Farrellesque reminiscenses [by W. T. Goodge, 22 January 1904]

[Editor: This article by W. T. Goodge was published in the column “Random Notes”, in The Western Champion, 22 January 1904.]

Farrellesque reminiscenses.

John Farrell is dead, and Australia has lost a front-rank journalist of remarkable versatility. He was a high-class poet; even Gordon did nothing better than “How He Died.” He was a profound delver into the first principles of political economy, and could write serious articles on abstruse problems. He had a vein of humor that was irresistible in prose, and he turned out stories in verse of a light vein that Bret Harte would have been glad to acknowledge.

I had a regard for Mr. Farrell that was not confined to admiration for his abilities, for he was my journalistic godfather. It was at Sunny Corner, when the silver mines were booming, and before Broken Hill became famous, that I first knew Mr. Farrell.

I had written some things for the local paper; but the mines grew short of silver and the newspaper plant was removed to Lithgow, where a new paper, called the “Lithgow Enterprise,” was started as a contemporary of the “Mercury,” then in the hands of the energetic J. P. T. Caulfield. The new competitor got a very warm reception from Mr. Caulfield, and as I could not get the position of correspondent for Sunny Corner, for the paper which left there for Lithgow, I made terms with Mr. Caulfield, and wrote to his paper for a long time. But the proprietor, who went to Lithgow to start opposition to the “Mercury,” soon got tired of the competition and sold out — to Mr. John Farrell, the brewer from Queanbyan, who was well-known, and much more widely known as the author of “How He Died.”

There was no fighting between Farrell and Caulfield, and when things got worse at the silver mines I left Sunny Corner, and on the way to Sydney called at Lithgow. There Mr. Farrell advised me to take to newspaper work altogether, and gave letters of introduction to leading Sydney pressmen, which were of the greatest assistance. He not only did that, but wrote directly on my behalf, and it was almost entirely through Mr. Farrell that I got something like a start.

Seeing that I was a contributor to the other Lithgow paper, there was no reason why Mr. Farrell should help me, excepting that he was a big hearted, generous man, who would help anybody along if he possibly could. Other pressmen I got to know afterwards also gave me a helping hand and sound advice (a good deal of which I didn’t follow), but I would, perhaps, never have known them but for John Farrell.

The Western Champion (Parkes, NSW), 22 January 1904, p. 4

Editor’s notes:
Gordon = Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833-1870), a poet who spent most of his working and literary life in Australia; he was born on the island of Faial, in the Azores (a Portugese group of islands about 1,360 km, or 850 miles, west of Portugal); with his British parents, he moved to England in 1840, until he migrated to Adelaide (South Australia) in 1853, at the age of 20; he worked as a mounted policeman, a horse-breaker, a Member of Parliament, and as a sheep farmer; he became a popular poet, due to such writings as “The Sick Stockrider” (1870)

John Farrell = (1851-1904) a poet and journalist who spent most of his working and literary life in Australia; he was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina; with his Irish parents, he migrated to Melbourne (Victoria) in 1852; he worked as a brewer, gold-digger, timber-cutter, drover, and newspaper editor; he became a popular poet, due to such writings as “How He Died” (1883)

[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]

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