Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership
DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALIAN BIOGRAPHY
Angus and Robertson--1949
^Top of page
MUELLER, BARON SIR FERDINAND JAKOB HEINRICH VON (1825-1896),botanist and explorer,
son of Frederick Mueller, a commissioner of customs, and his wife Louisa, was born at Rostock, Germany, on 30 June 1825. His family was of Danish origin (C. Daley, information from relatives of von Mueller). Both parents died while he was young, but he was given a good education by his grandparents. Apprenticed to a chemist at 15 he passed the pharmaceutical examinations and studied botany under Professor Nolte at Kiel. He received the degree of doctor of philosophy when he was 21 for a thesis on the Common Shepherd's Purse, and began a collection of the plants of Schleswig-Holstein. He had also been studying for a medical career but in 1847, having been advised to go to a warmer climate, he sailed for Australia with two sisters. He arrived at Adelaide on 18 December 1847 and found employment as a chemist. Shortly afterwards he obtained 20 acres of land not far from Adelaide, but after living on it for a few months returned to his former employment. He contributed a few papers on botanical subjects to German periodicals, and in 1852 sent a paper to the Linnean Society at London on "The Flora of South Australia". In the same year he removed to Melbourne where he was appointed government botanist, and in 1853 made an exploration north east from Melbourne to the then almost unknown Buffalo Ranges. From there Mueller went to the upper reaches of the Goulburn River and across Gippsland to the coast. The neighbourhoods of Port Albert and Wilson's Promontory were explored, and the journey of some 1500 miles was completed along the coast to Melbourne. During this journey large additions were made to the botanical knowledge of Australia. He began making collections of dried specimens, and, getting in touch with Sir William Hooker of Kew, sent him duplicate specimens, thus beginning the correspondence with him and his son that was continued for the remainder of Mueller's life. In November he made another expedition to the north-west of Victoria, going up the Murray to Albury he turned south-east to Omeo along the Tambo River, and easterly to the mouth of the Snowy River. When Mueller reached Melbourne again he had travelled about 2500 miles and had increased the number of known Victorian plants by about a fourth. Towards the end of 1854 he again explored north-eastern Victoria, ascending and naming Mounts Hotham and Latrobe, and adding considerably to the known alpine plants of Australia. He went through many hardships, and though often short of food succeeded in living on the country as few others could have done. On 18 July 1855 he started from Sydney as naturalist to the exploring expedition led by A. A. Gregory (q.v.) to the Northern Territory. The expedition was successful, and Mueller for his part found nearly 800 species new to Australia. He published in this year his Definitions of Rare or Hitherto Undescribed Australian Plants. In 1857 Rostock university gave him the honorary degree of doctor of medicine, and in the same year he was appointed director of the botanical gardens at Melbourne.
Mueller immediately arranged for the building of what is now known as the national herbarium, and began his account of new plants discovered in Australia, Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae, which was written in Latin and published by the government of Victoria in 11 volumes between 1858 and 1881. Under Mueller's care the gardens became very popular, large numbers of plants had been planted and labelled, and the contents of the herbarium were continually increasing. Later Mueller's private collection and other gifts were made to it, so that eventually an enormous collection was labelled and housed in it. In 1858 Sir William Hooker was suggesting to Mueller that he should come to England and write a systematic monograph on the Australian flora. Mueller found himself unable to do this and eventually agreed to collaborate in a work of this kind to be undertaken by Mr George Bentham. It had been hoped that this work could have been begun in 1859, but it was not until 1863 that the first volume appeared. Meanwhile Mueller had published in 1860-2 volume I of The Plants Indigenous to the Colony of Victoria, but abandoned this book in favour of the larger work. The title-page of this read Flora Australiensis: A Description of of the Plants of the Australian Territory, by George Bentham, F.R.S., P.L.S., assisted by Ferdinand Mueller, M.D., F.R.S. and L.S. The seventh and last volume was published in 1878. In the meantime Mueller had published in 1864-5 a fine collection of drawings illustrating The Plants Indigenous to the Colony of Victoria, and had prepared other plates which were eventually published under the editorship of A. J. Ewart (q.v.) in 1910.
Mueller had been leading a busy, happy and successful life. Few men, however able, have been honoured by being elected a fellow of the Royal Society, London, at the age of 36. In addition to his botanical labours he had done further exploring in Western Australia, and had encouraged and helped the leading explorers of his time, including the Forrests (q.v.), the Gregorys (q.v.), McDouall Stuart (q.v.) and Ernest Giles (q.v.). He was known and honoured both in the old world and the new, but in 1873 he received a setback which was a source of regret to him for the remainder of his life. He had done an enormous amount of excellent work at the botanical gardens in spite of an inadequate staff and a deficient water supply. But he was primarily a man of science, for him a botanical gardens "must be mainly scientific and predominantly instructive". A demand arose for more attention to be given to the aesthetic side of the gardens, and in 1873 Mueller resigned. He retained his position as government botanist, and suffered no loss of salary, but he never quite lost a sense of grievance. Nothing, however, could check his powers of work. His best-known book, Select Plants Readily Eligible for Industrial Culture or Naturalization in Victoria, was published about the end of 1876. With a slight change in the title to Select Extra-Tropical Plants this volume ran into several editions in the following 19 years. In 1877 he did some exploring at the request of the Western Australian government inland from Shark's Bay, and in the same year published his Introduction to Botanic Teachings at the Schools of Victoria. In 1879 he published Part I of The Native Plants of Victoria, which he was never able to complete, and in the same year appeared the first decade of Eucalyptographia: A Descriptive Atlas of the Eucalypts of Australia and the adjoining Islands. The tenth decade of this appeared in 1884. Mueller's Systematic Census of Australian Plants, Part I, was published in 1882, and in the following year he was awarded the Clarke medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales. Part II (sic) of his Key to the System of Victorian Plants appeared in 1885, and Part I (sic) in 1888. In 1886 he published Description and Illustrations of the Myoporinous Plants of Australia, and in 1887-8, The Iconography of Australian Species of Acacias and Cognate Species. The Second Systematic Census of Australian Plants was published in 1889, and in 1889-91 his Iconography of Australian Salsolaceous Plants. His Iconography of Candolleaceous Plants began to appear in 1892 but only one decade was published. He was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of London in 1888, and in 1890 was elected president of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science at the meeting held in Melbourne in that year. Working until his last short illness he died at Melbourne on 10 October 1896. He never married. In 1871 he was made an hereditary baron by the King of Wurtemburg. He was created C.M.G. in 1869 and K.C.M.G. in 1879. He was a fellow or member of numberless scientific societies all over the world, and he is commemorated by his name having been given to mountains, rivers and other geographical features in Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, South America, and other parts of the world. After his death the Mueller memorial medal was founded, and is awarded by the council of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science every second year to the author of the most important contribution to natural knowledge, preference being given to work referring to Australia.
Mueller was a simple, kindly man, a devout supporter of the Lutheran Church, whose compelling interest was the advancement of knowledge. He had a passion for work and nothing could be allowed to stand in its way. He at least once contemplated marriage, but put it aside because he feared his work might suffer, and the same reason prevented him taking a holiday or visiting Europe where he would have been received with the greatest honour. Most of his more important works have already been mentioned, but he also wrote many pamphlets and articles. An incomplete bibliography of his writings is at the national herbarium, Melbourne. He corresponded with scientists and collectors all over the earth; it has been estimated that 3000 letters from him in one year was not an unusual number. He was interested in all the scientific societies in Australia, and as has been mentioned, was not only an excellent explorer himself, but the encourager and helper of the other explorers of his time. He had no funds to pay assistants in the field, but lived frugally himself and spent a large proportion of his income in the advancement of science. Though essentially modest, like most men he was not free from vanity, and frankly rejoiced in the honours bestowed on him; and, usually the most considerate of men, he could not understand that his assistants liked a limit to their hours of work. To one who suggested at 11 p.m. that "he must be getting home," he said, "but we haven't finished yet". He was a great scientist, but recognized that science should not exist for its own sake merely, and was always interested in the useful side of botany, did much to bring the value of the eucalytpi and acacias before other countries, and had enlightened views about afforestation at a time when much of the timber of Australia was being ruthlessly destroyed. He was a great man and a great botanist, with an unrivalled capacity for sustained work.
C. Daley, Baron Sir Ferdinand Von Mueller (reprinted from The Victorian Historical Magnzine, vol. X); The History of Flora Australiensis (reprinted from The Victorian Naturalist, vol. XLIV); Sir J. D. Hooker, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, vol. LXIII, p. XXXII; Sir W. Baldwin Spencer, The Victorian Naturalist, October 1896; The Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, vol. XXI, p. 823; private information. See also list of "Works Consulted" in Daley's monograph.
^Top of page
MUIR, THOMAS (1765-1798),political reformer,
was born at Glasgow, Scotland, on 24 August 1765. His father, Thomas Muir, was a well-to-do business man, and Muir was educated at the grammar school at Glasgow and the university. He became a leader of the students who warmly took up the cause of one of the professors who had been in conflict with his colleagues. It was alleged that Muir had written offensive squibs against the professors concerned, and he was expelled from the university. Muir then went to the university of Edinburgh and in 1787 was admitted a member of the faculty of advocates. He was a good speaker and during the next five years made progress in his profession. In 1792 with other well-known residents of Glasgow he took part in a public meeting which formed an association under the name of "Friends of the Constitution and of the People", the object being to procure a reform of the house of commons. Branches of the association were established and in connexion with these Muir took a prominent part as a speaker. Pitt was then prime minister and his ministry was strongly against the proposed reforms, feeling ran high, and the objects of the association were much misrepresented. Muir visited France and arrived in Paris the evening before the execution of Louis XVI. He deplored this himself, but during the following six months appears to have been in close touch with many of the leading revolutionaries. The British government sought for evidence to bring a charge against Muir, and at the beginning of 1793 he was indicted for sedition. War had been declared with France and it was impossible at first for Muir to return and meet the charge. He reached Scotland in July and was immediately arrested. He was tried on 30 and 31 August, found guilty and sentenced to 14 years transportation. Before he left England efforts on his behalf were made in parliament, and Fox and Sheridan spoke for him without avail. Muir arrived at Sydney with Palmer (q.v.), Margarot and Skirving, transported for the same offence, on 25 October 1794. Lieut.-governor Grose was, however, especially instructed that he was "not at liberty to compel their services", the practical effect of this being that they were not to be regarded as convicts but as men banished from their country. In February 1796 Muir escaped in an American ship named the Otter which called at Sydney, his biographer, P. Mackenzie, states that the ship was especially sent to Sydney by admirers of Muir in the United States of America. Some four months later the ship was wrecked on the west coast of North America. Muir and two sailors were the only survivors, but he became separated from his companions and lived with an Indian tribe for three weeks. He then made his way down the coast and at last reached the city of Panama. From there he went to Vera Cruz and then to Havana. Thence he was sent to Spain but near Cadiz his vessel was attacked and taken by an English man-of-war, and Muir was severely wounded. He was sent ashore with other wounded men and lay for two months in a hospital at Cadiz. He received a communication while at Cadiz from the government of France, offering him French citizenship and inviting him to spend the remainder of his life in France. He arrived at Bordeaux in December 1797 and Paris on 4 February 1798. But he was in a very weak state of health, and though he lingered for some time he died at Chantilly on 27 September 1798.
Muir was a man of noble character and ideals, who had the misfortune to be tried before a hostile jury and bench of judges at a time of popular excitement. Lord Cockburn begins his account of his trial with the words: "This is one of the cases the memory whereof never perisheth. History cannot let its injustice alone" (An Examination of the Trials for Sedition). The only mitigating circumstances were that Muir was able to engage a cabin on his way to Australia, and that while there he was able to live quietly in retirement and was not treated as a convict. He has been referred to as the author of The Telegraph; a Consolatory Epistle from Thomas Muir, Esq., of Botany Bay, to the Hon. Henry Erskine late Dean of the Faculty, which has also been called the first publication of verse written in Australia. It was neither written by Muir nor in Australia. Muir had left Australia long before he could have heard of the matters referred to in the pamphlet. In Australia Muir is possibly only known to students of history, though it is sometimes stated that Hunter's Hill, a suburb of Sydney, was named after a property he had of that name. His farm, however, appears to have been near Milson's Point. There is a monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, to the men generally known as "The Scottish Martyrs", which was erected in 1844. Muir's name appears first on the list, and a short quotation from one of his speeches is also engraved on the stone.
P. Mackenzie, The Life of Thomas Muir, Esq., Advocate; Historical Records of New South Wales, vol. II, pp. 821-86; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vol. I; Once a Month, 1884. p. 21; J. H. Watson, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. IV, p. 451; Mrs Maybanke Anderson, ibid, vol. XII, p. 141; J. H. Watson, ibid, vol. XIII, p. 25; M. Masson, The Scottish Historical Review, January 1916, p. 159; J. A. Ferguson, Bibliograph of Australia, vol. I. For an opposition view see G. W. Rusden, History of Australia, vol. I, p. 204, which should, however, be read with caution.
^Top of page
MULLEN, SAMUEL (1828-1890),bookseller,
was born in Dublin on 27 November 1828. In 1844 he was apprenticed to Curry and Company, booksellers and publishers, and some time afterwards went to England and joined the well-known firm of Parker and Company. With his friend, George Robertson (q.v.), he sailed for Australia in the Great Britain and arrived at Melbourne in 1852. Mullen went to the western district to visit some friends and stayed for six months on a station. He then joined George Robertson as his first assistant in Melbourne and remained with him until 1857. He went to London to act as buyer for Robertson, but the arrangement fell through and Mullen decided to start for himself in Melbourne. He returned with a brother, W. L. Mullen, and a good stock of books, and began business in Collins-street in 1859. He started a high-class library based on Mudie's which became a leading lending library in Melbourne. The book-shop was also very successful, a large stock was carried, and it was for long a centre of intellectual life in the city. Mullen retired from business in 1889 and died while on a visit to London on 29 May 1890. He was married twice and was survived by children of both marriages.
Mullen was a sound business man of literary taste who helped to set a high standard in bookselling in Australia. The business was carried on in Collins-street until 1922, when it was amalgamated with George Robertson and Company under the name of Robertson and Mullens Ltd.
L. Slade, The Victorian Historical Magazine, vol. XV, p. 102; The Argus, Melbourne, 2 June 1890.
^Top of page
MUNRO, JAMES (1832-1908),premier of Victoria,
was born in Sutherlandshire, Scotland, on 7 January 1832, the son of Donald Munro and his wife, Georgina. He was educated at a village school, went to Edinburgh in 1848, and became a printer employed by Constable and Company. He emigrated to Melbourne in 1858 and after working for some years as a printer, in 1865 founded the Victorian Permanent Building Society of which he was manager for 17 years. In 1874 he was elected a member of the legislative assembly for North Melbourne, and held office from 7 August to 20 October 1875 as minister of public instruction in the first Berry (q.v.) ministry. In 1877 he was returned for Carlton and declined office in the second Berry ministry. In 1882 he founded the Federal Banking Company and was managing director for three years. He was leader of the opposition in 1886 when the Gillies (q.v.) ministry came into power, and in November 1890 became premier and treasurer. In 1887 he had founded the Real Estate Bank and had large interests in other companies. He was reputed in the "boom" year 1888 to have been a millionaire. He resigned as premier in February 1892 to become agent-general for Victoria in London and his ministry was merged in the Shiels (q.v.) ministry. As a result of the banking crisis in 1893 Munro was recalled to Melbourne. He found himself financially ruined and retired from public life. He died on 25 February 1908. He married in December 1853, Jane Macdonald, and had a family of four sons and three daughters.
Munro was an important figure over a long period. He took a great interest in the temperance movement and was president of the Victorian Alliance and the Melbourne Total Abstinence Society. He was a commissioner for several exhibitions and founded several financial companies, all of which came to failure except the first, the Victorian Permanent Building Society. He was discredited on this account, but was probably no worse than most other men of the period who allowed themselves to be borne along on a wave of optimism which eventually engulfed the whole community. He was a fluent and vigorous speaker and an energetic politician. He represented Victoria at the 1891 federal convention, but otherwise did not take a leading place in the movement.
Burke's Colonial Gentry, vol. II, p. 638; P . Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; The Argus, Melbourne, 26 February 1908; H. G. Turner, A History of the Colony of Victoria.
^Top of page
MUNRO-FERGUSON, SIR RONALD CRAUFURD, VISCOUNT NOVAR (1860-1934),governor-general of Australia,
eldest son of Colonel Robert Munro-Ferguson, M.P., for Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and his wife, Emma, daughter of J. H. Mandeville, was born on 6 March 1860. He was educated principally at home, and at the age of 15 joined the Fife light horse. He subsequently studied at Sandhurst, and in 1880 became a lieutenant in the grenadier guards. In 1884 he was elected a member of the house of commons for Ross and Cromarty, but the franchise having been enlarged, he lost his seat at the 1885 election. In 1886 he was elected for Leith Burghs and in the same year became private secretary to Lord Roseberry. He went to India with Roseberry in 1888, and there met Lady Helen Blackwood, daughter of the viceroy, Lord Dufferin, and married her in 1889. Munro-Ferguson was a lord of the treasury when Roseberry was premier in 1894-5, and in 1910 he was made a member of the privy council. He was friendly with Spring Rice, Asquith and Haldane, and was closely associated with the liberal party though of too independent a cast of mind to be considered a good party man. This was probably the reason of his not attaining cabinet rank. At the time of the last Irish home rule bill he advocated home rule for Ulster, within home rule for Ireland. Apart from politics he took much interest in his estate and especially in forestry.
In February 1914 Munro-Ferguson was appointed governor-general of Australia and arrived there in May. Soon afterwards Joseph Cook, then prime minister, finding the parliamentary position unworkable, asked for a double dissolution which was granted. The election was held in September and the Labour party was returned with a good working majority. War had broken out in the meantime, and Munro-Ferguson and his wife had immediately taken the lead in encouraging the many war organizations that were started. It was difficult to travel much about Australia in the circumstances, but what was possible was done. He continued his interest in forestry, made a collection of specimens of Australian woods, and endeavoured to encourage the planting of trees. He worked well with the leaders of all political parties, uniting a simplicity of manner with much strength of character and devotion to duty. His term ended in 1919 but was extended for another year to cover the period of the visit of the Prince of Wales. Munro-Ferguson left Australia in 1920 amid general regret and on his return to England was raised to the peerage as Viscount Novar. He was secretary for Scotand from 1922 to 1924, but did not afterwards hold office. He died on 30 March 1934 and was survived by Lady Novar. He had no children. He was made G.C.M.G. in 1914, and a knight of the Thistle in 1926.
The Times, 31 March 1934; The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April 1934; The Argus, Melbourne, 31 March 1934; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1933.
^Top of page
MURDOCH, WILLIAM DAVID (1888-1942), always known as William Murdoch,musician,
son of Andrew Murdoch, was born at Bendigo, Victoria, on 10 February 1888. While a child he won several competitions as a pianist, and about the year 1905 was awarded the Bendigo Austral scholarship. This entitled him to three years' tuition at the Melbourne university conservatorium of music, where he continued his studies under W. A. Laver, afterwards Ormond professor of music. In 1906 Murdoch won the Clarke scholarship which entitled him to three years' tuition at the Royal college of music, London. As the scholarship was not large enough to fully provide for the young man, it was agreed that he should receive the balance of his Austral scholarship, and a further amount was raised from a concert and subscriptions at Bendigo. Murdoch spent four happy years at the London college and made great progress. His first recital at London towards the end of 1910 was very successful, and in 1912 he toured Australia with Madame Kirkby Lunn. He remained there in 1913 and toured with Clara Butt and Kennerley Rumford. He was now a fine player with a sparkling technique, especially successful in his interpretation of the work of Chopin and Debussy. He toured the United States and Canada during 1914, and for some time was with the band of the grenadier guards in France during the war. He gave recitals in Scandinavia in 1918 and in the following year began his long association with Albert Sammons, the violinist, which developed into the formation of the "Chamber Music Players". These two with Lionel Tertis and Lauri Kennedy did some remarkable ensemble playing, each showing the sensitiveness and consideration for others essential to complete success in this kind of work. Murdoch contributed the article on "Pianoforte Music from 1880" to A Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians, published in 1924, and in 1929 he again visited Australia and toured with Harold Williams. In 1933 he published a volume on Brahms, in which he analysed all his work for the piano, and in 1934 appeared Chopin: His Life, an interesting record in which much new material was made use of. He had intended to include a comprehensive study of Chopin's works in a later volume, but this had not appeared when Murdoch died at Holmbury, St Mary, Surrey, on 9 September 1942. He was married three times, and left a widow, two sons and two daughters.Murdoch's arrangements of organ works by Bach for the piano were very good, and he also composed a number of songs and pieces for the pianoforte. He was steeped in music from his childhood. When he first appeared he had a brilliant technique to which the years added the warmth of temperament and sensitiveness of thought, needed for the expression of a fine musician. He was especially renowned as one of the great ensemble players of his time.
Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903; The Bendigo Advertiser, 14 September 1942; The Times, 12 September 1942; Australian Musical News and Digest, 1 October 1942; The Musical Times, October 1942; A Dictionary of Modern Music and Musicians.
^Top of page
MURDOCH, WILLIAM LLOYD (1855-1911),cricketer,
was born at Bendigo, Victoria, on 18 October 1855. He removed to New South Wales in his youth and qualified as a solicitor at Sydney. He represented New South Wales in inter-colonial matches from 1875 and became well known as an excellent Wicketkeeper and batsman. Going to England with the first Australian eleven in 1878 he was a comparative failure, finishing sixth in the batting averages. The second tour, however, showed him to be a much improved batsman, his 153 not out in the only test match played in 1880 being almost faultless. He headed the averages for the tour and repeated this feat with the 1882 team. Soon after his return to Australia he made 321 for New South Wales against Victoria at Sydney; for a long while this was the highest score made in a first-class match in Australia. He again headed the averages of the 1884 tour and made a great score of 211 against England; but after his marriage in that year to Miss Watson, daughter of a well-known Victorian mining man, he dropped out of regular cricket for several years. He again visited England in 1890, but though he was top in the averages he had not had time to regain his true form. He then settled in England, qualified for Sussex, and captained it for several seasons. His style of play did not favour him in wet seasons, but he made many good scores over a period of about 15 years. Among these may be mentioned 155 for London county against Lancashire in 1903, and in the following year 140 for gentlemen versus players, though he was then in his forty-ninth year. He visited Australia on business at the end of 1910, and died suddenly at Melbourne on 18 February 1911 while watching a match between South Africa and Australia. He was survived by his wife, sons and daughters. In 1893 he published a manual on Cricket in the "Oval" series of games.
Murdoch was a man of fine physique and had a beautiful batting style, his cuts and drives were perfectly timed, and he had no rival in Australia until Trumper (q.v.) came. In Australia he played 61 innings in first-class cricket for an average of 43.25. In England he played over 600 innings for an average of just over 26. He was an excellent captain, cheery and optimistic, a shrewd judge of the game, and one of the greatest cricketers of his time.
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 February 1911; The Times, 20 February 1911; Wisden, 1912; E. E. Bean, Test Cricket in England and Australia.
^Top of page
MURPHY, EDWIN GREENSLADE (1867-1939),journalist and poet,
was the eldest son of E. Murphy, and was born at Castlemaine in or about the year 1867. He was educated at a state school at South Melbourne and began to earn his living at an early age. As he grew up he developed a good tenor voice, and joining the J. C. Williamson (q.v.) Opera Company, sang in the chorus and toured with it for two or three years. Following the gold rush of 1892 Murphy went to Western Australia and was sufficiently successful to be able to take two trips to Europe. While on the goldfields he had begun writing verse for the press, and about 1900 joined the staff of the Perth Sunday Times, to which he contributed a column "Verse and Worse" for nearly 40 years. In 1904 he published a novel, Sweet Boronia: A Story of Coolgardie, which was followed in 1908 by a selection of his verses, Jarrahland Jingles. A further selection, Dryblowers Verses, was published in 1924. He died at Perth after an illness of some months on 9 March 1939. His wife survived him with three sons.
Murphy wrote an enormous amount of verse which he probably made little attempt to polish. It was inevitable that many of his poems should be little more than jingles, as is suggested in the title of his first volume. But at his best he was a good popular poet, and the verses he wrote when his son enlisted during the 1914 war, "My Son", succeed in expressing the mingled pride and anguish of the occasion, where a finer poet might have failed. Privately, Murphy was a born joker, a first-rate teller of stories, a lover of his fellow men. In his newspaper column he fought for many a popular cause, and his humour and kindly satire made him the best-known and best-loved journalist of his time in Western Australia.
The West Australian, 10 March 1939; The Sun, Melbourne, 11 March 1939; The Bulletin, 15 March 1939; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.
^Top of page
MURPHY, FRANCIS (1795-1858),first Roman Catholic bishop of Adelaide,
was born at Navan, Meath, Ireland, on 20 May 1795. Educated at the diocesan seminary and Maynooth college, he was ordained deacon in 1824 and priest in 1825, and worked for four years at Bradford and for about seven years at St Patrick's, Liverpool. At Liverpool he met Dr Ullathorne (q.v.) who enlisted him for the Australian mission. He arrived at Sydney in July 1838 and his influence was immediately felt in the diocese. There was much sectarian feeling at the time, and Murphy showed himself to be an able defender of his Church. In November 1840, when Bishop Polding (q.v.) left Sydney on a visit to Europe, Murphy was appointed vicar-general of the diocese during the bishop's absence. On 8 September 1844 he was consecrated first bishop of Adelaide at St Mary's cathedral, Sydney, and in the following month went to Adelaide.
When Murphy began his work he had no church, no school, no presbytery; and only one priest to assist him. At this stage he was advised that a Mr W. Leigh of Leamington, England, had given over £2000 for the use of the Adelaide diocese. This money was invaluable at the moment, and though the adherents of the church were few in number and their means were mostly small, in less than two years there were three churches, and an additional priest had arrived. In common with the other sects the Roman Catholics were allotted a small government grant for five years from 1846, and in that year Murphy visited Europe, returning in 1847 with two additional priests. In 1849 Murphy felt it necessary to renounce the government grant on account of the conditions imposed with it. The gold rush to Victoria in 1851 very nearly emptied Adelaide and the diocese was in great difficulties. One of the priests, however, followed his flock to the diggings, and succeeded in raising £1500 which was spent on land as an endowment for the diocese, and soon afterwards Mr Leigh presented it with a farm of 600 acres near Adelaide. Murphy was untiring in his work, travelling and preaching in all the settled parts of the colony, and his diocese gradually prospered. At the time of his death there were 21 churches and 13 priests. His amiable character led to his being asked on more than one occasion to act as mediator when difficulties arose in other dioceses, and while on a mission of this kind in Tasmania in connexion with the unfortunate differences between Bishop Willson (q.v.) and Arch-priest Therry (q.v.) Murphy contracted a severe cold which developed into consumption. He died at Adelaide on 26 April 1858 and is buried in the cathedral.
Murphy was a tall, fair, active man, simple in manner and tastes, and though sometimes hasty tempered, of so kindly a nature that he was universally beloved. He had a good voice, was an excellent preacher, and was eminently fitted to be the pioneer bishop in a colony where his co-religionists were comparatively few in number.
Cardinal Moran, History of the Catholic Church in Australasia; H. N. Birt, Benedictine Pioneers in Australia; The Adelaide Times, 27 April 1858.
^Top of page
MURRAY, SIR GEORGE JOHN ROBERT (1863-1942),chief justice of South Australia,
was the son of Alexander Borthwick Murray, a pioneer sheep-breeder, who sat in both the house of assembly and the legislative council of South Australia. He was born at Murray Park, Magill, near Adelaide, on 27 September 1863, and was educated at St Peter's College, Adelaide, where he won the Prankerd, Wyatt, Christchurch and Farrell scholarships. At the university of Adelaide he won the John Howard Clark scholarship for English literature in 1882, qualified for the B.A. degree in 1883, and won a South Australian scholarship. Proceeding to Cambridge university he took his B.A. and LL.B. degrees, being bracketed senior in the law tripos in 1887. He was called to the bar at the inner temple in 1888, returned to South Australia and was associate to Sir Samuel Way (q.v.) until 1891, when he began practising as a barrister. He was quickly successful, and in 1906 became a K.C., the first Adelaide graduate to obtain this distinction. In 1909 he paid a visit to England and took his LL.M. degree, and in 1912 he was appointed a judge of the supreme court. He had been on the council of the university since 1891, and in 1915 was appointed vice-chancellor. In 1916 he succeeded Sir Samuel Way (q.v.) as chief justice of South Australia and in the same year became chancellor of the university. His interest in educational problems and the university was shown in many ways, and his benefactions included £1000 for the building fund of the university in 1920, £2000 for general purposes in 1931, and £10,000 for a men's union building in 1936. He also renounced his life interest in the estate of his sister the value of which was estimated at £45,000. This was left to the university in 1936. He visited Europe again in 1935, and died at Adelaide following an operation for appendicitis on 18 February 1942. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1917. He was unmarried.
Murray was quiet and reserved in manner, sometimes giving the impression that he was cold and narrow in his outlook. This was not the case as he was in reality warm-hearted, broad-minded, and generous, always anxious to assist deserving causes so long as it could be done without ostentation. As chancellor of the university for 25 years, he was held in honour and affection by both the teaching staff and the students. As a counsel he was not a dramatic pleader, but was clear and systematic in his presentation of technical cases, and masterly in the marshalling of his arguments. He excelled in equity cases. As a judge he showed himself to be an able lawyer with a wide knowledge of human nature, encouraging timid witnesses, and dealing firmly with those of a prevaricating or shifty character. His outlook at times may have seemed severe, but this came from his determination to carry out the law, and he was always diligent and painstaking. He was much esteemed by the legal profession. He was lieutenant-governor of South Australia for practically the whole period of his chief justiceship, on many occasions administered the government, and his experience was always available to incoming governors. He sought neither praise nor public approval, but at the time of his death he was the most distinguished South Australian of his period.
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 19 February 1912; The Argus, Melbourne, 19 February 1942; The Bulletin, 4 March 1942; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1937; Calendar of the University of Adelaide, 1940.
^Top of page
MURRAY, JOHN (c. 1775- 18--),discoverer of Port Phillip Bay,
[ also refer to John MURRAY page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
was probably born about the year 1775. In August 1801 Governor King (q.v.) described him as a young man, and Murray told King that he had been at sea since June 1789. He was master's mate on the Porpoise, and in March 1801 was first mate on the Lady Nelson under Lieutenant Grant (q.v.) on the voyage to Western Port, where he assisted Barrallier (q.v.) in surveying the harbour. In August Grant asked permission to return to England, and on 3 September Murray was appointed to act as lieutenant-commander of the Lady Nelson. In October he voyaged to Norfolk Island, and on his return was instructed by the governor to finish the exploration of the south coast. Starting on 12 November a course was made towards the Kent group. After leaving these islands he made for Western Port which was sighted on 7 December, but unfavourable weather caused much delay. Running along the coast to the west an opening was discovered on 5 January 1802, but as there was a big sea at the entrance, Murray went to King Island and surveyed its east coast. On 30 January he left King Island for Western Port and next day the mate, Bowen with five men was sent in the launch to examine the harbour to the west now known as Port Phillip. Bowen returned to report that there was a good channel into the harbour, and on 14 February the Lady Nelson sailed through the heads. Murray named the bay Port King, in honour of the governor, who, however, renamed it Port Phillip, and the eastern point at the entrance was called Point Nepean after the then secretary of the admiralty, Sir Evan Nepean. The islands to the north were named Swan Isles and the mount to the east Arthur's Seat. On 8 March Murray formally took possession of the port in the name of King George the Third. He left Port Phillip on 12 March and was back in Sydney 12 days later. On 22 July the Lady Nelson sailed with the Investigator under Captain Flinders (q.v.) on a voyage to the north-cast of Australia, but it was difficult for the smaller vessel to keep up with the Investigator, and towards the end of November Murray was given orders to return to Sydney. King had asked that Murray should be confirmed in his command of the Lady Nelson, but in April 1803 he received word that Murray's account of his service in the navy was incorrect. Murray stated that the matter could be explained and went to England for that purpose. Apparently he succeeded as he was appointed an admiralty surveyor, in which capacity he executed several charts dated between 1804 and 1807. Nothing more is definitely known of his movements. A small vessel, The Herring, of four guns, under the command of a Lieutenant John Murray foundered in November 1814 (W. L. Clowes, The Royal Navy, Vol. V, p. 555). But the name is a common one and there may be no connexion. P. St J. Wilson, in his The Pioneers of Port Phillip, says that Murray rose to the rank of captain in the navy, and afterwards lost his life with a ship under his command outside Port Phillip heads but the authority for this statement could not be traced.
Historical Records of Australia, ser. I vols. III, IV: Ida Lee, The Logbooks of the "Lady Nelson"; F. P. Labillière, Early History of the Colony of Victoria.
^Top of page
MURRAY, JOHN (1851-1916),politician,
was the son of James Murray, who with his wife came from Aberdeen to Melbourne in 1839. They afterwards settled in the Warrnambool district where their son was born in 1851. When about 20 years of age he visited Scotland but returned to Victoria and became a grazier. In 1883 he opposed Francis (q.v.) for the Warrnambool seat in the legislative assembly, but was defeated. Francis, however, died in 1884, and Murray obtained the vacant seat and held it until his death some 32 years later. He was often opposed, and in his early days his indulgence in drink threatened his career. He, however, conquered this weakness, and afterwards as an advocate of temperance did not hesitate to mention the danger he had been in. He became known as a capable debater, but his opportunity for office did not come until June 1902, when he became chief secretary and minister of labour in the Irvine ministry and held these offices until February 1904. Bent (q.v.) then became premier and Murray took the portfolio of minister of lands. He could not, however, agree with Bent over the principle of compulsory purchase in connexion with a land bill which was in his charge, and resigned after a dramatic scene on the floor of the house. Murray then sat in opposition and was a caustic critic of the ministry. In January 1909 Bent was defeated and Murray became premier and chief secretary. Though a good manager of the house Murray could not but feel that his younger and more energetic treasurer, W. A. Watt, was the real force in the cabinet, and in May 1912 resigned the premiership in his favour, retaining the office of chief secretary until Watt's defeat in December 1912. He was again chief secretary in the second Watt ministry from December 1913 to June 1914 and in the Peacock (q.v.) ministry from June 1914 to November 1915. The cabinet was then reconstructed and Murray retired at his own request on account of failing health. He died suddenly at Warrnambool on 4 May 1916. He married Miss Bateman who survived him with three daughters.
Murray was a big man physically, good-natured and well-read, an excellent speaker with a fund of humour and irony. An able administrator with a tendency to indolence, he was a good leader in the house, often turning the laugh against his opponents, and managing difficult measures with much tact and success.
The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 5 May 1916; The Age Annual, 1885; private information
^Top of page
MURRAY, SIR JOHN HUBERT PLUNKETT (1861-1940),administrator,
was born at Sydney on 29 December 1861. His father, Sir Terence Aubrey Murray (1810-73), son of Captain Terence Murray, a paymaster in the British army, was born at Limerick, Ireland, in 1810, came to Sydney in 1827, and worked for a time on his father's station at Lake George. He was made a magistrate in 1833 and 10 years later was elected a member of the New South Wales legislative council. In 1856 he was elected for Argyle in the legislative assembly. He was secretary for land and works for a few weeks in 1856, again in September 1857, and in January 1860 was elected speaker. He was appointed a member of the legislative council in 1862 and in the same year became its president. He was knighted in 1869 and died on 22 June 1873. He left a family of sons and daughters of whom the second son, Hubert, and the third, Gilbert, became very distinguished. Hubert was educated at the Sydney Grammar School, in England and in Germany, went on to Magdalen College Oxford, where he qualified for the degree of B.A. in 1885 with first-class honours in Literae Humaniores. He returned to Sydney, practised as a barrister, and was appointed a crown prosecutor. On more than one occasion he acted as a district court judge. He took an interest in the volunteer movement, and in 1898 was in command of the New South Wales Irish rifles. He enlisted for service in the South African war and returned a major in the Imperial army. He was then appointed by the Commonwealth government to make an investigation into Papuan affairs, and in 1904 was appointed Papua's chief judicial officer. He was acting administrator in 1907, and in 1908 was appointed lieutenant-governor and chief judicial officer. He held these positions for the remainder of his life.
When Murray first went to Papua there were 64 white residents. There were 90,000 square miles of territory, much of it unexplored jungle land, with many native tribes of whom some were cannibals and head-hunters. He set himself to understand the native mind, and found that an appeal to vanity was often more effective than punishment. He eventually wiped out cannibalism and head-hunting, largely by ridiculing the tribes which followed those practices, and praising those which did not. In 1912 he published his interesting Papua or British New Guinea, in which the chapters on "The Native Population" and "The Administration of justice" give good descriptions of the many problems with which he had to deal. In 1925 his Papua of Today appeared, which showed the progress that had been made in carrying out his ideas. Portions of this book included material from pamphlets published by Murray in 1919 and 1920 on the Australian Administration in Papua, and Recent Exploration in Papua. His sympathetic understanding of the native mind continued to be the strongest influence in his government. His policy had become more defined but its basis was always the "preservation of the native races, even of those weaker peoples who are not yet able to stand by themselves. The well-being and development of these peoples is declared by the league of nations to form a sacred trust of civilization, and this declaration is entirely in accord with all the best traditions of British administration". Murray held too that each native was an individual entitled to his own life, his own family, and his own village. He recognized that natives had their own codes of behaviour, and if these came into conflict with European codes no good could come from what he called the "swift injustice" of punitive expeditions. He preferred to lead his people into better ways and he persuaded them to keep their villages clean, because only inferior races preferred dirt; to pay taxes, because a man who did not do so was a social defaulter; to be vaccinated, because that was a sign of government approval. He trained suitable men to be policemen, and he had Sydney university opened to others to be trained in first aid and rudimentary medicine to fit them to be assistants to white doctors. In some of these things Murray was only carrying on or extending what his great predecessor Sir William MacGregor (q.v.) had begun, but it is an additional merit in an administrator to recognize the value of earlier men's work.
Murray was the leader of the Australasian delegates to the Pan-Pacific Science Congress held at Tokyo in 1926, and president of the meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science in 1932. He went steadily on with his work until he died at Samarai, Papua, on 27 February 1940, still in harness. The story is one of continued progress. Education of the natives had increased, a beginning had been made with native industrial enterprises, the natives had begun to understand European modes of conducting business, and not a few of them had banking accounts. This had been accomplished with as little breaking down as possible of native customs. Murray married (1) in 1889 Miss S. M. Jenkins who died in 1929 and (2) Mrs M. B. Vernon who survived him with three children of the first marriage, two sons, Major Terence Murray, D.S.O., M.C., and Patrick D. F. Murray, D.Sc., and a daughter. He was also survived by his younger brother, the distinguished classical scholar, Professor Gilbert Murray, who was created C.M.G. in 1914, K.C.M.G. in 1929, and was given the Order of Merit in 1941.
Murray was six feet three inches in height and in his youth was amateur champion heavy-weight boxer of England. He was quiet and pleasant voiced, a good scholar with a fine brain, a sincere Christian who as a Roman Catholic could say, "As an administrator I draw no distinction between the different churches; they are all working for the same general end, and all deserve government sympathy and support." He was for the last 30 years of his life a teetotaller, he had a sense of humour, he had patience, self-control and determination, qualities of great value to a man liable at any time to be faced with official discouragement. But most important of all were the qualities that especially made him a great administrator, his sense of justice and his sympathetic understanding of native problems. When the governor-general (Lord Gowrie) made an official visit to Port Moresby, the Europeans gave him an address of welcome, but the Papuans presented the following address to Murray:
"During all these years we have seen your good works and all the helpful things you have done. When we have come to speak to you, you have not closed your ears, nor have you frowned on us, but have received us, and listened to us and taken action for us. We have seen all the good things you have done, and our happiness is great because of you. Therefore we all beg of you not to leave us, but stay here as our governor for years to come. For we know you and how you have led us into the ways of your laws, treating white people and ourselves just the same. We know that you love us well, and we are full of love for you our governor."
It was the good fortune of Papua to have as an administrator for 30 years a man worthy of this address.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 1873 and 28 February, 1940; The Argus and The Herald, Melbourne, 28 February 1940; Murray's two books; Mr Justice Nicholas, The Australian Quarterly, June 1940; The Bulletin, Sydney, 22 July 1936.
^Top of page
MURRAY, REGINALD AUGUSTUS FREDERICK (1846-1925),geologist,
was the son of Captain Virginius Murray, and was born in Perthshire, Scotland, on 18 February 1846. He was brought to Australia in 1855, and was educated at a private school at South Yarra, Melbourne, kept by the Rev. T. P. Fenner, M.A. He left school in 1860, and worked on a cattle run. About the beginning of 1862 he joined the geological survey, then under Selwyn (q.v.), and had experience in the Bacchus Marsh, Ballan, the Otway ranges, and many other districts. When the geological survey was terminated in 1869 Murray engaged in mining and mining surveying in the Ballarat district. He joined the government service again in 1871, and made geological surveys of the Bendigo and Ballarat goldfields. He did a large amount of pioneering surveying of Gippsland much of which had not been explored. In 1881 he was appointed geological surveyor for the department of mines, Victoria, and remained in this position until 1897 when he resigned. He afterwards held appointments with various English mining companies and in his later years did a good deal of prospecting work. He died on 5 September 1925. He married twice and was survived by sons and daughters of both marriages. In 1887 he published a capable volume, Victoria: Geology and Physical Geography, and a large number of his reports and maps will be found listed in Bulletin No. 23 of the geological survey of Victoria, p. 33. He was a hard-working and able geologist, who did excellent exploring and pioneering geological work in Victoria and particularly in relation to mining country.
E. J. Dunn, Bulletin No. 23, Geological Survey of Victoria; Industrial Australian and Mining Standard, 17 September 1925; private information.
^Top of page
MUSGROVE, GEORGE (1854-1916),theatrical manager,
was born at Surbiton on Thames, England, on 21 January 1854. His mother, Fanny Hodson, was an actress related to the Kemble family, and was a sister of Georgina Hodson, who married William Saurin Lyster (q.v.), and Henrietta Hodson, a well known London actress, who married Henry Labouchère. Musgrove was brought to Australia by his parents when he was 12 years of age, was educated at the Flinders School, Geelong, Victoria, and on leaving school was given a position as treasurer by Lyster. He visited England in 1879 and at the end of 1880 put on a remarkable production of La Fille du Tambour Major at the opera house, Melbourne, which had a record run of 101 nights. This success of a young man, still in his middle twenties, led to the partnership with Williamson (q.v.) and Garner, which lasted for nine years. Musgrove then withdrew and managed a successful season of Paul Jones with Marion Burton and Nellie Stewart (q.v.) in the leading parts. At the end of 1892, Williamson and Musgrove went into partnership again for about seven years, Musgrove living much of the time in London. In 1898 he brought a complete American company to the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, to play The Belle of New York, which had an enormous success. In 1900 he took a grand opera company to Australia, consisting mainly of artists from the Carl Rosa Company, which performed Tannhauser, The Flying Dutchman and many other well-known operas. In 1903 he was responsible for possibly the finest all-round productions of Shakespeare ever seen in Australia. Twelfth Night, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night's Dream were played by a first rate company, and ran for several weeks in the Australian capital cities. In 1907 a German grand opera company was brought out which had successful seasons, and introduced The Valkyries, Romeo and Juliet and Hansel and Gretel to the Australian public. Another opera season in 1909 was less successful. In his last years Musgrove suffered from financial worries and indifferent health. He died suddenly at Sydney on 21 January 1916, the sixty-second anniversary of his birthday.
Musgrove was a great producer, with the soul of an artist. He could be brusque but was really kind-hearted, and was considerate and just to all the members of his companies. He was reputed to have made over £60,000 from the production of The Belle of New York, but he probably lost more than that over his opera companies. Money, however, was really a secondary consideration with him, his chief interest was that his productions should be as good as possible artistically speaking. He married and had a daughter, Rose Musgrove, who made successful appearances in comedies and musical comedy, before her retirement from the stage at the time of her marriage.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 January 1916; The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 22 January, 1916; Nellie Stewart, My Life Story, which gives an account of his long association with the author.
^Top of page
MYER, SIDNEY BAERSKI (1879-1934),merchant,
was born near Warsaw, then Russian Poland, on 8 February 1879. His father was a storekeeper of Jewish origin. Myer came to Australia in 1897, obtained a position with a relation in Melbourne, but soon went to Bendigo and with his brother, E. B. Myer, opened a shop. This not proving very successful, Sidney Myer took his goods, stockings, laces, etc., from door to door, and, in spite of having little English, sold his wares. He then bought a cart and travelled through country towns. The business was later moved to Pall Mall, Bendigo, where it prospered, other shops were added, and later the Bendigo business of Craig Williamson and Thomas was bought. In 1911 Myer purchased the business of Wright and Neil, Drapers, in Bourke-street, Melbourne, near the general post office, and a new building was completed and opened in 1914. The Doveton woollen mills at Ballarat were purchased in 1918, and in 1921 a new building fronting on Post Office Place, was added at Melbourne. The purchase of the old established businesses of Robertson and Moffat and Stephens and Son, followed, and in 1925 the new building on the Lonsdale-street frontage was begun. A separate building in Queensberry-street, Melbourne, was put up in 1928, and the Collins-street businesses of T. Webb and Sons, china importers, and W. H. Rocke and Company, house furnishers, were bought and transferred to the Bourke-street building. A public company had in the meantime been formed which by 1934 had a paid-up capital of nearly £2,500,000. A controlling interest in Marshall's Limited of Adelaide was also acquired. The company was then employing 5300 people with medical and nursing aid for the staff, and rest homes for them at the seaside and in the Dandenong Ranges. Some of Myer's friends and business associates feared that the business was developing too fast, but the company was in a prosperous state and fast recovering from the effects of a depression, when Myer died suddenly on 5 September 1934. He was married twice (1) to Miss Flegeltaub and (2) to Merlyn Baillieu, who survived him with two sons and two daughters. His will was proved at £922,000.
Myer was dark, dapper, and extremely active-minded, much interested in music, friendly, yet shunning publicity. He had a genius for business, with great capacity for getting at the essential facts, and great promptness of decision. He knew the value of good assistants and kept them, partly by inspiring their personal loyalty and partly by making it worth their while--he gave about 200,000 shares in the company to successful managers of departments. He also gave away much in charity, being a constant contributor to the Lord Mayor's fund and various hospitals. When a few years before his death there was much unemployment he provided £22,000 for its relief. He also gave 10,000 shares for the endowment of orchestral concerts, and 25,000 shares, worth at the time about £50,000, for the general funds of the university of Melbourne. He was an interesting instance of a man who started without capital or other advantages, and by means of hard work, honesty, and ability, established a great business and himself became a millionaire.
The Argus, Melbourne, 6 September 1934, 28 December 1939; The Age, Melbourne, 6 September 1934; The Herald, Melbourne, 5 September 1934; private information.
^Top of page [and links to other parts]