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

Dictionary of Australian Biography R

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

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



Angus and Robertson--1949


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

^Top of page


painter and etcher,

always known as H. van Raalte, was born in London in 1881. His parents came from Holland. He was educated at the city of London school, at the Royal Academy schools, and later in Belgium and Holland. In 1901 he was elected an associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, and in the same year had a picture hung at the Royal Academy exhibition. In 1902 there were full-page reproductions of an etching, and a dry-point by van Raalte in Modern Etching and Engraving, published by the Studio at London, highly competent and assured pieces of work, though he was then aged only 21. In 1910 he went to Western Australia and founded a school of art at Perth. He did many etchings and acquatints, often taking gum trees for his subjects, but it was some time before his work became known in the eastern states. He had an exhibition of his work at Perth in 1919 which was followed by another at Adelaide. In 1921 he was appointed curator of the art department at Adelaide, and in 1922 his title was changed to curator of the art gallery. He resigned in January 1926 owing to differences of outlook between him and the board of governors. He established a studio at Second Valley, South Australia, and lived there for the last three years of his life. Except for occasional fits of depression van Raalte was apparently in good health, and it was intended that he should hold an exhibition of his work at Adelaide about the end of 1929. On 4 November of that year he was found in the grounds of his house shot through the head, and he died on the same day, leaving a widow and three sons. Little is known of his painting in Australia but his etchings are often excellent. Examples of them will be found in the print-collections at Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and at the British Museum, London.

The Advertiser, Adelaide, 6 November 1929; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; information from National Gallery of South Australia; private information.

^Top of page

RAE, JOHN (1813-1900),

public man, artist, and author,

was born at Aberdeen, Scotland, on 9 January 1813, and was educated at the grammar school, Marischal College, and Aberdeen university. He graduated M.A. in 1832. He studied law and in 1839 went to Australia to take up the position of secretary and accountant to the North British Australasian Loan and Investment Company. He arrived in Sydney on 8 December 1839 and became interested in the mechanics' school of arts; he delivered in connexion with it a series of lectures on "Taste" and "The English Language" in 1841. In 1842 he was responsible for the letterpress for Sydney Illustrated, and was appointed town clerk of Sydney on 27 July 1843, the second to occupy that position, but the first had been in office for only a few months. In August 1844 a fancy dress ball was given by the mayor of Sydney, the first of its kind in Australia. Rae wrote a long humorous and satirical poem on this event which was printed anonymously in four issues of the Sydney Morning Herald in April 1845. His first acknowledged publication was The Book of the Prophet Isaiah rendered into English Blank Verse, which was published in 1853. At the end of this year the Sydney corporation was abolished, and from 1 January 1854 the city was managed by three commissioners, of whom Rae was one. In 1856 J. T. Smith (q.v.), then mayor of Melbourne, endeavoured to have Rae appointed town clerk of Melbourne, but E. G. Fitzgibbon (q.v.) was chosen for the position. In April 1857 the city council of Sydney was again constituted, and in July Rae was appointed secretary and accountant to the railway commissioners. In January 1861 he became under-secretary for works and commissioner for railways. He published in 1869, Gleanings from my Scrap-Book in two series, collections of his work in verse, which were followed by Gleanings from My ScrapBook: Third Series, dated 1874. This consisted of the "The Mayor's Fancy Ball" already referred to. The three series were printed by the author himself, and are remarkably good examples of amateur printing. In 1877 Rae gave up the office of commissioner for railways, and in 1888 he became a member of the civil service board. He retired in 1893 at the age of 80, but retained his active mind until his death at Sydney on 15 July 1900. He married in 1845 Elizabeth Thompson and was survived by four sons and two daughters.

Rae has been called the "Admirable Crichton" of his time. He was a good public servant in all his positions, he wrote excellent verse; the "Mayor's Fancy Ball" can still be read with pleasure, and in its own way was not excelled in the following 100 years. He was also a good amateur painter in water-colours; a series of 26 views of the streets of Sydney may be seen in the Dixson gallery at the Mitchell library, Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1900; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; G H. Bertie, The Early History of the Sydney Municipal Council; E. Finn, The Chronicles of Early Melbourne, vol. I, p. 318; Sir William Dixson, Journal and Proceedings, Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. VII, p. 216; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates.

^Top of page



son of David Ramsay, M.D., was born at Sydney on 3 December 1842. He was educated at St Mark's Collegiate School, The King's School, Parramatta, and the university of Sydney. He left the university without taking a degree, and in December 1867 opened the Dobroyd plant and seed nursery. He had been taking an interest in botany, entomology and ornithology for some time. He was treasurer of the Entomological Society of New South Wales in 1863, contributed a paper on the "Oology of Australia" to the Philosophical Society in July 1865, and when this society was merged in the Royal Society of New South Wales, he was made a life member in recognition of the work he had done for the Philosophical Society. In 1868 he joined with his brothers in a sugar-growing plantation in Queensland which, however, was not successful. Ramsay was one of the foundation members of the Linnean Society of New South Wales when it was formed in 1874, and a member of its council from the beginning until 1892. On 22 September 1874 he was appointed curator of the Australian museum and held this position until 31 December 1894. He took great interest in its ethnological collection and built up a remarkable variety of native weapons, dresses, utensils and ornaments illustrating the ethnology of Polynesia and Australia. This collection was lent to the Sydney international exhibition of 1879, was left in the building, and was unfortunately totally destroyed by fire on 22 September 1882. Ramsay set energetically to work to replace the lost specimens, and four years later had got together another fine collection. He was one of the commissioners for New South Wales for the fisheries exhibition held in London in 1883, and prepared A Catalogue of the Exhibits in the New South Wales Court. In 1890 he began the publication of the Records of the Australian Museum and edited some of the early volumes. In 1893 his health began to decline, and he was given extended leave. He resigned his curatorship on 31 December 1894 but became consulting ornithologist to the museum until February 1909. His work as an ornithologist was very important. He compiled a Catalogue of the Australian Birds in the Australian Museum (Parts I to IV, 1876-1894), and during his connexion with the institution about 17,600 skins of birds were added to the collection. Ramsay died at Sydney on 16 December 1916. He married in 1876 a daughter of Captain Fox who survived him with two sons and four daughters. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Geological Society, a corresponding member of the Zoological Society, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. The university of St Andrews gave him the honorary degree of LL.D. in 1886, and the Italian government made him a knight of the crown of Italy.

Ramsay was a genial man with a keen sense of humour, who though at first inclined to be conservative, was a good director of the Australian Museum. He wrote a large number of papers, the index of the first 10 volumes of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society lists 148 items by him and he also contributed to later volumes. Other papers appeared in the Ibis and the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. Some of his papers were printed as pamphlets. His Hints for the Preservation of Specimens of Natural History went into several editions.

Records of the Australian Museum, vol. XI; The Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, vol. XLII, p. 7; The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 1916.

^Top of page

RAMSAY, HUGH (1877-1906),


was born at Glasgow, Scotland, on 25 May 1877. He came to Australia with his parents when one year old. His father, John Ramsay, was a sworn valuer, his mother's name was originally Margaret Thomson. Hugh Ramsay was educated at the Essendon Grammar School, and at the age of 16 joined the classes at the national gallery, Melbourne, under L. Bernard Hall (q.v.) and became one of the most brilliant students ever trained there. He won several first prizes, and at the competition for the travelling scholarship held in 1899 was narrowly beaten by Max Meldrum, another student of unusual ability. In September 1900 he went to Europe and was fortunate in finding a kindred spirit, George Lambert (q.v.), on the same vessel. Arrived at Paris he entered at Colarossi's school and was soon recognized as a student of great promise. He sent five pictures to the 1902 exhibition of La Société Nationale des Beaux Arts and the four accepted were hung together. No greater compliment could have been paid to a young student. Another Australian student whose studio was in the same building, Ambrose Patterson, was a nephew of Madame Melba (q.v.), then at the height of her fame. Ramsay was introduced to Melba, who gave him a commission for a portrait and would no doubt have been able to help him in his career. Unfortunately Ramsay fell ill in Paris, and it became necessary for him to return to the warmer climate of Australia. Before leaving Europe he had exhibited four pictures at the British Colonial Art Exhibition held in London at the Royal Institute galleries.

Back in Australia, in spite of failing health, Ramsay succeeded in doing some remarkable work including "The Sisters" now in the Sydney gallery, the "Lady with a Fan", the portrait of David Mitchell, and his own portrait now in the Melbourne gallery. He gradually became weaker and died on 5 March 1906 a few weeks before completing his twenty-ninth year. A brother, Sir John Ramsay, born in 1872, became a well-known surgeon at Launceston, Tasmania, and was knighted in 1939.

Ramsay's death was a great loss to Australian art. The student who painted the "Study of Girl-half nude" at 18 and "The Toper" at 19 might have become one of the great masters of his time. How far he travelled may be seen in the examples of his work in the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide galleries. He was of the school of Whistler among the moderns, of Velasquez among the old masters, but owed them no more than any serious student should. When in 1918 his works were gathered together for an exhibition only 54 pictures could be found and many of them were studies. A similar collection was shown at the national gallery, Melbourne, in March 1943, and at its conclusion seven pictures were presented to the gallery by his relatives. A Hugh Ramsay prize in the painting school was founded by his father in 1906.

There are no stories about Ramsay, his health demanded a retired life and the saving of what strength he had for his art. He was tall and slender and fond of music. The light of his genius shone on his period quietly and steadily, only to be too quickly quenched.

E. A. Vidler, The Art of Hugh Ramsay; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Amy Lambert, Thirty Years of an Artist's Life; private information.

^Top of page


builder of the first steamer on the Murray,

son of W. B. Randell, one of the sub-managers of the South Australian Company, was born at Sidbury, Devonshire, England, on 2 May 1824. He arrived in Adelaide in October 1837 with his father, who subsequently took up land on which the son worked. A milling business was afterwards established at Gumeracha. There, between July 1852 and February 1853, Randall, though entirely without previous experience, built a steamer, the Mary Ann, of 30 tons, and on 15 August 1853 a long voyage up the Murray began. The South Australian border was crossed on 1 September and three days later Marrum was reached. Between this point and Swan Hill F. Cadell (q.v.) in the Lady Augusta, a larger and more powerful boat, caught and passed the Mary Ann, but the latter eventually went much farther up the river and made the return journey of 1600 miles without accident. Cadell received the reward offered by the South Australian government because he had carried out the conditions regarding horse-power, but the honour of having navigated the first steamer on the Murray belongs to Randell. The government made him a special award of £600 (A. G. Price, Founders and Pioneers of South Australia, p. 228), and a further sum of £400 was presented to him by public subscription. Other steamers were afterwards built or purchased, and for many years much trade of importance was carried on along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers. Randell was elected a member of the house of assembly for Gumeracha in 1893 and sat until 1899. He retired to Adelaide in April 1910 and died there on 4 March 1911. He married and was survived by five sons and four daughters.

J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; The Register, Adelaide, 6 March 1911; A. G. Price, Founders and Pioneers of South Australia, under Cadell.

^Top of page


premier of Western Australia,

the son of a navy surgeon, was born in Somerset, England, on 18 June 1858. He was educated at Brighton and Reading and arrived at Perth in 1882. He became a member of the firm of Rason Webster and Company, storekeepers, but retired from the firm in 1891. He had been elected a member of the legislative council in 1889 but entered the assembly when responsible government was established. He was minister for works in the second Leake (q.v.) ministry from December 1901 to July 1902, and minister for works and railways in the James ministry, between July 1902 and August 1904. He was also treasurer for a few weeks in 1904. In August 1905 he became premier, treasurer, and minister for justice, but resigned in May 1906 to become agent-general for Western Australia at London. Three years later he resigned the agent-generalship and became a director of public companies. He was afterwards appointed secretary of Bovril's Limited, and was still in that position when he died at London on 15 March 1927. He married in 1884, Mary E. Terry. He was knighted in 1909. He was president of the royal commissions on mining (1898) and immigration (1905), and showed ability as an administrator.

The Times, 16 March 1927; Who's Who, 1927.

^Top of page

REDFERN, WILLIAM (1778-1833),


was probably born in 1778. He qualified as a medical man by passing the examinations of the Company of Surgeons, London, and was a surgeon's mate in the navy at the time of the mutiny at the Nore in 1797. It is not known exactly what part he played in the mutiny, but after being condemned to death the sentence was altered to transportation for life. He arrived at Sydney in December 1801, and from June 1802 to May 1804 acted as an assistant surgeon at Norfolk Island. He was given a free pardon in 1803, and in 1808 was examined in medicine and surgery by a board of medical men, who certified that he was "qualified to exercise the profession of a surgeon, etc.". In the same year Colonel Foveaux (q.v.) appointed him to act as an assistant surgeon, evidently desiring to regularize his position. Foveaux, in asking that this appointment should be confirmed, stated that Redfern's "skill and ability in his profession are unquestionable, and his conduct has been such as to deserve particular approbation". Macquarie (q.v.) soon after his arrival stated that he found that hitherto no transported men had been received into society at Sydney. He felt, however, "that emancipation, when united with rectitude and long-tried good conduct, should lead a man back to that rank in society which he had forfeited". He was aware that the attempt to do this would need much caution and delicacy, and stated that up to then he had "admitted only four men of that class to his table", of whom Redfern was one. When D'Arcy Wentworth became principal surgeon in 1811 Redfern succeeded him as assistant surgeon. In 1817 he became one of the founders of the Bank of New South Wales.

Redfern expected to succeed D'Arcy Wentworth as principal surgeon and in 1818 Macquarie recommended him for the position, which was, however, given to James Bowman in 1819. Redfern immediately resigned from the Colonial Medical Service. In this year Macquarie made him a magistrate, but this was objected to by Commissioner Bigge (q.v.) and the appointment was not sanctioned. Redfern had a large private practice as a physician, and though somewhat brusque in manner was much liked and trusted. He visited England in 1821 as a delegate for the emancipists endeavouring to obtain relief from their disabilities, and in January 1824 he was at the island of Madeira for the benefit of his health. His wife, who was then in London, made application on his behalf for an additional grant of land, which was granted. He was evidently then in good circumstances. He retired from practising as a physician in 1826, and for about two years engaged in scientific farming which had been a hobby of his for some time. He went to Edinburgh about the end of 1828 and died there towards the close of July 1833. He married in 1811 Sara Wills, who survived him with a son.

Flanagan in his History of New South Wales states that Redfern's offence at the time of the mutiny at the Nore "consisted in advising the mutineers to be more united". In spite of all Macquarie's efforts and Redfern's general good conduct and standing as a physician, it was impossible to entirely break down the prejudice against him, and Flanagan also tells us that "a stringent rule was necessary to keep the junior officers at the table when he appeared in the mess-room as the guest of the colonel". The naming of a suburb of Sydney after Redfern may perhaps be taken as a tardy apology to the memory of a good physician and worthy Australian pioneer.

Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. VI, VII, IX to XI, ser. III, vol. II, ser. IV, vol. I; Norman J. Dunlop, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XIV, pp. 57-105; W. C. Wentworth, A Statistical Account of the British Settlements in Australia, 3rd ed., vol. I, pp. 395-410.

^Top of page

REIBEY, THOMAS (1821-1912),

premier of Tasmania, and public man,

was born at Launceston, Tasmania, on 24 September 1821. His father, Thomas Reibey, was a prosperous grazier who married Richenda, daughter of Richard Allen, M.D., and his grandmother, Mary Reibey, was a well-known early resident of Sydney. At an early age Reibey was sent to England to be educated, and he matriculated and entered Trinity College, Oxford, in May 1840. The death of his father brought him back to Tasmania before he could graduate, and in 1843 he was admitted to Holy Orders by Bishop Nixon (q.v.). He was for some years rector of Holy Trinity church, Launceston, and afterwards rector of Carrick, where he built and partly endowed a church. About 1858 he became archdeacon of Launceston. He drew no stipend during the whole of his clerical life. About 1870, on account of a disagreement with Bishop Bromby (q.v.), he retired from active life in the church, though he continued to take much interest in it. In 1874 Reibey entered the Tasmanian house of assembly as member for Westbury and continued to represent it for 29 years. From March 1875 to July 1876 he was leader of the opposition and then became premier and colonial secretary. But parties were not clearly defined, there was much faction, and his ministry lasted only a little more than a year. He was again leader of the opposition from August 1877 to December 1878 when he became colonial secretary in the W. L. Crowther (q.v.) ministry until October 1879. In July 1887 he was elected speaker of the house of assembly and competently filled the position until July 1891. He was minister without portfolio in the Braddon (q.v.) ministry from April 1894 to October 1899. Four years later he retired from politics and confined his interests to country pursuits for the remainder of his long life. He had two estates and kept a stud of horses which he raced purely for the love of sport. In 1882 he had just failed to win the Melbourne cup with Stockwell and he also at one time owned Malua which won in 1884. He retired from racing towards the end of his life on account of his disapproval of some incidents that had occurred in connexion with it. He was president of more than one racing club and gave much energy to the improvement of agriculture as president of the Northern Agricultural Society. Keeping his faculties to the end he died in his ninety-first year on 10 February 1912. He married in 1842 Catherine McDonall, daughter of James Kyle of Inverness, who pre-deceased him. He had no children.

Reibey was a courteous and kindly man, everywhere respected and revered. He was nearly 30 years in the church and a similar period in politics, where he did his best to keep things moving during an obstructive period. He had little party spirit and was interested chiefly in what would be good for the colony. He was a good influence in the sporting community and few men have had a life so useful and varied.

The Mercury, Hobart, 12 February 1912; The Examiner, Launceston, 12 February 1912; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

^Top of page


premier of New South Wales and prime minister of Australia,

born at Johnstone, near Paisley, Scotland, on 25 February 1845, was the son of the Rev. John Reid, a Presbyterian clergyman, who came to Melbourne with his family in May 1852. At Melbourne Reid was sent to the recently established Melbourne Academy which afterwards became the Scotch College. In 1858, when Reid was 13 years of age, his father removed to Sydney to become the colleague of the Rev. John Dunmore Lang (q.v.), and the boy immediately obtained a position as junior clerk in a Sydney merchant's office. At 15 he joined a debating club and began to learn how little he knew. He tells us in his autobiography, that a more crude novice than he was never began the practise of public speaking. In July 1864 he obtained a position in the colonial treasury and remained in that department until 1878, when he was appointed secretary to the crown law offices. So far back as 1866 he had been advised by Sir Julian Salomons (q.v.) to study for the bar, and Reid long dallied with the idea. It was not until 1879 that he passed his final examination and was admitted to practise. In 1875 he had published his Five Essays on Free Trade, which brought him an honorary membership of the Cobden Club, and in 1878 the government published his New South Wales, the Mother Colony of the Australias, for distribution in Europe. In November 1880 he resigned from the crown law offices and became a candidate for an East Sydney seat in the legislative assembly. There were several candidates for the four seats, including Sir Henry Parkes (q.v.), and Reid, though previously almost unknown, headed the poll. He was to represent East Sydney, except for one defeat, for the remainder of his Australian political life.

Reid was an active member of parliament from the beginning. As a private member in his first parliament he submitted three bills, succeeded in passing one of them, the width of streets and lanes act, and moved for an inquiry into the working of the land laws. After 20 years of free selection, 96 people owned 8,000,000 acres of land in New South Wales and there was often evasion of the law by dummying. After much pressure the Parkes-Robertson (q.v.) government brought in an amending bill which was felt to be quite inadequate and led to the defeat of the government. At the subsequent election it lost many seats. The new premier, Alexander Stuart (q.v.), offered Reid the position of colonial treasurer in January 1883, but he thought it wiser to accept the junior office of minister for public instruction. He was 14 months in office and succeeded in passing a much improved education act, which included the establishment of high schools in the leading towns, technical schools, and the provision of evening lectures at the university. He lost his seat in parliament owing to a technicality; the requisite notice had not appeared in the Government Gazette declaring that the minister for public instruction was capable of sitting. At the new election Reid was defeated by a small majority. In 1885 he was elected again and took a great part in the free trade or protection issue. He supported Sir Henry Parkes on the free trade side but, when Parkes came into power in 1887, declined a seat in his ministry. Parkes offered him a portfolio two years later and Reid again refused. He did not like Parkes personally and felt he would be unable to work with him. When payment of members of parliament was passed Reid, who had always opposed it, paid the amount of his salary into the treasury.

By this time federation was much in the air. After the Melbourne conference of 1890 it was debated in the New South Wales parliament and Reid adopted a critical attitude; he was not prepared to sacrifice the free trade policy of New South Wales, and suggested that the constitution when drafted should be submitted to the various parliaments. After the convention he took a similar position, objecting strongly to what he considered to be the neglect of the special interests of New South Wales by its delegates. In September 1891 the Parkes ministry was defeated, the Dibbs (q.v.) government succeeded it, and Sir Henry Parkes retired from the leadership of his party. Reid was elected leader of the opposition in his place. Though he had never accepted office under Parkes, Reid had always worked against any suggestion to form a "cave" in the party. At the 1894 election he made the establishment of a real freetrade tariff with a system of direct taxation the main item of his policy, and had a great victory. Barton (q.v.) and other well-known protectionists lost their seats, the Labour following was reduced from 30 to 18, and Reid formed his first cabinet. One of his earliest measures was a new lands bill which provided for the division of pastoral leases into two halves, one of which was to be open to the free selector, while the pastoral lessee got some security of tenure for the other half. Classification of crown lands according to their value was provided for, and the free selector, or his transferee, had to reside on the property. Sir Henry Parkes at an early stage of the session raised the question of federation again, and Reid invited the premiers of the other colonies to meet in conference on 29 January 1895. As a consequence of this conference an improved bill was drafted which ensured that both the people and the parliaments of the various colonies should be consulted. Meanwhile Reid had great trouble in passing his land and income tax bills. When he did get them through the assembly the council threw them out. Reid obtained a dissolution, was victorious at the polls, and eventually succeeded in passing his acts. They appear very moderate now, but the council fought them strenuously, and it was only the fear that the chamber might be swamped with new appointments that eventually wore down the opposition. Reid was also successful in bringing in reforms in the keeping of public accounts and in the civil service generally. Other acts dealt with the control of inland waters, and much needed legislation relating to public health, factories, and mining, was also passed.

At the election of 10 delegates from New South Wales for the federal convention of 1897 held at the beginning of that year, Reid was returned second to Barton. The convention met on 22 March at Adelaide and adjourned a month later. In the interval much important business was done, the work being facilitated by constitutional, finance and judiciary committees formed from the members. It is possibly significant that Reid was not a member of any committee. In his My Reminiscences he prints the complimentary remarks on his work made at the close of the conference by Deakin (q.v.), Kingston (q.v.), Barton, Braddon (q.v.), and Turner (q.v.) He probably deserved them but he was always looked upon as uncertain in his support of federation. On 10 May 1897 he left for England to attend the diamond jubilee celebrations, and during his absence the federal bill was considered by the New South Wales assembly and council. Soon after his arrival in England Reid was made a privy councillor. He heard some of the most distinguished speakers of the day and was complimented on his own speaking by Lord Rosebery. At the premiers' conference where such difficult problems as preferential trade, coloured immigration, and naval subsidies, were considered he had a full share in the discussions, but realized that as Great Britain and New South Wales both had a freetrade policy there was little scope for preference in their cases. At his native town of Johnstone Reid had a tumultuous reception, and characteristically gave as his reason for leaving it at the age of two months, that he wished to make more room for his struggling fellow countrymen.

Reid returned to Sydney on 1 September 1897 and the federal convention immediately resumed its sittings. The amendments proposed by the various legislatures were in most cases not important, and some of the more contentious clauses were postponed until the convention should meet again in Melbourne in January 1898. In the meantime a bill was introduced by a private member in the New South Wales house requiring an absolute majority of the electors in favour of federation. An amendment substituting 100,000 was moved, and as a compromise 80,000 was suggested by Reid. He has been blamed for this but stated afterwards that had he not suggested that number it would have been 100,000. At the Melbourne convention Sir George Turner in Reid's absence carried an amendment that the parliament of the Commonwealth shall take over the debts of the individual colonies. On Reid's arrival he had the question re-opened, and eventually carried by one vote the substitution of "may" for "shall". After the close of the convention Reid, on 28 March, made his famous "Yes-No" speech at the Sydney town hall. He told his audience that he intended to deal with the bill "with the deliberate impartiality of a judge addressing a jury". After speaking for an hour and three-quarters the audience was still uncertain about his verdict. He ended up by saying that while he felt he could not become a deserter to the cause he would not recommend any course to the electors. He consistently kept this attitude until the poll was taken on 3 June 1898. The referendum in New South Wales resulted in a small majority in favour, but the yes votes fell about 8000 below the required number of 80,000. At the general election held soon after Barton accepted Reid's challenge to contest the East Sydney seat and Reid defeated him, but his party came back with a reduced majority. When parliament met resolutions were passed providing that the federal capital should be in New South Wales, that the use of rivers for irrigation should be safeguarded, that the senate should not have power to amend money bills, and that the Braddon clause should be removed. Of these it was agreed at the next meeting of the convention that the capital should be in New South Wales with the added proviso that it must be at least 100 miles from Sydney, and the Braddon clause was limited to a period of 10 years. Reid fought for federation at the second referendum and it was carried in New South Wales by a majority of nearly 25,000, 107,420 Votes being cast in favour of it. If Reid could have held his position as premier of New South Wales for another year he might possibly have been the first federal prime minister, but he was at the mercy of the Labour party, in September 1899 he was defeated, and Sir William Lyne (q.v.) formed a ministry.

Reid did his most useful work in New South Wales in the years 1895-9. Though there were drought conditions for part of the time he afterwards claimed that "the loads upon our current year caused by the annual charges in respect of past deficiencies were all paid and a surplus of £135,000 remained". He also did excellent work in breaking down the opposition of an extremely conservative upper house to any new measures brought forward that affected financial interests. After the first federal election Reid as leader of the free trade section had a party of 26 out of 75 in the house of representatives, in the senate he had 17 Out of 36. In the long tariff debate Reid was at a disadvantage as parliament was sitting in Melbourne and he could not entirely neglect his practice as a barrister in Sydney, but his party succeeded in getting a number of reductions in the proposed duties. At the second federal election, held in 1903, Labour was the only party to make gains, but the opposition had suffered less than the ministry. When Deakin brought in his conciliation and arbitration bill, Reid supported the ministry in resisting the amendment to include the public services in the bill. But many of his supporters voted for the amendment, and J. C. Watson's (q.v.) Labour government came into power. It in turn was defeated a few months later, and a coalition government was formed in August 1904 by Reid's party and a large section of the followers of Deakin who, however, declined to take office himself. This ministry never had a majority of more than two but managed to keep going until the recess which ended in June 1905. On 24 June Deakin made a speech at Ballarat which Reid and his fellow ministers felt could only be taken as a withdrawal of his support. Reid decided to abandon the policy speech he had prepared and substitute one which simply proposed electoral business. Deakin moved and carried as an amendment to the address in reply the addition of the words "But we are of opinion that practical measures should be proceeded with". Reid asked for a dissolution but it was refused, and Deakin immediately formed a new administration. At the election held in November 1906 Deakin was returned with a reduced following, but carried on with Labour support until November 1908 when the first Fisher (q.v.) ministry came in. Reid as leader of the opposition had been unable to have much influence on the legislation that was passed, but often showed himself to be a formidable opponent. He now found it necessary to resign the leadership of his party and was succeeded by Joseph Cook, who joined forces with Deakin in June 1909 to defeat the Labour government and form what was known as the "Fusion Government". The office of high commissioner in London was created towards the close of 1909, and the position was offered to Reid who accepted it. He arrived in London in February 1910 and carried out his duties with success for about six years. He visited many cities on the continent with business objects in view, and made a tour of Canada and the United States. He retired on 21 January 1916 and though 70 years of age felt full of energy. A few days before he had been elected without opposition for the St George's Hanover Square seat in the house of commons. He found the atmosphere of that house very different from that of Australian parliaments, and had scarcely had time to adapt himself to this when he died at London on 12 September 1918. Made a privy councillor in 1897 he was created K.C.M.G. (1909), G.C.M.G. (1911), and G.C.B. (1916). He married in 1891, Flora, daughter of John Bromby, who survived him with two sons and a daughter.

Portly in middle life Reid became even more so as he grew older, and full advantage was taken of this by the caricaturists. Yet it is doubtful whether any of them succeeded in disclosing the real man, he remained something of an enigma. A first-rate tactician his opponents thought him unreliable, selfish, and coarse-grained; his own statements about his youth might be considered by some to support this view. He said in his Reminiscences that "A thinner skin, a keener sense of shame, a less resolute endurance, a more diffident estimate of my abilities might have spoilt my chances for life". But Reid was not doing himself justice. He was not over-sensitive, he was not strictly speaking an idealist, yet his refusing for a period to accept his salary as a legislator, his loyalty to Parkes, and the financial sacrifices incurred by the neglect of his practice while in politics, do not suggest a selfish nature. He claimed with truth that he was the first man in New South Wales to make wealth pay a fair share towards the burdens of the community, and he was the first legislator to bring in laws to break up the virtual land monopoly. As a barrister he was an excellent advocate, as a politician he was a great platform speaker and an admirable debater. Many stories of his powers of repartee and readiness are told. One that has appeared in more than one form may help to explain his success with popular audiences. Once at an open-air meeting a bag of flour was thrown at him which burst all over his capacious waistcoat. Without a pause Reid went on "When I came into power the people had not enough flour to make bread for themselves and now (displaying himself) they can afford to throw it about like this". His autobiography was disappointing but his proverbial good temper shines through the book, and his accounts of past conflicts have no trace of bitterness. He was extremely shrewd, knew how to appeal to the average man, and took his politics seriously. But he never took himself too seriously, and no man could say that he ever endeavoured to obtain advantages for himself while working for his country.

G, H. Reid, My Reminiscences; The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September, 1918; The Times, 13 September 1918; Quick and Garran, Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth; W. Murdoch, Alfred Deakin: a Sketch; H. V. Evatt, Australian Labour Leader; A. B. Piddington, Worshipful Masters.

^Top of page



son of A. E. Rennie, afterwards auditor-general of New South Wales, was born at Sydney on 19 August 1852. Educated at the Fort-street public school, Sydney Grammar School, and the university of Sydney, he graduated B.A. in 1870 and M.A. in 1876. He was a master at Sydney Grammar School for five years and at Brisbane Grammar School for about 18 months, and then went to London to study chemistry. He was for two years assistant to Dr C. R. Alder Wright in the chemical department of St Mary's hospital medical school, did some teaching at the Royal College of Science, South Kensington, and graduated D.Sc. Lond. in 1881. Returning to Australia in 1882 he was two years in the government analyst's department at Sydney, and was then appointed first Angas professor of chemistry in the university of Adelaide. He began his duties in February 1885, and for many years had to work in makeshift conditions. Rennie however, made the best of the position, and also gave much time to the conduct of the university. He was a member of the council from 1889 to 1898, when he resigned because he was leaving Australia for 12 months to study the development of chemical manufacture, and was again a member of the council from 1909 to the time of his death. During 1924-5 and 1925-6 he was acting vice-chancellor. He was also an active member of the council of the school of mines. He was for 36 years a member of the council of the Royal Society of South Australia, was its president from 1886 to 1889 and 1900 to 1903, and vice-president from 1903 to 1919. He was for a time president of the Australian Chemical Institute, and chairman of the state committee of the Commonwealth advisory council of science and industry. In August 1926 he was elected to one of the highest offices open to a scientific man in Australia--that of president of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science. Rennie was also a fellow of the Chemical Societies of London and Berlin, and a fellow of the Institute of Chemists of Great Britain and Ireland. Though in his seventy-fifth year he was still carrying on the duties of his chair, when he died suddenly at Adelaide on 8 January 1927. He married a daughter of Dr Cadell of Sydney, who survived him with a son, E. J. C. Rennie, afterwards a senior lecturer in engineering at the university of Melbourne, and two daughters.

Of simple and somewhat austere tastes, and a sincerely religious man, Rennie was much liked by his students and associates. As a scientist he kept abreast of his subject, but had little time for writing and few facilities for research. Some early papers by him will be found in the Transactions of the Chemical Society for the years 1879-82 and a list of his papers in the Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of South Australia is given on page 426 of volume LI. A few of his papers were reprinted separately as pamphlets.

The Register and The Advertiser, Adelaide, 10 January 1927; Transactions and Proceedings Royal Society of South Australia, vol. LI, p. 425; Journal of the Chemical Society, 1927, p. 3189.

^Top of page


Presbyterian divine,

son of the Rev. James B. Rentoul, D.D., was born at Garvah, County Derry, Ireland, in 1846. He was educated at Queen's College, Belfast, and Queen's University, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1867 and M.A. in 1868, with first-class honours and the gold medal for English literature, history and economic science. He also did post-graduate work at Leipzig. Entering the Presbyterian ministry, he became incumbent of St George's church, Southport, Lancashire, and while there married Annie Isobel, daughter of D. T. Rattray. Early in 1879 he came to St George's church, St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne. Five years later he was appointed professor in the theological hall, Ormond College, university of Melbourne, his subjects being Hebrew and Old Testament Criticism, New Testament Greek, and Christian Philosophy. While still under 40 years of age he was given the degree of D.D. by the Theological Faculty of Ireland. At Ormond he exercised a great influence over many generations of candidates for the Presbyterian ministry, and was a conspicuous figure in all the counsels of his church. He showed great ability in conducting religious controversies, for which he was equipped with wide reading and knowledge of the languages of the original texts. He stated once that he never entered on a fight willingly, but once the contest had started he fought with great vigour and, many of his friends thought, with a full appreciation of the joy of combat. It was not for nothing that he was popularly known as "Fighting Larry"; but he had no ill-will to his opponents and never bore rancour. He was made moderator-general of his church for 1912-14, and when war broke out was appointed chaplain-general of the A.I.F. His last years were clouded by the long illness of his wife following an accident, and the break-down of his younger son, a youth of extraordinary promise, while studying for his examinations. Rentoul died suddenly on 15 April 1926 leaving a widow, two sons and two daughters. He was the author of From Far Lands; Poems of North and South, published in 1914, and At Vancouver's Well and Other Poems of South and North, 1917. His poetry has been praised, a good example of it is "Australia" which was included in The Oxford Book of Australasian Verse, but though fervid and deeply felt, it is seldom of high quality. In prose Rentoul published in 1896, The Early Church and the Roman Claims, which ran into six editions. He also wrote The Church at Home; Prayers for Australian Households, and several pamphlets.

Rentoul was somewhat frail-looking but was in reality strong and active, showing much endurance during his yearly trout-fishing holidays in New Zealand. He was interested in the aborigines and all oppressed people, and incurred some odium by taking up the cause of the Boers at the time of the South African war. He was a fine scholar, learning all his life, and his erudition, keen wit, versatility, strength of conviction, and scorn of compromise, made him a remarkable preacher and lecturer. As a debater he had great readiness in retort, and in developing his argument his words flowed with an almost volcanic passion. He was not without foibles and there was a streak of genius in him. In private life he was courteous, kindly and generous, a man who would do anything to help a friend--or a foe. His elder daughter, Annie Rattray Rentoul, wrote verse with some ability. A list of volumes of her songs which were set to music will be found in Serle's A Bibliography of Australasian Poetry and Verse. The younger daughter, Ida Sherbourne, afterwards Mrs Outhwaite, became well-known as an illustrator of fairy tales.

The Age and The Argus, Melbourne, 16 April 1926; The Presbyterian Messenger, 23 and 30 April 1926; P. S. Cleary, Australia's Debt to Irish Nation Builders; Who's Who, 1926.

^Top of page

RENWICK, SIR ARTHUR (1837-1908),

public man and philanthropist,

son of George Renwick, was born at Glasgow on 30 May 1837. He was brought to Sydney as a child and was one of the early students of the university of Sydney, where he graduated B.A. in 1857. Going on to Edinburgh he qualified for the medical profession graduating M.B., M.D., and F.R.C.S. He returned to Sydney, where he established a rapidly growing practice, becoming eventually one of the leading physicians and the first president of the local branch of the British Medical Association. He was elected a member of the legislative assembly for East Sydney in 1879, and became secretary for mines in the third Parkes (q.v.) ministry on 12 October 1881, but lost his seat at the election held in December 1882. He was elected for Redfern in October 1885 and was minister for public instruction in the Jennings (q.v.) ministry front 26 February 1886 to 19 January 1887. In this year he was nominated to the legislative council and was a member for the remainder of his life, though never in office again. As a politician he was one of the earliest to realize the responsibility of the state towards the poor. He was the author of the Benevolent Society's incorporation act, he founded the state children's relief department, and as president of the original committee he had much to do with the bringing in of old-age pensions in New South Wales. In spite of his heavy practice as a physician, he gave much time to Sydney hospital, was its president for 29 years, was also president for about the same period of the Benevolent Society of New South Wales, and he took much interest in the Deaf Dumb and Blind Institution, and the Royal Hospital for Women at Paddington. He became a member of the senate of the university of Sydney in 1877, and was vice-chancellor on several occasions. He was an early advocate for the foundation of a medical school at the university, and in 1877 gave £1000 to found a scholarship in the faculty of medicine. After the medical school was established in 1883 he provided the west stained-glass window in the upper hall of the medical school building. He in fact took the greatest interest in all movements for the welfare of the community, and his ability as an organizer led to his acting as a commissioner for New South Wales for the Melbourne international exhibition in 1880, and in similar positions for exhibitions held at Adelaide, Amsterdam, and Chicago. He died at Sydney on 23 November 1908. He married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. John Saunders, who survived him with six sons and a daughter. He was knighted in 1894. His aptitude for business led to his being placed on the boards of various important financial companies, but his really important work was his philanthropy, to which he brought a scholarly mind, much energy, and a far-sighted understanding of what could and should be done for suffering humanity.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, 24 November 1908; Calendar of the University of Sydney, 1909; Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, vol. XXXIV, p. 2; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1908.

^Top of page

REYNOLDS, TH0MAS (c. 1817-1875),

premier of South Australia,

was born in England in 1817 or 1818, and on leaving school had experience in the grocery business. He came to South Australia as an early colonist at the invitation of his brother, who had a draper's shop at Adelaide. Soon afterwards Reynolds opened a grocer's shop, was successful for a time, but like many others fell into financial difficulties when the gold-rush began. He recovered his position, became an alderman in the Adelaide city council in 1854, but a few months afterwards resigned to enter the legislative council. In 1857 he was elected for Sturt in the first house of assembly. From September 1857 to June 1858 he was commissioner of public works in the Hanson (q.v.) ministry, and in May 1860 he became premier and treasurer. Twelve months later his ministry was reconstructed and he resigned on 8 October 1861. He was treasurer in the second Waterhouse (q.v.) ministry from October 1861 to February 1862, and in the second Dutton (q.v.) ministry from March to September 1865. He held the same position in the fourth and fifth Ayers (q.v.) ministries from May 1867 to September 1868 and from October to November 1868. He was commissioner of crown lands in the seventh Ayers ministry from March 1872 to July 1873. Early in the latter year he visited Darwin, where there was a gold-rush, and found matters completely disorganized. Many of the official staff had not only taken up claims but had been allowed leave of absence to look after their mines. Reynolds did his best to restore order and returned to Adelaide where he reported favourably on the mineral resources of the north. Not finding himself in agreement with his colleagues in the ministry he retired from parliament and went to Darwin. He was not successful there, and was returning to Adelaide on the Gothenburg which was wrecked on 24 February 1875, and he was drowned. He married Miss Litchfield, who lost her life with him. He was survived by two sons.

Reynolds was a shrewd business man, a hard worker, and a good treasurer, but was of too sanguine and fiery a temperament to be a politician of the first rank. He was a pioneer in jam-making and raisin-curing in South Australia, but his devotion to his parliamentary duties led sometimes to the neglect of his own financial interests. He was also a leader in the total abstinence movement in Adelaide.

The South Australian Register and The South Australian Advertiser, 8 March 1875; E. Hodder, The History of South Australia; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

^Top of page



was born at Islington, London, on 9 July 1853, the son of John Richardson a painter of figure subjects. He came to Victoria with his parents in 1858 and was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne. On leaving school, having been apprenticed to a firm of lithographic printers, he studied at schools of design and the national gallery, Melbourne, and in 1881 went to London. He entered at the Royal Academy schools and was successful in winning the second prize for painting in 1883. In the following year he won the Armitage medal for painting and first prize for sculpture. Examples of his work in both painting and sculpture were shown at the Royal Academy exhibitions of 1885 and 1888.

In 1889 Richardson returned to Australia. He took an interest in the Victorian Artists' Society and for some time was its honorary secretary. In 1898 he founded the Yarra Sculptors' Society and was its president for several years. In 1916 he was elected president of the Victorian Artists' Society and held the position for 12 years, a longer term than that of any other artist. As president he showed a kindly interest in the work of younger men. He died at Brighton, near Melbourne, on 15 October 1932. He married in 1914, Margaret Baskerville (1861-1930) sculptor, who had been his pupil. The two large reliefs in the vestibule of the Capitol theatre, Melbourne, were their joint work.

Richardson did his best work in sculpture, but his gentle and unassuming nature made it impossible for him to push his claims, and his merits were too often overlooked. His largest work "The Discovery of Gold at Bendigo" scarcely shows him at his best. Of his war memorial work examples may be found in the shrine at All Saints', St Kilda, Strathalbyn, South Australia, and at Wangaratta, Kerang, Mount Dandenong and the Commercial Travellers' Association, Melbourne. Some of his best work, such as "The Cloud", "Cain", and "The Mirage", was never put into permanent form. He spent much of his time doing hack work, of which the copy of the Mercury of John of Bologna for the Age office, Collins-street, Melbourne, is an example. He painted in both oils and water-colours but his work in these mediums too often lacked strength. Several examples of Richardson's work may be seen at the municipal collection at Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne.

E. Fysh, Memoirs of C. D. Richardson; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; A. Graves, The Royal Academy Exhibitors; The Herald, Melbourne, 25 September 1930; personal knoweledge.

^Top of page

RICKARDS, HARRY, originally Henry Benjamin Leete (1845-1911),

comedian and theatrical proprietor,

was born in London in December 1845. The date of birth is sometimes given as 1847, but the earlier date is more likely to be correct. His father, Benjamin Leete, was chief engineer of the Egyptian railways, and his son was also intended to be an engineer. He had been forbidden during his apprenticeship to attend theatres, but developing a talent for comic singing he was engaged as a vocalist at a music hall, where he appeared under the name of "Harry Rickards". He established a reputation as a singer of comic songs, and coming to Australia in November 1871 made his first appearance there at the St George's hall, Melbourne, on 9 December. He then went to Sydney where he also appeared with success. Returning to England he was a successful "lion comique" at the music halls and a good comedian in pantomime, especially in the provinces. He again visited Australia in 1885, and for some years toured Australia with a vaudeville company with much success. About 1893 he bought the Garrick theatre, Sydney and renamed it the Tivoli, took control of the Opera House, Melbourne, and was also lessee of theatres in other state capital cities. Every year he visited England, and during the next 18 years he engaged for the Australian variety stage great artists like Marie Lloyd, Peggy Pryde, Paul Cinquevalli, Little Tich and a host of others of great talent. Rickards died in England on 13 October 1911. He was married twice and left a widow and two daughters. He was an excellent singer of such songs as "Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road" and "His Lordship Winked at the Counsel", and was a first-rate business man whose hobby was his work. For 25 years his name was a household word in Australia, and at the time of his death his business as a single-handed manager and proprietor was possibly the largest in the world.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October 1911; The Argus, Melbourne, 16 and 26 October 1911; The Age, Melbourne, 5 August 1939; A Century of Journalism, p. 572.

^Top of page

RIDLEY, JOHN (1806-1887),

inventor of the reaping machine,

was born near West Boldon, Durham, England, on 26 May 1806. His father and mother, John and Mary Ridley, were first cousins, and were probably related to the same family as Bishop Ridley's. John Ridley the elder was a miller who died when his son was five years old. His widow carried on the business and when Ridley was 15 he began to share in its management. He had come across an encyclopaedia soon after he was able to read, and took the greatest interest in the scientific articles which he read again and again. Science and theology were to be the great interests of his life. In September 1835 he married Mary Pybus, in November 1839 sailed for South Australia with his wife and two infant children, and immediately after his arrival obtained a piece of land at Hindmarsh, close to Adelaide. There he built a flour-mill and installed the first steam engine in South Australia able to cut wood and grind meal. In 1842 he had a well-stocked farm of 300 acres, but finding the management of his mills took tip too much of his time, let the farm on the shares system. Being much interested in mechanical inventions he spent some time on a horizontal windmill to be used for raising water. It was said of him at this period that if his child cried in the night his first thought would be how to make an apparatus for rocking the cradle. There was some shortage of labour and Ridley gave much time to the problem of devising a mechanical method of harvesting the wheat. Other people were working on the same problem. In 1843 the corn exchange committee offered a prize of £40 to anyone submitting a model or plans of a reaper of which the committee would approve. On 23 September 1843 it was reported that several models and plans had been submitted, but no machine had been exhibited which the committee felt justified in recommending for general adoption. Ridley had not exhibited any plans or model but he had been constructing a machine, and on 18 November 1843 the Adelaide Observer announced that "a further trial of Mr Ridley's machine has established its success". This machine, which both reaped and threshed corn, has been of inestimable benefit to Australia. Though no doubt it was improved in detail as the years went by, no substantial advance was made on it until H. V. McKay (q.v.) constructed his harvester some 40 years later. Ridley not only declined to patent his machine, but refused all suggestions of reward.

Early in 1853 Ridley returned with his family to England. He was in comfortable circumstances, partly by the success of his mills and partly by fortunate investments in copper-mining. He travelled for some years in Europe and then settled down in England. He did some inventing but finished nothing of great importance. He retained his interest in scientific and religious questions and spent much of his income on charity. He was greatly worried in his later years by a claim made by J. Wrathall Bull that he was the real inventor of Ridley's reaping machine. Mr Bull's claims are set out in his volume Early Experiences of Colonial Life in South Australia. He was one of the men who had sent in models that were rejected by the committee, and his contention was that Ridley had seen his model and constructed his machine on its principles. Ridley, who was a man of the greatest probity, denied this, and his denial is borne out by the fact that his machine had had two successful trials within two months of the models being exhibited. In those days a machine could be constructed in Adelaide only by primitive methods, and it would have been quite impossible to make a machine, overcome all the practical difficulties of adjustment, and have it in working order in so short a period. In his final letter to the Adelaide Register written in 1886 Ridley said that the first suggestion of his machine had come from a notice of a Roman invention given in Loudon's Encyclopaedia of Agriculture, and that "from no other source whatever did I receive the least help or suggestion". In his last days Ridley spent much money and time in distributing literature relating to temperance and religious questions. He died on 25 November 1887 and was survived by two daughters. A silver candelabrum presented to him by old South Australian colonists in 1861 is now at the Waite Agricultural Research Institute; there is a scholarship in his memory at the Roseworthy Agricultural College; and in 1933 the John Ridley Memorial Gates at the Agricultural Showground, Adelaide, were opened. (Fred Johns, An Australian Biographical Dictionary).

Annie E. Ridley, A Backward Glance; S. Parsons, John Ridley; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 15 September 1932.

^Top of page

RIDLEY, WILLIAM (1819-1878),

missionary to the aborigines and scholar,

was born at Hartford End, Essex, England, on 14 September 1819. He was educated at King's College and London university where he graduated B.A. He was brought to Australia by Dr Lang (q.v.) and for a time taught languages at the Australian College. He entered the Presbyterian ministry and at various times was stationed at Balmain, Brisbane, Portland, and Manning River, spent three years as a missionary to the aborigines, and in 1856 published in pamphlet form Gurre Kamilaroi or Kamilaroi Sayings. In 1866 he published Kamilaroi Dippil, and Turrubul; Languages spoken by Australian Aborigines. He spent a few weeks among the aborigines in 1871 endeavouring to increase his knowledge of their languages and traditions, and in 1875 published a revised and enlarged edition of the 1866 volume under the title of Kamilaroi and Other Australian Languages. For many years he was a regular contributor to the Sydney newspapers including the Empire, the Evening News and the Town and Country Journal. He began studying Chinese in 1877 intending to take charge of the Chinese mission at Sydney, but died after an attack of paralysis, possibly the result of over work, on 26 September 1878. He was a modest, unselfish and able man, much liked both by the aborigines and by his many friends. He married Isabella Cotter who survived him with three sons and five daughters. In addition to the works already mentioned Ridley published as pamphlets, The Aborigines of Australia. A Lecture (1864), and Will Evil Last for ever? A Lecture (1872).

The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 1878; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates.

^Top of page

RIGNOLD, GEORGE (1839-1912),


was born at Leicester, England, in 1839. His father, William Rignold, was an actor and small theatrical manager, whose wife, Patience Blaxland, was a leading stock actress at Birmingham. Their son, George, was taught the violin, but brought notice on himself by his playing of a small part, the messenger in Macbeth. He joined the Bath and Bristol circuit and came into touch with the Terrys, Robertsons, Madge Milton, Henrietta Hodson and Charles Coghlan, all of whom were to make their mark in London. The experience was invaluable, Rignold quickly rose in his profession, and on going to London played William in Black-Eyed Susan, Caliban in >The Tempest, and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet to the Juliet of Adelaide Neilson when she made her debut. In 1875 he opened at Booth's Theatre, New York, in Henry V and made an immediate success. This was followed by a tour in the leading cities of U.S.A. which made a great sensation; a reference in the Atlantic Monthly in 1938 shows that the memory of him still lingered 60 years later. From America Rignold went to Australia and again met with great success. In Australia a syndicate was formed to give him backing for a season at Drury Lane, London. He appeared there successfully in November 1879 in Henry V and subsequently played it in the provinces. Further tours in U.S.A. followed, and he then went to Australia and settled there. Her Majesty's Theatre at Sydney was built for him in 1886, and opening with Henry V he made this theatre his headquarters for nine years. Among his leading parts were Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, Caliban in The Tempest, Falstaff, Bottom, Romeo and Macbeth. He had also an extensive repertory in melodrama playing the hero in Youth, In the Ranks, and The Lights o' London among others. His Paolo Macari in Called Back was an interesting example of his versatility. In his last production Othello at the Criterion Theatre, Sydney, in 1899, he was considered by many to have surpassed himself both as actor and manager. He retired in 1900 and lived at Sydney where his home became a meeting place for visiting artists. In 1902, on hearing of the blindness of his brother, William, he went to London and took part in his brother's benefit. In 1907 he came from his retirement to successfully play Jason in Bland Holt's production of The Bondman. His last appearance was at a benefit performance for G. S. Titheradge (q.v.) in December 1910. He died at Sydney after an operation on 16 December 1912. He married (1) Marie B. Henderson, an actress and (2) somewhat late in life, Miss Coppin, daughter of Geo. S. Coppin (q.v.) who died in 1911. There were no children by either marriage.

Rignold was moderately tall with handsome features and great dignity of bearing. His bluff imperious yet kindly manner endeared him to his friends. He had a fine voice and was the ideal hero of melodrama, not shy of the limelight and well aware that he was generally known as "Handsome George". He was a great Henry V. Only people who had actually seen him in this part could realize how far below him were other exponents of it. His Caliban was another admirable study. He was an excellent producer, knowing what he wanted and determined to get it. His production of The Tempest was especially memorable.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 1912; Who's Who in the Theatre, 1912; personal knowledge.

^Top of page


first anglican archbishop of Perth,

the son of Rev. Lawrence William Riley, vicar of St Cross, Knutsford, England, was born at Birmingham on 26 May 1854. Educated at Owen's College, Manchester, and Caius College, Cambridge, he graduated B.A. in 1878, M.A. in 1881, and was given the honorary degree of D.D. in 1894. He was ordained deacon in 1878 and priest in 1879, and was curate at Brierly, Yorkshire, 1878-80, Bradford, 1880-2, and Lancaster, 1882-5. He became vicar of St Paul's, Preston, in 1885, and during the following nine years his sympathy and benevolence made him beloved by all classes, and not least by the mill hands and other factory workers. In 1894 he was appointed bishop of Perth, then the largest Anglican diocese in the world, with an area of 1,000,000 square miles and a scattered population of about 100,000. He was consecrated by the archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey on 18 October 1894.

When Riley arrived in Australia he found that the diocese had few clergy, little money, and poor means for organizing religious services for the now rapidly increasing population. He was young and vigorous and quickly made himself acquainted with large areas of his diocese. It was realized that the diocese must be subdivided, but it was not until 1904 that it was found possible to establish the diocese of Bunbury. Other dioceses were subsequently founded in the north-west and the eastern goldfields, and Riley became archbishop of Perth in 1914. With many difficulties a grammar school at Guildford was taken over by the Church and firmly established, and Riley also worked hard for the establishment of the university. He was senior chaplain of the Commonwealth military forces in Western Australia in 1913; he became chaplain-general in the same year and was at the front from July 1916 to February 1917. He was chancellor of the university from 1916 to 1922 and was also president of the trustees of the public library, museum and art gallery at Perth. In 1927 he suffered a great grief when his son, Frank Basil Riley, a young man of great promise, mysteriously disappeared while acting as special correspondent to The Times in China. Riley's usually robust health began to fail, and his impending retirement was announced shortly before his death on 23 June 1929. He married in 1886 Elizabeth Merriman, who survived him with two sons and three daughters. One of the sons, Charles Lawrence Riley, born in 1888, subsequently became bishop of Bendigo, Victoria.

Riley had a stalwart, dignified and charming personality. He was fortunate in having a keen sense of humour, he would tell with joy how on his first visit to a southern port the officiating clergyman took as his text, "And when they saw his face they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts." He was charitable in thought and deed, though his methods of distributing money would not always have gained the approval of charity organization societies. He was neither a great preacher nor a great scholar, but his common sense, balanced judgment and overflowing humanity more than made up for that. When he died a thousand returned soldiers marched in his funeral, and there was a general feeling that the greatest personality in the west since Forrest had departed. His place in the religious and social life of the community could scarcely be filled, and no man of his time in the west had more influence for good.

The Westralian, 24 and 25 June 1929; J. S. Battye, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia; J. G. Wilson, Western Australia's Centenary; Crockford, 1929.

^Top of page



was born at Plymouth, England, in 1859, and studied at the Slade school, London. He exhibited one picture at the Royal Academy in 1884, and emigrated to Australia in 1889. He was director of the technical college, Brisbane, from 1890 to 1915, and, becoming president of the Queensland Art Society in 1892, held the position with two breaks of a year each, until 1911. He was also honorary curator of the Queensland national gallery from 1895 to 1914. He established a local reputation as a portrait painter, and portraits by him of Sir Samuel Griffith (q.v.) and others hang in the supreme court at Brisbane. He removed to Hobart in 1915 and endeavoured to rouse interest in the Hobart gallery. He died in 1925. Examples of his outdoor work are in the national galleries at Sydney and Brisbane.

W. Moore, The Story of Art in Australia; A. Graves, The Royal Academy Exhibitors.

^Top of page


governor of South Australia,

fourth son of Sir William Robe, colonel, royal artillery, was born probably in 1801. He entered the army in 1817, was promoted lieutenant in 1825, captain in 1833, and brevet-major in 1841. He fought with distinction in the Syrian campaign in 1840-1, became military secretary at Mauritius, and was holding the same office at Gibraltar when he was appointed governor of South Australia. He arrived at Adelaide on 14 October 1845, a blunt honest soldier, without previous experience as a governor. He came into conflict with the legislative council because the Imperial government endeavoured to charge royalties on the mineral wealth that had been discovered in the colony. This was felt to be a breach of faith on the government's part, the four non-official members of the council strenuously opposed the proposed royalties, and, when they were carried by the casting vote of the governor, walked out of the chamber leaving the council without a quorum. Eventually the bill was withdrawn, but Robe, who had merely been trying to carry out his instructions from London, incurred much unpopularity. He had more trouble over the question of State aid to religion, which he favoured, but which was strongly opposed. Having asked to be relieved of his position, his tenure as governor came to an end in August 1848, and he was appointed deputy-quartermaster and general at Mauritius, with a salary of £1000 a year and a seat in the legislative council. He was made a C.B. and promoted colonel in 1854 and major-general in 1862. He died on 4 April 1871.

Though an honourable man with the courage of his convictions, a high sense of duty, and good administrative talents, Robe was too autocratic and conservative to be a suitable choice as governor of a rising young colony.

E. Hodder, The History of South Australia; J. Blacket, History of South Australia; The Times, 8 April 1871.

^Top of page

ROBERTS, MORLEY (1857-1942),

novelist and miscellaneous writer,

son of H. Roberts, a superintending inspector of income tax, was born at London on 29 December 1857, and was educated at Bedford school, and Owens College, Manchester. Towards the end of 1876 he took a steerage passage to Australia and landed at Melbourne in January 1877. The next three years were spent in obtaining colonial experience, mostly on sheep stations in New South Wales, and Roberts then returned to London. For a time he worked in the war office and other government departments, but again went on his travels and had varied occupations in the United States and Canada between 1884 and 1886. He subsequently travelled in the South Seas, Australia, South Africa, and many other parts of the world. He used his experiences freely in his books, the first of which, The Western Avernus, appeared in 1887 and in 1890 he began his long series of novels and short stories. Of his novels, Rachel Marr, published in 1903 was highly praised by W. H. Hudson, and The Private Life of Henry Maitland, based on the life of George Gissing the novelist, was possibly his best known book. Roberts also wrote essays, biography, drama and verse, and did some competent work in biology. He married Alice, daughter of A. R. Selous, and died in London in his 85th year on 8 June 1942.

Roberts was a voluminous and able writer, about 80 of his books are recorded in Miller's Australian Literature. He was only a comparatively short time in Australia, but there are many Australian references both in his novels and his short stories.

The Times, 9 June 1942; The Times Literary Supplement, 13 June 1942; Who's Who, 1941; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; M. Roberts, Land-Travel and Sea-Faring; The Age, Melbourne, 4 June, 1894.

^Top of page



always known as Tom Roberts, was born at Dorchester, England, on 9 March 1856. His father, Richard Roberts, had been editor of the Dorset County Chronicle, and had married Matilda Evans. When he died at the age of 43 his widow and three children were left in poor circumstances, and it was decided that they should emigrate to Australia where they arrived in 1869. Tom Roberts had been educated at Dorchester Grammar School and received the classical training of the period. He had few memories of his schooldays except that he was generally happy; one incident that remained in his mind was his being sent with a note to Thomas Hardy who was then living close to Dorchester. When Mrs Roberts and her children arrived in Melbourne they found a house in the industrial suburb of Collingwood, and were for some time very poor. Tom found work with a photographer in Smith-street, Collingwood, and afterwards obtained a position with Stewart and Company, well-known photographers in Bourke-street, Melbourne. He afterwards became their head operator. Long before this he had begun to study drawing at the local school of design, and in 1875 he joined the national gallery school where he studied under Thomas Clark and Eugene von Guerard (q.v.). Roberts received inspiration and encouragement from Clark, who was master of the drawing school, but it is doubtful whether the practice of copying pictures in the national gallery which was encouraged by von Guerard had much value. An important reform was the establishment of a life class, and the tradition is that Roberts was the leader of the students in the agitation which brought this into being.

In 1881 when Roberts was 25 he sold a few of his pictures and went to London for further study. He entered at the Royal Academy classes and succeeded in getting some black and white work accepted by the Graphic and other periodicals. A little later he came under the influence of Bastien Lepage, and two artists Barrau and Casas whom he met while travelling in Spain. Impressionism was making itself felt, and when Roberts came back to Australia his work showed its influence. This influence was to be extended to the work of Conder (q.v.), Streeton and other Australian artists. Conder had come to Melbourne in 1888, and he and Streeton, Davies (q.v.), McCubbin (q.v.) and Roberts often met in painting camps on the outskirts of Melbourne. Roberts was getting a certain amount of portrait painting about this time, and in 1889 the famous exhibition of impressions was held at Melbourne. The size of the paintings had been limited to nine inches by five, and of the 182 exhibits Roberts contributed 62, Streeton 40, and Conder 46. The critics fumed and raged, some members of the public even laughed, but the controversy that ensued at least advertized the exhibition, and the works, which were all low-priced, sold well. In 1890 Roberts painted his large picture, "Shearing the Rams" and hoped that it might be purchased by the national gallery of Victoria. It was bought by Mr. C. W. Trenchard and it was not until 40 years later that his wish was fulfilled. It was the first of a series of pictures of station life to be painted. Two others, "The Golden Fleece" and "The Breakaway", are now in the national galleries of New South Wales and South Australia respectively. In 1891 Streeton and Roberts went to Sydney and camped on the shores of the harbour. They lived on eight shillings a week each and did much good painting, but there had been a financial crisis and it was as difficult to sell pictures in Sydney as in Melbourne. There was great rejoicing a little later when the Sydney national gallery bought one of Roberts's paintings for £75. For a time he had a studio in Sydney with Streeton, and did some teaching. He also obtained some commissions for portraits, one of the best of these being a portrait of Sir Henry Parkes, which has since been presented to the Sydney gallery. When the Society of Artists was formed in Sydney in 1895 Roberts was elected president and remained in that position until 1897. Among the portraits painted during this period were those of Lord Beauchamp, now in the Sydney gallery, and Lord Linlithgow, now at Adelaide. In April 1896 he was married to Elizabeth Williamson.

Towards the end of 1900 Roberts decided to go to London and held a farewell one-man show at Sydney. He went first to Melbourne, and soon afterwards the suggestion was made that he should paint a picture of the opening of the first federal parliament. Eventually he agreed to do so for the sum of 1000 guineas. He was to spend about two years in painting this picture (it was 21 feet by 11 feet), and most of the work was done in a studio in the exhibition building, Melbourne. It was a thoroughly conscientious piece of work but it is practically impossible to make a picture of this kind a success as a work of art. It was finished in London in 1903, exhibited at the Royal Academy, and subsequently presented to His Majesty the King. After the completion of this picture Roberts had studios at Warwick Square and South Kensington and a trying period followed when nothing would go right with his painting, possibly he was having difficulty in getting accustomed to the English light. He afterwards spoke gratefully of the help he had obtained from James Quinn, the Australian portrait painter. In 1910 he went to live at Golders Green and began to get more confidence, although he felt the difficulty of obtaining recognition in England. His pictures were sometimes well-placed in the academy but sales were few. In February 1914 he had a one-man show in Bond-street and obtained appreciative notices from the critics. He was very pleased when the Queen paid a surprise visit to this show. Then came the war and Roberts could not paint. "I saw the boys in the trenches between me and my canvas." One day at the Chelsea Arts Club an officer walked in and asked for volunteers. Roberts was approaching 60 years of age, but he volunteered and worked as a hospital orderly for three and a half years. Towards the end of the period he was made a sergeant and assisted in the patching up of face wounds.

Directly the war was over Roberts came back to his painting with renewed zest. A year later he was able to say, "They may say I am old-fashioned nowadays. Well I'm proud that since the war I have exhibited with some of the modern London societies that are the most exclusive in the selection of their pictures." In November 1919 he went to Australia for a holiday and in March 1920 a successful exhibition of his work was opened at the Athenaeum gallery, Melbourne. His admirers noted that though his work had been affected by his residence in Europe, it still retained its old merits with at times an added refinement in colour. In August he had another show at Hordern's gallery in Sydney, which was also successful. Greatly encouraged he went back to England at the end of 1920 and two years later returned finally to Australia, having waited to see his only son married and settled in a home of his own.

Roberts, now 67 years of age, built a studio at Kallista in the ranges some 30 miles out of Melbourne. Most of his later painting was in landscape and he found no difficulty in again capturing the Australian atmosphere. He held occasional small shows which were received with appreciation by both press and public, and he was glad to see his friends around him. His wife dying early in 1928 he was a lonely man for a time, but subsequently married an old friend, Jean Boyes of Tasmania. In May 1931 he had to undergo an operation and was slow in recovering. He died at Kallista on 14 September 1931 and was buried in the churchyard of Illawarra, Tasmania. He was survived by his second wife and his only son, Caleb G. Roberts, B.Sc., M.C., who had settled in Victoria before his father's death.

Tom Roberts had a great influence on Australian art and more than anyone else showed his fellow artists the value and beauty of light. His portraits are often excellent, firmly drawn and modelled and showing much grasp of character. His landscapes are well designed and full of light and colour. He has a high place in the list of Australian artists. A fellow artist has described his appearance when he came to Sydney in his thirties as "an elderly young man who stooped slightly but was slim enough to appear above the average height" (he was five feet ten inches but looked taller), "lean, scant-bearded and prematurely bald, with eyes set deep beneath a domed brow". He had not altered much when he returned to Australia in his sixties. He then sometimes showed signs of restlessness as though he felt he had still much to do, and was not sure how much time he had to do it in. In his early days he was given the name of "Bulldog", perhaps because of a certain tenacity in his character. A forceful leader with an independent outlook, he was always ready to help a student, and never resentful of criticism of his own work. The largest collection of his pictures is in the national gallery of New South Wales. He is also represented at the National library, Canberra, in the national galleries of Victoria and South Australia, and in the galleries at Castlemaine and Geelong.

R. H. Croll, Tom Roberts, Father of Australian Landscape Painting; The Herald, Melbourne, 20 March 1920; personal knowledge.

^Top of page

ROBERTSON, GEORGE (1825-1898),


was born at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1825. When four years of age his parents took him to Dublin where subsequently he became apprenticed to a firm of publishers. He worked for a time with Currey and Company, booksellers and afterwards in Scotland. In Dublin he had become friendly with Samuel Mullen (q.v.) and the two young men decided to emigrate to Australia. They reached Melbourne on the Great Britain in 1852, bringing with them a collection of books. Robertson opened first in Russell-street but soon moved to Collins street, and about 1861 built a three storey building at 69 Elizabeth-street. The business was developing fast, principally on the wholesale side. In those days there were no publishers' representatives in Australia, and the great problem for the bookseller was to forecast what would be popular, and order a sufficient number of copies to meet the demand. About 1873 large premises were built in Little Collins-treet, with provision for stationery, book-binding, lithography, etc., and branches were opened in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland. In 1890 Robertson retired and the business was carried on by his son, Charles Robertson. It was eventually formed into a company which in 1922 was amalgamated with Melville and Mullens under the name of Robertson and Mullens Ltd.

George Robertson died on 23 March 1898. He was married twice and left a large family. He was purely a business man and did not enter much into the life of Melbourne, though generous to hospitals and charities. His personality remains elusive, but he did great service to the public by bringing much good literature to a young colony whose culture had of necessity to be imported. The need for encouraging local literature was not then fully appreciated, but Robertson published some interesting Australian books, including Kendall's Leaves from Australian Forests, Gordon's Sea Spray and Smoke Drift, and J. Brunton Stephens's The Black Gin and other Poems.

The Age and The Argus, Melbourne, 24 March 1898; L. Slade, The Victorian Historical Magazine, vol. XV; Ideas, September 1945.

^Top of page

ROBERTSON, GEORGE (1860-1933),

bookseller and publisher,

son of the Rev. John Robertson, was born at Halstead, Essex, England, on 14 April 1860. He was educated at the South-western Academy, Glasgow, and was trained as a bookseller with James Maclehose, bookseller to the university of Glasgow. He emigrated to New Zealand as a young man and two years later (in 1882) came to Sydney, where he obtained employment at the local branch of George Robertson and Company, booksellers of Melbourne. He was in no way related to the founder of that firm. In January 1886 he joined D. M. Angus in partnership, at first in Market-street and afterwards in Castlereagh-street, Sydney. After Angus's death in 1900 Robertson continued in partnership with Frederick Wymark and Richard Thomson who had acquired Angus's share of the business, until in 1907 the partnership was converted into a public company and continues under the name of Angus & Robertson Ltd. About 1895 the publishing side of the business began to be developed and many successful volumes were launched. Among the earlier authors were Henry Lawson (q.v.), A. B. Paterson (q.v.), and Victor Daley (q.v.). Robertson could recognize quickly a promising author and was willing to take considerable risks in backing his judgment. During the last 30 years of his life the number of volumes he published exceeded the total number brought out in the same period by all the other publishers in Australia. The Australian Encyclopaedia, published in two volumes in 1926, is one of the most important books published in Australia. Robertson died on 27 August 1933. He was married twice, (1) in 1881 to Elizabeth Stewart Bruce and (2) in 1910 to Eva Adeline Ducat. His widow survived him. There were three daughters and a son by the first marriage.

Robertson was a keen man of business with a feeling for good literature. He would frequently buy the right to issue an Australian edition of an English or American book, not only because he thought it would sell, but because he considered it was the kind of book that should be widely read. He could drive a keen bargain, but he also did many kindnesses to the literary men of his time.

Sydney Morning Herald, 28 August 1933; private information; Who's Who in Australia, 1933; Sydney Directory, 1888, 1908; Henry Lawson, The Auld Shop and the New.

^Top of page

ROBERTSON, SIR JOHN (1816-1891),

five times premier of New South Wales,

was born at Bow, London, on 15 October 1816. His father was Scotch, his mother English, and the family emigrated to Australia in 1820 on the advice of Sir Thomas Brisbane (q.v.). They were apparently in good circumstances, for, according to the custom of the time, anyone bringing to the colony a sum of not less than £2500 was entitled to a first class grant of 2500 acres of land, and this they received in the upper Hunter district. Robertson at five years of age was sent to the school in Sydney just opened by Dr Lang (q.v.). Subsequently he attended schools kept by Messrs Bradley Gilchrist and W. T. Cape (q.v.). Among his schoolfellows were two other boys destined to become premiers of New South Wales (Sir) James Martin (q.v.) and William Forster (q.v.). On leaving school about the year 1833 Robertson went to sea and worked his passage to England where, through the medium of some letters of introduction, he accidentally came in contact with Lord Palmerston. The personality of the young man so impressed Palmerston that he invited him to stay with him for a few days in the country. There he introduced him to various distinguished people, and afterwards when he was leaving England gave him a letter to the governor, Sir Richard Bourke (q.v.). Robertson visited France and South America, and, after an absence of two years, left the sea and joined his family in northern New South Wales. He engaged in squatting and farming for some years, married at 21, and made himself prominent in the struggle between the squatters and Governor Sir George Gipps (q.v.). With the establishment of responsible government he was elected a member of the legislative assembly in 1856, and took his seat with the Liberal party. His views were then considered extremely radical, his policy including manhood suffrage, vote by ballot, the abolition of state aid to religion, national education, and free selection over the public lands of the colony. His personal investments were more largely in pastoral properties than in agriculture, but he felt strongly that agriculture was being unfairly handicapped by the then state of the land laws. In January 1858 he joined the second Cowper (q.v.) ministry as secretary for lands and public works. This ministry was defeated in October 1859, but Robertson came into office again, this time as premier, in March 1860. He introduced a land bill which was rejected, but coming back from a general election with a majority in January 1861, he went into the upper house as secretary for lands, while Cowper became premier again. The bill duly passed the assembly and Robertson skilfully piloted it through the council. The resulting act remained the law of the country for many years. He became involved in financial difficulties through the failure of some properties he held in northern Queensland, and was out of parliament for a while, but in February 1865 was again secretary for lands in the fourth Cowper ministry. In January 1868, holding the offices of premier and colonial secretary, Robertson formed his second ministry, but two years later he left office and Cowper took his place. Robertson rejoined the ministry in August 1870 as secretary for lands. This government had a very small majority in the house, and when Cowper was appointed agent-general in London it resigned. Sir James Martin was sent for and to the surprise of the country Robertson joined him as colonial secretary in his ministry. At the general election held early in 1872 three members of the government were defeated, and Parkes (q.v.) came into power on 14 May 1872, There was a constant struggle between the parties under Robertson and Parkes for some years. Robertson was premier again in February 1875, Parkes in March 1877, Robertson in August 1877; but this ministry only lasted until December. The coming-in of the J. S. Farnell (q.v.) ministry in 1877 gave the main contestants time to take breath and consider the position, and in December 1878 a coalition was made between Parkes and Robertson which led to a ministry which lasted for over four years and did some really useful work. Parkes was premier, and Robertson went to the legislative council as vice-president of the executive council. During Parkes's absence in England, between December 1881 and August 1882, Robertson was acting-premier and colonial secretary. The general election held in December 1882 was adverse to the government and it resigned. Robertson formed his fifth ministry in December 1885 but resigned in the following February, and shortly afterwards retired from parliament. A grant of £10,000 was made to him by the government. Henceforth he lived in retirement, his health was impaired and he was unable to take part in public life. He was strongly against federation, almost his last act was the sending of a letter opposing it to the Sydney Morning Herald, which appeared on the day preceding his death. He died in the early morning of 8 May 1891 and was accorded a public funeral. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1877. His wife pre-deceased him and he was survived by a family of grown-up sons and daughters. A statue to his memory is in the botanical gardens at Sydney.

B. R. Wise (q.v.), a contemporary of Robertson's later days, has left a striking description of him after his retirement. His "long experience of affairs and keen insight into character made him still the political oracle of a large circle; while his chivalrous loyalty . . . attached with the closest ties all who came under his influence. His presence was strikingly handsome--the features clear-cut, flowing white hair and agile figure--while a natural gift of profanity and an uncompromising directness of speech, expressed in husky tones--(he had no palate)--have enriched our annals with many pleasant anecdotes". As a young man he was independent and forceful, with a quick observant mind and much practical experience, which was of great use in dealing with the difficulties of political questions. No man of his period was more often in office, and he closed a useful life high in the opinions of the country he had served so long.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 May 1891; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; Henry Parkes, Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History; B. R. Wise, The Making of the Australian Commonwealth.

^Top of page


physiologist and bio-chemist,

was the son of Thorburn Robertson and Sheila, daughter of William Brailsford. He was born in Edinburgh in 1884 and at eight years of age was brought to South Australia, where his father had received an appointment as a mining engineer. He was educated at Miss Stanton's school at Glenelg, and later was privately tutored for the university. He entered on the science course at the university of Adelaide in 1902, and was at once recognized as a brilliant student. In April 1905 he graduated B.Sc. with first-class honours in physiology. As a student he had given some evidence of his quality in a paper on the "Sham-death reflex in spiders", published in the Journal of Physiology for August 1904, and in a remarkable paper, "An Outline of a Theory of the Genesis of Protoplasmic Motion and Excitation", read at a meeting of the Royal Society of South Australia on 4 April 1905 and published on pages 1-56 of its Transactions and Proceedings, vol. XXIX. He had been much interested in the work of Professor Jacques Loeb of the university of California, one of the ablest biochemists of his time, and immediately after graduation obtained a position in his laboratory. There he worked for five years, contributing during this period about 40 papers to leading scientific journals, and establishing a reputation as an authority on proteins. He never lacked courage, and thus early in his career attacked and subsequently refuted many of the doctrines then generally accepted. In 1910 when Loeb went to the Rockefeller Institute, New York, Robertson became assistant professor of bio-chemistry and pharmacology. He published in 1912 Die Physikalische Chemie der Proteine, which was translated into Russian, and, extended and revised, was published in English in 1918. Between 1910 and 1918 he sent a steady stream of papers to the scientific journals, many of them concerned with the factors that govern the growth and longevity of animals. He became professor of bio-chemistry and pharmacology at the university of California in 1916 and two years later was given the chair of bio-chemistry at Toronto. In 1919 the death of his old teacher, Sir Edward Stirling (q.v.), led to his return to Adelaide, where he became professor of bio-chemistry and general physiology in 1920. There his energetic personality soon became apparent in the medical school. His influence was felt in a remodelling of the early years of the medical course, and he persuaded the council that the teaching would have to be divided. In 1922 the new chair of zoology was established. He published in 1920 at New York his Principles of Biochemistry (2nd ed. 1923), and in 1923 appeared The Chemical Basis of Growth and Senescence. He had been experimenting on these problems since 1914, and though he was devoting much time to other work, they remained a constant hobby with him for the rest of his life. He was one of the earliest in Australia to investigate the use of insulin for diabetes, and in 1923 he discovered tethelin, a growth controlling substance which has been found of great value in the treatment of slow-healing wounds and ulcers of long standing.

In 1927 Robertson was asked by the Commonwealth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to take charge of investigations into the nutrition of animals. An animal nutrition laboratory was built at Adelaide, and field stations were established in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Some especially valuable research work was done in connexion with the growth of wool on sheep, and the value of cystine and phosphates as supplementary feeding. He was working with great energy, with much mapped out for the coming years, when he contracted pneumonia and died after a short illness on 18 January 1930. He married in 1910 Jane Winifred, third daughter of Sir Edward Stirling, who survived him with two sons and a daughter. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of many other important societies. He was elected a foreign member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, in 1926. In addition to the books already mentioned he published in 1914 The Universe and the Mayonnaise and other Stories for Children, and in 1931 a collection of excellent articles of more general appeal than his scientific papers was published under the title The Spirit of Research. He was the virtual founder and was managing editor of the Australian Journal of Experimental Biololgy and Medical Science from its beginning until his death. Its ninth volume published in 1932, "The Robertson Memorial Volume", is made up of scientific papers contributed by former colleagues and pupils, with a short memoir by Hedley R. Marston, and a bibliography of his work which lists 174 of his articles, and 26 others of which he was part author.

Apart from his life-work Robertson was a man of wide culture with a stimulating and unselfish personality, much interested in art, literature, music, and philosophy. He had a great sense of justice, complete loyalty and tolerance, qualities which endeared him to his co-workers and students. In his work his commonsense, courage, vision and imagination were always present. It is possible that, as has been suggested, his practical work was of less significance than his work in the realm of ideas where he was constantly evolving fresh thoughts or throwing new light on old ones. He was only 45 when he died, and given a few more years would no doubt have succeeded in rounding off much that was still incomplete. He left a body of disciples who have carried on his work and established a tradition that will be a lasting memorial of a great scientist.

S. W. Pennycuick, Introduction to The Spirit of Research; H. R. Marston, Biographical Note to vol. IX The Australian Journal of Experimental Biology and Medical Science; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 20 January 1930; The Bio-Chemical Journal, vol. XXIV, p. 577; The Lancet, 15 February 1930; Who's Who, 1929.

^Top of page


protector of the aborigines,

was born probably in England about the year 1788. Nothing is known of his early life or when he came to Tasmania. He was a builder in a small way at Hobart in 1829, when Governor Arthur (q.v.) advertised for a man of good character who would take charge of the aborigines on Bruni Island. Robinson applied for the position but pointed out that he could not possibly keep his family on a salary of £50 a year. He was appointed at £100 a year, subsequently raised to £250. His mission was not a success. Whalers, sealers and others had access to the settlement, and Robinson had much trouble with them. At the beginning of 1830 he suggested that he should go unarmed among the blacks on the mainland of Tasmania, and endeavour to conciliate them. Taking a party with him, including some friendly aborigines, he walked several hundred miles over the island, camping with the natives on occasions and endeavouring to win their confidence. Presently he was able to persuade a party of them to come with him to Hobart. In February 1832 he inspected Flinders Island, and afterwards recommended it as a suitable place on which to found a home for the aborigines. He then went searching for other aborigines and brought in two parties, including altogether 58 aborigines. In September he met some warlike blacks and was in great danger of being murdered. During the next two years he brought in several other parties. By the end of January 1835 practically all the remaining blacks had surrendered. Robinson was rewarded in various ways to the total value of £8000 (Fenton). The aborigines were placed on Flinders Island but, removed from their regular hunting grounds, they gradually pined away and died. In 1838 it was decided to bring in a scheme to protect the aborigines on the mainland of Australia. Robinson was appointed chief protector at a salary of £500 a year, and he was given four assistants. He came to Port Phillip, but though thoroughly well-meaning and a voluminous writer of reports, he was not a success as an administrator. He would make long trips round the country and get completely out of touch with the authorities. In 1842 Governor Gipps (q.v.) reported that the assistant protectors were incompetent, and that though Robinson is "efficient so far as his own mode of holding intercourse with the Blacks is concerned, he is quite unequal to the control of what is becoming a large and expensive department; and moreover is already advanced in years and far beyond the prime of life". The question of the abolition of Robinson's office was being considered in February 1848 and on 31 December 1849 this was brought about. In 1853 he returned to England and died at Bath on 18 October 1866. He was married twice and was survived by children.

Robinson was a sincerely religious man of limited education. He showed great courage and tact in dealing with the borigines, and did valuable work in Tasmania when the relations between the blacks and the whites were as bad as possible. He endeavoured to use the same conciliatory methods in Victoria but he was unfortunate in his assistants, and he had not had the necessary training to become a good administrator. Collections of his papers are at the Mitchell library, Sydney, and the public library, Melbourne.

A. S. Kenyon, The Victorian Historical Magazine, March 1928; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. XIX to XXII and XXVI; Kenyon Records at Public Library, Melbourne.

^Top of page


author of first published verse in Australia,

was born in 1747. He was an educated man and appears to have practised as a lawyer; Governor King on one occasion referred to him as "one of those itinerant practisers who are a disgrace to the honourable profession of the law" (H.R. of A., ser. I, vol. V, p. 535). In February 1796 he was charged at the Old Bailey, London, for attempting to extort money from James Oldham, a Holborn ironmonger, found guilty, and sentenced to death. Subsequently the death penalty, was changed to transportation, and he arrived at Sydney on the ship Barwell on 18 May 1798. Richard Dore, the judge-advocate, who had come out on the same vessel, stated that Robinson could be very useful to him and applied for his conditional emancipation. This was granted by Governor Hunter (q.v.) and nearly two years later Dore made an application on Robinson's behalf for an absolute pardon. Robinson had been his clerk and had conducted himself properly in the meantime, but the second application was refused. In August 1803 Governor King mentioned in a dispatch that Robinson had committed perjury and had been ordered to be transported to Norfolk Island. This sentence, however, was not carried out at the time on account of the difficulty of finding another assistant for the judge-advocate. Governor King (q.v.) sent Robinson to Norfolk Island in 1805, but in December 1806 he was back in Sydney. In April 1810 he was made first clerk of the government secretary's office and in this year published the first of his patriotic odes, Ode on His Majesty's Birthday, 1810. This and the 19 other odes published on the King's and Queen's birthdays between 1810 and 1820 were first printed in the Sydney Gazette, and were then published separately, printed on three sides of a large folder. Another Ode for the First of January 1811 was published as a broadside. An Ode for His Majesty's Birthday, which was printed in the Sydney Gazette for 18 August 1821, does not appear to have been printed separately. Governor Macquarie took Robinson up and encouraged him, and he appears to have held to a straight course for the rest of his life. In July 1819 he was appointed provost-marshall but resigned this position in May 1821. In December of this year he advertised in the Sydney Gazette that he proposed to issue a volume of his poems at £1 1s. per copy. Similar advertisements appeared in 1822, 1824 and 1825, but the volume was never published. He continued to be in the employ of the government for the remainder of his life, and at the time of his death on 22 December 1826 he was principal clerk in the police office. He was married and was survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. A list of his odes will be found in Serle's A Bibliography of Australasian Poetry and Verse. His verse is quite fluent but has little or no value as poetry.

Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. II to X, XII; Information supplied by Miss G. Hendy-Pooley from the Sydney Gazette; H. M. Green, An Outline of Australian Literature; J. Ferguson, Bibliography of Australia.

^Top of page

RODWAY, LEONARD (1853-1936),


son of Henry Barrow Rodway, was born at Torquay, Devonshire, England, on 5 October 1853. Educated at Birmingham, he served on the officers' training ship, Worcester, and obtained double first-class certificates. He served for three years as a midshipman in the merchant service, but decided to give up the sea. He obtained the licentiateship of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and then went to Queensland for a short period. He arrived in Tasmania in 1880 and practised with success as a dental surgeon at Hobart. In 1896 he was appointed honorary government botanist for Tasmania, and held this position for 36 years. His work in this connexion was largely done at week-ends and during his holidays. In 1903 he published his comprehensive work, The Tasmanian Flora, illustrated with his own drawings of typical species. This was followed in 1910 by Some Wild Flowers of Tasmania, a useful and interesting book for students. He had become a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1884, was elected to the council in 1911, and was for some years a vice-president of the society. He was chairman of the Field Naturalists' Club, the national park board, and was on the fisheries and the technical schools and other boards. He acted as an advisory officer to the forestry department and was for some years lecturer in botany at the university of Tasmania. He also did valuable work for the museum and botanical gardens. Failing health caused his retirement in 1932. In addition to the two works mentioned Rodway compiled a complete description of the mosses and hepatics of Tasmania, and contributed numerous papers to the Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania. He died on 9 March 1936. He married (1) Louisa Phillips and (2) Olive Barnard, who survived him with four sons and a daughter of the first marriage. He was awarded the Clarke memorial medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales and the medal of the Royal Society of Tasmania, and was made C.M.G. in 1917. His botanical library was presented to the Royal Society of Tasmania by Mrs Rodway. His daughter, Florence Rodway, born at Hobart, became a successful and capable portrait painter. She is represented in the national galleries at Sydney and Hobart, and in the Commonwealth collection at Canberra.

Papers and Proceedings Royal Society of Tasmania, 1936; The Mercury, Hobart, 10 March 1936; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.

^Top of page

ROE, JOHN SEPTIMUS (1797-1878),

explorer and pioneer,

[ also refer to John ROE page at Project Gutenberg Australia]

the seventh son of the Rev. James Roe, was born at Newbury, Berkshire, in 1797. He was educated at Christ's hospital school, London, and entered the navy as a midshipman in 1813. He was chiefly on the East India station where he was promoted lieutenant. In 1817 he was with Phillip Parker King (q.v.) on his expedition around the coast of Australia, and again in 1821. He saw active service in the Burmese war 1825-7, and in December 1828 was appointed surveyor-general of Western Australia. He arrived at the mouth of the Swan River in the Parmelia with Governor Stirling (q.v.) on 1 June 1829. He made the preliminary surveys, and the sites of Perth and Fremantle were chosen on his recommendation. Roe was fully employed for some time surveying blocks for the settlers, but he found time to do some exploring of the country in the vicinity of Perth and along the coast. In 1836 he made his first expedition to the inland, when he explored the tableland to the north and east of Perth. He reached as far as Lake Brown but found little country fit for settlement. In 1839 Roe did good work in finding and rescuing some of the men of the unfortunate expedition led by Captain Grey (q.v.). His most important piece of exploring took place in 1848, when as leader of a party of five, he explored the country to the south-east of Perth and the north-east of Albany. He was away for about five months and covered a distance of nearly 1800 miles. Much desolate sandy and rocky country was traversed, and occasionally scrub country was met with, difficult to force a way through. Though little good land was found Roe discovered coal in two separate localities, and also some excellent forest land. The interesting report of his journey may be found in Volume 22 of the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society. This was the last of Roe's expeditions but he continued to be surveyor-general until 1871. He was much interested in science and was a fellow of the Linnean Society. His scientific collection formed the basis of the present museum at Perth, and he was largely, if not entirely, responsible for setting aside the King's park at Perth as a permanent reserve. He died at Perth on 28 May 1878. He was married when he arrived in Western Australia and there was a family of six sons and at least two daughters. His youngest son, A. S. K. Roe, was for many years a well-known police magistrate at Perth, and other descendants have played a prominent part in the development of the West.

Roe was a good public servant and he takes high rank among Australian explorers. He was excellent in observing and recording the country he passed through, and thoroughly capable in managing expeditions and carrying them to a successful conclusion. The town of Roebourne is named after him.

Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, 1879, p. 277; Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 1852; E. Favenc, The Explorers of Australia; J. G. Wilson, Western Australia's Centenary, p. 195; J. S. Battye, The Cyclopaedia of Western Australia.

^Top of page

ROE, REGINALD HEBER (1850-1926),

headmaster Brisbane Grammar School,

son of J. B. Roe, was born at Blandford, Dorset, England, on 3 August 1850. He was educated at Christ's hospital school, London, was head Grecian in 1869, and won a scholarship which took him to Balliol College, Oxford. He rowed in the college eight and graduated B.A. in 1875 and M.A. in 1876, with first-class honours in the final mathematics, and second-class honours in the final classics, schools. He was a private tutor at Oxford for a short period, and in 1876 was appointed headmaster of the Brisbane Grammar School. This school had been founded in 1869 and had only a small number of pupils, but during Roe's reign of 33 years he gave it the standing of a great public school. He was a good administrator and built up an excellent staff; he was thoroughly interested in the problems of education, and, an athlete himself, realized the importance of games and the help they could give in the development of character. He associated himself with the movement for the foundation of a university in Queensland, and in 1890 gave an address on "A University as a Part of National Life". He was for a period president of the university extension movement, and, when the university was established in 1910, became its first vice-chancellor and held this position until 1916. He was an early member of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, was on its publication committee, and at the meeting held at Christchurch in January 1891, was president of the literature and fine arts section. His presidential address is printed in the Report of that meeting. He visited England in 1901 and made a report to the Queensland department of public instruction on state inspection as applied to secondary schools. In 1909 he resigned from Brisbane Grammar School to become inspector general of schools and chief educational adviser to the Queensland government, and finally retired in 1919. He died at Brisbane on 21 September 1926. He married in 1879 Annie Maud, daughter of Captain C. B. Whish, who survived him with four sons and two daughters. His third son, Dr Arthur Stanley Roe, was the first Queensland Rhodes scholar.

Roe was a good swimmer, oarsman and lawn tennis player, and has been called the father of lawn tennis in Queensland. He at different periods was president of the three associations governing these sports. As an educationist he was a combination of learning and sound common-sense, interested in ideals and all things intended for the improvement of mankind. He did valuable work as educational adviser to the government and as vice-chancellor in the difficult early days of the university, but his greatest influence was as the head of a great school, admired and beloved by all who had been associated with him.

E . Hilbard, The Balliol College Register, 1832-1914; The Brisbane Courier, 22 September 1926; Calendar of the University of Queensland, 1928, p. 306.

^Top of page



was born at St Albans, Herts, England, on 11 July 1820, (Kenyon Manuscripts at Melbourne public library). He was the son of Thomas Rogers, a surgeon, and brother of Henry Rogers, a well-known essayist and author of The Eclipse of Faith, a book which went into many editions. G. H. Rogers, having quarrelled with his family, enlisted in the army and came to Hobart with his regiment in July 1839 (Kenyon). He became a corporal and, having shown great talent in regimental theatricals, his discharge was purchased by public subscription. He was playing with a local company when he was engaged by Coppin (q.v.) who was then visiting Hobart. Though Rogers had been well-educated he had had no training for the stage. Under Coppin's management he played in the leading cities of Australia, and by the beginning of 1848 though still in his twenties had established a great reputation in old men's parts. For a time he drew large salaries but fell into misfortune in later years, and was in ill-health for two years before his death at Melbourne on 12 February 1872. He was married twice and was survived by sons and daughters.

All accounts agree as to the great merit of Rogers as an actor. He sank himself in his parts and completely lost his individuality. He was as inimitable in burlesque as in serious drama, and played such diverse parts as the Widow Twankey in Aladdin, Falstaff, Antonio in Merchant of Venice and Fagan in Oliver Twist. But his greatest triumphs were in old English comedy, and though possibly Lambert may have equalled his performance of Sir Anthony Absolute, Roger's Sir Peter Teazle stood alone on the Australian stage. In private life he was genial and kind-hearted, much beloved by his friends.

The Age and The Argus, 14 February 1872; F. C. Brewer, The Drama and Music in New South Wales; The Cyclopedia of Victoria, vol. III, p. 2; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

^Top of page

ROSE, HERBERT (1890-1937),

painter and etcher,

was born at Melbourne in 1890 and studied art at Melbourne national gallery and at Paris. He travelled much in Europe, North Africa and Asia, and excelled in painting eastern crowds and architecture. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and other important exhibitions in Europe and the United States, and had successful one man shows in Australia. He died at Delhi, India, about the middle of January 1937. He was a capable painter in both oils and water-colours, and also did interesting work in etching. He is represented in the Melbourne and other Australian galleries.

The Argus, 23 January 1937; Catalogue of the Melbourne National Gallery.

^Top of page

ROSENHAIN, WALTER (1875-1934),


son of M. Rosenhain of Melbourne, was born on 24 August 1875. He was educated at Wesley College, and Queen's College, university of Melbourne, where he completed his course in civil engineering and was awarded an 1851 exhibition. Going on to St John's College, Cambridge, he did three years research work with Professor (Sir) Alfred Ewing. On the advice of his professor he took up the microscopic examination of metals, and spent some time at the royal mint studying the technique of his new work. This led to the discovery of "slip bands" and later, the phenomenon of spontaneous annealing in lead and other soft metals. In 1900 he became scientific adviser to Chance Brothers of Birmingham, glass manufacturers and lighthouse engineers, and for the next six years his work was chiefly concerned with the production of optical glass and lighthouse apparatus. In 1906 he became the first superintendent of the department of metallurgy and metallurgical chemistry at the National Physical Laboratory.

Rosenhain held this position for 25 years. His department was a very small one at first, but it grew very fast and eventually became one of the most important metallurgical research laboratories in the world. Rosenhain himself published a large number of papers and addresses, and his highly trained staff also did much writing, covering the whole field of physical metallurgy, ferrous and non-ferrous. In 1908 Rosenhain published his book on Glass Manufacture, a second edition of which, largely re-written, appeared in 1919. Another volume was published in 1914. An Introduction to the Study of Physical Metallurgy, 2nd edition 1916, frequently reprinted. A third edition, revised and partly rewritten by John L. Haughton, was published after Rosenhain's death, in 1935. Towards the end of 1915 he delivered the Cantor lectures on optical glass before the Royal Society of Arts. These lectures were published as a pamphlet in 1916. In the following year he wrote the essay on "The Modern Science of Metals" for Science and the Nation, Essays by Cambridge Graduates. In 1927 he was appointed British delegate on the permanent committee of the International Association for Testing Materials, and was elected its president at the Zurich congress held in 1931. Rosenhain was a good linguist and gave lectures and addresses in many countries. He resigned his position at the National Physical Laboratory in 1931 to take up practice in London as a consulting metallurgist. He died near London on 17 March 1934. He married in 1901 Louise, sister of Sir John Monash (q.v.), who survived him with two daughters. He was a past president of the Institute of the Optical Society and of the Institute of Metals. He was Carnegie medallist of the Iron and Steel Institute, 1906. and Bessemer medallist, 1930. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1913.

Rosenhain was a man of strong personality, lucid in exposition and excellent as a debater. He had great qualities as a leader and did remarkable work in connexion with light alloys, on the mechanism of crystallization, the mechanical deformation of metals, and the improvement of technical practice. His many papers were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, the Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute, and other technical journals. With P. A. Tucker he published in 1908 a volume on The Alloys of Lead and Tin, and in 1911, with S. L. Archbutt, one on The Constitution of the Alloys of Aluminium and Zinc.

The Times, 22 March 1934; The Argus, 19 March 1934; Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, vol. 148, ser. A, p. 5; Who's Who, 1934; The English Catalogue.

^Top of page


speaker, South Australian house of assembly,

was born in the island of St Vincent in 1828. His father, John Pemberton Ross, had plantations in the West Indian islands, his mother, a daughter of Dr Alexander Anderson, was descended from Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, poet and statesman. Ross entered the British army and was a commissariat officer during the Crimean war. He returned to London in 1856, volunteered for service in West Africa, was appointed commissariat officer of Cape Coast Castle, and became acting colonial secretary in 1858. A native revolt broke out and Ross showed resource in organizing a military force of friendly natives. On leaving West Africa in 1859 he was presented with a eulogistic address from the native chiefs and the merchants of the district. During his stay he initiated proceedings which led to the acquisition by Britain of the Dutch settlements on the Gold Coast. On returning to England, after a short period of employment, he was sent to China, served under General Sir Hope Grant, and was then military accountant at Hong Kong. He was sent to South Australia in 1862 as head of the commissariat department, became aide-de-camp to Governor Daly, and subsequently his private secretary. He was at the New Zealand war in 1864-6, and then returned to Australia. He went to England in 1869 and in 1870 was sent to Ireland in command of a military flying column. He resigned from the army in 1871 and in 1872 went to South Australia, where he had already bought an estate.

Ross developed much interest in olive culture, fruit drying, viticulture and cider-making. In 1875 he was elected to the house of assembly for Wallaroo and in June 1876 became treasurer in the first Colton (q.v.) ministry, resigning with the ministry in October 1877. He was offered the agent-generalship in London but declined it, and in 1881 was elected speaker of the house of assembly in succession to Sir G. S. Kingston. He was knighted in May 1886 and died at Adelaide on 27 December 1887. He married in 1864 a daughter of John Baker and left a son and a daughter.

During his comparatively short career in politics Ross showed great faith in the future of Australia. He advocated the laying of a cable to Australia, and the building of a transcontinental railway to Darwin on the land grant system. His fine presence, decision and courtesy made him all excellent speaker, and as president of the Royal Agricultural Society for many years, as a governor of St Peter's school, and a member of the university council, he showed much interest in the life of the colony.

The South Australian Register and The South Australian Advertiser, 28 December 1887; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

^Top of page

ROTH, HENRY LING (1855-1925),


was the son of Dr Mathias Roth, surgeon of London, and was born on 3 February 1855. He was educated at University College school, London, and studied natural science and philosophy in Germany. In the spring of 1876 he visited Russia and remained there until December 1877. Shortly afterwards his Notes on the Agriculture and Peasantry of Eastern Russia was published at London. In 1878 he went to Australia, settled at Mackay in northern Queensland, and published in 1880 A Report on the Sugar Industry in Queensland. Papers on "The Climate of Mackay" and "On the Roots of the Sugar Cane" appeared in the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1881 and 1883. He had an article in the Brisbane Courier for 1 April 1884, subsequently returned to England, and in 1888 was established in business at Halifax. In 1890 he published The Aborigines of Tasmania, a careful and able gathering together of the available information relating to a vanished race. A second edition appeared in 1899. In 1896 Roth brought out another important book, The Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo, largely based on the manuscript of Hugh Brooke Low. He spent much time in a wide range of ethnological studies and many of his papers were published in scientific journals. In June 1900 he was appointed honorary curator of the Bankside museum, Halifax, then in a very neglected condition. Roth soon changed this, and in 1912 was appointed half-time keeper and later on he gave full time to the museum. He published in 1903 his Great Benin. Its Customs, Art and Horrors, and in 1906, The Yorkshire Coiners, 1767-1783, and Notes on Old and Prehistoric Halifax. That Roth still retained his interest in Australia is indicated by his book on The Discovery and Settlement of Port Mackay, Queensland, which was published in 1908. His Oriental Silverwork, Malay and Chinese, appeared in 1910. About this time he began publishing a long series of Bankfield museum notes, of which 23 numbers eventually appeared. In 1916 Sketches and Reminiscences from Queensland, Russia and Elsewhere, was privately printed. His health was not robust and in August 1924 he resigned from the museum, but continued to help in its work when his health permitted. He died on 12 May 1925 and was survived by his wife and two sons.

Roth was a modest, unassuming man of endless industry. His work in anthropology was very largely based on the fieldwork of other men, but he had a talent for collating information and records, and his volumes on the Tasmanian aborigines and the natives of Sarawak and North Borneo remain standard books. His work as a whole has scarcely been fully appreciated; a list of his publications will be found in Man for July 1925. His brother, W. E. Roth, is noticed separately. Another brother, Brig.-general Reuter Emerich Roth, C.M.G., D.S.O., M.R.C.S. (1858-1924), had a distinguished career at Sydney, where he was the first medical inspector of schools. He was a medical officer during the Boer war and did remarkable work during the 1914-18 war at Gallipoli and in France.

H. L. Roth, Sketches and Reminiscences from Queensland, Russia and Elsewhere, pp. 16, 28. A. C. Haddon, Man, July 1925; The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September 1924.

^Top of page

ROTH, WALTER EDMUND (1861-1933),


was the son of Dr Mathias Roth, surgeon, and was born at London on 2 April 1861. He was educated at the College Mariette, Boulogne, at Paris, Darmstadt, University College, London, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. with honours in biology in 1884. He then studied medicine and obtained the degrees of M.R.C.S. and L.R.C.P. He was for a time demonstrator to Sir Ray Lankester at St Thomas's hospital, and in 1888 went to South Australia as director of the government school of mines and industries. In 1894 he was appointed surgeon to the Bonlia, Cloncurry, and Normanton hospitals which gave him many opportunities of studying the language and customs of the local aborigines. His Ethnological Studies among the North-West-Central Queensland Aborigines was published at Brisbane in 1897, and in the same year he was appointed chief protector of aborigines in Queensland. In 1901 the first three of his Bulletins on North Queensland ethnography were published, and numbers 4 to 8 appeared at intervals between 1902 and 1906. In 1905 he was appointed a royal commissioner to inquire into the condition of the aborigines of Western Australia, and in 1906 he was made government medical officer, stipendiary magistrate, and protector of Indians in the Pomeroon district of British Guiana. The remainder of Roth's bulletins on North Queensland ethnology, began to appear in the Records of the Australian Museum at Sydney in 1905; and numbers 9 to 18 will be found in volumes VI to VIII. He was given charge of the Demerara River, Rupununi, and north-western districts in 1915. In 1924 his valuable An Introductory Study of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians was published at the government printing office at Washington, U.S.A., appended to the Thirty-eighth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. Though called an introductory study this is an elaborate work of well over 300,000 words with hundreds of illustrations. A volume of Additional Studies of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians was published in 1929 as Bulletin No. 91 of the Bureau of American Ethnology. Roth retired from the government service in 1928, and became curator of the Georgetown museum of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society, and government archivist. Towards the end of his life he translated and edited Richard Schomburgh's Travels in British Guiana. He died on 5 April 1933. He married in 1893 Edith, daughter of surgeon-major Humpherson (Johns's Notable Australians, 1906).

Roth was widely recognized as an admirable anthropologist. He was an honorary fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and of the Anthropological Societies of Berlin and Florence. In 1902 he was president of the anthropological section of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Science at the meeting held at Hobart, and was awarded the Clarke medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales. He was leader of three scientific expeditions in British Guiana. He showed immense industry and great accuracy of detail in all his works which have had world-wide recognition as valuable studies of primitive people.

[Roth's brother, H. L. Roth, is noticed separately.]

K. Roth, Man, November 1933, which also gives a list of some of his publications.

^Top of page

ROWAN, MARION ELLIS (1847-1922),

flower painter,

daughter of Charles and Marian Ryan, was born at Killam, one of her father's stations, Victoria, in 1847. She was educated at Miss Murphy's private school, Melbourne, and in 1873 married Captain Charles Rowan, who had fought in the New Zealand wars. Her husband was interested in botany and he encouraged her to paint wild flowers. She had had no training but working conscientiously and carefully in water-colour she evolved a technique that was adequate for her special kind of work. Mrs Rowan returned to Melbourne in 1877, and for many years travelled in Australia painting the flora of the country. She published in 1898 A Flower-Hunter in Queensland and New Zealand, largely based on letters to her husband and friends. About this time she went to North America and provided the illustrations, many in colour, to A Guide to the Wild Flowers, by Alice Lounsberry, published in New York in 1899. In 1905 she held a successful exhibition in London. She returned to Australia and held exhibitions of her work which sold at comparatively high prices. She died at Macedon, Victoria, on 4 October 1922. Her husband and her only son both died many years earlier. Examples of her work are in the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Bendigo galleries. About 100 of her paintings of South Australian wild-flowers are at Adelaide, the Brisbane museum has 125 examples of Queensland flora, and the Commonwealth government paid £5000 for 947 of her paintings now at the national library, Canberra.

In spite of the fact that Mrs Rowan was awarded many medals in Europe and Australia, her work does not place her among the greater flower painters. It was careful and competent, but possibly has more value from the botanical than the artistic point of view. In addition to the works already mentioned Mrs Rowan provided the illustrations for two other books by Alice Lounsberry, Guide to the Trees (1900), and Southern Wild Flowers and Trees (1901). Other books published in Australia were Bill Baillie, his Life and Adventures, The Queensland Flora, and Sketches in Black and White in New Zealand. Her portrait by Longstaff (q.v.) is at Canberra. Her brother, Major-general Sir Charles Snodgrass Ryan (1853-1926), a well-known Melbourne surgeon, was with the Turkish army at Plevna and Erzerum. in 1877-8, and 20 years later in collaboration with John Sandes, wrote an account of his experiences, Under the Red Crescent. He was principal medical officer for the Commonwealth military forces in Victoria and served in the 1914-18 war. He was created C.B. in 1916, C.M.G., 1919, and K.B.E., 1919. His son, Lieut.colonel Rupert Sumner Ryan, D.S.O., became deputy high commissioner of the Allied Rhine commission.

H. A. Tardent, Mrs Ellis Rowan; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; The Argus, 6 October 1922; Burke's Peerage etc., 1926; The American Catalog, 1900-5.

^Top of page

ROWE, RICHARD (1828-1879),

miscellaneous writer,

son of Thomas Rowe, a Wesleyan minister, was born at Spring gardens, Doncaster, England, on 9 March 1828 (Dict.Nat.Biog.). He was well educated and came to Australia about 1857; he was working on the Month and the Sydney Morning Herald in that year. In 1858 his Peter 'Possum's Portfolio was published at Sydney, a volume of prose and verse of above average merit. The prose included a short novel, "Arthur Owen--An Autobiography", and most of the verse consisted of translations. Rowe returned to England, wrote much for the newspapers and magazines, and was also the author of several books for young people, some of which did not appear until after his death on 9 December 1879. He married in 1860 Mary Ann Yates, daughter of Jonathan Patten, and left four children (D.N.B.).

Rowe was in Australia for only a comparatively short period, but two of his lyrics have been included in more than one anthology of Australian verse, and Peter 'Possum's Portfolio is one of the earliest books of serious literature published in Australia. Miller lists 18 of his books in his Australian Literature, at least three of which have an Australian setting.

The Athenaeum, 13 December 1879, p. 765; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; G. B. Barton, Literature in New South Wales; Journal and Proceedings, Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. V, pp. 30-1.

^Top of page



was born at Daylesford, Victoria, in 1866. His family having removed to Queensland he was educated at the Superior Normal School, Brisbane, but at 11 years of age began working as a shop boy. In 1878 another move was made to Sydney, where Rowlandson was employed as an office boy with an indent agent. In 1883, at 17, he joined the staff of the N.S.W. Bookstall Company, and was employed as a tram ticket seller at the office at the corner of King and Elizabeth streets. He was promoted to cashier and then manager. When the proprietor, Henry Lloyd, died, Rowlandson in 1897 bought the business from the widow and conceived the idea of selling Australian books at one shilling each. In spite of his belief that there was a market for cheap Australian books the prospects were not encouraging. Australians generally had not much faith in the value of the work of their novelists, and it seemed unlikely that books could be sold in large editions in a country with a population still under 4,000,000 when Rowlandson began publishing at the turn of the century. An early transaction was the giving of £500 for the copyright of Sandy's Selection by Steele Rudd, which meant that about 20,000 copies had to be sold before a penny of profit could come in. Rowlandson also spent comparatively large sums in readers' fees, and among the many distinguished artists employed as illustrators were Norman, Lionel, Percy and Ruby Lindsay, David Low and Will Dyson (q.v.). As a result of increased costs during the war the price per copy was increased to one shilling and threepence, but it was lowered again to one shilling as soon as possible. Rowlandson, who had to work extremely hard to keep control of a business worked on a small margin of profit, became ill early in 1922, and taking a voyage to North America for the sake of his health was unable to land when he arrived at San Francisco. On his way back to Australia he was taken to a private hospital at Wellington, New Zealand, and died following an operation on 15 June 1922.

Rowlandson was a kind-hearted, courageous man of business, who did a remarkable piece of work for Australian literature. It is true that most of the books that he published were of a merely popular kind, but he had an important share in the breaking down of a great deal of prejudice against local work. In slightly over 20 years of publishing he issued about 5,000,000 copies of books by about 70 authors, illustrated by over 30 artists, and left a name for just dealing not surpassed by any other publisher. He married and left a widow and three children.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 1922; A. C. Rowlandson, Pioneer Publisher of Australian Novels; The Bookfellow, 31 July 1922.

^Top of page


See DAVIS, A. H.

^Top of page

RÜMKER, KARL LUDWIG CHRISTIAN (1788-1862), (his name is in this form in the German dictionary of biography, Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, but variations of it appear in Australian records [often known as Charles Rümker or Charles Rumker--Ed.]),


was born at New Brandenburg, Germany, on 28 May 1788. He entered the East India Company's service and obtained a good knowledge of English and also took up the study of astronomy. He obtained a position at the navigation school and observatory at Hamburg in 1817, and in 1821 was engaged by Sir Thomas Brisbane (q.v.) as a scientific assistant, and went with him to Sydney. James Dunlop (q.v.) was the second assistant and both men worked under Brisbane at the private observatory established at Parramatta. Rümker was awarded the silver medal of the Royal Astronomical Society together with £100, for his re-discovery of Encke's comet in 1822 and also received the gold medal of the Institute of France. In June 1823 having fallen out with Brisbane he left the observatory. He had been granted 1000 acres of land on the west side of the Nepean River on the assurance that he would devote his time to scientific pursuits. Brisbane in a dispatch to Earl Bathurst in November 1823 requested that the grant should not be confirmed beyond 300 acres because Rümker had "completely broken" his promise. (H.R. of A., ser. I, vol. XI, p. 154). Bathurst, however, refused Brisbane's request (ibid. p. 305), realizing that this would be a case of one man's word against another's if it were further investigated. After Brisbane's departure Rümker was placed in charge of the observatory by the government in May 1826, and it was intended that he should measure the arc of the meridian. It was not, however, possible for him to have done much work on this. It would have been necessary to obtain instruments from London and he left the colony about the end of 1828. He was in England for some time but in 1831 was appointed director of the navigation school and observatory at Hamburg, where he did important work before his retirement in 1857. He was given the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1854 for his extensive observations, chiefly of comets, and for his catalogue of 12,000 stars. He died at Lisbon on 21 December 1862. He was an associate of the Royal Astronomical Society, London, and communicated 88 papers to it. The results of his observations at Parramatta were published in Part III of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society for 1829 and in the Royal Astronomical Society's Memoirs, Vol. III. Rümker also contributed an article to the Geographical Memoirs of New South Wales, edited by Barron Field (q.v.), the first collection of scientific papers published in Australia.

H. C. Russell, Report of the First Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, 1889, p. 59; J. Service, Thir Notandums, p. 138 et. seq.; Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, vol. 29; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. XI to XV.

^Top of page



was born in Surrey, England, on 9 July 1819. His father, the Rev. George Keylock Rusden, M.A. (1786-1859) graduated at Cambridge and in 1809 married Anne, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Townsend. He was an excellent linguist and mathematician and kept a private school for 23 years in Surrey. He then went to New South Wales where he was appointed a chaplain at Maitland from 1 January 1835. His son accompanied him to Australia and was at first engaged on the land, but in 1849 became an agent for the establishmerit of national schools in the Port Phillip district. He was appointed under-secretary in the colonial secretary's office at Melbourne in 1851, clerk of the executive council in 1852, and clerk of the legislative council in 1856. He retained his interest in education as a member of the council of the university of Melbourne from its inception, and was largely responsible for the foundation of the Shakespeare scholarship. In 1871 he published The Discovery, Survey and Settlement of Port Phillip, an interesting pamphlet of some 60 pages. Three years later his Curiosities of Colonization appeared. This consists largely of accounts of Maurice Margarot, one of the "Scottish Martyrs", and Joseph Holt (q.v.), the Irish rebel general. Both of these pamphlets are now very scarce.

In 1881 Rusden retired on a pension of £500 a year and went to England. He had for some time been working on his History of Australia and his History of New Zealand, which were published in 1883, each in three volumes. Unfortunately for Rusden he had accepted statements, made by a bishop in New Zealand and forwarded by a governor of the colony, without verifying them. These reflected on the conduct of John Bryce, a well-known politician in New Zealand, who brought an action for damages and obtained a verdict for £5000. On an appeal for reduction of damages in which Rusden conducted his own case with great ability (see his Tragedies in New Zealand, privately printed 1888), the parties to the suit came to an agreement, that Bryce should be paid £3675 in satisfaction of all claims. In 1888 Rusden published his Aureretanga; Groans of the Maoris, and a new edition of his History of New Zealand appeared in 1895. The second edition of the History of Australia was published in 1897 and his last work, William Shakespeare, was in the press at the time of his death. It is largely a collection of extracts from the plays with a running commentary. In addition to the works already mentioned, Rusden published some verse, Moyarra: An Australian Legend, 1851, second edition 1891, and Translations and Fragments, published c. 1876. He also published several pamphlets. He had returned to Australia a few years before his death which occurred at Melbourne on 23 December 1903.

Rusden was a man of great ability and was a clear and vigorous writer. His verse is of no importance, but his histories of New Zealand and Australia are both works of some merit. He was conservative in his politics and neither book is free from bias. His attitude to some of the early governors would no doubt have been modified if he had had access to the Historical Records of Australia of which 33 volumes have since been published. A younger brother, Henry Keylock Rusden, born in 1826, joined the Victorian civil service in 1853. He was secretary of the Royal Society of Victoria for several years and published many pamphlets.

Men of the Time in Australia, 1878; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; The Argus, Melbourne, 24 December 1903: P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

^Top of page

RUSE, JAMES (1760-1837),

"first settler",

was born in Cornwall, England, in 1760, and worked on the land. In 1782 he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, probably for some trifling offence, and arrived in Australia with the first fleet in January 1788. He was known for his good behaviour and diligence, and his sentence having expired in July 1789, Phillip (q.v.) placed him on land at Parramatta, one acre of which had been cleared, gave him seed, implements, and some assistance, and a promise that if he showed that he was able to support himself, he would be given a grant of 30 acres of land. Ruse worked hard and intelligently, and got the land into a thoroughly good condition before sowing his wheat in May and June 1790. An account of his methods is given on pp. 80-1 of A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson by Watkin Tench (q.v.). Ruse expected to reap about eight bushels to the acre. He was given his 30 acres on 30 Match 1791, the first land grant in Australia. In 1793 he sold his land to Dr Harris of the New South Wales Corps, and in 1794 obtained another grant at the junction of South Creek and the Hawkesbury. He was also given a grant of 100 acres in January 1810. He died on 5 September 1837. He married Elizabeth Terry and had at least one son.

James Jervis, Journal and Proceedings Parramatta and District Historical Society, vol. III, pp. 58-61; A. Britton, History of New South Wales, vol. II, pp. 156-8; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vol. I; F. Watson, The Beginnings of Government in Australia; J. K. Sampson, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXV, pp. 1-79. On pp. 67-72 there is a summary of the facts relating to the disputed date of the first grant.

^Top of page



son of the Hon. Bourn Russell, M.L.C., was born at West Maitland, New South Wales, on 17 March 1836. He was educated at West Maitland grammar school and the university of Sydney, where he took his B.A. degree in 1859. He joined the staff of the Sydney observatory under W. Scott who resigned in 1862. Russell then became acting director for a few months until the new government astronomer, Mr Smalley, was appointed. On the death of Smalley in 1870 Russell was given the position and held it for 35 years. He immediately began reorganizing and refurnishing the building, which he succeeded in getting considerably enlarged during the next seven years. His first important work was preparing for the observation of the transit of Venus in 1874 for which four observing stations were equipped. Russell arranged for a band of competent observers to staff them, and the results were generally very successful; an interesting account of them was published by Russell in 1892, Observations of the Transit of Venus.

Russell began to develop the meteorological side of his work and in 1877 published a substantial volume, Climate of New South Wales: Descriptive, Historical and Tabular. In this volume some attention is given to the question of weather periodicity, on which he had written a paper in 1876. In later years he gave a great deal of attention to it. At the beginning of Russell's appointment there were only 12 observing stations in New South Wales, but before he resigned there were about 1800. There was little money for equipment, but Russell did wonders with what was available, and himself designed a rain gauge which could be made at a cost of one-sixth of the imported gauges. He also invented various self-recording barometers, thermometers, anemometers and rain-gauges. This reduced and made possible the work of his observers, nearly all of whom gave their services voluntarily. In collaboration with Sir Charles Todd (q.v.) of South Australia, and Ellery (q.v.) and Baracchi of Victoria, the work of weather reporting in Australia was co-ordinated until the daily weather forecasts showed a very high percentage of accuracy. The long series of Meteorological Observations made at the Government Observatory, Sydney, published under Russell's direction contain an enormous mass of information relating to the climate of New South Wales.

Russell was much interested in the study of double stars and published in 1882 Results of Double Star Measures made at the Sydney Observatory 1871 to 1881. He also gave a great deal of attention to the application of photography to astronomical work. In 1887 he attended the astrographic congress at Paris and arranged for the co-operation of the Sydney observatory. This involved the taking and measurement of 1400 photographic plates. Russell supervized the preparation of the portion of the astrographic catalogue undertaken by the Sydney observatory until his retirement. In 1888 he was elected president of the newly-formed Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science and in 1891 became vice-chancellor of the university of Sydney, but resigned within a year on account of the pressure of his other duties. In 1903 he had a severe illness from which he never completely recovered. He resigned the position of government astronomer in 1905 and died at Sydney on 22 February 1907. He married Emily Jane, daughter of Ambrose Foss, who survived him with a son and four daughters. He was for some years president of the Royal Society of New South Wales, was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, London, in 1886, and was created C.M.G. in 1890. In addition to the works already mentioned Russell contributed papers to various societies, many of which appeared in the Memoirs and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Others will be, found in the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, and other journals. He also took an important part in the initiation of technical education in New South Wales.

Russell was conscientious and enthusiastic, a great worker; his hours of attendance at the observatory were commonly from nine in the morning until midnight. He was an excellent mechanic and was responsible for many inventions which proved to be of great value in connexion with his work. His theory of a 19 years cycle in weather periodicity could not be proved on the information available, and the same may be said of the 33 years cycle of Charles Egeson, an assistant of Russell's at the observatory. Russell's paper on the River Darling read in 1879, suggesting that vast supplies of water must be flowing at a lower level was a very interesting prediction considering that artesian water was practically unknown at the time. But, however interesting these theories may have been, the great value of Russell's efforts lies in the mass of tabulated work done by him or under his direction in astronomy and especially meteorology, which has been a mine of information for all workers in the subjects.

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 1908, vol. 80a, p. LX; Monthly Notices the of Royal Astronomical Society, 1908, vol. LXVIII, p. 241; Journal and Proceedings Royal Society of New South Wales, 1907, vol. XLI, p. 23; The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 February and 2 March 1907; Who's Who, 1907.

^Top of page

RUSSELL, JOHN (1858-1931),


was the son of John Russell, ironfounder, and a nephew of Sir Peter Nicol Russell (q.v.). He was born at Darlinghurst, Sydney, in 1858, and after his father's death went to Paris about 1880 to study painting. He was a man of means and having married a beautiful Italian, Mariana Antoinetta Matiocco, he settled at Belle-Isle off the coast of Brittany. He had met Vincent Van Gogh in Paris and formed a friendship with him, and Monet often worked with him at Belle-Isle and influenced his style, though it has been said that Monet preferred some of Russell's Belle-Isle seascapes to his own. Van Gogh also spoke highly of his work, but Russell did not attempt to make his pictures known. His daughter, Madame Jeanne Jouve, known in Paris as a singer, has stated that he offered a collection of work by himself and other members of the Impressionist movement to an Australian gallery, but lack of sympathy in Australia resulted in nothing being done. Russell returned to Sydney about 1920 or later and died there in 1931. He was a friend of Rodin and Fremiet, and his wife's beauty is immortalized in Rodin's "Minerve sans Casque" and Fremiet's "Joan of Arc". Five of Russell's sons served in France during the 1914-18 war. His portrait of Van Gogh, painted about 1886-7, was at the Gemeenti museum at Amsterdam in 1938. Two water-colours and a small oil painting are in the national gallery at Melbourne, and there is a drawing in the Adelaide collection.

L'Amour de L'Art, September 1938; The Burlington Magazine, September 1938; The Herald, Melbourne, 15 April 1939; Bulletin of the National Gallery of South Australia, December 1939; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; R. H. Croll, Tom Roberts, p. 10.

^Top of page


university benefactor,

was born at Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire, Scotland, on 4 July 1816. His father, Robert Russell, an engineer and ironfounder, emigrated with his family to Tasmania in 1832, and 10 years later established a foundry and engineering business at Sydney. After the father's death this was carried on under the name of P. N. Russell and Company, and became the largest and most successful business of its kind in Australia. In 1860 P. N. Russell went to London and practically retired, except that he acted as London representative of the business. In 1875 this was closed down, the immediate cause being that certain demands were made by the employees, which the firm felt should not be granted. Russell, however, had prospered with his investments, and was now a rich man. He retained his interest in Australia, paid several visits to it, and in 1896 made a gift of £50,000 to the university of Sydney to found an engineering school. In 1904 he made a second gift of £50,000 to be devoted to the same department, with the proviso that the government should provide £25,000 for buildings.

Russell died at London on 10 July 1905, having just completed his eighty-ninth year. He married in 1859 Charlotte, daughter of Dr Alexander Lorimer. He had no children. He was knighted in 1904. Under his will a total sum of £16,000 was left to various institutions and charities in Sydney. The engineering school at the university of Sydney is known as the Peter Nicol Russell school of engineering, and there are three Peter Nicol Russell scholarships for mechanical engineering, and a medal for research work. His portrait by W. Q. Orchardson, R.A., is in the great hall, and there is a memorial group by Mackennal (q.v.) in the university grounds.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 July 1905; The Times, 12 July and 10 August 1905; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1905; Calendar of the University of Sydney, 1940.

^Top of page

RUSSELL, ROBERT (1808-1900),

architect and surveyor,

son of Robert Russell, was born in London in 1808. At the age of 16 he was articled to an architect and surveyor at Edinburgh, and in 1832 came to Sydney where he was given a position in the survey office. In September 1836 he was sent to Port Phillip with instructions to survey the bay and its surroundings. There was no suggestion that he was to do any town-planning, but having some difficulty with horses, which delayed his work, he made a plan of the settlement on the site of Melbourne. In after years he stated that he had laid it out in streets based on a plan at the Sydney survey office. Early in March 1837 Governor Bourke (q.v.) and Robert Hoddle (q.v.) visited Melbourne and, under instructions from Bourke, Hoddle surveyed and made a plan for the city of Melbourne. He used the plan prepared by Russell as a basis, but his survey was the official survey, and even if it owed something to Russell's preliminary survey, which is by no means certain, that was only a portion of the work. It is to Hoddle that we owe the provision for squares, park lands and exits from the city, an he is entitled to be called the first surveyor and planner of Melbourne.

In after years Russell practised as an architect in Melbourne until he was forced to retire by old age. St James' Church was designed by him. He kept his mind to the last and died at Richmond, Melbourne, on 10 April 1900, aged 92. He married and was survived by two sons and two daughters. When he died both the Argus and the Age newspapers spoke of him as the original surveyor of the city, but though this claim cannot be granted he did valuable work as an amateur artist by preserving many original sketches of Melbourne in its early years, in both water-colour and pencil. Some of these are at the public library, Melbourne, and in the historical collection, and there are also examples in the William Dixson gallery, Sydney.

The Argus, Melbourne, 26 April 1899 and 11 April 1900; The Age, Melbourne, 12 April 1900; Victorian Historical Magazine, January 1919, December 1928, May 1937, May 1938; Victoria the First Century; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.

^Top of page



son of James Russell, was born at Farningham, Kent, England. on 3 September 1860. He was educated at Nassau school, near London, and King's College, London. He was a pupil of Lister's at King's College hospital and eventually became the last of the house surgeons who worked under his personal guidance. He took the diploma of M.R.C.S. in 1882 and, after experience as a house surgeon at King's College hospital, went to Shrewsbury for two Years as resident surgeon to the Shropshire county hospital. He gained his F.R.C.S. in 1888 and in 1889 went to Australia and established himself at Hawthorn, a suburb of Melbourne, as a general practitioner. He was, however, anxious to do surgical work and in 1892 was appointed a member of the honorary staff of the children's hospital, Melbourne. He became particularly interested in the problem of inguinal hernia in the young and read a paper on this subject at the intercolonial medical congress at Brisbane in 1899. This and other papers on allied subjects were published in the Lancet in 1899 and 1900. In 1901 he was appointed to the honorary surgical staff of the Alfred hospital, Melbourne and in 1903 was elected president of the Medical Society of Victoria. His presidential address was a masterly exposition on "The Congenital Origin of Hernia", given in January 1904. His reputation as a surgeon was now established, and his papers in medical journals were giving him world-wide recognition; some particularly important and original work dealt with the treatment of fractures. He was in England when the 1914-18 war broke out and did valuable work both in France and England in the earlier years of it. On his return to Australia he took up his work again at the Alfred and Children's hospitals, but resigned his Alfred hospital appointment in 1920 and five years later retired from the children's hospital. After his retirement he retained his interest in surgery and particularly in the foundation of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons at Melbourne. At the annual meeting of the fellows of that college in 1930 he was presented with his portrait by Lambert (q.v.). He had been a member of the council from its inception, and at the time of his death was as censor-in-chief entrusted with the controlling of admissions to fellowship. In later years he suffered from osteoarthritis, became very lame, and was threatened with the loss of the sight of one of his eyes. This was probably a contributing cause of the accident by which he lost his life while driving a motor car on 30 April 1933. He never married.

Though slightly reserved in manner, Russell was a delightful companion with a pleasant voice, a complete absence of affectation, a delicate sense of humour, and an evident love of mankind. He was an excellent pianist and had much appreciation of the best music. He was a fine surgeon and a remarkable clinical teacher. Every case was made the subject of careful, accurate and complete study, and every student was trained to think on surgical lines, always with the proviso that the recovery of the patient was the important thing. As a student of Lister he believed in the importance of the dressing of the wounds, and to go the rounds with him while he explained the reason for each method of application was an education in itself. He was no believer in complicated methods of surgery and was always seeking the simplest way. There was a comparatively easy way, and that way must be found. All this was allied with the simplicity and sincerity of his own character. He earned the affection and admiration of all his students, and his great ability made him a member of the small band of Australian medical men whose influence has been felt outside his own country. There is a bust of him by Paul Montford at the Alfred hospital, and an intermediate hospital block attached to the Alfred hospital has been named Hamilton Russell House in his memory.

The Medical Journal of Australia, 14 May 1932 and 17 June 1933; The Argus, Melbourne, 1 May 1933; The British Medical Journal, 24 June 1933; The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903.

^Top of page

RUTHERFORD, JAMES (1827-1911),

transit pioneer,

was born at Erie, New York, U.S.A., in August 1827. He arrived at Melbourne in June 1852 and worked on the Bendigo goldfields for a short period. Going to Brisbane in 1853 he drove overland to Melbourne and on the way learnt a great deal about the country, and much about its horses, in which he traded successfully for some years. The coaching business of Cobb and Co., which had been founded by some visitors from America a few years before, was in 1857 in the hands of Cyrus Hewitt and George Watson, who employed Rutherford to manage the Beechworth line. A few months later Rutherford formed a syndicate and bought out Hewitt and Watson for the sum of £23,000. One of his associates was Walter Russell Hall (q.v.). In Rutherford's hands the business steadily expanded. He was an excellent manager, a fine judge of horses and men, and there were never any difficulties between the management and the employees. In June 1862 Robertson took coaches and horses to Bathurst in New South Wales and established the business there. Extensions into Queensland were made in 1865, and the growth of the business was so great that by 1870 6000 horses were harnessed each day and the coaches were travelling 28,000 miles a week. Rutherford, who lived at Bathurst from 1862, began acquiring station properties, which he managed himself with the most up-to-date means, and in 1873, with John Sutherland, he founded the Lithgow iron works. This started with a capital of £100,000 all of which had been lost when Rutherford took over its management. He succeeded in making it pay its way, but there was little profit in it and the business was eventually sold.

At Bathurst Rutherford took great interest in the town. He became a member of the council, had a term as mayor, and was for 30 years treasurer to the Agricultural Society. He encouraged the planting of trees in the town, and exercised an open-handed philanthropy. During his long period as governing-director of Cobb and Co., he kept in touch with his large station-properties, riding immense distances as a young man, and later often travelling in a kind of Cape cart. Even in his eighties he continued the supervision of his stations, and he died at Mackay, Queensland, on 13 September 1911, when returning from a visit to one of them. He left a widow, five sons, and five daughters.

Cobb and Co. made the tracks in Australia that the railways were to follow, and especially in the second half of the nineteenth century the name was a household word in all the out-country. Will Ogilvie and Henry Lawson (q.v.) among Australian writers both paid their tribute to "The Lights of Cobb and Co.", and certainly at this time Australia owed much to the untiring energy and genius for management of James Rutherford.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 September 1911; William Lees, A History of the Coaching Firm of Cobb & Co. (with portraits).

^Top of page

RYAN, THOMAS JOSEPH (1876-1921),

premier of Queensland,

son of T. Ryan, was born at Port Fairy, Victoria, on 1 July 1876. He was educated at South Melbourne College, Xavier College, Kew, and the university of Melbourne, where he graduated B.A. and LL.B. He was appointed an assistant classical master at the University High School, Melbourne, and subsequently held teaching positions at the Church of England Grammar School, Launceston, at the Maryborough (Queensland) Grammar School, and the Rockhampton Grammar School, where he became second master. He resigned this position on being admitted to the Queensland bar in December 1901. He practised as a solicitor at Rockhampton and subsequently as a barrister at Brisbane. While at Rockhampton in 1900 he joined the Australian Natives Association and became its local president. He was afterwards a candidate for the federal seat of Capricornia and the state seat of Rockhampton North, but was defeated on both occasions. In October 1909 he was elected as member for Barcoo in the legislative assembly, retained the seat for 10 years, and after the 1912 election was elected leader of the Labour party on the resignation of D. Bowman. At the election in May 1915, Labour came in with a large majority and Ryan became premier, chief secretary, and attorney-general, and an era of industrial legislation and state enterprise began. Among the measures passed were the industrial arbitration act, labour exchanges act, workers' compensation act, inspection of machinery and scaffolding act, factories and shops amendment act, and workers' compensation amendment act. This was one side of the Ryan government's activities but where it particularly broke fresh ground was the entrance of the state into trading activities. Stations were purchased and run as going concerns, and many retail butchers' shops were opened in Brisbane and other parts of Queensland. Railway refreshment rooms were taken over, state hotels were built and purchased, a produce agency was established, coal mines were acquired, iron and steel works were opened, and a state insurance department was established. Most of these activities were, however, disposed of and reverted to private hands within a few years. Ryan showed good generalship at the 1918 election and his party was again returned with a large majority. On 22 October 1919 he resigned to enter federal politics. He was returned to the house of representatives for West Sydney and was elected deputy leader of the Labour party. The socialistic legislation of his party in Queensland caused some prejudice against Ryan when he entered federal politics, but he soon overcame this by the force of his intellectual qualities and his personal honesty and charm. In July 1921 he went to Queensland, against his doctor's advice, to help the Labour candidate at the Marawa by-election, contracted pneumonia, and died on 1 August 1921. He had just completed his forty-fifth year. He married in 1910, Miss L. V. Cook, who proved a great helpmate to him. She survived him with a son and a daughter, and in 1944 was the Queensland government representative at Melbourne.

Ryan was a big man physically and had remarkable intellectual power. He was well-educated, a fluent and able speaker, a successful lawyer, and a keen and able politician whose personal and political life was beyond reproach. He was a great leader of his party, a strenuous fighter, always in command of his temper, and a generous opponent. His too early death was a tragedy, a cause of real grief to friends and opponents alike. There is a statue to his memory at Brisbane.

The Brisbane Courier, 2 and 5 August 1921: The Australian Worker, 4 August 1921; The Bulletin, 4 August 1921; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; Pugh's Queensland Official Almanac, 1914; P. S. Cleary, Australia's Debt to Irish Nation Builders.

^Top of page


soldier and politician,

was the son of Alexander Ryrie, for some years a member of the New South Wales parliament. Granville Ryrie was born on his father's station, Michelago, in the Monaro district, on 1 July 1865, and was educated at Mittagong and at The King's School, Parramatta. On leaving school he went on the land and at 18 years of age was in charge of a shed of 50 men. As a young man he was a fine heavyweight boxer, a first-rate bushman, and a perfect horseman. In a few years he became manager of Michelago station and raised a troop of light horse, and served with it. When the South African war broke out he enlisted and was given command of a squadron of the 6th Imperial Bushman. He led the advance guard at Eland River, was severely wounded at Wanderfontein in September 1900, and returned to Australia as lieutenant-colonel of his regiment.

In April 1906 Ryrie was elected to the New South Wales legislative assembly. He was defeated at the general election held in October 1910, but in March 1911 entered the federal house of representatives as member for North Sydney. When the 1914-18 war broke out he volunteered for service, and left Australia in December 1914 as temporary brigadier-general in command of the 2nd light horse. He was at first employed in the Suez Canal area where his men were trained. Ryrie himself had little love for military forms or textbooks, but he got to know his men and gained their affection and respect. He had a first-rate brigade-major, Captain Foster, a most skilful soldier, and between them the corps was trained to a high state of efficiency. In May 1915 it volunteered to leave its horses in Egypt and serve dismounted on Gallipoli. There Ryrie proved himself to be an excellent leader, capable of quickly understanding the realities of the situation, and, though of undoubted courage, unwilling to unnecessarily risk the lives of his men. On one occasion, in August 1915, when ordered to attack an enemy position, in conjunction with another commander he sent a letter pointing out the objections to the operation, which eventually was postponed. On 29 September he was severely wounded by a shell but returned from hospital early in November. After the evacuation of Gallipoli the campaign in the Sinai desert and Palestine followed. In the desert the work was done under the greatest disadvantages, with little equipment, inferior water, no facilities for sanitation, and irregular supplies of rations. In spite of these difficulties the light horse carried out much important reconnaisance work. At the time of the battle of Romani, in August 1916, Ryrie was in England on short leave, but his brigade did effective work in his absence. At the first battle of Gaza in March 1917 Ryrie and his men were actually entering Gaza when he received orders to withdraw. Ryrie considered that the Turks were demoralized and the position won, but he had to obey orders, though he bluntly told the staff officer that he would not withdraw until every trooper of his scattered forces had been collected. He was under Allenby in the advance on and capture of Jerusalem in December 1917, and in the subsequent campaign in 1918. He was given command of the Australian division in Syria and later commanded all the Australians in Egypt. He was promoted major-general in 1919, and was transferred to reserve of officers in 1920.

On his return to Australia Ryrie took up his parliamentary work again, and was assistant-minister of defence in the Hughes (q.v.) cabinet from February 1920 to February 1923. He was temporary chairman of committees from February 1926 to March 1927, member of the joint committee of public accounts from January 1926 to March 1927, and chairman from July 1926. In April 1927 he succeeded Sir Joseph Cook as high commissioner for Australia in London, the first Australian native to hold that position. In 1932 he returned to Australia and lived in retirement at Michelago until his death on 2 October 1937. He married in 1896, Mary Frances Gwendolyn, daughter of judge McFarland of Sydney, who survived him with a son and two daughters. During his military career he was wounded three times and was five times mentioned in dispatches. He was created C.M.G. in 1916, C.B. in 1918, and K.C.M.G. in 1919.

Ryrie was a great soldier. Bluff in speech, and full of humour, courage and common sense, he gained and deserved the complete trust of the men under his command. A typical bushman, and in spite of his 16 stone, a perfect horseman, he had an unequalled knowledge of horses and men. In politics he was sound, honest and efficient with a scorn of finesse and intrigue.

Official History of Australia in the War, 1914-18, vols. I, II, VII; The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 October 1937; Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook, 1901-30; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1936.

^Top of page [and links to other parts]