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Dictionary of Australasian Biography

579 Pages · 2012 · 26.51 MB · English

  • Dictionary of Australasian Biography

    THE DICTIONARY OF


    AUSTRALASIAN BIOGRAPHY. THE DICTIONARY OF


    AUSTRALASIAN BIOGRAPHY.


    COMPRISING


    NOTICES OF EMINENT COLONISTS


    FROM THE INAUGURATION OF RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT


    DOWN TO THE PRESENT TIME.


    [1855-1892]


    BY


    PHILIP MENNELL, F.R.G.S.


    LONDON:


    H U T C H I N S ON & CO.,


    25, PATERNOSTER SQUARE.


    1892. Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury. P R E F A C E.


    I


    T is unnecessary to enter into any lengthened exposition of the objects


    and utility of a work such as the present, either from an English or


    an Australasian point of view. The public appetite for such publications


    is evidenced by the issue of innumerable "Biographical Dictionaries" and


    the success of such a work as the " National Dictionary of Biography," and


    there seems no valid reason why what Sir Thomas Mcllwraith calls "the


    future Australasian empire " should not have the careers of its publicists


    in various walks of distinction recorded in permanent and concise form.


    Owing to the increase of federal feeling in the various colonies, the present


    moment seems an opportune one for the presentation of a wor kwhich


    " federalises," so to speak, the mass of what previous writers have produced


    in a similar direction in regard to the separate colonies. I have often had


    occasion to remark on the limited knowledge which the public men of one


    colony possess of the public men of another, and in a period which has


    produced the " Commonwealth of Australasia Bill" I may perhaps be


    excused for endeavouring to contribute my mite towards the extension of


    that intercommunity of knowledge which is to a large extent the necessary


    condition precedent to intercommunity of sympathy and action.


    Not only has the federal feeling in Australasia witnessed a wonderful


    growth of recent years, but the interest in and desire for knowledge about


    the Australasian colonies has been quickened to at least an equal extent at


    the centre of the empire. It is hoped therefore that the "Dictionary of


    Australasian Biography" may at the present juncture equally meet the


    acceptance of large classes both in England and at the Antipodes. It has


    been one of the most difficult parts of an arduous task to combine that


    particularity which local biography for local circulation demands with that


    more comprehensive, if at the same time more condensed, treatment which


    is likely to suit the taste of readers twelve thousand miles away from the


    stage on which the actors whose achievements are set forth have played


    their parts. In the attempt to furnish a book which will be equally satis-


    factory to English and colonial readers, I cannot hope to have entirely


    succeeded ; but I have at least kept this object in view, and am sanguine iv PREFACE.


    enough to believe that I have fulfilled my aim in so far as the contrarieties


    of the case will permit.


    As to the scope of the work, it records the careers of the majority of


    the eminent Australasian colonists who survived to see the inauguration


    of responsible government in 1855, and who have died in the interval of


    thirty-seven years which has elapsed since that epoch-making era. It also


    includes the biographies of living persons, and thus contains the class of


    information which is to be found in the usual run of biographical dic-


    tionaries regarding deceased worthies, in addition to the more recent data


    respecting living persons which are afforded by such publications as the


    English " Men of the Time." The extent of the information presented will


    be best gathered when I state that the "Dictionary" comprises nearly two


    thousand biographies, including those of the governors of the several colonies,


    the prelates of the Anglican and Roman Catholic communions, the heads of


    the principal religious denominations and of the several universities, as well


    as notices of all politicians, with a few unavoidable exceptions, who have


    held Ministerial office in the Australian colonies, New Zealand, and Tasmania


    since the year 1855. The principal members of the Civil Service and the


    explorers, authors, scientists, musicians, and actors who have won distinction


    in the colonial arena have been dealt with as adequately as circumstances


    permitted; and the work also includes lives of a number of the pastoral,


    mercantile, and industrial pioneers of the various colonies, as well as of those


    who have distinguished themselves in the domain of sport and athleticism.


    There are one or two special points to which I should like to draw atten-


    tion. In the first place, the titles of honour and office given to the several


    subjects of biography are those which they are entitled to bear in their


    respective colonies, though, by a strange anomaly in the constitutional formu-


    laries of a country which will mainly go down to history in connection with


    the glories of its colonial empire, the most commonly borne title in the


    last-mentioned portion of her Majesty's dominions—that of "Honourable"


    —is not conceded recognition outside of the colony in which the public


    services of which it is the reward have been rendered. If therefore


    the present work should do anything to " imperialise "—if I may use the


    word—a title to which there is really no valid democratic objection, and to


    promote its recognition and that of the good service which it typifies in


    every part of the empire, I shall take pride in having contributed even


    in this humble way to the disappearance of the last vestige of that hateful


    doctrine of colonial inferiority which comes to us from the dark, but unfor-


    tunately not yet very distant, ages of Colonial Office ineptitude and insular


    presumption.


    With regard to the incidence of this title of "Honourable," some confusion


    may arise in the minds of English, and even Australasian readers. Broadly


    speaking, the Australasian public man is entitled to bear the title of


    " Honourable " within his own colony during his actual tenure of office as


    a member of the Upper House or as a member of the Ministry of the day


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