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Archive for April, 2011

Trish Frei's 2005, "Calamities, Fatalities and Realities"FOLLOWING John Clavering Wood’s arrival in Sydney on 14 June 1860, he quickly became acquainted with local social and political issues. By 8 December, he was lauding the parliamentary candidacy of William Redman (1823-82) for the seat of Queanbeyan.

Writing in the Queanbeyan Age and General Advertiser (aka The Golden Age) as the columnist “Occulus”, JC Wood described himself as one making “his first attempt at ‘things political’.” More columns by Occulus were to follow, but meanwhile much general reporting during 1861-64 (though unattributed) smacks of Wood’s style, as apparent from his 1865 novel Tom Hurstbourne or A Squatter’s Life.

Canberra historian and retired librarian, Trish Frei, has painstakingly transcribed myriad valuable newspaper stories in her book, Calamities, Fatalities and Realities: Local and Regional Anecdotes from ‘The Golden Age’ 1860-1864, Queanbeyan NSW, Canberra ACT (2005). Even the first extract, ‘A Traveller’s Wayside Sketches’ sounds uncannily like JC Wood.

Trish Frei offered her opinion:

As far as I’m aware, [John Gale, editor of The Golden Age] didn’t have that many correspondents in those early days, mainly because educated people were hard to find within a small farming community… JCW could have written more than you think…

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