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5 corrections, most recently by billeeb - Show corrections


A cable message was received at the office of Messrs. Wilson, Newman-Wilson, and Hem- ming yesterday conveying the intelligence that the Hon. James Swan, M.L.C., had died in the Mediterranean Sea on board the R.M.S.

Jelunga, on the 26th May. Mr. Swan was, with   his wife, on his way to England, where he in- tended staying for some twelve months. The deceased gentleman was in feeble health when he left Brisbane, and many old friends, who

bade him good-bye, were doubtful as to   whether they would see him again. On reach- ing Thursday Island, however, Mrs. Swan wired that her husband was very much better and quite himself again. No particulars as to the cause of death

have been received, but doubtless his advanced   age—for Mr. Swan had reached his 80th year —together with the climatic changes ex- perienced on the voyage, were in some measure the cause of his death. Mr. Swan, though not the oldest resident of Brisbane, is truly one of its pioneers, he having in 1846 taken up his abode here, and with the exception of two occasions when he visited Scotland, has resided here continuously up to the time when he boarded the Jelunga. His first acquaintance with Australia dates from the year 1837, when the Rev. Dr. Lang brought him to Sydney from Glasgow. Mr. Swan had at that time been apprenticed to the printing trade in Glasgow, and on his arrival in Sydney was looked upon as a decided acquisition to the staff of the Colonist, of which paper Dr.

Lang was the proprietor. One of Mr. Swan's   colleagues on the Colonist was Mr. T. W. Hill, who was for many years printer and publisher of the Brisbane Courier, but who lately retired from that position on account of failing health. In 1841, when the Colonist ceased publication, Mr. Swan joined the staff of the Sydney Herald. He did not remain there long, however. He took to farming pursuits, though experience proved to him that to start agricultural work at a time when the condition of the colony was so low as it was in the early forties was a mistake and a money-losing affair. When in 1846 Mr. Sidney Lyons started the Moreton Bay Courier he pre- vailed upon Mr. Swan to publish the paper,

and it was under these circumstances that the deceased gentleman made his acquain tance with Brisbane. Mr. Lyons getting into monetary difficulties some eighteen months later, the plant became the property of Mr. Swan, who continued the proprietorship until 1859, when the paper was purchased by the late Hon. T. B. Stephens, and became the Brisbane Courier. Mr. Lyons, having in 1850 squared his finances, established the Free Press, but it was short-lived; the experience of Mr. Swan and the policy of the Courier secured for it a victory over its opponent, and the Free Press soon died. As old residents know, anti- transportation and separation were in the early days the two questions which almost alone agitated the minds of the Brisbane folk on one side and the squatters on the other ; and in respect of both Mr. Swan identified himself most prominently with the popular   side. He was also an ardent Baptist, being a member of what was known as Dr. Lang's Church—now the official resi- dence of the Government Printer in William- street, and when the Presbyterians, Congrega- tionalists, and Baptists separated (for those three bodies formed "Dr. Lang's Church"), Mr. Swan was one of the few men who brought about the erection of the old Baptist Church in Wharf-street. The deceased gentleman also took considerable interest in public affairs. He for some years filled an aldermanic chair, and three times that of mayor. During his term of office he did much to bring about the erection of Victoria Bridge—a work which, if costly in the extreme, was one of absolute necessity. In 1878 he was called to the Upper House, where he has continued to sit as a staunch Liberal, and an admirer of Sir S. W. Griffith. The deceased gentleman was born in Glasgow in 1811, and was therefore 80 years of