Reprint: Obituary - Mr. T. A. Browne (Rolfe Boldrewood)

MELBOURNE, December 31.

The death was reported to-day of "Rolfe Boldrewood" from the effects of gastric influenza. Thomas Alexander Browne, who wrote under the name of "Rolfe Boldrewood," was the eldest son of the late Captain Sylvester John Browne, of the East India Co.'s service. He was born in London in 1828, and arrived in New South Wales with his father in 1830. He was a pioneer pastoralist in the Port Fairy district from 1844 to 1856, and afterwards engaged in squatting pursuits in southern New South Wales. In 1869 he abandoned pastoral pursuits owing to the prevailing droughts. In 1870 he became a police magistrate and goldfields warden in New South Wales, a position he held until 1895, when he retired to live in Melbourne. Mr. Browne was best known by the name under which he wrote, "Rolfe Boldrewood." He was the author of numerous stories of Australian life, some of which were of very high literary quality. His best known work is "'Robbery under Arms," which was published in 1883. In this story he gathered together all the bushranging traditions of New South Wales, and wove them into a tale which, for real pathos, vivid description, and sustained interest, has seldom been approached by any Australian writer. The verisimilitude of the tale was such that, to many, Starlight and the Marstons were living personalities. His other works did not reach the standard of "Robbery under Arms," but they were very popular, as they contained first-hand descriptions of the old overlanding and digging days, and the wild life of the backblocks generally. He published, in all, some 18 stories.

First published in The Mercury, 1 January 1910

Note: I had to check the date of this newspaper article twice to ensure I had it right - and I did - and I find this obituary highly amusing, though I doubt that Browne felt the same way. He actually died some five years later. The obituaries from that time aren't much different.

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

Note: Rolf Boldrewood was born on 6 August 1826 and died on 11 March 1915.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 7, 2009 8:59 AM.

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