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DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALIAN BIOGRAPHY
Angus and Robertson--1949
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WEBBER, JOHN (1752-1793),artist,
son of Abraham Webber, a sculptor, was born in London in 1752. He was educated in Switzerland, and studied painting at Paris. He was appointed topographical artist on the Resolution in 1776 and accompanied Cook (q.v.) on his third voyage. In January 1777 at Adventure Bay he did drawings of "A Man of Van Diemen's Land" and "A Woman of Van Diemen's Land", and he also did many drawings of scenes in New Zealand and the South Sea islands. Returning to England in 1780 he exhibited about 50 works at Royal Academy exhibitions between 1784 and 1792, and was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1785 and R.A. in 1791. He confined his work mostly to landscape. Sometimes figures were included as in "A Party from H.M.S. Resolution shooting sea horses", which was shown at the academy in 1784, and his "The Death of Captain Cook" became well known through an engraving of it. Another version of this picture is in the William Dixson gallery at Sydney. He is also represented in the Mitchell library collection, and in the British Museum and other London museums and galleries. He died at London on 29 May 1793.
W. Sandby, The History of the Royal Academy of Arts; Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; A. Graves, The Royal Academy Exhibitors.
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WEBBER, WILLIAM THOMAS THORNHILL (1837-1903),third Anglican bishop of Brisbane,
son of William Webber, a surgeon, was born at Grosvenor-square, London, on 30 January 1837. He was educated at Tonbridge school and afterwards at Norwich under Dr J. Woolley (q.v.). Going on to Pembroke College, Oxford, he graduated B.A. in 1859, M.A. in 1862, and was given the honorary degree of D.D. in 1885. Webber was ordained deacon in 1860, priest in 1861, and was curate of Chiswick 1860-4 and in charge of the church of St John the Evangelist, Red Lion-square, London, from 1864 to 1885. He was a most energetic and successful pastor in a crowded district, during his pastorate a new church, clergyhouse, and school were built, and besides looking after his parish, Webber was on a large number of committees of charitable and educational organizations. From 1882 to 1885 he was also a member of the London school board, and had become one of the best-known clergymen in London. He was appointed bishop of Brisbane in 1885, was consecrated at London on 11 June, and enthroned at Brisbane on 17 November.
Webber threw himself into his work with great energy, but found the huge diocese unwieldy. He visited England to attend the Pan-Anglican synod at Lambeth in 1888, and in 1892 the diocese of Rockhampton was established, which took over a large part of central Queensland. Webber worked hard for religious instruction in state schools, and two diocesan church schools were founded with some success, the high school for girls at Nundah, and St John's school, Brisbane. Much of his time was given to raising funds for a cathedral at Brisbane and before his death over £30,000 was in hand. The foundation-stone was laid in 1901 by the Duke of York, but the building was not begun until some five years later. The site chosen was a commanding one on the heights overlooking Petrie's Bight. Webber visited England again in 1901, and early in 1902 preached by command before King Edward VII at Sandringham. He fell ill during the year and on his return in May 1903 his condition was serious. He died at Brisbane on 3 August 1903.
Webber had a forceful personality and great powers of organization. He was a high churchman but held that both sections of his church could be equally devoted to it, and though a total abstainer he would not force his views on those who disagreed with him. It was held by some that he spent too much time in England and too little in overseeing his country parishes, but Queensland, when he came to it, was a young colony, and Webber felt he was doing a useful work by bringing the need of his diocese for men and money before the Church in England.
The Brisbane Courier, 4 August 1903; Crackford's Clerical Directory, 1903; The Church of England Messenger, Melbourne, August 1903; Jubilee History of Queensland, p. 132.
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WEDGE, JOHN HELDER (1792-1872),pioneer,
was born in England in 1792. He arrived in Tasmania in 1824 having been given a position in the survey department, and did some useful exploring, especially in the north-west of the island. He joined the Port Phillip Association and in 1835 after Batman (q.v.) had made his famous purchase from the aborigines, resigned his position as assistant surveyor-general, and sailing to Port Phillip, arrived on 7 August 1835 (J. Bonwick, Port Phillip Settlement, p. 249). He surveyed some of the country near the site of Geelong, and going on to the site of Melbourne on 2 September found an encampment formed by members of the party organized by Fawkner (q.v.). Wedge pointed out that they were trespassing on the land of the Port Phillip Association, and then went on to examine the land to the north of the Yarra. Wedge gave this river its name on 13 September. Some 20 years later writing to Bonwick he told him that "on arriving in sight of the river two natives who were with me, pointing to the river, called out 'Yarra Yarra,' which, at the time I imagined to be its name" (Port Phillip Settlement, p. 279). Wedge afterwards sailed to Portland and arrived there on 5 October. He returned almost at once to Port Phillip and learned on 13 October that the association was considering taking action to expel Fawkner's party. Wedge wrote a wise letter to his fellow members, pointing out that any action of this kind would "lead to the most disastrous results" . . . and that the government "under such circumstances would refuse to confirm their title to the land". How much influence this letter may have had is not known, but the expulsion project was abandoned.
When it was finally settled that the association would receive no title to the land bought from the aborigines, Wedge returned to England. He came to Tasmania again in 1843 and became manager of the Christ Church College estate. He also received a grant of 2500 acres of land, grew prosperous in his circumstances, and was generally respected for his high character. In 1855 he was elected a member of the legislative council and successively represented Morven, North Esk, Hobart, and the Huon in that house. He was a member of the Gregson (q.v.) ministry without office from 26 February to 25 April 1857. He retired from politics in 1868 and died on 22 November 1872. He married in 1843, but his wife died young. He had no children. Many of his sketches are reproduced in Bonwick's Port Phillip Settlement and some of his manuscripts are in the public library, Melbourne,
The Mercury, Hobart, 26 November 1872; J. Bonwick Port Phillip Settlement; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.
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WEIGALL, ALBERT BYTHESEA (1840-1912),schoolmaster,
the fourth son of the Rev. Edward Weigall by his wife, Cecelia Bythesea Brome, was born at Nantes, France, on 16 February 1840. His father, known as "the little fighting parson", ruled his home with kindliness and humour, and there was comparatively little of stern discipline and the conventions usually associated with Victorian home life. His son was educated at the grammar school at Macclesfield, where he obtained an excellent classical education tinder the Rev. Thomas Cornish, a man of sound judgment and kindness of heart. In 1858 Weigall went to Brasenose College, Oxford, with a scholarship. He obtained a first class in moderations in 1859 and won the Hulme exhibition in 1861. He worked under Conington and T. H. Green, who writing to him afterwards told him that he was "the first pupil I had who really interested me". Weigall graduated in 1862 with second-class honours in Literae Humaniores, intending to start on a diplomatic career. An illness led to a long sea voyage being recommended, and in 1863 he sailed for Australia to take up an appointment at Scotch College, Melbourne, under Alexander Morrison (q.v.). He stayed at Scotch College for three years and though young and quite inexperienced proved himself to be a good classical master. His attempts in emergencies to take classes in mathematics, however, led to some doubt arising in the boys' minds as to whether he was capable of correctly doing a sum in addition. He was fortunate in having a cousin, Theyre Weigall, in Melbourne, who was able to introduce him to congenial and comparatively influential friends, who were possibly able to help him when he applied for the position of headmaster of the Sydney Grammar School in June 1866. In spite of his youth he was appointed and began his duties in January 1867.
Weigall had no easy task. There had been some friction between the trustees and the previous headmaster, W. J. Stephens, afterwards professor of geology at Sydney university, and Stephens had resigned and taken some of his pupils with him to a new school which he founded. When Sydney Grammar School opened at the beginning of 1867, though there was a staff of nine, there were only 53 boys. Within 10 years the number was nearly 400, which increased to 696 in Weigall's last year of office. He lived for the school, and his life was henceforth bound up in it. In 1893, after 26 years of service, he was given a year's holiday, and after a break down in health in 1904 he was out of harness for another 12 months. In 1909 he was made C.M.G. and he died following an operation on 20 February 1912. He had married in 1868 Ada Frances Raymond, who survived him with four sons and four daughters.
Apart from being a member of the chapter of St Andrew's cathedral, Weigall appears to have had few outside interests and his chief recreation was walking. He knew every boy in his school by name and tried to make a friend of each; it has even been suggested that in the occasional clashes between boys and junior masters he was inclined to side with the boys. Though something of an autocrat, he succeeded in working amicably with his trustees, and though educated in the classical tradition he always realized the importance of mathematics, English and modern languages. But more than all he worked for the development of character and as part of this introduced the prefect system in 1878. He had an almost uncanny knowledge of boys and could lay bare their faults with an accuracy that astounded them, but his fault-finding was small compared with his encouragement, and when dealing with any offence he could always take into consideration the circumstances of the case. He believed in sport, but sport must not be the chief pre-occupation of the school. Personally he was a strange mixture of emotion and shrewdness, and with all his impulsiveness he could be wary and politic. His occasional bursts of temper, his bluntness and dogmatism, were all parts of a big man, as was also his common sense and his strong dislike of blowing his own trumpet. He believed that teaching was the greatest work in the world, and if he never spared his masters he certainly never spared himself. He practically created a great public school and had an immense influence on the characters of the boys who passed through his hands, many of whom afterwards attained great distinction.
M. W. MacCallum, In Memory of Albert Bythesea Weigall; The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Daily Telegraph, 21 February 1912.
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WELD, FREDERICK ALOYSIUS (1823-1891),governor of Western Australia and Tasmania,
was born at Chideock Manor, Dorset, England, on 9 May 1823. He came of an old Roman Catholic family, his grandfather founded Stonyhurst College, and an uncle became a cardinal. Weld was the son of Humphrey Weld and his wife, Maria Christina, daughter of Charles Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, and was educated at Stonyhurst and at the university of Friburg in Switzerland. In November 1843 he sailed for New Zealand with a land order for too acres, a town lot in the future city of Wellington, and a little capital. He arrived at Wellington harbour on 23 April 1844. He bought a share in a station property with which he had some success, did some exploring, and in 1848 was offered a seat on a proposed nominee council by the governor, Sir George Grey (q.v.). Weld declined this and in 1852 visited England where he published a pamphlet, Hints to Intending Sheep Farmers in New Zealand, which ran into three editions. Returning to New Zealand he found that it had been granted representative government, and at the first election he was elected member for Wairau. In 1860 he became minister for native affairs in the Stafford ministry which resigned in 1861, and in 1864 prime minister. His administration was a short one but it did admirable work in the most difficult circumstances. Weld, however, overworked, his health broke down, and he was compelled to take a long rest. In May 1867 he left for England, and in 1869 published his, Notes on New Zealand Affairs. In March of the same year he was appointed governor of Western Australia. He arrived at Albany on 18 September 1869, and went by land to Perth, partly riding and partly driving.
Western Australia at this time had a population of under 25,000, and nearly everything in the colony was in a primitive state. Much fell on the governor who had often to give decisions on most trifling matters, but during Weld's governorship of about five years, many changes for the better were made. A council of 18 was constituted in 1870, 12 of whom were elected and six nominated, the first steps in the direction of municipal government were taken, an elementary education act was passed, new land regulations were framed, and an agitation for responsible government begun. Weld judged that his wisest course would be to assist this movement and had a bill prepared to establish a constitution for Western Australia. There was much objection to the proposal that the members of the upper house should be nominated, but while the measure was being considered Weld was given the governorship of Tasmania, and after his departure the question was dropped for a long period. He left Western Australia on 6 January 1875, having done excellent work. Though the population had increased very little there had been a great increase of exports, a steam-service along the coast had been established, the commencement of a railway system had been made, and the number of miles of telegraph line had increased from 12 to 900. The governor had also encouraged the explorations of John Forrest (q.v.) and had himself travelled over much of the settled country. He found his task in Tasmania much easier. He made himself familiar with the country, but he had few problems of any difficulty though always glad to give his ministers the benefit of his wide experience. Early in 1880 he was transferred to the Straits Settlements and for seven years was an admirable governor. He left Singapore on 17 October 1887 and lived in retirement at Chideock Manor where he was born. He died there on 20 July 1891 . He married in 1858 Filomena Mary Anne, daughter of Ambrose Lisle March-Phillippe-de Lisle, who survived him with 12 children. He was created C.M.G. in 1875, K.C.M.G. in 1880, G.C.M.G. in 1885.
Weld was a man of fine character and an excellent governor. Western Australia was in a state of stagnation when he arrived and he did much to bring it to life again. Wise, courteous and conciliatory, he could be firm when it was necessary. His administration marks a turning point in the early history of Western Australia.
Alice, Lady Lovat, The Life of Sir Frederick Weld; J. S. Battye, Western Australia, a History; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1891.
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WENTWORTH, WILLIAM CHARLES (1792-1872),statesman,
[ also refer to William WENTWORTH page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
was born at Norfolk Island, apparently during the latter part of 1792 (A. C .V. Melbourne, who consulted the Norfolk Island returns at the colonial office). His father was D'Arcy Wentworth, who belonged to an Irish branch of the well-known Wentworth family. There is some doubt about the name of his mother, but there is reason to believe that originally it was Catherine Williams (Melbourne). D'Arcy Wentworth (1762-1827) came originally from the north of Ireland and went to London to study medicine. In 1787 he was charged with highway robbery and acquitted, but in December 1789 he was again charged with the same offence. He was not convicted, but agreed to go to New South Wales, having obtained the position of assistant-surgeon on the Neptune. He arrived at Sydney on 28 June 1790. He was immediately appointed an assistant in the hospital at Norfolk Island, became a superintendent of convicts in 1791, and acted at the same time as assistant-surgeon. He returned to Sydney in 1796, eventually became principal surgeon and superintendent of police, and a magistrate. From the time he arrived in the colony until his death in 1827 his life was free from blame. He laid the foundation of a large fortune as one of the contractors for the building of the "Rum Hospital", known by that name because the builders of it had agreed to erect the building on condition that they were allowed a monopoly of the sale of spirits for three years.
Little is known of the youth of William Charles Wentworth. He was sent at an early age to England to be educated, and his father made unsuccessful efforts through his friend and distant kinsman, Lord Fitzwilliam, to have him admitted to the military academy at Woolwich, or to obtain an appointment in the East India Company's service. He arrived in Sydney again in 1811, and in August 1812 was granted 1750 acres of land. In the following year, with Gregory Blaxland (q.v.) and Lieutenant William Lawson (q.v.), Wentworth crossed the Blue Mountains and found a way to open up the fertile country to the west of them. Many attempts had been made before, but all had failed. Only 17 miles were covered in the first week, but at the end of the third week they saw from Mount York the open country beyond. Wentworth, however, found that the privations he had endured had injured his health, and in 1814 took a voyage to the Friendly Islands to enable him to recover. In 1816 he went to England. His father hoped that he would enter the army, but Wentworth was anxious to study law. In a letter to Lord Fitzwilliam he spoke of acquainting himself "with all the excellence of the British constitution, and hope at some future period to advocate successfully the right of my country to participate in its advantages". It is clear from this letter that Wentworth intended to make the bar a stepping stone to the fulfilment of greater ambitions. He entered at the Inner Temple and began a five years' course of study. At this time he was friendly with John Macarthur (q.v.) and his two sons, and obtained parental consent to a marriage with John Macarthur's daughter. The elder man, however, advised Wentworth to complete his law studies before returning to Sydney, and a subsequent quarrel with the Macarthurs made an end of the proposed marriage. In 1817 Wentworth went to Paris, lived there for more than a year, and obtained a good working knowledge of French while not entirely neglecting his study of the law. In Paris he was in close touch with John Macarthur junior, who suggested that he should write a book on the state of New South Wales, which he practically completed by May 1818. About this time he suffered a great shock. He found in a public letter addressed to Lord Sidmouth by the Hon. H. G. Bennet a statement that his father had gone to New South Wales as a convict. He interviewed Bennet and denied the charges, but from further inquiries he learned that his father had twice been tried for a capital offence. His distress was great but he did what he could. Bennet amended the wording of his pamphlet, and made "a somewhat ambiguous apology in the house of commons", and Wentworth wisely carried the matter no further. His book was published in 1819; its long and cumbrous title will suggest the scope of it--A Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales and its dependent Settlements with a Particular Enumeration of the Advantages which these Colonies offer for Emigration and their Superiority in many Respects over those Possessed by the United States of America. The book contained a remarkable amount of information relating to the colony, with many proposals for the improvement of its government. It went into a second edition in 1820, and the third edition, considerably revised and augmented, appeared in 1824. John Macarthur did not approve of it and objected strongly to Wentworth's estimates of the profits to be made by growing fine wool. Neither did he approve of trial by jury nor ex-convicts being eligible for the proposed houses of parliament, both of which were advocated in Wentworth's book. In 1823 Wentworth became a student at Peterhouse College, Cambridge, and shortly afterwards entered a poem for the Chancellor's gold medal. It was placed second to a poem by Winthrop Mackworth Praed, afterwards to become well-known as one of the most graceful and polished of English minor poets. More than one good judge has questioned this decision. The subject was Australasia and Wentworth not only knew more about his subject, he felt a genuine emotion for it. Apart from a few early anonymous satires this was the only verse written by Wentworth. It was published in 1823 and reprinted 50 years later. Extracts from it have been included in various Australian anthologies. Wentworth was called to the English bar, and having revised and completed the third edition of his book on New South Wales during 1823 he sailed for Sydney and arrived about September 1821.
In England Wentworth had become friendly with Robert Wardell, LL.D. (q.v.). They came to Sydney together and immediately started a paper, the Australian. It was conducted with ability, fought against the colonial office, and demanded an elected legislature. When the new governor, Sir Ralph Darling (q.v.), arrived he soon realized that Wentworth was a force in the community. The case of Sudds and Thompson, two soldiers who had committed a theft so that they might be sentenced to transportation, was seized on by Wentworth and others as a means of harassing the government. The two men had been sentenced to hard labour in irons and Sudds who was ill died. Wentworth in letters to the governor and secretary of state allowed his strong feelings to run away with him, and to some extent defeated his own object by the extravagance of his language. A new constitution act had been passed in 1828, but though minor changes had been made no concession of importance had been made to the views of Wentworth and his party. On 9 February 1830 a draft of a petition to the house of commons was brought before a public meeting. The objects desired by Wentworth's party were trial by jury and a "House of the People's representatives" (The Australian, 10 February 1830). The petition was presented to the house of commons without effect. The agitation was renewed early in 1833, and in May 1835 the Australian Patriotic Association was formed. Wentworth took a leading part, but the fervour of youth had departed, and he was now a rich man, becoming much more conservative in his outlook than when he wrote his book on New South Wales. The exclusives and the emancipists were still at odds but there had been great increases in the number of free settlers coming to the colony. The adoption by the home authorities to some extent of Wakefield's (q.v.) land policy brought the hitherto opposed James Macarthur (q.v. [under entry for John Macarthur]) and Wentworth together, and Wentworth gradually lost his place as the people's leader. Wentworth was not in most circumstances a man of a grasping nature, indeed it is recorded of him that when he bought his estate, Vaucluse, finding he had got it too cheaply he insisted on paying an additional amount. But when seven Maori chiefs arrived in Sydney early in 1840, he made a bargain with them that in consideration of a pension of £200 each, they would sell him 100,000 acres in the North Island and 20,000,000 acres in the South Island. It was an audacious scheme, but though the rights of native races were little recognized in those days, Governor Gipps (q.v.) refused to ratify the bargain. The governor was right in his action, though unwise in denouncing the transaction as a corrupt job, and Wentworth never forgave him.
Wentworth's early labours for the people had at last begun to have effect. Trial by jury had become law in 1838, and the first real step towards representative government was effected in 1842 when a new constitution act was passed. In 1843 writs were issued for the election of 24 members to the legislative council and Wentworth received full credit for his part in the long-awaited reform. At the election held in the middle of 1843 he was returned as one of the members for Sydney. When the council met Wentworth let it be known that he would like the position of speaker, and was much disappointed when even his best friends declined to support his candidature on the ground that it should not be held by a partisan. Wentworth made a long speech in which he admitted there was force in the argument, and that he had been a partisan for the liberty of the press, for trial by jury, and for an elected house of legislature. He argued that McLeay (q.v.) who had been nominated for the position was just as much of a partisan in his way. McLeay, although 77 years of age was elected to the position. Wentworth became leader of the opposition, which included all the elected members, and it was not long before he was in conflict with Governor Sir George Gipps. He identified himself with the cause of the squatters and a bitter struggle ensued. It was not until 1846, when some concessions were made to the squatters, that the agitation temporarily died down. In 1844 a select committee had been appointed to inquire into "General Grievances". The report of this committee gave Wentworth an opportunity of advocating a further development in responsible government. His views on the relations between the colonies and the United Kingdom may have been before their time, but they have practically been adopted in the present century. In the meanwhile all that Wentworth could do at this period was to obtain more control over the colony's revenues. He also took part in improving the state of education, and in bringing in a lien on wool and live stock act, a most useful measure. In 1846 Lord Grey, the new secretary of state for war and the colonies, tried to bring in a new constitution with a system of double elections. District councillors were to be elected who in turn would elect members of the legislative council, which gave Wentworth an opportunity to thunder against it with all his power. It was also proposed to start transportation again and here he had Wentworth's support. Like the other squatters he was, for once, more interested in obtaining cheap labour for his stations than in the general good of the colony. Now he had Robert Lowe (q.v.) and the young Henry Parkes (q.v.) as his opponents. At the 1848 election he faced his constituents with characteristic courage, realizing that he was on the unpopular side. His power and personality carried him to the top of the poll. When yet another constitution act was passed in 1850 the existing legislative council in New South Wales was empowered to enact the constitution of its successor. An attempt was made to divide the representation so that the agricultural and pastoral interests should have a secure majority, and indeed after the election it was found that of the 36 elected members 17 came from agricultural and eight from pastoral constituencies. Wentworth had a hard fight for his Sydney seat. He had become unpopular with the Sydney press, and his speech on the hustings was greeted with groans and hisses. He was apparently unmoved and defended all his actions: "Whether you elect me or not," he said, "is to me personally a matter of no consequence, but it may be a matter of importance to you and to the public . . . if I am rejected--one of two questions will be decided, either I am not deserving of the constituency, or this constituency is not worthy of me. This question cannot be answered by men whose interests and passions are inflamed. It must be referred to a remote tribunal, where all the events and circumstances affecting it will be calmly weighed. It must be referred to the tribunal of posterity, and to that tribunal I fear not to appeal." He was elected the lowest on the poll of the three chosen. He had travelled far from the democratic ideas of his youth, and at the declaration of the poll told the electors that: "He regretted to find that there was a spirit of democracy abroad which was almost daily extending its limits."
Wentworth was far from satisfied with the constitution act of 1850. As leader of the elected members of the council he framed a "declaration and remonstrance" in which the legislative council of New South Wales solemnly protested and declared (1) That the Imperial parliament has no power to tax the people of this colony or to appropriate any monies levied by authority of the colonial legislature, (2) that the revenue arising from public lands is as much the property of the people of this colony as the ordinary revenue, (3) that the customs and all other departments should be in the direct control of the colonial legislature, (4) that except in the case of the governor offices of trust and entolument should be conferred only on the settled inhabitants, (5) that powers of legislation should be conferred upon and exercised by the colonial legislature, and no bills should be reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure unless they affect the prerogative of the crown, or the general interests of the Empire. Earl Grey's reply to the remonstrance was unsatisfactory, but his successor, Sir John Pakington, was more sympathetic and he advised the council to draft a constitution. A select committee was appointed with Wentworth as chairman and the resulting draft of a constitution was strongly coloured with his views. On 9 August 1853 Wentworth obtained leave to bring in his "Bill to confer a Constitution on New South Wales". It was hotly debated, the chief cause of dissent being the proposal that the upper chamber should consist of members with hereditary claims of membership. "Why," said Wentworth, "if titles are open to all at home should they be denied to the colonists?" The hostility to this proposal was, however, so great that it was abandoned, and in the upshot the upper house became a nominated chamber and the assembly elective. Wentworth's unpopularity with the people increased; as Parkes expressed it nearly 40 years later (Wentworth's) "unwise proposals to secure his handiwork from alteration by those who might come after him, and his hasty and intemperate epithets of 'democrat', 'communist' and 'mob-rule' applied to his opportents made him extremely unpopular with large numbers who had not watched his steady, unwearied, and enlightened labours in championing the main principles of constitutional government. His aversion to the unrestricted franchise, and his desire to tie the hands of the legislature . . . were eagerly seized upon, and his noble contention throughout for the right of the country to dispose of its own lands, impose its own taxes, expend its own revenues, and appoint its own public servants, were lost sight of in the transient fury of opposition". (Parkes, Fifty Years of Australian History, p. 36.) In March 1854 Wentworth with Deas Thomson (q.v.) sailed for England to see the bill through the Imperial parliament. It received the royal assent on 16 July 1855. This was the crowning event of Wentworth's life. But he had realized that with the increase of responsibility must come increase of knowledge. Six years before he had moved for a select committee to consider the institution of a university at Sydney. He brought in a bill for that purpose in 1850, and the first university senate was constituted on 24 December 1850. Wentworth remained in England for some years. In 1853 his constitution committee had advocated a general assembly to make laws in relation to intercolonial questions, but nothing definite had been done. In 1857 Wentworth brought up the question again and prepared a short "enabling bill" which was sent to the colonial office. Copies of the proposals were sent to all the colonies. The time was, however, scarcely ripe and the proposals were allowed to drop. Wentworth returned to New South Wales in 1861 to find political affairs in confusion. (Sir) Charles Cowper's ill-advised attempt to swamp the upper house had resulted in the resignation of many of the other members, and Wentworth was persuaded to become president of a reconstructed legislative council in 1862. He supported a bill providing for an elected upper house. "I never contemplated," he said, "that any ministry would have the audacity to sweep the streets in Sydney in order to attempt to swamp the house . . . and I see no other alternative but to adopt in the constitution of this house some modification or other of the elective principle." The bill was adopted by the legislative council but Cowper allowed it to be dropped. In October 1862 Wentworth went to England, originally on matters of business, but he never returned. He died at Wimborne on 20 March 1872. He married on 26 October 1829 Sarah, daughter of Francis Cox, who survived him with two sons and four daughters. Wentworth's body was brought to Sydney for a public funeral, and was laid in a vault at Vaucluse. The chief justice, Sir James Martin (q.v.), delivered the funeral oration. A portrait is hung in the legislative assembly, his statue is in the great hall of the university of Sydney.
Wentworth was over six feet in height with a Roman head and a massive form. His vehemence and force were not always at once apparent, yet when he set himself to any task it was only a matter of time before it was accomplished. When little more than a youth he took part in a successful piece of exploration, the first crossing of the Blue Mountains. His first published writing, his book on New South Wales, ran into three editions within five years and had much effect on emigration to Australia. Then noticing that Australasia had been selected as the subject for the prize poem at Cambridge he confidently wrote and entered a poem of far greater merit than the average prize poem which, though it did not win the prize, deserved it. Coming back to Australia he established a reputation at the bar as an advocate, and, entering politics, a great reputation as an orator. Yet these all pale before the essential Wentworth, the patriot and lover of his country, though without his power as an orator he could not have achieved his tasks. His voice was powerful, his manner vehement, and once aroused his eloquence carried his hearers away. He was not always perfectly scrupulous in his methods, and his lapses into abuse of his opponents sometimes marred his oratory. But his disposition was really warm and generous, and he was ready to forget quickly his resentments. He had a good knowledge of constitutional law, quick comprehension, and great logical powers united with great force and accuracy of expression. Behind all this was an immense sincerity, the real secret of his power. He passionately felt that trial by jury, a free press, and the right of the colonies to govern themselves were things worth living for and fighting for, and while he fought for these things the sword never dropped from his hand. He was the greatest man of his time and possibly the greatest man in the history of Australia.
A. C. V. Melbourne, William Charles Wentworth; Lewis Deer and John Barr, The Story of William C. Wentworth; K. R. Cramp, William Charles Wentworth, reprinted from Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. IV, p. 389; A. Jose, Builders and Pioneers of Australia; H. M. Green, Wentworth as Orator; G. W. Rusden, History of Australia; A. Patchett Martin, Life and Letters of Viscount Sherbrooke; J. D. Lang, An Historical and Statistical Account of New South Wales; Henry Parkes, Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History; Public Funeral of the late William Charles Wentworth, Sydney, 1873; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. I-XXI, XXIII-XXVI, ser. III, vols. II, IV, VI, ser. IV, vol. I; Burke's Colonial Gentry, which traces Wentworth's ancestry back to Rogert Wentworth living in Yorkshire in the sixteenth century. The date of W. C. Wentworth's birth differs from that given above, and also the maiden name of his mother.
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WEST, REV. JOHN (1809-1873),historian and journalist,
was born in England in 1809. He entered the Congregational ministry in 1829 and after working in England for some years, offered his services to the Colonial Missionary Society. He was sent to Launceston at the beginning of 1839, established a church, and there laboured for over 15 years. He took much interest in the convict question and originated at Launceston the anti-transportation league. In February 1851, with W. P. Weston (q.v.) as his fellow delegate, he attended a conference at Melbourne where "The League and Solemn Engagement of the Australian Colonies" was adopted. This organization was largely responsible for the putting an end of transportation to Tasmania and the eastern colonies of Australia. In 1852 he published his History of Tasmania in two volumes, an interesting and able piece of work. Having met John Fairfax (q.v.) at Sydney in April 1851, he contributed a series of letters to the Sydney Morning Herald on the question of the union of the Australian colonies. The first of these appeared on 30 January and the eighteenth and last on 8 September 1854. Nearly 50 years later Quick (q.v.) and Garran, in their historical introduction to their Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth, spoke of these letters as having "dealt convincingly with the need of union". Fairfax realized that West would be a valuable aid to his paper and early in 1854 offered him the editorship. West, however, was doubtful as to whether he should give up his pastorate to undertake secular work, and only consented to do so after the matter had been referred to the Rev. R. Fletcher of Melbourne. He, however, insisted on remaining at Launceston until a suitable successor was found five months later. He was to do much clerical work in the future but always refused to accept any remuneration for it. In November 1854 he became the first editor of the Sydney Morning Herald definitely appointed to that position. He held it for 19 years with much ability and a strong sense of the responsibility of his trust. A scurrilous attack on his character by the Rev. J. Dunmore Lang (q.v.) which was printed in the Empire was so specific that it could not be treated with contempt, and West felt compelled to bring an action for libel. He was awarded £100 damages which was promptly paid to a public charity. He died suddenly on 11 December 1873. He married and was survived by children. Apart from his History of Tasmania his only separate publications were a few lectures and sermons.
Personally West was a man of the highest character, philosophically and judicially minded, always using his influence for the good of the people.
A Century of Journalism; Correspondence respecting the libel action West v Hanson and Bennett; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania; The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 December 1873.
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WESTALL, WILLIAM (1781-1850),artist,
was born at Hertford, England, on 12 October 1781. He was a student at the Royal Academy school when he was selected to be landscape painter on the Investigator under Flinders (q.v.), which sailed from Spithead on 18 July 1801. For two years he made many drawings while on the Investigator, but transferring to the Porpoise, was wrecked off the coast of Queensland on a coral reef, to be rescued eight weeks later. He went on to China in the Rolla, from there went to Bombay, and thence to England where he arrived in 1805. A few months later he went to Madeira and then to Jamaica before returning to England, where he at once began exhibiting at the exhibitions of the Royal Academy, and from 1810 with the Old Water-Colour Society. Flinders' A Voyage to Terra Australis, published in 1814, had nine excellent large plates after Westall's drawings, and besides painting in both oil and water-colour, Westall did a large amount of book illustrations. His Views of Australian Scenery, published in 1814, is, however, merely a reprint of the plates in Flinders's volume. He was elected an A.R.A. in 1812, but though a fairly frequent exhibitor until towards the end of his life, he never became a full academician. He met with a severe accident in 1847 which greatly affected his health, and he died at London on 22 January 1850. A large collection of his drawings is in the library of the Royal Empire Society, London.
Memoir by his son, Robert Westall, The Art Journal, 1850; J. L. Roget, The History of the Old Water-Colour Society, which gives a list of books illustrated by Westall (vol. I, pp. 283-4); W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.
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WESTGARTH, WILLIAM (1815-1889),early Victorian merchant and historian,
son of John Westgarth, surveyor-general of customs for Scotland, was born at Edinburgh, in June 1815. He was educated at the high schools at Leith and Edinburgh, and at Dr Bruce's school at Newcastle-on-Tyne. He then entered the office of G. Young and Company of Leith, who were engaged in the Australian trade, and realizing the possibilities of the new land, decided to emigrate to Australia. He arrived in Melbourne, then a town of three or four thousand inhabitants, in December 1840. How close it still was to primitive conditions may be realized from the fact, that about four years later Westgarth saw an aboriginal corroboree in which 700 natives took part, on a spot little more than a mile to the north of the present general post office. He went into business as a merchant and general importer, and the firm was later in Market-street under the name of Westgarth, Ross and Spowers. Westgarth was in every movement for the advancement of Melbourne and the Port Phillip district. He became a member of the national board of education, in 1850 was elected to represent Melbourne in the legislative council of New South Wales, and he took an important part in the separation movement. It was he who originated the idea that the hoofs of the bullocks should settle the boundary question. If they showed that the droves were heading north, that country should remain in New South Wales, if south it should become part of the new colony.
When the new colony was constituted Westgarth headed the poll for Melbourne at the election for the legislative council. He had had many activities during the previous 10 years. In 1842 he was one of the founders of the Melbourne Mechanics' Institute, afterwards the Athenaeum; he had done much writing, beginning in 1845 with a half-yearly Report Commercial Statistical and General on the District of Port Phillip, followed in 1846 by a pamphlet, A Report on the Condition, Capabilities and Prospects of the Australian Aborigines, and in 1848 by Australia Felix, A Historical and Descriptive Account of the Settlement of Port Phillip. In 1851 he founded the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce and was elected its first president. He visited England in 1853 and brought out another version of his last book under the title Victoria; late Australia Felix. Soon after his return to Australia in 1854 he was appointed a member of the commission of inquiry to go into the circumstances of the Eureka rebellion. Westgarth was elected chairman and showed much tact in his conduct of the inquiry. The commission recommended a general amnesty to the prisoners, who, however, were tried and acquitted.
In 1857 Westgarth went to England, settled in London, and as William Westgarth and Company began business as colonial agents and brokers. He established a great reputation as the adviser of various colonial governments floating loans in London, and was continually consulted during the next 30 years. The finding of gold in Victoria having entirely altered the conditions, Westgarth published a fresh book on the colony, Victoria and the Australian Gold Mines in 1857. In 1861 he published Australia its Rise, Progress and Present Conditions, largely based on articles written by him for the Encyclopedia Britannica, and in 1864 he brought out his fourth book on Victoria, The Colony of Victoria; its Social and Political Institutions. In the preface to this he stated that though he had written four times on this subject, each volume had been a fresh work, written without even opening the pages of the previous volumes. He also wrote some pamphlets on economic and social subjects, and edited in 1863, Tracks of McKinlay and Party across Australia. Another piece of editing was a volume of Essays, dealing with the reconstruction of London and the housing of the poor which appeared in 1886. For many years he endeavoured to form a chamber of commerce in London, and at last succeeded in getting sufficient support in 1881. He revisited Australia in 1888 and was everywhere welcomed. When the Melbourne international exhibition was opened he walked in the procession through the avenue of nations alongside Mr Francis Henty, then the sole survivor of the brotherhood who founded Victoria. As a result of his visit two volumes appeared Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne and Victoria, in 1888, and Half a Century of Australasian Progress, in 1889. Returning to Great Britain Westgarth died suddenly at Edinburgh on 28 October 1889. He married in 1853 and left a widow and two daughters.
Good-looking, quiet and genial, Westgarth was a man of much energy and sagacity, who inspired complete confidence. He did remarkably able work as a Victorian pioneer, as an historian of his period, and as a financial adviser in London.
The Argus, Melbourne, 30 October 1889; The Times, 31 October 1889; W. Westgarth, Personal Records (sic) [ should be 'Recollections'--Ed.] of Early Melbourne and prefaces to other volumes; H. G. Turner, A History of the Colony of Victoria.
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WESTON, WILLIAM PRITCHARD (1804-1888),premier of Tasmania,
was born at Shoreditch, England, in 1804. About 1830 he emigrated to Tasmania, purchased a property near Longford, and lived there for several years. He also received a grant of 2500 acres. He was made a magistrate and with the Rev. John West (q.v.) took a prominent part in the formation of the anti-transportation league which between 1849 and 1853 had an important influence in the success of this movement. In September 1856 he was elected to the first Tasmanian house of assembly, and in April 1857 formed a ministry. In May the ministry was re-constructed with Francis Smith (q.v.) as premier, Weston remaining in the cabinet without portfolio. In November 1860 Weston became premier for the second time but resigned at the end of July 1861, and did not hold office again. He was successful financially, retired in 1870, and went to live in Victoria. He died at St Kilda a suburb of Melbourne, on 21 February 1888, and was survived by a son and five daughters.
The Mercury, Hobart, 22 and 23 February 1888; The Launceston Examiner, 23 February 1888; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania.
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WHITE, SIR CYRIL BRUDENELL BINGHAM (1876-1940),general, chief of staff, A.I.F.,
son of John Warren White, a former army officer from the north of Ireland, was born at St Arnaud, Victoria, on 23 September 1876. He was educated at a normal school at Brisbane and at Eton School, Nundah, Queensland, and entered a bank at the age of 16. Three years later he joined the Queensland permanent artillery and served during the South African war as a subaltern. After his return to Australia he remained in the army, and in 1904 was appointed aide-de-camp to Major-general Edward Hutton. In 1906 White was chosen to go to England and study for two years at the British staff college at Camberley, where his work so impressed the British authorities that the war office requested that he might be lent for a further period. As a result White was employed for three years in training regular troops in England. Returning to Australia he became director of military operations, and was acting-chief of the general staff at the outbreak of the 1914-18 war. He was then a major and went overseas as chief of staff to General Bridges in Egypt and at Gallipoli. In November 1915 it was realized that the troops would have to be withdrawn, and White brought in periods of silence to avert suspicion of the quietness that would follow the evacuation of most of the troops, and drew up the plan for it. Various suggestions were made, one being that there should be a preliminary offensive, and another that a system of defensive mines should be organized. But White felt the important thing was not to arouse the suspicions of the enemy, and that this could best be done by keeping the general conditions perfectly normal. He was allowed to have his way and the evacuation from Gallipoli which followed, perfectly timed and in every way successful, was completed on 20 December 1915.
In February 1916 White became chief of staff to General Birdwood in Egypt, and shortly afterwards his claims to divisional command were considered, but it was felt that he was too valuable as a staff officer to be spared. In the following month he went with Birdwood to France. He was attached to Birdwood, who became G.O.C., A.I.F., in September, for the remainder of the war, and had a great influence on the development of the A.I.F. It was Birdwood's capacity for leadership and White's for organization, that did so much in making the A.I.F. a really efficient instrument of war. In the various operations for the remainder of the year White more than once intervened on the side of caution. It was not from any lack of courage, but his grasp of detail enabled him to see probabilities of disaster not apparent to more impulsive commanders. In the battle for the Pozières plateau at the end of July he allowed the confidence of others to bear down his own misgivings, but after this failure, when Haig was finding fault with Birdwood and White, he stood up to Haig and pointed out that whatever mistakes had been made, the coinmander-in-chief had been misinformed in several particulars, which White then proceeded to particularize. Haig was so impressed that when he had finished he put his hand on White's shoulder and said, "I dare say you're right, young man." During 1917 the value of the Australian troops was being more and more appreciated, but among the troops themselves there was some feeling that they were being too often sacrificed through the mistakes of the higher command. By September White had become convinced that as far as possible piecemeal operations must be avoided, that too great advances should not be attempted, and that there must be a proper use of artillery barrage. These tactics were successfully applied in the Menin-road battle on 20 September, and in subsequent thrusts. Early in 1918 White, realizing the difficulties of repatriation at the end of the war, raised the problem of what would have to be done while the men were waiting for shipping. This led to the educational scheme afterwards adopted. In May Birdwood and White, at the request of General Rawlinson, prepared plans for an offensive but these were shelved in the meanwhile. When General Birdwood was given command of the fifth army the choice of his successor in command of the Australian corps lay between Monash (q.v.) and White. Monash was White's senior and, though White's reputation stood very high, it was impossible to pass over so capable and successful an officer as Monash. White was given the important position of chief of the general staff of Birdwood's army. It was a happy combination, for though Birdwood was a great leader of men he was less interested in organization, and White had a genius for it.
After the war White returned to Australia with the rank of major-general and was chief of general staff until 1922. He was chairman of the Commonwealth public service board from 1923 to 1928, and after his retirement was well known in business circles in Melbourne as a director of several important financial companies. In March 1940 he was called upon to become chief of staff again, but most unfortunately was killed in an aeroplane crash at Canberra on 13 August 1940. He married in 1905 Ethel, daughter of Walter Davidson, who survived him with two sons and two daughters. He was created C.B. in 1916; C.M.G., 1918; K.C.M.G., 1919; K.C.V.O., 1920; and K.C.B., 1927.
White was a man of great personal charm whose pleasant manner did not suggest his real strength. He was quite unselfseeking, completely loyal to his superiors and to his men. He had had an excellent training, he had great powers of work and a quick brain; his remarkable grasp of essentials enabled him to give prompt decisions on all problems whether of organization or tactics. These were some of the qualities that made him as chief of staff one of the great soldiers of the 1914-18 war. To some he was a greater soldier than Monash who himself described him as "far and away the ablest soldier Australia had ever turned out", but their work was scarcely comparable. It may truly be said of White that though apparently little in touch with the junior officers and men in the ranks, no single man did more to mould the A.I.F.
The Official History of Australia in the War, 1914-1918, vols. I to VI; The Times, 14 August 1940; The Argus and The Age, Melbourne, 14 August 1940; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1940.
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WHITE, JAMES (1862-1918),sculptor,
was born at Edinburgh in 1862, and came to Australia while a young man. He won the Wynne prize at Sydney in 1902 and executed a large number of statues and memorials in Australia, including the Queen Victoria memorial and the Fitzgibbon statue at Melbourne, statues of George Bass, Daniel Henry Deniehy, Sir John Robertson and W. B. Dalley at Sydney, the John McDouall Stuart statue at Adelaide, South African war memorials at Perth and Ballarat and statues of Queen Victoria and George Lansell at Bendigo. In spite of this long list White was by no means a distinguished sculptor. He came to Australia when there were few sculptors there of ability, and it must be presumed that his sketch models were better than his finished works, as in later years he more than once obtained important commissions in competition with better men. He died in 1918. His head of an Australian aboriginal is at the national gallery at Sydney.
W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Catalogue of the National Art Gallery of N.S.W.
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WHITE, JOHN (c. 1750-1832),chief surgeon to the first fleet,
[ also refer to John WHITE page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
is stated to have been born in Sussex in 1750, but as we find him described in 1786 as "a young man" (H.R. of N.S.W., vol. I, part 2, p. 25), the correct date was possibly somewhat later. He was appointed a surgeon's mate in the navy in 1778, in 1780 was promoted surgeon, and in 1786 held that rank on H.M.S. Irresistible. On 24 October of that year he was appointed surgeon-general of New South Wales. In March 1787 he joined the first fleet of transports at Plymouth, and found that the convicts had been living for some time on salt meat, a bad preparation for a long voyage. He succeeded in getting supplies of fresh meat and vegetables for them, and in arranging that they should be allowed up on deck in relays to obtain fresh air. His sensible and humane treatment was probably the reason why the number of convicts who died during the voyage was not greater. After the fleet arrived in January 1788, White organized a hospital, but was much handicapped by the shortage of medical necessaries. He became interested in the flora and fauna of the new country and early in 1790 published in London, his Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales. This had 65 copper-plate engravings of birds, animals, and botanical specimens, and during the next five years was translated into German and French. White afterwards became pessimistic about the future of the settlement and, having obtained leave of absence, sailed for England on 17 December 1794. Early in 1796 William Balmain, his assistant, who had taken over his duties, applied for the full salary of principal surgeon, and in May 1797 a government order stated that Balmain had been appointed to that position in the room of John White who had resigned. For the next four years White was a surgeon on the Royal William, and for 20 years he was stationed first at Sheerness and then at Chatham dockyard. He retired on a pension in 1820, and died at Worthing, Sussex, on 20 February 1832.
D. Anderson, John White; Surgeon-General to the First Fleet; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. I and II; G. Mackaness, Admiral Arthur Phillip; G. B. Barton, History of New South Wales, vol. I.
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WHITEHEAD, CHARLES (1804-1862),novelist,
was born in London in 1804, the son of a wine merchant. He received a good education and entered a commercial office as a clerk. His first literary work was a long poem, The Solitary, published in 1831, which was followed by a large amount of miscellaneous writing including Richard Savage, his finest novel, published in 1842, The Earl of Essex, an historical romance (1843), and many short stories. He was a friend of Dickens, Thackeray, and other well-known men of letters of the period. He unfortunately gave way to drink and in 1857 left for Melbourne, probably hoping that he would be able to make a fresh start there. A shy scholarly-looking man with undoubted ability, he was in no way fitted for the colonial life of the period. While in Australia he wrote a little for the press but published nothing in book form, and though befriended by James Smith (q.v.) and others he was obliged to apply for admittance to the Melbourne benevolent asylum in February 1862. A few months later he was picked up exhausted in one of the streets and taken to the Melbourne hospital, where he died on 5 July 1862. His wife came with him to Victoria but predeceased him.
Mackenzie Bell, Charles Whitehead: A Forgotten Genius, which gives a list of his writings; A. H. Miles, The Poets and the Poetry of the Century, Keats to Lytton.
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WHYTE, JAMES (1820-1882),premier of Tasmania,
son of George Whyte, was born near Greenlaw, Scotland, in March 1820. His mother was a cousin of Thomas Pringle, the poet, secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society. Whyte came to Tasmania with his parents in 1832, and six years later took some sheep to Victoria and settled near Portland. He afterwards was partner in a station at Clunes where the Port Phillip gold mine was discovered, from which he drew large royalties. He returned to Tasmania in 1853 and was elected a member of the legislative council for Pembroke in September 1856. He became a minister without office in Gregson's (q.v.) ministry in February 1857, and for some years was chairman of committees in the council. On 20 January 1863 he became premier and colonial secretary and held office until 24 November 1866. Whyte and the colonial treasurer, Charles Meredith (q.v.) were the first to go on ministerial tours, and as a result vigorous efforts were made to open up the country by constructing roads and bridges. The ministry was defeated because its policy included an income and property tax. In 1869 Whyte succeeded in passing a scab act, and when he retired from politics in 1876 became its chief inspector. The act was very unpopular at first, but owners of sheep later realized the value of it. In 1881 Whyte was able to report that the sheep of Tasmania were free from scab disease, a most important gain to the pastoral industry and the whole colony. He died at Hobart on 20 August 1882 and was survived by his only son.
The Mercury, Hobart, 22 August 1882; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania.
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WILKIE, LESLIE ANDREW (1879-1935),artist,
was born at Melbourne, on 27 June 1879. He was the son of David Wilkie and a grand-nephew of Sir David Wilkie. He was educated at Brunswick College and in 1896 entered the national gallery school at Melbourne under L. Bernard Hall (q.v.). He came first into notice in 1902 when he showed some very promising work at the Victorian Artists' Society exhibition. He went to Europe in 1904 for further study, and after his return to Australia was appointed acting master of the drawing school at Melbourne while F. McCubbin (q.v.) was away on leave. He was elected a member of the council of the Victorian Artists' Society, and after the foundation of the Australian Art Association was its honorary secretary for three years. In September 1926 he was appointed curator of the art gallery of South Australia at Adelaide and proved himself a most efficient and painstaking officer. He died at Adelaide on 4 September 1935. He married Nani Tunnock, who died in 1930, and was survived by a daughter.
Wilkie was modest and retiring and never gave the impression of being in robust health. He was a good draughtsman and there were beautiful passages in his work, but though a competent painter he scarcely fulfilled his early promise. He was at his best as a portrait painter. Examples of his work are in the national galleries at Adelaide and Sydney, and he is also represented in the Australian war museum and the Commonwealth collection at Canberra.
The Herald, Melbourne, 13 November 1920; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 5 September 1935; Art in Australia, seventh No.; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; personal knowledge.
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WILKINSON, CHARLES SMITH (1843-1891),geologist,
was born at Pottersbury, Northamptonshire, England, on 22 August 1843. He was the fourth son of David Wilkinson, C.E., who was associated with Stephenson in the production of early locomotives. The family settled in Melbourne in 1852, and the boy was educated at a private school conducted by the Rev. T. P. Fenner. At 16 he was given a position in the geological survey office and in 1861 he became a field assistant to Richard Daintree (q.v.) with whom he was associated in the survey of part of southern Victoria. In 1863 he was sent to explore the Cape Otway country and in 1866 succeeded Daintree when the latter left for Queensland. Two years later Wilkinson's health broke down, he resigned from the survey, and spent the next four years at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. He passed the examination for licensed surveyor in 1872, and was sent by the surveyor-general of New South Wales to the new tin-mining district in New England, New South Wales, on which he reported, and in 1874 he was appointed geological surveyor. In 1875 he was transferred to the mines department with the title of geological surveyor in charge. The systematical geological survey of New South Wales was begun under his direction, and much valuable work was done. In 1876 he was elected a fellow of the Geological Society of London and in 1881 a fellow of the Linnean Society. In 1883 and 1884 he was president of the Linnean Society of New South Wales and in 1887 president of the Royal Society of New South Wales. He died after a short illness on 26 August 1891. He was survived by his wife and two children. His Notes on the Geology of New South Wales was published by the mines department in 1882, and about 80 of his reports and papers are listed in the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales for 1892, p. 9.
Wilkinson gained the respect and affection of all who knew him. He was an excellent man of science who did good work in connexion with the mining industry, and was the first to suggest to the government the possibility of finding subterranean water in western New South Wales. The first bore was put down under his direction. The fine collection of minerals in the Sydney geological survey museum was founded and largely brought together by him.
H. C. Russell, Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 1892, p. 6; The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August 1891; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; The Geological Magazine, 1891, pp. 571-3.
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WILLIAMSON, FRANK SAMUEL (1865-1936),poet,
was born at Melbourne on 19 January 1865. He was educated at the Scotch College, Melbourne, and was for some years a teacher in secondary schools in Melbourne and Sydney, but occasional bouts of intemperance made it difficult for him to keep his positions. He had the reputation of being an excellent master, especially in English. In later years he was attached to the education department of Victoria and taught in a large number of small country schools. As a young man he had written verse of small merit, but in middle life for a short period he appears to have been inspired by the scenery of his native country to do better work which he polished with great care. In 1912 his one volume of poems, Purple and Gold, appeared. Some of the poems in this volume have the true touch and have been deservedly included in several anthologies of Australian verse. He retired from the education department at 65. He had been granted a Commonwealth literary pension, he had some good friends, and he spent the rest of his life in Melbourne not unhappily. Beyond a few newspaper articles and an occasional set of verses Williamson appears to have done no other writing. He died at the Melbourne hospital on 6 February 1936. He was unmarried.
The first edition of Purple and Gold had some unfortunate misprints, but these were corrected in a second and enlarged edition published in 1940 with a portrait.
Personal knowledge; letter from Williamson; Melbourne Hospital records; Young Victoria, June 1881; Sir John Latham, Introduction to second edition of Purple and Gold.
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WILLIAMSON, JAMES CASSIUS (1845-1913),actor and theatrical manager,
was born at Mercer, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on 26 August 1845. His father was a doctor of Irish descent, his mother's forefathers had come from Scotland. He received a good education at primary and high schools and his family having moved to Milwaukee, he began to act there in private theatricals. When he was 16 he obtained an engagement at the local theatre, and a year later was playing in Canada. In 1863 he found his way to New York, obtained an engagement in Wallack's company, then the best in the United States, and became the general utility man. On one occasion he learned and played the part of Sir Lucins O'Trigger at 24 hours' notice. His next engagement was at the old Broadway theatre as principal comedian, and in 1871 he was given a high salary to go to San Francisco. There he met Maggie Moore (q.v.) and was married to her in 1873. He went to Australia in 1874 and opened at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne in Struck Oil, which proved to be an immediate success. Williamson went to India in 1875 and in the following year opened in London with Struck 0i1, and had a long season. This was followed by two or three years in the United States, and in 1879 he again came to Australia and opened in Pinafore, in which he played Sir Joseph Porter. He had not intended to become a theatrical manager, but the suggestion was made by Messrs Arthur Garner and George Musgrove (q.v.) that they should enter into partnership with him. The association of these men under the name of Williamson, Garner and Musgrove continued for nine years, and it became the leading theatrical firm in Australia. During the next 30 years, with various changes in his partners, Williamson was to introduce to the Australian public such famous people as Genevieve Ward, Bernhardt, Margaret Anglin, Albani, Ada Crossley, Melba, Kyrle Bellew and Mrs Browne Potter, Charles Warner, the Gaiety Company with Fred Leslie and Nellie Farren, J. L. Toole, Cuyler Hastings, Oscar Asche, and a host of others. In his later years, Williamson lived at Sydney, but made many visits to Europe in connexion with his work. He began to take a less strenuous part in management in 1907, and in 1911 the organization was converted into a company under the name of J. C. Williamson Ltd. He died in Paris on 6 July 1913. He was survived by his second wife, originally Mary Weir, and two daughters.
Williamson was a versatile actor, but excelled in comedy. In addition to the parts already mentioned he played Sim in Wild Oats, Dick Swiveller, Rip Van Winkle, Matthew Vanderkoopen in La Cigale, and many others. His Jan Stofel in Struck Oil was played so often that he became identified with the part, and this character gave him every opportunity to show his great talent. As a manager he had the faculty of engaging the loyalty of his subordinates and showed excellent judgment in the selection of plays and artists. His immense experience enabled him to be of great service to the producer. He would sometimes attend rehearsals and his judgment was unerring in finding the weak places and suggesting improvements. He was prudent, cautious, far-sighted, and had great powers of organization. It was the combination of these qualities that made him the leading theatrical manager of his time in Australia.
J. C. Williamson's Life Story; The Argus, Melbourne, 8 July 1913; Nellie Stewart, My Life Story.
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WILLIS, JOHN WALPOLE (1793-1877),judge,
second son of Captain William Willis, was born on 4 January 1793, and educated at the Charterhouse and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was called to the English bar and practised as a chancery barrister. In 1820-1 he published his Pleadings in Equity, and in 1827 A Practical Treatise on the Duties and Responsibilities of Trustees. In that year he was appointed a puisne judge of the King's bench in upper Canada. Within a few months Willis fell foul of the attorney-general, J. B. Robinson, a very experienced official, and took the most unusual course of stating in court that Robinson had neglected his duty and that he would feel it necessary "to make a representation on the subject to his majesty's government". He also took a strong stand on the question of the legality of the court as then constituted, and this led in June 1828 to Willis being removed from his position by the lieutenant-governor, Sir Peregrine Maitland. He proceeded to England in July, and the question was referred to the privy council which ruled against Willis. His conduct was treated as an error of judgment and he was given another appointment as a judge in Demerara, British Guiana. He returned to England in 1836 and was soon afterwards made a judge of the supreme court of New South Wales. He arrived in Sydney on 3 November 1837. He was at first on good terms with Sir J. Dowling (q.v.) who a few months later became chief justice, but in 1839 differences arose, and on one occasion Willis in open court made observations which were taken as a reflection on the chief justice. He also brought forward the question whether the chief justice had forfeited his office by acting as judge of the admiralty court. Matters came to such a pass that in March 1840 the governor, Sir George Gipps (q.v.), arranged that Willis should be appointed resident judge at Melbourne. In Melbourne he came in conflict with the press, the legal fraternity, and members of the public. In October 1842 Gipps stated in a dispatch that "differences have again broken out between Mr J. Walpole Willis . . . and the judges of the supreme court of Sydney" and that "for many months the town of Melbourne has been kept in a state of continued excitement by the proceedings of Mr Justice Willis and the extraordinary nature of the harangues, which he is in the habit of delivering from the bench". In February 1843 Gipps recommended to Lord Stanley that Willis should be removed from his position. Willis left Melbourne for London in the same month and appealed to the English government. In August 1846 the privy council reversed the order for his dismissal on technical grounds, and he was awarded the arrears of his salary to that date. Willis then offered his resignation, but this was not accepted and his commission was revoked. This course was taken because otherwise it might not have been understood that the order was reversed not as being "unjust in itself, but only as having been made in an improper manner" (H.R. of A., ser. I, vol. XXV, p. 208.) Willis was never given any other position. He published in 1850 a volume On the Government of the British Colonies, and afterwards lived in retirement in the west of England. He died on 10 September 1877. He was married. twice, (1) to Lady Mary Isabella Lyon, and (2) to Ann Susanna Kent, daughter of Colonel Thomas Henry Bund. He was survived by a son by the first marriage, and by a son and two daughters by the second marriage.
Willis was an able man vain about his knowledge of the law, and a stickler for its dignities. He was a great fighter and had the courage of his convictions, and this made him many friends in his disagreements with his colleagues and the governors he worked under. But he had little control of his temper, and it appears to have been impossible to find any way of working in harmony with him.
W. Kingsford, The History of Canada, vol. X; The Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. XIX to XXV; G. B. Vasey, The Victorian Historical Magazine, vol. I; pp. 36-49; The Times, 19 September 1877; British Museum Catalogue.
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WILLOUGHBY, HOWARD (1839-1908),journalist,
was born at Birmingham, England, on 19 June 1839. He wag educated at primary schools at Birming ham and London and came to Melbourne in 1857. He continued his education there, and in 1861 joined the staff of the Age newspaper as a junior reporter. About a year later he transferred to the Argus and was soon given important work. He became the first Australian war correspondent, accompanied the troops under General Cameron in the campaign against the Maoris, and wrote brilliant descriptions of the fighting. Returning to Melbourne he was sent to Western Australia to report on the convict system. A series of letters from Willoughby appeared in the Argus and were published in a pamphlet of 64 pages in 1865, Transportation. The British Convict in Western Australia. His conclusions were that the sending of further convicts would be bad for Australia and should be resisted, and that from the British point of view it was comparatively useless and wastefully expensive. His pamphlet probably influenced the decision a few years later that no more convicts would be transported. From 1866 to 1869, Willoughby was a member of the first Victorian Hansard staff, and in the latter year was appointed editor of the Melbourne Daily Telegraph. He conducted this paper with ability until 1877, when he joined the Argus staff again as chief of the news department and leader writer. He fought valiantly for the constitutional party in opposition to Berry (q.v.), and his column every week, "Above the Speaker" by "Timotheous", was a remarkable piece of journalism which never failed to be interesting. He was made chief political leader writer in 1882 and conducted a strong campaign in favour of federation. A selection of his writings in the Argus on this subject was published with additions in 1891 under the title Australian Federation its Aims and its Possibilities. Willoughby had given much study to the subject and was frequently consulted when the drafting of federal bills was in progress. In 1898 he was appointed editor of the Argus but an illness in January 1903 compelled his resignation. He continued, however, to make occasional contributions to the paper until shortly before his death on 19 March 1908. He married in 1870, Emily Frances, daughter of Henry Jones, who survived him with one son and two daughters. In addition to the works already mentioned he was the author of The Critic in Church, published anonymously in 1872, and Australian Pictures, published in 1886.
Willoughby was among the greatest of Australian journalists. A tremendous worker who had little time for hobbies or pastimes, he wrote with good humour and without venom; and even during the bitter period at the end of the eighteen seventies he was admired as a writer and as a man by both his followers and his opponents.
The Argus, Melbourne, 20 March 1908; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.
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WILLS, WILLIAM JOHN (1834-1861),explorer,
[ also refer to William John WILLS page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
was born at Totnes, Devonshire, England, on 5 January 1834, the son of William Wills a surgeon. He was educated at a grammar school at Ashburton. Early in 1852 he began studying medicine but later in the year sailed with a brother to Australia. He had first some experience on the land, then began studying surveying, and in 1857 was in charge of a field party. In November 1858 he received an appointment at the Melbourne observatory. He was making good progress as an astronomer, but in the middle of 1860 was given the third position in the Burke (q.v.) and Wills exploring expedition. He had not sought this, having joined as surveyor and astronomer. On the defection of Landells, the second in command, he was given his position. An account of their journey and successful crossing of the continent will be found under Burke, Robert O'Hara. Wills proved himself to be a most loyal lieutenant to his leader, and it is to his diary that we owe our knowledge of what occurred. Burke was a man of 40, used to authority, while Wills was only 27, and though a better bushman was disinclined to press his views too much. When Burke and his two companions returned to Cooper's Creek, Wills wished to take the track towards Menindie which would have been by far the better course. He, however, loyally went with Burke to the south-west, and after suffering great hardships died after their return to Cooper's Creek about the end of June 1861.
Wills was a man of fine character and great courage as his last letter to his father shows. Had Burke taken his advice at Cooper's Creek in all probability the three explorers would have been saved. In addition to the statue by Summers (q.v.) in memory of the two explorers near parliament house, Melbourne, there is a monument to Wills at Totnes, Devonshire.
W. Wills, A Successful Exploration through the Interior of Australia; Andrew Jackson, Robert O'Hara Bourke; The Exploring Expedition, Diary of Burke and Wills, Howitt's Journal and Dispatches, Melbourne, The Age Office; F. Clune, Dig.
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WILLSON, ROBERT WILLIAM (1794-1866),Roman Catholic bishop of Hobart,
was born at Lincoln, England, on 11 December 1794. His father, a builder, belonged to the Church of England, but became a Roman Catholic late in life, his mother was a devout Catholic. Willson received a fair school education and it was intended that he should become a farmer. In his twentieth year he decided to enter a religious life as a lay brother, but was advised by Bishop Milner to study for the priesthood. He entered the College of Old Oscott in 1816, was ordained priest in December 1824, and was sent to Nottingham. When he arrived there was a small chapel that would hold 150 people with difficulty, and as the congregation was increasing, Willson found a good site and built a spacious church, which was completed in 1828. He began to take special interest in the prisons and the lunatic asylum, was placed on the boards of the county hospital and the lunatic asylum, and personally visited the inmates and obtained much influence over them. During the cholera epidemic in 1832 he worked with the greatest courage among the patients, and about this period the corporation presented him with the freedom of Nottingham. His congregation continued to increase, and he decided that a large church must be built on a worthy site. Gradually the group of buildings which eventually became the cathedral of St Barnabas with adjacent schools and convent came into being. He found time to edit and contribute an introductory address to W. L. Stone's A Complete Refutation of Maria Monk's Atrocious Plot concerning the Hotel Dieu Convent in Montreal, but he was always too busy a man to do much writing. Early in 1842 he was appointed bishop to the new see of Hobart, Tasmania. Efforts were made to have his services retained in England, but in January 1844 he sailed for Australia and he arrived at Hobart on 11 May.
Willson was faced with a difficulty directly he landed. He had made a condition on accepting the see that the Rev. J. J. Therry (q.v.) should be transferred from Hobart where he was in charge to another see. This had not been done and Willson removed Therry from office. He also understood that the church was unencumbered by debt but found that there was a considerable debt. In August he went to Sydney to confer with Archbishop Polding (q.v.) on these matters, but 14 years were to elapse before a satisfactory arrangement was agreed to. On his return from Sydney Willson began his important work of the amelioration of the conditions of the 30,000 convicts then in Tasmania. At the end of 1846 he sailed for England and his evidence before the committee then sitting on the convict system made a deep impression. He returned to Hobart in December 1847 and hearing that conditions at Norfolk Island were rather worse than better, determined to see for himself. After his visit he wrote a strong recommendation to Governor Denison (q.v.) that the penal settlement on the island should be abandoned as soon as possible. He made practical and valuable recommendations for reforms to be made in the meanwhile. It was some years before the settlement was given up, but his untiring determination brought about many reforms in the treatment of the prisoners. Another interest was the treatment of patients with mental troubles, and he succeeded in bringing about much improvement in asylums or as he preferred to call them, hospitals. He was among the earliest to recognize how much might be done by using proper treatment in the curing of mental diseases.
These activities were not allowed to interfere with the conduct of his church work. Schools were opened, a library was established, churches were built. All this was done without rousing the sectarian feeling which was rife on the mainland of Australia. Indeed, in 1853, when Willson after an illness was advised to take a voyage to Europe, among the many addresses presented to him none touched him more than one signed by a large number of well-known residents who did not belong to his church. He returned to Hobart early in 1855, but he began to feel his years and in 1859 applied for a coadjutor. In February 1865 Willson left for Europe. On the voyage he was struck down by paralysis from which he never fully recovered. He went to live among his friends at Nottingham and died there on 30 June 1866.
Willson was a man of great humanity and benevolence who had one fault--he could not compromise. He was sorely tried by the weakness of Archbishop Polding in not transferring Therry from Tasmania as had been arranged, and there is a temptation to think that he should have been able to deal more kindly with Therry. But if Willson seemed too rigid on this question, in all other matters he was a shining example to everyone in the colony, and the value of his self-sacrificing work for the convicts and the insane can hardly be over-stated.
W. B. Ullathorne, Memoir of Bishop Willson; T. Kelsh, Personal Recollections of the Right Reverend Robert William Willson, D.D.; Eris O'Brien, Life and Letters of Archpriest John Joseph Therry; H. N. Birt, Benedictine Pioneers in Australia; P. F. Moran, History of the Catholic Church in Australasia.
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WILMOT, FRANK LESLIE THOMSON "FURNLEY MAURICE" (1881-1942),poet,
son of Henry William Wilmot, ironmonger, a pioneer of the socialist movement in Victoria, and his wife, Elizabeth Mary Hind, was born at Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne, on 6 April 1881. Both his parents were born in Australia. He was educated at the North Fitzroy state school and in 1895 obtained employment at Cole's Book Arcade, Melbourne. He gradually rose in this service, and when the business was finally wound up by the executors of the Cole estate in 1929, held the position of manager. He began contributing verse to the Tocsin, a Melbourne Labour paper, before he was 20, and later much of it was accepted by the Bulletin and other periodicals. His first separate publication, Some Verses by Frank Wilmot, appeared in 1903, and attracted little notice. Another little volume, Some More Verses, was printed in 1904 but was suppressed before publication. Some years later a few copies of this volume were discovered which found their way into collectors' hands. Finding at one stage that his work was being persistently rejected Wilmot adopted the pseudonym of "Furnley Maurice", and his poems thereafter were published either anonymously or under this pseudonym. In 1913 a slim, well printed volume, Unconditioned Songs, published anonymously, attracted some attention. A few of the poems, written very much in the language of common life, were obviously experimental and not always successful, but discerning readers of verse realized that a writer had arrived who was not only musical, he had something to say. That what he had to say was important was shown in his next publication, To God: from the Weary Nations, which came out in 1917. Revised and with a slightly altered title "To God: from the Warring Nations" the poem was later reprinted in Eyes of Vigilance, but in the meantime an entirely different piece of work, The Bay and Padie Book: Kiddie Songs, had come out (first ed. 1917, third ed. 1926). This volume was meant especially for young children, and few writers in this medium have been so successful. In Eyes of Vigilance, which appeared in 1920, Wilmot printed some of his best work, and in Arrows of Longing, published in 1921, he gathered together most of his uncollected work up to that date. In 1925 The Gully, a poem of about 200 lines, was published in a limited edition, with decorations by the author which suggest that had Wilmot taken up painting he might have had success as an artist.
In 1929 Wilmot had to find fresh means of making a living. He had of course made very little from his poetry. On leaving Cole's Book Arcade he bought its circulating library and carried it on for about three years, also doing some bookselling. It did not pay well and early in 1932 he applied for the position of manager of the Melbourne University Press and was appointed. He carried on the press with great success until the time of his death. It was not only that he expanded its activities very much, he made it pay. And though much of the work published was naturally educational, the press during his period published other important books and incidentally set a high standard in technical production. Though working very hard during the period after leaving Cole's, Wilmot still found time to do original work. The Gully and Other Verses, published in 1929, was the most even in quality of his volumes, and Melbourne Odes which appeared in 1934 showed that he had nothing to learn from the younger poets. This volume contained the centenary ode for which he was awarded a prize of £50 in 1934. He had a serious operation in this year for appendicitis, which apparently was not completely successful, as another operation was necessary about a year later. On his recovery he continued working hard, always hoping that he might have a few years of leisure in which to do original work. In 1940 he was chosen to deliver the first course of lectures on Australian literature at the university of Melbourne under the Commonwealth scheme. He died suddenly at Melbourne on 22 February 1942. He married in 1910 Ida, daughter of C. F. Meeking, who survived him with two sons. In addition to the works mentioned Wilmot published in 1922, Romance, a collection of essays in prose, which though somewhat slight are excellently written. He wrote the verses and some of the prose in Here is Faery, published in 1915, and a few single poems were issued separately. These will be found listed in Miller's Australian Literature. Among them was an essay in satire, Odes for a Curse-Speaking Choir I. Ottawar! An Ode to Humbug. He also wrote short stories and some plays, two or three of which were staged by amateurs. He collaborated with Percival Serle and R. H. Croll in the production of An Australasian Anthology, and with Professor Cowling in Australian Essays. In 1940 appeared Path to Parnassus Anthology for Schools, a charming selection of English and Australian poems with an illuminating introduction. A selection from his poetry was published in 1944.
In his youth Wilmot, who was above medium height, was slim and good-looking. He had a feeling for craftsmanship, was a good amateur printer and a good handy man, he felt that if a thing was worth doing it was worth doing well. He had much appreciation of wit, humour and satire, felt deeply and expressed himself strongly, had a wide knowledge and much appreciation of good literature and music, and was always ready to welcome originality of thought or technique. Of his generosity of temper one example may be given. A. G. Stephens (q.v.) did not like Wilmot's work and wrote it down. After Stephens died Wilmot spent both time and money in endeavouring to arrange for a memorial to his one-time critic. He was perfectly sincere and straightforward. People occasionally, found him blunt or even sardonic, and though fundamentally kindly, he did not cultivate the habit of saying the pleasant thing. Yet seeking nothing and claiming nothing for himself, he gained the affection of all who were associated with him. He disliked intensely facile and cheap effects, but was always glad to appreciate and help honest and thoughtful work. On the advisory board of the Commonwealth Literary Fund his work was invaluable, for he not only had the technical side of book production at his fingers' ends, he was a wise and cautious critic. As a poet he was a combination of the traditional and the adventurous; only time can determine his exact place in Australian literature but it should surely be a high one.
Personal knowledge; information from family; Vance Palmer, Frank Wilmot; B. M. Ramsden, The Australian Quarterly, June 1943, p. 108; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; Elzevir, The Argus, Melbourne, 2 February 1935.
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WILMOT, SIR JOHN EARDLEY EARDLEY- (1783-1847),governor of Tasmania,
son of John Wilmot and grandson of Sir John Eardley Wilmot, chief justice of the court of common pleas, was born in England on 21 February 1783. He was educated at Harrow and was called to the bar in 1806 (Dict. Nat. Biog.), was created a baronet in 1821, and in 1822 published An Abridgment of Blackstone's Commentaries. This was followed in 1827 by A Letter to the Magistrates of England on the Increase of Crime, by Sir Eardley Eardley-Wilmot, Bart. F.R.S., F.L.S. and F.S.A. He was a member of the house of commons for some years, in March 1843 was appointed lieutenant-governor of Tasmania, and arrived at Hobart on 17 August. He probably owed his position to the interest he had taken in the subject of crime; his plea that prisoners under the age of 21 should be segregated and a special endeavour made to reform them suggests that he was in advance of his period. Soon after his arrival he came into conflict with one of the judges by reprieving a prisoner sentenced to be hanged. His justification was that he would not inflict death for offences not on the records of the court, and that in this case only robbery had been proved. He visited various parts of the island and seemed likely to be a popular governor. Many prisoners were arriving, expenses were rising, and the governor was much hampered by instructions received from the colonial office. He endeavoured to raise the duties on sugar, tea and other foreign goods, but the opposition from the colonists was great and the new taxes were withdrawn. The colonial office was unable to understand that convict labour could not be made to pay its way, and Wilmot was made responsible for the faults of a system he had no power to amend. He endeavoured to save expenses by reducing salaries of officials, but the chief justice for one denied the power of the council to reduce his salary. Six members of the council objected to the form of the estimates and withdrew from the council which reduced the number present below a quorum, and much public feeling arose against the governor. In April 1846 Wilmot was recalled. The official statements relating to his recall were of the vaguest character, such as that he had not shown "an active care of the moral interests involved in the system of convict discipline". Privately Gladstone, the new colonial secretary, informed Wilmot that he was not recalled for any errors in his official character, but because rumours reflecting on his moral character had reached the colonial office. There was no truth in these charges nor was there time for Wilmot to receive any reply to his indignant denials, and requests for the names of his accusers. He died on 3 February 1847 worn-out by worry and anxiety. Too late Gladstone endeavoured to make some amends in a letter to one of Wilmot's sons. Wilmot married, (1) Elizabeth Emma, daughter of Caleb Hillier Parry, and (2) Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Robert Chester. There were sons and daughters of both marriages. There is a monument in memory of Wilmot at Hobart, erected by public subscription.
Wilmot was a victim of his period. He endeavoured in every way to carry out his duties, but the time was ripe for responsible government and, like his contemporary, Sir George Gipps (q.v.). he incurred much ill-deserved odium for acts that were part of the system he was endeavouring to administer. The colonial office had little conception of the real difficulties of the convict situation, and Gladstone's ill-judged action was the final blow.
Burke's Peerage, etc., 1937; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vol. XXV; J. West, The History of Tasmania; G. W. Rusden, History of Australia; K. Fitzpatrick, Historical Studies, Australia and New Zealand, April 1940; J. F. Hogan, The Gladstone Colony.
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WILSON, ANNE, LADY (1848-1930),poet and novelist,
daughter of Robert Adams, was born in 1848 at Greenvale, Victoria. In 1874 she married James Glenny Wilson and went to New Zealand. Her husband, a well-known public man, was knighted in 1915. Her first book of poems, Themes and Variations, came out in London in 1889 and was followed by a novel, Alice Lauder, a Sketch, in 1893. Another novel, Two Summers published by Harper in 1900, was later included in Macmillan's colonial library. In 1901 A Book of Verses was published (new and slightly enlarged edition, 1917), a collection of her poems from English, American and Australian magazines. Her husband died in 1929 leaving her with two sons and two daughters. Lady Wilson died in New Zealand on 11 February 1930. Some of her poems are included in several Australian and New Zealand anthologies.
Autobiographical note supplied in her lifetime; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1929; Death notice in the Dominion, Wellington, 13 February 1930.
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WILSON, EDWARD (1813-1878),journalist and philanthropist,
was born at Hampstead, London, on 13 November 1813. He was educated at a private school and then entered a business house at Manchester. He went to London and in 1842 emigrated to Australia. He at first had a small property on the northern outskirts of Melbourne but in 1844, in partnership with J. S. Johnston, took up a cattle station near Dandenong. About the year 1847 he bought the Argus from William Kerr, incorporated with it the Patriot, and five years later absorbed another journal, the Daily News. In the early days of the gold-rush the paper was produced under great difficulties, but the circulation kept increasing, and it became a valuable property. Wilson strenuously opposed the influx of convicts from Tasmania, fought for the separation of Port Phillip from New South Wales, and opposed Governor Hotham in his attitude to the miners; but when the rebellion broke out he took the stand that there were peaceable and legitimate methods of obtaining redress. When Charles Gavan Duffy (q.v.) came to Victoria and went into politics Wilson sent him a list of suggested reforms which included justice to the aborigines, the organizing of agriculture as a department of the state, the introduction of the ballot into municipal elections, and the leasing of crown lands for cultivation with the right of ultimate purchase. He was the first to raise the cry "unlock the lands". He was in fact a thorough democrat in sentiment, and an ardent reformer. In 1857 finding he was losing his eyesight he paid a long visit to England, but in 1858-9 travelled through Australia and New Zealand and wrote a series of sketches for the Argus, published in London in 1859 under the title, Rambles in the Antipodes, with two maps and 12 illustrations by S. T. Gill (q.v.). He took much interest in acclimatization, founded the Acclimatization Society in Melbourne in 1861, and was its first president. In the same year he visited Sydney and started the Acclimatization Society of New South Wales. He finally settled in 1864 at Hayes near Bromley in Kent, and lived the life of an English country gentleman. He occasionally contributed to the Times and the Fortnightly Review; an article from this journal, Principles of Representation, was published as a pamphlet in 1866. Another pamphlet, on Acclimatization, was printed in 1875. He died at Hayes on 10 January 1878 and was buried in the Melbourne cemetery on 7 July. He was unmarried.
Wilson was a tall, sombre, silent figure, but his reserve was largely due to shyness, for his friends found him a lovable man. He had an active and benevolent mind, was thoroughly sincere, earnest and unselfish, with a hatred of hypocrisy, chicanery and self-seeking. This sometimes as a journalist led to a passionate warmth of language which involved him in more than one libel suit, but he was chiefly concerned with the good of the community. In his last years he founded what became the "Edward Wilson Trust", which has done so much for the charities of Victoria. About 1908 £146,000 was set aside for the rebuilding of the Melbourne hospital, £69,000 provided the Edward Wilson wing for the Alfred hospital, and £38,000 went to the Children's hospital. It was found in 1934 that a total of £1,000,000 had been made available for charities.
The Argus, Melbourne, 14 January, 8 July 1878, 13 November 1937; W. Westgarth, Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; D. Blair, Cyclopaedia of Australasia; C. G. Duffy, My Life in Two Hemispheres, vol. II, pp. 147-9; E. E. Morris, A Memoir of George Higinbotham, p. 45; First Annual Report of the Acclimatization Society of Victoria, 1862, Fourteenth Annual Report, 1878.
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WILSON, FRANK (1859-1918),premier of Western Australia,
was born at Sunderland, England, in 1859. He was educated in Germany and at Wesley College, Sheffield, before entering the firm of Peacock Bros. and Sons, merchants, at Sunderland. At the age of 19 he joined a brother in establishing engineering works, and was in this business for eight years. Losses made on account of the engineering strike in 1886 led to Wilson going to Queensland, where he became manager for Overend and Company, railway contractors and merchants. In 1891 he was appointed managing-director of the Canning Jarrah Timber Co. Ltd., in Western Australia. He became a city councillor at Perth in 1896, and a year later was elected a member of the legislative assembly for Canning and sat in opposition to Forrest (q.v.). In 1899 he left the Canning Jarrah Company and became interested in the Collie coalmining industry. At the 1901 general election he was elected for Perth, became minister for mines and railways in the Morgan ministry, but lost his seat when he went before his constituents. In 1904 he entered the assembly again as member for Sussex, and from August 1905 to May 1906 was minister for works in the Rason (q.v.) ministry. He might then have been premier but stood aside in favour of N. J. Moore (q.v.). He was treasurer in this ministry and minister of agriculture from May 1906 until June 1909, held the portfolio of education for practically the same period, and was minister for works from June 1909 to September 1910. He was also acting premier for part of 1910 while Moore was absent in England. He was premier and treasurer from September 1910 to October 1911 when his ministry was defeated at the general election. From October 1911 to July 1916 Wilson was leader of the opposition, and then became premier and treasurer again. In June 1917 he attempted to form a national ministry, but disagreeing as to methods withdrew from the meetings, and when the Lefroy ministry was formed sat as a private member until the general election in October 1917, when he lost his seat by four votes. His health had not been good and after the election he had a complete break-down. He died at Claremont on 7 December 1918 after an illness of some months following surgical operations. He married Annie Phillips of Sunderland, who survived him with three sons and six daughters. He was made a C.M.G. in 1911.
Wilson was a man of great courage and loyalty. When he realized the effect on the Western Australian revenue of the customs duties being taken over by the federal government, he worked hard for the development of industries. He was a good administrator who had given much study to finance, and as treasurer did sound work in restoring the financial position. A man of personality and culture, a good debater who could join tactical astuteness to honesty and determination, he was possibly, after Forrest, the most capable leader of his time in Western Australia.
Who's Who, 1918; The West Australian, 9 and 10 December 1918.
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WILSON, SIR JAMES MILNE (1812-1880),premier of Tasmania,
was born at Banff, Scotland, on 29 February 1812, the third son of John Wilson, a shipowner. Educated at Banff and Edinburgh, he emigrated to Tasmania in 1829, studied practical engineering and afterwards became a ship's officer. He was connected with the Cascade brewery for 14 years and became its manager. He entered politics in October 1859 as member for Hobart in the legislative council, and in January 1863 joined the Whyte (q.v.) cabinet as minister without portfolio. In 1868, at the time of the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, Wilson was mayor of Hobart and on 4 August 1869 became premier and colonial secretary in a ministry which lasted until November 1872. Anthony Trollope, who came to Australia in 1871, formed a high opinion of Wilson. "I thought I had not met a sounder politician in Australia. . . . Victoria is desirous of annexing Tasmania. Perhaps when she has done so, Mr Wilson will become premier for the joint colonies, and then great things may be expected." (Australia and New Zealand, chap. XXXVI.) In 1872 Wilson was elected president of the Tasmanian legislative council, and held this position until his death on 29 February 1880. He married in 1847 Deborah Hope, daughter of Peter Degraves. Lady Wilson survived him with children. He was knighted in 1873 and created K.C.M.G. in 1878. He was a man of unbounded popularity, well-known, for his charities. He was president of the Southern Tasmanian Agricultural Society and chairman of committees and president of the Tasmanian jockey Club. As a politician Wilson showed wisdom in his advocacy of free-trade between the Australian colonies. Tasmania passed an intercolonial freetrade act in 1870 during his premiership, but the question made no headway on the mainland.
The Mercury, Hobart, 1 and 3 March 1880; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania; A. Trollope, Australia and New Zealand; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1880.
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WILSON, SIR SAMUEL (1832-1895),pastoralist,
son of Samuel Wilson, farmer and landowner, was born at Ballycloughan, Ireland, in 1832. He was educated at Ballymena and at first intended taking up civil engineering. For three years he worked for a brother-in-law, a linen manufacturer, but in 1852 decided to emigrate to Australia. He arrived in Melbourne in May 1852 and worked on the goldfields, but a few months later decided to join two brothers who had preceded him to Australia, and had a pastoral property in the Wimmera, Victoria. He was made manager of one of their holdings, and selling a small property he had in Ireland, with his brothers bought Longerenong station for £40,000. He dug waterholes and made dams on the property which much improved and increased its carrying capacity. Yanko station in the Riverina was then purchased and much improved. In 1869 Wilson bought his brothers' interests in their stations, afterwards bought other stations in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and became very wealthy. He was interested in the Acclimatization Society of Victoria and in 1873 wrote pamphlets on the angora goat, and on the ostrich. In 1878 a paper he had written was expanded into a volume, The Californian Salmon With an Account of its Introduction into Victoria, and published in the same year. In 1879 another edition of this was published in London under the title, Salmon at the Antipodes. In 1874 Wilson gave the university of Melbourne £30,000 which with accrued interest was expended on a building in the Gothic style now known as the Wilson Hall. It was the most considerable gift or bequest that the university had received up to then. In the following year he was elected a member of the legislative council of Victoria for the Western Province, but he never took a very prominent part in politics. About the beginning of 1881 he went to England with his family and leased Hughenden Manor, once the property of the Earl of Beaconsfield. He twice contested seats for the house of commons without success, but in 1886 was elected as a conservative for Portsmouth and sat until 1892. In September 1893 he again came to Victoria and stayed until March 1895. He became ill soon after his return to England and died on 11 June 1895. He was knighted in 1875. He married in 1861 a daughter of the Hon. W. Campbell who survived him with four sons and three daughters. His eldest son, Lieut.-colonel Gordon Chesney Wilson, married Lady Sarah Isabella Churchill, sister of Lord Randolph Churchill.
Men of the Time in Australia, 1878; The Argus, 13 June 1895; The Times, 12 June 1895; Sir Ernest Scott, A History of the University of Melbourne.
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WINDEYER, RICHARD (1806-1847),advocate and politician,
was the son of Charles Windeyer (1780-1855), first recognized reporter in the house of lords. The elder Windeyer came to Sydney in 1828, intending to go on the land, and obtained a grant of 2560 acres. He, however, accepted the position of chief clerk in the police office and afterwards became a police magistrate at Sydney. In 1841 he was offered and refused the office of sheriff, which carried a salary of £1000 a year and allowances for expenses when absent from Sydney. Two years later he was an unsuccessful candidate at the first election for the legislative council, and he retired from his magistracy at the end of 1848 with a pension. His work was spoken of in the highest terms. He died in 1855. He married in 1805 Ann Mary, daughter of R. Rudd, and Richard Windeyer was the eldest of their nine children. He was born in London on 10 August 1806, like his father became a parliamentary reporter, and was employed on The Times and other leading papers. Taking up the study of law he was admitted a barrister of the Middle Temple in 1834, and in the following year went to Sydney where he built up a large practice as a barrister. By 1840 he was one of the leaders at the bar and had made a reputation especially in nisi prius work. At the first election for the legislative council held in July 1843 he was elected for the county of Durham and promptly brought in a measure, the monetary confidence bill, which was designed to relieve the depression under which the colony was then suffering. In spite of brilliant speeches in opposition to it made by Robert Lowe (q.v.) this was carried by 14 votes to seven. The measure was, however, vetoed by the governor, Sir George Gipps (q.v.), and nothing more was heard of it. In October 1844 Windeyer moved an amendment to a bill proposing to bring in Lord Stanley's system of national education, to the effect that a general system of education should be established by which the children of the poorer classes might receive gratuitously (if possible) primary and religious instruction. Another amendment proposed by Wentworth (q.v.) was, however, carried. In 1845 Windeyer, though almost overwhelmed with work, took up the cause of the already fast-dwindling aborigines and obtained a select committee to inquire into the question. He was also in the forefront of the struggle with Gipps concerning generally the powers of the council and the governor on the land question, and in 1846 moved and carried an address to the governor acquainting him that the council could not entertain a bill he had originated. Windeyer had, however, become financially involved in the long-continued depression, and although he had made a large income at the bar, was obliged to assign his estate. His death occurred on 2 December 1847 while on a visit to friends at Launceston, Tasmania, largely as the result of anxiety and overwork. He married in 1832 Maria, daughter of William Camfield, who survived him with a son, W. C. Windeyer, who is noticed separately.
Windeyer had a great reputation at the bar as an advocate of much power and ability, and during his short career in parliament showed himself to be a strong and conscientious man. He was a great advocate for representative government and when he died Wentworth declared he "had lost his right hand man". His early death robbed Australia of a man who might have done his country much service, and reached almost any position in it.
Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I. vols. XIV, XXI, XXIII, XXVI; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; G. W. Rusden, History of Australia, vol. II; Aubrey Halloran, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. X, pp. 3049. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 29 December 1847, reflects the strong feelings of the time, and does not appear to be free from malice and bias.
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WINDEYER, SIR WILLIAM CHARLES (1834-1897),politician and judge,
only child of the above [Sir Richard Windeyer] and his wife, Maria Camfield, was born at London on 29 September 1834 and came to Sydney with his parents about a year later. He was 13 years of age when his father died. His mother, a woman of much character, was left practically without means, but with some help from friends managed to buy part of her husband's estate on the Hunter River, worked it, and made a success of wine growing. The boy was educated at first at W. T. Cape's (q.v.) school, and then at The King's School, Parramatta. He was one of the first group to matriculate at the university of Sydney at the end of 1852, and during his course won a classical scholarship, and the prize for the English essay in each year. He graduated B.A. in 1856, M.A. in 1859, and was called to the bar in March 1857. He was law reporter for the Empire and then for a short time crown prosecutor in country districts. In 1859 he stood for the New South Wales legislative assembly at Paddington and was defeated by 47 votes. He was, however, returned for the Lower Hunter at the same election. In 1860 he was returned for West Sydney, but afterwards resigned his seat on account of ill-health. In 1866 he was again elected for West Sydney, defeating (Sir) John Robertson (q.v.). On 16 December 1870 he became solicitor-general in the third Martin (q.v.) ministry and held this position until 13 May 1872, but was defeated at the election held in this year. In 1876 he was returned for the university of Sydney, and from 22 March to 16 August 1877 was attorney-general in the second Parkes (q.v.) ministry. In 1878 he obtained the assent of the house to the establishment of grammar schools at Bathurst, Goulburn and Maitland with exhibitions to enable students to proceed to the university. He was attorney-general in the third Parkes ministry from 21 December 1878 to 10 August 1879 and was then appointed as acting judge of the supreme court. In August 1881 he became a puisne judge of the supreme court, and held this position for almost 15 years; he resigned on 31 August 1896. Proceeding to Europe he accepted a temporary judicial appointment in Newfoundland, but died suddenly while at Bologna, Italy, on 11 September 1897. He was given the honorary degree of LL.D. by the university of Cambridge, and was knighted in 1891. He married in 1857 Mary Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. R. T. Bolton, who survived him with sons and daughters. Lady Windeyer took much interest in educational and social questions, particularly in regard to women, and was a prominent figure in the women's suffrage movement. Of Windeyer's sons, John Cadell Windeyer, who was born in 1875 had a distinguished career as a physician and became professor of obstetrics at the university of Sydney in 1925; Richard Windeyer, born in 1868, followed his father's profession, became a K.C. and for a time was an acting-judge of the supreme court of New South Wales; William Archibald Windeyer, born in 1871, was also well known in Sydney as a solicitor and public man.
Windeyer took much interest in education, was a trustee of the Sydney Grammar School, president of the Sydney mechanics' school of arts, and a trustee of the public library. He was vice-chancellor of the university from 1883 to 1887 and chancellor in 1895. He resigned in 1896 when he went to Europe. He was also first chairman of the council of the women's college at the university. As a politician he was responsible for the preservation of Belmore Park, Church Hill, and Flagstaff Hill, Clarke, Rodd, and Schnapper Islands, and the land at the head of Long Bay. He was also the author of the copyright act and the married women's property act. As a judge he was able, conscientious and hard-working, and had much knowledge of law. He had the misfortune to preside over two notorious cases, the Mount Rennie outrage and the Dean trials, which caused much popular feeling, and gave him the reputation in some quarters of being a "hanging" judge. His friends agreed that this estimate was far from his character, and that though he had a brusque exterior he was really a man of noble qualities. This estimate is in conformity with the fact that he was appointed president of the charities commission in 1873, and that he was responsible for the founding of the Discharged Prisoners Aid Society in 1874. An example of his courage and common sense is his judgment on the case dealing with the proceedings arising out of Mrs Besant's pamphlet, The Law of Population, which was published separately in 1889 under the title, Ex Parte Collins.
Burke's Colonial Gentry; The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 September 1897; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; Aubrey Halloran, Journal and Proceedings, Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. X, pp. 309-14; H. E. Barff, A Short Historical Account of the University of Sydney; The Peaceful Army; Who's Who in Australia, 1941.
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WINDSOR, ARTHUR LLOYD (c. 1833-1913),journalist,
came of a Canadian family, owners of a sugar plantation in the West Indies. He was born at sea on a voyage to Barbados, probably in 1833. His father died when he was five years old, and when he was about eight he was sent to school at Ottery, St Mary, Devonshire. He left school at 17, lived at Clifton and did some writing for the London press. He then returned to Barbados and for about 18 months taught at Codrington College. About the end of 1855 he went to Montreal and later to Glasgow. He worked as an army coach and also contributed to leading reviews; he had articles on Defoe and on Montaigne in the British Quarterly Review, in 1858. A collection of his articles was published in 1860, Ethica: or Characteristics of Men, Manners and Books, written in a bright and confident style, and showing a width of reading remarkable in so young a man. He was appointed editor of the Melbourne Argus not long afterwards, but resigned on a question of policy after holding the position for two and a half years. Windsor subsequently went to live at Castlemaine and edited the Mount Alexander Mail for three years. In 1872 he succeeded James Harrison (q.v.) as editor of the Melbourne Age, and continued in this position for 28 years. It was a period of great importance for Victoria which saw the transition from a colony depending principally on the pastoral industry and gold-mining, to one in which agriculture and manufacturing were to be even more important. David Syme (q.v.), as proprietor of the Age, directed its policy, and there were periods when he practically ruled Victoria. Windsor's vigorous and gifted mind was the medium through which Syme's ideas were brought before the public. The literary power of his leaders and other contributions was strongly felt by their readers, and Windsor's influence on the period marked him as one of the great journalists of his time. He retired in 1900 and lived at Melbourne until his death on 20 January 1913. In private life he was quiet and retiring, but he was a man of broad sympathies, and in suitable company showed great powers as a conversationalist.
The Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1903; The Age and The Argus, 22 January 1913.
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WISE, BERNHARD RINGROSE (1858-1916),politician,
was the son of Edward Wise (1818-65), a judge of the supreme court of New South Wales, who was born in England on 13 August 1818, educated at Rugby, and called to the bar in 1844. He went to Sydney in 1855 and soon afterwards entered politics. He became solicitor-general in the Parker (q.v.) ministry in May 1857, and attorney-general under Forster (q.v.) in October 1859. He resigned in 1860 and was appointed a judge of the supreme court of New South Wales, but his health gave way and he died while on a visit to Melbourne, on 28 September 1865. He was the author of treatises on The Law Relating to Riots and Unlawful Assemblies (1848), The Bankrupt Law Consolidation Act (1849), The Common Law Procedure Act (1853), and various legal works in conjunction with other writers. He was a man of the finest character, much interested in social questions. He married Maria Bate, daughter of Lieutenant John Smith, R.N., and their second son, Bernhard Ringrose Wise, was born in Sydney on 10 February 1858. He was educated at Rugby and Queen's College, Oxford, where he had a distinguished career, being Cobden prizeman in 1878 and gaining a first class in the honour school of law in 1880. He was president of the union and president of the Oxford university athletic club. He was amateur mile champion of Great Britain, 1879-81, and his interest in athletics led to his founding the Amateur Athletic Association of which he was elected the first president. This became a very important body whose influence was eventually extended all over the world. He was called to the bar of the Middle Temple in 1883, and soon afterwards returned to Sydney.
Wise began to build up a successful practice as a barrister, in February 1887 was elected a member of the legislative assembly for South Sydney as a free trader and supporter of Parkes (q.v.), and on 27 May became attorney-general in his ministry. Some 10 months later he resigned because as attorney-general he was prohibited from taking briefs. He had always been interested in federation and in May 1890 suggested that a journal should be established for the discussion of federal problems. A strong editorial committee was formed and two numbers of the Australian Federalist appeared at the beginning of 1891. In November of that year, when the retirement of Parkes necessitated a new leader being elected, Wise might possibly have been given the position, but though nominated he retired in favour of G. H. Reid (q.v.). He was elected as a representative of New South Wales at the 1897 federal convention and was a member of the judiciary committee. He fought for federation in the referendurn campaign of 1898 and at the New South Wales election allied himself with Barton. He left the freetrade party because he felt that freetrade was being put before federalism. As he afterwards phrased it, "I preferred nationhood to local politics". He was attorney-general in Lyne's (q.v.) ministry from September 1899 to March 1901. But as a candidate for the federal house of representatives though really a convinced freetrader he was labelled a protectionist on account of his association with Lyne and Barton, a freetrader gained the seat, and Wise was lost to federal politics. He became a member of the legislative council of New South Wales and joined J. See's (q.v.) ministry as attorney-general from March 1901 to June 1904, and from July 1901 was also minister of justice. He succeeded in passing an industrial arbitration act, and more than once passed a state children's bill through the council only to have it thrown out in the assembly. He was acting-premier for part of 1903-4. He subsequently travelled, and while in South America in 1906 contracted malaria which affected his health for the remainder of his days. Most of his time was spent in England and in May 1915 he was appointed agent-general for New South Wales. He worked hard in spite of his ill-health and died in London on 19 September 1916. He married in 1884 Lilian Margaret Baird who survived him with one son. He was the author of Facts and Fallacies of Modern Protection (1879); Industrial Freedom A Study in Politics (1892), a more complete statement of the freetrade case; The Commonwealth of Australia (1909), a popular book on conditions in Australia at that time; and The Making of the Australian Commonwealth (1913), which, though sometimes one-sided and generally too much confined to events in New South Wales, is an interesting and valuable document.
Nobody can write about Wise without realizing that he never fulfilled his promise. He had a brilliant brain, a distinguished scholastic career, and seemed born to be a great intellectual leader in Australia. From the point of view of his own interests he made a mistake in nominating Reid as leader of his party when he might possibly have obtained this position for himself, and the average elector in 1901 was no doubt unable to understand that Wise was sincere in thinking that federation itself was more important than the fiscal policy Australia would adopt. His ill health in later years was also a factor in preventing him taking up the fight again, and men of his independent spirit do not find it easy to subject themselves to party discipline. He was one of the finest Australian orators and thinkers of his time, who especially in the federation movement did much to shape the destinies of his country.
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 and 22 September 1916; The Times, 21 September 1916; Wise, The Making of the Australian Commonwealth; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; A. B. Piddington, Worshipful Masters.
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WITHERS, WALTER HERBERT (1854-1914), always known as Walter Withers,artist,
was born at Handsworth, Staffordshire, on 22 October 1854, the son of Edwin Withers. He showed an early desire to paint, but objection was made to this by his father. It is not known what occupation he followed in England, but in 1882 he arrived in Australia with the intention of going on the land. After working for about 18 months on a farm, Withers removed to Melbourne and obtained a position as draughtsman in a firm of printers. He then took up his painting again, and began to exhibit with the Victorian academy of arts afterwards merged in the Victorian Artists' Society. In 1887 Withers went to Europe. There he was married to Miss F. Flinn and studied for some months at the Académie Julien, Paris. He returned to Australia with his wife in June 1888 having been commissioned to do black and white work for Messrs Fergusson and Mitchell of Melbourne. His most important work in this way will be found in the illustrations to E. Finn's (q.v.), The Chronicles of Early Melbourne.
Withers settled down at first at Kew, a suburb of Melbourne, and then near Heidelberg on the other side of the river Yarra. He became friendly with Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder (q.v.), Tom Roberts (q.v.), F. McCubbin (q.v.) and other leading artists of the period. He began to sell a few pictures, but the collapse of the land boom put an end to his illustrative work. He obtained some work as a drawing and painting master in schools, and in 1891 opened a studio in Collins-street west, where he held his first private exhibition. In 1894 his masterpiece, "Tranquil Winter", was exhibited at the Victorian Artists' Society exhibition and bought by the trustees of the national gallery of Victoria. He settled down to a steady career of painting not at first selling largely. In 1897 he was awarded the first Wynne art prize at Sydney for his picture, "The Storm", which was in the same year purchased for the national gallery of New South Wales. He had been elected a member of the council of the Victorian Artists' Society in 1889, and in 1905 held the office of president for a year. His health was not good towards the end of his life but he continued to do a large amount of painting both in oil and in water-colours. He died on 13 October 1914 and was survived by his wife and four children.
Withers was purely a landscape painter, excelling particularly in delicate colour harmonies such as his "Tranquil Winter". He was inclined to wear himself out when painting his larger pictures, which are generally less successful than his smaller efforts, but the general level of his work is high and much of it has great beauty.
(Mrs F. Withers), The Art and Life of Walter Withers; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; personal knowledge.
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WOOD, GEORGE ARNOLD (1865-1928),historian,
son of G. S. Wood, was born at Salford, England, on 7 June 1865. He was educated at Owens College, Manchester, where he graduated B.A., and afterwards at Balliol College, Oxford, where in 1886 he won the Brackenbury history scholarship and in 1889 the Stanhope history essay prize. In 1891 he became Challis professor of history at the university of Sydney and held this chair for the remainder of his life. Before coming to Australia his chief study had been in English and European history, but he soon developed an interest in the early days of Australia and did valuable research on this period. At the university he proved himself to be an excellent lecturer, and his personality enabled him to be held in high esteem by both the staff and the students. He believed there should be an absence of barriers between teachers and pupils, and as president of the university union he made many friends among the students. During the South African war he incurred some unpopularity by advocating peace measures, but he was not a pacifist if he thought a cause a just one--only his age prevented him from enlisting during the 1914-18 war. In 1922 he published The Discovery of Australia, well-documented and excellently written. It was at once accepted as the standard work on the subject. His The Voyage of the "Endeavour", written for school children is also very good of its kind. He had hoped to write a history of Australia up to the deposition of Bligh, but it was never completed. Some of his preparatory work will be found in the admirable papers he contributed to the Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Historical Society, Sydney. He died at Sydney on 14 October 1928. He married Eleanor Madeline Whitfeld, who survived him with three sons and a daughter. One of his sons, F. L. W. Wood, became professor of history at Victoria University College, Wellington, New Zealand.
It was not possible for Wood to do a great mass of writing or research. He came to Australia a young man of 25, and single-handed founded a great history school; it was not until he was 50 that he was given an assistant. As a lecturer and teacher he was held in high regard by his students, many of whom are carrying on the work he began. Among these may be mentioned Professors Bruce of Sydney and the university of the Punjab, Lahore; Crawford of Melbourne; Henderson of Adelaide and Sydney, and Portus of Adelaide. Personally he was a charming companion, learned and sincere, humorous and unpretentious.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 and 18 October 1928; Hermes, Michaelmas, 1928; The Union Recorder, Sydney, 18 October 1928; Who's Who, 1927; private information.
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WOODHOUSE, WILLIAM JOHN (1866-1937),classical scholar,
son of R. Woodhouse, was born at Clifton, Westmorland, England, on 7 November 1866. He was educated at Sedbergh Grammar School and won an open exhibition to Queen's College, Oxford. He graduated with a first class in classical and a first class in the final school of Literae Humaniores, was appointed Newton student at the British school at Athens, and during 1890 travelled in Greece and directed the excavations at Megalopolis. After another year at Oxford he was elected Craven fellow and returned to Greece for two years, his main work being in connexion with the explorations at Aetolia. He was awarded the Conington memorial prize at Oxford in 1894 for an essay which was expanded into a substantial volume, Aetolia. Its Geography, Topography and Antiquities, published in 1897. He had by then become classical lecturer in the university of North Wales, and in 1900 was appointed lecturer in ancient history and political philosophy at the university of St Andrews, Scotland. He became professor of Greek at the university of Sydney in 1901 and held the chair until his death. He was also honorary curator of the Nicholson museum of antiquities at the university, which showed considerable development under his care.
Woodhouse was an inspiring teacher. His wide scholarship was relieved by both wit and humour, and he was a most painstaking researcher; it was probably the humility of a true scholar that accounted for so much of his work being delayed publication until his later years. These qualities were recognized by his students and he gained both their respect and affection. He shared in the life of the university, helped in the organization of the union, and for a period was dean of the faculty of arts and a member of the senate. Apart from a few classical textbooks and The Tutorial History of Greece, published in 1904 (fourth impression 1915), Woodhouse for many years published nothing except some contributions to the Journal of Hellenic Studies. In 1930 he brought out The Composition of Homer's Odyssey, a valuable and original contribution to Homeric scholarship. This was followed in 1933 by King Agis of Sparta and his Campaign in Arkadia in 418 B.C. His task was to do belated justice to King Agis "one of those born leaders who, taking no counsel of their fears, but accepting with serene self-reliance risks that appal a mediocre mind, compel their astonished adversaries to taste the bitterness of decisive and sometimes humiliating defeat" (p. 125). Woodhouse's adverse criticism of Thucydides's description of the battle of Mantineia did not find universal acceptance, but "he seems to have established that Thucydides's account is highly partisan designed to show Agis in the role of lucky blunderer" (The Times, 28 October 1937). His last book, Solon the Liberator, a Study of the Agrarian problem in Attika in the Seventh Century, was completed just before his death and published in 1938. He died at Sydney on 26 October 1937 leaving a widow, a son and a daughter. In addition to the works already mentioned Woodhouse was the author of The Fight for an Empire, a translation from Tacitus publislied in 1931, and he was also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Biblica and the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.
The Times, 28 October 1937; The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 October 1937: S. Angus, biographical note in Solon the Liberator; Calendar of the University of Sydney, 1938, p. 1045; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.
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WOODS, JULIAN EDMUND TENISON (1832-1889),geologist and divine,
was born at London on 15 November 1832. He was the sixth son of James Dominic Woods, Q.C., for some time one of the sub-editors of The Times, and his wife, Henrietta, daughter of the Rev. Joseph Tenison. His father was a Roman Catholic, but apparently not a very strict one, his mother belonged to the Church of England and was of the same family as Archbishop Tenison, well-known at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The boy was baptized and confirmed in the church of his father but probably during his youth there was a period when he fell away from his church. His own manuscript memoirs, written during his last illness, represents him as leading the life of an Anglican when 16, and being converted shortly afterwards. His biographer, the Rev. George O'Neill, S.J., discusses the question at some length and gives reasons for thinking that Woods's memory at the time of writing the memoir was probably untrustworthy. Woods was educated at various minor schools at home, and for two years at Newington Grammar School. He then obtained a position in The Times office, but after a few weeks went to live at Jersey with his mother whose health had broken down. He returned to London in less than two years and resumed his position at The Times office. In 1850 he entered the monastery of the Passionists at Broadway in Worcestershire and became a novice. His health became bad, he travelled for some time in France in 1853, and in the following year went out as a lay chaplain to Hobart. He was anxious to become a priest but he apparently did not commend himself to Bishop Willson (q.v.). In March 1855 he left for Melbourne and almost at once went on to Adelaide. Here his health failed him again, but becoming better he joined an exploring party that was starting for the interior. On his return he got in touch with Bishop Murphy (q.v.) of Adelaide and began his theological studies again. At the same time he began a methodical study of geology and mineralogy. He was ordained deacon on 18 December 1856 and priest on 4 January 1857. Shortly afterwards he was placed in charge of the Tatiara district which covered an area of 22,000 square miles in the south-east of the colony, and in Victoria as far as Portland. He laboured there for 10 years as a missionary and obtained the love of his parishioners. There too he met Adam Lindsay Gordon (q.v.) of whom he afterwards wrote an interesting account which appeared in the Melbourne Review for April 1884. He made regular long journeys over his vast parish, and systematically visited every place where he would find a member of his church. The fine climate improved his health, he was free from anxieties, and passed through the happiest 10 years of his life. It was fortunate, too, that in his district were many formations of great geological interest. He kept in touch with other scientists and gradually obtained a library of scientific books. In 1862 his Geological Observations in South Australia appeared, followed three years later by his History of the Discovery and Exploration of Australia in two volumes. On his occasional visits to cities he sometimes gave scientific lectures, and wherever he went he was interested in the geology and natural history of the district. At the beginning of 1867 he was transferred to Adelaide, was appointed director-general of Catholic education and secretary to Bishop Shiel, with the title of Very Reverend. Another of his duties was the administration of the newly-erected cathedral.
Everything pointed to a great career for Woods. He was only 35 years of age, he had established a great reputation as a preacher, and the steadily growing city of Adelaide meant a great enlargement of his sphere of influence. Unfortunately faction crept into the affairs of the church and Bishop Shiel was not a strong enough man to control it. Woods's scientific studies, normally a relaxation to him, were practically abandoned during his five years at Adelaide and he had many anxieties. He was especially interested in the formation of the Institute of St Joseph, a community of teaching nuns to which were attached many benevolent institutions. Later on a similar institute of men and four successful boys' schools were established. Other schemes for religious foundations followed. In 1867 he founded a small monthly magazine called the Southern Cross. It ceased after two years, but was revived in 1870 under the name of The Chaplet and Advocate of the Children of Mary. He was working unceasingly and under many anxieties; it was not surprising that his health again broke down. In 1872 there was an episcopal investigation into the general conditions of the diocese of Adelaide. The result was that Woods was deposed from his various positions and he left Adelaide. He began working in the Bathurst, New South Wales, diocese and in 1873 went to Brisbane and worked as a missionary for nearly a year. In January 1874 he left for Tasmania, stopping for a few days at Melbourne where on 13 February he gave a scientific lecture. In Tasmania he had great success as a missioner. In March 1875, however, he was quite exhausted, but after a rest recovered and continued his work as a missioner in various parts of Australia. In 1878 he joined the Linnean Society of New South Wales, he had taken up his scientific work again after leaving Adelaide. He was elected president of the society in 1880 and took much interest in its activities. He had been for many years a fellow of the Geological Society. London. In 1882 his volume, Fish and Fisheries of New South Wales, was published by the government of that colony, and in 1883 he was invited by his friend, Sir Frederick Weld (q.v.), then governor of Singapore, to undertake a scientific tour in the Straits Settlements. He also travelled extensively in Java, the adjacent islands and the Phillipines, and among other things provided the British government with a valuable confidential report on the coal resources of the East. He then went to China and Japan and returned to Sydney in 1886. Shortly afterwards he was away for four months on an exploration in the Northern Territory. On his return in May 1887 he found that both his eyesight and his general health were much weakened. He found a home in Sydney in one of the charitable communities he had founded, but was told by Cardinal Moran (q.v.) that if he wished to remain in the diocese and exercise his priestly faculties, he was to take up his residence in a place appointed for him. Woods disregarded his instructions. He had received and given away a large amount paid to him for his scientific work for the government, and was now poor and feeble. He did not, however, lack friends and was well-cared for. He dictated his memoirs for a little while every day and kept up his interest in science. One of his last works was a paper on the "Natural History of the Mollusca of Australia" for which he was awarded the Clarke medal and a grant of £25 by the Royal Society of New South Wales. Early in 1889 his health began to grow steadily worse, and after much patient suffering he died on 7 October 1889 and was buried at Waverley cemetery, Sydney.
Tenison Woods was a man of remarkable personality. From James Bonwick (q.v.), who met him in 1857, to Edgeworth David (q.v.) a quarter of a century later, all unite in extolling his fascination and charm. He had great knowledge, was a good musician, and had artistic ability. In his church his powers as a speaker made him a great missionary. He was perfectly unselfish, loved his fellow men, was absolutely sincere, and had great piety; yet unfortunately he was often at odds with his superiors. It is impossible to apportion the blame for these troubles, but his co-religionist, the Rev. G. O'Neill, discusses them in detail in his biography. As a scientist Woods did excellent work in botany, zoology and particularly in geology. A list of his scientific writings which included 155 items was published as a pamphlet without imprint about the year 1887.
Rev. George O'Neill, S. J., Life of the Reverend Julian Edmund Tenison Woods; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; E. W. Skeats, David Lecture 1933. Some Founders of Australian Geology.
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WOOLCOCK, JOHN LASKEY (1862-1929),barrister and supreme court judge, Queensland,
son of the Rev. William Woolcock, a Bible Christian missionary, was born at Truro, Cornwall, England, on 7 November 1862. He came to Queensland with his father in 1866, and was educated at the Brisbane Grammar School. Having won a Queensland exhibition scholarship he went to the university of Sydney and graduated B.A. in 1883. He had a brilliant course and won the gold medal for English verse, the Wentworth medal for an English esssay, the George Allen and Renwick scholarships, and the Belmore medal for agricultural chemistry. Returning to Queensland he qualified as a barrister and was admitted to the Queensland bar on 6 December 1887. He had in the meantime been private secretary to (Sir) Samuel Griffith (q.v.), and in that capacity had attended the colonial convention at Sydney in 1883, the federal council at Hobart in 1885, and the Imperial conference at London in 1887. In April 1899 he was appointed Queensland parliamentary draftsman with the right to continue his private practice, which was already a large one, and in 1910 he did a valuable piece of work when he consolidated the Queensland statutes. In December 1926, with the general approval of the profession, he was appointed a judge of the supreme court and began his duties in February 1927. He proved to be an able and hard-working judge, but died suddenly on 18 January 1929. He married (1) Miss Harper and (2) Miss Ida Withrington, who survived him with one son and one daughter of the first marriage and one son and one daughter of the second.
Woolcock was a man of high ideals, was studious and widely read, and had a great capacity for work. He wrote a good deal on legal questions such as the liquor act, the local authority act and Friendly Societies law, and was responsible for annotated issues of the justices' act and the health act. He also wrote detective stories and verse some of which appeared in the Queensland press; an example is included in A Book of Queensland Verse. He was a force in all educational matters and exercised much influence on them in Queensland. In 1895 with S. W. Brooks he initiated the movement for a public library at Brisbane, became a trustee when the library was established, and a member of the board of advice when it was taken over by the government. He was one of the original members of the university senate and for some years was chairman of its education committee. He was especially interested in his old school, the Brisbane Grammar School, of which he became a trustee in 1889, and chairman of trustees from 1906 until his death. Under his will £100 was bequeathed to the university of Queensland to found the Gertrude-Mary Woolcock memorial prize for proficiency in Greek.
The Brisbane Courier, 19 and 21 January 1929; The Daily Mail, Brisbane, 19 January 1929; Calendar of the University of Queensland, 1931.
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WOOLLEY, JOHN (1816-1866),first principal of the university of Sydney,
was born at Petersfield, Hampshire, England, on 28 February 1816. He matriculated at the university of London in 1830, and during the next two years passed every subject he took with first-class honours. He then won an open scholarship at Exeter College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. in 1836, with a first-class in classics, M.A. in 1839, and D.C.L. in 1844. He was ordained in 1840 and in the same year published An Introduction to Logic. In 1842 he was appointed headmaster of Edward the Sixth's Grammar School, Hereford, and three years later held the same position at Rossall School in Lancashire. His Sermons Preached in the Chapel of Rossall College was published in 1847. He became headmaster of Edward the Sixth's Grammar School, Norwich, in 1849, and in 1852 was appointed principal and professor of classics at the university of Sydney. He arrived there in July, and immediately started making arrangements for the opening of the university. The first matriculation examination was held in October, 24 students were admitted to matriculation, and teaching work began at once. Woolley afterwards added to his duties the teaching of logic. He had an extremely difficult task as principal. Parliament was unsympathetic, students were few in number, and in many cases their preliminary schooling had been inadequate (see Record of the Jubilee Celebrations of the University of Sydney, pp. 31-3). As one of the means of improving this position Woolley took much interest in the Sydney Grammar School, and brought forward a scheme not developed until after his death, of linking the primary education of the colony with the university. In 1862 he published a volume of Lectures Delivered in Australia, some of which had been given at the mechanics' school of arts, Sydney, and similar institutions. He gratuitously held classes at the mechanics' school of arts and endeavoured to expand the classes there into a regular curriculum of studies, and though in 1860 he had to admit the comparative failure of the attempt, after his death much was done in this direction. In 1882, 1100 Pupils were attending classes. (Commemorative address on the celebration of the fiftieth anniversery by (Sir) W. C. Windeyer). In 1865 Woolley had a vacation in England, but on his way back was drowned in the London on 11 January 1866. He married in 1842 Mary Margaret, daughter of Major William Turner (Dict. Nat. Biog.), who survived him with six children. A sum of £2000 was raised by subscription among his friends and presented to his widow.
Woolley was a scholarly and amiable man; a glowing reference to him will be found in J. Sheridan Moore's lecture on The Life and Genius of James Lionel Michael. Barff, in A Short Historical Account of the University of Sydney, speaks highly of his scholarship and enthusiasm, and of the work he did in the forming of the university and the moulding of men's minds throughout the colony. In spite of this Woolley found it almost impossible to make the young university take its proper place in the life of the colony. It was not until several years after his death that the number of students reached 100.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 1866; A Catalogue of all Graduates of the University of Oxford, 1851; H. E. Barff, A Short Historical Account of the University of Sydney; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; British Museum Catalogue.
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WOOLLS, WILLIAM (1814-1893),botanist,
nineteenth child of Edward Woolls, merchant, was born at Winchester, England, in March 1814. He was educated at the grammar school, Bishop's Waltham, and at 16 years of age endeavoured unsuccessfully to obtain a cadetship in the East India Company's service. A year later he emigrated to Australia, and in 1832 was appointed an assistant-master at The King's School, Parramatta. About four years later he went to Sydney and maintained himself by journalism and giving private tuition. He was then for a period classical master at Sydney College, but resigned this to open a private school at Parramatta which he conducted for many years. He published two boyish productions in verse, The Voyage: A Moral Poem, in 1832, and Australia: A Moral and Descriptive Poem in 1833. In 1838 he brought out Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, mainly prose essays. He also published in 1841 A Short Account of the Character and Labours of the Rev. Samuel Marsden (q.v.). His friendship with the Rev. James Walker, headmaster of The King's School between 1843 and 1848, led to Woolls becoming interested in botany, and he subsequently did much work on the flora of Australia. A paper on "Introduced Plants" sent to the Linnean Society at London led to his being elected a fellow of the society and other work of his brought the degree of Ph.D. from the university of Göttingen, Germany. He gave up his school in 1865 and in 1867 published A Contribution to the Flora of Australia, a collection of his botanical papers. In 1873 Woolls took holy orders in the Church of England, became incumbent of Richmond, and later rural dean. Another collection of his papers, Lectures on the Vegetable Kingdom with special reference to the Flora of Australia, appeared in 1879. He retired from the ministry in 1883 and lived at Sydney for the rest of his life. He was much in touch with von Mueller (q.v.) and assisted him in his botanical work. Woolls's next volume, Plants of New South Wales, was published in 1885, and his Plants Indigenous and Naturalized in the Neighbourhood of Sydney, a revised and enlarged edition of a paper prepared in 1880, came out in 1891. He died at Sydney on 14 March 1893. His youthful verses and early journalism were both unimportant but he did conscientious and valuable work as a botanist. Some of his papers were published in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales.
J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 1893; Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 1892-3, p. 669.
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WRENFORDSLEY, SIR HENRY THOMAS (c. 1835-1908),chief justice of Western Australia,
the son of Joseph H. Wren was born probably about the year 1835, and was educated in France and at Trinity College, Dublin. He was called to the bar of the Middle Temple in 1863, and for a time was a junior counsel for the privy council office. He acted at times as a county court judge in England and in 1877 was appointed a puisne judge at Mauritius. He was also procureur and advocate-general, and was prominent in connexion with the passing of a labour law, the preparation and publication of a magisterial code, and the introduction of reforms in the supreme court. In 1880 he was appointed chief justice of Western Australia where he assisted in revising the local statutes and prepared and published rules of procedure. He was then appointed chief justice of Fiji and judicial commissioner for the Western Pacific. His stay in Fiji was short as he found the climate unsuitable, and from February to June 1883 he became acting-governor of Western Australia. In 1884 he was an acting-judge of the supreme court of Tasmania, and took a similar position at Melbourne in 1888. In the following year he was appointed acting chief justice at Perth. He became chief justice of the Leeward Islands in 1891, and held the position until his retirement in 1902. He died at Antibes in the south of France on 2 June 1908. He was knighted in 1883.
The Times, 10 June 1908; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1908.
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WRIGHT, DAVID McKEE (1869-1928),poet and journalist,
was the son of William Wright, D.D. (1837-1899), a Congregational missionary, scholar and author. An account of him will be found in the Dictionary of National Biography. He married a daughter of the Rev. David McKee, an educationist and author of much ability, and their son, David, was born at Ballynaskeagh, Ireland, in 1869, while his parents were home on furlough. He was left with a grandmother until he was seven years old, and was then for 10 years in London. He went to New Zealand when he was about 18 and had some years of station life, during which he did much writing in both prose and verse. He studied for the Congregational ministry and attended university classes at Dunedin in 1897. He had done much private reading, but found that apart from English his education was generally below that of the other students. He won a university prize for a poem, and published about this period, Aorangi and other Verses (1896), Station Ballads and other Verses (1897), Wisps of Tussock (1900), and New Zealand Chimes (1900). None of these were important, though they contained some good popular verse. As a clergyman Wright was liked, but he found the work uncongenial and gave it up for journalism in which he had considerable experience in New Zealand. Coming to Sydney in 1910 he did a large amount of successful free-lance work for the Sun, the Bulletin, and other papers. Becoming editor of the Red Page of the Bulletin he encouraged many of the rising writers of the time, and continued to do an enormous amount of writing himself in both prose and verse. Much of this appeared over pen-names such as "Pat O'Maori" and "Mary McCommonwealth" and much was signed with his initials. As he grew older his mind turned more and more to the country of his birth, and in 1918 he published his most important volume, An Irish Heart. In 1920 he was awarded the prize for the best poem in commemoration of the visit of the Prince of Wales, and in the same year the Rupert Brooke memorial prize for a long poem, "Gallipoli". Neither of these poems has been published in book form. He died at Glenbrook in the mountains near Sydney on 5 February 1928.
Wright was kind and generous and was loved by his contemporaries. Though much of a Bohemian, something of the clergyman still clung to him. He never indulged in profanity, he had the strictest regard for the truth, and his love for humanity was sincere; it was said of him that his "only use for an enemy was to forgive him". He was a great journalist, but his place as a poet is harder to determine. Zora Cross, in An Introduction to the Study of Australian Literature, gave him a high position among Australian poets. But Wright himself would have discarded his quite capable early work, and charming though An Irish Heart may be, it is too derivative to be work of the highest kind. It is not a question of individual words or phrases, but rather of a man steeping himself in the modern Irish school of poetry, and with all the skill of his practised craftsmanship reproducing its spirit in another land. A true verdict might be that he was one of the finest craftsmen of our writers of verse, but that under the constant strain of journalism his emotion became too diffused for him to be able to take a really high place among our poets. A large amount of his work, including some short plays, has never been collected.
Zora Cross, An Introduction to the Study of Australian Literature; The Bulletin, 8 and 15 February 1928; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; William Wright, The Brontes in Ireland.
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WRIGHT, JOHN CHARLES (1861-1933),Anglican archbishop of Sydney,
son of the Rev. Joseph Farrall Wright, vicar of Christ Church, Bolton, England, was born on 19 August 1861. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Merton College, Oxford, where he graduated with honours in 1884. He was ordained deacon in 1885, priest in 1886, and after serving as a curate for eight years became vicar of Ulverston in 1893. Two years later he transferred to St George's at Leeds, an important industrial parish, where he did very good work for nine years. In 1904 he was made a canon of Manchester cathedral, rector of St George's, Holme, and chaplain to the bishop of Manchester. Early in 1909 he was appointed archdeacon of Manchester, but a few months later accepted the archbishopric of Sydney and was consecrated at St Paul's cathedral, London, on 24 August 1909. He was also metropolitan of New South Wales and in April 1910 was elected primate of Australia, the first occasion on which an election was held for this office. He was Ramsden preacher at Cambridge in 1913, and during the war of 1914-18 took great interest in work among the soldiers. The spread of Anglo-Catholic doctrines in Australia gave him much anxiety as he was strongly evangelical. About the year 1924 he had a serious illness and was henceforth compelled to go carefully. He was, however, an excellent chairman of synod during the long years of debate of the new constitution for the Church of England in Australia. He felt strongly that his church should adhere consistently to the evangelical doctrines of the Church of England in England, and eventually general synod agreed that they should be embodied in the new constitution. Early in 1933 Wright took ill while visiting a daughter in New Zealand, and died at Wellington following an operation, on 24 February 1933. He married in 1893 Dorothy Margaret Isabella Fiennes, daughter of Colonel the Hon. Ivo de Vesci, who survived him with a son and three daughters. He was the author of Thoughts on Modern Church Life and Work, published in 1909.
Wright was extremely modest and somewhat austere in manner. He had a lovable personality, his judgment was good, and he was an excellent preacher of the expository kind. Though never quite free from preliminary nervousness, he had a clear and charming delivery and was fluent and lucid. He was a sound administrator, and in endeavouring to reconcile the opposing parties in synod was patient and persuasive.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February 1933; The Times, 25 and 28 February 1933; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1933; F. B. Boyce, Fourscore Years and Seven, pp. 150-2.
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WRIXON, SIR HENRY JOHN (1839-1913),barrister and politician,
was the son of Arthur Nicholas Wrixon, a county court judge in Victoria, and his wife, Charlotte Matilda, daughter of Captain William Bace who fought under Wellington. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 18 October 1839, and came to Victoria with his father in 1850. He was one of the earliest students to matriculate at the university of Melbourne, but soon afterwards returned to Ireland and entered at Trinity College, Dublin. He graduated B.A. in 1861 and in the same year was called to the Irish bar. He returned to Victoria in 1863 and practised as a barrister with success. He was elected to the legislative assembly for Belfast on 20 February 1868, in April 1870 became solicitor-general in the third McCulloch (q.v.) ministry, and held this position until the ministry resigned in June 1871. He was not a candidate at the 1877 election and soon afterwards went for a prolonged tour in Europe. Returning to Victoria he was elected for Portland in 1880, and held this seat for 14 years. He made a most effective speech on the reform bill brought in by Service (q.v.) in 1880, but during the following stormy years there was little opportunity for a man of Wrixon's moderate views to become prominent. In February 1886, however, when the Gillies (q.v.) ministry was formed, he was given the portfolio of attorney-general and showed great ability in piloting bills through the house.
He was essentially sincere, showed much tact, judgment and persuasiveness in dealing with opposition, and was always ready to accept amendments which would improve bills. In 1890 Wrixon went to London to represent the Victorian government in the Ah Toy case, which turned on the power of the colonies to refuse to admit aliens. He had argued the case before the Victorian full court when five judges decided against the government, with Higinbotham (q.v.) and Kerford (q.v.) dissenting. Wrixon succeeded in getting the judgment reversed by the privy council. In 1890 he became a Q.C., and in November of that year resigned with his colleagues in the Gillies government. In 1891 he was one of the Victorian representatives at the federal convention held at Sydney. There his speech on the Commonwealth bill was "specially remarkable for the almost prophetic insight into the modifications that would be necessary before the bill could be wholly acceptable" (Quick and Garran, The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth, p. 136). In 1892 Wrixon was a candidate for the Victorian speakership, but was defeated by a combination of the supporters of the opposing candidates, and Bent (q.v.) was elected. Two years later he resigned his seat in the assembly and in 1896 was elected a member of the legislative council. At the election of Victorian representatives for the 1897 federal convention he was not on the Age ticket, and just failed to be elected, being eleventh on the poll. He was elected president of the legislative council in 1901 and held the position until his retirement in 1910. He died at Melbourne on 9 April 1913. He married in 1872, Charlotte, daughter of the Hon. Henry Miller, and widow of M. W. Anderson, who survived him with two sons and a daughter. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1892. He was the author of Socialism being Notes on a Political Tour (1896), Jacob Shumate; or the People's March, a political novel (1903), (largely rewritten and issued as Edward Fairlie Frankfort; or Politics among the People, in 1912), The Pattern Nation, a dispassionate review of the trend towards socialism, but written from a conservative aspect (1906), The Religion of the Common Man (1909).
Wrixon was a completely honest, able and widely-read man. He had all the qualifications for a president of the legislative council, and carried out his duties with great ability. He was vice-chancellor of the university of Melbourne from 1897 to 1910, was appointed a trustee of the public library, museums and national gallery in 1902, and was elected vice-president of the trustees in 1905. He had none of the arts of the popular politician, but had much influence on the cultural and political life of his time.
The Argus, 10 April 1913; Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1913; personal knowledge.
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WYATT, WILLIAM (1804-1886),pioneer,
was born in 1804, studied medicine and obtained the qualification of M.R.C.S. in February 1828. For some time he was honorary surgeon to the Plymouth dispensary, and then went to South Australia as surgeon of the ship John Renwick. He arrived at Adelaide in February 1837 and practised there for a short time. In August he was appointed city coroner and was also for a time protector of aborigines. In May 1838 he was on the committee of the South Australian School Society, and was also on various other committees. On 28 February 1843 he was chairman of a meeting called to discuss the best means of civilizing the aborigines, in 1847 he was appointed coroner for the province of South Australia, and in 1849 he was a member of the provisional committee of the South Australian Colonial Railway Company. He was appointed inspector of schools for South Australia in 1851 and for the remainder of his life was in every movement that touched the educational or welfare of the colony. He was a governor of the Collegiate School of St Peters, one of the original governors of the Adelaide public library, a founder and vice-president of the Acclimatization Society, on the board of the botanic gardens, and from 1870 to 1886 was chairman of the Adelaide hospital. He was also secretary of the medical board for over 40 years. In his last years though growing infirm, he still attended to his many duties, and passed some hospital accounts for payment only a week before his death in his eighty-second year on 10 June 1886. He bought some town lots at the first land sale held at Adelaide on 27 May 1837, which laid the foundation of a considerable fortune. He did many acts of philanthropy in a quiet way and showed much interest in the social life of Adelaide, but never entered politics. He was married and left a widow. He published in 1883 a small Monograph of Certain Crustacea Entomostraca, and he contributed the chapter on the Adelaide and Encounter Bay aboriginal tribes to the volume on the Native Tribes of South Australia, which was published in 1879.
The South Australian Register and The South Australian Advertiser, 12 June 1886; J. Blacket, The Early History of South Australia, p. 368.
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