Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership
DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALIAN BIOGRAPHY
Angus and Robertson--1949
^Top of page
PADBURY, WALTER (1820-1907),pioneer and philanthropist,
was born at Stonestill, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire, in 1820. He arrived in Western Australia with his father in February 1830, but in the following July his father died, and the boy, then only to years old, had to fend for himself. He followed various occupations and when 16 was shepherding near York for £10 a year. Later he saved enough to send for his mother and the rest of his family, took up land, was one of the first settlers to open up the north-west of Australia, and in 1863 was sending stock by sailing ships to Carnarvon. He retained his interest in the north-west all his life, but he also established a general store business in Perth and other centres. Late in life he founded a successful flour-mill at Guildford. He was much interested in the Royal Agricultural Society and was president in 1874, 1875, 1876 and 1885. For many years he was a member of the Perth city council, for some time was chairman of the Guildford council, and for five years was an elected member of the old legislative council. He travelled in Europe and the United States of America, and at one time thought of settling in England again, but found the climate did not suit him. He died at Perth on 18 April 1907. His wife pre-deceased him by several years.
Padbury was a good example of the kind of man who, having no advantages and no one to help him, rises to a leading place in his community. Having got into a good financial position he not only helped his own family, he held out a helping hand to many other men less fortunate than himself. He was a generous contributor to charitable institutions and was particularly interested in orphan children. A sincerely religious man he gave largely to his church, and it was principally due to his munificence that it was found possible to establish the Anglican diocese of Bunbury. By his will large sums of money were left to various Western Australian charitable institutions.
The West Australian, 19 and 22 April 1907; J. G. Wilson, Western Australia's Centenary.
^Top of page
PALMER, SIR ARTHUR HUNTER (1819-1898),premier of Queensland,
was the son of Lieutenant Arthur Palmer, R.N., and his wife, Emily Hunter. He was born in Armagh, Ireland, on 28 December 1819 and was educated at Youghal grammar school. He emigrated to New South Wales in 1838, and for many years worked for H. Dangar on his stations, eventually becoming his general manager. He went to Queensland and took up land, and in 1866 was returned to Parliament as member for Port Curtis. On 2 August 1867 he became colonial secretary and secretary for public works in the R. R. Mackenzie (q.v.) ministry, and in September 1868 secretary for public lands. Mackenzie resigned on 25 November 1868 and Palmer went into opposition. On 3 May 1870 he became premier and colonial secretary and in July 1873 secretary for public works. His ministry was defeated in January 1874. During his term of office acts were passed which led to much development on account of new railways. Palmer was colonial secretary and secretary for public instruction in the McIlwraith (q.v.) ministry which came into power in January 1879, but resigned these positions on 24 December 1881 to become president of the legislative council. He remained in that position until the end of his life. On several occasions he was administrator of the government between 1881 and 1898. He died at Toowong, Queensland, after a long illness on 20 March 1898. He married in 1865 Miss C. J. Mosman, who died in 1885, and was survived by three sons and two daughters. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1881.
Palmer had a brusque manner and was a vigorous fighter in parliament. Though his forbears were well-educated people he had a rough way of speaking, and it has been suggested that he obtained his command of language bullock-driving in his early days. But behind his manner was much kindness, strong common sense and capability, which enabled him to carry out his official duties efficiently.
The Brisbane Courier, 21 March 1898; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891.
^Top of page
PALMER, SIR JAMES FREDERICK (1803-1871),Victorian pioneer, first president of legislative council,
son of the Rev. John Palmer, was born at Torrington, Devonshire, England, on 7 June 1803. His father was a nephew of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Palmer was educated for the medical profession, practised in London, and for a time was surgeon at St Thomas's hospital. He came to Melbourne at the end of September 1840, and in addition to practising his profession, was proprietor of a cordial manufactory. He was an early member of the Melbourne city council, was elected mayor in 1845, and in that capacity laid the foundation-stone of the first Melbourne hospital building on 20 March 1846. In 1848 he was elected a member of the legislative council of New South Wales, but resigned within a year. When Victoria became a separate colony in 1851, Palmer was elected a member of the legislative council and its speaker. When responsible government was granted Palmer became a candidate for the council and was elected in 1856 for the Western Province. He was its first president and continued in that position until 1870, when he did not seek re-election to the council on account of his failing health. He died at Hawthorn, Melbourne, on 23 April 1871. He married on 21 November 1831 Isabella, daughter of Dr John Gunning, C.B. He was knighted in 1857.
Palmer was not a man of outstanding ability, but he was a good president of the council, took much interest in the Melbourne hospital, of which he was president for 26 years, and was also greatly interested in education; he was president of the national board of education and subsequently of the board of education. Before coming to Australia he edited the four volume edition of the Works of John Hunter, published in 1835-7, and he also supplied the glossary to A Dialogue in the Devonshire Dialect, written by his grandmother in the eighteenth century, but not published until 1837.
The Argus, Melbourne, 24 and 25, April 1871; The Age, Melbourne, 24 April 1871; Kenyon Papers at Public Library, Melbourne; E. Finn, The Chronicles of Early Melbourne; H. G Turner, A History of the Colony of Victoria; W. Westgarth, Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne and Victoria.
^Top of page
PALMER, ROSINA MARTHA HOZANAH (1844-1932),singer,
daughter of Jerome and Marie Carandini (q.v.) was born in Tasmania on 27 August 1844. As a child she accompanied her mother on a concert tour in the east, and at an early age developed a soprano voice of excellent range and quality. She toured widely in Australia and New Zealand and married Edward Palmer, a bank official, and settled at Melbourne. There she became the leading soprano singer of her time, taking the soprano part in the performances of the Philharmonic and other well-known societies. Well trained and a thorough musician, Mrs Palmer could be relied upon to give an excellent rendering of the music of her part. There is a well-known story that on one occasion, the tenor's voice failing during a performance, Mrs Paltrier sang his music at sight in addition to her own. After her retirement Mrs Palmer was a successful teacher of singing. She died at Melbourne on 16 June 1932. Her husband had died some years before, and she was survived by a son and two daughters.
The Argus, Melbourne, 17 June 1932; The Age, Melbourne, 18 June 1932; personal knowledge; Kenyon Papers at Public Library, Melbourne.
^Top of page
PALMER, THOMAS FYSHE (1747-1802),political reformer,
was born at Ickwell, Bedford, England, in July 1747. He was the son of Henry Fyshe who assumed the additional name of Palmer on marrying Elizabeth Palmer of Nazeing Park, Essex. The son was educated at Ely, and at Eton, entered Queen's College, Cambridge, in April 1765, and graduated B.A. 1769, M.A. 1772, B.D. 1781. He was a fellow of Queen's College and for a period a curate in Surrey. In 1781 he was apparently in Bedfordshire as he dined with Dr Johnson in June of that year. Johnson and Boswell were then on a visit to Squire Dilly at Southill. About 1783 Palmer became a Unitarian and went to Scotland. He formed Unitarian societies at Dundee and Edinburgh, and taught occasionally at schools without pay. He had some private means apart from his fellowship. In 1793, as a Unitarian minister at Dundee, he was a member of a society called the "Friends of Liberty", and was accused of having composed and printed a manuscript "of wicked and seditious import" in the form of an address to their friends and fellow citizens. He was tried at Perth on 12 September 1793, found guilty, and sentenced to seven years transportation. He sailed on the Surprize with Thomas Muir (q.v.), and though he had paid for a cabin travelled under the most uncomfortable and trying conditions. (A Narrative of the Sufferings of T. F. Palmer and W. Skirving, 1797.) To add to his troubles he was accused of fomenting a mutiny, and was received with much suspicion by Lieut.-governor Grose (q.v.) when the ship arrived in October 1794.
Palmer resolved to make the best of the conditions in Sydney. He was not a convict, though confined to Australia, and he busied himself with studying the fauna and flora of the country and working his land. He had two friends named Ellis and Boston who had come with him to Australia. With Ellis he built a small vessel to trade with Norfolk Island, which was profitable until the ship was lost, and the same thing happened to a second vessel. His sentence expired in September 1800, and in January 1801 he sailed with his two friends in a vessel of 250 tons, El Plumier, a Spanish prize. Going first to New Zealand to load timber for Cape Colony, they stayed for some months, changed their plans and went to Fiji. They then went to Guam in the Ladrone group and were detained by the Spanish governor as prisoners of war. There Palmer contracted dysentery and died on 2 June 1802.
Palmer was a man of wide education and amiable character, who had the misfortune to become interested in parliamentary reform at a time when the public mind was inflamed by its fear of the French revolution. The Scottish judges unfortunately were as prejudiced as the general body of people, and Muir, Palmer and their associates, who were striving for reforms, most of which were granted a few years later, earned the name of the "Scottish Martyrs". Their monument is on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, and Palmer's name is second on the list.
The Eton College Register, 1753-90; Postscript by G. Dyer to G. Thompson's Slavery and Famine, Punishments for Sedition; An Account of the Trial of Thomas Fyshe Palmer; Historical Records of New South Wales, vol. II, pp. 821-86; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vol. I; J. A. Ferguson, Bibliography of Australia; M. Masson, The Scottish Historical Review, 1916.
^Top of page
PANTON, JOSEPH ANDERSON (1831-1913),police magistrate,
son of John Panton of the Hudson's Bay Company service, was born at Knockiemil, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 2 June 1831. He had a high school education at Aberdeen and afterwards studied geology and other subjects at the university of Edinburgh, but left without taking a degree. He arrived in Australia in 1851 intending to go on the land, but in May 1852 was appointed a commissioner of crown lands and assistant commissioner of goldfields at Bendigo, Victoria. William Howitt, in his Land, Labour and Gold; or Two Years in Victoria, mentions Panton and suggests that he was not a success in this position (vol. I, pp. 402-3), but when trouble arose between the Chinese and other diggers Panton prevented a collision, and subsequently was selected to advise on a scheme of management of the Chinese. The royal commission appointed after the Eureka rebellion also commended Panton for his work in the Bendigo district. From 1854 to 1858 he was resident commissioner of the Bendigo and Sandhurst goldfields, and he then paid a visit to Europe. After his return he did some exploring in the Kimberley district in Western Australia, and in 1862 rejoined the Victorian public service as warden and police magistrate for the Wood's Point, Heidelberg and Yarra districts. He then became police magistrate for Geelong and the Western District, and in 1874 was appointed to Melbourne. For 33 years he conducted the Melbourne police court with great ability and became a Victorian institution. He had had no training as a lawyer, but he understood human nature. It has been said of him that the most fluent and resourceful liar was never quite sure of himself when facing the steely eyes and unyielding features of the magistrate. It was equally useless for any lawyer to try to throw dust in the magistrate's eyes. There would be a sharp reminder from the bench that it was useless to pursue that line of argument any further. The very offenders brought before him developed a kind of respect for him not far removed from pride, for here they realized was a man who knew his work. Everyone might not agree that his method of conducting cases was an ideal one, or that his decisions were always correct, but his integrity and insight were universally recognized and prevented complaint. He retired at the age of 76 on 30 June 1907, afterwards paid a visit to the Solomon Islands and Papua, and lived in retirement at Melbourne until his death on 25 October 1913. He was almost blind for the last three years of his life, but retained his other faculties and his interests to the end. He married in 1869 Eleanor, daughter of Colonel John Fulton, who predeceased him. He was survived by two daughters. He was created C.M.G. in 1895.
Panton was an upright man of over six feet, with a good presence. His early study of geology led to his being associated in 1856 with McCoy (q.v.) and Selwyn (q.v.) on a royal commission appointed to examine the geological and mineral characteristics of Victoria. He was a good amateur artist, was connected with the foundation of the Victorian academy of arts in 1870, and in 1888, when this society became the Victorian Artists' Society, Panton was elected president. He was also president of the Victorian branch of the Royal Geographical Society at the time of his death. He was much interested in music, and was a good raconteur.
The Age, Melbourne, 27 October 1913; The Argus, Melbourne, 27 and 28 October, 1913; Men of the Time in Australia, 1878; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.
^Top of page
PARKER, SIR HENRY WATSON (1808-1881),premier of New South Wales,
was the son of Thomas Watson Parker of Lewisham, Kent, England, and was born in 1808. He came to Sydney in 1838 as private secretary to Sir George Gipps (q.v.), and in 1846 was nominated by the governor as a member of the legislative council of New South Wales. In May of that year he was elected chairman of committees and was again and again reelected to this position until the coming in of responsible government in 1856. He was a candidate for the speakership in May but was defeated by one vote, Daniel Cooper (q.v.) being elected. In September 1856 J. Hay (q.v.) carried a vote of no-confidence in the Cowper (q.v.) ministry. He recommended to Governor Denison (q.v.) that Parker would be the most likely man to conciliate parties, and that he should be asked to form a coalition government. Parker offered seats in the cabinet to Cowper and Donaldson (q.v.), the preceding premiers, but Cowper declined. In March 1857 Parker passed an act re-establishing the Sydney municipal council, and other useful legislation was also passed. It had been intended to bring in a land bill but the government was defeated on its electoral bill, and Parker resigned on 4 September 1857. In 1858 he returned to England. He does not appear to have ever revisited Australia, and died at Richmond on 2 February 1881. He was knighted in 1858 and created K.C.M.G. in 1877. He married in 1843 Emmeline Emily, third daughter of John Macarthur, who survived him without issue.
The Times, 5 February 1881; The Official History of New South Wales; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vol. XXV.
^Top of page
PARKER, SIR STEPHEN HENRY (1846-1927),chief justice of Western Australia,
was the son of Stephen S. Parker, M.L.C., and was born at York, Western Australia, on 7 November 1846. He was educated at the Bishop's School, Perth, and was called to the bar in 1868. He became a member of the legislative council and advocated responsible government for the colony. In 1878 he moved for the introduction of a bill to amend the constitution. His motion was lost, but in 1882 he asked that the governor should obtain definite information from the secretary of state as to the conditions on which responsible government would be granted. The reply from the British government was, however, discouraging, and nothing effective was done until Parker succeeded in carrying a series of motions in 1888 which dealt with details involved in the general question. The elections held in January 1889 showed that there was a strong feeling in favour of the proposal. The constitution bill was passed by the legislative council on 26 April, but met with some opposition in the British house of commons. It was suggested and agreed that a delegation consisting of the retiring governor, Sir Frederick Broome, Sir T. Cockburn-Campbell (q.v.) and Parker should go to London to see the bill through the British parliament. This delegation was able to give a good answer to all objections raised, and the bill became law.
At the first election under he new constitution it was generally felt that the choice of the first premier lay between Forrest (q.v.) and Parker. The former secured the larger following, formed the first ministry, and remained in power for over to years from December 1890. Parker was colonial secretary in this ministry from October 1892 to December 1894 when he retired. He went to London early in 1900 as the Western Australian representative on the Australian delegation appointed to see the Commonwealth bill through the Imperial parliament, and soon after his return to Western Australia he was appointed puisne judge of the supreme court. He was appointed chief justice in 1906 and retired at the end of 1913. His last years were spent at Melbourne where he died after a long illness on 13 December 1927. He married in 1872 Amy Katherine Leake who predeceased him; he was survived by three sons and six daughters. He was knighted in 1908 and created a K.C.M.G. in 1914.
Parker in his youth was a good boxer and amateur rider. As a young man he was interested in municipal and political affairs, was mayor of Perth in 1878, 1880, 1892 and 1901, and was taking a leading part in the government of the colony from 1878 until he became a judge in 1901. His most important work was the part he took in the struggle for responsible government.
J. S. Battye, Western Australia: A History; The Argus, Melbourne, 14 December 1927.
^Top of page
PARKES, SIR HENRY (1815-1896),statesman,
was born at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, England, on 27 May 1815. His father, Thomas Parkes, was a small tenant farmer. Of his mother little is known, but when she died in 1842 Parkes could say of her that he felt as if a portion of this world's beauty was lost to him for ever. He received little schooling, and at an early age was working on a rope-walk for fourpence a day. His next work was in a brickyard, and later on he tells us he "was breaking stones on the Queen's highway with hardly enough clothing to protect me from the cold". He was then apprenticed to John Holding, a bone and ivory turner at Birmingham, and probably about the year 1832 joined the Birmingham political union. Between that year and 1838 he was associated in the political movements that were then endeavouring to better the conditions of the working classes. He was steadily educating himself with much reading, including the British poets, and in 1835 addressed some verses, afterwards included in his first volume of poems, to Clarinda Varney, the daughter of a comparatively well-to-do man. On 11 July 1836 they were married and went to live in a single room. Parkes commenced business on his own account in Birmingham and had a bitter struggle. The two children born to him died, and after a few unsuccessful weeks in London he and his wife sailed for Australia as bounty immigrants in the Strathfieldsaye, which arrived at Sydney on 25 July 1839. Another child had been born two days before.
During his first fortnight in Sydney Parkes looked vainly for work. He and his wife had only a few shillings when they arrived, and they existed for a time by selling their belongings. Parkes then engaged as a labourer with Sir John Jamison (q.v.) near Penrith at £25 a year and a ration and a half of food, principally rice, flour and sugar, for the meat was sometimes unfit to eat. Six months afterwards he returned to Sydney and obtained work at low wages, first in an ironmongery store and then With a firm of engineers and brassfounders. About a year after his arrival he was appointed a customs house officer and his position was now much better, though he was burdened with old debts. He was still in this position in 1843, but in 1844 he had opened in business as an ivory and bone turner in Kent-street. He afterwards removed to Hunter-street where he also kept a stock of writing-desks, dressing-cases, fancy baskets, ornaments and toys. He had few friends, but when his volume of verse, Stolen Moments, was published in 1842, the list of subscribers included many of the most distinguished people in Sydney. About this time he met Charles Harpur (q.v.) and W. A. Duncan, then editor of the Weekly Register; he mentions in his Fifty Years of Australian History that these men were his "chief advisers in matters of intellectual resource". He began to take an interest in the public proceedings of the colony and the burning question of the day, the stoppage of transportation. Self-government was another important question, the first step having been made in 1843 when the new legislative council was appointed consisting partly of nominated and partly of elected members, and the powers of the governor were much restricted. The third question was the land laws over which the struggle was to last for many years. Parkes began writing for the Atlas and the People's Advocate, but it was not until 1848 that he first began to speak in public. In that year Robert Lowe (q.v.), afterwards Viscount Sherbrooke, was a candidate for the representation of Sydney as the champion of the anti-transportation cause. Parkes became a member of his committee, was appointed one of his secretaries, and wrote the address to the electors which helped to secure Lowe's return. This was the beginning of Parkes's political career. In 1849 he was active at a meeting got up to petition both houses of parliament for a reduction of the suffrage qualifications. He made his first political speech, and advocated universal suffrage, which was not to come for many years. Parkes thought his own speech a very weak performance. As a result of the petition the qualification was reduced to £10 household and £100 freehold. The transportation question was raised again by the arrival of the convict ship Hashemy on 8 June 1849. Despite the pouring rain a huge public meeting was held on Circular Quay protesting against transportation, and the agitation was kept up until success was achieved in 1852. At the various meetings held Parkes spoke continually and also aided the cause by his writings in the press. In December 1850 he established the Empire newspaper, at first only a broadsheet published weekly, but it soon became a daily. Parkes as editor was strong in his loyalty to the British empire, but felt that an honest independent journal that would not be blind to the faults of the government could do a very useful work. It so happened that the governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy (q.v.), had neither the ability nor the industry of his predecessors, and the Empire's vigorous articles did not hesitate to point out his shortcomings nor those of the men surrounding him. Parkes as editor and proprietor became a figure of great importance, and while he had control of this paper he worked unceasingly in writing articles, procuring news, and managing the business side of the paper. It would indeed have been better if he could have employed a manager for he never became a good business man. In his paper he fought for a new constitution, and on the platform spoke strenuously against the views of W. C. Wentworth (q.v.). Wentworth in 1853 obtained the appointment of a sub-committee which brought forward a scheme for a constitution that was hotly debated in August of that year and carried by 33 votes to 8. Parkes has, however, pointed out that the minority represented the party to be created by the bill, and destined to rule the country. Long years after he was able to say that "in the heated opposition to the objectionable parts of Mr Wentworth's scheme, no sufficient attention was given to its great merits". Wentworth went to England to support the bill in its passage through parliament in 1854, and resigned his seat as a representative of Sydney. Charles Kemp and Parkes were nominated for the vacancy and the latter was successful by 1427 votes to 779. Parkes in his speeches advocated the extension of the power of the people, increased facilities for education, and a bold railway policy.
Parkes began his political career very quietly. He was with the minority in the legislative council and they could afford to bide their time until the new constitution came in. His work at the Empire office was very heavy, and in December 1855 he announced his intention of retiring from parliament. He was persuaded to alter his mind, and a month later became one of the liberal candidates for Sydney in the legislative assembly. The first parliament was opened on 22 May 1856 and for some months little was done. Ministry after ministry was formed only to disappear in a few weeks. Parkes was once offered office but declined as he felt he would be deserting his friends. The Empire was not paying its way in spite of its reputation, and if it was to be saved Parkes would have to give his whole time to it. About the end of 1856 he resigned his seat. Considering the short period he had been in parliament the response was remarkable. The press and public men of the period united in deploring his loss, and more than one effort was made to start a testimonial for him, but he resolutely declined to accept one. It is clear that his sincerity and power had made a great impression on the community. He put all his energies into an attempt to save his paper. there was no limit to the number of hours he worked in each day, but he was unsuccessful. The liabilities of the paper amounted to fully £50,000 and, though his friends rallied round him and tried to ease the situation by advancing the sum required to pay off a mortgage of £11,000 in 1858 the position became hopeless. Early in that year Parkes had entered the legislative assembly again as member for the North Riding of Cumberland. An interesting sidelight on his growing reputation is the fact that before this election (Sir) Charles Gavan Duffy (q.v.) wrote to a friend in Sydney urging the desirability of Parkes being elected. With remarkable prescience, he said: "I am confident that 10 years hence, and I do not doubt that 10 generations hence, the name which will best personify the national spirit of New South Wales in this era will be the name of Henry Parkes". Parkes sat in this parliament for about six months and then resigned at the end of August 1858 on account of his insolvency. His liabilities were estimated at £50,000 and his assets at £48,500. On the literary side the Empire was an excellent paper, but only a man of great business ability could have made a financial success of it at this period. The issuing of a certificate of insolvency was bitterly opposed and the proceedings were long drawn out. It is evident that Parkes had resorted to the usual shifts of a man in financial difficulties, but it was shown that, in some cases at least, he had acted under the advice of his banker, and he was ultimately exonerated by the chief commissioner in insolvency of any fraudulent intent.
Relieved of his heavy work on the Empire, which was continued in other hands, Parkes stood for parliament and was elected for East Sydney on 10 June 1859. He stood as an independent candidate but in the list of candidates elected he was described by the Sydney Morning Herald as a "radical". He was generally in favour of (Sir) John Robertson's (q.v.) land policy, of the extension of education, and of free trade. He was not a bigoted freetrader as he was as strongly in favour of developing manufactures as he was of encouraging agriculture. He also believed in immigration, and his well-known powers as an orator led to his being sent to England with W. B. Dalley (q.v.) as commissioners of emigration at a salary of £1000 a year each in May 1861. Their duties were confined to diffusing information, and Parkes spoke at about 60 meetings at towns in the west and north of England and in Scotland. He felt that he had done good work, but it was difficult to say how much effect his words had. During the 14 months he was in England he met many interesting people, and became in particular friendly with Carlyle and his wife. He returned to Australia in January 1863. In August he opposed J. B. Darvall at East Maitland and was defeated, but in the following year was elected for Kiama. In January 1866 the premier, Charles Cowper (q.v.), resigned in consequence of an amendment moved by Parkes having been carried. Strictly speaking the governor should have asked Parkes whether he could form a government, but (Sir) James Martin (q.v.) was sent for and Parkes was given the position of colonial secretary. This ministry remained in office for nearly three years, from January 1866 to October 1868. An important piece of legislation carried through was the public schools act of 1866 introduced by Parkes, of which an essential part was that no man or woman would be allowed to act as a teacher who had not been properly trained in teaching. Provision was also made for the training of teachers, and the act marked a great advance in educational methods. A council of education was formed, and for the first four years after the passing of the act Parkes filled the office of president. In spite of the fears of some of the religious bodies the act worked well, and many new schools were established all over the colony.
In March 1868 the Duke of Edinburgh, while on a visit to Australia, was shot by an Irishman named O'Farrell. Parliament temporarily lost its head and passed a treason felony act of great and unnecessary severity. This led to much ill-feeling, and Parkes, who as minister in charge of the police force was much concerned with the incident, was unable to free himself entirely from the hysteria of the time. About the middle of 1868 after the prince had recovered and left Australia, Parkes unwisely brought up the subject again in the course of a speech to his constituents. He inferred that O'Farrell was only the instrument in a plot to murder the prince. It is not impossible that there may have been a plot to avenge the execution of some Fenians at Manchester in 1867. But any evidence Parkes may have had was not definite enough to have warranted a public statement, and as a result he incurred enmity from a large number of people for the remainder of his life. He resigned from the Martin ministry in September 1868, and for the next three and a half years was out of office. In the first year of the Robertson (q.v.) government he moved a want-of-confidence motion which was defeated by four votes. Parkes continued to be one of the most conspicuous figures in the house, and at the 1869 election was returned at the head of the poll. A much larger proportion of assisted Irish immigrants than English or Scotch had been arriving in the colony for many years and Parkes felt there was an element of danger in this. He stated that he had no feeling against the Irish or their religion, but his protestations were without avail and the Irish section of the community became hostile to him. Whatever may have been the merits of the question it would appear that in this matter Parkes put convictions before policy. In 1870 he was again in financial difficulties and was obliged to resign his seat. He had been in business as a merchant in a comparatively large way, and when declared insolvent he had liabilities of £32,000 and assets of £13,300. He was at once re-elected for Kiama, but an extremely hostile article in the Sydney Morning Herald led to his resigning again. The suggestion had been made that his presence in the assembly while in the insolvency court might influence the officials. It was not until December 1871 that a seat could be found for him and he was then elected at a by-election for Mudgee. The Martin-Robertson ministry had involved itself in a petty squabble with the colony of Victoria over a question of border duties, and Parkes effectively threw ridicule on the proceedings. When parliament met the government was defeated and a dissolution was granted. In the general election which followed Parkes was generally recognized as the leader of the people's party, and the ministry was defeated at the polls. When parliament assembled Parkes was elected leader of the opposition. The acting-governor had sent for Mr Forster (q.v.) before parliament met, but he was unable to form a ministry, and in May 1872 Parkes formed his first ministry which was to last for nearly three years.
Parkes had always been a free-trader and no doubt his convictions were strengthened when in England by contact with Cobden and other leading free traders. During his first administration he so reduced the duties in New South Wales that practically it became a free trade colony. Generally there was a forward policy. Railway and telegraph lines were much extended, and at the same time there was some reduction in taxation. In 1873 the retirement of Sir Alfred Stephen (q.v.), the chief justice, led to an incident which raised much feeling against Parkes. It seems clear that Parkes at first encouraged his attorney-general, E. Butler, to believe that he would be appointed chief justice. Opposition developed in many quarters and Parkes gradually realized that Sir James Martin was generally considered to be the most suitable man and offered him the position. When the announcement of his appointment was made on 11 November 1873 Butler took the opportunity to make a statement, read the correspondence between Parkes and himself, and resigned his seat in the cabinet. However much Parkes may have been to blame for his early encouragement of the aspirations of his colleague, there appears to be no truth in the suggestion then made that he had, by appointing Martin, found means of getting rid of a formidable political opponent. The ministry went on its way though unable to pass bills to make the upper house elective and to amend the electoral law. The council was jealous of its position and succeeded in maintaining it for the time being. Two or three unsuccessful attempts were made to oust the government without success, but in February 1875 the release of the bushranger Gardiner (q.v.) led to the defeat of the ministry.
When Parkes was defeated Robertson came into power, and for the next two years little was done of real importance. Parkes became tired of his position as leader of the opposition and resigned early in 1877. In March the Robertson ministry was defeated and Parkes formed one which lasted five months. The parties were equally divided and business was sometimes at a standstill. Parkes said of this ministry that it had "as smooth a time as the toad under the harrow". Robertson came in again from August to December, and then J. S. Farnell (q.v.) formed a stop-gap ministry which existed for a year from December 1877 to December 1878. In the middle of this year Parkes made a tour of the western districts of the colony speaking at many country centres. This gave him many opportunities of criticizing the government then in power. At the end of the year it was defeated, but the situation was still obscure, because the parties led by Robertson and Parkes were nearly equal. Robertson tried to form a government but failed, and tired of the unsatisfactory position resigned his seat in the assembly. He was then approached by Parkes, and a government was formed with Robertson as vice-president of the executive council and representative of the government in the upper house. The combination was unexpected, as each leader had frequently denounced the other, but everyone was glad to escape from the confusion of the preceding years, and the ministry did good work in its four years of office. It amended the electoral law, brought in a new education act, improved the water-supply and sewerage systems, appointed stipendiary magistrates, regulated the liability of employers with regard to injuries to workmen, and made law other useful acts. When it left office there was a large surplus in the treasury. Towards the end of 1881 Parkes was in bad health. He still kept up his habit of working long hours, and except for week-end visits to his house in the mountains he had no relaxation. It was suggested that a grant should be made by parliament to enable him to go away on a voyage, but he declined to allow this to be brought forward. Be also vetoed a suggestion that a substantial testimonial should be presented to him by his friends. He decided to visit England at his own expense, and at a banquet given by the citizens just before sailing he drew a picture of what he hoped to do in the coming to years. He was never able to carry it out but at least he had the vision to see what was needed. He stayed in America for about six weeks on his way to Europe and did his best to make Australia better known. In England he was received everywhere as an honoured guest, and while everywhere he insisted on the desirability of preserving the ties between England and her colonies, he asked always that they should be allowed to work out their own salvation; "the softer the cords" he said "the stronger will be the union between us". Among the friends he made in England was Tennyson, and Lord Leigh, being aware that Parkes had been born at Stoneleigh, invited him to stay at Stoneleigh Abbey. Parkes was much interested to see again the farmhouse in which he was born and the church in which he was christened. On his way home he visited Melbourne where he was given a banquet on 15 August 1882. Two days later he was back in Sydney.
When Parkes returned the government was apparently in no danger, but there was a general feeling that an amendment of the land laws was necessary. Far too much of the land was falling into the hands of the large graziers and dummying was a common practice. As far back as 1877 Parkes had realized that the land laws were not working well, and Robertson's bill only proposed comparatively unimportant amendments. Robertson, however, was a strong man in the cabinet and Parkes unwisely took the line of least resistance. The ministry was defeated, a dissolution was obtained, and at the election the party was not only defeated, Parkes lost his own seat at East Sydney. Another constituency, Tenterfield, was found for him but he took little interest in politics for some time. He went to England as representative of a Sydney financial company and did not return until August 1884, having been absent 14 months. Shortly afterwards he resigned his seat and announced his retirement from politics. He was now in his seventieth year. He opened an office in Pitt-street as representative of the financial association which had sent him to England, and remained in this position until 1887. He could not, however, keep long away from politics. At the beginning of 1885 W. B. Dalley (q.v.), while acting-premier, offered a contingent of troops to go to the Soudan and the offer was accepted. Parkes strongly disapproved and, though public opinion was against him, on 31 March he won the Argyle seat. When he took his seat in September objection was taken to reflections he had made on parliament, and Sir Alexander Stuart (q.v.) moved a resolution affirming that the words he had used were a gross libel on the house. His motion was carried by four votes and Parkes was quite unrepentant, but the ministry did not dare go any farther. One of the supporters of the ministry moved that Parkes should be expelled but only obtained the support of his seconder. In October 1885 parliament was dissolved, the government was reconstructed and G. R. Dibbs (q.v.) became premier. At the election Parkes stood against Dibbs at St Leonards and defeated him by 476 votes. It was, however, pointed out that this success was due not a little to Parkes's advocacy of a bridge across the harbour, and a railway line going inland from North Shore. The ministry was defeated and was succeeded by a Robertson ministry which lasted only two months. The next ministry, under Sir Patrick Jennings (q.v.), had a life of nine months but was defeated in January 1887. In the meantime Robertson had retired from politics and Parkes, as leader of the opposition, formed a ministry and obtained a dissolution. He fought a strenuous campaign pointing out that in the four years since he was last in office the public debt had more than doubled and the surplus of £2,000,000 had become a deficit of £2,500,000. He proposed to do away with the recent increase in duties, to bring in an amended land act, and to create a body to control the railways free of political influence. Parkes had made enemies in various directions, but generally his personal popularity was great. His speeches, not always free from personal attacks, were received with enthusiasm, and his party was returned with a two to one majority. When parliament met free trade was soon restored and there was a well-meant but abortive inquiry into the state of the civil service. The question of Chinese immigration was much before the public in Australia, and Parkes was opposed to their coming, but not as his biographer asserts because he considered them to be an inferior race. Indeed some years before he had said of them "They are a superior set of people . . . a nation of an old and deep-rooted civilization. . . . It is because I believe the Chinese to be a powerful race capable of taking a great hold upon the country, and because I want to preserve the type of my own nation . . . that I am and always have been opposed to the influx of Chinese". In spite of some discouragement from the British government he succeeded in passing an act raising the entrance tax to £100 per head. Though Parkes was personally opposed to it a payment of members act was passed, and two important and valuable measures, the government railways act and the public works act both became law. The government, however, was defeated on a question of the appointment of railway commissioners. At the ensuing election Parkes was returned with a small majority and formed his fifth administration, which came in in March 1889 and lasted until October 1891. In October 1889 a report on the defences of Australia suggested among other things the federation of the forces of all the Australian colonies and a uniform guage for railways. Parkes had come to the conclusion that the time had come for a new federal movement. So far back as 1867 Parkes at an intercolonial conference had said: "I think the time has arrived when these colonies should be united by some federal bond of connexion." Shortly afterwards a bill to establish the proposed federal council was introduced by him and passed through both the New South Wales houses. This was afterwards shelved by the action of the secretary of state for the colonies. Various other conferences were held in the next 20 years at which the question came up, in which Parkes took a leading part, but in October 1884 he was blowing cold and suggesting that it would be "better to let the idea of federation mature in men's minds", and New South Wales then stood out of the proposed federal council scheme. He now felt more confidence in the movement and on 15 October 1889 telegraphed to the premiers of the other colonies suggesting a conference. This was held in February 1890 and may be considered the first real step towards federation. In May he moved resolutions in the assembly approving of the proceedings of the conference that had just been held in Melbourne, and appointing himself and three other members delegates to the Sydney federal convention of 1891. On 18 May he broke his leg and was laid up for some time. It was 14 weeks before he was able to be assisted to his seat in the house. When the convention met on 2 March 1891 Parkes was appointed president "not only as the premier of the colony where the convention sat, but also as the immediate author of the present movement". The next business was the debating of a series of resolutions proposed by Parkes as a preliminary interchange of ideas and a laying down of guiding principles. It was at this convention that the first draft of a bill to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia was framed. When it was about to be submitted to the New South Wales assembly Reid (q.v.) on the address-in-reply moved an amendment hostile to the bill. Parkes then announced that in view of Reid's amendment he proposed to put the federal bill third on the list. Dibbs moved a vote of no confidence, defeated only on the casting vote of the speaker, and Parkes resigned on 22 October 1891.
Parkes was now in his seventy-seventh year and his political career had practically ended. He was never to be in office again, and it was a blow to him that when he notified his supporters that he did not desire the position of the leader of the opposition, Reid was elected to lead his party. After that Parkes became practically an independent member. In 1895 he opposed Reid at the general election and was unsuccessful by 140 votes. He had fought Reid because he felt that the question of federation was being neglected by the government, but Reid was too popular in his constituency to be defeated. Parkes's second wife died in the course of the election and he had many other anxieties. In 1887 a sum of £9000 had been collected by his friends and placed in the hands of trustees for investment. From this fund he had been receiving an income of over £500 a year, but the financial crisis of 1893 reduced this to little more than £200. Parkes was obliged to sell his collection of autograph letters and many other things that he valued, to provide for his household. A movement was made in December 1895 to obtain a grant for him from the government but nothing had been done when he fell ill in April 1896 and died in poverty on the twenty-seventh of that month.
Parkes married (1) Clarinda Varney, (2) Eleanor Dixon, (3) Julia Lynch, who survived him with five daughters and one son of the first marriage and five sons and one daughter by the second. His eldest son, Varney Parkes, entered parliament and was postmaster-general in the Reid ministry from August 1898 to September 1899. The children of the second marriage were faithfully brought up by Julia Lady Parkes and one of them, Cobden Parkes, born in 1892, eventually became New South Wales government architect. Parkes had left directions that his funeral should be as simple as possible, but though a state funeral was declined, a very large number of people attended when he was placed by the side of his first wife at Faulconbridge, in the grounds of his former home in the Blue Mountains. His portrait by Julian Ashton is at the national gallery, Sydney. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1877 and G.C.M.G. in 1888.
Parkes's literary work includes six volumes of verse, Stolen Moments (1842), Murmurs of the Stream (1857), Studies in Rhyme (1870), The Beauteous Terrorist and Other Poems (1885), Fragmentary Thoughts (1889), Sonnets and Other Verses (1895). It has been the general practice to laugh at Parkes's poetic efforts, and it is true that his work could sometimes be almost unbelievably bad. Yet though he had no real claims to be a poet he wrote some strong, sincere verse which has occasionally been included in Australian anthologies. His prose work includes Australian Views of England (1869), and his autobiographical Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History (1892), extremely interesting in places but necessarily giving a partial view of his own work. A collection of his Speeches on Various Occasions, delivered between 1848 and 1874, was published in 1876, and another collection dealing mostly with federation appeared in 1890 under the title of The Federal Government of Australasia. In 1896, shortly after his death, An Emigrant's Home Letters, a small collection of Parkes's letters to his family in England between 1838 and 1843, was published at Sydney, edited by his daughter, Annie T. Parkes.
Parkes was tall, rugged in features, commanding in personality. He was a fine orator who eschewed flights of rhetoric and spoke as a plain man to plain men, with great effect, in spite of occasional difficulties in controlling his aspirates. He had no schooling worthy of the name but had read widely. It has been said of him that he lacked gracious manners and was too conscious of his superiority, but his kindly reception by the Carlyles and Tennyson suggests that he was not without charm. He was interested in early Australian literary men, having been a friend of both Harpur (q.v.) and Kendall (q.v.). He was a bad manager of his own affairs; what he had he spent, and he died penniless. Yet he evidently knew a good financier when he saw him, for he had able treasurers in his cabinets and their financial administration was good. He was vain and temperamental, and frequently resigned his parliamentary seat only to seek election again soon afterwards. He was not a socialist but he had strong views about the rights of the people and for most of his parliamentary life was a great leader of them. In his later years, however, he seems to have been worn down by the strong conservative opposition he encountered, and he was responsible for less social legislation than might have been expected. Early to recognize the need for federation, when he saw that it had really become possible he fought strongly for it, when many leading politicians in New South Wales were fearful of its effect on their colony. His indomitable character which had raised him from a farm labourer to premier of his colony, and his recognition of the broader view that was required in a great movement like federation, had an immense effect when its fate was in doubt, and turned the scale in its favour.
Parkes, An Emigrant's Home Letters; C. E. Lyne, Life of Sir Henry Parkes; Parkes, Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History; Sir Thomas Bavin, Sir Henry Parkes, His Life and Work; Quick and Garran, The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth; G. H. Reid, My Reminiscences; Bruce Smith, Honour to Whom Honour is Due; H. V. Evatt, Australian Labour Leader; The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph, Sydney. 28 April 1896; See also K. R. Cramp, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXIII, pp. 205-20; Joseph Jackson, ibid, pp. 221-8.
^Top of page
PATERSON, ANDREW BARTON (1864-1941),poet,
[ also refer to A. B. 'Banjo' PATERSON page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
was born at Narrambla. near Molong, New South Wales, on 17 February 1864. He was the son of Andrew B. Paterson, grazier, and was related to Edmund Barton (q.v.). Educated at Sydney Grammar School and the university of Sydney, he was admitted as a solicitor and practised until 1900 at Sydney. He began contributing verse to the Bulletin and in 1895 published The Man From Snowy River and Other Verses. It was an immediate popular success, was in its tenth thousand a year later, and 40 years afterwards the number of copies sold was over 100,000. Paterson was a war correspondent during the South African war, in China after the Boxer rebellion, and at the Philippine Islands. Another collection of his work, Rio Grande's Last Race and Other Verses, appeared in 1902, and this also has been frequently reprinted. In 1904-6 he edited the Sydney Evening News and in 1907-8 the Sydney Town and Country Journal. Paterson also made a collection of popular Australian songs The Old Bush Songs: Composed and Sung in the Bushranging, Digging and Overlanding Days. This was published in 1905 and by 1924 had gone into its fourth edition. In 1906 Paterson published a novel An Outback Marriage, which reached a fourth edition in 1924. He became a pastoralist near Yass for some years, but when the 1914-18 war broke out went to Europe as correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald, was an ambulance driver in France, and in 1915 joined the remount service in Egypt, where he reached the rank of major. In 1917 a further collection of his work was made and published under the title Saltbush Bill, J.P., and Other Verses. In the same year a collection of his short stories appeared under the title of Three Elephant Power and Other Stories. After his return from the war Paterson remained in journalism for the rest of his life. In 1921 appeared the Collected Verse of A. B. Paterson (9th edition, 1938), and in 1933 a book of verse for children, The Animals Noah Forgot. In 1934 Happy Dispatches, describing his meetings with well-known people appeared, and in 1936 The Shearer's Colt (fiction). He died at Sydney on 5 February 1941. In 1903 he married Alice W Walker who survived him with a son and a daughter. He was made a C.B.E. in 1939.
Paterson was an able journalist who met many notabilities in a long life and graphically drew them in his Happy Dispatches. His novels and short stories are readable, but he will be remembered only for his verse; The Man from Snowy River is his best volume and there is no better volume of Australian popular poetry. "The Man from Ironbark" and "An Idyll of Dandaloo" still keep their humour in spite of the years, and "Old Pardon, the Son of Reprieve" stands in the highest class as racing verse. The same quality is found in "The Man from Snowy River", a fine swinging ballad, and in a different way "The Travelling Post Office" and "Black Swans" are both excellent. Saltbush Bill, J.P., though otherwise a disappointing volume, contains one poem, "Waltzing Matilda", which bids fair to become an Australian folk song. Paterson's attempt to preserve the local songs of the pioneering days, published as Old Bush Songs, was also a valuable piece of work.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 February 1941; The Herald, Melbourne, 6 February 1941; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; Who's Who in Australia, 1933.
^Top of page
PATERSON, JOHN FORD (1851-1912),artist,
was born at Dundee, Scotland, in 1851. He attended the Royal Scottish Academy schools at Edinburgh and began exhibiting at its exhibitions while still in his teens. He went to Melbourne in 1872, stayed three years, and then returned to Scotland. He came to Melbourne again in 1884 and gradually established a reputation as a landscape painter. His work was included in collections of Australian art sent to London in 1886 and 1898, and attracted favourable notice from R. A. M. Stevenson and other critics. In 1902 he was elected president of the Victorian Artists' Society, and in the same year was appointed a trustee of the public library, museums and national gallery of Victoria. He held this position until his death on 30 June 1912. He never married. A nephew, Louis Esson, became well-known as a poet and dramatist and a niece, Esther Paterson, as a painter.
Paterson was short in stature, quiet in manner, thoughtful and kindly. He was purely a landscape painter, with a beautiful understanding of the Australian countryside, a delicate sense of colour, sound drawing, and poetical feeling. He was not a prolific painter and was never a popular one, but he ranks among the more important artists working in Australia about the end of the nineteenth century. He is represented at the national galleries at Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane and at the Bendigo gallery.
The Argus, Melbourne, 1 July 1912; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; The Age, Melbourne, 24 September 1932; personal knowledge.
^Top of page
PATERSON, WILLIAM (1755-1810),explorer and lieutenant-governor of New South Wales,
was born on 17 August 1755. As a young man he became interested in botany, visited South Africa in 1777, and made four expeditions into the interior. An account of these, Narrative of Four Journeys into the Country of the Hottentots and Caffraria, was published in 1789. He returned to England and became an ensign in the army in 1781. After service in India he joined the New South Wales Corps and was gazetted captain in June 1789. He arrived at Port Jackson in October 1791, and a few days later sailed to Norfolk Island to take up the command of the military. He returned to Sydney in March 1793 and six months later became second in command of the New South Wales Corps. In September he made an unsuccessful attempt to find a way through the Blue Mountains. In December 1794, on the departure of Francis Grose (q.v.), he became administrator of the government until the arrival of Hunter (q.v.) in September 1795. Paterson obtained sick leave and went to England in 1796, and remained there until 1799. He had been promoted major in 1795 and lieutenant-colonel in January 1798. In March 1799 he was instructed to return to New South Wales, and on 29 September 1800 King (q.v.) appointed him lieutenant-governor. In the trouble that arose out of the trial of James Marshall, Paterson supported his officers in their refusal to reconsider the trial, but would not agree to Macarthur's proposal to withdraw from intercourse with the governor. Shortly afterwards he challenged Macarthur (q.v.) to a duel on account of Macarthur having disclosed information in a private letter. Macarthur wounded Paterson in the shoulder. On account of this duel Macarthur was sent to England under arrest in November 1801. In May 1804 King received a dispatch instructing him to found a new settlement at Port Dalrymple and place it under the charge of Paterson. On 15 October Paterson sailed with a detachment of military and 74 convicts. He first selected a site at the Western Arm and named it York Town, but subsequently removed the settlement to the present site of Launceston. He had the usual difficulties at new settlements and the hardships injured his health. On 2 February 1808 Major Johnston reported to Paterson the arrest of Governor Bligh (q.v.). Paterson replied ordering H.M.S. Porpoise to be sent to Port Dalrymple to convey him to Sydney. He was evidently temporizing, for on one plea or another he did not reach Sydney until 1 January 1809. He assumed government on 9 January and held it for nearly 12 months. His administration was a weak one, he was in a bad state of health, he was drinking heavily, he could easily be imposed upon by men of stronger will, and he made grants of land to almost anyone who applied. He was superseded by Macquarie (q.v.) on 1 January 1810. Paterson left New South Wales on 12 May and died at sea on 21 June 1810.
Paterson, a fellow of the Royal Society, was a better man of science than an administrator. He kept in touch with Banks, often forwarding specimens to him. His botanical collections are in the natural history museum at South Kensington, London. As an officer he was not without courage, but he showed little ability in his conduct of the affairs of the colony. An amiable but weak man, his lavish grants of land were not to his own advantage: he died a poor man, and his widow was granted two thousand acres of land by Macquarie.
F. Watson, Introduction vol. VII, Historical Records of Australia, ser. I; See also vols. III to VI; Historical Records of New South Wales, vols. II, VII; G. Mackaness, The Life of Vice-Admiral William Bligh; Mrs Marnie Bassett, The Governor's Lady.
^Top of page
PATON, JOHN GIBSON (1824-1907),missionary,
son of James Paton, a stocking manufacturer in a small way, was born in the parish of Kirkmahoe near Dumfries, Scotland, on 24 May 1824. He went to the parish school at Torthorwald, then helped his father at his trade, and having earned a little money, went to Dumfries Academy for a short period. He worked for the Ordnance Survey of Scotland and as a harvester, and then applied for a position at Glasgow at £50 a year as a district visitor and tract distributor. There were two candidates and it was decided that they should share the wages and the work, and study at the Free Normal Seminary. Paton later taught at a school for a season before being appointed an agent in the Glasgow City Mission. He worked at Glasgow for 10 years among the poorest and most degraded people in the city with much success, and carried on his studies at the same time at the university of Glasgow, and the Reformed Presbyterian Divinity Hall. In December 1857 he was licensed as a preacher, in March 1858 was ordained, and in April he set sail to the New Hebrides as a missionary. On 30 August he arrived at the harbour at Aneityum. He established himself on the island of Tanna, the natives of which were savage cannibals who had previously killed or driven away other missionaries. He had married before leaving Scotland, Mary Ann Robson, and in February 1859, about three months after landing, she and her infant son both died. Paton though ill and depressed stayed on, as he feared if he once left the island he might not be allowed to land again. He was in constant danger of death, at one meeting of the warriors it was proposed that Paton and his associates should be killed, and they were only saved by the advocacy of one of the chiefs. He had recurring attacks of fever and ague, the natives blamed him for every misfortune which befell them, and the bad behaviour of white traders, often engaged in the kanaka traffic, increased his difficulties. He risked his life frequently in endeavouring to persuade the natives to give up their tribal wars. Eventually the mission station was attacked, and Paton, after spending a night in a tree surrounded by savages seeking his life, just succeeded in making his way to another part of the island, where he was found by a vessel sent to rescue him.
Paton had made up his mind that the mission must have a ship of its own. He went to Sydney, toured Australia and raised £5000 for the mission, and in May 1863 sailed for London. In Scotland he was appointed moderator of the supreme court of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and made a successful tour of the country on behalf of the missions. In 1864 he married Margaret Whitecross, and in January 1865 arrived in Australia again. He found that the mission ship for which he had worked so hard had been able to do useful work, but there was a considerable debt for the crew's wages. Paton promptly obtained subscriptions sufficient to pay the debt. Thereafter the Sunday Schools of Australia provided for the upkeep of the vessel. In 1866 Paton was transferred from his church in Scotland to the Presbyterian Churches of Australia, and in August of that year was sent to Aniwa, an island less savage than Tanna. There he steadily made way, though the first church built was blown down during a hurricane, and the mission ship was wrecked in 1873. Paton went to Australia and New Zealand and raised the money for a new ship. As time went on it was found necessary to have a vessel with steam power, and Paton travelled to Great Britain where he frequently addressed nine meetings in a week and carried on an immense correspondence. In 18 months he collected £9000, of which £6000 was spent on the new ship, and the other £3000 formed into a fund for the training of missionaries. In 1889 he published his autobiography, John G. Paton Missionary to the New Hebrides, written at the request and with the help of his younger brother, the Rev. James Paton. It had an immediate success and ran into several editions. Paton was spending much of his time from 1886 to 1892 between the islands and Australia, and found the trading in intoxicants and firearms was causing immense harm to native populations. He felt that Great Britain, France and the United States, should make a joint effort to stop it. In 1892 he was sent to the Pan-Presbyterian council which assembled at Toronto. Going on to New York and Washington he endeavoured to have an agreement made between the three powers, but the negotiations fell through. He then went to Great Britain where he was everywhere received with enthusiasm. He returned to Australia towards the end of 1894 and handed to the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria the sum of £13,527, of which £1000 represented part of the profits from his autobiography. In 1900 he again visited the old world with equally successful results. His eightieth birthday was celebrated at Melbourne on 24 May 1904 by a great meeting at the Scots church. He made his last visit to Aniwa in June 1904, and on 16 May 1905 his devoted wife died. She was the author of Anecdotes on the Shorter Catechism, Letters and Sketches from the New Hebrides, and Helen Lyall, a Biographical Sketch. Always hoping that he might be able to visit the islands again, Paton died at Canterbury, a suburb of Melbourne, on 28 January 1907. He was survived by five sons and one daughter. One of his sons, the Rev. Frank H. L. Paton, also a missionary to the New Hebrides, was the author of Lomai of Lenakel, Patteson of Melanesia, and with A. K. Langridge, John G. Paton, Later Years and Farewell.
Paton was a great missionary, fearless, sincere, seeking nothing for himself, completely wrapped up in his work. He was a marvellous collector for missions, often working to the limit of his endurance, and only anxious that none of the money collected should be wasted in unnecessary expenses.
John G. Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides. An Autobiography; A. K. Langridge and F. H. L. Paton, John G. Paton, Later Years and Farewell; C. D. Michael, John Gibson Paton, D.D.; The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 29 January 1907.
^Top of page
PATTERSON, SIR JAMES BROWN (1833-1895),premier of Victoria,
youngest son of a district road-inspector at Alnwick, Cumberland, England, was born on 18 November 1833. He was educated at Alnwick and in 1852 emigrated to Victoria. He worked on the goldfields and then took up farming for about four years. Subsequently he opened a cattle and slaughtering business at Chewton, near Castlemaine, took an interest in municipal affairs and became mayor of Chewton. In December 1870 he was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Castlemaine, and held the seat until his death nearly a quarter of a century later. He was minister of public works in the first Berry (q.v.) ministry from August to October 1875, held the same position in Berry's second ministry from May 1877 to March 1880, and was minister of railways in his third ministry from August 1880 to July 1881. Patterson was a leading member in these cabinets, counselled moderation in the disputes with the legislative council, and as minister of railways endeavoured to check political influence being used in connexion with railway extensions. He had much to do with the bringing together of Service (q.v.) and Berry which resulted in their coalition government. He visited England, and returning in 1885 sat for a time in opposition to the Gillies (q.v.) government. He, however, joined this ministry in April 1889 as commissioner of trade and customs, and later for short periods was postmaster-general and vice-president of the board of land and works and commissioner of public works. He took a strong stand for law and order during the maritime strike in 1890. He became premier in January 1893 and a few weeks later the colony was plunged into the greatest financial crisis it had ever known. H. G. Turner (q.v.), who had been a bank manager himself, is very severe in his History of the Colony of Victoria on Patterson and his treasurer G. D. Carter for proclaiming a moratorium in the shape of a bank holiday from 1 to 5 May. Carter was admittedly not a strong man, but it was asking a great deal from the premier that he should at once produce a remedy for a state of things arising from gross over trading and reckless speculation. Patterson endeavoured to increase the production of primary products by placing people on the land and attempted many government economics. These were largely responsible for the defeat of his government at the 1894 election. When the Turner (q.v.) ministry came in Patterson led the opposition, and as Turner also began to economize Patterson steadily regained his position as a leader. He was by now the father of the house and the most picturesque figure in it. Though apparently in vigorous health he contracted influenza, and died after a short illness on 30 October 1895. He married about 1857 Miss Walton, who predeceased him, and was survived by a daughter. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1894.
Though not an orator Patterson was an excellent debater with a gift for the telling phrase. An able and shrewd administrator, he took a leading place among the Victorian politicians of his time.
The Age and The Argus, Melbourne, 31 October 1895; H. G. Turner, A History of the Colony of Victoria; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.
^Top of page
PEACOCK, SIR ALEXANDER JAMES (1861-1933),three times premier of Victoria,
the son of James Henry Peacock, was born at Creswick, Victoria, on 11 June 1861. He passed the civil service examination at 13 years of age, and was an assistant schoolmaster at Creswick for five years. He found himself in ill-health and went to Melbourne where he obtained work in a grocer's shop. His next position was in the office of a legal manager of mining companies, and throughout his life he kept up his connexion with gold-mining. At one time he was legal manager for about 50 companies with offices in Melbourne, Ballarat and Creswick. He took a great interest in the Australian Natives' Association of which he became president, and was also a prominent freemason. He was elected to represent Clunes and Allandale in the legislative assembly in March 1889, and in November 1890 joined the Munro (q.v.) ministry as a minister without portfolio. He became minister of public instruction in the Shiels (q.v.) ministry in April 1892 and for a few weeks was also postmaster-general. When the Turner (q.v.) ministry took office in September 1894, Peacock became chief secretary and minister of public instruction until Turner resigned in December 1899. In 1895 Peacock brought in important factory legislation, a special feature being the wages board system. He has been spoken of as the "father of factory legislation in Victoria", but the acts brought in by Deakin (q.v.) in 1885 and 1893 must not be forgotten. These, however, were so amended by the legislative council as to lose much of their force. Peacock's act showed a distinct advance, he had gone to much trouble to obtain his facts, and is entitled to great credit for the work he did. He worked for federation, was one of the Victorian representatives at the 1897 convention, and sat on the judiciary committee, but did not take an important part in the debates.
When Sir George Turner formed his second government in November 1900 Peacock was given the portfolios of chief secretary and minister of labour, and when Turner went over to federal politics a few weeks later, Peacock became premier, treasurer, and minister of labour. He was subsequently treasurer and minister of labour in the Bent (q.v.) ministry from 1904 to 1909; minister of labour in the Watt ministry 1912; minister of public instruction and of labour in the second Watt ministry 1913; premier and treasurer again for over three years, beginning in June 1914; minister of labour in the Lawson ministry 1920 to 1923; minister of public instruction, forests, and labour in the second and third Lawson ministries; premier, treasurer and minister of labour from April to July 1924; and treasurer, minister of public instruction and of labour in the Allan (q.v.) ministry 1924 to 1927. In July 1928 he was elected speaker in succession to O. R. Snowball, obtained the complete confidence of the house, and remained in that position until his death at Creswick on 7 October 1933. He married Miss M. Holden in 1901 who survived him without issue.
Peacock had a hearty, jovial disposition, with an infectious laugh which became famous, much tact and kindness of heart. He had many friends and few, if any, enemies and was never defeated at an election. He represented practically the same electorate for 44 years, and was in 14 ministries including three terms as premier. He was a capable speaker but scarcely a man of outstanding ability, though he did valuable work in social legislation and was a good minister of public instruction in times of great educational expansion.
The Age, Melbourne, 9 October 1933: The Herald, Melbourne, 7 October 1933; The Cyclopaedia of Victoria, 1903.
^Top of page
PEAKE, ARCHIBALD HENRY (1859-1920),premier of South Australia,
was born in London on 15 January 1859. He came to Australia with his parents in 1862 and lived at Geelong, Victoria. In 1864 his father moved to South Australia where he entered the education department. Peake was educated at state schools under his father, but in later life widened his education by much reading in English history and literature. He entered the service of the district council of Narracoorte, became district clerk in 1878, and took much interest in the affairs of the town. In 1893 he contested Albert in an election for the house of assembly and was beaten by 50 votes, but four years later won the seat by two votes. The election was contested and as some irregularity was found it was held again. Peake was successful and represented the constituency until 1902. He resigned his position as district clerk when he entered politics, and afterwards was in business at Mount Barker as a member of the firm of auctioneers, Monks and Peake. From 1902 to 1915 he was member for the Victoria and Albert electorate, and became a minister for the first time on 26 July 1905 when a coalition was made between the Liberal and Labour members, Price (q.v.) the Labour leader becoming premier with Peake as treasurer and attorney-general as his right-hand man, faithful and ever helpful. Price died on 31 May 1909, and on 5 June Peake formed a new cabinet in which he was premier and minister of education, and from 22 December 1909 when he handed over the treasurership to Butler (q.v.), commissioner of crown lands and immigration. His ministry was defeated at the next election and he resigned on 3 June 1910. On 17 February 1912 he formed another ministry, again holding the positions of treasurer and minister of education. He exchanged the education portfolio for that of industry in January 1915, and three months later his ministry was defeated. Losing his seat at a general election in 1915, his leadership was considered so essential to the Liberal party that one of his followers resigned his seat in his favour. He came into power again on 14 July 1917 as premier and chief secretary. Various rearrangements were made during the currency of this ministry, and Peake for part of the time was attorney-general and afterwards treasurer. He was working very hard, and though outwardly cheerful was feeling the strain. A coalition made between the Liberal and Nationalist parties had come to an end a few days before, when Peake died suddenly on 6 April 1920. He married Annie, daughter of the Rev. H. Thomas, who survived him with three sons and four daughters.
Peake was quiet and modest with none of the hail fellow well met familiarity of many politicians. Sincerely religious and a strict teetotaller, he was loyal to his party and his country, and had little thought for himself. He has been charged with indolence, but there appears to be no evidence for this, and his extreme conscientiousness would not have allowed him to neglect any duty. Though patient and forbearing he was a good debater, able to give and take hard knocks; though possibly more of a director than an originator, his generalship was excellent, and, though always willing to discuss and appreciate the opposing view, he was a good leader.
The Register and The Advertiser, Adelaide, 7 April 1920.
^Top of page
PEARSON, CHARLES HENRY (1830-1894),historian and statesman,
was born in London on 7 September 1830. His father, the Rev. John Norman Pearson, M.A., was then principal of the Church Missionary College, Islington. His mother, Harriet Puller, was descended from the famous Lord Clarendon. There were 12 other children of the marriage, of whom two rose to be judges of the supreme court. Pearson's childhood was spent at Islington and Tunbridge Wells. He was a handsome and intelligent child who did not go to school until he was 12 years old. Until then his father was his tutor. At Rugby he at first did well, but later on, coming into conflict with one of the masters, he was withdrawn by his father and sent first to a private tutor and then to King's College, London, where he came under the influence of F. D. Maurice. In 1849 he matriculated at Oriel College, Oxford. His career at Oxford was successful scholastically, he was eminent as a speaker at the Union Society, and was associated with some of the most distinguished men of his period. He decided to study medicine, but two years later had a serious attack of pleurisy while on holiday in Ireland. He was long in recovering, and was strongly advised not to continue his studies and enter on the arduous life of a medical man.
In 1855 Pearson became lecturer in English language and literature at King's College, London, and shortly afterwards was given the professorship in modern history. The salary was not large, and Pearson did a good deal of writing for the Saturday Review, the Spectator, and other reviews. In 1862 he was editor of the National Review for a year. He travelled in Russia in 1858 and in 1863 spent some time in Poland. His health was not good and in the following year he took a trip to Australia, returning much the better for it. But his connexion with King's College and the press was broken and a fresh start was necessary. He continued working on his History of England during the Early and Middle Ages, an able work begun in 1861 and published in 1868. During a trip to the United States, in contrast with the earlier views of Dickens and others, he found "the well-bred American is generally pleasanter than a well-bred Englishman . . . I agree in an observation made to me by an Englishman that the American's great advantage over the Englishman is his greater modesty". On his return he devoted himself to what he regarded "as the best piece of historical work I have done, my maps of England in the first 13 centuries", which was eventually published in 1870. In 1869 he became lecturer on modern history at Trinity College, Cambridge, but found the work unsatisfactory. "My class was filled with men who were sent into it because it was known they could not succeed in any other subject. . . . At the same time the longing for the Australian bush came over me almost like homesickness as 1 walked out day by day along the dull roads and flat fields that surround Cambridge." His father had died some years before and he lost his mother in February 1871. Shortly afterwards he decided to make Australia his permanent home and combine a light literary life with farming. He arrived in South Australia in December 1871.
Pearson enjoyed the next three years on his farm at Haverhill, South Australia, and revelled in the hot dry conditions which suited his constitution. He married in December 1872 Edith Lucille, daughter of Philip Butler of Tickford Abbey, Buckinghamshire; unfortunately her health gave way and she became very ill, and, greatly to their regret, they had to give up their bush home. Pearson then accepted a position as lecturer in history at the university of Melbourne. His salary was not high and he decided to augment it by writing for the press. The Argus rejected his articles as being too radical, but The Age began to accept them and he became a valued contributor. He found, however, that his position at the university was not satisfactory, and decided to accept the position of headmaster of the newly formed Presbyterian Ladies College at a much increased salary. He was greatly interested in his new work, but after two and a half years, from 1875 to 1877, a section of the governing body objected to his views on the land question. He had advocated a progressive land tax in a public lecture, and thus incurred the wrath of the moneyed interests. It was these interests after all that supported the school, and Pearson decided to resign. The Liberal party of the period felt that here might be a valuable recruit and pressed Pearson to stand for parliament. He was afraid his health would not stand the strain, but accepted nomination, made a good fight, and was defeated. In May 1877 the Graham Berry (q.v.) government commissioned him to inquire into the state of education in the colony and the means of improving it. The report for which he received a fee of £1000 was completed in 1878. It was a valuable document, especially as he was the first to advocate the establishing of high schools to make a ladder for able children from the primary schools to the university. This found little favour at the time, and 30 years and more passed before this part of his scheme was fully developed. Another valuable part of the report dealt with technical education and foreshadowed the many technical schools since established in the state of Victoria.
On 7 June 1878 Pearson was returned as one of the members for Castlemaine and thus began his political career. Almost immediately he was plunged into the quarrel between the two houses which had arisen over Berry's appropriation bill. The government determined to try to obtain the consent of the home authorities to the limiting of the rights of the legislative council. In December 1878 Pearson was appointed a commissioner to proceed to London with the premier. The mission was not successful, the feeling being in that it was the business of both houses to settle questions of this kind themselves. In August 1880 Pearson became minister without salary or portfolio. On 4 July 1881 he declined the offer of agent-general in London believing that the administration was doomed, and on 9 July the cabinet resigned. He remained a private member until 18 February 1886 when he became minister of public instruction in the Gillies (q.v.)-Deakin (q.v.) coalition ministry, and in 1889 succeeded in passing an education act Which introduced important changes, but did not proceed far in the direction of technical education. It did, however, introduce the kindergarten system, and 200 scholarships of from £10 to £40 a year were established to help clever boys and girls to proceed from the primary schools to the grammar schools. In November 1890 the Gillies-Deakin government resigned and Pearson again became a private member. He took some interest in federation, but realizing its difficulties adopted a cautious attitude. He retired from parliament in April 1892 declining to stand for election again, and began to work seriously on his book, National Life and Character: a Forecast. His indifferent health may have been one of the reasons preventing him from being offered the agent-generalship. Like everyone else he had suffered heavy losses from the land boom and its after effects, and in August 1892 he left for England and accepted the secretaryship to the agent-general for Victoria. He worked hard and successfully, but though he did not complain, it must have been a great shock to him when he received a cablegram to say he was to be superannuated in June. He caught a chill in February which settled on his lungs, and died on 29 May 1894, leaving a widow and three daughters. Mrs Pearson was given a civil list pension of £100 a year in 1895.
Pearson's book, National Life and Character: a Forecast, had been published at the beginning of 1893, and created great interest. It can still be read with profit, and his views on the possible dangers of eastern races to European civilization have received much confirmation in the half century that has elapsed. Among his other publications not already mentioned were: Russia by a recent traveller (1859), Insurrection in Poland (1863), The Canoness: a Tale in Verse (1871), History of England in the Fourteenth Century (1876), Biographical Sketch of Henry John Stephen Smith (1894). A selection from his miscellaneous writings, Reviews and Critical Essays, was published in 1896, with an interesting memoir by his friend, Professor H. A. Strong (q.v.).
Pearson had a remarkable memory and a fine knowledge of the classic and modern European languages; he read Ibsen and Gogol in their original tongues. Slender in form he had the appearance of a scholar, but being of a shy disposition he found it difficult to be superficially genial. In his associations with his friends he was kindness itself, and his excellent sense of humour made him a delightful companion. Of his honesty it has been said "he was one of the small class of persons whose practical adhesion to their convictions is only made more resolute by its colliding with popular sentiment or with self-interest". His health was always uncertain, probably his sojourn in Australia prolonged his life. But the debt he owed Australia was more than repaid by the public services he rendered.
W. Stebbing, Charles Henry Pearson; H. A. Strong, Memoir prefixed to Reviews and Critical Essays; The Age, Melbourne, 4 and 6 June 1894.
^Top of page
PEDDER, SIR JOHN LEWES (1784-1859),first chief justice of Tasmania,
eldest son of John Pedder, a barrister, was born in 1784. He was admitted to the middle temple in 1818 and called to the bar in 1820. He graduated LL.B. at Cambridge in 1822, and was appointed chief justice of Tasmania on 18 August 1823. He arrived at Hobart with his wife, a daughter of Lieut.-colonel Everett, on 15 March 1824. On 24 May J. T. Gellibrand (q.v.), the first Tasmanian attorney-general, in an inaugural address at the supreme court, spoke of trial by jury as being "one of the greatest boons conferred by the legislature upon this colony". It was questioned, however, whether this right was not taken away by section 19 of the "act for the better administration of justice in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land", and Pedder in a long and weighty judgment took this view. He became a member of the legislative council and the executive council, which brought him into very close relationship with Governor Arthur (q.v.) and has even led to him being spoken of as having belonged to the "government party". He should never have been put into such a position. In 1851, when the new legislative council was formed, the chief justice was no longer a member. Fenton referring to this says that although Pedder was "a very useful member of the old council" he was "now wisely removed from the disturbing arena of political strife". In July 1854 Pedder had a paralytic seizure while on the bench, and shortly afterwards retired on a pension of £1500 a year under an act passed in the previous May. He returned to England and died in 1859. He was knighted in 1838. As a judge he has been called slow in decision and fearful of over-stepping the written word of a statute. He was certainly not a great lawyer, but he was upright and thorough, always careful that the accused should suffer no injustice. In estimating his career it must be remembered that his being both a member of the executive and chief justice made his position a difficult and anomalous one. Fenton, who had personal knowledge, says that his "prudence and foresight often prevented grave injustice and dangerous blunders in the administration of affairs under the peculiar and difficult conditions of a colony half bond and half free".
R. P. Dod, The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 1857; R. W. Giblin, The Early History of Tasmania, vol. II; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania; The Argus, Melbourne, 9 and 24 August 1854.
^Top of page
PEEL, THOMAS (c. 1795-1864),pioneer,
was a second cousin of Sir Robert Peel and was born probably towards the end of the eighteenth century. In 1828 with three others he formed an association to found a colony at Swan River, by sending 10,000 settlers there with stock and necessary materials. They asked that a grant of 4,000,000 acres should be made to them. The government would not agree to this, but proposed to limit the grant to 1,000,000 acres on certain specified conditions. Early in 1829 all the members of the association withdrew except Peel. Fresh conditions were made, the final arrangement being that if Peel landed 400 settlers before 1 November 1829 he was to receive 250,000 acres. If the conditions were fulfilled further grants would be made. He arrived in Western Australia in December with 300 settlers, and as he had not fulfilled the conditions found his grant was no longer reserved for him. The land eventually granted, 250,000 acres, extended from Cockburn Sound to the Murray River, but Peel had little organizing ability and was soon in difficulties. Within less than two years he had spent £50,000, some of his settlers had deserted him, and he eventually discharged all but a few from their indentures. In September 1834 a large grant of land was made to Peel, but he had little success in developing it. He died at Mandurah in 1864 in comparatively poor circumstances.
Peel was doomed to failure from the start. If he had begun in a very much smaller way it might have been possible to develop his venture into a comparative success. But the amount of really first class land near Perth was not large, and capable men like the Henty (q.v.) brothers, who obtained a grant of land at Swan River in 1829, soon decided to cut their losses and start again in Tasmania and the Port Phillip district. It took many years to discover what was possible in Western Australia, and progress was slow for a long period.
R. C. Mills, The Colonization of Australia; J. S. Battye, Western Australia, a History; F. C. Irwin, The State and Position of Western Australia, chapter III. See also The Story of the Rockingham by Cygnet, Swan River Booklets No. 9.
^Top of page
PERRY, CHARLES (1807-1891),first anglican bishop of Melbourne,
third son of John Perry, shipbuilder, by his second wife, Mary, daughter of George Green, was born at Hackney, Middlesex, on 17 February 1807. He was educated at Harrow, where he played in the school eleven, and was a contemporary of Bishop Charles Wordsworth and Cardinal Manning. After four years at Harrow, on account of some youthful folly, the headmaster asked Perry's mother to take him away and send him to private tutors. In 1824 he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1828 as senior wrangler, first Smith's prizeman and 7th in the first class of the classical tripos. He was elected a fellow of Trinity College in 1829 and began reading for the bar, but his health broke down, and in 1832 he returned to Trinity College as assistant-tutor and later tutor. While at Cambridge he was ordained deacon in 1833 and priest in 1836, and having purchased the advowson of the living of Barnwell, vested the patronage in trustees and secured the erection of two churches. Of one of these, St Paul's, he became the first vicar in 1842, and five years later was appointed the first bishop of Melbourne. He sailed on the Stag on 6 October 1847 and arrived in Port Phillip Bay on 14 January 1848. He found that there was one over-burdened clergyman in Melbourne, another at Geelong, and another at Portland. He had brought three clergymen with him, and there were two catechists, thus making with the bishop a total of nine persons to minister to a district as large as Great Britain. Bishop Broughton (q.v.) of Sydney had given up £500 a year towards the stipend of the new bishop, but there were no diocesan funds, and the whole organization of the diocese had to be worked out and built up. The government offered the bishop two acres of land for a site for his house a little more than a mile from the post office, or alternatively five acres farther out, and set aside £2000 for the building of a house. Perry decided it would be better to be within easy walking distance of the city. His house, however, was not completed until 1853.
In July 1851 Victoria was constituted a separate colony, and a few weeks later the discovery of gold led to an enormous influx of population. Perry had succeeded in obtaining about £10,000 for the organization of his diocese from societies and friends in England, but there was little prospect of receiving any substantial amount in the future. Several new churches and schools had been built, and the number of clergy had more than trebled. It was, however, difficult to obtain additional clergy, and the cost of building for a time was exceedingly high. Perry visited the goldfields and in the meanwhile made what arrangements he could. Another problem was the framing of a constitution for the Church of England in Victoria. In this he had the valuable assistance of (Sir) William Foster Stawell (q.v.). A bill was prepared and brought before the legislative council and eventually passed. But there had been some determined opposition to it, and it was known that a petition had been sent to England praying that the royal assent should not be given. Perry was therefore sent to London in 1855 to be able to answer any objections that might be made, and though difficulties were encountered, the assent was eventually given, and Perry returned to Melbourne in April 1856. Another question dealt with by Perry in England was the choice of a headmaster for the Melbourne Church of England Grammar School. Dr J. Bromby (q.v.) was eventually appointed. On 30 July 1856 the foundation-stone of the school building was laid, and less than a year later the building for the Geelong Church of England Grammar School was also begun. In 1863 Perry again visited England principally to arrange for clergy to come to his diocese, but it was strongly felt that it would be necessary to provide better for the training of their own clergy in Victoria. On 10 January 1870 Perry laid the foundationstone of Trinity College at Melbourne university, but it was not until Alexander Leeper (q.v.) was appointed warden in 1876 that the college made a fair start. Since then several Australian bishops and many clergy have been among its old students. It was decided in 1872 that the diocese should be divided and a bishop appointed at Ballarat, and in February 1874 Perry went to England to find a suitable man for the position. The Rev. Samuel Thornton was selected and consecrated in May 1875 and Perry abandoned his intention of returning to Melbourne and resigned early in 1876. In 1878 he was made a canon of Llandaff, and in the same year a prelate of the order of St Michael and St George. In his last years he did much committee work in connexion with missionary societies and was one of the founders of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He died on 2 December 1891 and was buried at Harlow, Essex. He married in 1841 Fanny, daughter of Samuel Cooper, who survived him. He had no children. He published in 1856 Five Sermons preached before the University of Cambridge in November 1855, and in 1864, Foundation Truths: Four Sermons. Various addresses and sermons were also published separately .
Perry was a fine scholar and a good administrator who showed much wisdom in the conduct and building up of his diocese. When he left it, the number of his clergy had grown to 90. He was an extreme Evangelical and his fear that his church might be Romanized became overimportant with him. But he had the courage of his convictions, great conscientiousness, courtesy and kindliness. He made no claim to being a theologian, but was "content to believe in the bible". His portrait by Henry Weigall is at the national gallery, Melbourne.
G. Goodman, The Church in Victoria during the Episcopate of the Right Reverend Charles Perry; The Times. 1 December 1891; H. Willoughby, The Critic in Church; Ed. by R. Perry, Contributions to an Amateur Magazine; Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge, vol. IV.
^Top of page
PETHERICK, EDWARD AUGUSTUS (1847-1917),book-collector and bibliographer,
son of Peter John Petherick, was born at Burnham, Somerset, England, on 6 March 1847. He went to Australia with his parents in 1852 and was educated at Melbourne. He entered the employment of George Robertson (q.v.), the Melbourne bookseller, in 1862, and in 1870 was sent to London as buyer and English representative. In 1882 he prepared a Catalogue of the York Gate Library, afterwards reissued and extended. A few Years later he went into business for himself as a wholesale bookseller at Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, and also issued a "Colonial Library". The financial disasters of 1893 led to this business being wound up. Petherick had collected a valuable library of books by Australians, or relating to Australasia, including also many documents and charts. In 1909 this collection was given to the Commonwealth government and became the basis of the great collection of Australiana now at the Commonwealth national library at Canberra. Petherick was appointed archivist to the federal parliament in the same year, and held this position until his death at Melbourne on 17 September 1917. He had done much work on a Bibliography of Australasia, but did not live to complete it. Sections of it were published in the Victorian Historical Magazine in 1911 and 1912. He was created C.M.G. in 1916.
The Argus, Melbourne, 18 September 1917; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1917; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.
^Top of page
PETRIE, THOMAS (1831-1910),Queensland pioneer,
was born at Edinburgh on 31 January 1831. His father, Andrew Petrie (1798-1872), was born in Fife, Scotland, and went into the building trade at Edinburgh. He emigrated to Sydney in 1831 and entered the government service as a supervisor of building. He was sent to Brisbane in 1837 to direct the building work of convicts, and in 1838 was lost for three days when out in the country with Major Cotton, the commandant. In 1840 he was the first to discover the bunya bunya tree, Araucaria Bidwilli, and in 1841 with H. S. Russell and others he explored the Mary River. He made other exploratory journeys, but in 1848 he had an opthalmic attack and lost his sight. He was then working for himself as a builder, and in spite of his disability continued to direct this business for many years. He died at Brisbane on 20 February 1872. Petrie's Bight and Mount Petrie were named after him. Of his sons, Thomas became the best known. When a child he ran away from home and was found in a black's camp. He never lost his interest in the aborigines and became an authority on their language and customs. When only 15 years of age he was sent with a letter to Wivenhoe station on the Brisbane River, and spent the night at an aborigine camp both going and returning. He was trusted by the aborigines and often accompanied expeditions into the bush, as his knowledge of the language of the district enabled him to keep on good terms with the natives. In 1859 he left Brisbane looking for cattle country and took up land near the Pine River. There he built his house Murrumba, which was to be his home for the rest of his life. He did much gratuitous work in opening up tracks, and in 1877 his experience was very useful in organizing the first reserve for aborigines at Bribie Island. It was apparently working well, but two years later a new government did away with it. Towards the end of Petrie's life his daughter, Constance C. Petrie, recorded his reminiscences of the aborigines and the early days of Queensland for publication in the Queenslander. Encouraged by Dr W. E. Roth (q.v.), who in a letter to the editor stated that the articles showed "an intimate and profound knowledge of the aboriginals", Miss Petrie published them with additions in 1904 under the title of Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland. Petrie died on 26 August 1910, and was survived by sons and daughters. He was of a modest and retiring disposition, but like Christison (q.v.) did very valuable work by demonstrating that it was possible to live with the aborigines if they were treated fairly. His records of aboriginal customs have particular value, in that he was really intimate with the aborigines before their lives were affected by their proximity to white people.
C. C. Petrie, Tom Petrie's Reminiscences; The Brisbane Courier, 21 February 1872, 29 August 1910; H. S. Russell, The Genesis of Queensland; J. J. Knight, In the Early Days.
^Top of page
PHILLIP, ARTHUR (1738-1814),admiral, and first governor of New South Wales,
[ also refer to Arthur PHILLIP page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
was born in the city of London on 11 October 1738. His father, Jacob Phillip, who came from Frankfurt, was first a steward and then a teacher of languages in London, his mother, originally Elizabeth Breach, had previously married Captain Herbert, R.N. It was possibly the influence of her first husband's family that enabled Arthur Phillip to obtain entrance to Greenwich school, as strictly speaking only the sons of seamen were admissible. At the age of a little more than 15 he was apprenticed to William Readhead of the ship Fortune. Two years later he was released from his indentures and entered the navy on H.M.S. Buckingham. He fought at the action off Minorca on 6 April 1756, and in February 1757 was promoted midshipman on the Neptune. He served on various ships, but it was not until December 1760 that he became a master's mate, and in 1762 lieutenant. He saw a considerable amount of active service, and, the war having come to an end, was placed on half pay in April 1763. He then married and spent some years farming near Lyndhurst in southern England. Between November 1770 and July 1771 he was serving in the navy again and in 1774, having obtained permission to fight on the Portuguese side in the war with Spain, was given a commission as captain in their navy. He remained in this service for three and a half years, and gained the reputation of being one of the best officers in the service. In 1778 England was again at war with Spain and Phillip was on active service as first lieutenant on H.M.S. Alexander. About 12 months later he obtained his first ship as master of the fire-ship Basilisk. He became a post captain in November 1781, and in December 1782 was given command of H.M.S. Europe, on which vessel was also Lieutenant Philip Gidley King (q.v.). He was on half pay again in May 1784 and in October 1786 was appointed captain of the Sirius and governor-elect of New South Wales. Great Britain was no longer able to send convicts to America, the jails were full, and it was decided to send them to New South Wales.
The reasons why Phillip was selected for this difficult task are not known, but possibly the fact that he knew something of farming was an influence. The choice was certainly a wise one and if some of Phillip's ideas had been adopted his task would have been much lightened. His suggestion that ships with artisans on board should precede the convict ships by some time was an excellent one although not acted upon, and he had some very wise views about keeping the more vicious of the convicts on one ship, so that all might not be contaminated. Everything had to be thought of in advance, for if provisions, or indeed anything else, failed, they could only be replenished after long delay. The total number of persons involved was 1486, of whom 778 were convicts, and on 13 May 1787 the fleet of 11 ships set sail. The leading ship reached Botany Bay on 18 January 1788 and two days later the remainder arrived. A few hours stay satisfied Phillip that the site was not suitable, it was decided to go on to Port Jackson, and on 26 January some of the marines and convicts were landed. Phillip had taken great care of his people, he had given them liberal supplies of fresh meat and fruit at Rio de Janeiro and the Cape, and considering the difficulties and the state of health of some of the convicts, it was remarkable that there were no more than about 30 deaths during the voyage of eight months. After the landing there was much apparent confusion, everyone was busy, but there were few skilled artisans and real progress was slow. Sickness broke out and fresh vegetables were badly needed, it was long before a sufficient supply was grown. On 7 February, in the presence of the whole of the convicts and the military, Captain Collins (q.v.), the judge-advocate, read the commission appointing Captain Arthur Phillip as captain-general and governor in chief of New South Wales. The power given to the governor was practically unlimited. Phillip addressed the convicts, pointed out that every individual must do his share, and that those who did not labour should not eat. Justice was promised, but they were warned that those who committed faults would be severely punished.
Phillip's troubles soon began. The convicts would not work except under strict supervision, they would sometimes straggle from the camp, and the marines and seamen found the women's quarters attractive. The wood used for building was hard, unseasoned and difficult to work, and an outbreak of scurvy was a serious hindrance. Various offences were at first treated leniently by the governor, but in the circumstances of the colony, stealing from the stores was a very serious crime, and for this severe floggings were given. On 2 March Phillip started in his long boat to examine some country to the north of Port Jackson. He had hoped to find better land than that surrounding the settlement. What he did find was Pitt Water, now one of the beauty spots near Sydney. He adopted the right attitude to the aborigines, and walked unarmed among them though they were armed. He had determined that he would never fire on them except in the last resort. He had trouble with the military officers who wanted grants of land which Phillip would not make, though each was allowed the use of two acres for growing grain. He also had trouble with the lieutenant-governor, Major Ross, which continued during the next two years. Explorations were made round Sydney, and Phillip showed great courage by walking unarmed up to about 200 apparently hostile aborigines. In October 1788 the Sirius sailed for the Cape of Good Hope for supplies, and in the meantime everyone was rationed. The situation was relieved to some extent when the Sirius returned seven months later, but in October 1789 rationing began again. By January 1790 everyone had been lodged in huts or barracks and vegetables had been grown, which had a good effect on the health of the community. On 2 June 1790 the first vessel of the second fleet arrived with 222 female convicts, and before the end of the month a storeship and three convict transports also reached port. But the shocking overcrowding of the convicts had resulted in the death of a fourth of their number, and the remainder in most cases were so ill that they had to be helped ashore. There were 86 more deaths in the next six weeks. Phillip was quite unprepared for this influx but he faced the position bravely. In September he was seriously wounded by a spear thrown by a native, but fortunately recovered six weeks later. Though Phillip himself had shown great forbearance and tact in dealing with the aborigines, some of the convicts had undoubtedly misbehaved in their relations with them and several convicts had been killed. In December 1790 a punitive expedition was ordered, but the natives prudently kept out of the way. There was a partial drought, the crops at Sydney failed, and operations were largely transferred to Rose Hill. Phillip showed himself to be a good town planner in his original design of Sydney, but unfortunately his plan was never carried out and for a time the town grew in an almost haphazard way. He was much troubled by the fact that many men claimed to have completed their sentences, but as he had not been supplied with proper records, he could only keep them working on rations. In December 1790 Lieutenant King reached London with dispatches from Phillip and was able to give the government full particulars about the position at Sydney. In reply to his dispatches Phillip was informed that the government intended to send out two shipments of convicts annually, and that there would be no danger in future of a shortage of supplies. Some of the officers had complained against Phillip, but he was supported, and his sending of Major Ross to Norfolk Island was approved. Phillip had applied for leave of absence to do urgent private business in England, but was requested to continue in his position until his presence in the colony could be better dispensed with. In March 1791 James Ruse (q.v.) the first successful farmer in Australia, advised Phillip that he was able to maintain himself on the land he was farming and was granted 30 acres at Parramatta, the first grant of land in Australia. This, however, was exceptional, in April the settlement was running short of food again, and Major Ross was in the same position at Norfolk Island. Matters continued to grow worse until July, when the vessels of the third fleet began to arrive, but Phillip had to make arrangements for housing and feeding nearly 2000 more people. The food available was limited, and he immediately sent one of the transports to Calcutta for provisions. Other problems kept arising such as the question of currency. The Spanish dollar was the most common coin and Phillip decided that its value should be five shillings English. The beginnings of a whaling industry was made, men whose sentences had expired were encouraged to settle on the land, and a certain amount of live stock was brought from the Cape of Good Hope. Vine cuttings were also procured from the same place and did well. The great needs were practical farmers who could properly develop the land and live stock, and overseers for the convicts, who continued to give great trouble. Trouble was also brewing among the military officers who were already forming the military caste that was to cause so much mischief in later years. Phillip was again faced with famine early in 1792, and there was great mortality among the convicts. Vegetables were fortunately plentiful and the vines and fruit trees were beginning to bear, but there was a shortage of everything else. On 26 June the first of three store ships arrived from England, and the new colony was never again in such straits for want of food. Articles of merchandise began to come from England, but the "rum traffic" gave much trouble. The issuing of a licence for the sale of wine and spirits did not improve matters, and drunkenness and debauchery showed no signs of diminishing. Phillip would not allow his optimism to be quenched, and one of his last acts before leaving was the giving of what government live stock could be spared to the settlers. On 11 December 1792 he sailed for England in the Allantic taking with him two aborigines and many specimens of plants and animals. The population of the settlement was then 4221 of whom 3099 were convicts. The death rate had been very high, but the worst was past. Phillip had done his work well, and it must have been a great satisfaction to him to know that his administration had the approval of the king's ministers. He arrived in London on 22 May 1793.
Phillip had suffered much in Australia from a pain in his side, and he was advised that he was not fit for active service. In July 1793 he resigned his governorship, and was granted a pension of £500 a year. He was then nearly 55 years of age. He had married in 1763 Margaret Charlott, the widow of John Denison, who had some private fortune. She remained in England while Phillip was in Australia, and died apparently about the middle of 1792. Her will provided for a legacy of £100 to her husband and the return to him of the marriage bond. He lived for a time at Bath and London, and in May 1794 married Isabella Whitehead. In 1796 he was placed in command of H.M.S. Alexander of 74 guns and did patrol and convoy work, in October was transferred to H.M.S. Swiftsure, and in September 1797 he was in command of the Blenheim of 98 guns. In February 1798 he was superseded in the command of the Blenheim in circumstances involving no reflection on him. He was at Lisbon at the time and immediately returned to London. In April 1798 he received an appointment as commander of the Hampshire Sea Fencibles. In January 1799 he became rear-admiral of the blue, and in 1803 was in command of the whole of the sea fencibles. In 1805 he retired from this command and spent most of the rest of his life at Bath. His correspondence shows that he continued to keep up his interest in New South Wales. He was promoted rear-admiral of the red on 9 November 1805, vice-admiral of the white on 25 October 1809, vice-admiral of the red on 31 July 1810, and on 4 June 1814 admiral of the blue. With his pension of £500 a year for his colonial services, and his half pay, he was in comfortable financial circumstances. He had a severe illness in 1808 but recovered, and so late as 1812 we find him taking an interest in F. H. Greenway (q.v.) the architect. On 31 August 1814 he died at Bath. His wife survived him but there appear to have been no children by either marriage. He was buried in St Nicholas's Church Bathampton. The story that Phillip committed suicide by throwing himself from his window is not supported by any evidence. Portraits of him will be found in the national portrait gallery, London, and the William Dixson gallery, Sydney. A monument to his memory in Bath Abbey Church was unveiled on 3 June 1937. Another is at St Mildred's Church, Bread-street, London, and there is a statue by A. Simonetti in the botanic gardens, Sydney.
Phillip was a slight, dark complexioned man of below medium height, quick in manner, self-controlled and courageous. His task was to make a settlement in a wilderness with few and imperfect tools, and a host of broken men to use them. He had, however, the determination that enables a man to make the best of the conditions. His strong sense of duty did not help to make him personally popular, and he received little help from some of his subordinate officers. His second in command, Major Ross, was a positive hindrance to him. Steadfast in mind, modest, without self seeking, Phillip had imagination enough to conceive what the settlement might become, and the common sense to realize what at the moment was possible and expedient. When almost everyone was complaining he never himself complained, when all feared disaster he could still hopefully go on with his work. He was sent out to found a convict settlement, he laid the foundations of a great dominion.
G. Mackaness, Admiral Arthur Phillip, with good bibliography; M. Barnard Eldershaw, Phillip of Australia; Historical Records of New South Wales, vols. I and II; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. I and II; National Historical Memorial to Admiral Arthur Phillip R.N., St Mildred's Church; The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay; Eris O'Brien, The Foundation of Australia. See also Ed. by Owen Rutter, The First Fleet, The Record of the Foundation of Australia, and G. D. Milford, Governor Phillip and the Early Settlement of New South Wales.
^Top of page
PHILP, SIR ROBERT (1851-1922),premier of Queensland,
was born at Glasgow on 28 December 1851, the second son of John Philp and his wife, Mary Ann Wiley. His father was the proprietor of a lime kiln at Glasgow. Robert Philp was educated at the Anderston Presbyterian Church School, and in 1862 his father emigrated with his family to Queensland, arriving at Brisbane on 6 August. The boy was sent to the national school and in November 1863 entered the service of Bright Brothers, afterwards Gibbs Bright and Company. He remained with them for 11 years and was then employed by James Burns (q.v.). In January 1875 he was sent to Townsville, then a very small place. While there he took part in the development of the mining industry in Queensland, but his main interest lay in the building up of the business in which he became a partner under the well-known name of Burns Philp and Company. As agents dealing with the wool, wood and gold from the inland country the business became very prosperous, and gradually got together a large fleet of steamers. The management at Sydney was in the hands of James Burns, while Philp was in control at Townsville. He became a member of the town council, in December 1885 was asked to become a candidate for the newly-formed electorate of Musgrave, was duly elected early in 1886, and shortly afterwards removed to Brisbane. As a representative of a North Queensland electorate he made his first speech in favour of the forming of a new colony there. In October 1893 he reached cabinet rank as secretary for mines in the H. M. Nelson (q.v.) ministry, and in April 1898 he became treasurer and secretary for mines in the T. J. Byrnes (q.v.) ministry. When Byrnes died in September 1898, Philp was given the same positions in the succeeding J. R. Dickson (q.v.) ministry. This was defeated on 1 December 1899, but the Labour ministry which took its place lasted less than a week. Philp had been elected leader of the opposition, and on 7 December formed a ministry, taking the portfolios of premier, treasurer, and secretary for mines. He showed himself to be an excellent administrator and won the respect of both sides of the house. The 1900 session produced no fewer than 34 acts of parliament including several railway acts, a factories and shops act, and others dealing with the amendment of the land laws. In 1901 Philp paid a visit to South Africa during the recess to see his son who had contracted enteric fever while with the Australian forces. On his return he had to face the difficulties arising from a four years drought, during which the sheep in the state were reduced from 21,000,000 to 7,000,000. Various ameliorative measures were passed by the government to assist the graziers, but though an improvement in the mining industry helped matters to some extent, nothing could stop the heavy falling off in revenue and consequent deficits. The coming of federation, of which Philp had been a consistent advocate, was not at first helpful to Queensland, and Philp had many difficulties to contend with. He pursued a policy of economical and careful administration and in an endeavour to balance the budget brought in an income tax, the first direct taxation to be imposed in Queensland. On 8 September 1903, being deserted by some of his supporters, he was able to carry a bill to amend the stamp act by only two votes, and the government resigned. He was in opposition until November 1907 when he was asked to form a new ministry on the defeat of W. Kidston (q.v.). But the Labour party held the balance of power and Philp was almost at once defeated. A few months later, after an election, a coalition was made between the Philp and Kidston parties, but Philp declined to accept office. Practically the effect was that his party was amalgamated with Kidston's but he felt that a three party system was unworkable, and henceforth worked loyally for Kidston as a private member and was never in office again. In August 1912 a Philp scholarship was founded at the newly formed university of Queensland by public subscription as a permanent memorial of the work Philp had done for Queensland. In the same year he visited Europe and while in Edinburgh his portrait, now in the national gallery at Brisbane, was painted by Sir James Guthrie. After his return to Queensland Philp took up his duties as a private member again and in January 1915 was made a K.C.M.G. In the following May the Labour party was successful at the general election and Philp was defeated by something under 200 votes. He had represented his electorate for 27 years. He devoted himself to business pursuits, but in 1920 formed one of a delegation sent to England asking for the appointment of a governor of Queensland. Shortly after the arrival of the delegation Sir Michael Nathan was appointed to the position. This was Philp's last act of public service and he died following an operation on 17 June 1922. He had married (1) Miss Campbell, (2) Miss Munro, who survived him with his two sons and five daughters.
Philp was modest, shrewd and amiable. He was a successful business man, and as a politician was always thinking first of his country. He did excellent work in the development of Queensland.
Harry C. Perry, Memoirs of the Hon. Sir Robert Philp, K.C.M.G.; The Brisbane Courier, 19 June 1922; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years.
^Top of page
PIGOT, EDWARD FRANCIS (1858-1929),astronomer and seismologist,
was born at Dundrum, Ireland, on 18 September 1858. He graduated B.A. and M.B. at Trinity College, Dublin, and after a post-graduate course at London practised at Dublin for some years as a physician. He then entered the Jesuit order, and coming to Australia about 1890 was appointed science master at Riverview College, Sydney. In 1899 he went to China as a missionary, but his health broke down and for six years he was attached to the observatories of Zi-kai-wei and Zo-se near Shanghai. His interest in astronomy had been aroused when, as a student at Dublin, he had attended lectures given by Sir Robert Ball. He returned to Sydney in 1905 and took up his old position at Riverview. There he founded an observatory which though ill-equipped at first (it was not Until 1922 that he had a first-rate telescope), eventually became widely known. Pigot had given particular attention to seismology, and in 1914 visited Europe as a delegate of the Commonwealth government to the international seismological congress which was to have been held at Petrograd, but had to be abandoned on account of the war. He was elected a member of the Australian national research council in 1921, and was a delegate to the International Astronomical Union at Rome in 1922, and the Pan-Pacific Science Congress at Tokyo in 1926. He was a past president of the New South Wales section of the British Astronomical Association, and was a member of the council of the Royal Society of New South Wales for seven Years from 1921. He died at Sydney on 22 May 1929.
Pigot was a man of somewhat frail physique, with many interests and great learning. He was an excellent musician, had a charming personality, and was much loved. For many years he devoted himself to his observatory, and partly by personal sacrifice got together the collection of instruments which enabled it to be ranked among the best seismological observatories in the world. His own work in this direction was of the highest order, and towards the end of his life he was engaged in research in weather problems of great interest. He believed that eventually it might be possible to considerably increase the range and certainty of weather forecasting, by the systematic collaboration of meteorologists and astronomers in different parts of the world.
Journal and Proceedings Royal Society of New South Wales, 1930, p. 5; The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 and 23 May 1929; The Advocate, 30 May 1929.
^Top of page
PIGUENIT, WILLIAM CHARLES (1836-1914),artist,
was born at Hobart on 27 August 1836 (Aust. Ency.). His father, Frederick de Geyh Piguenit, came of an old Huguenot family. Piguenit entered the survey department at Hobart and became a draftsman. He received some lessons in painting from Frank Dunnett, a Scottish painter, who was working in Hobart, and gave all his spare time to painting. In 1872 he retired from the public service to take up the life of an artist, but had little success in finding patrons until Sir James Agnew (q.v.) gave him a good price for a picture. About 1880 he moved to Sydney and was one of the founders of the Art Society of New South Wales. He spent much time in the country seeking subjects, and during a visit to Tasmania came under the notice of the governor's wife, Lady Hamilton. On her suggestion a large number of his drawings were purchased by the government for the Hobart gallery. In 1895 his "Flood in the Darling" was purchased for the national gallery at Sydney, and in 1898 and 1900 he visited Europe where he exhibited both at London and Paris. Returning to Australia he won the Wynne prize in 1901 with his "Thunder storm on the Darling", and two years later he was commissioned by the trustees to paint his "Mount Kosciusko" for the Sydney gallery. He died on 17 July 1914. He is represented in the Sydney, Hobart and Geelong galleries.
Piguenit was the first native-born landscape painter in Australia of any importance. His thoroughly painstaking and sincere work belongs to the Victorian tradition, now out of fashion but sound within its limits.
W. V. Legge, The Tasmanian Mail, 6 May 1915; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.
^Top of page
PIPER, JOHN (1773-1851),pioneer,
was born at Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1773, the son of Hugh Piper, a doctor of Cornish descent. In April 1791 he entered the army as an ensign in the New South Wales Corps, and he arrived at Sydney in the Pitt in February 1792. In 1793 he was sent to Norfolk Island and by 1795 had become a lieutenant. He went to Europe on leave in 1797, returned to Sydney in 1799, and in 1800 received the local rank of captain. He was friendly with John Macarthur (q.v.) and acted as his second in the duel with Paterson (q.v.) in September 1801. Piper was put under arrest and there was some intention of sending him to be tried in England. He was, however, tried by court-martial at Sydney and acquitted. At the beginning of 1804 he went to Norfolk Island again and in September, when Foveaux (q.v.) left the island on sick leave, was appointed acting-commandant. Joseph Holt (q.v.), who had been sent to Norfolk Island merely on suspicion of having been concerned with the abortive rebellion in April, was very grateful to Piper for releasing him from working as a convict. He described Piper as a "perfect gentleman and excellent officer". But the expense of maintaining Norfolk Island was too great, it was gradually evacuated, and Piper left for Sydney towards the end of 1809. His mild rule of the settlement was much to his credit, but he was fortunate in not being at Sydney during the deposition of Bligh. He went to England in September 1811 and in May 1813 was appointed naval officer at Port Jackson. Piper resigned from the army and arrived at Sydney in February 1814. His office developed into a combination of being in charge of the custom house, harbour trust and water police. He collected the harbour dues and customs duties, and was paid a commission of 5 per cent on the amount collected. With Sydney increasing rapidly in importance as a port his fees rose rapidly, and he eventually received £4000 a year or more. He also received various grants of land and built a beautiful house near Point Piper which became a centre of hospitality in Sydney. Piper was interested in horse-racing and aquatics and he spent much money on relatives and friends less fortunate than himself. He became chairman of directors of the Bank of New South Wales, a member of many committees, and a magistrate. But he was of too easy-going a disposition to be able to also attend properly to his duties as naval officer, and in spite of his large income had private money difficulties. Soon after the arrival of Governor Darling in December 1825, inquiries were held into the conduct of the bank and of the naval office, and neither turned out satisfactorily for Piper. The bank had made large advances to the friends of the directors, and the staff of the naval office was found to be inadequate and many duties had not been collected. Piper was superseded and attempted to commit suicide by jumping out of his boat. He was rescued by one of his men in an unconscious state but recovered.
Piper was almost a ruined man. He had many properties, but it was a bad time for selling them and some realized much below their value. His friends stood by him, and enough was saved from the wreck for him to make a fresh start on his property of 2000 acres, Alloway Bank near Bathurst. A house was built and in 1829 Governor Darling and his wife paid the Pipers a visit, thus demonstrating that dishonesty had not been the cause of Piper's disaster. If he had been constitutionally able to live within his income his station might have been very successful. It certainly gave Piper and his family a good living for many years. But he had no reserves, and when the depression of 1844 came he lost Alloway Bank. All that was left was a fund in the hands of W. C. Wentworth (q.v.). This had been subscribed at the time of the first crash by some of Piper's friends, and with it a property of 500 acres was secured at Westbourne. Piper was now over 70, and at Westbourne he gradually faded out of life. He died there on 8 June 1851. He married Mary Ann Shears, who survived him with a large family of sons and daughters. When Piper died he was already almost forgotten, his biographers searched in vain for obituary notices in the newspapers. Yet during the eighteen-twenties he was one of the best-known men in Sydney. His misfortunes largely arose from his lack of business sense, and an inability to say no to people who sponged on him. But it was also said of him that he was "too noble-minded to desire to make a fortune from the labour of the settler, the plunder of the soldier, or from the sweat of the convict's brow" (Holt).
M. Barnard Eldershaw, The Life and Times of Captain John Piper; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. III to XIII; T. Crofton Croker, Memoir of Joseph Holt; Philip H. Morton, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XV, pp. 368-79; Flora Eldershaw, ibid, vol. XXVI, pp. 479-98.
^Top of page
PLAYFORD, THOMAS (1837-1915),premier of South Australia and federal senator,
was born in London in 1837. His father, the Rev. Thomas Playford, was in the army before joining the church and fought with the Guards at Waterloo. Thomas Playford was brought to South Autsralia in 1844, and had comparatively little schooling, but afterwards read widely. He began working on a farm in early life but afterwards took up market gardening with success. He became a member of the East Torrens district council, was chairman for 21 years, and for several years was president of the Association of District Chairmen. He was elected to parliament for Onkaparinga in 1868 as a Liberal and land reformer, and held the seat for four years. In 1875 he was elected for East Torrens and in the following February became commissioner of crown lands in the Boucaut (q.v.) ministries from March to June 1876, and October 1877 to September 1878; in the Morgan (q.v.) ministry September 1878 to June 1881; and from February to June 1885 in the Colton (q.v.) ministry. He was also commissioner of public works in Colton's ministry from June 1884 to February 1885. He became premier and treasurer in June 1887 and held office until June 1889, when he was succeeded by J. A. Cockburn (q.v.). He formed his second ministry in August 1890, was also treasurer until January 1892, and commissioner of crown lands until June 1892, when the ministry resigned. He was one of the two representatives of South Australia at the federal conference held in Melbourne in 1890, and came into conflict with Sir Henry Parkes (q.v.) on the ground that his proposals were too vague and indefinite. He was a representative at the Sydney convention of 1891, sat on the constitutional committee, and took an active part in the proceedings. He was treasurer and minister controlling the Northern Territory in Kingston's (q.v.) ministry from June 1893 until April 1894, when he was appointed agent-general for South Australia in London. Returning to Australia four years later he was elected one of the senators for South Australia to the first federal parliament in 1901, was vice-president of the executive council and leader of the senate in the first Deakin (q.v.) ministry from September 1903 to April 1904, and minister for defence in the second Deakin ministry from July 1905 to January 1907. He lost his seat at the December 1906 election and retired from politics. He died at Adelaide on 19 April 1915. He married in 1860, Mary Jane, daughter of the Rev. W. Kinsman, who survived him with five sons and five daughters.
Playford was physically a big man, considerably over six feet in height and burly in proportion, with a resounding voice and a blunt manner. An astute politician who, however, fairly earned his nick-name of "Honest Tom", he left a long record of useful work behind him. One of his grandsons, Thomas Playford, born in 1896, became premier and treasurer of South Australia in 1938.
The Register, Adelaide, 20 April 1915; B. R. Wise, The Making of the Australian Commonwealth; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; Who's Who in Australia, 1941.
^Top of page
PLUNKETT, JOHN HUBERT (1802-1869),attorney-general of New South Wales,
son of George Plunkett, was born at Mount Plunkett, county Roscommon, Ireland, in June 1802. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, in November 1819, graduated B.A. in 1824 and in 1826 was called to the Irish bar. He practised as a barrister with success, fought for Catholic emancipation, and had much influence on the success of his party's candidates at the election for Roscommon held in 1830. In 1831 he was appointed solicitor-general of New South Wales where he arrived in June 1832. The then attorney-general, J. Kinchela, was so extremely deaf that it was difficult for him to do his work, and Plunkett had to undertake most of his duties. Early in 1836 Kinchela retired from his position, Plunkett took his place, and in the same year was associated with Governor Bourke (q.v.) in bringing about a new church and schools act. Plunkett obtained leave of absence to attend to private business in Ireland in 1841, and did not return to Sydney until August 1843. In October 1844 he applied for the vacant position of chief justice which was, however, given to Alfred Stephen (q.v.). Plunkett was offered the judgeship vacated by Stephen but declined it. He was made a member of the executive council in March 1847, and in 1848, when the national school system was founded, was appointed chairman of the board of education. He gave up the attorney-generalship and retired on a pension of £1200 a year in 1856. In the same year he was elected a member of the legislative assembly at the first election under the new constitution. He resigned his seat in January 1857, was nominated to the legislative council, and elected its president. In February 1858, on account of the board of education having issued regulations which Charles Cowper (q.v.), then premier, disapproved of, Plunkett was dismissed from his position as chairman and he thereupon resigned from the council. There was much public sympathy with Plunkett, and the government offered to reinstate him if he would withdraw statements he had made in letters which were considered offensive. This he declined to do. Plunkett was again a member of the legislative assembly from September 1858 to November 1860, in June 1861 was nominated to the council, and from October 1863 to February 1865 was vice-president of the executive council in the first Martin (q.v.) ministry. He was then reconciled with Cowper, and from August 1865 to January 1866 was attorney-general in the fourth Cowper ministry. He was also vice-chancellor of the university of Sydney from 1865 to 1867. For the last two years of his life he lived much at Melbourne on account of his wife's health, and he made his last public appearance there in 1869 as secretary to the provincial council of the Roman Catholic Church. He died at Melbourne on 9 May 1869 leaving a widow but no children. Plunkett was the author of The Australian Magistrate; a Guide to the Duties of a Justice of the Peace, first published in 1835 and reissued in at least three subsequent editions; The Magistrate's Pocket Book (1859), and On the Evidence of Accomplices (1863).
Plunkett was dignified and somewhat austere in manner, though he could relax on occasions. He had much ability and exercised great influence in the early days of education in New South Wales and in connexion with the anti-transportation movement. John Fairfax (q.v.) said he was "the greatest friend of civil and religious liberty in the colony", and he was in advance of his time in his attitude to the land question, and in his advocacy of manhood suffrage.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 11th May 1869; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. XVI to XXVI; P. S. Cleary, Australia's Debt to Irish Nation-builders; Aubrey Halloran, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. X, pp. 328-37.
^Top of page
POLDING, JOHN BEDE (1794-1877),first Roman Catholic archbishop of Sydney,
was born on 18 October 1794 at Liverpool, England. His mother was a sister of the Very Rev. Father Bede Brewer, president general of the English Benedictine congregation. Polding's father died when he was eight and his education was supervised by an uncle. He was sent to the Benedictine school at Acton Burnell and received the religious habit in his seventeenth year. In 1814 he went to Downside near Bath, and continuing his studies was eventually ordained priest on 4 March 1819. He was appointed prefect, and his sympathetic nature gave him much influence over the boys in his care. In 1824 he became novice-master in 1826 secretary to the president general, and on 29 June 1834 was consecrated the first Australian bishop. He had previously declined the see of Madras. He reached Sydney in September 1835. He had brought some clergy with him to reinforce the few already in the colony, and retaining one at Sydney he divided the interior into large missionary districts and placed a priest in charge of each. He had been received by Ullathorne (q.v.), the vicar-general, who was able to tell him of the moral degradation of most of the convicts, and though Polding realized that his greatest hope must he with the rising generation, for many years much of his time was taken up in missionary work with the convict population. His other chief tasks were the provision of schools and the building of churches. In his earlier days in Sydney he had the valuable help of Ullathorne, who by looking after the business of the diocese, was able to free Polding for his missionary labours. Another pressing matter was the completion of the building of the first St. Mary's cathedral, the funds for which had to be collected from a comparatively small community. In 1840 Ullathorne left Australia and Polding went with him to Europe to obtain more clergy, for though the number of priests had increased from eight to nineteen in five years, many more were required. At Rome the question of an Australian Hierarchy was brought forward, and by March 1842 it had been decided that Australia should have three episcopal sees, Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide. Polding had been made an archbishop before he left for Sydney, where he arrived on 9 March 1843. During this visit he was made a Count of the Holy Roman Empire. His title "Archbishop of Sydney" was protested against by the Anglican bishop W. G. Broughton (q.v.) without effect.
Polding found that his boundaries were constantly widening. The new settlement at Melbourne had to be provided with clergy, and a new see had been erected at Perth. He visited Europe again in 1847 and the needs of Melbourne were brought before the propaganda authorities. It was arranged that Polding should have a coadjutor, and the Right Rev. Henry Charles Davis was given this position with the title of bishop of Maitland. Polding returned to Sydney in March 1848 and towards the end of that year a new diocese was created at Melbourne. With all his merits Polding was not a strong administrator and had much worry over financial matters, though Dr Davis was now taking these in hand. In 1854 Polding again visited Rome and it has been stated that his simple and touching words during the discussion upon the dogma of the Immaculate Conception had a great effect upon the assembled bishops. Unfortunately the health of his coadjutor, Bishop Davis, broke down and he died on 17 May 1854. While Polding was at Rome the sending of a petition from some members of the community of St Mary's at Sydney praying for the removal from all authority over them of Dr Gregory, the vicar-general, led to Polding asking to be allowed to resign his see. He was, however, assured that there was the fullest confidence in his diocesan administration. He was much interested after his return in the erection of St John's College at the university of Sydney, and following that the completion of the cathedral of St Mary. The work was steadily carried on and much had been done when on 29 June 1865 the cathedral was laid in ruins by a fire. Undeterred by this disaster the foundations of the new cathedral were laid a few months later. But Polding was now past 70 years of age and felt the need of a vigorous coadjutor. Going to Europe again in November 1865 he was much attracted to Roger William Bede Vaughan (q.v.) and asked that he might be given that position. His request was not granted until 1873. From the end of that year he was freed from the active duties of the diocese. He died on 16 March 1877.
Polding's overflowing kindness, sympathy and humility, helped him to do wonderful work among the neglected convicts during his early days in Australia. But these very qualities led at times to indecision and weakness in administrative work. A dignified, scholarly and eloquent preacher, he was loved by all his flock and respected by all outside it.
H. N. Birt, Benedictine Pioneers in Australia; P. F. Moran, History of the Catholic Church in Australasia; The Catholic Encyclopaedia, vol. XII; The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 March 1877.
^Top of page
POLLOCK, JAMES ARTHUR (1865-1922),physicist,
was born at or near Cork, Ireland, in 1865. He studied at the Manchester Grammar School and the royal university of Ireland, where he graduated as bachelor of engineering. He came to Sydney in 1884 and obtained a scientific appointment on the staff of the observatory, but gave this up to attend the university of Sydney. He graduated B.Sc. in 1889 with the university medal for physics, and in the following year became a demonstrator in physics under Professor Threlfall (q.v.). He held this position for nine years, occasionally acting as Threlfall's locum tenens, and in April 1899 was appointed professor of physics. He was president of section A of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science in 1909, became a member of the council of the Royal Society of New South Wales in the same year, and two years later was elected one of the honorary secretaries to this society. When the Australian mining battalion was formed in 1915 Pollock, though well past military age, enlisted in it and was given a captain's commission. On the western front in France he was in charge of an officers' school, for training in the use of geophones and other listening devices. He was afterwards transferred to an experimental air station at Farnborough, England, where he helped in the work of finding methods of indicating deviations from a set course. He returned to Australia in 1919 and died at Sydney on 24 May 1922 after a short illness.
Pollock was one of the most modest and retiring of men, he was several times asked to accept the presidency of the Royal Society of New South Wales but always refused. He was content in feeling that as one of the secretaries of the society and as editor of the Proceedings, he was able to do some work for science in addition to his duties as a professor at the university. He was probably quite unaware of the affection, high regard for his character, and respect for his great abilities felt by his colleagues. He was one of the founders of the Australian national research council in 1919, and an original member of its council and executive committee. His published work includes some 20 papers including research on the relations between the geometrical constants of a conductor and the wave-length of the electro-magnetic radiation obtained from it, the specific inductive capacity of a sheet of glass at high frequency, the application of the ionic theory of conduction to the carbon arc, and investigations of the ions of the atmosphere. Some of his measuremerits of specific inductive capacity can claim to be the most exact and trustworthy extant. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, London, in 1916.
Journal and Proceedings, Royal Society of New South Wales, 1923; The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 1922; Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, vol. 94, series B; Calendar of the University of Sydney, 1923, p. 777.
^Top of page
POWERS, SIR CHARLES (1853-1939),judge of the high court,
was born at Brisbane on 8 March 1853. Educated at Brisbane Grammar School he was admitted to practise as a solicitor in 1876 and was called to the bar in 1894. He entered the Queensland parliament in June 1888 as a member of the legislative assembly, in November 1889 became postmaster-general and minister for education in the Morehead (q.v.) ministry, and held these positions until August 1890. He was leader of the opposition in 1894-5. In 1894 he brought in an electoral reform bill which provided for women's franchise and the abolishing of plural voting. It did not, however, go beyond the second reading stage, and he had no success with his industrial conciliation and arbitration bill which he brought forward in the same year. He was crown solicitor for Queensland from 1899 to 1903, and was then appointed as the first solicitor-general for the Commonwealth. He held this position for to years and was then made a justice of the high court of Australia. He was president of the Commonwealth court of conciliation and arbitration in 1921, but returned to the high court bench in 1926. He retired in 1929 and in the same year was created K.C.M.G. He died on 25 April 1939. He married in 1878 Kate Ann Thornburn who survived him with children. Powers was a good cricketer in his youth and on one occasion captained a Queensland team against an English eleven. He was much interested in social questions. In the early days of federal government he was associated with many important constitutional problems, and before being raised to the bench conducted several appeals to the privy council on behalf of the Commonwealth government.
C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics during Sixty Years; The Argus, Melbourne. 26 April 1939; Who's Who, 1938.
^Top of page
PRAED, ROSA CAROLINE (1851-1935), generally known as Mrs Campbell Praed,novelist,
was born at Bromelton, Queensland, on 27 March 1851. Her father, Thomas Lodge Murray-Prior (1819-1892), was born in England and came to Sydney in May 1839. He afterwards took up grazing country in Queensland and became a member of the legislative council. He was postmaster-general in the second Herbert (q.v.) ministry in 1866, in the Mackenzie (q.v.) ministry, 1867-8, and the Palmer (q.v.) ministry, 1870-4, and was elected chairman of committees in the council in July 1889. He married (1) Matilda Harpur in 1846 who died in 1868 and (2) Nora C. Barton. Rosa Caroline was the eldest daughter of his first wife and was educated at Brisbane, where she gathered the materials for the political and social life of her early books. She married on 29 August 1872 Arthur Campbell Bulkley Mackworth Praed, a nephew of Winthrop Mackworth Praed the poet. Mrs Praed spent about four years on the land and in 1876 went to London. Except for a visit to Australia made some 18 years later, England was henceforth her home. In 1880 she published her first book, An Australian Heroine, which had been twice returned to her for revision by Chapman and Hall's reader, George Meredith; he probably gave her advice of great value. This book was followed by Policy and Passion (1881), one of the best of her earlier books, which went into at least three editions. An Australian reprint was issued in 1887 under the title of Longleat of Kooralbyn. Nadine; the Study of a Woman, was published in 1882, Moloch; a Story of Sacrifice, in 1883, and Zero; a story of Monte Carlo, in 1884. In that year began her friendship with Justin McCarthy which continued for the rest of his life. He was 20 years her senior, with an established reputation as a literary man. They collaborated in three novels, The Right Honourable (1886, 4th ed. 1891), The Rebel Rose (issued anonymously in 1888 but two later editions under the title, The Rival Princess, appeared in their joint names), and The Ladies' Gallery (1888). Another joint work was The Grey River, a book on the Thames, illustrated with etchings by Mortimer Menpes (q.v.). Mrs Praed continued to write a novel a year for a long period. Of these the following appeared before the end of the century: Australian Life (1885), The Head Station (1885), Affinities (1886), The Brother of a Shadow (1886), Miss Jacobsen's Chance (1886), The Bond of Wedlock (1887), The Romance of a Station (1889), The Soul of Countess Adrian (1891), The Romance of a Chalet (1891), Outlaw and Lawmaker (1893), December Roses (1893), Christina Chard (1894), Mrs Tregaskis (1895), Nulma (1897), The Scourge Stick (1898), Madam Izan (1899), and As a Watch in the Night (1900). Mrs Praed's husband died in 1901, and in 1902 she published My Australian Girlhood, an account of her life in the country before her marriage. It contains many interesting memories, especially those relating to the aborigines. She then resumed novel-writing and published The Insane Root (1902), Dwellers by the River (1902), Fugitive Anne (1903), The Ghost (1903), The Other Mrs Jacobs (1903), Nyria (1904), Some Loves and a Life (1904), The Maid of the River (1905), The Lost Earl of Ellan (1906), The Luck of the Leura (1907), Stubble before the Wind (1908), By Their Fruits (1908), A Summer Wreath (Short Stories), (1909), The Romance of Mademoiselle Aissé (1910), Opal Fire (1910), The Body of His Desire (1912), The Mystery Woman (1913), Lady Bridget in the Never Never Land (1915), and Sister Sorrow (1916). After a friendship of nearly 30 years Justin McCarthy died in April 1912. Towards the end of that year Mrs Praed published Our Book of Memories; Letters of Justin McCarthy to Mrs Campbell Praed, with connecting explanations. Mrs Praed's last years were spent at Torquay. In 1931 she published The Soul of Nyria, which purports to be an intimate account of life in Rome over 1800 years ago as set down by a modern woman in a mediumistic state. This record was written down by Mrs Praed between 1899 and 1903, but was not published until nearly 30 years later. Her novel, Nyria, was based on these experiences. She died at Torquay on 10 April 1935 and was survived by a daughter.
Mrs Campbell Praed never lost her interest in her native country and though most of her life was passed in England, a large proportion of her novels were based on her Australian experiences. Others dealt with the occult, with spiritualism, or with abnormal states of mind. Mrs Praed was much interested in psychological problems, her character-drawing is good although her women are better than her men, she had some sense of humour, and she could tell a story. She is entitled to a leading place among the Australian novelists who developed in the nineteenth century.
Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; The Times 15 April 1935; The Argus, Melbourne, 16 April 1935; Who's Who, 1935.
^Top of page
PRENDERGAST, GEORGE MICHAEL (1854-1937),politician,
was born at Adelaide on 6 May 1854. His parents had arrived from Ireland in the previous year. The family came to Victoria, and Prendergast served his apprenticeship as a printer at Stawell. He afterwards went to Sydney and worked on the Sydney Daily Telegraph, and later managed the Narrandera Argus. Returning to Victoria in 1888, he took much interest in his union, and in 1890 was appointed its delegate on the Trades Hall council. In 1892 he became the first secretary of the newly-formed Victorian Labour party, and in 1894 he was elected a member of the legislative assembly for North Melbourne. Defeated by W . A. Watt at the 1897 election, he regained the seat in 1900, and held it until the constituency was abolished in 1927. He was elected leader of the Labour party in 1904, but resigned early in 1913 and went on a trip to the old world. On his return he took office on 9 December 1913 as chief secretary in the Elmslie government, which was, however, defeated less than a fortnight later. He again became leader of the Labour party in 1918, and on 18 July 1924 formed a government, taking himself the portfolios of premier and treasurer. His party, however, did not have a majority in the house and he was able to pass little legislation of importance. In 1926 Prendergast resigned the leadership of the Labour party on account of his health and advancing years; but he still took an active part in the work of parliament, and in May 1927 was given the position of chief secretary in the Hogan ministry which remained in power until November 1928. When Hogan formed his second ministry in December 1929, Prendergast, who was now in his seventy-sixth year, was not a candidate for office. After the North Melbourne electorate had been absorbed under a redistribution act, Prendergast was elected for Footscray and represented it until his death on 28 August 1937. He married Mary Larrad in 1876, who survived him with two sons and a daughter.
Prendergast was a fluent speaker, a good debater, honest and enthusiastic for his cause. Personally liked on both sides of the house he was largely responsible for the building up of the Labour party in Victoria. He was on the council of the Royal Zoological and Acclimatization Society from 1912, and was a trustee of the public library, museums, and national gallery of Victoria from 1921. In private life he was interested in pottery and porcelain, and in the work of Australian artists and writers.
The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 30 August 1937; Who's Who in Australia, 1935.
^Top of page
PRICE, THOMAS (1852-1909),first Labour premier of South Australia,
son of a stone mason, was born at Brymbo near Wrexham, North Wales, on 19 January 1852. The family moved to Liverpool where he was educated at the St George's Church of England penny school. At nine years of age he began to work at his father's trade, and at 10 was practically supporting himself. At 16 he was a Sunday-school teacher and a political student. Three years later he completed his apprenticeship, and soon afterwards joined his father in contracting for work on their own account. The family had passed through hard times but was now, comparatively speaking, prosperous. Price married Anne Lloyd on 14 April 1881 and found a worthy helpmate. He was now as a contractor paying £60 a week in wages and was beginning to save money. But his health unfortunately broke down, and being advised to seek a warmer climate, he sailed for Australia with his wife and child and arrived at Port Adelaide in May 1883.
Price had paid the passages out himself and when he arrived found that there was a good deal of unemployment in Adelaide and comparatively little of his money remained. When he did obtain work he quickly showed his ability as a workman, and not the least interesting thing was that he cut many of the stones for the parliament house in which he was subsequently premier. He became clerk of works and foreman at the workshops built at Islington for the railway department, and was able to show that it was possible to do work of this kind by day labour cheaper than by tender. In private life he continued his church work, took up temperance reform, joined literary and debating societies, and was particularly active in connexion with the newly-forming trade unions. In 1891, during the election campaign, he made a most successful speech in place of the advertised speaker who by some accident was unable to appear. Two years later he was selected as a Labour candidate for parliament. He had the advantage of living in the district and headed the poll by the narrow margin of one vote.
In his early days in parliament Price was looked upon by his opponents as a dangerous man. He then had little finesse, he was full of the wrongs of downtrodden people, and no doubt appeared to some as merely a dangerous demagogue. That was far from his real character, and in later years, while in no way sacrificing his principles, he became more temperate in the expression of them. Early in his career in parliament he had a great triumph. The Kingston government had introduced a factories bill and parties were so equally divided that one vote would turn the scale. When Price spoke he exhibited samples of work done by women, and spoke with such feeling of their hours of work and miserable pay, that immediately he finished his speech the minister in charge had the question put, G. C. Hawker (q.v.) crossed the floor from the opposition, and the bill was passed. In 1901 he became leader of the Labour party, then very small in number, and in July 1905 premier of a coalition government with a majority of Labour members, taking also the portfolios of commissioner of public works and minister of education. He was never afraid to tackle difficult problems and used much tact and skill in passing a tramway bill and in advancing the principle of wages boards. He grappled with the Murray waters difficulty and set in train the transfer to the Commonwealth of the Northern Territory, long a burden to South Australia. In 1908 he visited England, and had a remarkable send off. In England he met many important people including the royal family and politicians of all parties, and lost no opportunity of forwarding the cause of Australia. Soon after his return he showed signs of ill-health and died on 31 May 1909 amid universal regret. He was survived by his wife, four sons and three daughters.
Price was a man of medium height and build, keen-eyed and strong chinned. He was simple in manner, fond of a joke, and had great common sense, sagacity and energy. As a speaker, in spite of occasional slight lapses in grammar and pronunciation, he was most effective, and the stress of his emotion and sincerity grew into real eloquence. In his early days necessarily partisan, and often impetuous, he afterwards became a leader with the outlook of a statesman, thoroughly realizing that legislation must aim at the good of the whole community.
Price's eldest son, John Lloyd Price (1882-1941) educated at Adelaide, was in the South Australian public service from 1898 to 1915. He was M.H.A. for Port Adelaide from 1915 to 1925, agent-general for South Australia in London, 1925 to 1928, and M.H.R. for Boothby from 1928 until his death on 22 April 1941. He was secretary to the federal parliamentary Labour party from October 1929 to March 1931, when he resigned and followed Lyons (q.v.) when he left the Scullin ministry. Price then became secretary to the Independent Australian party, and later secretary of the United Australia party. He was survived by a son and a daughter.
T. H. Smeaton, From Stone Cutter to Premier; The Register, Adelaide, 1 June 1909; The Herald, Melbourne, 23 April 1941; Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook, 1938.
^Top of page
PRICE, THOMAS CARADOC ROSE (1842-1911), generally known as Colonel Tom Price,founder of the mounted rifles movement,
was born at Hobart on 21 October 1842. His father, John Price (1808-1857), the fourth son of Sir Rose Price, baronet, went to Tasmania in 1835. In 1838 he was appointed police magistrate at Hobart, and in 1848 became chief superintendent of convicts at Norfolk Island, where his severity gave him an evil reputation among the prisoners. He became chief inspector of convict establishments in Victoria in 1853, and on 26 March 1857 was stoned by convicts employed at Williamstown near Melbourne and died next day. He had married a niece of Sir John Franklin (q.v.) and his son, after some preliminary education at Hobart, went to Scotch College, Melbourne, in 1854. Going on to a military college in England he entered the British army in 1861 and service in India; in 1872 he was given the thanks of the government for his "untiring energy and resource" during the cyclone of 2 May 1872. Retiring from the army in 1883 Price returned to Australia and in 1885, having been given much discretion by Sargood (q.v.), then minister for defence, re-organized the Victorian military forces. He originated the mounted rifles, afterwards called the light horse, and was largely responsible for the spread of the rifle club movement. Early in 1900 he went to South Africa in command of the second Victorian contingent and was engaged in much front line service. After his return he was for a short period in command of the Victorian forces, and in July 1902 took command in Queensland. He retired on 1 August 1904 and lived for the remainder of his life at Warrnambool, Victoria. His health had been impaired by his services in India and South Africa, and he died at Warrnambool on 3 July 1911. He married (1) Mary, daughter of Thomas Baillie and (2) Emeline Shadforth, daughter of the Hon. R. D. Reid, who survived him with three sons and a daughter by the first marriage. He was created C.B. in 1900.
Price was an enthusiastic, capable and outspoken soldier. He was well-liked by his men and had many friends but he incurred much odium during the maritime strike in Melbourne in 1890 when the military were called out, for telling his men that if they were commanded to fire it would be their duty to do so, and in that case they should "fire low and lay them out". Price strenuously defended this on the ground that if the troops fired low they would be far less likely to hit vital spots.
The Argus, Melbourne, 4 and 6 July 1911; The Age, 4 July 1911; The Bulletin, 13 July 1911; History of Scotch College; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1911, pp. 1529 and 2339; Who's Who, 1911; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.
^Top of page
PROPSTING, WILLIAM BISPHAM (1861-1937),politician,
son of Henry Propsting, was born at Hobart on 4 June 1861. He was educated at the Derwent school, Hobart, and going to South Australia in 1879 entered the education department as a pupil teacher. He studied at the training college and at Adelaide university, and rose to be first assistant at the Sturt-street school, Adelaide. He returned to Tasmania in 1886, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1892. In February 1899 he entered politics as member for Hobart in the house of assembly, and in August 1901 was elected leader of the opposition. He became premier and treasurer on 9 April 1903, his party being known as the liberal democratic party. He succeeded in re-organizing the education department and established a training college at Hobart, but most of his party's attempts to bring in democratic legislation were blocked by the legislative council. Propsting resigned on 11 July 1904 and was leader of the opposition until December 1905. He was then elected a member of the legislative council, and in May 1906 joined the (Sir) John W. Evans ministry as attorney-general and minister for education. This ministry resigned in June 1909. From April 1916 to August 1922 Propsting was attorney-general and minister for railways in Sir W. H. Lee's ministry, and was attorney-general in the Hayes ministry which succeeded it until August 1923. He was elected president of the legislative council in July 1926 and held this position with distinction until his death at Hobart on 3 December 1937. He married (1) in 1893, Caroline Emma Coles, (2) in 1925, Lilias Macfarlane, who survived him with a son and two daughters of the first marriage. He was made a C.M.G. in 1932. A fluent and persuasive speaker Propsting made his mark early in his parliamentary career. He worked for federation and subsequently frequently represented his state at federal conferences. He was a good administrator who earned a reputation for his earnestness, integrity and sound judgment.
The Mercury, Hobart, 4 December 1937; The Examiner, Launceston, 4 December 1937.
^Top of page
PROUT, JOHN SKINNER (1806-1876),artist,
was born at Plymouth, England, in 1806. He painted chiefly in water-colour, and came to Australia towards the end of 1840. He lectured on art at Sydney with success and endeavoured to arrange an exhibition of pictures, but was obliged to abandon the project. In 1844 he went to Hobart and organized the first exhibition of pictures held in Australia in January 1845. A second exhibition was held in 1846 and a third at Launceston in the beginning of 1848. Prout returned to England in that year and lived first at Bristol and then at London. He was elected a member of the New Water Colour Society (now the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-colour). He died at London on 29 August 1876.
Prout was a capable enough artist in water-colour though over-shadowed by his uncle Samuel Prout. Besides illustrative work in England he published during his residence in Australia, Sydney Illustrated (1844), Tasmania Illustrated (1844), and Views of Melbourne and Geelong (1847). Examples of his work in water-colour will be found in the national galleries at Sydney and Hobart, at the Mitchell library, Sydney, and at the Commonwealth national library, Canberra. He has the distinction of having been the first to organize art in Australia, and had no little influence in its early days both as a lecturer and as a painter.
The Art Union, November 1848; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers.
^Top of page
PURVES, JAMES LIDDELL (1843-1910),advocate,
was the son of James Purves, an early colonist from Berwick-on-Tweed, who became an importer and station-owner in Victoria. J. L. Purves was born at Melbourne on 23 August 1843 and in 1853 was a student at the Melbourne diocesan grammar school. In 1855 he was taken to Europe, and his education was continued in Germany and at Brussels where he obtained an excellent knowledge of both French and German. At London he went to King's College school, and entered Trinity College Cambridge in 1861. (Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge, vol. V). He did not obtain a degree at Cambridge, but in the same year entered at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the bar in 1865. In 1866 he returned to Melbourne and was admitted to the Victorian bar. While he was in England he had done some writing for the press, and as a young barrister in Melbourne he wrote a column in a local newspaper under the pen-name of "Asmodetis". In 1871 his defence of Martin Wyberg, charged with the robbery of 5000 sovereigns from the steamer Avoca, brought him into prominence, and at a comparatively early age he established a great reputation as an advocate. In 1872 he became a member of the Victorian legislative assembly for Mornington and retained this seat until 1880. McCulloch (q.v.) and Berry (q.v.) each offered him the post of attorney-general in their ministries, but the offers were declined. From 1880 until the end of his life Purves was engaged in nearly every important case tried in Melbourne. Much of his work was in criminal and divorce cases, but he was leading counsel for Syme (q.v.) in the famous Speight versus Syme libel case which lasted from March 1892 until February 1894. He was also much interested in the Australian Natives' Association of which he was president of the Victorian board of directors. This association threw all its influence in favour of federation and had much to do with the gradual growth of the feeling for union in Victoria. Purves died at Melbourne on 24 November 1910. He was married twice (1) to Miss Grice, (2) to Miss Brodribb, who survived him with one son of the first marriage, and two sons and three daughters of the second.
Purves was a man of great versatility. In the early days of lawn tennis in Victoria he was a well-known doubles player, and he afterwards under the name of "Gundagai" became known as one of the best pigeon-shots in Australia. He was a great advocate, with an immense knowledge of human nature which enabled him to size up his witnesses almost at a glance. His methods at times were not gentle, it would be going too far to think of him merely as a bully, but some unpopularity resulted, and when a man who had suffered under him as a witness afterwards assaulted him in the street the sympathy of the public was not entirely with the barrister. Purves, however, would have claimed that in duty to his client he was compelled to use the methods most effective for each particular case. With juries he was tactful, and would sometimes introduce humorous illustrations while getting on good terms with them. His wit was proverbial: one illustration may be permitted: Once W. T. Coldham, who had often devilled when younger for Purves, at last got him in the witness-box. He began silkily "Your name is James Liddell Purves. What is your profession?" "Profession sir!" said Purves, "I am a trainer of puppies." No one would have enjoyed this more than Coldham, and though Purves could be brusque, and had some quickness of temper, he was in reality a friendly man much liked by his associates and by the junior members of the bar. As to the alleged Rabelaisian character of his wit, there is some difference of opinion. Some light was thrown on this by a letter from B. A. Levinson which was published in the Argus on 12 October 1935, and another from F. C. Purbrick which appeared a week later.
The Argus and The Age, 25 November 1910; J. L. Forde, The Story of the Bar in Victoria, p. 276; personal knowledge.
^Top of page
QUICK, SIR JOHN (1852-1932),politician and author,
was born in Cornwall, England, on 14 April 1852, the son of John and Mary Quick. The father was a farmer who emigrated to Victoria in 1854 and immediately went to the Bendigo goldfields. He died a few months later. His son was educated at a state school and at the age of 10 went to work in an iron foundry at Long Gully. Other work followed as an assistant in the printing room of the Bendigo Evening News, as a feeder of a quartz battery, and as a junior reporter on the Bendigo Independent. The last was his real starting point, for he became an expert shorthand-writer and began to improve his general education. He removed to Melbourne and in 1873 passed the matriculation examination of the university of Melbourne. He entered on the law course and with the help of scholarships, was able to attend regularly at the university, and in 1877 obtained the degree of LL.B. Quick was called to the bar in June 1878, but continued his association with journalism and became leader of the parliamentary staff on the Melbourne Age. In 1880 he stood for parliament at Bendigo and was elected a member of the legislative assembly as a supporter of (Sir) Graham Berry (q.v.). He then resigned his position on the Age, went to live at Bendigo, and practised as a solicitor. In 1882 he received the degree of LL.D. by examination. He was making his mark in parliament and had been offered a portfolio in the Gillies (q.v.)-Deakin (q.v.) government in 1886, but a redistribution of the electorates led to his defeat at the 1889 election. In the meanwhile he had become interested in Australian federation, and it was largely through his efforts that it was taken up by the Australian Natives' Association. In August 1893 he attended a federal conference of intercolonial delegates held at Corowa, and suggested that a national convention should be held at which the six Australian colonies should each be represented by 10 delegates, to consider the framing of a constitution. In November of the same year an enabling bill was drafted by Quick which eventually became the basis for the deliberations of the convention held at Adelaide in 1897. He was second on the poll for the 10 Victorian representatives, and when federation was inaugurated on 1 January 1901 he was knighted in recognition of his many services to the federal cause. On the same day The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth, written in collaboration with Robert R. Garran, was published with an interesting historical introduction.
In the Commonwealth parliament Sir John Quick sat for 12 years as a member for Bendigo. He was chairman of the first federal tariff commission and was postmaster-general in the third Deakin cabinet. In 1904, in conjunction with Littleton E. Groom (q.v.), he published The Judicial Power of the Commonwealth of Australia, and in 1919 his treatise on The Legislative Powers of the Commonwealth and the States of Australia appeared, a valuable exposition on the large mass of legislation passed during the first 18 years of federation. In the following year another volume, written in conjunction with Luke Murphy, was published, The Victorian Liquor License and Local Option Laws Abridged and Consolidated. In 1922 Quick was appointed deputy president of the federal arbitration court, and held this position until his retirement on 25 March 1930. He was especially fitted for this work for he knew both sides of the question and proved himself to be a wise, impartial and tactful arbitrator. On his retirement he gave his attention to a volume to be called The Book of Australian Authors. With the help of various assistants he collected a large amount of bibliographical information, but he did not live to complete the work. It was eventually taken up by Professor E. Morris Miller and, with some alterations in the plan, was published in 1940 under the title Australian Literature. Quick died on 17 June 1932. He married Catherine Harris in 1883 who survived him without issue.
Quick made his way entirely by his own ability and energy. He was barely three years old when his father died, and before he was 11 he was helping his mother by working in an iron foundry. He was a great worker, simple and unaffected by his success. An excellent speaker who never lost confidence in the future of his country, he was a great influence in the federal movement, and in addition to being a sound lawyer he brought to his duties as an arbitration judge the qualities of justice, understanding, and tact. When he retired he was able to say that "the awards he had made, with one exception, had been loyally observed without strikes, or threats of strikes". In addition to the books already mentioned Quick was the author of several pamphlets and, with D. Berriman, of The Victorian Magistrate.
Charles Daley, Sir John Quick; A Distinguished Australian, a reprint from the Victorian Historical Magazine, December 1934; The Age and The Argus, 18 June 1932; private information and personal knowledge.
^Top of page [and links to other parts]