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DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALIAN BIOGRAPHY
Angus and Robertson--1949
BECKE, GEORGE LEWIS (1855-1913), known as Louis Becke,short-story writer and novelist,
[ also refer to Louis BECKE page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
was born at Port Macquarie, New South Wales, where his father was clerk of petty sessions, on 18 June 1855 (Aust. Ency.). He was the youngest of six children and soon showed a disposition to wander. He has stated that before he was 10 he had twice run away from home. The family removed to Sydney and Becke was educated at the Fort-street school. He began his voyages in the south seas at a very early age and there are two accounts of these beginnings: one by the Earl of Pembroke, who presumably obtained his information from Becke, which is prefixed to By Reef and Palm, and the other written by Becke and printed in the Red Page of the Bulletin on 27 February 1913. It is difficult to reconcile them, and all that is certain is that Becke spent many years on vessels trading in the Pacific islands. In 1874 he was in Australia on the Palmer River goldfields, and later on unsuccessfully tried to settle down as a bank clerk. He returned to the south seas as a supercargo and trader, and during the middle seventies voyaged with the notorious "Bully" Hayes. The accounts of Becke's connexion with Hayes given in Neath Austral Skies, The Strange Adventures of James Shervinton and other volumes, must, however, be read with caution as the boundary between fact and fiction-writing is not clear (see Free and Easy Land by Frank Clune, page 346). This life continued for many years and provided most of the material for Becke's stories. During a visit to Australia in 1886 he married Bessie M., daughter of Colonel Mansell of Port Macquarie. In 1892 he returned to Sydney and encouraged by Ernest Favenc (q.v.) and J. F. Archibald (q.v.) began to contribute stories to the Bulletin. A collection of these, By Reef and Palm, was published in England in 1894, followed by The Ebbing of the Tide in 1896. Becke went to London about the beginning of this year, helped by Archibald and MacLeod (q.v.) of the Bulletin who advanced him £200, and he remained in Europe for about 15 years, during which time a large number of collections of short stories and a few novels and stories for boys were published. He was fairly paid by the magazines for his stories, but he always sold his books outright and never on a royalty basis. He went to Auckland, New Zealand, in 1910 and lived there for about a year. He was in Sydney again in the middle of 1911 and died suddenly there on 18 February 1913, working up to the last. About 30 of Becke's books are listed in Miller's Australian Literature with six other volumes written in collaboration with W. J. Jeffery. He was survived by his wife and a daughter.
Becke said himself that any literary success he had achieved was due entirely to the training received from the editor of the Bulletin (J. F. Archibald) "who taught me the secrets of condensation and simplicity of language". Once having learned this Becke had a wealth of experience to draw upon and, though there was inevitably some monotony of theme, he wrote a very large number of stories of incident that can still be read with interest, and show him to have been a writer of considerable ability.
The Bulletin, 27 February 1913; Introduction to By Reef and Palm; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; Frank Clune, Free and Easy Land, Chapter 29; The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 1913.^Top of page
BEDFORD, RANDOLPH (1868-1941),author and politician,
son of Alfred Bedford, was born at Sydney on 28 July 1868. He was educated at the Newtown state school and at the age of 16 was working in the western district of New South Wales. He had a short story accepted by the Bulletin in 1886, the first of a long series of contributions. In 1888 he obtained a position on the Argus, Broken Hill, and in the following year went to Melbourne and was about two years on the Age. Much freelancing followed, verse, short stories and sketches, written while travelling in Australia searching for payable mining fields. Between 1901 and 1904 Bedford was in Europe and wrote a series of travel sketches, which in 1916 were collected and published under the title of Explorations in Civilization. His first novel, True Eyes and the Whirlwind, appeared in London in 1903, and his Snare of Strength was published two years later. Three short novels appeared afterwards in the Bookstall series, Billy Pagan, Mining Engineer (1911), The Silver Star (1917), Aladdin and the Boss Cockie (1919). He had also made a collection of his Bulletin verse in 1904 but the unbound sheets were all burned during a fire at the printers, except about six copies which were bound without title-page and apparently given to friends. A few years before his death Bedford stated that he did not regret the fire as some of the verses included "could only be excused on account of his extreme youth at the time of writing". He was then preparing a selection of his verse for the press which, however, was not published.
In 1917 Bedford entered the Queensland legislative council, pledged to work for the abolishment of that chamber which took place in 1922. In the following year he was elected to the legislative assembly for Warrego as a Labour member. He held this seat until his resignation in 1937 to contest the Maranoa seat for the federal house of representatives. He was defeated, but was again elected to his old seat in the legislative assembly. He died on 7 July 1941, and was survived by his wife and a grown-up family. As a politician Bedford showed himself to be a great fighter, but he was too exuberant, too impatient, and too impetuous for the council table, and was never included in any ministry. He was an eloquent speaker who neither gave nor asked for quarter, and he was always loyal to his party, generous and kind to his friends. A big man physically and mentally, who always looked slightly over life size, he was one of the most colourful personalities to enter politics in Australia. As a literary man he did a large amount of work. Most of his poetry is not important, though the best of it may be called good vigorous rhetorical verse. His Explorations in Civilization has been praised, but it is only fairly good journalism scarcely worth collecting. The first two novels, True Eyes and the Whirlwind and The Snare of Strength, are both vigorously and freshly written, but such excellent short stories as "Fourteen Fathoms by Quetta Rock", included in Australian Short Stories, and "The Language of Animals" in An Australian Story Book, suggest that his best work was done in that medium.
The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 8 July 1941; The Bulletin, 16 July 1941; The Worker, Brisbane, 8 July 1941; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; Nettie Palmer, Modern Australian Literature; See also, Randolph Bedford, Naught to Thirty-three.^Top of page
BEEBY, SIR GEORGE STEPHENSON (1869-1942),politician, judge and author,
was born at Sydney on 23 May 1869. He entered the education department of New South Wales when 14 years of age and became a pupil teacher. Subsequently he was an accountant, and in 1900 qualified as a solicitor. He had become interested in the land taxation proposals of Henry George in 1890 and was prominent in the beginnings of the New South Wales Labour party. Beeby worked as a journalist for some time and then began practising as a solicitor. The arbitration act passed in 1901 brought him much business, and it was stated in 1906 that his firm had been concerned in two hundred disputes. In January 1907 Beeby stood as a Labour candidate for Blayney at a by-election caused by the resignation of W. P. Crick, but was defeated by 23 votes. He, however, won the seat in the following September, and with Holman (q.v.) was successful in considerably modifying the amending industrial disputes bill brought in by Wade (q.v.). When McGowen (q.v.) formed the first New South Wales Labour ministry in October 1910, Beeby was his minister of public instruction and of labour and industry until September 1911, and minister for public works, from September 1911 to December 1912. He had, however, come to the conclusion that the time had arrived for the formation of a party which would include the moderates of all parties. He resigned from the cabinet in December 1912 and was re-elected for Blayney on his new policy on 23 January 1913. He failed to get support in the house, and resigned from parliament. He had been called to the bar in 1911 and now worked up a successful practice as a barrister. When Holman formed his national ministry in November 1916 Beeby became minister for labour and industry with a seat in the legislative council. In 1918 Beeby, who had in the meanwhile been elected to the assembly for Wagga, succeeded in passing an industrial arbitration amendment act though it was strongly opposed by the Labour party. Towards the end of that year he visited Europe and the United States and, shortly after his return in June 1919, resigned from the government as a protest against administrative acts in connexion with the sale of wheat and the allotting of coal contracts. In 1920 he was appointed a judge of the New South Wales arbitration court, and in 1928 he became a member of the federal conciliation and arbitration court bench. He was appointed chief judge in March 1939 and in the same year was created K.B.E. He retired in 1941 and died on 18 July 1942. He married in 1892 and was survived by children.
Beeby was the author of Three Years of Industrial Arbitration in New South Wales (1906), a pamphlet; Concerning Ordinary People (1923), a volume of readable plays; In Quest of Pan (1924), a satire in verse on some of the Australian poets of the period; and A Loaded Legacy, a light novel which appeared in 1930.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 1913, 20 July 1942; H. V. Evatt, Australian Labour Leader; Burke's War Gazette, 1940.^Top of page
BELL, SIR JOSHUA PETER (1827-1881),politician,
was born in Ireland, on 19 January 1827 and came to New South Wales with his parents in 1831 (Aust. Ency.). He was educated at Sydney College, and The King's School, Parramatta. With his father and brothers he acquired an interest in Jimbour station near Dalby, Queensland, in 1863 became a member of the legislative assembly for Dalby, and held the seat until he transferred to the legislative council in 1879. He was colonial treasurer in the first Queensland ministry under R. G. Herbert (q.v.) from December 1864 to February 1866 when A. Macalister (q.v.) became premier, and Bell was given the same position. Shortly afterwards there was a financial crisis owing to the failure of two banks, and Bell as treasurer stated that he intended to issue "inconvertible government notes". The governor, Sir George Bowen (q.v.), considered this would be an infringement of the prerogatives of the crown and Macalister thereupon resigned on 20 July 1866. He formed another ministry in August with Bell as minister for lands who resigned with his colleagues a year later. In March 1871 he became treasurer again in the A. H. Palmer (q.v.) ministry and held this office until January 1874. In March 1879 he entered the legislative council, was elected president, and administered the government of Queensland during the absence of the governor from March to November 1880. He died suddenly on 20 December 1881. He was created K.C.M.G. shortly before his death. He was a man of education, with a fine appearance, a typical squatter, and a strong conservative, eminently suited for his position as president of the council. He married Margaret Miller, daughter of Dr D'Orsey, who survived him with children. A son Joshua Thomas Bell is noticed separately.
J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years.^Top of page
BELL, JOSHUA THOMAS (1863-1911),politician,
son of Sir Joshua Peter Bell (q.v.), was born at Ipswich, Queensland, in 1863. He was educated at Brisbane Grammar school and Cambridge university, where he became president of the union. He was admitted to the English bar, returned to Australia in 1889, and a year later became private secretary to Sir Samuel Griffith (q.v.). In 1893 he was elected to the legislative assembly for Dalby and held this seat for the rest of his life. He was elected chairman of committees in 1902 and in September 1903 joined the A. Morgan (q.v.) ministry as minister for lands. W. Kidston (q.v.) succeeded Morgan in January 1906 but Bell held his old position in the new cabinet until November 1907, and was also minister for railways from February to July of that year. He was minister for lands in the second Kidston ministry from February to October 1908, and then home secretary until 29 June 1909, when he was elected speaker. He died on 10 March 1911 after a long illness. He married in 1903 a daughter of the Hon. John Ferguson, who survived him with a son and a daughter. He was an admirable speaker and administrator whose early death was much regretted.
The Brisbane Courier, 11 March 1911; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years.^Top of page
BENNETT, GEORGE (1804-1893),naturalist,
was born at Plymouth, England, on 31 January 1804. On leaving school he visited Ceylon in 1819, and on his return studied for the medical profession. He obtained the degree of M.R.C.S. in 1828, and later F.R.C.S. After qualifying as a medical man he obtained employment as a ship's surgeon, and visited Sydney in 1829. In 1832 his friend (Sir) Richard Owen was engaged in examining the structure and relations of the mammary glands of the Ornithorhyncus, and Bennett became so interested that on leaving England shortly afterwards for Australia he determined while in that country to find a solution of the question. (Transactions of the Zoological Society, vol. I, 1835, p. 222). In May 1832 he left Plymouth on a voyage which terminated almost exactly two years later. An account of this appeared in 1834 in two volumes under the title Wanderings in New South Wales, Batavia, Pedir Coast, Singapore. and China. In 1835 Bennett published in the Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, vol. I, pp. 229-58, "Notes on the Natural History and Habits of the Ornithorhyncus paradoxus, Blum", one of the earliest papers of importance written on the platypus. Bennett again went to Australia in 1836 and established a successful practice as a physician at Sydney. He, however, kept up his general interest in science, and acted as honorary secretary of the Australian Museum which had just been established. He compiled A Catalogue of the Specimens of Natural History and Miscellaneous Curiosities deposited in the Australian Museum which was published in 1837. In 1860 he brought out his Gatherings of a Naturalist in Australasia. He kept up a correspondence with his early friend Sir Richard Owen, to whom he had sent the first specimens of the Nautilus to arrive in England, and with Darwin and other scientists of the time. He was much interested in the Sydney botanic gardens and the Acclimatization Society, and was a vice-president of the Zoological Society, and a member of the board of the Australian Museum. He died at Sydney in his ninetieth year on 29 September 1893. He was married three times and left a widow and three sons. In addition to the works mentioned Bennett contributed papers to the Lancet, the Medical Gazette, the Journal of Botany, Loudon's Magazine of Natural History, and other journals. The variety of his interests may be suggested by the fact that he published in 1871 papers on "A Trip to Queensland in Search of Fossils" and on "The Introduction, Cultivation and Economic Uses of the Orange and Others of the Citron Tribe". When 84 years of age he contributed the chapter on "Mammals" to the Handbook of Sydney, prepared for the Sydney meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science held in 1888. In 1890 the Royal Society of New South Wales awarded Bennett the Clarke memorial medal for his valuable contributions to the natural history of Australia.
Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, vol. VIII, 1893, p. 542; The Journal of Botany, vol. XXXII, 1894, p. 191; The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 September 1893; J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates, p. 233.^Top of page
BENT, ANDREW (1791-1851),early printer,
was born in 1791 or towards the end of 1790. He began working at Hobart as a printer in 1812 and started the Hobart Town Gazette in June 1816. In 1820, when he was examined by Bigge (q.v.), he stated that he had a salary of £30 a year, and had rations for his wife, himself and a "Government man", who was allowed him as an assistant. He must have become fairly prosperous as in 1823 he was one of the original proprietors of the Bank of Van Diemen's Land, and he mentioned on one occasion that he had spent £1000 in improvements in the country. His press was in Elizabeth-street, Hobart, close to Bathurst-street. Probably the earliest of his publications that has survived is Copy of an Address to His Honour Lieutenant Governor Davey, which is dated 1815. In 1818 he brought out Michael Howe, the last and worst of the Bush Rangers of Van Diemen's Land, which has been described as the first work of general literature printed in Australasia (J. A. Ferguson, Bibliography of Australia, No. 716). In spite of difficulties in collecting subscriptions Bent had been able to enlarge and carry on his paper for many years, but the coming of Governor Arthur (q.v.) in May 1824 caused him many difficulties. From the beginning Arthur had determined that the press must be controlled with a firm hand. He first claimed the government ownership of the Hobart Town Gazette, but Bent sent evidence against this to Governor Brisbane (q.v.) at Sydney, who decided in his favour. The editor of the paper, E. H. Thomas, was, however, extremely tactless in his comments on what had occurred, and Arthur could be a formidable antagonist. In March 1825 he encouraged the bringing of suits for libel against Bent, arising out of comments on the actions of government officers. In March 1826 Bent was sentenced to three months' imprisonment and a fine Of £200, and in May he was sentenced to an additional three months and a further fine of £100, in connexion with another case. From prison Bent wrote with spirit to say that he had neither written nor suggested the objectionable articles, and that his paper had never been the "tool of a faction", as chief justice Pedder (q.v.) had stated. A public subscription to pay the amount of the fines seems to have been successful. In June 1825 Arthur had appointed James Ross and G. T. Howe government printers, and had given them instructions to bring out a newspaper. It appeared in June 1825 with the title of Bent's paper, and with even the serial number of issue, and for some weeks two papers appeared, each claiming to be a continuation of the original Gazette. From 19 August Bent brought out his paper with a new name, the Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser, but it was eventually made impossible for him to carry it on. In 1827 when an act of the council was passed requiring all papers to be licensed, Bent was refused a licence, and he was obliged to sell his paper. He carried on his printing business, among his publications being the Van Diemen's Land Pocket Almanack, published in 1824 and continued from 1825 onwards as the Tasmanian Almanack. He printed and brought out other publications; his Bent's News and Tasmanian Three-penny Register ran from January 1836 to December 1838. In February 1839 he went to Sydney and from 13 April 1839 continued this paper under the title Bent's News and New South Wales Advertiser. Little is known of his last years except that towards the end of his life he was living at Sydney in difficult circumstances. The exact date of his death is not recorded, but he was buried on 27 August, 1851. He married in 1816 and had a large family.
Bent came originally to Tasmania as a convict. He must have committed his offence as a very young man, and it was probably trivial. He deservedly had a good character in Hobart. His fight for the liberty of the press was supported by C. Meredith (q.v.) and other well-known citizens, and he was undoubtedly unjustly treated by Arthur. The editor of the Historical Records of Australia states bluntly that Arthur's instigation of the appropriation of the title of Bent's paper was "an act of literary piracy and breach of copyright" (ser. III, vol. IV, p. 15). For this Bent never received any compensation.
Historical Records of Australia, ser. III, vols. III to VI; R. W. Giblin, The Early History of Tasmania, vol. II; J. A. Ferguson, Bibliography of Australia; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania; J. West, The History of Tasmania; Copy of Marriage Register, Hobart, at Mitchell Library; Registrar General, Sydney, for date of death.^Top of page
BENT, ELLIS (c.1783-1815),judge-advocate of New South Wales,
was probably born in 1783. His date of birth is sometimes given as 1779, but he was the second son of Robert Bent, and his elder brother, Jeffery Hart Bent (q.v.), who was born in 1780, stated in February 1816, that when Ellis Bent died he was "little more than thirty-two years old" (H.R. of A., ser. IV, vol. I, p. 181). Educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, he graduated B.A. in 1804, and M.A. in 1807, was called to the bar in November 1805, and in May 1809 was appointed judge-advocate of New South Wales. He arrived at Sydney on 1 January 1810 on the same Vessel as Governor Macquarie (q.v.) and found that his incompetent predecessor, R. Atkins, had left his office in much confusion. Bent set himself to clear this up, and in the following year addressed a letter to the Earl of Liverpool describing the administration of justice in the colony, and making many suggestions for its betterment. The most important of these were that a supreme court should be established with a judge and two magistrates sitting with him, and that there should be trial by jury. Macquarie, who had found Bent most helpful to him, recommended that if the plan were adopted, Bent should be made the first judge. At a later date he suggested that Jeffery Hart Bent (q.v.), a brother of the judge-advocate, should be appointed an assistant-judge. Ellis Bent was, however, passed over, and the position of judge was given to his brother. Ellis Bent had been treated with great consideration by Macquarie in connexion with the erection of a house for his use, but became at odds with the governor on account of the delay in building a suitable court house. Macquarie also considered that Bent did not treat him with proper respect, and he could not persuade him to frame port regulations in accordance with his wishes. Like his brother, Bent disagreed with Macquarie on the question of the treatment of emancipists, and in February 1815 the governor, after setting out the position in a dispatch to Earl Bathurst, asked that Bent should be instructed to treat him with "more respect and deference, and that Your Lordship will define in express terms how far Mr Bent is subject to my orders and control and how far he is bound to assist me with his legal advice when called upon for that purpose". As a result Bent was recalled, but before the news of this could reach Sydney he died there on 10 November 1815. He left a widow and four children, and a fifth was born subsequently. A pension of £200 a year was granted to Mrs Bent in 1817 and she returned to England.
Ellis Bent was an amiable, hardworking and competent official. He was no doubt encouraged by his brother in his opposition to the governor, and the fact that he was in bad health from the time of his arrival, and often overworked, did not help matters. Macquarie appears to have acted with both moderation and consideration.
Admissions to Peterhouse, p. 373; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. VII, VIII, IX; ser. IV, vol. I; The Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 87, p. 636; Marion Phillips, A Colonial Autocracy.^Top of page
BENT, JEFFERY HART (1780-1852),first judge in Australia,
the son of Robert Bent and elder brother of Ellis Bent (q.v.), born in 1780, was educated at Mr Barnes's school, Manchester, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1804, and M.A. in 1807. In volume III of Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge, his first name is given as Geoffrey. He was called to the bar in 1806, was appointed judge of the supreme court of New South Wales in 1814, and arrived at Sydney on 28 July of that year. He had been only a few weeks in the colony before he was appealing to Earl Bathurst against a decision of Governor Macquarie (q.v.) to fit up one of the wings of the hospital as a temporary court house. There was much delay in holding the first sitting of the court, which was eventually fixed for 1 May 1815, and even then there were repeated adjournments because Bent had laid down the principle that anyone who had been transported could not be allowed to practise as an attorney. Macquarie was anxious that all convicts who had expiated their crime should be given every opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and lead normal lives as members of the community. Some of the men objected to by Bent had hitherto been permitted to plead before his brother, Ellis Bent, the judge-advocate, and Macquarie was satisfied that no evil consequences had resulted. He pointed out, too, that under the new regulations there would be only one attorney in the colony who would be able to plead, and that therefore one party only in each suit could have legal assistance in bringing his case forward. The tone of Bent's communications to the governor showed a great want of respect, and on 1 July 1815 Macquarie wrote to Earl Bathurst about the Bent brothers, stating that it had now become "absolutely necessary for the good of the colony . . . that they or I should be removed from it". Both of the brothers were recalled and Jeffery Bent left for England in 1817. He was subsequently chief justice of Grenada from 1820 to 1833, of St Lucia, 1833 to 1836, and from 1836 to 1852 of British Guiana. He died at Georgetown, Demerara, on 29 June 1852.
Bent was difficult and autocratic. His feelings on the employment of ex-convicts in courts are to some extent understandable, but he made no allowance for the differing views of Macquarie and the difficulties with which the governor had to contend.
Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge, vol. III; F. Boase, Modern English Biography; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. VII to IX, ser. IV, vol. I; Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 122, p. 322; Marion Phillips, A Colonial Autocracy.^Top of page
BENT, SIR THOMAS (1838-1909),politician,
was born at Penrith, New South Wales, on 7 December 1838. His father, a contractor, came to Melbourne in 1849, where he afterwards became a market-gardener. Bent's first position was in a shop, but soon afterwards he became an assistant in his father's garden. He had received little education and, in his own words, had no childhood. Before he was 21 he was working a garden of his own near McKinnon on the outskirts of Melbourne. In 1861 he was appointed rate-collector for Brighton, and a year later was elected a councillor of the shire of Moorabbin, of which he became president a few years later. In 1871 he opposed George Higinbotham (q.v.) for the Brighton seat in the legislative assembly and, to the amazement of everyone, was returned. But Bent was personally popular and had thoroughly canvassed the electorate. In 1874 he was elected a councillor for Brighton and resigned his position of rate-collector. He was afterwards mayor of Brighton no fewer than nine times. It has been stated that he never missed a council or committee meeting. In 1880 he became minister of public works in the Service (q.v.) ministry, and in July 1881 he was minister of railways and vice-president of the board of land and works in the O'Loghlen (q.v.) ministry which came in with the slogan "Peace, Progress and Prosperity", and, though looked upon by many as a stop-gap ministry, lasted until March 1883. Bent proposed an extensive programme involving the construction of 800 miles of railway. Possibly all the lines could not have been defended, but, though Bent has been accused of courting popularity by promising every district a railway, the outlay in most cases was warranted. The time had come to open up the country. In October 1887 Bent was a candidate for the speakership, but was defeated by Sir Matthew Davies. In October 1890 he was appointed chairman of the first railway standing committee and did good work, scrutinizing closely the question of cost in relation to public utility. In 1892 he was elected speaker, defeating two good candidates in Sir Henry Wrixon (q.v.) and John Gavan Duffy. Bent was scarcely suitable for speaker by temperament, and the extent of his knowledge of parliamentary law was at least doubtful. He was, however, a better tactician than either of his adversaries, and his personal popularity was always a valuable asset.
Bent was one of the early land-boomers and at one time thought himself to be a rich man. During the financial crisis of 1893 he became bankrupt of everything except courage and cheerfulness. At the election held in 1894 he lost his seat in parliament and retired to the country, where he made a living by dairy-farming. This placed him on his feet again, and in after years he often said that he never saw a cow without wanting to take off his hat to her. In 1897 he was a candidate for the Port Fairy seat in the legislative assembly, but polled so few votes that he lost his deposit. It was considered that his political life was over, and when he became a candidate for his old seat at Brighton in 1900, nobody thought that he had the slightest chance. However, he won the seat by a substantial majority. In June 1902 he became a member of the Irvine ministry as minister of public works and health and vice-president of the board of lands and works. From February to July 1903, he was minister of railways. It was during this period that the great engine-drivers' strike occurred, which was only broken by the firmness of Bent and the premier, Irvine. In February 1904 he succeeded Irvine as premier and remained in office for nearly five years. In addition to being premier, Bent had the portfolios of public works and railways. Much legislation was passed relating to improvements in public health, education, old age pensions, and water conservation. In March 1907 he took a trip to England for reasons of health, and returned in August. In June 1908 he was made a K.C.M.G., but on 4 December his government was defeated and went out of office. He was bitterly attacked in connexion with some land transactions on the route of a suburban railway, but an inquiry into his government's land dealings freed Bent from the suspicion that these had been carried out for his personal profit. He died after a short illness on 17 September 1909. He was married twice: (1) to Miss Hall and (2) to Miss Huntley, and was survived by a daughter of the second marriage.
Bent was a remarkable man, who made his way by a combination of astuteness and personal popularity. The slim youth with a joke for everyone, who was elected a shire councillor at 24 years of age, became a corpulent man in later life, with a determined heavy walk and a rolling body. He knew the weak side of human nature and could play on it, and he had a good command of English, which he used freely. He could play the buffoon on the public platform with snatches of song, reminiscences, and execrable jokes, apparently impromptu, but often carefully prepared. His appeal was to the average man and he knew what he was doing. In parliament he was an excellent whip and, in the cabinet, a man of force who believed in his country. He had been given little education, but accumulated a fund of knowledge. Some of the most important steps in the extension of secondary education were made while he was premier, and he came to the rescue of Melbourne university when better educated men seemed indifferent to its troubles. A man of action rather than a thinker, he succeeded in getting important things done when finer spirits might have failed.
The Age, 18 September 1909; The Argus, 18 September 1909; The Year Book of Australia, 1898 and 1902; Sir Ernest Scott, A History of the University of Melbourne; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.^Top of page
BERNAYS, LEWIS ADOLPHUS (1831-1908),public servant,
son of Dr A. Bernays, professor of German language and literature at King's College, London, was born on 3 May 1831. He was educated at King's College, and at the age of nineteen, emigrated to New Zealand, where he engaged in sheep farming. About two years later he went to Sydney, and in 1852 obtained a position on the staff of the parliament of New South Wales. At the end of 1859 he was appointed clerk to the legislative assembly of Queensland, came to Brisbane in 1860, and was present at the opening of the first parliament. He organized the inner working of parliament, became an authority on procedure, and was the guide and friend of successive generations of members of parliament, until his death at Brisbane on 22 August 1908.
Bernays had other activities and was for a time secretary to the Brisbane board of waterworks and afterwards a member of the board. He was one of the founders of the Queensland Acclimatisation Society, and for a period its president. He was interested in economic botany, published in 1872 The Olive and its Products, and in 1883 Cultural Industries for Queensland; Papers on the Cultivation of Useful Plants Suited to the Climate of Queensland. He married Mary, daughter of William Borton, and was survived by four sons and four daughters. He was created C.M.G. in 1892.
Bernays was a highly competent public servant, who exercised no little influence in the Queensland parliament. He knew thoroughly its law and practice, and in times of difficulties party leaders naturally turned to him. He was a good friend, a man of culture; and he remained a student all his life. One of his sons, Charles Arrowsmith Bernays, born in 1862, was the author of Queensland Politics During Sixty Years, and of Queensland--Our Seventh Political Decade.
The Brisbane Courier, 24 August 1908; C. A. Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; Who's Who, 1908; Burke's Peerage etc., 1908.^Top of page
BERRY, ALEXANDER (1781-1873),pioneer,
was born in Fifeshire, Scotland, on 30 November 1781. He was educated at the Grammar School at Cupar, and afterwards studied medicine at St Andrews and at Edinburgh university. He was then appointed as surgeon's mate on an Indiaman bound to China, but having to attend the flogging of seamen led to his ceasing to follow his profession, and in 1807 he became part owner and super-cargo of a ship, the City of Edinburgh. He reached Sydney on 13 January 1808, subsequently voyaged to islands in the Pacific and New Zealand, and in December 1809, by the use of much tact and firmness, succeeded in rescuing a woman, two girl children and the ship's boy of the Boyd, all the rest of the ship's crew having been massacred by the Maoris. Berry made various trading voyages, but in 1812 the City of Edinburgh became waterlogged near the Azores and sank, though Berry succeeded in reaching the island of Graciosa in one of the boats. He found his way to Cadiz, where he met Edward Wollstonecraft, who became his agent and afterwards his partner. In 1819 they settled in Sydney and Berry at once established a high reputation. In February 1820, Governor Macquarie (q.v.) described him in a dispatch which Berry took to England as "an eminent merchant of this place". Both the partners obtained grants of land, and in 1822 another large grant near the Shoalhaven River was obtained, which was of a swampy nature and considered to be unfit for sheep. A large number of assigned men was obtained, and the land was drained by digging a canal between the Shoalhaven and Crookhaven rivers. The partnership continued until 1831, when Wollstonecraft died. Berry managed the convicts chiefly by moral influence, found that many of them had been transported for comparatively trivial offences, and that if well treated they were willing to work well. In after years Berry proved to be a most considerate landlord when there was much settlement on his estate. He was made a magistrate, in April 1828 was nominated a member of the legislative council, and he was also a member of the new legislative council formed in 1856, from which he resigned in 1861. He was a poor speaker and had little influence on the legislation of his time. He lived to be nearly 92 and died at Sydney in full possession of his faculties on 17 September 1873. He married Elizabeth Wollstonecraft, his partner's sister, who died in 1845. He had no children.
Berry contributed a paper "On the Geology of Part of the Coast of New South Wales" to the Geographical Memoirs, published by Barron Field (q.v.) in 1825, and he left in manuscript his Reminiscences which were not published until 1912. The account of his adventurous early days is interesting, but only a few pages were given to his life in Australia. He was well-read, had much knowledge, and had a good memory, but he seems to have been a man of modest nature who did not realize how interesting much of the life of the period would have been had he chosen to record it. His draining of the land at Shoalhaven was an admirable piece of work which led to the development of the district.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 1873; Reminiscences of Alexander Berry; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. VI, VII, X to XVII, XXIII; J. Jervis, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXVII, pp. 18-87; J. H. Watson, ibid, vol. III, pp. 234-5.^Top of page
BERRY, SIR GRAHAM (1822-1904),premier of Victoria,
was born at Twickenham, near London, on 28 August 1822. His father, Benjamin Berry, was a fairly prosperous tradesman, who had married a Miss Clara Graham. Their son had few educational advantages, and on leaving school at an early age was apprenticed to a draper. Subsequently he was in business for himself at Chelsea. In 1852 he emigrated to Melbourne and opened a business as a general storekeeper and wine and spirit merchant at Prahran, but receiving a legacy, returned to England on business in 1856. He came back to Australia in 1857 and in 1860 bought the Collingwood Observer. In the same year he was elected to the legislative assembly for East Melbourne, almost by chance. A dissolution of parliament had been granted, it was known that there would shortly be another election, and the other candidates withdraw to save the expense of a double election. In 1861 Berry changed his constituency to the neighbouring one of Collingwood and was elected at the head of the poll. As a private member he spoke frequently, and about 1865 became a member of a group in the opposition corner which advocated a policy of protection. He lost his seat at the 1866 election and then went to Geelong and bought an interest in the Geelong Register. He was elected for Geelong West in 1868 and became treasurer in the J. Macpherson (q.v.) ministry in January 1870. Macpherson resigned in the following April. In June 1871 Berry became treasurer and commissioner of trade and customs in the C. G. Duffy (q.v.) ministry and succeeded in increasing the small protective duties of the time. He, however, resigned in May 1872 on account of objection having been taken to the appointment of his father-in-law as a pier-master.
In August 1875 Berry formed his first ministry and attempted to bring in a land tax with exemptions for small estates. The ministry was defeated and the James McCulloch (q.v.) ministry was formed in October. Berry had been refused a dissolution and under a sense of grievance organized a policy of stonewalling, and also, as president of a reform league, addressed many meetings throughout the country. After the 1877 election Berry's followers constituted about three-quarters of the house. He immediately carried a land tax bill through the assembly, and after some delay it was also carried in the legislative council. But ill-feeling between the two houses grew. When Berry included payment of members in the appropriation bill instead of bringing in a separate bill, the council refused to pass the appropriation bill. Early in January 1878, a Government Gazette Extraordinary was issued, announcing that the governor in council had dismissed all the judges of county courts, courts of mines and insolvency; all police magistrates, coroners and wardens of goldfields; the engineer in chief of railways; a large number of heads of departments; and about a hundred other highly paid officials. Opponents of Berry maintained that this was simply a vindictive reprisal on the council, whose members had many friends among those dismissed. The government claimed that as the appropriation bill had not been passed, it lacked the money to pay salaries. The bitterest feelings were aroused and there was panic in financial circles. As the result of negotiations between the houses, an act authorizing payment of members was passed, and the appropriation bill was again submitted and agreed to. Reform of the council then became a popular cry and an attempt was made to pass a constitution amendment bill. It was thrown out by the council, and Berry and C. H. Pearson (q.v.) went as an embassy to England to put the assembly's case before the colonial office. Berry declared that the embassy was a complete success, and when he returned he was met by enthusiastic and cheering crowds throughout the length of Collins-street, Melbourne. In reality, he had failed, for practically he had been told that the colony needed no further powers to enable it to manage its own affairs. Early in 1880 Berry's vast majority had disappeared and James Service (q.v.) came into power for a few months. There was a second election in 1880, at which Berry again obtained a majority and was premier from August 1880 to July 1881. A legislative council reform act was passed, which increased the number of members and reduced the qualification for franchise to all freeholders of £10 annual value. Berry was defeated in July 1881, and was never again premier. In 1883 the opposing forces were so nearly equal that a coalition was effected with James Service as premier and Berry as chief secretary. This ministry lasted nearly three years and useful work was done. In 1883, with Service, he represented Victoria at the federal convention, and was again a representative at the federal council of Australia in January 1886. He was then appointed agent-general for the colony of Victoria in London, and was created a K.C.M.G. soon after his arrival in England. He returned to Melbourne at the end of 1891 and was elected as member for East Bourke Boroughs in 1892. He was treasurer in the Shiels ministry from April 1892 to January 1893, and was then elected speaker in succession to Thomas Bent (q.v.). He carried out his duties with success, but lost his seat at the election of 1897. Parliament then made a grant of £3100 to purchase an annuity of £500 a year for him, and he lived in retirement until his death on 25 January 1904. He was twice married and was survived by eight children of his first marriage and seven of his second.
Berry had few advantages in his youth but educated himself by hard reading and contact with his fellow-men. His fine oratory was marred to some extent in his early days by careless grammar and uncertainty in his aspirates. With the years his speaking gained in polish and dignity without losing its force. An excellent parliamentary tactician and a clever handler of men, he had a great effect on his time, not so much by the actual measures he passed as in his rousing of the power of democracy. He was hated and feared by the moneyed classes, and at one period seemed to them to be merely a dangerous demagogue. In spite of his vanity and egotism he was really interested in the advancement of the people as a whole, and did valuable work against opponents growing too set in their conservatism, and too afraid of innovations. He did his share in the campaign for the unlocking of the lands, and for good or ill was largely instrumental in making protection the settled policy of Victoria.
The Age, Melbourne, 26 January 1904; The Argus, Melbourne, 26 January 1904; H. G. Turner, A History of the Colony of Victoria; W. Murdoch, Alfred Deakin: A Sketch.^Top of page
BEVAN, LLEWELYN DAVID (1842-1918),congregational divine,
was born at Llanelly, Wales, on 11 September 1842. He was the son of Hopkin Bevan, an actuary, his mother was the daughter of a congregational minister, and ancestors on both sides of the family had been well-known preachers. Bevan was educated at University College school, London, and London university, which he entered in 1858. He graduated B.A. and LL.B. with first-class honours, and entering the congregational ministry in 1865, became assistant minister to Dr Thomas Binney at the King's Weigh-House chapel, and in 1869 pastor of the Tottenham Court Road chapel. Under his ministry the congregation steadily increased and the building, one of the largest churches in London, was often crowded. In 1870 Bevan married Louisa Jane, daughter of Dr Willett, and somewhat later became lecturer in English language and literature at New College while still retaining his pastorate. He also stood for the London school board and won a seat in spite of much opposition. In 1874 he visited America and for two months ministered at the Central church, Brooklyn.
Bevan, though still a young man, had allowed himself to undertake so many responsibilities that he began to feel the strain of them, and his time was so taken up he had little opportunity for even keeping up his reading. He was offered the Collins-street Independent church at Melbourne, and the Old Parkstreet church at Boston, but declined both. In 1876 he went to the Brick Presbyterian church, New York, one of the most important churches in the city. But though successful in his work, in 1882 he returned to London, having accepted a newly-established church at Highbury Quadrant. There he had one of the largest congregations in London, with a men's meeting numbering four hundred. He kept up his interest in social questions, and four times was offered a seat in the house of commons. One of these included his native town, and had he accepted, he would have been returned unopposed. He felt honoured by these requests, but it would have been impossible to be a member of parliament and also keep up his ministry, in which he was doing excellent work. In 1886 he was for the third time offered the pastorate at Melbourne and decided to accept it, largely because he felt the change would be good for his growing family whose health often suffered during the winter months.
At Melbourne Bevan found a large church with an attendance of well over one thousand, two mission churches and a large number of societies. To these he added a literary society and introduced the holding of a mid-day service every Thursday. At the centennial exhibition held in 1888 he was chairman of the jury of education, which entailed much work, and he also kept up his interest in social questions. When the London dock strike occurred in 1889 he preached the sermon when the Congregational Union and the Trades Hall council united in a religious service at the town hall, Melbourne, at which the collection on behalf of the dock labourers came to £80 0s. 1½d. He was much pleased when the council of the Trades Hall presented him with a box containing the odd three halfpence. But again he found there was no end to his employments, and in 1891 was glad to have the opportunity of revisiting England to attend the international Congregational council, of which he had been elected one of the four vice-presidents. Returning to Australia Bevan shortly afterwards found Melbourne plunged in the financial troubles that followed the breaking of the land boom. With his usual energy he joined in the movement to help the unemployed, and he also endeavoured to popularize his church by inviting discussion after the services. During the federation campaign he spoke in favour of it at many centres. At the time of the first federal election in 1901 he was asked to contest Corangamite but declined to do so. As the years went by his church began like other city churches to suffer from the exodus to outer suburbs, and he felt that possibly a younger man was needed to cope with the changed position. In 1909 he accepted the post of principal of Parkin Congregational College, Adelaide. He was now 67 years of age and believed he could do better work in a less strenuous field of action. The college was for young men preparing for the Congregational ministry, and Bevan's wisdom, knowledge and wide experience of life, fitted him admirably for his new work. He died at Adelaide on 19 July 1918. His wife survived him with three sons and four daughters. There is a stained glass window to his memory at the Collins-street Independent church, Melbourne. He was given the honorary degree of D.D. by the university of Princeton. His eldest son, Rev. H. L. W. Bevan, was a missionary in China, his second son, David J. D. Bevan, was for some time judge in the Northern Territory, Australia, and his third, Louis R. O. Bevan, was a professor at the university of Pekin.
Bevan was a striking figure with a ruddy countenance and leonine mane of hair, which in later years was snow white. He had amazing energy, charity and optimism, a catholic outlook on life, and great powers as an orator and preacher.
Louisa J. Bevan, The Life and Reminiscences of Llewelyn David Bevan; The Argus, Melbourne, 22 July 1918; The Register, Adelaide, 20 July, 1918; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 20 July, 1918.^Top of page
BIDWILL, JOHN CARNE (1815-1853),botanist,
eldest son of James G. Bidwill, a merchant of Exeter, England, was born at Exeter in 1815. He was educated for a commercial life but developed an interest in science, and in particular, botany. He arrived at Sydney in September 1838, intending to take up land, though he had also some connexion with a firm of Sydney merchants. Finding there would be delay in obtaining land, he went in a schooner to New Zealand, arrived at the Bay of Islands on 5 February 1839, and during the next two months made a long journey into the interior of the north island collecting botanical and other scientific specimens. An account of this journey, Rambles in New Zealand, was published in London in 1841. He tells us that "these rambles were abruptly put an end to by the increasing business of the mercantile firm at Sydney with which I am connected" (Rambles, p. 88), but he returned to New Zealand in 1840 and spent some time at Port Nicholson and its neighbourhood. About the year 1842 he met Joseph Dalton Hooker who, in his Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania, mentions that Bidwill accompanied him "in my excursions round Port Jackson and impressed me deeply with the extent of his knowledge and fertile talents". On 1 September 1847 he became temporary government botanist and director of the botanic gardens, Sydney, until the newly-appointed director, Charles Moore, arrived in Australia and took up his duties in January 1848. Bidwill was then appointed commissioner of crown lands and chairman of the bench of magistrates for the district of Wide Bay in what is now Queensland. In 1851, while marking out a new road to the Moreton Bay district, he became separated from his companions and was lost without food for eight days. He eventually succeeded in cutting a way through the scrub with a pocket hook, but never properly recovered from his privations, and died on 16 March 1853 at Tinana, Wide Bay, at the early age of 38. He discovered the Bunya Bunya tree (Araucaria Bidwilli), of which he took a young living plant to England in 1843, the Dammara or Queensland kauri pine (Dammara robusta), and the Nymphae gigantea.
J. H. Maiden, The Sydney Botanic Gardens Biographical Notes, No. VIII; The Gentleman's Magazine, 1853, II, p. 209.^Top of page
BIGGE, JOHN THOMAS (1780-1843),judge and king's commissioner,
was the second son of Thomas Charles Bigge. He was born in Northumberland, England, in 1780 and educated at Newcastle Grammar School, Westminster School, London, and Christ Church Oxford. He graduated B.A. in 1801: M.A. in 1804, and was called to the bar in 1806. After practising as a barrister for some years he was made chief justice of Trinidad in the West Indies, and after his return to England in 1818 was appointed a commissioner to inquire into the state of New South Wales. He left England on 30 April 1819 and arrived at Sydney on 26 September.
The powers given to Bigge were very wide, and it was inevitable that he should come into conflict with Governor Macquarie (q.v.). Macquarie had received instructions that he must adopt any alterations or improvements Bigge might suggest, the only alternative being that should he take upon himself the "heavy responsibility of declining to accept his suggestions, you will communicate to me without delay the reasons for your refusal for the special consideration and decision of His Royal Highness". An early clash took place when Macquarie insisted on appointing Dr Redfern as a magistrate in spite of Bigge's strongly expressed disapproval. In due course a dispatch from Lord Bathurst, while giving full credit to Macquarie's motives, directed that Redfern should be removed from the magistracy. A second source of trouble arose when Macquarie sent a questionnaire to the magistrates and chaplains in New South Wales desiring them to express their opinions on the improvements that had taken place during the governor's administration. Bigge naturally felt that this was an interference with his duties as a commissioner. In February 1820 Bigge went to Hobart and soon established harmonious relations with Lieutenant-governor Sorell (q.v.). He spent six weeks in the south of the island and then, accompanied by Sorell, went north to Port Dalrymple, going most thoroughly into the problems he had to deal with. He returned from Tasmania, arrived at Sydney on 4 June, and resumed his inquiries in New South Wales. He left Sydney for England on 14 February 1821 and the first part of his "Report of the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of the Colony of New South Wales", dated 6 May 1822, was ordered by the house of commons to be printed on 19 June. The second report "On the judicial Establishments of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land", and the third "On the State of Agriculture and Trade in the Colony of New South Wales" were both ordered to be printed on 4 July 1823. Macquarie's term as governor came to an end in November 1821 and the carrying out of the recommendations was left to his successor Sir Thomas Brisbane (q.v.).
In July 1822 Bigge was appointed a joint commissioner with Major W. M. G. Colebrooke to inquire into the state of the colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius and Ceylon. The reports of these gentlemen were of an exhaustive and conscientious nature and were not completed until 1831. Bigge was afterwards in ill-health from the effects of a fall from his horse, and he died in the year 1843.
Bigge's reports were extremely valuable. He came into conflict with Macquarie largely because the views of the English authorities and those of Macquarie were completely opposed. In England the theory that crime could be cured by severity of punishment still held sway, but Macquarie had come into close contact with convicts and found that kindness and the giving of better opportunities were often more effective. Macquarie too had vision and could foresee that Australia might emerge into something much more important than a mere convict settlement. But he had the defects of his qualities, and it is interesting to find in Bigge's first report that he found much less to criticize in Sorell's work than in Macquarie's. However blighting the effects of Bigge's report may have appeared it must be remembered that he was bound by the terms of his commission, and he should be given full credit for the admirable work he did within its limitations.
Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. X, XI; R. W. Giblin, The Early History of Tasmania, vol. II; G. M. Theal, History of South Africa, vol. I, 4th ed., p. 397; Marion Phillips, A Colonial Autocracy; J. Dennis, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXIII, pp. 411-72; M. H. Ellis, ibid, vol. XXVII, pp. 93-126. The last two writers both speak strongly in defence of Macquarie.^Top of page
BLACKET, EDMUND THOMAS (1817-1883),architect,
son of a London merchant, was born at Smithfield, London, on 25 August 1817. He was educated at the Milhil school, a Congregational college, near Barnet. On leaving school he went into his father's office and three years later, at the age of 20, took a position in a linen mill in Yorkshire. He was much interested in architecture and spent his holidays sketching and measuring old buildings, but his father opposed his taking up this profession, and in June 1842 Blacket left England intending to settle in New Zealand. He had letters of introduction to residents of Sydney, and obtaining a position as an inspector of buildings and teacher in the Church of England schools, decided to stay there. In 1845 he began to practise as an architect, and in 1850 was appointed colonial architect at Sydney. His salary was only £300 a year and the discovery of gold having caused much increase in the price of living, Blacket in 1854 resigned from the public service and began private practice. He had been promised the main building for the university, which was begun at the end of that year and finished about 1860. The main front measures 410 feet in length, and has a tower in the centre 90 feet high. The great hall, a beautifully proportioned piece of work at the right hand end, is 135 feet by 45 feet, with an open-timbered roof 70 feet from the floor. Blacket was also responsible for the St Paul's College building.
Blacket became established as a leading architect in Sydney and was especially known for his churches. Among these may be mentioned St Andrew's cathedral, Sydney, for which he was not entirely responsible; Goulburn cathedral; St Philip's, Sydney; St Thomas's, North Sydney; St Mark's, Darling Point; St John's, Glebe; St Stephen's, Newtown and St Paul's, Burwood. It is possibly regrettable that he was not asked to work out a plan for later university buildings, but it is likely that the immense development of the university would have caused such a plan to have had little value. Blacket died suddenly at Sydney on 9 February 1883. His wife died many years before and there was a large family. One of his sons, Cyril Blacket, born in 1857, was in partnership with his father, afterwards designed the chapter-house for St Andrew's cathedral, and was elected president of the Institute of Architects, New South Wales, in 1903.
Blacket was a remarkable example of a self-taught architect. He began his work at a bad period, and there was little beyond his natural good taste and his drawings of old Gothic buildings to guide him. The facade of the university building remains one of the finest pieces of Gothic in Australia, and though objection has been taken to a want of proportion between his towers and spires and the churches to which they are attached, his works have still a high place among the buildings of the period. Personally he was a man of the strictest probity with a great love for his profession.
Art and Architecture, 1905, p. 1; The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 February 1883; H. E. Barff, A Short Historical Account of the University of Sydney.^Top of page
BLACKHAM, JOHN McCARTHY (1853-1932),cricketer,
son of F. Blackham, a newsagent, was born at Fitzroy, Melbourne, on 11 May 1853 (Wisden, 1933). Like his contemporary, Spofforth (q.v.), he became a bank clerk, and held a position in the Colonial Bank of Australasia for many years. He was included in the first eleven of the Carlton Club when only sixteen, in 1874 became wicket-keeper in the Victorian team and held that position for over 20 years. He was a member of the first eight Australian teams to visit England. In what might be called the first test match, which was played in Australia in March 1877, Blackham was chosen as wicket-keeper. Spofforth, who was used to Murdoch (q.v.) taking his bowling, refused to play, as he thought Blackham not good enough. However, Blackham caught three and stumped one, and in the next match, a fortnight later, though Murdoch was chosen in the team Blackham retained his position as wicket-keeper. Moreover, he stumped Shaw off Spofforth who was then a really fast bowler. He played in 35 out of the first 39 test matches and was generally considered the finest keeper of his time. In these matches he caught 36 and stumped 24. He was also an excellent bat and had an average of 15.68 for 62 innings in test matches. Scoring was of course generally much lower in those days. Playing for Victoria in intercolonial matches he had an average of over 22. His value as a bat, however, cannot be judged by averages, as he was often at his best when the game was at a critical stage. He was not a success as a captain as he worried too much when off the field. After his retirement in 1895 a match for his benefit was arranged and an annuity was bought with the proceeds. He died at Melbourne on 28 December 1932.
Blackham was of a rather retiring disposition but in his later years, as a regular attendant at all matches, he liked to have his old friends about him and was full of anecdotes, reminiscences, and comparisons between players of various periods. As a cricketer he was the essence of fairness, and his enthusiasm for the game never slackened. It is usually claimed that he was the first wicket-keeper to dispense with a longstop to a fast bowler, but that is not strictly correct as it had sometimes been done in England. Blackham, however, was so expert that he demonstrated that it would pay to do so. He stood remarkably close to the wickets and when stumping gathered the ball and took off the bails in practically one action. He also took the ball beautifully from the field and never lost his alertness. In the opinion of many good judges he was the greatest wicket-keeper of all time. Other men both in England and Australia have done remarkably fine work, but in Blackham's day less attention was paid to preparing the wicket and there was no certainty as to how the ball would behave.
The Age, Melbourne, 29 December, 1932; The Argus, Melbourne, 29 December 1932; Wisden, 1933; E. E, Bean, Test Cricket in England and Australia; personal knowledge.^Top of page
BLAIR, DAVID (1820-1899),journalist,
came of a north of Ireland family and was born in 1820. He studied for the ministry and came to Australia in 1850 at the suggestion of Dr Lang (q.v.), the intention being that he should go into the back country as a missionary. Blair, however, took up journalism in Sydney, where he was associated with Parkes (q.v.) on the Empire newspaper. Blair went to Victoria in 1852 and had a long and varied career as a journalist. He was elected a member of the legislative assembly of Victoria in 1856 and again in 1868, but did not make any special mark in politics. In 1876 he edited the Speeches of Henry Parkes, and in 1879 he published The History of Australasia--to the Establishment of Self-Government, based largely on the works of his predecessors. In 1881 appeared his Cyclopaedia of Australasia, a useful compilation. Blair, who was a man of scholarly taste with a fine memory, died at Melbourne on 19 February 1899. He married and was survived by children. In addition to the works mentioned he was the author of several pamphlets.
The Age, Melbourne, 20 February 1899; Blair, Cyclopaedia of Australasia; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.^Top of page
BLAND, WILLIAM (1789-1868),public man and politician,
son of Robert Bland, a well-known physician, was born in London on 5 November 1789. He was well educated, studied medicine, and in 1809 was appointed a surgeon in the royal navy. In 1813 he had a quarrel with Robert Case, the purser on H.M.S. Hesper, as a result of which Case challenged Bland. Case was shot by Bland, who was tried with his second, Lieutenant Randall, for murder and found guilty with a recommendation to mercy. Bland was sentenced to transportation for seven years and Randall for eight years. The story of a second duel mentioned in most of the authorities appears to be without foundation. Bland arrived in Sydney in 1814, was shortly afterwards emancipated, and began to practise as a physician. He married in 1817, but a few months later brought an action for divorce and recovered £2000 from the co-respondent. In September 1818 he was charged and convicted of libelling Governor Macquarie (q.v.), and sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment and a fine of £50. The libels were contained in a manuscript book which Bland had dropped in the Parramatta-road.
After his release Bland took up his practice again and became a successful physician. He took much interest in the benevolent asylum, and in March 1828 Governor Darling (q.v.) spoke in the highest terms of the work he was doing there as medical attendant. He was also interested in the agitation for political freedom, trial by jury, and other problems of the period. He published in 1838 New South Wales. Examination of Mr James Macarthur's (q.v. [under entry for John Macarthur]) Work, "New South Wales, its Present State and Future Prospects" in which he vigorously combated Macarthur's views, and in 1840 he printed his Letter from the Australian Patriotic Association to C. Buller Esq., M.P., the first of a series reprinted in a volume in 1849, Letters to Charles Buller. He also published in 1842 Objections to the Project of His Excellency Sir George Gipps for raising a Loan. In July 1843 Bland was returned with Wentworth (q.v.) to represent the city of Sydney at the first election for the legislative council, and the two were henceforth closely associated in the struggle for responsible government. Bland and his associates, however, were anxious to continue the transportation system, while Buller held that representative government and transportation were incompatible. Wentworth valued Bland highly and at the 1848 election said "Whatever your verdict may be with regard to myself--I charge you never to forget your tried, devoted, indefatigable friend William Bland". Despite this Bland was defeated although Wentworth headed the poll. Bland was subsequently appointed a member of the legislative council under the new constitution, but resigned his seat some time before his death at Sydney on 21 July 1868.
Bland was energetic, kindly and unselfish, but his temperament was inclined to be fiery. In spite of his experience as a young man he was so incensed in 1849 when Lowe (q.v.) objected to ex-convicts being made members of the proposed senate of the university, that he actually challenged him. He was a very able physician and surgeon, much given to philanthropy, and much interested in education. He was one of the founders of Sydney College and its honorary treasurer for a long period. He had an inventive mind, and among other things devised "an atmotic ship" which appears to have been a precursor of the Zeppelin. He was one of the leading men of his time, and his work during the constitutional struggle was of great value.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 1868; The Empire, Sydney, 22 July 1868; N. J. Dunlop, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XI, pp. 321-51; Account of the Duel Between William Bland and Robert Case; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. XI, XIV, XXVI; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; A. Patchett Martin, Life and Letters of Viscount Sherbrooke, vol. I.^Top of page
BLASHKI, M.,See EVERGOOD, MILES.
BLAXLAND, GREGORY (1771-1852),pioneer and explorer,
[ also refer to Gregory BLAXLAND page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
was born in Kent, England, in 1771 (Burke's Colonial Gentry 1891). In 1805, with his brother John Blaxland (q.v.), he arranged with the government to go to Australia as a free settler. He came of farming stock, had some capital, and as the English authorities thought it advisable to encourage settlers of a good class, he was given a free passage for himself and family, a grant of land, and other privileges. He arrived at Sydney in April 1806 and in 1808 was associated with the Macarthur (q.v.) faction in the deposing of Governor Bligh (q.v.). He made his peace with Governor Macquarie but fell out of favour later on. In 1813 Blaxland, who was living at South Creek within a few miles of the mountains and had done a little exploration, arranged an expedition with William Lawson (q.v.) and W. C. Wentworth (q.v.) to cross the mountains. Starting on 11 May the three explorers, with four convicts, decided to keep to the ridges instead of endeavouring to find a way through the gullies, and on 29 May found themselves on the other side with good grass land before them. On 1 June they turned back and arrived at their homes on 6 June. An important and remarkable piece of work had been done, but at first its importance was not realized. In February 1814, after G. W. Evans (q.v.) had made his expedition, a grant of 1000 acres of the newly discovered country was made to each of the three explorers.
Blaxland did no further exploring. About 1819 he bought land near his brother at Newington on the Parramatta. He did experimental work with fodder plants and imported vine-stocks from the Cape of Good Hope. He visited England and in February 1823 was in London, as is shown by the preface to his A Journal of a Tour of Discovery across the Blue Mountains published in that year. In the same year he was awarded the silver medal of the Royal Society of Arts for some wine he had exported to London, and five years later he received its gold medal. In January 1827 Blaxland was elected by a public meeting with two others to present a petition to Governor Darling (q.v.) asking that "Trial by jury" and "Taxation by Representation" should be extended to the colony.
Blaxland was engaged during the next few years in wine-making. and other activities, but took no prominent part in the life of the colony. For the last six months of his life he was suffering a great deal with pains in his head which affected his mind, and he died by his own hand on 31 December 1852. He married in 1798 Eliza, daughter of John Spurden, and was survived by sons and daughters.
J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; A. Jose, Builders and Pioneers of Australia; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. V, VII, VIII and other volumes; The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 January 1853; J. K. S. Houison, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXII, pp. 1-41; W. L. Havard, ibid, vol. XXIII, pp. 28-42.^Top of page
BLAXLAND, JOHN (1769-1845),pioneer,
was born in Kent, on 4 January 1769. Educated at King's School, Canterbury, he entered the army and became a captain. He resigned his commission in 1792, settled down on an estate at Newington, and in 1805 decided to emigrate to Australia with his brother Gregory Blaxland (q.v.). He made a good bargain with the English government which agreed that if he brought £6000 to the colony he would be granted 8000 acres of land, the labour of 80 convicts who would be fed for 18 months by the government, and a free passage for himself, his wife, children and servants. He decided, however, to charter a ship and arrived at Port Jackson on 4 April 1807, with instructions to Governor Bligh (q.v.) to give him various concessions in place of the free passage. Bligh was no more helpful than he thought necessary, but Blaxland obtained cattle from the government herd, started a dairy in Sydney, and also sold meat and vegetables. He did a very useful piece of work in reducing the prices of these necessaries, but Bligh was insistent that he should go in for agriculture as well as grazing. He antagonized Blaxland, who joined in the deposition of Bligh in January 1808, but Blaxland could not get the concessions he wanted from Colonel Johnston (q.v.) and decided to go to England. Bligh, however, succeeded in getting him arrested at Cape Town and taken to London. After three years in London he obtained a letter to Macquarie directing that the original agreement should be carried out. But Macquarie was obsessed with the idea that the land grants were for the purpose of growing grain and put various obstacles in his way. However, in the eighteen-twenties, under Governor Brisbane (q.v.), Blaxland obtained good land in the Hunter valley and was successful as a stock owner. He was a member of the legislative council from 1829 to 1844 and died at Newington on 5 August 1845. Blaxland was married twice and was survived by sons and a daughter.
Blaxland was a keen man of business, anxious to drive a good bargain, and as a free settler was in a stronger position than the emancipists. But he antagonized both Bligh and Macquarie and met with much opposition. In spite of this Blaxland as a pioneer grazier became an important figure in the early development of Australia.
J. H. Heaton, Australian Dictionary of Dates; A. Jose, Builders and Pioneers of Australia; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. V to XXIV; J. K. S. Houison, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXII, pp. 1-41; Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891; Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 1845.^Top of page
BLIGH, WILLIAM (1754-1817),admiral, and governor of New South Wales,
[ also refer to William BLIGH page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
son of Francis and Jane Bligh, was born at Plymouth on 9 September 1754. In 1770 he joined H.M.S. Hunter as an able seaman, the term being used only because there was no vacancy for a midshipman. He became a midshipman early in the following year. In September 1771 he was transferred to the Crescent and remained on her three years. On 17 March 1776 he was appointed master of the Resolution, under the command of Captain James Cook (q.v.), which sailed from Plymouth in July 1776. It was a remarkable compliment that Bligh should have been selected for this position while still only 21 years of age, but it is evident from Cook's journals that he did his work most efficiently. He reached England again at the end of 1780 and contributed to the account of Cook's third voyage. On 4 February 1781 he was married to Elizabeth Betham, and a few days later was appointed master of the Belle Poule. In August he fought under Admiral Parker at the Dogger Bank and was a lieutenant on other vessels during the next 18 months. Between 1783 and 1787 he was a captain in the merchant service. In 1787 he was offered the command of the Bounty, on an expedition to procure bread-fruit trees for transmission to the West Indies. The expedition was planned on too small a scale, Bligh had no lieutenant as second-in-command, and no marines for protection in case of mutiny. He carefully looked after the health of his men and did not treat them with undue severity. In April he sailed from Tahiti and on the 28th of that month Fletcher Christian, who was acting lieutenant, with some companions, seized Bligh while asleep in his cabin and placed him in a boat 23 feet long with 18 other members of the crew. With only four cutlasses for arms, and food and water sufficient for a few days, the boat was cast off loaded to within a few inches of the gunwale. The voyage of about six weeks to Timor was in the circumstances one of the most remarkable ever known. It was possible only because Bligh was a fine seaman and a brave, resourceful and determined man, who by his own force of character was able to bring his crew to safety except for one man killed by natives. Some of the men died shortly afterwards, but Bligh had done all that was possible.
Bligh arrived in London in March 1790. In October he was honourably acquitted at the court-martial to inquire into the loss of the Bounty, and shortly afterwards published A Narrative of the Mutiny on board His Majesty's Ship Bounty. It was decided that Bligh should be sent out a second time to carry out his earlier instructions and also to explore Torres Strait. This time there were two vessels, the Providence and the Assistant, which had the equipment lacking on the first voyage. They sailed in August 1791 and returned almost exactly two years later. Bligh had successfully carried out his mission and brought his crews back in good health. He was heartily cheered on quitting his ship. Bligh was on half pay until April 1795 when he was placed in command of the Calcutta. He fought in several actions during the next 10 years and showed himself to be a capable officer. On 21 May 1801 Bligh was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and in March 1805 Sir Joseph Banks (q.v.), much in the confidence of the government, offered Bligh the position of governor of New South Wales at a salary of £2000 a year, which was double the amount King (q.v.) was receiving. Bligh hesitated to accept the offer, for one thing his wife had such a horror of the sea she would not go with him. He decided to accept, making one condition that his son-in-law Lieutenant Putland should be attached to him. He left England in February 1806. One of his instructions was that no spirits were to be landed in the colony without his consent, and it was his endeavour to carry out this that led to his conflict with the military and to his deposition. He arrived in Sydney in August 1806 and was soon at work. He received addresses from the Sydney and Hawkesbury free settlers, who most reasonably asked that all debts should be made payable in currency and that they should have the right to buy and sell in open market. Bligh himself soon realized that there was much to be done in the way of building, education and the control of the liquor traffic. In a dispatch to Windham, a little more than a year after his arrival, he was able to report many improvements, e.g. "the barter of spirituous liquors is prohibited--and the floating paper money of an undefined value--is now obliged to be drawn payable in sterling". The whole dispatch suggests that the various difficulties were being vigorously grappled with, and writing to Banks at about the same period he mentions that "this sink of iniquity Sydney is improving in its manners and in its concerns". On 1 January 1808, 833 settlers signed an address thanking Bligh for having so greatly improved their lot, and assuring him that they would always regard themselves as bound "at the risque of our lives and properties" to support his government. (H.R. of N.S. W., vol. VI, p. 411). But the officers and other monopolists were by no means satisfied. A series of actions was brought, the effect of which was to discredit Bligh and led to the trial of Macarthur for sedition. Unfortunately the judge-advocate, Atkins, was both weak and incompetent as Bligh well knew, and it hampered the governor very much. While Macarthur was in custody Lieutenant-Colonel Johnston ordered his release, and on 26 January 1808 the New South Wales Corps marched to government house and placed Bligh under arrest. This continued for over a year. He at last agreed to proceed to England in the Porpoise, and undertook not to return to any part of the territory or interfere with the government. It is clear that Bligh never intended to keep this promise. He said afterwards that he signed the paper because he thought it was his duty to regain his ship. He was dealing with mutineers and he considered that he should outwit them if possible. Once on board he assumed command and instead of sailing to England he proceeded to Hobart, where he was received with respect by the Lieutenant-Governor Colonel David Collins (q.v.). But Collins became luke-warm and Bligh stationed the Porpoise at the entrance of Storm Bay Passage. In this position he remained until January 1810. In the meantime it had been decided to recall Bligh and appoint Lachlan Macquarie (q.v.) as governor. Macquarie was instructed to reinstate Bligh for one day, but this could not be done because Bligh was in Tasmania. All the officials whom Johnston had deposed were reinstated. Bligh returned to Sydney on 17 January 1810 and collected evidence in connexion with the forthcoming trial of Johnston. He sailed for England on 12 May and arrived on 25 October. At the court-martial of Johnston the charges against Bligh were disproved after full investigation, and Johnston was cashiered. On 31 July 1811 Bligh was gazetted rear-admiral of the Blue and in 1812 rear-admiral of the White. In the same year his wife died, and in 1813 he was granted a pension and retired to the Manor House, Farmingham, Kent. In June 1814 he was made vice-admiral of the Blue. He died while on a visit to London on 7 December 1817, and was survived by six daughters.
Bligh was below average height, somewhat heavily built, with black hair, blue eyes, and a pale complexion. He was a thoroughly efficient officer, a great navigator and cartographer, honoured and esteemed by his friends, Nelson, Sir Joseph Banks, Sir Frederick Pollock and other well-known men. By present standards his land transactions with his predecessor King may be questioned, but in those days men felt that if they faced the perils of distant lands they were entitled to some reward. The grants made by King and Bligh were comparatively small when compared with those of William Paterson (q.v.). The worst that can be said of Bligh is that he had a choleric temper accompanied on occasions by a flow of violent language. He was unfortunate in being the victim of two mutinies, but in each case the circumstances were against him. On the Bounty he had no marines to enable him to enforce his authority, and he came into conflict with the forceful but unbalanced personality of Fletcher Christian. In New South Wales, the military officers, the very men who should have supported him, were the chief cause of the evils he was trying to combat. No doubt he might have shown more tact on occasions, but he was not a tyrant and his recent biographers agree in painting him as a brave, just, and great man.
G. Mackaness, The Life of Vice-Admiral William Bligh; H. V. Evatt, Rum Rebellion; H. S. Montgomerie, William Bligh of the Bounty; Owen Rutter, Turbulent Journey; Geoffrey Rawson, Bligh of the "Bounty"; Historical Records of New South Wales, vols. VI and VII; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. V to VII; G. Suttor, Australian Stories Retold, p. 6; R. G. Hay, Journal and Proceedings Parramatta and District Historical Society, vol. IV; F. M. Bladen, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. I, pp. 192-200.^Top of page
BLOCKSIDGE, CHARLES WILLIAM.See BAYLEBRIDGE, WILLIAM
BLYTH, SIR ARTHUR (1823-1891),premier of South Australia,
son of William Blyth and his wife Sarah Wilkins, was born at Birmingham on 21 March 1823. He was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, and arrived with his parents in South Australia in 1839. His father, who afterwards became a city councillor, established an ironmongery business at Adelaide, which Blyth entered with his brother Neville. He interested himself in municipal work and was a member of the central road board. In 1855 he was elected for Yatala in the old legislative council and assisted in framing the new constitution. Early in 1857 he was elected as one of the representatives of Gumeracha in the first house of assembly, and in August became commissioner of public works in the John Baker ministry which, however, was defeated on 1 September. On 12 June 1858 he was given the same position in the Hanson (q.v.) ministry, which remained in power until May 1860. In October 1861 he held the treasurer's portfolio in the Waterhouse (q.v.) ministry which, however, was reconstructed nine days later, when Blyth dropped out. He came back to the ministry, however, as treasurer in February 1862, and was selected as one of the three representatives of South Australia at the intercolonial conference held shortly afterwards. On 4 August 1864 Blyth, taking the positions of premier and commissioner of crown lands and immigration, formed his first ministry, but it was difficult to do useful work, much time being wasted in no-confidence motions. Blyth resigned on 22 March 1865, was treasurer in the third ministry formed by Ayers (q.v.), but was out of office again in little more than a month. In March 1866 he became chief secretary in Boucaut's (q.v.) first ministry from March 1866 to May 1867. He was treasurer again in the first Hart (q.v.) ministry in September 1868, but this ministry was defeated three weeks later. He took the position of commissioner of crown lands and immigration in the second Hart ministry, which lasted from 30 May 1870 to 10 November 1871, when Blyth formed his second ministry, but resigned only ten weeks later. On 22 July 1873 he again became premier and this time took the portfolio of chief secretary. This ministry was a comparatively stable one and lasted until June 1875. It succeeded in doing something for immigration, and after a stern fight passed a free, secular, and compulsory education bill through the assembly. This was defeated in the council. It succeeded, however, in passing an act incorporating the university of Adelaide. On 25 March 1876 Blyth became treasurer in the third Boucaut ministry which resigned less than three months later. In February 1877 he was appointed agent-general for South Australia in London and held the position capably for many years. He was one of the representatives of South Australia at the 1887 colonial conference. He died in England on 7 December 1891. In 1850 he married Jessie Ann, daughter of Edward Forrest, who survived him with one son and two daughters. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1877 and C.B. in 1886. A good business man of great common sense Blyth was in eleven cabinets and was three times premier. It was, however, a difficult time for legislation and beyond the Torrens (q.v.) real estate act which Blyth supported, comparatively little important legislation was passed in his period. His brother Neville Blyth (1828-90) was a member of the South Australian house of assembly for several years between 1860 and 1878. He was treasurer from 24 September to 13 October 1868 and minister of education from 26 October 1877 to 27 September 1878. He then went to England where he died on 15 February 1890 [sic—actually 7 December 1891].
The South Australian Register, 9 December 1891; The Advertiser, Adelaide. 9 December 1891; E. Hodder, The History of South Australia; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1891.^Top of page
BOAKE, BARCROFT HENRY THOMAS (1866-1892),poet,
was born at Sydney on 26 March 1866. His father, Barcroft Capel Boake, was a photographer, his mother, originally Florence Eva Clarke, was the daughter of Henry Clarke an accountant. The son was educated at a school kept by Edward Blackmore. and for a few months at Sydney Grammar School. He showed no particular ability at school, and at 17 years of age was placed in the office of a Sydney land-surveyor. In July 1886 he joined E. Commins, a surveyor, and had experience as a field-assistant, working for some time in the Monaro district. One night in July 1888, as a foolish joke, he and another young man pretended to hang themselves, but Boake had put a slip knot in his rope and nearly lost his life. This incident probably affected the remainder of his short life. After spending two years in the surveying camp Boake was disinclined to return to the city, took service as a boundary rider, and worked in New South Wales and Queensland. In May 1890 he joined W. A. Lipscomb, a surveyor, and remained with him until the end of 1891. About this time he began to send verses to the Bulletin and was much pleased when they were accepted. In December 1891 he returned to his home to find it a house of gloom. His father's once prosperous business had now failed, and his father was depressed with money difficulties. His mother had died some years before, and his grandmother, for whom he had much affection, was now an invalid. He remained at home for some weeks unable to get work and earning nothing except a few guineas from the Bulletin. In April 1892 he one day said to a sister "I have had rather a knock today. I hear that my best girl is going to be married". On 2 May he left the house and did not return. About a week later his body was discovered, suspended by the lash of his stockwhip from the limb of a tree, near the shore of Long Bay, Middle Harbour. He was of an habitually melancholy temperament, had a weak heart which had been further depressed by over-smoking, and a combination of unhappy circumstances led him to take his own life.
Boake was normally a courageous, generous and unselfish man who in happier circumstances might have had a reasonable chance of finding life worth living. His biographer thought that had fortune favoured him Boake might possibly have become the foremost poet in Australia. His work was collected in 1897 and published with a memoir by A. G. Stephens (q.v.) under the title of Where the Dead Men Lie and other Poems. The title poem has deservedly found its way into several Australian anthologies, but most of Boake's work is not much better than good popular verse, and there is little evidence to support Stephens's estimate of his possibilities as a poet.
A. G. Stephens, Memoir in Boake's Where the Dead Men Lie and other Poems.^Top of page
BOAS, ABRAHAM TOBIAS (1844-1923),rabbi Hebrew congregation, Adelaide,
was born at Amsterdam, Holland, where his father was also a rabbi, on 25 November 1844. He was educated at the local Jewish school and studied theology under a well-known Hebraist, Delaville. In 1865 he went to England, and in 1867 became minister to the Jewish congregation at Southampton. In 1869 he was selected as rabbi for the congregation at Adelaide, and he arrived there on 13 February 1870. He held the position for 48 years, and became a well-known figure in all movements intended to forward the cultural and material good of the community . Well read, a great student of Shakespeare, urbane and kind-hearted, broad-minded and anxious to be of use to other denominations than his own, he was a welcome visitor to the Y.M.C.A., and often lectured on aspects of Jewish life and Old Testament history. He not only earned the affection of his own congregation, he was generally recognized as a valuable and public-spirited citizen. He resigned his charge in 1918 in consequence of an illness from which he never fully recovered. He died on 20 February 1923. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac Solomon, who died in 1916, and was survived by four sons and five daughters.
The Register, Adelaide, 21 February 1923; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 21 February 1923.^Top of page
BOCK, THOMAS (1790-1857),artist,
was born at Sutton Coldfield, England, in 1790. He was apprenticed to an engraver at Birmingham, and in 1817 was awarded a silver medal by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, for the engraving of a portrait. He afterwards practised in London as an engraver and miniature painter. He came to Hobart about the year 1824 and worked as an engraver, portrait and miniature painter. He was one of the exhibitors at the first exhibition of pictures held in Australia, in January 1845 at Hobart. An artist of ability, he is represented in the Hobart gallery. the Beattie collection at the Launceston museum, and at the Mitchell library. He died at Hobart in 1857. His son, Alfred Bock (1835-1920), who was the first to introduce photography into Tasmania, was one of the earliest native born artists and painted both portraits and landscapes.
W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; Transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, vol. XXXV.^Top of page
BOLDREWOOD, ROLF.See BROWNE, THOMAS ALEXANDER.
BONNEY, CHARLES (1813-1897),pioneer,
[ also refer to Charles BONNEY page at Project Gutenberg Australia]
youngest son of the Rev. George Bonney, fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, was born at Sandon, Staffordshire, England, on 31 October 1813. He was educated at Rugeley Grammar School, arrived at Sydney in December 1834, and became clerk to Mr Justice Burton (q.v.). Some 18 months later he went with C. H. Ebden to the Murray on about the present site of Albury. In December 1836, he crossed the Murray and took cattle to Port Phillip, having been preceded by only Gardiner and Hawdon (q.v.). In March 1837 he was the first to overland sheep, bringing some 10,000 belonging to Ebden to a station on the Goulburn. In January 1838, acting as a kind of first assistant to Joseph Hawdon, he went with him and a party with about 300 cattle, from the Murray, near Albury, to Adelaide. It was the hottest season of the year, and groups of aborigines were continually being encountered, but the party succeeded in keeping on good terms with them. It was not until 1 March that they came to the junction of the Darling with the Murray, and the whole journey took about three months. A beautiful lake was found on 4 March and named after the young Queen Victoria, and on 12 March another lake was found and named by Hawdon after Bonney. The Murray was left on 23 March, and after travelling many miles, Mount Barker was reached. About 1 April they reached the seashore near where the township of Noarlunga now stands. Meeting some settlers, they made for Adelaide, where they arrived on 3 April and found a ready market for their cattle. Returning to Port Phillip by sea Bonney brought another herd of cattle overland to Adelaide in February 1839, the route taken being through south-west Victoria. Near the border the country became so dry, that disaster was narrowly escaped. Fortunately water was found, and when the Murray was crossed only one bullock and one horse were lost. In spite of their difficulties, only 23 cattle were lost on the whole journey. Bonney stayed at Adelaide for a time and then joined Ebden again at the Murray. In 1841 a period of depression led to cattle becoming almost unsaleable, and in 1842 Bonney became a magistrate and commissioner of crown lands in South Australia. He held this position for about 15 years.
When responsible government came in, Bonney was elected a member of the house of assembly for East Torrens, and became commissioner of crown lands in the first ministry under Finniss (q.v.). This ministry went out of office in August 1857 and Bonney resigned his seat in the following January. He was in England from 1858 to 1862, and returning to South Australia, was a member of the legislative council in 1865 and 1866. From 1869 to 1871 he was manager of the South Australian railways. In 1871 he was appointed inspector of lands purchased on credit, and in 1880 retired on a pension. In 1885 he went to Sydney and died there on 15 March 1897. He left a widow, two sons and three daughters.
Bonney belonged to the best type of pioneer. He quickly adapted himself to the conditions of his new country, was an excellent explorer, and understood how to keep the aborigines in good humour. In later years he was a successful public official, held in great respect by the people of Adelaide.
The South Australian Register, 16 March 1897; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 16 March 1897; A. S. Kenyon, The Victorian Historical Magazine, June and December 1925; J. Blacket, The Early History of South Australia, pp. 94-105; T. H. James, Six Months in South Australia, p. 168.^Top of page
BONWICK, JAMES (1817-1906),historical and educational writer,
was born at London on 8 July 1817, the eldest son of James and Mary Ann Bonwick. James Bonwick, the elder, was a man of some mechanical ability, but he suffered from ill health, and his children were brought up in poor circumstances. His eldest son was educated at the Borough Road school. Southwark, and at 17 years of age teaching at a school at Hemel Hempstead and similar positions followed at Bexley and Liverpool. In April 1840 he married Esther Ann Beddow, the daughter of a Baptist clergyman, and in the following year obtained a position at the Normal School, Hobart, Tasmania. Bonwick and his wife arrived at Hobart in October 1841. He was a successful teacher in Hobart for eight years and published his Geography for the Use of Australian Youth in 1845, the first of his many school books. He went to Adelaide in 1849, but in 1852 made his way to the Victorian gold diggings. He did not find much gold, but his health benefited, and going to Melbourne he established a monthly magazine, The Australian Gold-Diggers' Monthly Magazine, which ceased publication with the eighth issue. He then established a successful boarding school at Kew, near Melbourne. He had already published several school books and pamphlets, when in 1856 he brought out his Discovery and Settlement of Port Phillip, the first of his historical works. About this time he joined the Victorian government service as an inspector of denominational schools, and in 1857 made a tour of inspection through the western district of Victoria. He then made Ballarat his centre and worked there for about four years. During his journeys he suffered from sunstroke and a coaching accident, and became so ill that he had to retire from the service. He was given 18 months' leave of absence, but was unable to continue this work. His head had been injured in the accident. He was never able to ride a horse again, and he was always liable to have an attack of giddiness. He visited England in 1860 and then returned to Melbourne and opened a school in the suburb of St Kilda, which became very prosperous. He paid another visit to England with his wife, leaving the school in the hands of a son and a friend of his. They, however, mismanaged the school, and Bonwick was compelled to return and put things in order again. He was doing much writing, and in the ensuing years travelled in various parts of Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Among his more important volumes were The Last of the Tasmanians, Daily Life and Origin of the Tasmanians, and Curious Facts of Old Colonial Days, all three published in 1870; Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought (1878), First Twenty Years of Australia (1882), Port Phillip Settlement (1883), and Romance of the Wool Trade (1887). He had now finally settled down in England and in this year was appointed archivist for the New South Wales government. He traced and copied the information that became the basis of the History of New South Wales, vol. I by G. B. Barton, and vol. II by A. Britton. His materials were afterwards printed as The Historical Records of New South Wales. Though he published other volumes, these records were his principal work until in 1902, at the age of 85, he resigned his position. In 1900 he had celebrated with his wife the sixtieth anniversary of their wedding. She died in 1901 and he felt her loss keenly. He completed and published in 1902 his final volume, An Octogenarian's Reminiscences, and died on 6 October 1906. He was survived by five children.
Bonwick was an amiable, religious man, full of nervous energy and with a passion for work. All things came to his net; history, religion, astronomy, geography, anthropology and trade were among the subjects of his books. Some of the more important have been mentioned, some fifty others are listed in "A Bibliography of James Bonwick" by Dr G. Mackaness (Jnl. and Proc. R. A. H.S., 1937). An even longer list of his writings is appended to James Bonwick by E. E. Pescott. His school books were of great value at a time when it was difficult to obtain suitable books in Australia, and his historical work was always conscientious, though the discovery of materials not then available may have lessened its value in some cases.
James Bonwick, An Octogenarian's Reminiscences; E. E. Pescott, James Bonwick; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.^Top of page
BONYTHON, SIR JOHN LANGDON (1848-1939),editor and public benefactor,
was the second son of George Langdon Bonython and his wife Annie, daughter of James Fairbairn MacBain of Aberdeen. The Bonythons are an ancient Cornish family, well-known in Tudor and Stuart times. Bonython was born in London on 15 October 1848, and was brought to South Australia by his parents at an early age. He received a sound education at Brougham school, Adelaide, in his sixteenth year obtained a position on the staff of the Advertiser, Adelaide, and, as a colleague put it, began to "work as though the paper belonged to him". This capacity for hard work remained with him all his life and stood him in good stead in the newspaper office, where his position steadily improved. He became a part proprietor of the Advertiser in 1879, and subsequently for a period of 35 years was editor and sole proprietor. Other papers were added, the Chronicle, a weekly, and the evening Express. In 1929 these papers were taken over by a public company. During his editorship of the Advertiser, Bonython was closely in touch with the public men of South Australia and exercised a large influence on the community. He never had the power that Syme (q.v.), for a period, had in Victoria, but was nevertheless one of the most influential journalists in Australia. He was too busy a man to enter local politics and probably realized that he could be more powerful outside the house. In 1901, however, he was nominated for the federal house of representatives and in a state-wide vote obtained second place on the poll. At the 1903 election he was unopposed for the electorate of Barker. He was a member of the select committee, 1904, and royal commission, 1905-6, on old-age pensions. He gave up politics in 1906, was appointed one of the 14 trustees under the Australian soldiers' repatriation act of 1916, and one of the seven commissioners under the soldiers' repatriation act of 1917. He retired from his newspapers in 1929, after 65 years' service.
In spite of his close attention to business, Bonython found time for many other interests, the chief of which was education. In 1883 he was elected chairman of the old Adelaide school board of advice, and for 18 years rarely missed a meeting. In 1889 he became president of the council of the school of mines and industries, and held the position for 50 years. He fought with ministers for it, and when financial difficulties arose, assisted with his own purse. He provided the funds for the chemical and metallurgical laboratories, possibly the most up-to-date in the Commonwealth, and kept his interest in the school to the end of his life. He was chairman of the council of the agricultural college at Roseworthy from 1895 to 1902, joined the council of the university of Adelaide in 1916, and gave £52,329 to build a great hall and £20,000 to endow a chair of law. He was deputy chairman of the South Australian advisory council of education from 1916 to 1926, chairman of the Commonwealth literary fund for 20 years, president for many years of the South Australian Cornish Association, and in 1931 was elected president of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, as successor to Viscount Falmouth. Towards the end of his life he gave £100,000 toward the completion of parliament house, Adelaide, and was present at the opening of the new legislative council chamber in June 1939. Except for some deafness, Bonython retained all his faculties until a few hours before his death on 22 October 1939, a week after his ninety-first birthday. He married in1870 Marie Louise Friedrike, daughter of D. F. Balthasar, who died in 1924. He was survived by a son and three daughters. He was knighted in 1898, created C.M.G. in 1908, and K.C.M.G. in 1919. Though Bonython gave away much, both privately and publicly, his estate of £4,000,000 was probably the largest ever left by an Australian. Most of it went to his family, though there were several bequests to religious institutions. His success was largely due to his great vitality, prudence and capacity for work. He had a remarkable memory, was a good raconteur, and could make an excellent speech.
His son, Sir John Lavington Bonython, born in 1875 and educated at Prince Alfred College, was mayor of Adelaide 1912-13 and lord mayor 1927-30. He was knighted in 1935.
Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1891; The Advertiser, Adelaide, 23 and 24 October 1939; Ninety-eighth Annual Report of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, 1931; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1936.^Top of page
BOOTHBY, GUY NEWELL (1867-1905), known as Guy Boothby,novelist,
was born at Adelaide on 12 October 1867. His grandfather, Benjamin Boothby (1803-1868), who was a judge of the supreme court of South Australia from 1853 to 1867, took strong exception to the validity of colonial enactments and various attempts were made to remove him from the bench. He succeeded in justifying his position to the extent that it was necessary to have an Imperial validating act passed. His obstructive methods became so pronounced, that he was removed from office by the executive council in July 1867. He died on 21 June 1868. His son, Thomas Wilde Boothby, who for a time was a member of the house of assembly at Adelaide, was the father of Guy Boothby. The boy was educated at Salisbury, near Adelaide, and Christ's Hospital, London. In 1890 he wrote the libretto for a comic opera, Sylvia, which was published and produced at Adelaide in December 1890, and in 1891 appeared The Jonquil: an Opera. The music in each case was written by Cecil James Sharp (q.v.), afterwards to become well-known for his studies in folk song. About this time Boothby was private secretary to the mayor of Adelaide. In 1894 he published On the Wallaby or Through the East and Across Australia, an account of the travels of himself and his brother, including a description of their journey across Australia from Cooktown to Adelaide. In the same year his first novel, In Strange Company, was published in London and was quickly successful. Boothby went to London and for the next 10 years poured out a constant stream of novels. About 50 are listed in Miller's Australian Literature. He died at Bournemouth on 26 February 1905. He married Rose Allen Bristowe, who survived him with three children.
Boothby used his Australian experiences to some extent in his books, but he roamed the world in search of adventure and sensation. In his third novel, appeared Dr Nikola, a sinister figure, who is prominent in several of the later books and helped to give Boothby wide popularity as a writer of exciting fiction. Probability is stretched to the utmost in his books and the suggestion of the writer of The Times obituary notice that they hold a similar position in the world of fiction to the old Adelphi melodramas on the stage, is possibly a sufficiently adequate summing up of their value as literature.
P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; The Register, Adelaide, 1 March 1905; The Times, 28 February 1905; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.^Top of page
BOSCH, GEORGE HENRY (1861-1934),merchant and philanthropist,
was born at Solomon's Flat, near Beechworth, Victoria, on 18 February 1861. His father belonged to a Dutch family which migrated to Hamburg and became prosperous merchants. His mother was Bavarian. George Bosch was educated at a private school at Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne, and was then apprenticed to a watchmaker. He went to Sydney in 1881 and with his father's help, established a small watchmaker's business. He began importing watchmakers' and jewellers' supplies, and about 1884 joined forces with E. Barthel, who had a similar business, under the name of Bosch, Barthel and Company. The importing of dental and opticians' supplies was added in 1885, and the business became the largest of its kind in Australia. In 1894 Bosch bought Barthel's interest in the business, which continued to progress and expand with branches in Melbourne and Brisbane. Working very hard and living simply, Bosch became very wealthy, and he quietly gave away considerable sums of money. His first public gift was a large donation to the dreadnought fund in 1909. He had a breakdown in 1915 due to overwork, and henceforth had to go more quietly. In 1924 he gave a sum of £1000 to the university of Sydney for research on paralysis. This was followed in 1925 by £2000 for cancer research, and in 1928 £27,000 was given to establish a chair in histology and embryology, and £1500 for the purchase of apparatus for the anatomy department. In October 1929, £220,000 in city properties and securities was transferred to the university to establish full time chairs in medicine surgery and bacteriology, and for the building and equipping of laboratories or the promotion of medical and surgical knowledge. Another large donation was £10,000 to Trinity Grammar School, Sydney, and he contributed largely to the upkeep of the Millewa boys' home and the Windsor boys' farm. Though he practically retired in 1924, he had another breakdown in 1928, but after a long holiday in the east, he came back in much improved health. In July 1932 the university received a further sum of £6000. He died at Sydney on 30 August 1934. He married in 1929, Gwendoline Jupp, who had nursed him through an illness. She survived him with two sons. After providing for legacies and a life interest for his widow, further substantial benefits will eventually accrue to the university of Sydney. A portrait of Bosch by Lambert (q.v.) is in the great hall at the university, and there is a memorial window at St John's church, Gordon, Sydney.
Bosch was a keen business man, whose only recreation was walking until he took up golf in middle life. He looked upon his wealth as a responsibility and gave much thought to his benefactions, his chief desire being that he might alleviate human suffering.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 and 4 September 1934; Calendar of the University of Sydney, 1940; private information; personal knowledge.^Top of page
BOUCAUT, SIR JAMES PENN (1831-1916),premier of South Australia and judge,
was born near Falmouth, Cornwall, on 29 October 1831. He was the son of a navy officer, Captain Ray Boucaut, and his wife, Winifred, daughter of James Penn, superintendent of the royal dockyard at Falmouth. Educated at the Rev. Mr Hayley's school at Saltash, Boucaut left with his father for South Australia in 1846, and after some colonial experience in the interior, returned to Adelaide. He was then articled to C. Fenn, and was admitted to the bar in November 1855. He had a great capacity for taking pains, an excellent memory for cases, and his 23 years at the bar were marked by steadily increasing success. In December 1861 he was returned to the house of assembly as a representative of Adelaide, but was defeated at the general election in 1862. In March 1865 he was elected for West Adelaide at the head of the poll. In October he became attorney-general in the first Hart (q.v.) ministry, and when the premier retired to go to England in February 1866, Boucaut took his place in a reconstructed ministry which was in power until May 1867. He was defeated at the 1870 election, but came into the house again as member for West Torrens in 1871. In January 1872 he became attorney-general in Ayers' (q.v.) sixth ministry, but retired when the cabinet was reconstructed early in March. On 3 June 1875 Boucaut formed his second ministry, in which he was commissioner of crown lands and immigration and, for a few weeks, commissioner of public works. An education bill was successfully taken through the assembly, and in September Boucaut brought in a bill authorizing the raising of a loan of £3,000,000 for the construction or extension of 13 lines of railway and various other public works. But opposition in the council, and the fear of increased taxation, temporarily held up railway extensions. The cabinet was reconstructed in March 1876, but resigned early in the following June. The ministry of J. Colton (q.v.), which followed, adopted part of Boucaut's railway extension policy and succeeded in carrying it through. Boucaut formed his third ministry in October 1877 with the portfolio of treasurer. During the following nine months some useful legislation was passed, including a crown lands consolidation bill, and provision for several railway lines and for the improvement of Victor Harbour. An income tax bill was defeated, but a property tax of threepence in the pound was agreed to. In September 1878, on the death of Mr Justice Stow (q.v.), Boucaut was appointed a judge of the supreme court.
Boucaut was a judge for 27 years. It was at first thought that he could not be content to be out of politics, but he had a real interest in legal work and proved to be an excellent judge. He was acting chief justice during the absence of Way (q.v.) in England in 1891-2, and on several occasions acted as deputy governor between 1885 and 1897. He resigned in February 1905 on a pension of £1300 a year, on account of failing health. He had an estate at the foot of Mount Barker, where he bred pure Arab horses. His health improved with leisure and he lived until 1 February 1916, being then in his eighty-fifth year. He married in 1864, Janet, daughter of Alexander McCulloch, who predeceased him. He was survived by five sons and a daughter. He became a Q.C. in 1875 and was created K.C.M.G. in 1898. He published in London in 1905, his vigorously written The Arab, the Horse of the Future, and in the following year, Letters to My Boys, An Australian Judge and Ex-Premier on his Travels in Europe. Though this is merely a reprint of letters written to his children when travelling in Europe in 1892, it makes an excellent book, far superior in interest to most work of this kind. Boucaut's Speeches on Railways and Public Works was published as a pamphlet in 1875.
In private life Boucaut was amiable and kindly, interested in old violins, in his horses, and his yacht, which he could handle like a master mariner. As a barrister he had a sound knowledge of the common law, and though perhaps not a great advocate, was thorough and persistent. In parliament he soon developed a knowledge of parliamentary procedure and his worth was quickly recognized. He was premier on three occasions, but for many years before there had been much intriguing for power, and the average life of a ministry was only about eight months. Boucaut was a stronger man than any of his predecessors, showed more statesmanlike qualities, and in spite of handicaps, succeeded in bringing in a forward policy. When he became a judge no man was left in the South Australian parliament of equal qualifications as a politician. As a judge he was fearless and conscientious, full of common sense and worldly wisdom. He was learned in common and statute law, and as a constitutional lawyer was unsurpassed in his time.
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 2 February 1916; The Register, Adelaide, 2 February 1916; E. Hodder, The History of South Australia; Debrett's Peerage, etc., 1915.^Top of page
BOUCICAULT, DION (1859-1929),actor and stage director,
was born at New York on 23 May 1859, the son of Dion Boucicault the elder, the well-known actor and dramatist, and of his wife, Agnes Boucicault, who was also well known on the stage. Boucicault was educated at Esher, Cuddington and Paris, and made his first appearance as an actor in New York on 11 October 1879. His first appearance in London was in November 1880, when he played Andy in Andy Blake. Thereafter he was constantly on the stage either playing himself or directing the production. In 1885 he went to Australia with his father and decided to remain there. He entered into partnership with Robert Brough in 1886, and at the Bijou Theatre in Melbourne and the Criterion in Sydney a long series of plays by Robertson, Pinero, Jones and other dramatists of the period was produced with great care and artistry. A remarkably fine company was got together which included Boucicault's. sister Nina, afterwards to make a reputation in London, G. S. Titheradge (q.v.), and G. W. Anson. Though modern comedy was usually played there was one excursion into Shakespeare, a notable performance of Much Ado About Nothing with Titheradge as Benedick, and Mrs Brough as Beatrice. Boucicault had invaluable experience both as a producer and as an actor, and when he returned to London in 1896 he was capable of taking any part that his small stature did not disqualify him for. On 20 January 1898 he played one of his most successful parts, Sir William Gower, in Trelawney of the Wells, and a long succession of important parts followed. He directed the first production of Peter Pan and other well-known plays by Barrie, Milne and various leading dramatists of the time. He visited Australia in 1923 with his wife Irene Vanbrugh, with a repertoire which included Mr Pim Passes By, Belinda, The Second Mrs Tanquerary, Trelawney of the Wells, His House in Order and Aren't We All. Two other visits followed in 1926 and 1927-28 when plays by Barrie, Milne and others were staged. Boucicault's health began to decline in Australia, and returning to London, he died there on 25 June 1929. His wife survived him. A portrait by Byam Shaw is at the national gallery, Melbourne.
Boucicault was a great producer of comedy. No detail was too small and everything fell into its place in exact relation to the whole production. In Australia he set a standard that has seldom if ever been surpassed. He was a most finished actor in a wide range of parts and in his later years became the legitimate successor of Sir John Hare in playing old men's parts. It might be urged that his carefully thought out and elaborate business in such a part as Mr Pim drew too much attention to himself and prevented him from keeping within the frame of the picture. But to his many admirers the perfection of his detail was a constant delight, which more than compensated for any risks of that kind he may have run.
The Times, 26 June 1929; The Argus, Melbourne, 27 June 1929; Who's Who's in the Theatre, 1925; D, Mackail, The Story of J. M. B.; personal knowledge.^Top of page
BOURKE, JOHN PHILIP (1860-1914),poet,
was born on the Peel River diggings, New South Wales, on 5 August 1860. Mining was in his blood and at the age of 17 he sold a claim for £600. He then became a school teacher for 17 years and during this period occasionally contributed verse to the Bulletin. In 1894 he went to the recently discovered goldfields in Western Australia, prospected in various parts of the west, and at times made and lost a considerable amount of money. About the turn of the century Bourke took up journalism and was a regular contributor to the Kalgoorlie Sun. He was a writer of vigorous prose and verse which gave him a local reputation, but he was comparatively little known away from the gold-mining towns. He died at Boulder, Western Australia, on 13 January 1914. A selection from his verse, Off the Bluebush, edited by A. G. Stephens (q.v.), was published in Sydney in 1915.
Bourke was a typical man of the goldfields era. Straightforward, kindly, spending his money freely when he had it, cheerfully looking forward to a new "rise" when he had none. Like E. G. Murphy (q.v.) he was a popular poet. In his own phrase they were "singers standing on the outer rim, who touch the fringe of poetry at times". Murphy wrote more and had the larger audience, but Bourke was the more musical and more often did succeed in touching the fringe of poetry. It would be unwise to rank their verse too high, but both have value as folk poets who became popular, largely because they sincerely expressed the spirit of their time.
A . G . Stephens, Preface to Off the Bluebush; The Kalgoorlie Miner, 14 January 1914.^Top of page
BOURKE, SIR RICHARD (1777-1855),governor of New South Wales,
was born at Dublin, Ireland, on 4 May 1777. It has been stated that the date on his tombstone is 1778, but as he matriculated in 1793 and qualified as a barrister in 1798, that date seems unlikely to be correct. He was the only son of John Bourke of County Limerick by his marriage with Anne, daughter of Edward Ryan of Dublin. The family was related to the famous Edmund Burke. Richard Bourke was educated at Westminster School and Oxford university, where he graduated B.A. in 1798. He had succeeded to his father's estates in 1795. He qualified as a barrister, but never practised, and joined the army as an ensign in 1798. He was severely wounded on active service in Holland, and was promoted lieutenant in 1799. Returning to England he was placed on the staff, became a captain in 1805, fought at Buenos Ayres in South America in 1806, was promoted major in 1808, and was on service in the Peninsula war from 1809 to 1814. He attained the rank of colonel in 1814 and was made a C.B. in the following year. He was for some years on half-pay and became a major-general in 1821. From 1826 to 1828 he did useful work as lieutenant-governor in the eastern district of the Cape of Good Hope. On 25 June 1831 he was appointed governor of New South Wales and arrived at Sydney on 2 December 1831.
Bourke was fortunate in the time of his appointment. He came after an unpopular governor, Sir Ralph Darling (q.v.), and various changes were coming that tended to reduce the difficulties and anxieties of the governor. One frequent cause of dissatisfaction, the power of making grants of land, was taken from the governor early in 1835. The status of the emancipists was still a difficult problem, but in 1834 judicial rulings had restored practically the whole class to full civil rights. There was a large increase in free settlers from Great Britain, and during Bourke's administration a practical system for general immigration was established. The income from the sale of crown lands became an important source of revenue, and the combination of these things had great effect on the expansion of the colony during the period of nearly seven years that Bourke was governor.
Though Bourke no longer had the autocratic powers enjoyed by Macquarie (q.v.) he exercised an important influence on the evolution of the constitution of Australia. In a statesmanlike dispatch dated 25 December 1833 he pointed out some of the disadvantages of the existing nominated council of 15 members, and suggested that the council membership should be enlarged to 24, two-thirds of whom should be elected by the colonists. Two years later he came to the conclusion that a larger council would be better and suggested one of 36 members of whom 12 were to be nominated by the crown. (Sir) F. Forbes (q.v.), the chief justice, at his request drafted a bill embodying these suggestions. Several years were to pass before representative government was established, but Bourke's action at this time had an important influence in bringing about the reform. Bourke was also responsible for the introduction of state aid to the religious bodies. New South Wales was no longer the sink of iniquity that Macquarie found, but there was need to help the various churches, all striving for righteousness in their different ways. Bourke's influence was also wisely used in favour of the introduction of civil juries in criminal trials.
The opening up of the Port Phillip district, which began in 1835, was an important development in Bourke's period. In October of that year he pointed out in a dispatch to Lord Glenelg that though the treaty of Batman (q.v.) with the natives could not be recognized, it would be advisable to survey a township and to appoint a police magistrate and an officer of customs. His views were accepted. Bourke visited Port Phillip in March 1837, and having approved of the situation chosen for the township arranged for the first land sale. In June he forwarded a dispatch to the colonial office making suggestions for the administration of the new settlement. These formed the basis for the government eventually established.
In December 1835 Bourke had come into conflict with C. D. Riddell, the colonial treasurer, and had suspended him from the executive council. The matter was referred to the colonial office and Glenelg, while generally supporting the governor, directed that Riddell should be re-instated. He considered that so long as Riddell held the office of treasurer, he should be a member of the council, and that to depose him from his treasurership would be "to inflict a penalty far more than commensurate to the offence" (H.R. of A. ser I, vol. XVIII, p. 482). Bourke was not satisfied and resigned his office on 30 January 1837, but the acceptance of his resignation was not received until near the end of the year. He left Australia on 5 December 1837 and lived the life of a country gentleman in Ireland. In his youth he had been a frequent visitor at the house of his kinsman Edmund Burke, and with Charles William Earl Fitzwilliam he now busied himself in preparing an edition of Burke's Correspondence. This was published in four volumes in 1844. Bourke was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general in 1837 and to that of general in 1851. He died suddenly on 12 August 1855. He was survived by two sons and three daughters. He had married in 1800 Elizabeth Jane, daughter of John Bourke of London. She died at Parramatta in 1832. Bourke was created K.C.B. in 1835. His statue, erected by public subscription, is at Sydney.
Bourke was the most popular of all the early governors. But he was more than that, his ability and wisdom entitled him to be described as a great governor. Between 1830 and 1837 the population of New South Wales nearly doubled itself, the revenue was more than trebled, imports rose from £420,480 to £1,297,491 and exports from £141,461 to £760,054. All the credit of this cannot be given to Bourke, but his wise and impartial rule was an important factor in bringing about improved relations among the people and a great increase in general prosperity.
Gentleman's Magazine, 1855, vol. II; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. XVI to XIX; J. W. Metcalfe, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. XXX. Reprinted as a pamphlet, Governor Bourke--Or, The Lion and the Wolves.^Top of page
BOWEN, SIR GEORGE FERGUSON (1821-1899),governor of Queensland and Victoria,
eldest son of the Rev. Edward Bowen, was born in Ireland on 2 November 1821 (Dict.Nat.Biog.). He was educated at the Charterhouse and Trinity College, Oxford, was twice president of the union, and in 1844 graduated with first-class honours in classics. In 1817 he accepted the position of president of the Ionian university at Corfu, travelled much in Greece, and in 1850 published Ithaca in 1850 (3rd edition 1854). In 1852 he brought out Mt Athos, Thessaly and Epirus and in 1854 appeared Handbook for Travellers in Greece, in Murray's well-known series. In the same year he was appointed chief secretary of government in the Ionian islands, then under a British protectorate. In 1858 the Ionian parliament asked that the islands should be incorporated in the kingdom of Greece, and Bowen recommended that all the principal islands except Corfu should be transferred, but eventually Corfu was included in the transfer. In 1859 he was appointed the first governor of Queensland and arrived at Brisbane on 10 December 1859. Pending the election Bowen formed a tentative government which included (Sir) R. G. W. Herbert (q.v.), and R. R. Mackenzie (q.v.). When parliament met Herbert became the first premier and held office for several years. Bowen showed much tact in his management of the politicians of the period during the difficult early years of parliament, and he quickly made himself familiar with the colony's settled districts. He had nothing like the power of some of the early governors in other colonies before responsible government came in, but he was able to exercise a considerable amount of influence and used it with wisdom. He was governor for an unusually long period, eight and a half years, his term having been extended at the end of six years. In 1866 he had a difference with his ministry which at first threatened his popularity. An attempt was made to issue inconvertible government notes and to make them legal tender in the colony. Bowen felt that this was one of the few occasions when a governor might legitimately interfere, and pointed out that the right course would be to obtain the sanction of the legislature to the issue of treasury bills. As a consequence of the governor's action the ministry resigned, and a petition was signed asking for the governor's recall. Bowen, however, was supported by the colonial office and the agitation died down. In 1868 he was made governor of New Zealand where he held office for about five years, until March 1873. He came before the end of the Maori war and showed much ability during a difficult period in the history of New Zealand.
Early in 1873 Bowen became governor of Victoria and in 1875 had a year's leave of absence in Europe. The colony was exceedingly prosperous and for some time he had no constitutional problems, but in 1877 he became involved in the struggle between the legislative assembly and the legislative council on the question of payment to members. In January 1878 he acted with doubtful judgment in consenting to the "Black Wednesday" wholesale dismissal of officials by the Berry (q.v.) government, and in February he incurred the disapproval of the members of the council by acquiescing in Berry's financial expedients during the parliamentary deadlock; but experienced British parliamentarians like Gladstone, Childers (q.v.), W. E. Forster and Lord Dufferin all approved of his conduct. In 1879 Bowen became governor of Mauritius and in 1882 he was appointed governor at Hong Kong. He left Hong Kong on a visit to England in December 1885, and in 1886 resigned his governorship and retired from the service of the crown. He, however, was appointed in December 1887, to be chief of a royal commission sent to Malta to report on the arrangements connected with its new constitution. After his return he continued his interest in colonial questions but took no part in politics. He died at Brighton on 21 February 1899. He married (1) Roma, daughter of Count Candiano di Roma, and (2) Florence, daughter of Dr T. Luby, and was survived by four daughters and a son by the first marriage. He was created C.M.G. in 1855, K.C.M.G. in 1856, G.C.M.G. in 1860, and was made a privy councillor in 1886. He was given the honorary degree of D.C.L. by Oxford university and LL.D. by Cambridge.
Bowen was a fine classical scholar who also knew well Italian and modern Greek. He was always interested in the life of the people, and tactful in his speech. He could be strong when it was necessary, and though criticized on occasions he never lacked able supporters. Generally he proved himself to be an able and excellent governor.
S. Lane-Poole, Thirty Years of Colonial Government, a selection from Bowen's dispatches and letters; C. A. Bernays, Queensland--Our Seventh Political Decade; The Times, 22 February 1899; Victoria the First Century; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1899.^Top of page
BOWSER, SIR JOHN (1856-1936),premier of Victoria,
the son of John Henry Bowser, was born at London on 26 August 1856. He was brought to Victoria when three years old by his parents who settled at Bacchus Marsh. Educated at the local state school, Bowser joined the Bacchus Marsh Express and then went to Scotland, where he studied at Edinburgh university and worked for a time on the Dumfries and Galloway Standard. He returned to Australia about the year 1880, settled at Wangaratta, and became at first editor and afterwards proprietor of the Wangaratta Standard. At the time of the Kyabram movement he was elected to the Victorian legislative assembly as a reform candidate for Wangaratta and Rutherglen and held the seat for 35 years. He became known as one of the leaders among the country members, and in October 1908 succeeded A. O. Sachse as minister of education in the Bent (q.v.) ministry, which was, however, defeated a few weeks later. In November 1917 he became premier, chief secretary and minister of labour in a ministry which lasted less than four months. In the Lawson ministry which followed he was chief secretary and minister of health from March 1918 to June 1919. In November 1924 he was elected speaker and held the position until May 1927. He retired from politics in 1929 and spent the rest of his life at Wangaratta where he died on to June 1936. He married in 1914 Frances Rogers who predeceased him. He was knighted in 1927.
Bowser was a quiet, unassuming, courteous and scholarly man, whose integrity was unquestioned. He was much liked on all sides of the house, but he had not the force of will to be a good leader. He had the necessary tact for the speaker's position, and as an administrator and private member did much public service of great value to the state.
The Argus, Melbourne, 11 June 1936; The Age, Melbourne, 11 June 1936; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1935.^Top of page
BOYCE, FRANCIS BERTIE (1844-1931),clergyman and social reformer,
son of Francis Boyce, an accountant, was born at Tiverton, Devonshire, England, on 6 April 1844. He was brought by his parents to Australia and, after being shipwrecked off Barwon. Heads, Victoria, arrived at Sydney in August 1853. Boyce was educated at St James Grammar School and at a private school kept by James Keane, and, his father having died in January 1858, entered the service of the Union Bank of Australia in the following December. He was eight years with this bank, but deciding to enter the Church of England, went to Moore College at the beginning of 1867, was ordained deacon in December 1868 and priest in 1869. His first parish was George's Plains near Bathurst, followed by Molong in 1873 and Orange in 1875. Boyce was a hard-working and enthusiastic country clergyman, travelling many miles on horseback to reach his people, and raising money to build churches where no church had been before. The church built at Orange cost £7000, had accommodation for 600 people, and few seats were vacant when Boyce was holding the service. In April 1882 he went to Pyrmont, an industrial area, and in 1884 to St Paul's, Redfern. He remained there for 46 years, was elected a canon of St Andrew's cathedral in December 1899, and in 1910 was appointed archdeacon of West Sydney.
St Paul's, Redfern, when Boyce went to it was socially a mixed parish. In George- and Pitt-streets there were many wealthy people, while on the western side of the railway line there was a dense population and part of it was a slum area. Boyce had for some time shown much interest in the temperance question and was active in fights for local option and the earlier closing of hotels. When the New South Wales Alliance was founded in 1882 he was the first secretary and afterwards was its president for over 20 years. He published in 1893 a volume on The Drink Problem in Australia, and later brought out other publications on religious and temperance questions. He was much distressed by the poverty of some parts of his parish and especially the position of men and women too old to work. He believed in old-age pensions, and on 9 September 1895 wrote to the Sydney Daily Telegraph advocating the appointment of a committee to inquire into and report on this question. Early in 1896 he called a meeting to form a pensions league. J. C. Neild had also been advocating the granting of pensions in parliament, and eventually a committee was appointed which recommended that pensions should be paid out of the public revenue. Boyce worked hard to keep the question before the public, but it was not until the end of the century that pensions became law. The first pensions were paid on 1 July 1901.
Boyce was a fervent patriot, and when the question of having an Empire Day was raised in 1902 he supported the suggestion with enthusiasm. He was spokesman of a deputation which waited on Sir Edmund Barton (q.v.), the prime minister, and he continued his efforts for it until it was founded on 24 May 1905. At meetings of the synod of the diocese of Sydney Boyce took an important part, and he continued active work in his parish until extreme old age. He resigned his arch-deaconry in 1930 and died at Blackheath on 27 May 1931. He was married twice (1) to Caroline, daughter of William Stewart, who died in 1918, and (2) to Mrs Ethel Burton, who survived him, with two sons by the first marriage. The elder son, Francis Stewart Boyce (1872-1940), became a K.C. in 1924 and a judge of the supreme court of New South Wales in 1932.
F. B. Boyce, Four Score Years and Seven; The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 May 1931; Year Book of the Diocese of Sydney, 1932, p. 163; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1931; Who's Who In Australia, 1938, 1941.^Top of page
BOYCE, WILLIAM BINNINGTON (1804-1889),scholar and clergyman,
was born at Beverley, Yorkshire, England, on 9 November 1804. He entered the Wesleyan ministry and in 1830 was sent to South Africa with instructions to compile a grammar of the Kaffir language. He did this while working as a missionary and published it in 1834 under the title of A Grammar of the Kafir [Thus spelt in first edition.] Language. A second edition, A Grammar of the Kaffir Language augmented and improved with Vocabulary and Exercises by William J. Davis, was published in 1844, and a third in 1863. Boyce returned to England in 1843, had a church at Bolton for two years, and was then sent to Australia as general superintendent of the Wesleyan missions. He arrived at Sydney in January 1846, carried on his work vigorously, and was elected president of the first Wesleyan conference held in Australia. He published in 1849 A Brief Grammar of Modern Geography, For the Use of Schools. In 1850 he was appointed one of the first members of the senate of the university of Sydney and took a special interest in the formation of the university library. He resigned when he went to England in 1859 to become one of the general secretaries of foreign missions. He edited in 1874 a Memoir of the Rev. William Shaw, and in the same year appeared Statistics of Protestant Missionary Societies, 1872-3.
Boyce returned to Sydney in 1876 and took up church work again. He was a busy man, often doing much lecturing during the week and preaching three times on a Sunday. Yet he found time to do much literary work and brought out two important books, The Higher Criticism and the Bible, dated 1881, and an Introduction to the Study of History, which appeared in 1884. Early in 1885, at a dinner party in Sydney, he met J. A. Froude, who was much attracted to him (Oceania, p. 195). Working until the end, with his mind in full vigour, Boyce died suddenly at Sydney on 8 March 1889. He was married twice (1) to a daughter of James Bowden and (2) to a daughter of the Hon. George Allen and was survived by four daughters by the first marriage.
Boyce was a man of wide reading and encyclopaedic knowledge. His Grammar of the Kaffir Language had special value as it formed the basis on which much of the study of other South African languages was built. His volume on The Higher Criticism and the Bible, and his Introduction to the Study of History, were both excellent books of their period, and his organizing power was shown in his bringing the Wesleyan Church in Australia to the state when it could free itself from requiring help from the missionary society in England. Personally he was a man of much sagacity and kindness, with a vivacious interest in both the past and the present, and great powers of work.
A grandson, William Ralph Boyce Gibson (1869-1935), was professor of mental and moral philosophy at the university of Melbourne from 1911 to 1934 and was the author of several philosophical works. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander Boyce Gibson, born in 1900.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 March 1889; The British Museum Catalogue; The Melbourne University Calendar, 1936.^Top of page
BOYD, ARTHUR MERRIC (1862-1940),artist,
was born at Dunedin, New Zealand, on 19 March 1862. He went to Australia and in January 1886 married Emma Minna à'Beckett, also an artist, daughter of the Hon. W. A. C. à'Beckett of Melbourne. Proceeding to England they lived for a time at Westbury, Wiltshire, and in 1891 husband and wife each had a picture in the Royal Academy exhibition. Boyd travelled and painted a good deal on the continent, returned to Australia about the end of 1893, and lived mostly at Sandringham and other suburbs of Melbourne for the rest of his life. He occasionally sent good work to the exhibitions of the Victorian Artists' Society, but never mixed much in the artistic life of his time. Mrs Boyd died at Melbourne on 13 September 1936 and her husband in July 1940. Each is represented by a picture in the national gallery at Melbourne. Of their sons, the eldest, Theodore Penleigh Boyd, is noticed separately. Another son, Martin à'Beckett Boyd, born in 1893, became well-known as a writer of fiction under the name of Martin Mills, and a third son. Merric Boyd, did some interesting work in pottery.
Martin Boyd, A Single Flame; Burke's Colonial Gentry, under à'Beckett; private information and personal knowledge.^Top of page
BOYD, BENJAMIN (C. 1796-1851),pioneer,
was born about the year 1796 at Merton Hall, Wigtonshire, Scotland. He was the second son of Edward Boyd by his wife Jane, daughter of Benjamin Yule. In 1824 he was a stockbroker in London and on 8 October 1840 he addressed a letter to Lord John Russell, stating that he had recently dispatched a vessel entirely his own at a cost of £30,000 for the purpose of trading in Australian waters. He also stated that he intended to send other vessels, and asked for certain privileges in connexion with the purchase of land at various ports he intended to establish. He received a guarded reply promising assistance, but pointing out that land could not be sold to an individual to the "exclusion or disadvantage of the public". About this period Boyd had floated the Royal Bank of Australia, and debentures of this bank to the amount Of £200,000 were sold. This sum was eventually taken by Boyd to Australia as the bank's representative. He arrived in Hobson's Bay on his yacht, the Wanderer, on 15 June 1842, and reached Port Jackson on 18 July.
Boyd seems to have lost no time in investing his own and his bank's money. In a dispatch of Sir George Gipps (q.v.) dated 17 May 1844 he mentioned that Boyd was one of the largest squatters in the country, with 14 stations in the "Maneroo" district and four at Port Phillip, amounting together to 381,000 acres of land. At about the same period the firm of Boyd and Company had three steamers and three sailing ships in commission. Large sums of money were also being spent on founding the port of Boyd Town on the south coast, which involved the building of a jetty 300 feet long, and a lighthouse 75 feet high. Four years later a visitor, speaking of the town, mentioned its Gothic church with a spire, commodious stores, well-built brick houses, and "a splendid hotel in the Elizabethan style". At this time Boyd had nine whalers working from this port. In 1847 he began shipping natives from the Pacific islands, hoping thus to get an unlimited supply of cheap labour. This scheme turned out to be a complete failure. The beginning of Boyd's troubles was the loss of two law-suits for the insurance money on one of his vessels which was wrecked, but generally one gets the impression, that though he was always keen to obtain his labour as cheaply as possible, his schemes were too grandiose for the then state of Australia. The shareholders in the Royal Bank became dissatisfied, and eventually not only was the whole of the capital lost but there was a deficiency of £80,000. Boyd was apparently allowed to keep his yacht the Wanderer, for he sailed on her to California on 26 October 1849. In America he went to the gold-diggings but had no success, and in June 1851 he sailed in the Wanderer for a voyage among the Pacific islands. On 15 October 1851, while at the Solomon Islands, Boyd went ashore with one native to shoot game and was never seen again. A party was landed and search was made for him, but no trace of him could be found except a belt which had belonged to him. It appears to be certain that he was killed soon after he landed. There were afterwards rumours that he had escaped, and at the end of 1854 an expedition was sent to the islands to make further inquiries. The search was quite fruitless.
Boyd was a man of "an imposing personal appearance, fluent oratory, aristocratic connexions, and a fair share of commercial acuteness" (Sidney, The Three Colonies of Australia). Mrs Georgiana McCrae (q.v.), with whom he had dinner when he first came to Port Phillip, looked at him with an artist's eye and said: "He is Rubens over again. Tells me he went to a bal masque as Rubens with his broad-leafed hat." He belonged to the eternal type of the adventurer, always sanguine, and seldom stopping to count the cost. All that remains to remind us of him are the decaying buildings of Boyd Town near Eden on Twofold Bay.
J. H. Watson, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. II, pp. 129-49; Historical Records of Australia, vols. XXI, XXIII, XXIV, XVI; J. Webster, The Last Cruise of "The Wanderer"; Hugh McCrae, Georgiana's Journal.^Top of page
BOYD, THEODORE PENLEIGH (1890-1923), always known as Penleigh Boyd,artist,
was born in Wiltshire, England, on 15 August 1890, the eldest son of an artist, Arthur Merric Boyd (q.v.). His mother, also a painter of ability, was a daughter of the Hon. W. A. C. à'Beckett, M.L.C. Penleigh Boyd was educated at Haileybury College, Melbourne, and the Hutchins School, Hobart, and in 1905 entered the Melbourne national gallery schools, where he studied for four years under Frederick McCubbin (q.v.) and L. Bernard Hall (q.v.). When only 19 years of age he held an exhibition of his work at the Guildhall, Melbourne, which was successful, and he sailed for England before reaching his twenty-first birthday. A large landscape "Springtime" was hung at the exhibition of the Royal Academy of 1911. Boyd then went to Paris and studied at the Académie Colarossi, received good advice from E. P. Fox (q.v.), and was much interested in the French painting of the period, though it had little effect on his work. In 1912 he married Edith Gerard Anderson and after a tour in Europe returned to Australia in 1913. He held another successful show of his work, and soon afterwards won the second prize at the competition for a picture of the site of Canberra, organized by the federal government. He also won the Wynne prize at Sydney in the following year. He enlisted for active service in 1915, was severely gassed in September 1917, and invalided to Australia in 1918. He established himself at Warrandyte near Melbourne and continued a successful career as a painter. In July 1923 he brought out from Europe a large collection of paintings by well-known artists which was shown at Melbourne and Sydney. He died after a motor accident on 28 November 1923. His wife survived him with two sons.
Boyd painted successfully both in water-colours and in oils, but will be remembered chiefly for his work in the latter medium. He worked with great facility, from the beginning painting seemed to have no difficulties for him. His drawing was good, he had a natural sense of arrangement, and a first rate feeling for colour. His slightly theatrical "Breath of Spring" in the Melbourne gallery scarcely does him justice; he is better represented at Sydney, and examples of his work will also be found in the galleries at Adelaide, Geelong and Castlemaine.
J. S. MacDonald, The Landscapes of Penleigh Boyd; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art.
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