Carrington, Francis Thomas Dean

Francis Thomas Dean Carrington (1843-1918), by Gaul & Dunn, 1868-69Francis Thomas Dean Carrington (1843-1918)
was born in London. He studied in Paris before moving to Melbourne in the 1860s and pursuing a career. He was a cartoonist for Melbourne Punch, and cartoonist and writer for the Australasian Sketcher.

His political cartoons were published across several newspapers and magazines, such as the Australian Journal, the Melbourne Punch, the Touchstone, and the Australasian. He also illustrated several books including Long Odds by Marcus Clarke and Punchialities from Punch.

He wrote for the Argus, under the pseudonym ‘Leonardo’ and for the Australasian under ‘Ixion’. His final cartoon, ‘The Last of the Session’, appeared in Punch on 15 December 1887.

In June 1880, alongside journalists George Allen (Melbourne Daily Telegraph), John McWhirter (Age), and JD Melvin (Argus), Carrington joined the special train accompanying the police to Glenrowan, to cover the last siege of Ned Kelly.

His article ‘Catching the Kellys: a personal narrative of one who went in the special train’ was published in The Australasian on Saturday 3 July, 1880. This article, written in the first person,  evocatively describes the siege and capture of Kelly at Glenrowan. It was republished across several newspapers, including the Argus and the West Australian. Carrington’s illustrations of the siege and its aftermath for the Australasian Sketcher are among his most famous drawings. Together, his words and images underpin the way Ned Kelly is remembered in Australian history and cultural mythology.

In 2003, Jones edited the mini-book, Ned Kelly The Last Stand, Written and Illustrated by an Eye Witness, which republished the Glenrowan account by Carrington within a personal and historical context.

Selected works:


Jones, I, (ed) (2003) Ned Kelly, The Last Stand, Written and Illustrated by an Eyewitness, Lothian: South Melbourne.

McWhirter, John

Journalist John McWhirter (1851-1917) was born in Scotland. At the age of two, he and his family migrated to Melbourne. McWhirter’s journalism career began with The Bendigo Advertiser. He later joined Melbourne’s Age and was one of the four journalists  recruited to cover Ned Kelly’s last stand at Glenrowan in June 1880. The others were George Allen (Melbourne Daily Telegraph); Thomas Carrington (Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil), and  JD Melvin (Argus).

McWhirter and the three other journalists joined the special train that took a contingent of police to Glenrowan following the killing of Aaron Sherritt. The eye-witness accounts of McWhirter and the other journalists, particularly Tom Carrington’s reminiscence, have provided the foundation for the Kelly legend and its portrayal over the last 150 years in books, films, television programs, articles and artworks.

According to his obituary, McWhirter also worked for the press in New Zealand and New South Wales. Like the other journalists who covered the Glenrowan siege, he was a man of action and was remembered for swimming a flooded river to file a story for an (unnamed) Sydney paper on which he was a reporter.

Representative Article:

McWhirter’s article on the Kelly’s last stand was published in the Age on 28 June, 1880. Because of damage to the original, it is not easily available on microfiche in any form that can be easily read. It was republished, however, and at least sections of it can be traced in other newspapers, e.g. in the Leader.


  • “Obituary”, Bendigo Advertiser, 6 January, 1917.
  • Jones I (1995 / 2003) Ned Kelly: A Short Life, Lothian, South Melbourne.
  • McMenomy, K (2001). Ned Kelly: The Authentic Illustrated History, Hardie Grant BooksSouth Yarra.
  • Shaw, I. W. (2012) Glenrowan: The Legend of Ned Kelly and the Siege that Shaped a Nation, Pan Macmillan Australia, Sydney.

Willoughby, Howard

Howard Willoughby 1839-1908  began his journalism career with the  Age in 1861, but soon transferred to the Argus. 

As a literary journalist, Willoughby  wrote in the 1860s on the Maori Wars. His next major assignment was to report on the convict system in Western Australia when that colony was considering stopping transportation (the last colony to do so). His articles were published as a series in the Argus, then as the 1865 pamphlet, Transportation: The British Convict in Western Australia. In the preface to the supplement of the series, the Argus describes his articles as ‘letters’.

In 1866 Willoughby was also one of the first Hansard staff of the Victorian parliament. He became the first editor of the Melbourne Daily Telegraph in 1869, but returned to the Argus nearly a decade later, writing a weekly political column under the pseudonym, Timotheus and becoming editor in 1898. He remained as Argus editor until his death in 1908.

Representative articles



Lambie, William J

William John Lambie (1860 – 1900)  covered the Boer War as correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, along with AB (Banjo) Paterson.  Described by Mark Dapin as, ‘talented but luckless’, Lambie travelled with fellow war reporters Joe (JD) Melvin and Alfred ‘Smiler’ Hales (2011: 46).  His report of the war in Sudan from Suakin (1885) is notable for its use of the first person and immersive style.

While Paterson, Hales and Melvin survived their war duties, Lambie was killed. He and Hales were separated from their Australian patrol and surprised by Boer fighters. When they attempted to escape on horseback Lambie was fatally shot, becoming the first recorded Australian war journalist to die in action.

Representative articles:


  • Dapin Mark (ed) (2011) The Penguin Book of Australian War Writing, Penguin/Viking, Melbourne




Dickenson, Edith Charlotte

Edith DickenseonLittle is known about Edith C.M Dickenson (1851 -1903)  apart from a small biography written by her great grandson, Steve Lipscombe, on the Australian Boer War Memorial website.

According to Lipscombe, Edith married Doctor Augustus Maximillian Dickenson, Medical Officer of Health at Deloraine, after immigrating to Tasmania from England in 1886. She had previously married a reverend, but it is unclear why the marriage ended, or whether her four children accompanied her to Australia.

While travelling, Edith began her association with the Adelaide Advertiser, filing travel articles and photographs, which later formed the basis for her book, What I saw in India and the East (1900).

In 1899, Edith joined nurses in South Africa at a camp where her husband was a military doctor, and turned to war reporting. Rather than describe battles as WJ Lambie, JD Melvin and A.B Paterson did , she wrote about the impact of the war on people.  The Adelaide Advertiser called Edith, ‘our special correspondent in South Africa, Mrs. Edith C.M Dickenson.’

Her article, “The Refuge Camp” (1902), vividly describes the hardship and starvation of local life, chronicling the dead animals as far as the eye could see: “Horses, cows with young calves near them, mules, goats in various states of decay …Two or three times I saw dying animals, once a goat dragging itself along and staring beseechingly at a passing train with its head through the wires.”

In another article she sketches mini character profiles that highlight colonial privilege: “Mr Sylvester Browne is an immense man…seated in a double rickshaw he seems to surge out from either side of it, and the unfortunate Kaffir should get double rates.” (1900). In the same article, Edith describes the smell of the wharves like a, ‘heated haystack’ and also chronicles her visit to a local orphanage.

She was prolific in her production of articles for the Advertiser, which appear a month after the date of writing. In another article, Military Hospitals (1900)  Edith writes in first person, again highlighting conditions for soldiers and the nurses’ attempts to care for the wounded, interspersed with social justice calls that highlight the poverty facing wounded soldiers upon their return that was a characteristic of her writing.

According to Lipscombe, Edith’s husband died at Beluthie camp in 1902, the year the Boer War ended. Edith died the following year, but it is not clear if that was upon her return to Australia or while still in Africa.

Representative Articles