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DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALIAN BIOGRAPHY
Angus and Robertson--1949
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NATHAN, ISAAC (1790-1864),musician,
was born at Canterbury, England, in 1790. He was intended for the Jewish ministry and was sent to Cambridge university to continue the study of Hebrew. His love of music, however, was so great that his parents allowed him to give up his course and study under Domenico Corri, a well-known musician of the time. He was introduced to Byron the poet by the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird, and wrote the music for his "Hebrew Melodies". In 1816 when Byron left England he gave Nathan £50 (Byron's Letters, vol. III, Murray's 1899 Ed., p. 283, note). In 1823 Nathan published An Essay on the History and Theory of Music, which brought him under the notice of George IV who appointed him musical historian and instructor in music to the Princess Charlotte. He wrote several songs, some of which were successful, and appeared at Covent Garden as a singer, but his voice was not strong enough for so large a theatre. His comedy with songs, Sweethearts and Wives, was played at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, in 1823, a comic opera, The Alcaid, on 10 August 1824, and in 1827 an operatic farce, The Illustrious Stranger, was produced at Drury Lane.
In 1829 Nathan brought out Fugitive Pieces and Reminiscences of Lord Byron, in 1836 appeared Memoirs of Madame Malibran de Beriot, and about this period he undertook some work of a secret nature for William IV. Nathan was promised "consideration, protection and indemnity from his Majesty's Ministers", but when he subsequently put in a claim for £2,326 he was unable to recover more than the odd £326. He consequently became financially embarrassed, and about the end of 1840 emigrated to Australia. Landing first at Melbourne he went on to Sydney and became well known there as a musician and conductor. On 7 May 1847 his Don John of Austria, the first opera to be written, composed and produced in Australia, was performed at the Victoria theatre, Sydney. He also established a high reputation as a teacher. He published in 1846 The First, Second and Third of a Series of Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Music, and, probably early in 1849, The Southern Euphrosyne and Australian Miscellany. This has sometimes been dated 1848, but a note on the last leaf shows that the book could not have been issued until after the news of the death of Lord Melbourne had reached Sydney. Nathan had done a useful piece of work in recording some of the songs of the aborigines, which, put into modern rhythm and harmonized, are printed in this volume. He continued in high repute as a musician and teacher until he was accidentally killed when alighting from a tram on 15 January 1864. He married (1) Elizabeth Rosetta Worthington and (2) Henrietta Buckley. He was survived by sons and daughters. One of his sons, Dr Charles Nathan, was a well-known Sydney surgeon.
C. H. Bertie, Isaac Nathan, Australia's First Composer; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 and 21 January 1864; Notes and Queries, 11th series, vol. IX, pp. 71, 197; I. Nathan, The Southern Euphrosyne, pp. 161-7; Olga Somech Phillips, Isaac Nathan Friend of Byron.
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NEILSON, JOHN SHAW (1872-1942),poet,
was born at Penola, South Australia, on 22 February 1872. He was of purely Scottish ancestry, his grandparents were John Neilson and Jessie MacFarlane of Cupar, Neil Mackinnon of Skye, and Margaret Stuart of Greenock. His mother, Margaret MacKinnon, was born at Dartmoor, Victoria, his father, John Neilson, at Stranraer, Scotland, in 1844. John Neilson was brought to South Australia at nine years of age, had practically no education and was shepherd, shearer, and small farmer all his life. He never had enough money to get good land, like other pioneers he fought drought and rabbits and other pests, and he received little reward for his labours. He died in 1922 having lived just long enough to see his son accepted as an Australian poet. He himself had written verses; one song, "Waiting for the Rain", was popular in the shearing sheds, and in January 1893 he wrote the senior prize poem, "The Pioneers", for the literary competition held by the Australian Natives Association. In 1938 a small collection of his poems, The Men of the Fifties, was published by the Hawthorn Press at Melbourne.
His son, John Shaw Neilson, had little more education than his father. When about eight years old he was for 15 months at the state school at Penola, but he had to leave when in 1881 the family removed to Minimay in the south-west Wimmera, Victoria. There was no school at Minimay then, but four years later one was opened and Neilson attended for another 15 months. There was, however, a Bible and a tattered copy of Burns's poems in the house, and when at the age of 15 a copy of Hood's poems came in his way, Neilson read them all with great joy. Driven out by drought Neilson's father took his family to Nhill in 1889, and was employed as a farm worker and on the roads. His son soon after began to write verses of which some appeared in the local press and one in the Australasian, Melbourne. In January 1893 he won the junior prize for a poem at the Australian Natives Association's competition, in the same year that his father won the senior prize with a better poem. In 1895 he went with his father to Sea Lake, and about a, year later had some verses accepted by the Bulletin, Sydney. But his health broke down and he did little writing for about four years. He was contributing to the Bulletin between 1901 and 1906, and about 1908 some of his verses, mostly of a light or popular kind, were accepted by Bedford (q.v.) for the Clarion. From about 1906 Neilson's sight began to fail, for the rest of his life he was able to do little reading, and most of his work was dictated. When the Bookfellow was revived in 1911 Neilson was a contributor, and A. G. Stephens (q.v.) the editor, began collecting the best of his poems, intending to issue them in a volume under the title of Green Days and Cherries; Fred John's Annual for 1913 included Neilson as the author of this volume. It was, however, delayed, the war delayed it further, and it was not issued until 1919, when the title Heart of Spring was adopted. It had a too laudatory preface by Stephens which stated that some of the work was "unsurpassed in the range of English lyrics". In spite of this it was well received, and in 1923, with the help of Mrs Louise Dyer, another volume, Ballad and Lyrical Poems, was published. This included nearly all the work in the first volume with some 20 additional lyrics. About this time Neilson visited Melbourne and met many of the literary people of the period. Now in his fifties and not a very robust man he was beginning to feel the strain of physical work. "I don't mind some kinds of pick and shovel work," he said to the present writer, "but when 1 have to throw heavy stuff over my shoulder it gives me rather a wrench." Stephens in 1925 and again in 1926 suggested in newspaper articles that more suitable employment should be found for him. The difficulty was that Neilson's poor eyesight unfitted him for most kinds of work. A movement was, however, started in Melbourne, he was granted a small literary pension, and eventually in 1928 a position was found for him as an attendant in the office of the Victorian country roads board. This office was in the Exhibition gardens, Melbourne, and in these pleasant surroundings Neilson spent his days until near the end of his life. A volume, New Poems, was published in 1927, and in 1934 his Collected Poems appeared. Four years later another small volume was published, Beauty Imposes. Neilson retired from the country roads board early in 1941, and went to Queensland to stay with friends. His literary pension was now increased to £2 a week. Soon after his return to Melbourne his health began to fail, and he died at a private hospital on 12 May 1942. He was buried in the Footscray cemetery near Melbourne. He never married.
Neilson was a slender man of medium height with a face that suggested his kindliness, refinement and innate beauty of character. He was glad to have his work appreciated, but it never affected his simplicity and modesty. He was slow in developing, perhaps as Stephens said, he had to learn the words with which to express himself. There is little suggestion of an intellectual background to his work, but the range of his emotions is beautifully expressed with apparently unconscious artistry, in phrases that often have the touch of magic that marks the true poet.
Autobiographical details dictated by Neilson: R. H. Croll, Introduction to Collected Poems; A. G. Stephens, The Australasian, 26 December 1925; The Australian Worker, 22 December 1926; The Argus, Melbourne, 13 May 1942; Biographical note, The Men of the Fifties; Prize Poems, Australian Natives' National Fete, 1893; John Shaw Neilson: A Memorial; James Devaney, Shaw Neilson; personal knowledge.
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NELSON, SIR HUGH MUIR (1835-1906),premier of Queensland,
was born at Kilmarnock, Scotland, on 31 December 1835. His father, Dr William Lambie Nelson, was elected to the first Queensland parliament in 1860 but was unseated because he was a minister of religion. The boy was educated at the Edinburgh high school, and began a promising course under Sir William Hamilton at Edinburgh university. This was cut short when he went with his father to Queensland in 1853 and settled at Ipswich. Nelson obtained a position in a mercantile house, and then took up a pastoral life about six miles out of Ipswich. He then went to the Darling Downs to manage a station, and in 1870 married Janet, daughter of Duncan McIntyre. He afterwards took up Loudon station in the Dalby district and in 1880, when the divisional boards act came in, he was elected a member of the Wambo board. His strong personality and cultivated intellect soon led to his being appointed chairman of the board. He was elected to the legislative assembly for Northern Downs in 1883, and after the 1887 redistribution of seats, he was member for Murilla. In June 1888 he became secretary for railways in the McIlwraith (q.v.) ministry and held the same position when B. D. Morehead (q.v.) succeeded McIlwraith. When Griffith (q.v.) became premier, Nelson was elected leader of the opposition, but when Griffith resigned in March 1893 to become chief justice, Nelson formed a coalition with McIlwraith taking the portfolios of treasurer and vice-president of the executive council. In October he became premier in a ministry which lasted four and a half years, for the last three years of which he was also chief secretary. Nelson did most valuable work as treasurer during the depression which followed the financial crisis of 1893. When the T. J. Byrnes ministry came in in April 1898 Nelson became president of the legislative council, and in 1903 lieutenant-governor, for both of which positions his fine appearance, tact and grace of manner eminently fitted him. He died at Toowoomba on 1 January 1906 and was survived by Lady Nelson, two sons and three daughters. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1896 and was appointed to the privy council at the time of his visit to England during the diamond jubilee celebrations in 1897.
Nelson had an intimate knowledge of men, and was an excellent parliamentarian with a good grasp of constitutional matters and a keen understanding of financial questions. His genial nature made him personally popular and though scarcely an orator, his practical common sense always made him worthy of attention. He was opposed both to the separation movement in Queensland and to federation. He showed himself to be a strong man during the shearers' strike of 1894, but his best work was done as treasurer when he led the colony out of a state of financial chaos.
The Brisbane Courier, 2 January, 1906; Who's Who, 1906; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years.
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NERLI, MARCHESE GEROLAMO BALLATTI (1863-1926),artist,
was born at Siena, Italy, in 1863. On his father's side he belonged to an old Italian family, his mother was the daughter of Thomas Medwin, a distant relative of Shelley and author of Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron and of The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Nerli came to Melbourne in 1886 and subsequently practised as an artist in Victoria, New South Wales, and New Zealand, where for a time he was director of an art school at Dunedin. In 1888 his portrait of Myra Kemble the actress attracted much attention at the exhibition of the Royal Art Society at Sydney. In August 1892 he visited Samoa and painted the well-known portrait of R. L. Stevenson, now the property of the city of Edinburgh. A replica is in the Scottish national portrait gallery. A portrait in pastel done during the same visit was bought by Scribner and Sons, New York, in 1923. Nerli returned to Europe and continued his work with some success. He died in Switzerland in 1926. He married Cecilia Barron in New Zealand who survived him.
Nerli was a capable artist with a vigorous style. Examples of his work will be found in the Sydney, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin galleries.
W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art, which is practically the only authority. References to Nerli will be found in Vailima Letters and in various writings about Stevenson.
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NEUMAYER, GEORGE BALTHASAR VON (1826-1909),hydrographer and meteorologist,
was born at Kirchenbolanden, Bavaria, on 21 June 1826. He studied at Munich university, took his Ph.D. degree in 1849, and becoming much interested in polar exploration, continued his studies in terrestrial magnetism, oceanography, navigation, and nautical astronomy. To obtain practical experience he made a voyage to South America, and after his return gave a series of lectures at Hamburg on Maury's theories of the ocean, and recent improvements in navigation. He then decided to go to Australia, shipped as a sailor before the mast, and arrived at Sydney in 1852. After trying his fortune on the goldfields, he gave lectures on navigation to seamen, and spent some time in Tasmania at the observatory in Hobart. He returned to Germany in 1854 convinced that Australia offered a great field for scientific exploration, obtained the support of the King of Bavaria and encouragement from leading British scientists. He sailed again for Australia and arrived in Melbourne in January 1857. He asked the government of Victoria to provide him with a site for an observatory, about £700 for a building, and about £600 a year for expenses. He had brought with him a collection of magnetical, nautical and meteorological instruments valued at £2000, which had been provided by the King of Bavaria. Neumayer suggested as a suitable site a block of land not far from the present position of the observatory, but this was not granted. He was, however, allowed the use of the buildings of the signal station on Flagstaff Hill, where from 1 March 1858 he carried on the systematic registration of meteorological and nautical facts. A few weeks later he added regular observations on atmospheric electricity and changes in the magnetic elements. He published in 1860, Results of the Magnetical, Nautical and Meteorological Observations from March 1858 to February 1859, and did a large amount of travelling in Victoria in connexion with his magnetic survey of the colony. He published his Results of the Meteorological Observations 1859-1862 and Nautical Observations 1858-1862 in 1864, and in the same year returned to Germany. In 1867 he brought out his Discussion of the Meteorological and Magnetical Observations made at the Flagstaff Observatory, and in 1869 appeared his extremely valuable Results of the Magnetic Survey of the Colony of Victoria--1858-1864. He established a high reputation in Germany in geophysics, in 1872 became hydrographer to the German admiralty, and from 1876 to 1903 was director of the Oceanic observatory at Hamburg. All his life he retained his interest in polar exploration and in 1901 published Auf zum Südpol; 45 Jahre Wirkens zur Förderung der Erforschung der Südpolar-Region 1855-1900. He died on 24 May 1909 at Neustadt.
Neumayer was completely devoted to science. His interest in the exploration of the south polar regions led to very valuable work in Victoria, and in Germany his observatory at Hamburg established a remarkable reputation, both for its practical help to seafarers, and for its training of scientific men.
Rev. C. Stuart Ross, The Victorian Historical Magazine, March, 1918; Meyers Lexikon, vol. 8; H. R. Mill, The Siege of the South Pole, pp. 339-42; First Annual Report of the Astronomical and Magnetical Observatories; Victorian Parliamentary Papers, Vol. 3, 1860-1; Neumayer's works. References will also be found in R. Amundsen's The South Pole and Capt. R. F. Scott's The Voyage of the Discovery.
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NEWBURY, ALBERT ERNEST (1891-1941),artist,
was born at Melbourne on 29 January 1891. He spent most of his childhood at Geelong and at 18 entered the national gallery school at Melbourne, where he studied under F. McCubbin (q.v.) and L. Bernard Hall (q.v.). He won, the Ramsay prize for portrait-painting while a student in 1913, his two pictures being placed first and second. In 1916 he studied under Max Meldrum whose theories had much influence on his work. He held a joint exhibition with R. McCann in 1917, and gradually established a reputation among those art-lovers who could appreciate the sincerity, simplicity and spaciousness of his work. Most of his paintings were landscapes, but he also did some very successful portraits. After the death of W. B . McInnes in 1939 and the appointment of Charles Wheeler as master of the painting school at the national gallery, Melbourne, Newbury was made master in the school of drawing. He, however, became ill soon afterwards and died at Eltham near Melbourne on 1 April 1941. He married Ruth Trumble who survived him with one son. He is represented in the galleries at Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Ballarat, Geelong, and at Canberra.
W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; C. Hampel, The Paintings of A. E. Newbury; The Argus, Melbourne, 2 April 1941.
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NEWLAND, SIMPSON (1835-1925),pioneer and author,
was born at Hanley, Staffordshire, England, on 2 November 1835. His father, the Rev. Ridgway William Newland, was an independent minister at Hanley, who left England at the end of 1838 with his wife and family, arrived in South Australia on 7 June 1839, and took up land at Encounter Bay. His wife was a classical, Hebrew and French scholar of much ability. The life was a hard one for the pioneers, and even when they succeeded in growing a crop of wheat, there were no facilities for threshing it or grinding it into flour. Sheep and cattle were procured and the family gradually prospered. A church was built at which the father held services, but he would accept no money for his ministrations. He also became a magistrate and was for many years chairman of the Encounter Bay district council. Everywhere looked upon as the leading man of his denomination, he died at the age of 75 in 1864. A church was erected to his memory at Victor Harbour. His son was at first a sickly boy, but the open air life improved his health. His evenings were largely given up to improving his education with the help of his mother.
In 1864 Newland took up station life on the Darling in New South Wales some 50 miles from Wilcannia, and became more and more interested in the aborigines and the natural history of the country. He improved the breeds of his sheep and cattle, and at 40 years of age had become very prosperous. At the end of 1876 he bought a home near Adelaide but continued to manage his stations. He entered the legislative assembly in 1881 as member for Encounter Bay, and soon afterwards brought in a measure to build a north to south railway on the land grant system which was defeated. In June 1885 he became treasurer in the Downer (q.v.) ministry but, finding the strain of his duties too much for his health, resigned the position a year later. He took much interest in the development of the River Murray and revived the question of the north-south railway. He succeeded in getting a royal commission appointed to consider it, and as chairman of the commission personally examined the country as far north as Alice Springs. In two pamphlets, The Far North Country (1887) and Our Waste Lands (1888), Newlands gave an account of his journey and his views on the possibilities of the districts traversed. In 1889 he visited England and while there heard of the discovery of rich ore at Broken Hill. He had acquired an interest in the new field and this now became very valuable. On his return, encouraged by his friend Sir Langdon Bonython (q.v.), for whose paper he had written a number of articles, he wrote his novel, Paving the Way, which embodied many of his experiences as a pioneer and with the aborigines. He went to England again in 1893 and arranged for the publication of his book. It appeared in that year and was given a good reception by the critics. A second edition was published in 1894 and it has since been several times reprinted. On Newland's return to Adelaide at the end of the year, he began collecting material for a pamphlet on the Northern Territory, and the necessity for its being linked to the south by a railway. In 1899 he visited England and obtained the promise of support from financial interests in London, and returning to Australia obtained parliamentary sanction for the construction of a railway on the land grant system in 1902. His pamphlet, Land-Grant Railway across Australia. The Northern Territory of the State of South Australia as a Field for Enterprise and Capital, was published by the government at the end of that year. In 1906 he again went to England and succeeded in floating a company to undertake the building of the line. On his return he found that a Labour government under T. Price (q.v.) had come into power, and as the policy of Labour was opposed to building lines on the land grant system, Newland realized that nothing could be done at the time. He resumed his work on the development of a river port on the Murray, he had become a vice-president of the River Murray league in 1902, and the question was kept alive in 1903 and 1904 by holding public meetings. On 28 July 1904 Newland was elected president of the league, and the necessity of developing the Murray was kept steadily before the public for many years. A great step forward was made in 1914, when the prime minister of Australia, Sir Joseph Cook, pledged the Commonwealth for £1,000,000 if each of the three states interested would spend a similar amount. This resulted in the beginning of the great work of locking the Murray which was to be continued for many years. Other interests of Newland's were the Royal Geographical Society of which he was president at Adelaide for several years, and the Zoological Society. He had published a pamphlet in middle life, A Band of Pioneers, Old-Time Memories (2nd ed. 1919), which included an interesting account of the arrival of his family in 1839. This was incorporated in his Memoirs of Simpson Newland, written in the last year of his long life. It was completed on 6 June 1925 and showed him to be still in full command of his mental powers. He died three weeks later on 27 June 1925. Before he died he knew that it had definitely been decided to complete the north to south railway line, but his other dream of a port at the mouth of the Murray still awaits fulfilment. He married in 1872 Isabella Layton who survived him with three of his five sons. He was made a C.M.G. in 1922. In addition to the books already mentioned Newland published a second novel, Blood Tracks of the Bush, in 1900, which was less successful than his earlier work. His eldest son, Colonel Sir Henry Simpson Newland, Kt, C.B.E., D.S.O., was born in 1873, became a leading surgeon at Adelaide, served with great distinction during the 1914-18 war, was president, section of surgery, Australasian medical congress in 1920, and was knighted in 1928. Another son, Major Victor Marra Newland, O.B.E., M.C., D.C.M., was born in 1876, served in the South African war, and with the British army in the 1914-18 war, and retired with the rank of major. He was formerly a member of the legislative council of British East Africa, and in 1933 became the representative for North Adelaide in the South Australian house of assembly.
Simpson Newland was proud of his sturdy Puritan ancestry. He did excellent work as a pioneer, and his first novel has value not only as a story but as reflecting the times in which its author lived. He had the instinct for public service, and, believing fully in the possibilities of the Northern Territory, worked in and out of season for the railway he considered necessary for its development. He probably considered that his work for a river harbour on the Murray had been a failure, but he contributed in no small part to the development of the river and its valley.
Memoirs of Simpson Newland, C.M.G.; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 29 June 1925; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.
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NICHOLSON, SIR CHARLES (1808-1903),speaker first legislative council, New South Wales,
was born in England on 23 November 1808 the only son of Charles Nicholson. He was educated at Edinburgh university where he took the degree of M.D. in 1833. He came to Sydney in 1834, practised his profession for some years, and also acquired interests in station property. In 1843 he was elected a member of the first legislative council as one of the representatives of Port Phillip, and sat in this body until 1856. He was elected speaker in 1846 and subsequently was twice re-elected. He took much interest in the founding of the university of Sydney and on 24 December 1850 was appointed a member of the senate. On 3 March 1851 he was unanimously elected vice-provost. He was also elected a member of the library committee which laid the foundations of the present excellent library. At the inauguration ceremony held on 11 October 1852, eloquent addresses were given by Nicholson and the first principal, Dr Woolley (q.v.), which were printed as a pamphlet and may also be found in H. E. Barff's Short Historical Account of the University of Sydney. Nicholson became chancellor in 1854 and held the position until 1862. He was most active in forwarding the interests of the university and in 1857 presented a large and valuable collection of Egyptian, Roman and Etruscan antiquities to it. A catalogue of the collection was published in 1858. A new edition of this catalogue appeared in 1891 with two papers by Nicholson added, "On Some Funeral Hieroglyphic Inscriptions found at Memphis" and "On some Remains of the Disk Worshippers Discovered at Memphis". Between 1856 and 1859 he obtained donations to pay for the stained glass windows of the great hall and himself subscribed £500. When Queensland became a separate colony in 1859 Nicholson was nominated a member of the legislative council, and at the special request of the governor, Sir George Bowen (q.v.), undertook the office of president of the council for the first session of parliament. In 1862 Nicholson returned to England and in 1865 married Sarah Elizabeth Keightley. He never returned to Australia but kept his interest in it, and occasionally contributed papers relating to it to the journals of learned societies. In 1890 he was appointed to represent the interests of the Central Queensland separation league in London, and in connexion with this headed a deputation to Lord Knutsford. He died in England on 8 November 1903 having nearly completed his ninety-fifth year. He was given the honorary degrees of D.C.L. by Oxford, and LL.D. by Cambridge and Edinburgh universities. He was knighted in 1852, and created a baronet in 1859. His eldest son, Charles Nicholson, the second baronet, afterwards became well-known as an ecclesiastical architect.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 November 1903; The Times, 10 November 1903; Who's Who, 1903; H. E. Barff, A Short Historical Account of the University of Sydney; The Lancet, 21 November 1903; Robert A. Dallen, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XIX, pp. 213-20.
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NICHOLSON, JOHN HENRY (1838-1923),miscellaneous writer,
was the son of John Nicholson, an oriental scholar of distinction, and the first English friend of Leichhardt (q.v.) (A. H. Chisholm, Strange New World, p. 350 and The Times, 9 December 1886). Nicholson was born at Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire, England, on 12 June 1838, was educated at Croft House academy, and emigrated to New South Wales in 1854. He went to Queensland in 1859, opened a private school at Toowoomba in 1860, and in 1863 had a school at Warwick. He joined the Queensland education department in May 1865 as an assistant teacher. He resigned in 1868 in order to visit England, rejoined the department in June 1869, and later had charge of several country state schools. Between 1867 and in 1878 he published three little books of miscellaneous prose and verse, facetious and satirical in character and not of much merit. So far back as 1856, however, he had begun to brood over the idea of writing an allegorical history of a man's life on the earth, and in 1873 he wrote the early chapters of The Adventures of Halek, which was published in London in 1882. He resigned from the education department in April 1885 but rejoined some years later and was head teacher of the state school at Cambooya from September 1893 to the end of 1894 when he finally gave up teaching. He was then appointed registrar of births, marriages and deaths at Nundah near Brisbane. A second edition of Halek was published in 1896 at Brisbane, and a third appeared in 1904. In the same year Almoni, described as a companion volume to Halek, was also published at Brisbane. Other volumes in both prose and verse will be found listed in Miller's Australian Literature. When Nicholson was approaching 70 years of age a Swedish literary woman, who had been attracted by his work, came to Australia from California and married him. In his later years Nicholson, who had always been inclined to be erratic, would sometimes voluntarily go to the mental hospital at Goodna until he felt fit to face the world again. He died at Brisbane on 30 June 1923 at the age of 85. His wife survived him. There were no children.
Nicholson wrote a fair amount of verse, but little of it is good. Three examples are given in A Book of Queensland Verse. He is remembered for Halek but though it has beautiful moments it is problematical whether many people have read it to the end. Almoni, described as a companion volume is really a sequel to Halek. Nicholson was a man of unusual culture and character, with a streak of genius in him, which he scarcely succeeded in bringing out in his books.
Private information; Information from Department of Public Instruction, Brisbane; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; H. M. Green, An Outline of Australian Literature; Preface to Almoni; H. A. Kellow, Queensland Poets; The Brisbane Courier, 3 July 1923.
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NICHOLSON, WILLIAM (1816-1865),"father of the ballot",
the son of a Cumberland farmer, was born on 27 February 1816 (Aust. Ency.). He arrived in Melbourne in 1842 and began business as a grocer. He improved his position and eventually became head of a well-known firm of merchants, W. Nicholson and Company. In 1848 Nicholson was elected to the city council and was mayor in 1850-1. In 1852 he was elected a member of the legislative council for North Bourke. During the 1853-4 session he was on the committee which drew up the constitution for Victoria, and on 18 December 1855 he moved and carried a motion that any new electoral act "should provide for electors recording their votes by secret ballot". This had been opposed by the government and Haines (q.v.) accordingly resigned. Nicholson was sent for by the governor but found himself unable to form a ministry and returned his commission. Haines became premier again but agreed to leave the ballot an open question for his supporters. Nicholson succeeded in carrying clauses which provided that each voter would be given a list of the candidates, and that he should strike out the names of those for whom he did not wish to vote. He visited England in 1856 and was banqueted and congratulated on his work in bringing in the ballot, a most valuable advance in democratic government. He returned to Melbourne in 1858, in 1859 re-entered the legislative assembly, and in the same year was elected chairman of the chamber of commerce. In October 1859 the O'Shanassy (q.v.) government was defeated and Nicholson became premier and chief secretary. His ministry lasted about 13 months, and much time was spent in a conflict with the legislative council over a land bill. The act was eventually passed, but it had been so amended as to become practically useless. Nicholson was never in office again. He had a severe illness in January 1864, and never fully recovering died on 10 March 1865. He was survived by his wife and several children.
Nicholson died before he was 50. He was a sound business man of unquestioned integrity who, if he had kept his health, would probably have had a long career of useful public service. His special claim to remembrance is his bringing in of the secret ballot in Victoria, an innovation which speedily spread to other colonies and countries. For a full discussion of the origin of the secret ballot and the help given by H. S. Chapman (q.v.) to Nicholson, see Sir Ernest Scott's papers on "The History of the Victorian Ballot" in the Victorian Historical Magazine, November 1920 and May 1921.
The Argus, Melbourne, 10 March 1865; The Age, Melbourne, 11 March 1865; H. G. Turner, A History of the Colony of Victoria.
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NISBET, HUME (1849-c.1921),author and artist,
was born at Stirling, Scotland, on 8 August 1849. At 16 years of age he came to Australia and stayed about seven years, during which he travelled widely. On returning to Scotland he was for eight years art master in the Watt College and the old school of arts. He travelled in Australia and New Guinea again during 1886, and paid another visit to Australia in 1895. He had studied painting under Sam Bough, R.S.A., but does not appear to have had any success; in a volume called Where Art Begins, published by him in 1892, he speaks with bitterness on the chances of success in painting. He gave most of his time to writing and published many volumes of verse, books on art and fiction. Several of his novels are coloured by his Australian experiences and appear to have had some success. Miller in his Australian Literature lists about 40 novels published between 1888 and 1905. During the next 10 years he published a few more books including Hathor and Other Poems, which appeared as the first volume of his poetic and dramatic works in 1905. There was another edition in 1908. He seems to have died in 1921. His name appears in the list of artists in The Year's Art for 1921 but not in any subsequent volume.
Who's Who, 1918; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.
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NIXON, FRANCIS RUSSELL (1803-1879),first anglican bishop of Tasmania,
was born in August 1803. His father, the Rev. Robert Nixon, was an amateur painter who exhibited about 20 pictures at the exhibitions of the Royal Academy between 1792 and 1808. Nixon was educated at the Merchant Taylors' school and St John's College, Oxford, of which he was successively a scholar and a fellow. He took the degree of bachelor of arts with third-class honours in classics in 1827. He subsequently obtained the degrees of M.A. and D.D. He was chaplain at Naples and afterwards held the perpetual curacies of Sandgate and Sandwich. While addressing a public meeting at Canterbury his eloquence brought him to the notice of the archbishop of Canterbury, who appointed him one of the six preachers at the cathedral. In September 1840 he preached a sermon in the presence of the archbishop which was published with notes in the same year. In 1842 Nixon was consecrated first bishop of Tasmania, but he did not arrive at Hobart until June 1843. His first task was the organization of the church in Tasmania, and being a moderate high churchman he came into conflict with some of the clergy of evangelical views. His Lectures, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical on the Catechism of the Church of England, a volume of over 600 pages, was published in London in 1843, and a second edition was called for in the following year. His letters patent declared his jurisdiction "spiritual and ecclesiastical throughout the diocese according to the ecclesiastical laws of England". Endeavouring to act on his letters of appointment, he came into conflict with the governor, Eardley-Wilmot (q.v.), and the Presbyterian and other denominations petitioned the queen on the subject. Nixon returned to England to get the question settled, and fresh letters patent were issued which confined his powers to his own church. His administration of the diocese was firm and energetic, and he set a good example to the colonists by devoting a large proportion of his own income to the needs of the church and education. In 1847 he addressed a vigorous communication to Earl Grey on the evils of transportation, which was printed by order of the house of commons in that year. It was also privately printed and issued at Launceston in November 1848. He resigned his see on account of ill health in March 1863, and was given a valuable living at Bolton Percy in Yorkshire; but finding his health would not allow him to give proper attention to his duties he resigned it in 1865, and went to live near Lake Maggiore in Italy. He died at his residence there on 7 April 1879. In addition to the works already mentioned Nixon published a short History of Merchant-Taylors' School in 1823, The Cruise of the Beacon, A Narrative of a Visit to the Islands in Bass's Straits (1857), and some charges and sermons. Like his father he practised painting, his sketchbook containing drawings and paintings of Tasmanian scenes is at the Mitchell library, Sydney. He was an exhibitor at the first exhibition of pictures held in Australia, which was opened at Hobart on 6 January 1845, and in the same year he published his Views of Adelaide and its Vicinity, drawn, etched, and printed by himself. He was married three times (1) to Miss Streatfield, (2) to Miss Woolcock (sic)*, (3) to Miss Müller. A profile portrait in wax by Mrs Walker is at the national gallery at Hobart.
[* In fact, Miss Woodcock.--ebook editor]
The Times, 12 April 1879; The Mercury, Hobart, 27 May 1879; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania.
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NOBLE, MONTAGUE ALFRED (1873-1940),cricketer,
was born at Sydney on 28 January 1873. Coming first into notice as a junior cricketer playing against Stoddart's English team in the 1894-5 season, he was selected for the New South Wales team in 1895, for Australia in 1898, and became the greatest all-round Australian player of his time. He was in four successive teams visiting England from 1899 to 1909, and captained the team on the last of these tours. In test matches against England he scored 1905 runs, average 30.72, took 115 wickets, average 24.78, and in interstate matches scored 4996 runs for an average of 69.38 and took 158 wickets. He had an easy graceful style as a batsman and was especially strong on the leg side. When occasion demanded it he could play with the greatest deterinination and restraint; his most famous effort of this kind was at the Manchester test match in 1899, when he saved the Australians from defeat by staying in for over three hours in the first innings for a score of 60 not out, and for over five hours in the second innings for a score of 89. His bowling was medium-pace with plenty of spin and cleverly concealed change of pace, and he was one of the earliest Australian bowlers to be successful with the swerve. He was a remarkable judge of cricket and a great captain, possibly the greatest that ever played the game. A testimonial match was played in Sydney in 1908 and Noble received over £2000. In private life he was a dentist, and in his later years he became well known as a broadcaster and commentator on important matches. At the time of his death on 22 June 1940 he was a trustee of the Sydney cricket ground and president of the New South Wales Baseball Association. He wrote several good books on cricket including Gilligan's Men (1925), The Game's the Thing (1926), Those Ashes (1927), and The Fight for the Ashes (1929). Of these the second is particularly interesting.
The Times, 24 June 1940; The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 June 1940; Wisden, 1941; The Herald, Melbourne, 22 June 1940; E. L. Roberts, Test Cricket and Cricketers; personal knowledge.
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NORTHCOTE, HENRY STAFFORD, 1st baron (1846-1911),third governor-general of Australia,
was born on 18 November 1846, the second son of Sir Henry Stafford Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh. He was educated at Eton, and Merton College, Oxford, and in 1868 entered the foreign office as a clerk. In 1871 he accompanied his father on his mission to Washington in connexion with the Alabama claims, and going on a visit to Canada met Alice, adopted daughter of George Stephen, afterwards Lord Mount Stephen, and in 1873 was married to her. He went to the conference held at Constantinople in 1876 as private secretary to Lord Salisbury, and after his return was private secretary to his father, who was then chancellor of the exchequer. Northcote entered the house of commons as member for Exeter in 1880, and held the seat for 19 years. In 1885 he became financial secretary to the war office, and in 1886 for a few months was surveyor-general of ordnance. He was afterwards chairman of the associated chambers of commerce and gained a reputation for his quiet shrewdness of judgment. He was created a baronet in 1887, and in 1899 was appointed governor of Bombay. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Northcote on the following 20 January. He arrived in February to find plague prevalent and a famine developing. He faced the position with courage, visited the plague districts with his wife, and spent much of his private income helping to organize relief measures. One particularly valuable piece of work was his gathering together and preserving of the remnants of a famous breed of cattle.
Towards the end of 1903 Northcote was appointed governor-general of Australia. He was sworn in at Sydney on 21 January 1904, and found federal politics going through a difficult period. The Deakin (q.v.) government was defeated at the end of April, and the Labour government under Watson (q.v.) which followed lasted less than four months. There were three parties, no one of which had a majority of the house. Watson asked for a dissolution, but Northcote refused it and a composite ministry under Reid (q.v.) and McLean (q.v.) was formed. This government was defeated some 10 months later. Deakin formed his second government in July 1905, and with the support of the Labour party remained in office until November 1908. Northcote had completed his term of five years in September. He returned to England by way of Canada and took his seat in the house of lords. He retained his interest in Australia, and a suggestion was made that he should be asked to accept the position of high commissioner, but this did not come to anything. He died on 29 September 1911 and was survived by Lady Northcote. He had no children.
Northcote was a good speaker and a hard-working administrator. He travelled extensively in Australia and made himself familiar with every aspect of its life. His ability, sound judgment, and knowledge of parliamentary life was of the greatest use in the early difficult years of the federal parliament, and the heads of the opposing parties all united in their admiration for him. It was in fact impossible to be closely in touch with Northcote without recognizing his high character.
The Times, 30 September 1911; The Argus, Melbourne, 2 October 1911; H. G. Turner, The First Decade of the Australian Commonwealth; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1911.
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NORTON, ALBERT (1836-1914),politician,
sixth son of James Norton, M.L.C., was born at Elswick, near Sydney, on 1 January 1836. He was educated at the Rev. F. Wilkinson's school at Sydney, and from 1852 to 1857 was gaining experience on stations in the New England district of New South Wales. During the next three years he had a wandering life in New South Wales and Victoria, but in 1860 bought the Rodd's Bay station in the Port Curtis district, Queensland. He specialized in cattle, and in spite of some bad experiences with drought and disease, became a successful pastoralist. In 1866 he stood for the Port Curtis seat in the legislative assembly but was defeated, and in the following year was nominated to the legislative council. He resigned his seat in 1868 and did not attempt to enter politics again until in 1878, having previously retired from his station, he was elected unopposed for Port Curtis. In 1883 he was minister for works and mines for a few months in the first McIlwraith (q.v.) ministry, and in 1888 was unanimously elected speaker of the legislative assembly. He lost his seat at the 1893 election, and in 1894 was nominated as a member of the legislative council. He was chairman of committee from 1902 to 1907 and continued to be an active member of the house until a few months before his death at Milton, Queensland, on 11 March 1914. Norton had been much interested in the welfare of the mining industry, he encouraged the giving of lectures in mineralogy, and was primarily responsible for the establishment of the school of mines. He was a trustee of the Royal Society of Queensland, and contributed about a dozen papers to its Proceedings. His political speeches were always carefully prepared but the effect was to some extent spoiled by a monotonous delivery. He was much liked by fellow members of parliament, and his extraordinarily high sense of honour made him an influence in the public life of his time.
Norton's only son predeceased him. His elder brother, James Norton (1824-1906), was a well-known solicitor at Sydney, and for many years a member of the legislative council of New South Wales. He was postmaster-general in the Stuart (q.v.) ministry from May 1884 to October 1885, and took much interest in the Sydney public library of which he was president of the trustees for some years. He died on 18 July 1906.
The Brisbane Courier, 12 March 1914; The Daily Mail, Brisbane, 12 March 1914; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 1914. p. 1, and index to vols. I to XXV; The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 1906.
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NOVAR, VISCOUNT.See MUNRO-FERGUSON.
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NUTTALL, CHARLES (1872-1934),artist,
son of James Charles Nuttall, was born at Fitzroy, Melbourne, on 6 September 1872. He received his art training at the national gallery, Melbourne, and became a contributor of drawings to the Bulletin, Life, and other journals. In 1902 he completed a large monochrome painting of the "Opening of First Commonwealth Parliament". A series of portrait sketches of well-known Australians from studies made for this picture was published in 1902, under the title, Representative Australians. In the same year a small popular book of humorous sketches, Peter Wayback visits the Melbourne Cup, was also published. In 1905 Nuttall went to the United States, joined the staff of the New York Herald, and contributed to Life, The Century, Harper's, and other periodicals. After a tour in Europe he returned to Australia in 1910, and frequently exhibited drawings and etchings at art exhibitions. He also wrote stories and articles, and was establishing a reputation as a broadcaster when he died at Melbourne on 28 November 1934. His wife survived him but there were no children.
Nuttall had a breezy and amiable temperament which brought him many friends. His picture of the opening of the Commonwealth parliament was a commission which he carried out faithfully, but he attached no artistic importance to it. His sketches for it were sensitively felt and have character, his imaginative drawings were often excellent, and he was also a good etcher. He is represented in the national gallery at Melbourne by drawings and etchings. In addition to the publications mentioned, Melbourne Town, containing a series of reproductions of wash drawings of Melbourne, was published in 1933.
The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 29 November 1934; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; personal knowledge.
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O'CONNELL, SIR MAURICE CHARLES the elder (1768-1848),commander of forces and lieutenant-governor of New South Wales,
was born in Ireland in 1768 (Aust. Ency.). He had had a distinguished career in the army when he came with Macquarie (q.v.) to New South Wales in charge of the 73rd regiment. He also had a commission as lieutenant-governor, and so acted when Macquarie was absent in Tasmania in the latter part of 1812. O'Connell was then on good terms with Macquarie, who, in November of that year, strongly recommended that his salary should be considerably increased. O'Connell had married in May 1810 Mrs Putland, a daughter of Bligh (q.v.), who had not forgiven the members of the party that had deposed her father. O'Connell became involved in the quarrel and in August 1813 Macquarie in a dispatch to Lord Bathurst stated that, "though lieutenant-colonel O'Connell is naturally a very well disposed man . . . it would greatly improve the harmony of the country . . . if the whole of the officers and men of the 73 regiment were removed from it". On 26 March 1814 O'Connell and his regiment were transferred to Ceylon. He attained the rank of major-general in 1830, was knighted in 1835, and in 1838 returned to Sydney in command of the forces. He was senior member of the executive council when, the question of the rights of Bligh's daughters to certain land granted to Bligh in 1806 having been again raised, Governor Gipps (q.v.) found himself in an extremely delicate position. The matter was settled by compromise in 1841. O'Connell was acting-governor of New South Wales from 12 July to 2 August 1846, and died at Sydney on 25 May 1848. He has been given by some authorities a third Christian name, "Philip", but this does not appear in references to him in the Historical Records of Australia, in W. A. Shaw's The Knights of England, or in the notice of his death in the Sydney Morning Herald for 26 May 1848. His son, Sir Maurice Charles O'Connell, the younger, is noticed separately.
J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; The Gentleman's Magazine, November 1848, p. 543; Historical Records of Australia, vols. VII, VIII, and XX.
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O'CONNELL, SIR MAURICE CHARLES the younger (1812-1879),Queensland pioneer and president of the legislative council,
was born at Sydney in 1812. His father was Sir Maurice Charles O'Connell, the elder (q.v.), his mother was a daughter of Governor Bligh (q.v.). He was educated at the high school, Edinburgh, and entered the army as an ensign at 16. In 1835 he volunteered for foreign service with the British Legion in Spain, and was given the rank of colonel. He fought with distinction and was created a knight of several Spanish orders. O'Connell returned to Australia in 1838 as military secretary on the staff of his father. He afterwards resigned from the army and took up land. He was elected a member of the legislative council in 1846. He was appointed commissioner of crown lands for the Burnett district in 1848, became government resident at Port Curtis in 1854, and held this position until 1860. He was nominated as one of the original members of the Queensland legislative council in 1860, was a minister without portfolio in the first ministry under Herbert (q.v.), and introduced in July of that year a bill to provide for primary education in Queensland. Shortly afterwards he was elected president of the legislative council and retained this position until his death. He was commandant of the local military forces, and on four occasions was acting-governor of Queensland and showed tact and ability in this position. He was president of the Australasian Association, and of the Queensland Turf Club, and was a vice-president of the National Agricultural Association. He died on 23 March 1879. There is a monument to his memory at Toowong. He married in 1835 Eliza Emiline, daughter of Colonel Philip Le Geyh, who survived him. He was knighted in 1871.
J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1879.
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O'CONNOR, CHARLES YELVERTON (1843-1902),engineer,
was born at Gravelmount, Meath, Ireland, on 11 January 1843. Educated at the Waterford endowed school, he was apprenticed in 1859 to J. Chaloner Smith and obtained experience of railway engineering until 1865. He then went to New Zealand, became assistant engineer for the province of Canterbury in 1866, and after holding other positions, inspecting engineer for the whole of the middle island. In 1883 he became under-secretary of public works and in 1890 was appointed marine engineer for the whole of the colony. He had had much experience in harbour and dock construction when in April 1891 he resigned his position to become engineer-in-chief for Western Australia. His first problem was the question of a harbour for Perth. The Fremantle site as it then was did not seem promising, and Sir John Coode, an English engineer, had reported against it because of the danger of sand-drift. Coode, however, when he made his report was not fully aware of what could be done by suction dredging, and though various alternatives had been suggestecl, O'Connor was confident that by building two moles, blasting out the bar of rock at the mouth of the river, and using recent types of dredges, a satisfactory harbour could be made. Sir John Forrest (q.v.) was at first opposed to this plan but was eventually converted, and in March 1892 funds were provided for a start to be made. It was a great undertaking for a colony of so small a population, but in a little more than five years the harbour was declared open. There was still much dredging to be done but in August 1899 the mail-boat Ormuz was able to unload its mails at Fremantle, which now became the port of call for all the important steamers trading to Western Australia. Twenty-five years later the battle-cruiser Hood of 42,000 tons, was able to tie up at the wharf.
Important as this work was O'Connor had other duties. He was engineer-in-chief of the railways, and new lines had to be built. The number of miles of railway was trebled in the first five years he was in office, and in addition he had largely rebuilt the original lines by substituting a heavier type of rail. By 1897 the railway had been extended to Kalgoorlie and a new problem arose. The rainfall on the goldfields was low and there was much evaporation. Water was brought by rail to Coolgardie and sold at the rate of over £3 a thousand gallons, and the position was even worse at Kalgoorlie. More boring was suggested, but O'Connor felt that would be merely a palliative, and that a scheme must be evolved which would give plentiful water to the cities in the goldfields. On the western side of the Darling ranges there was a good rainfall from which an enormous amount of water flowed to the sea. Someone, it may have been H. W. Venn, then director of public works, suggested that the water might be impounded and that pumping stations could be erected to pump the water to the level of the higher ground at Coolgardie. O'Connor worked out a scheme which allowed for the pumping of 5,000,000 gallons a day a distance of over 350 miles through 30 inch steel pipes. He was supported by Venn and the leading engineers of the service, though it was realized that there was a danger of leakage at the joints of the pipes. Forrest although cautious at first at last became convinced that the scheme was workable, and in July 1896 he brought a bill before parliament to raise a loan of £2,500,000 with which to carry out the plan. There was much opposition in parliament but nevertheless the bill was passed on 3 September. Then the storm broke out again outside parliament, the main objection being that the goldfields might not last, and that the colony would be saddled with a huge debt. O'Connor in the meantime went quietly on his way making careful surveys, and securing the best outside advice concerning details. In 1897 he visited London and conferred with a committee of English experts. It was decided that there should be eight pumping stations, that the pipeline should follow the railway line, and that it should be laid on the surface so that leaks could be easily found and repaired. A dam was constructed about 28 miles from Perth, and while this was being done the steel pipes were being made and steadily laid. But there was a good deal of criticism. A Perth firm invented a machine for caulking the joints, and offered to finish the work for £30,000 less than the government estimate. When O'Connor recommended that the offer should be accepted the attacks broke out afresh it being claimed that if a private company was willing to do the work for a lower price the government must be wasting money. O'Connor had nothing to fear, he was thoroughly capable and was able to produce facts and figures in rebuttal of any criticism. He, however, had had much anxiety which led to sleepless nights and much mental strain. When the criticism took the form of impugning his honesty, his resistance broke down. On the morning of 10 March 1902 he went for a ride on the beach near Fremantle and shot himself. He left a letter in which he said: "I feel that my brain is suffering, and I am in great fear of what effect all this worry will have upon me. I have lost control of my thoughts. The Coolgardie scheme is all right, and I could finish it if I got the chance and protection from misrepresentation; but there is no hope for that now, and it is better that it should be given to some entirely new man to do, who will be untrammelled by prior responsibilities. 10/3/02. Put the wing wall to Helena weir at once." His last thought was for the good of his great work. This was handed over to C. S. R. Palmer who had been O'Connor's engineer-in-chief, and who carried out the scheme of his former chief with energy and success. On 22 December 1902 the water reached Coolgardie. On 25 January 1903 Sir John Forrest with the temperature 106 in the shade turned on the water at Coolgardie, and at five o'clock of the same afternoon he turned on the water which began to flow steadily into a great reservoir at Kalgoorlie.
The scheme cost about 9 per cent more than O'Connor had expected, but much of the extra cost was due to circumstances outside his control. Abundance of water was provided for the goldfield towns at a cost of three shillings and sixpence a thousand gallons, little more than a twentieth of what had been paid in the past. In addition much water has been supplied to the people on the land along the route, and much of the increase in wheat-growing was made possible by the scheme. Thirty years later the original loan of £2,500,000 had been paid off out of revenue, and the scheme still continues to provide the interest and a sinking fund on account of additional spending since the completion of the original scheme. Few government services in Australia have been so completely successful. O'Connor left a widow and seven children. He was made a C.M.G. in 1897, and a statue in commemoration of his great work in Australia is at Fremantle.
The Engineer, 18 April 1902; J. K. Ewers, The Story of the Pipe-Line; Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vols. CLXXXIV, p. 157 and CLXII, p. 50; Statistical Register of Western Australia, part VII, p. 12; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1901.
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O'CONNOR, RICHARD EDWARD (1851-1912),politician and judge,
son of Richard O'Connor, clerk of parliaments, New South Wales, was born at Sydney on 4 August 1851. He was educated at Lyndhurst College, Sydney Grammar School, and Sydney university where he graduated in 1871. He became a clerk to the legislative council, studied law, and was called to the bar in 1876. Almost from the beginning he was known as a sound lawyer and he subsequently built up a successful practice. He became a candidate for the legislative assembly but was defeated, and in December 1887 was nominated a member of the legislative council. He held office in the Dibbs (q.v.) ministry as minister of justice from October 1891 to December 1893, and during his administration useful acts relating to criminal law and probate court procedure were passed. He was made a Q.C. in 1896, and in the same year was a member of the people's federal convention held at Bathurst. He was an earnest advocate for federation and was elected one of the New South Wales representatives for the convention of 1897-8. At this convention he was a member with Sir Edmund Barton (q.v.) and Sir John Downer (q.v.) of the drafting committee which prepared the federation bill. This, with some amendments, eventually became the federal constitution. In 1901 O'Connor was elected as a senator for New South Wales to the first federal house. He became vice-president of the executive council and leader of the government in the senate as a member of Barton's ministry, and showed excellent qualities as a leader. There was a slight preponderance of free trade members in the senate but he succeeded in getting the tariff bill passed with comparatively few and unimportant amendments. When the high court was formed in September 1903 he was appointed one of the three judges. He had all the essentials for a great judge, uniting a thoroughly sound knowledge of the law with patience, courtesy, dignity, and the ability to separate material from immaterial facts. When he became first president of the court of arbitration his reasonableness and sense of fair play made him admirably qualified, but the work was trying and he resigned about three years later. He was obliged to take a sea voyage for the benefit of his health early in 1912, but returned with no improvement and died at Sydney on 18 November 1912. He married in 1879 Sarah Hensleigh who survived him with four sons and two daughters.
O'Connor was tall and in his later years rather heavily built. He had a refined and scholarly appearance, and his wide sympathies and broad outlook made him one of the best-liked men in politics. He gave up a large practice to enter the senate, and he never recovered from the strain of the first three years in that house, while means were being found to make the constitution workable. Not a great orator he was an excellent debater calm, courteous and courageous, and his reasonableness was often more impressive than the oratory of his opponents. He never sought honours, to him the work was the only important thing, and he twice declined a knighthood.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 1912, 9 May 1927; The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 19 November 1912; The Times, 19 November 1912; R. H. Croll, Tom Roberts.
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O'DOHERTY, KEVIN IZOD (1823-1905),politician and public man,
was born in Dublin on 7 September 1823. (Dict.Nat.Biog.) Other authorities state that he was born in June 1824 and Duffy (q.v.), in his My Life in Two Hemispheres, states that O'Doherty was still under age when he was arrested in July 1848. Duffy, however, was writing 50 Years later. O'Doherty received a good education and studied medicine, but before he was qualified, joined the Young Ireland party and in June 1848 established the Irish Tribune. Only five numbers were issued, and on 10 July O'Doherty was arrested and charged with treason-felony. At the first and second trials the juries disagreed, but at the third trial he was found guilty and sentenced to transportation for 10 years. He arrived in Tasmania in November 1849, was at once released on parole, and in 1854 received a pardon with the condition that he must not reside in Great Britain or Ireland. He went to Paris and carried on his medical studies, making one secret visit to Ireland to marry Mary Anne Kelly, to whom he was affianced before leaving Ireland. He received an unconditional pardon in 1856, and completing his studies at Dublin, graduated F.R.C.S. Ireland in 1857. He practised in Dublin with success, but in 1862 went to Brisbane and became well-known as one of its leading physicians. He was elected a member of the legislative assembly in 1867, in 1872 was responsible for a health act being passed, and was also one of the early opponents of the traffic in kanakas. In 1877 he transferred to the legislative council, and in 1885 resigned as he intended to settle in Europe. In Ireland he was cordially welcomed, and was returned unopposed to the house of commons for Meath North in November; but finding the climate did not suit him he did not seek reelection in 1886, and returned to Brisbane in that year. He attempted to take up his medical practice again but was not successful, and he died in poor circumstances on 15 July 1905. His wife survived him with a daughter. A fund was raised by public subscription to provide for his widow, a poetess of ability born in 1826, who in her early days was well known as the author of Irish patriotic verse in the Nation under the name, of "Eva". In Australia she occasionally contributed to Queensland journals, and one of her poems is included in A Book of Queensland Verse. She died at Brisbane on 21 May 1910.
O'Doherty was a genial, picturesque, and very well-known and respected figure at Brisbane. He retained his interest in Irish politics, and for some years was president of the Australian branch of the Irish National League.
The Queenslander, 22 July 1905, 28 May. 1910; The Times, 4 and 5 September 1905; C. G. Duffy, Four Years of Irish History; The Advocate, Melbourne, 29 July 1905; P. S. Cleary, Australia's Debt to Irish Nation-builders; D. J. O'Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland, 1912 Ed.; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates.
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OFFICER, EDWARD CAIRNS (1871-1921),artist,
was born at Murray Downs, Swan Hill, Victoria, in 1871. He was the third son of Suetonius Officer and his wife, a daughter of the Rev. Adam Cairns. His grandfather, Sir Robert Officer (1800-1879), was speaker of the Tasmanian house of assembly for many years. Officer was educated at Toorak College and the national gallery, Melbourne. From there he went to Paris and studied at Julien's. He exhibited at leading exhibitions in Paris and London, and in 1903 was the winner of the Wynne prize awarded by the national gallery, Sydney. In 1912 his painting, "The Woolshed", was purchased under the Felton (q.v.) bequest for the national gallery, Melbourne. In the same year, on the foundation of the Australian Art Association at Melbourne, he was elected its president and held the position for the rest of his life. He was appointed a trustee of the public library, museums and national gallery of Victoria in 1916. He died at Macedon, Victoria, on 7 July 1921. He married Grace, daughter of Sir Thomas Fitzgerald (q.v.), who survived him. Officer who worked in oils did some excellent landscape work, restrained, sometimes low-toned, yet with a feeling for the open air. Three examples of his work are at the Melbourne gallery and he is also represented at Castlemaine.
The Argus, 9 July 1921; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.
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OGILVIE, ALBERT GEORGE (1891-1939),premier of Tasmania,
elder son of James Ogilvie, was born at Hobart on 10 March 1891. He was educated at St Patrick's College, Ballarat, Victoria, and the university of Tasmania, where he graduated LL.B. in 1914. He was admitted to the bar in the same year. In 1919 he was elected to the house of assembly for Franklin, and retained the seat at each succeeding election. In October 1923 he joined the J. A. Lyons (q.v.) cabinet as attorney-general and minister for education, to which was added mines and forestry in March 1924. In this year he was made a king's council and was then the youngest to hold that position in Australia. In 1927 he resigned from the Lyons government and sat as a private member, but was elected leader of the opposition when Lyons went into federal politics in 1929. He became premier without portfolio of a Labour ministry on 21 June 1934, but although he had no special department he studied all legislation closely and worked early and late at his office. He was much interested in the health of the community and advocated hospital extensions, stressed the necessity for home defence training, and realizing the difficulties of the smaller states, fought hard for Tasmania at loan council meetings. He worked for the establishment of the newsprint industry in Tasmania, and instituted a superannuation fund for state officials. He twice visited England during his premiership, and was present at the silver jubilee celebrations of George V in 1935, and the coronation of George VI. He gave great attention to financial problems, and though his financial theories did not meet with general acceptance, on the whole his administration established a feeling of confidence. In June 1939 he spent a week-end at Warburton, some miles from Melbourne, being on his way to a loan council meeting at Canberra. He took ill while playing golf and died a few hours later on 10 June. He married Dorothy Hines who survived him with a daughter. The attorney-general in his cabinet, E. J. Ogilvie, was a brother. Ogilvie was a trenchant and able debater and a great driving force in the politics of his state. He made no attempt to enter federal politics, but many thought that had he done so he would have been a potential prime minister.
The Mercury, Hobart, 12 June 1939; The Examiner, Launceston, 12 June 1939 ; The Argus, Melbourne, 12 June 1939.
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O'HARA, JOHN BERNARD (1862-1927),poet and schoolmaster,
was born at Bendigo, Victoria, on 29 October 1862, not 1864, as is frequently stated. His father, Patrick Knight O'Hara, a primary school teacher in the education department, Victoria, also published two volumes of verse. O'Hara was educated at Carlton College and Ormond College, Melbourne university, where he had a distinguished career. After winning various exhibitions he graduated with first-class honours in mathematics and physics in 1885. He was appointed lecturer in mathematics and natural philosophy at Ormond College in 1886, and in 1889 resigned to become headmaster of South Melbourne College. In his hands it became the leading private school in Victoria, and its pupils more than held their own in competition with those from the public schools. During a period of eight years, of 28 first-class honours gained by all the schools of Victoria in physics and chemistry, 14 were obtained by pupils from South Melbourne College. O'Hara was an inspiring teacher, and many of his pupils have since held distinguished positions in the universities of Australia.
O'Hara published his first volume of poems, Songs of the South, in 1891. This was followed by Songs of the South, Second Series, in 1895, Lyrics of Nature (1899), A Book of Sonnets (1902), Odes and Lyrics (1906), Calypso and other Poems (1912), The Poems of John Bernard O'Hara, A Selection (1918), At Eventide (1922), and Sonnets and Rondels (1925). All these volumes were favourably received by the press, and in 1919 a critic in The Times Literary Supplement spoke of O'Hara as a "singer who takes his place in the company of representative English poets". That was going too far. O'Hara wrote a large amount of carefully wrought verse, always readable and often on the verge of poetry. His sonnets are good and his nature poems charming, what he had to say was often beautifully said, but he cannot be given a high place among Australian poets.
In his youth O'Hara was a skilful cricketer and played pennant cricket for many years. As a boy he met Marcus Clarke, and was friendly with William Gay, Brunton Stephens, John Farrell and other literary men of his period. The close attention he had to give to his school kept him out of literary circles for many years. After his retirement in 1917 he did not enter them again, and lived quietly until his death on 31 March 1927. He married in 1910 Agnes Elizabeth Law of Hamilton, Victoria, who survived him.
Cyclopaedia of Victoria, 1903; The Herald, (sometime in 1918 a corrected but undated cutting was forwarded by Mr O'Hara in 1923); The Argus, Melbourne, 1 April 1927; private information.
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OLIPHANT, ERNEST HENRY CLARK (1862-1936),Elizabethan scholar,
son of Felix Edwin Oliphant, was born at Melbourne on 14 August 1862. He was educated at Scotch College and the university of Melbourne, but did not graduate. He became an assistant librarian at the Melbourne public library in 1884, but in December 1888 resigned and went to Europe. In 1890 Mesmerist, a Novel was published in London, and during the years 1890-2 three papers by Oliphant on "The Works of Beaumont and Fletcher" appeared in Englische Studien, Leipzig. These were afterwards reprinted in pamphlet form. Returning to Melbourne in 1893 Oliphant took up journalism. In 1895 he published anonymously at Korumburra, Victoria, a volume of verse, Lyrics, Religious and Irreligious. His name appeared as publisher and he afterwards acknowledged to the present writer that he was the author of the volume. Oliphant was in Tasmania from 1899 to 1902 as editor of the Mt Lyell Standard, and was associate-editor of the Mining Standard, Melbourne, from 1903 to 1906. He visited England again and wrote a series of papers for the Modern Language Review on "Shakespeare's Plays: an Examination" which appeared in the July 1908 and January and April 1909 issues. These were also issued separately. Oliphant returned to Melbourne again and became the editor of the Australian Mining Standard in 1911. He held the position, with changes in the name of the journal, until 1918. At the beginning of the war he wrote an able piece of propaganda, Germany and Good Faith, which was published in Melbourne in 1914 and later in London. In the same year, in giving the annual lecture of the Melbourne Shakespeare Society, he made a plea for the fuller recognition of the other dramatists of the Elizabethan period. The lecture was published separately under the title, The Place of Shakespeare in Elizabethan Drama. He was himself writing plays about this time, and two of them were produced at Melbourne by McMahon (q.v.); The Taint in 1915, and The Superior Race in 1916. These were well received, but have neither been revived since nor published in book form. Oliphant was president of the Melbourne Shakespeare Society from 1919 to 1921.
In 1925 Oliphant went to America, was appointed a lecturer at Stanford university, California, and subsequently lectured on his own special department at other leading universities in the United States. His most important work, The Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, An Attempt to determine their respective shares and the shares of others, was published by the Yale university press in 1927. Two years later he brought out in New York Shakespeare and his Fellow Dramatists: A selection of plays illustrating the glories of the golden age of English drama. This was in two large volumes and included 15 plays by Shakespeare and 30 by other dramatists, with introduction and notes on the writers of the plays. Oliphant was then associated with New York university. In 1931 a one volume edition of this work was brought out with the plays by Shakespeare omitted, under the title of Elizabethan Dramatists other than Shakespeare. Oliphant was back in Melbourne in 1932 and did some public lecturing and broadcasting. In this year he was appointed Sidney Myer (q.v.) lecturer in Elizabethan literature at the university of Melbourne, and held this position until his death at Melbourne on 20 April 1936. He married in 1887 Catherine Lavinia, daughter of Peter McWhae, who survived him with two daughters.
Oliphant who had a genial nature with touches of cynicism, was an admirable scholar, able, widely read, and thorough. To these qualities he added humour and common sense, had the courage of his opinions, and was always interesting.
The Argus, and The Age, Melbourne, 22 April 1936; The Herald, Melbourne, 21 April 1936. E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; Melbourne Public Library Records; The English Catalogue; Who's Who in Australia, 1935; personal knowledge.
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O'LOGHLEN, SIR BRYAN (1828-1905),politician,
came of an ancient Irish family and was born on 27 June 1828, the fourth son of Sir Michael O'Loghlen, a well-known Irish judge who was created a baronet in 1838. Educated at Oscott College, Birmingham, O'Loghlen first endeavoured to qualify as an engineer, but ultimately went to Trinity College, Dublin, to study law. He graduated B.A. in 1856 and in the same year was called to the Irish bar. He practised for five years in Ireland, and deciding then to go to Australia, arrived in Melbourne in January 1862. In 1863 he was made a crown prosecutor and represented the crown in a large number of criminal cases until January 1877. In May 1877 he was a candidate for the legislative assembly at North Melbourne. He was defeated and in the same year, on the death of an elder brother, succeeded to the baronetcy.
He was immediately elected to the house of commons for County Clare. In January 1878 he was a candidate at West Melbourne as a supporter of Graham Berry (q.v.), and though opposed by a leading conservative won the seat. On 27 March he was appointed attorney-general, and was the legal representative of the government during the stormy struggle between the two houses. From December 1878 to June 1879 he was acting-premier while Berry was away on his mission to England. After the election held in July 1880 Berry formed a ministry of which O'Loghlen was not a member, and in July 1881 the latter carried a vote of no-confidence against him. His ministry announced a policy of "Peace, Progress, and Prosperity". His party, however, was not strong enough to be able to carry effective legislation, and in February 1883 O'Loghlen obtained a dissolution, but lost his own seat at the election. He was out of politics for some years until in June 1888 he was elected for Belfast. In January 1893 he became attorney-general in the J. B. Patterson (q.v.) ministry, lost his seat again, but was returned for Port Fairy and represented it until 1901. In 1903 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the federal senate. He died on 31 October 1905. He married Ella Seward in 1863, who survived him with five sons and six daughters.
O'Loghlen was a man of high character who made and kept many friends. Not a great parliamentarian he took his duties seriously; he twice refused offers of a judgeship because it would have meant his leaving politics. He had the courage of his convictions in opposing federation when the general feeling in Victoria was strongly in favour of it. For many years he was an important figure in Victorian politics.
The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 1 November 1905; H. G. Turner, A History of the Colony, of Victoria; P. S. Cleary, Australia's Debt to Irish Nation-builders; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.
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O'REILLY, DOWELL PHILIP (1865-1923),poet and short story writer,
was born at Sydney on 18 July 1865. His father, the Rev. Thomas O'Reilly, was a well known clergyman of the Church of England, who came of a family with many military and naval associations. (For an appreciation of Canon O'Reilly see Worshipful Masters, by A. B. Piddington.) He married twice, his second wife being a Miss Smith who came from a well-educated and artistic family. Their son, Dowell O'Reilly, was educated at Sydney Grammar School, and when his father died he assisted his mother in keeping a preparatory school for boys at Parramatta. In 1884 O'Reilly published a small volume, Australian Poems, by D. and in 1888 a larger volume of verse, A "Pedlar's Pack". Both books are now extremely rare. It has been stated that the author being disappointed at the want of success of the second volume destroyed most of the copies.
In 1894 O'Reilly was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Parramatta and sat for four years. He moved the first motion in favour of women's suffrage carried in the New South Wales parliament, but was defeated at the 1898 election. He became a master at his old school, the Sydney Grammar School, and continued there for 11 years. In 1910 he again stood for parliament, as a Labour candidate, but was defeated, and shortly afterwards obtained a position in the federal public service. In 1913 he published Tears and Triumph, an expanded short story rather than a novel, in which O'Reilly shows a penetrating knowledge of the feminine view-point. It is a tragic little story, simply and beautifully told, with a running commentary by the author on the philosophy of sex. The book stands alone in Australian literature. O'Reilly had married in 1895 Eleanor McCulloch and there were three children of the marriage. During his wife's illness, which lasted for many years, O'Reilly had a difficult and lonely life, which was brightened by a correspondence with a cousin in England whom he had met when she was a child. His father had taken him on a visit to Europe when he was 14. His cousin was too young at the time to have any memory of him, but after the death of O'Reilly's wife in August 1914, the letters gradually developed into love-letters and in June 1917 they were married. These letters were collected, and published in 1927 under the title of Dowell O'Reilly From his Letters, an illuminating revelation of his interesting personality. In 1920 O'Reilly made a small collection of his short stories from the Sydney Bulletin and other periodicals, and published them under the name of Five Corners. He died after a short illness at Leura in the Blue Mountains on 5 November 1923. He was survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter, afterwards Mrs Eleanor Dark, well known as a leading Australian novelist.
O'Reilly was witty, kindly, generously tolerant, and sensitive. Though he felt the drudgery of his days as a schoolmaster he had a good understanding of boys and gained their affection. Not long before his death he wrote of himself: "I am a failure; I have attempted many things, writing, teaching, politics, drifted along, done just enough to live." This feeling of frustration and failure was characteristic, but the verdict of posterity may be different. His early verse was seldom of more than average quality, but the little selection published in 1924 with Tears and Triumph and Five Corners, under the title of The Prose and Verse of Dowell O'Reilly, shows him to be a poet, however limited in output and scope. Five Corners contains some of the best Australian short stories ever written. "His Photo on the wall" is a masterpiece in its mingling of humour and tragedy, and his beautiful little sketch, "Twilight" is a triumph in economy of means. It must always be a regret that O'Reilly wrote so little, but this largely arose from his keen self-criticism. No pains were too great to be devoted to the work he was doing, and his sense of artistry would not permit the use of a clumsy or inadequate word. To some degree this applied also to his talk, but he lacked a Boswell, and the charm of his conversation can never be recaptured.
Foreword, Dowell O'Reilly from his Letters; Preface, The Prose and Verse of Dowell O'Reilly; J. Le Gay Brereton, Knocking Round, pp. 2 and 60; The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 1923; The Bookman, September 1928.
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O'REILLY, JOHN BOYLE (1844-1890),poet and novelist,
son of William David O'Reilly, was born near Drogheda, Ireland, on 28 June 1844. After experience as a journalist he enlisted in the 10th Hussars in 1863, and attempted to obtain recruits for the Fenian order of which he was a member. He was tried by court-martial and was sentenced to death in July 1866, a sentence subsequently commuted to 20 years penal servitude. He was sent to Western Australia in 1867 and arrived in January 1868. In February 1869 he escaped from custody, was rowed out to sea, and was taken on board an American whaler, The Gazelle, of New Bedford. He arrived in the United States on 23 November 1869 and immediately applied to be naturalized. He became very well known in America, where for 15 years he was part proprietor and editor of the Pilot, and did much writing and lecturing. His Songs from the Southern Seas, publislied in 1873, has reminiscences of his life in Australia. Other volumes of verse included Songs, Legends and Ballads, 1878, 5th edition 1882; The Statues in the Block, 1881; In Bohemia, 1886. His novel, Moondyne, is based on his experiences as a convict in Western Australia, and is an able and interesting piece of work. He was also the author of Ethics of Boxing and Manly Sport. He died at Hull, Massachusetts, on to August 1890. He married Mary, daughter of John Murphy, who survived him with four daughters. His Complete Poems and Speeches, was published in 1891.
O'Reilly was a devout, lovable man, who exercised much influence among his compatriots who had gone to America. Much of his early verse was of a popular nature, but at his best he is entitled to be called a poet. It was unfortunate that so able and admirable a man should have been sent to Australia as a convict, but the British government was bound to resist attempts to foment treason in the army. In his later years O'Reilly was "an earnest advocate of constitutional agitation as the only way to Irish home rule".
The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. XI; Dictionary of American Biography, vol. XIV; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; P. S. Cleary, Australia's Debt to Irish Nation-builders. It was not possible to consult the life by James Jeffrey Roche prefixed to O'Reilly's collected poems and speeches.
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ORMOND, FRANCIS (1827-1889),philanthropist,
was born at Aberdeen, Scotland on 23 November 1827, the only son of a captain in the merchant service. He was educated at Tyzack's academy, Liverpool, and was brought to Victoria in 1842 by his father. It had been intended that he should enter a merchant's office but, his father having purchased a small sheep station, the boy began to work on it. When he was only 19 years old he was given the management of it and several years of hard work followed. In 1850, finding that the boys employed on the station were quite uneducated, he formed a class among them, and succeeded in giving them some elementary education. On 6 February 1851, Black Thursday, the fire passed through Ormond's run, and though some of the stock were saved the place was practically burned out. This, however, was a blessing in disguise as much of the station had been covered with thick scrub. When the rains came grass sprang up everywhere, and Ormond was able to sell the station at an advanced price and buy better land. His position was now assured and on 23 November 1851 he was married to Miss Greeves, daughter of Dr G. A. Greeves. He continued his interest in education, and there being no school near his station, formed evening classes for the children of his employees. In 1855 with two others he founded at Skipton the first agricultural and pastoral association in the district. He had been made a magistrate in 1853, and in 1858 had taken the depositions in the case of the death of a hut-keeper. He had come to the conclusion that the death was accidental. Later on he was amazed to read in a newspaper that a certain David Healy had been found guilty of the murder of the man, and was to be executed in two days time. He ordered his two best horses to be brought and riding one and leading the other started on the long journey to Melbourne. He had to cross the Little River in flood, but arrived in time, saw the attorney-general, and succeeded in convincing him that Healy was innocent. A reprieve was granted and the man was eventually liberated. In 1860 he visited Europe and was much impressed with an appeal he heard from Dr Guthrie on behalf of ragged schools. On his return he continued to prosper and to take an interest in education, and in 1872 made his first large subscription of £1000 for the founding of a scholarship at the Presbyterian theological hall. Three years later he took a house in Melbourne and helped to establish the Presbyterian Church at Toorak. In 1877 when the question of starting a college at the university was brought forward, he attended the first meeting and subscribed £300 to the fund which was opened. Gradually he increased his promised donation, until it reached £10,000 with the proviso that a similar sum should be raised from other sources. During his lifetime he gave over £40,000 to the college, which was named after him, and the benefactions after his death raised this to £111,970. On 6 July 1881 his wife died. She had been a member of the Church of England, and remembering this Ormond anonymously gave £5000 towards the building fund of St Paul's cathedral, Melbourne. In the same year he was a member of the royal commission to inquire into the working of the education act. One result of this was his conviction that a working men's college would serve a very useful purpose, and he intimated that if the government would provide a site he would give £5000 towards the building. He met with no encouragement, and the scheme was temporarily dropped. In January 1882 he was elected a member of the legislative council for the South Western Province. He never took a great part in politics but his occasional speeches were always thoughtful. In May the question of a working men's college was revived. He again offered £5000 and, after some preliminary difficulties had been disposed of, the college was at last opened in June 1887. There were 320 students on the opening night, within 12 months the number had risen to over 1000. Afterwards known as the Melbourne technical school, the number of students reached nearly 10,000 in 1938.
About the end of 1884 Ormond suggested that a chair of music should be founded at Melbourne university, and offered to give £20,000 to the university council on condition that £3500 should be raised by the public for the endowment of scholarships. He visited Europe in 1885 and collected much information relating to the working of conservatoriums of music. During this trip he was married to Miss Oliphant, daughter of Mr E. Oliphant, and returned about the end of the year. He found there was much difference of opinion in Melbourne concerning the wisest way of using his proposed donation, and very little response had come to the appeal for funds to found scholarships. However, the money was eventually raised and in May 1887 the Ormond chair of music at the university of Melbourne was founded. In the following year Ormond's health began to give way, and 0n 28 December 1888 he left for Europe hoping the voyage might be of benefit. He died at Pau in southern France on 5 May 1889. His wife survived him. There were no children of either marriage. By his will in addition to the amount left to Ormond College £10,000 went to the Working Men's College, and about £60,000 was left to various hospitals and churches.
Ormond was a man of distinguished personal appearance, sincerely religious and modest, with a dislike of show. He spent little on himself and considered his wealth as a responsibility. Other men have given larger sums in Australia, but no other man has given the same care and study in considering what was wisest. He always made it a condition that other sums should be subscribed, but would lighten the conditions when difficulties were met with. In founding the Working Men's College he was in advance of his time; his wisdom has been justified not only in its success but in the many other similar schools founded in the suburbs of Melbourne. A statue of Ormond by Percival Ball (q.v.) stands by the Melbourne technical school.
C. Stuart Ross, Francis Ormond: Pioneer, Patriot, Philanthropist; The Argus, Melbourne, 8 May 1889; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.
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ORTON, ARTHUR (1834-1898),Tichborne claimant,
was born at Wapping, London, on 20 March 1834, the son of a butcher named George Orton. He left school early, was employed in his father's shop, and in 1848 was apprenticed to a Captain Brooks of the ship Ocean. The ship sailed to South America and in June 1849 Orton deserted and went to the small Chilean town of Melipilla. He stayed in Chile for a year and seven months, and then went back to London as an ordinary seaman. In November 1852 he sailed for Tasmania and arrived at Hobart in May 1853. He crossed to the mainland about two years later and worked for some time in Victoria. In 1862 he was at Wagga, New South Wales, under the name of Thomas Castro, working as an assistant to a butcher.
In August 1865 an advertisement appeared in Australian papers asking for information about the fate of Roger Charles Tichborne who had been on a vessel La Bella which had disappeared at sea in 1854. This had been inserted by the mother of the missing man, Lady Tichborne, who believed that he was still alive. He had, however, been presumed dead and his brother had succeeded to the estates and the baronetcy. Orton convinced a Mr William Gibbes, a solicitor at Wagga, that he was the missing heir. He made some bad blunders in giving details of his early life, but was asked to come to England, and left Sydney on 22 September 1866. He met Lady Tichborne in Paris who recognized him as her son. There appears to have been little resemblance between the two men. Others became convinced too, and Orton later obtained much financial support in prosecuting his claim. The legal proceedings were long drawn out and in March 1872 Orton was non-suited in his action for the recovery of the estates, and the presiding judge stated that in his opinion the plaintiff had been guilty of perjury. He was arrested and after a trial of 188 days found guilty on 28 February 1874. The jury also found that the defendant was not Roger Tichborne and that he was Arthur Orton. He was sentenced to 14 years penal servitude, but having been a model prisoner, was released some 10 years later. He endeavoured to press his claims again but gradually lost his following, and in 1895 purported to make a confession of his frauds which appeared in the People. He afterwards repudiated this and continued to use the name of Sir Roger Tichborne. He died on 1 April 1898.
Orton was quite an uneducated, shrewd scoundrel, who seized on any information he could gather about his supposed early life, and showed some ability in the use of it. It is possible to understand Lady Tichborne recognizing him as her son for it had become a fixed idea with her that he was still alive, and though Orton had become enormously fat he had the remains of what had once been good looks. More remarkable was the devotion of his last council, Dr Kenealy, and a large number of people who backed him with their money and influence.
Lord Maugham, The Tichborne Case, Charge of the Lord Chief Justice of England. W. A. F., An Exposure of the Orton Confession of the Tichborne Claimant; J. B. Atlay, Famous Trials of the Century.
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O'SHANASSY, SIR JOHN (1818-1883),three times premier of Victoria,
was born near Thurles, Tipperary, Ireland, in 1818, the son of Denis O'Shanassy, a land surveyor. His father dying when he was 13, O'Shanassy had little schooling and went to Melbourne in 1839. He tried farming for a few years, returned to Melbourne, was elected to the city council, in 1845 opened a draper's shop in Elizabeth-street, and conducted it for about 10 years with success. In 1851 he was elected a member of the legislative council for Melbourne, and became recognized as a leading member of the opposition. He advocated manhood suffrage, opposed the property qualification, and did his best to have the land opened up for settlement. In December 1854 he supported the government at a public meeting held in Melbourne at the time of the Eureka stockade, but in the same month succeeded in carrying a motion in the council, cutting down the proposed expenditure for the coming year from £4,582,000 to an amount not more than the estimated revenue of £2,400,000. He was already taking a prominent position among the Irish members of the community, and led the deputation to welcome Charles Gavan Duffy (q.v.) when he arrived in Melbourne in January 1856. With the establishment of responsible government O'Shanassy was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Kilmore. He was offered the treasurership in Haines' (q.v.) ministry but declined it. He sat in opposition, and on 3 March 1857 carried an adverse vote against the government. He had considerable difficulty in forming a ministry, and three of its members on going to the country were defeated. The ministry lasted only a few weeks and was displaced at the end of April. W. C. Haines became premier again and O'Shanassy leader of the opposition. In March 1858 he was premier for the second time, and succeeded in passing an act increasing the number of the members of the legislative assembly to 78 and also widening the franchise. After an election had been held O'Shanassy found himself hopelessly in a minority, and was succeeded by William Nicholson (q.v.) in October 1859. O'Shanassy again came into power in November 1861 with a strong ministry which passed the Duffy (q.v.) land act, and a civil service act which classified salaries and arranged promotion on definite principles. Other legislation of importance included a common schools act, and the Torrens (q.v.) transfer of real estate act. The government was defeated in June 1863 and O'Shanassy never held office again. In 1865 he was seriously ill and in 1866 visited Europe where he was created a knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great by Pope Pius IX. He returned in August 1867, entered the upper house, and was virtual leader of the house. He made more than one attempt to re-enter the assembly and was defeated, but in 1877 was elected for Belfast, and sat in opposition to Berry (q.v.). He was a supporter of James Service (q.v.) when he became premier in March 1880, but O'Shanassy's defection a few month's later caused the downfall of the government. It was expected that there would be a coalition between Berry and O'Shanassy, but they could not agree on the allotment of portfolios and the latter went into opposition. He was defeated at the next election and died a few weeks later on 5 May 1883. He married in 1839 Margaret McDonnell who survived him with sons and daughters. He was created a K.C.M.G. in 1874.
O'Shanassy was a good speaker, with some knowledge of finance, and was extremely ambitious; he was premier three times but never held any other office. A sincerely religious man of fine character, he was for some time the recognized leader of his compatriots and co-religionists, and it was greatly to his credit that he systematically adjured his followers to remember that they were Australians, and that the importing of old world agitations would do no good and cause much ill-feeling. He was a striking and strong personality in the early days of political life in Victoria.
The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 7 May 1883; H. G. Turner, A History of the Colony of Victoria; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.
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O'SULLIVAN, EDWARD WILLIAM (1846-1910),politician,
was born in Tasmania on 17 March 1846. His father died when he was a child, and O'Sullivan began work at an early age as a printer's devil on the Hobart Mercury. Later on he became a reporter, in 1869 went to Sydney, but soon returned to Hobart and started a paper, the Tribune. This had some success but O'Sullivan sold it in 1873, went to Melbourne, and did journalistic work. He was editor of the St Arnaud Mercury for about three years, before going to Sydney in 1882, and for about a year was overseer in the Daily Telegraph office. He took a prominent part in union circles and became president of the typographical union. In 1882 he was a candidate for the legislative assembly at West Sydney but was defeated, and in 1885 was defeated for South Sydney. He was, however, returned for Queanbeyan a few days later, and held the seat for about 18 years. In September 1899 he became minister for public works in the Lyne (q.v.) ministry, and held the same position when See (q.v.) became premier until the ministry was defeated in June 1904. O'Sullivan was a most vigorous minister and was responsible for a great development of the tramway system, for the building of many new railways, and for many other public works in connexion with water-supply, roads, rivers, harbours and buildings, including the new Sydney railway station. He held office for a few weeks in the Waddell (q.v.) ministry in 1904 as secretary for lands, but possibly from failing health was less prominent in politics win his later years. He, however, did good work as an alderman of the city of Sydney, and representing Belmore for six years was a useful member of the assembly. He died at Sydney after a protracted illness on 25 April 1910. He married and left a widow, two sons and three daughters.
O'Sullivan was an optimistic man, full of generous qualities, more interested in doing things for other people than for himself. This was recognized by his constituents, who towards the end of his life twice raised testimonials for him and enabled him to buy himself a home. He was widely read, was a capable journalist, and also wrote a drama Cooee which was produced at Sydney with some success. He published during the 1890s Esperanza: a Tale of Three Colonies, and in 1906, Under the Southern Cross: Australian Sketches, Stories and Speeches. As a politician he had strong Labour sympathies before the Labour party had developed in New South Wales, and worked untiringly for old-age pensions until they became law in 1900. He was much criticized for his supposed extravagance as minister for public works; at the time it seemed with reason, as the state was suffering from drought for part of the period. Possibly, however, he was wise in realizing the necessity of keeping people at work in times of depression. He was certainly right in his efforts to provide Sydney with a proper supply of water, and his efforts to relieve unemployment by developing the tramway and railway systems, showed him as a man of great foresight and courage.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 and 27 April 1910; The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 26 April 1910; P. S. Cleary, Australia's Debt to Irish Nation-builders; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.
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OXLEY, JOHN JOSEPH WILLIAM MOLESWORTH (1783-1828), he used only his first Christian name,explorer,
[ also refer to John OXLEY page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
was the eldest son of John and Isabella Oxley. His father was of landed stock, his mother was a daughter of Viscount Molesworth. He was born at Kirkham Abbey near Westow, Yorkshire, in 1783, and entered the navy when he was 16. He arrived in Sydney in October 1802 as master's mate of the Buffalo, and was promoted to second lieutenant in 1805. He returned to England in 1807, was appointed first lieutenant of the Porpoise, and rejoined her in 1808. Two years later he was again in England and on 1 January 1812 was appointed surveyor-general of lands in New South Wales. In April 1815 he was with Macquarie (q.v.) when Bathurst was founded, and in March 1817 he was instructed to take charge of an expedition to ascertain the course of the Lachlan River. He left on 6 April with G. W. Evans (q.v.) as second in command, and Allan Cunningham (q.v.) as botanist. Bathurst was reached on the fourteenth, but they were detained there by bad weather for five days. The Macquarie River was reached on 25 April and its course was followed for several days, part of the stores being conveyed in boats. Much of the country was found to be swampy, and on 9 May the way was barred by a huge marsh. Retracing their steps for some distance they then proceeded in a south-westerly direction, and on 20 May found themselves in very dry country. Hardly any water was available and what was found had to be boiled twice before it was drinkable. For the next five weeks dense scrubby country was constantly encountered and there was a great shortage of water. One of the horses died and another had to be shot. It rained several times but this gave them little water; Oxley says in his journal that the soil absorbed all the rain that fell like a sponge. On 23 June the Lachlan was reached and found to be about 30 feet broad and running freely. The course of the river was followed for a fortnight, much marshy country was crossed, and on 7 July Oxley was "forced to come to the conclusion that the interior of this vast country is a marsh and uninhabitable". After resting for two days a turn to the east was made and Bathurst was eventually reached on 29 August.
The results of Oxley's first expedition were disappointing, but he was hopeful of having better success by following up the Macquarie River. At the end of May 1818 he led a second expedition from Bathurst and again had the assistance of Evans. After following the river for about five weeks it was found that it was running into an ocean of reeds, so a halt was called and Evans went to the north-east to test the country in that direction. He returned on 18 July and reported that he had found a new river, which was named the Castlereagh. Their way lay alternately through scrub and marsh and progress was slow. Early in August they found good pastoral country, the Liverpool Plains, and the journey became easier. On 2 September on climbing a mountain they saw the sea, and finding a river, which was named the Hastings, they made their way to Port Macquarie. Turning south down the coast a difficult journey was made to Port Stephens, where they arrived on 1 November 1818. Oxley published in 1820 his Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, a translation of which in Dutch appeared in the following year.
After two or three pieces of minor exploration work Oxley left Sydney in October 1823 instructed to examine and report on the suitability of Port Curtis, Moreton Bay, and Port Bowen, as sites for convict settlements. He arrived at Port Curtis on 5 November and after carefully examining it reported against it. He then turned to the south, entered Moreton Bay on 29 November, and three days later discovered the Brisbane River. He was helped in doing this by two white men who had been wrecked on the coast some months before and were kindly treated by the aborigines. Oxley went some 50 miles up the river, and was much impressed by the country which included the site of Brisbane. As a result of his recommendations a settlement was begun there shortly afterwards. In March 1823 he received an increase in his salary of £91 5s. a year in consideration of his increased duties, and in January 1824 he was appointed a member of the newly formed legislative council. In the following year a dispatch from Earl Bathurst requested that Brisbane would convey to Oxley his "approbation of the zeal and intelligence with which he appears to have performed the important duties confided to him". This had special reference to his last expedition. In October 1826 the new governor, Darling, mentioned that he had sent W. H. Hovell (q.v.) to report on Western Port because Oxley could not be spared from his duties in Sydney. His health became impaired about this time, and in March 1828 Major, afterwards Sir, Thomas L. Mitchell (q.v.) had to be placed in charge of his department. He died at his country house near Sydney on 26 May 1828. He married a Miss Norton who survived him with two sons.
Oxley was an excellent public servant and explorer. He was not afraid to take risks, but he knew how to husband the strength of both his horses and the members of his party. He never lost a man, though his own health suffered. He was unable to solve the riddle of the rivers, which appeared to lose themselves in marshes, but he added much valuable land to the known territory of his time.
Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. V to XIV; E. C. Rowland, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXVIII, pp. 249-72; E. Favenc, The Explorers of Australia; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates.
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