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.

Bedford, George Randolph

George Randolph Bedford 1868 – 1941 was first captivated by the idea of journalism at the age of 18. In his autobiography, Naught to Thirty Three,  he  writes, ‘I saw my first copy of The Bulletin and entered a new world. The only journalism I had seen before was dull and horribly respectable…and now here was The Bulletin, all the rich record of Australian life suddenly finding publication’ (1944:80).

His first newspaper job was in Bourke, but his fascination with the mining industry saw him move to the Broken Hill Argus in 1888. After a stint on the Adelaide Advertiser, he worked at the Age, becoming its crime reporter. In 1896, he launched the Clarion, a literary and mining journal, with Lionel Lindsay as part-time editor and illustrator. His later journalism included articles on mining and other topics for Lone Hand.

Bedford wrote a small work of literary journalism,  “The Retail Brand of Gentleman” (1893) for The Bulletin, then a series of articles about London (1902/1903).

Like so many journalists of the era, Bedford also wrote novels, plays and short stories. He was also drawn to politics. He joined the Queensland parliament in 1917 and remained in parliament until his death in 1941.

Representative articles


  • Bedford, Randolph (1944 / 1976), Nought to Thirty Three, Currawong Publishing Company, Melbourne

Melvin, J D

Joseph Dalgarno Melvin (1852 – 1909)  began his journalism career in Scotland as soon as he left school at the Moray Advertiser and the Perth Advertiser.  According to biographer Peter Corris, Melvin joined the Argus soon after arriving in Melbourne with his family, and reported on military and political news in the city.

In 1880, Melvin wrote a work of literary journalism on the last stand of the Kelly Gang at Glenrowan, Victoria, “The Destruction of the Kelly Gang”, joining the police hunt for the bushrangers during the siege and capture. He was accompanied by three other journalists George Allen (Melbourne Daily Telegraph); Thomas Carrington (Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil), and John McWhirter (Age).

In 1885, Melvin was the war correspondent in Sudan for the Daily Telegraph and The Bulletin, despite initially not having official credentials. He teamed up with fellow war reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, W.J Lambie.

In 1892, Melvin wrote a series of articles titled, “The Kanaka Labour Traffic” for the Argus’ Saturday paper, the Australasian,  about the practice of recruiting South Sea islanders for Queensland’s sugar cane plantations. Additional articles were published in the Argus and the series was syndicated.

He worked undercover signing on to the Helena as crew for its round trip from Queensland to the Solomon Islands. Peter Corris published Melvin’s full series of articles as  The Cruise of the Helena (1977).

In later years, Melvin joined political staff as a Hansard writer in 1905, then worked for the politician William Kidston in Queensland as his speech writer.

Selected Articles:


The series of 13 articles Melvin wrote for the Argus on “The Kanaka Labour Traffic” appeared as the following:



Corris, P (ed) (1977) The Cruise of the Helena, Hawthorn Press, Melbourne



Archibald, Jules François

J F ArchibaldJules François Archibald (1856-1919) is best known as the founder and editor of The Bulletin, yet he was also a literary journalist, contributing to The Bulletin’s first issue (1880).

Born in Victoria as John Feltham Archibald, he renamed himself ‘Jules François’ claiming French heritage from his mother. He began his journalism career as an apprentice printer, then moved to reporting. Archibald was ambitious and according to biographer Sylvia Lawson (2006), submitted a story to the Argus about the Melbourne Immigrant’s Home, but the paper had already accepted an article on the Home by the undercover journalist ‘The Vagabond’ (John Stanley James).

JF Archibald and John Haynes at Darlinghurst Gaol
JF Archibald and John Haynes at Darlinghurst Gaol

Archibald was initially disillusioned, but after a brief career change as a mining clerk in North Queensland, returned to Sydney and connected with journalist John Haynes, who was editing the Evening News.  Haynes sent Archibald to Mt Rennie, near Mudgee NSW, to cover the unjust hanging of an Indigenous man (1879).

The following year,  Haynes and Archibald launched The Bulletin; Haynes focussing on advertising and distribution, and Archibald writing and editing copy. In the first issue, published on 31 January 1880, Archibald wrote the lengthy work of literary journalism “Wantabadgery Bushrangers”, detailing the execution of Andrew Scott (Captain Moonlite) and Thomas Rogan at Darlinghurst Gaol.

As The Bulletin continued, Archibald concentrated on nurturing Australian journalists such as Henry Lawson, A B Paterson and J D Melvin,  artist Norman Lindsay and literary editor AG Stephens.

Sylvia Lawson writes that on his death in 1919, aged 63, Archibald left an endowment to The Benevolent Fund of the Australian Journalists’ Association ‘for the relief of distressed Australian Journalists’ rents, mortgages, medical, hospital and funeral expenses, even food, clothing and school fees’ (2006: 319).

Representative Articles:


  • Lawson Sylvia (2006): The Archibald Paradox, Melbourne University Publishing (MUP), Melbourne