Dictionary of Australasian Biography

579 Pages · 2012 · 26.51 MB · English

  • Dictionary of Australasian Biography












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


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


    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


    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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