. Soon afterwards his wife's mother went to New Zealand and Furphy for a time carried on her farm, but two years later took up a selection near Colbinabbin. The land proved to be poor, and about 1873 he sold out and soon afterwards bought a team of bullocks. He became prosperous as the years went by, but the drought came and he had heavy losses. Some of his bullocks and horses died from pleuro-pneumonia, and about 1884 he accepted a position in the foundry of his brother John at Shepparton. There he worked for some 20 years doing much reading and writing in the evenings. In his youth he had written many verses and in December 1867 he had been awarded the first prize of £3 at the Kyneton. Literary Society for a vigorous set of verses on "The Death of President Lincoln".

When Miss Kate Baker came to Shepparton as a teacher at the state school she boarded with Furphy's mother, and having read some of his sketches she suggested that he should write a book. Heartened by her encouragement, a book gradually took shape, and about the end of April 1897 A. G. Stephens (q.v.), who was then conducting the Red Page of the Bulletin, received the huge manuscript of Such is Life, Being Certain Extracts from the Diary of Tom Collins. Stephens at once recognized its merit but its size made publication impracticable. It was returned to Furphy who found that a large section, afterwards to be published as Rigby's Romance, could be cut out. Stephens realized that even in its reduced form the book was not a commercial proposition, but he succeeded in persuading Archibald (q.v.) and Macleod (q.v.), the proprietors of the Bulletin, that here was a national Australian book which should be published. It came out in 1903, made very little stir, and only about one third of the edition was sold. In 1905 Furphy gave the manuscript of Rigby's Romance to the Barrier Truth at Broken Hill in which it appeared in serial form. His sons, Felix and Samuel, who had been trained in their uncle's foundry at Shepparton, went to Western Australia and established a foundry at Fremantle. Their parents joined them early in 1905, and on 13 September 1912 Joseph Furphy died at Claremont. He was survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. In 1917 Miss Baker purchased the copyright and remaining sheets of the Bulletin edition of Such is Life, and published a second edition at Melbourne with a preface by Vance Palmer. Another edition abridged by Vance Palmer was published in London in 1937 by Jonathan Cape, and a complete edition was brought out, by Angus and Robertson at Sydney in 1944. The Poems of Joseph Furphy, collected and edited by Miss Baker, with a portrait frontispiece, was brought out in 1916, and Rigby's Romance was published in 1921. Its second edition, published in 1946, included nine chapters omitted from the first edition. A bronze medallion by Wallace Anderson is at the state school, Yarra Glen. This school is close to the site of Furphy's birthplace.

Furphy was a rather tall fair man with blue eyes. When he went to Sydney while Such is Life was being printed, Stephens described him as "a lean, shrewd, proud, modest, kindly man of sixty". Though in his writings his characters use a great deal of strong language and slang, Furphy personally used neither. He was a member of the Church of Christ and sometimes took part in its services, but he had none of the narrowness often attributed to members of the smaller sects; he was indeed completely charitable in his attitude to all creeds, beliefs and unbeliefs. He had read widely and his books give a cross section of the minds of thinking people in the second half of the nineteenth century. Such is Life has many discussions in it, enlivened often with the sense of humour that was an essential part of Furphy. His pathos is completely true. He believed in the common man and loved him. His narrative style is sometimes a little heavy and wordy, his attempt to suggest the bush vernacular by the use of (adj.) for swearing and other devices are not always successful, but these cavillings become lost in the great sweep of the book, its vigour and originality, its human charity, its fundamental Australianism. Rigby's Romance has similar qualities but is not so good, and the volume of poems though it has much good swinging verse in it, does not give Furphy the right to be called a poet. His reputation rests on Such is Life which 40 years after publication remains one of the really important books in Australian literature.

E. E. Pescott, The Life Story of Joseph Furphy; A. G. Stephens, preface to Rigby's Romance; Vance Palmer, preface to second edition of Such is Life; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; Miles Franklin in association with Kate Baker, Joseph Furphy; private information.

^Top of page


premier of Tasmania,

the son of John and Charlotte Fysh, was born at Highbury, London, on 1 March 1835. Educated at the Denmark Hill school, he obtained a position in the office of a merchant with large Australian connexions. He emigrated to Tasmania in 1859 and established the firm of P. O. Fysh and Company, general merchants, which he carried on successfully until 1894, when he handed over the business to a son. In 1866 he was elected to the Tasmanian legislative council and remained a member for six years. In August 1873 he was elected to the house of assembly and became treasurer in the Kennerley (q.v.) ministry until March 1875, but remained in the cabinet as a minister without portfolio for another 15 months. In June 1877 he became leader of the opposition and in August, premier. Losing his seat at the election held early in 1878 he visited Europe and remained out of politics for six years. In March 1884 he was elected to the legislative council for Buckingham, and in March 1887 became premier and colonial secretary in his second ministry, which lasted for more than five years. He was again elected to the assembly and was treasurer in Braddon's (q.v.) ministry from April 1894 to December 1898, when he was appointed agent-general for Tasmania at London.

Fysh took an important part in the federal movement in Tasmania. He was a representative of his colony at the 1891 and 1897 conventions, and was a member of the Australian delegation that watched the passing of the federal bill through the Imperial Parliament. He returned to Tasmania, was elected a member of the house of representatives in the first federal parliament, and was a minister without portfolio in the first ministry from April 1901 to August 1903, when he became postmaster-general. He held the same position in the Deakin (q.v.) ministry from September 1903 to April 1904. Retiring from politics in 1910 he died on 20 December 1919. He was created K.C.M.G. in January 1896.

Fysh was tall and spare, with a flowing beard. A sound business man, a director of well-known companies and president of the central board of health, Hobart, he was much respected both in Tasmania and in the federal house. He may be remembered chiefly for his consistent work for federation.

The Mercury, Hobart, 20 December 1919; The Age, Melbourne, 22 December 1919; The Argus, Melbourne, 23 December 1919.

^Top of page [and links to other parts]