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1872: Henry Kingsley resigns due to execution

Henry Kingsley c1870

Among his cabinet of ministers, Mr Russell* includes a brief notice of Henry Kingsley, who is one of the noteworthy trio brothers, and lives in memory as the author of ‘Geoffrey Hamlyn’, which is still held by many as the best Australian story that has been written.

Henry Kingsley came to Australia in 1853, and was for a time in the mounted police, until then being obliged in the way of official duty to attend the public execution caused him to resign. He returned to England in 1858, and settle down to become a novelist.

'Geoffrey Hamlyn', written when he was still reeking of Australia, was the first and best of his works, ‘focusing the early life of a new country, the first building off of a great Commonwealth’. He acted as war correspondent in the Franco-German campaign, and he said to be in the first Englishman to enter Metz.

In 1872 he returned to England, and resume literary work; but his health soon failed, and he died in his 47th year at Cuckfield, in Sussex, where he lies buried.

Leader (Melbourne, Vic.) 16 Aug 1913 Page 27

*Whig politician Rt Hon George WE Russell

Photograph: Novelist Henry Kingsley, ciirca 1870, from 'The mirror of the century', by John Lane, NY, 1906. Wikimedia public domain image.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.


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