A VERSATILE PERSONALITY.
Late Hon. Ebenezer Ward.
The death of the Hon. Ebenezer Ward in. Western Australia on Monday removed an identity who was at one time the most picturesque figure associated with South Australian politics. On September 4 last Mr. Ward, celebrated his eightieth birth anniversary in Perth, and a brief outline of his career was published in The Register of that day. There was then no apparent prospect that the end of his life would come so soon.
—Early Career.— Mr. Ward was successively a journalist, actor, legislator, and Minister of the Crown, prior to his retire- ment many years ago. Originally intended for holy orders, he early rebelled against the parental mandate, and resolutely faced the world when 12 years of age in an effort, to gain a livelihood. His arrival in Aus- tralia was late in the fifties, and he iden- tified himself with the press of Melbourne, where he gained considerable distinction with his facile pen. His introduction to the South Australian public was of a holi- day nature, made in company with the late G. V. Brooke, the famous tragedian, who went down in the swamping of the steamer London in the Bay of Biscay in 1865. Mr. Ward returned to South Austra- lia in 1861 to settle permanently. Always a keen political student he sought legislative honours, and the electors of Gumeracha returned him to Parliament.
THE LATE HON. EBENEZER WABD.
THE LATE HON. EBENEZER WABD.
A splendid rhetorician, a capital de- bater, and a caustic critic, his style of oratory was. convincing, his vocabulary extensive, his diction clear cut and polished, his elocution perfect. The analytical faculty had been well developed in the stern school of harsh experience, so that he was keen to discern the weaknesses of an adversary, and quick to combat antago- nistic views. Gifted with considerable histrionic power— more than once displayed on the professional stage— and a voice flexible as any actor could desire, it was a treat to near him in the best years of his life declaim in passionate periods against an existing wrong which required legislative righting. Although he was curiously deficient in humour, his fluent tongue was a mighty influence for his side and as a 'whip of scorpions'' to those who would thwart his will. The first fruits of success proved all too sweet, and the great promise of political youth was never properly fulfilled. —Son of the Manse.— Mr. Ebenezer Ward was born on Septem- ber 4. 1837, at Russalls, Mersey Island, Es sex— the family seat of the Wards, who were well known landed gentry in the county. He was the son of the late Rev. Josepn Ward, and was educated at Dump ton Hall, near Ramsgate, Kent— an in- etitution established for the sons of Baptist ministers. His studies there came to an abrupt termination on the eve of the mid- summer holidays in 1849. The head master (Rev. B. Farringdon) informed Ward that he had to proceed to a certain college to complete his educational course, in accord- ance with the desire of his parents. 'Does that mean I am to become a Baptist minis- ter?' enquired the young scholar. The affirmative reply was given, and Ward ended the interview dramatically by telling his schoolmaster that he had no intention of becoming a parson. He at once left, and went straight to London. He was in the great metropolis— a mere boy of 12 years, with no friends, only a few shfllings, and his school suit. As a well-attired school- boy he walked down Great Suffolk street with a hazy idea of 'getting something to do'. He obtained a position at 1/ a week with board and lodging. After a few weeks in Lincoln's Inn square he chanced on a large dingy printing office, and obtained work there as 'copy boy' at 7/ a week. Close by at a coffee house in Great Queen-street the young- hopeful engaged a room at 1/6 a week in the identical building that Dickens immortalized in 'David Copperfield.' During his short stay there Mr. Ward ac- quired his first appreciation of Shak- epeare. At that time Routledges' were bringing out popular editions of Shak- speare's works — Messrs.. Cox Brothers and Wyman were the printers. As reading boy young Ward had to go through the old prints, verifying and correcting. Next, he obtained employment at the office of The Morning Post as a reader's boy at 15/ a week. Here he became a reader, and afterwards a reviser, and even- tually a member of the reporting staff of the great Conservative organ. —In the Commons Gallery. — Mr. Ward's transition from reviser to reporter was an easy one. Frequently when holding the former position he was told off to take a 'turn' in the gallery of the House of Commons. He won the confi- dence of his employers, and was frequently entrusted with matters of importance as re- garded Downing street and the policy of the paper. In this connection he worked occasionally in co-operation with the then Mr. Algernon Borthwick (after wards Lord Glenesk), son of Mr. Peter Borthwick, proprietor of The Morning Post. Algernon Borthwick was at this time Paris correspondent of The Post, and he frequently went over to England in a Calais boat, in connection with his jour- nalistic duties, for in those times, there were no cables. Thus in affairs of politi- cal moment both he and Mr. Ward worked in concert on his arrival in London— this, too, at a time when Mr. Ward was but 18 years of age. Mr. Ward severed his connection with The Morning Post in 1856, and retired to his old home, in Essex, for three years. . —Arrival in Australia.— The life of a young county gentleman was ill suited to one of his restless dis- position. So he sold out his horses and hounds and the equipages of the chase to tempt fortune in another land. He sailed for Australia in March, 1859, in the ship British Trident, and fellow-passengers were Mr. Peter Waite, the well-known South Australian pastoralist, and Sir Frederick Pottinger. The. vessel arrived at Melbourne in June, 1859, and two days after Mr. Ward became associated as a reporter with The Melbourne Herald, then a morning, journal. His literary abilities were soon recogniged. Obtaining a com- mission from the Victorian Government to collect agricultural statistical matter, he travelled most of the important farming centres, and the results of his observations were embodied in articles which appeared in The Herald under his name. Mr. Ward contributed largely to Bell's Life in Victoria, the then well-known sporting and agricultural newspaper, issued from The Herald Office. His first professional en- gagement on The Herald was to report a ploughing match at Melton. He was cor- dially welcomed -by the officebearers, and made himself so extremely popular that he was afterwards pressed to contest the district of West Bourke for Parliament. This he declined. .. [Continued on Page 6.]
PERSONALITY. [Continued from Page 4-] —On the Stage.— In 1860 he accompanied Mr. G. V. Brooke, the celebrated actor, to Ade- laide, and made the memorable trip in the Omeo. Mr. Ward and the great tragedian had been fast friends in Mel- bourne. On the trip across it was sugges- ted that Mr. Ward should assist in the performances during the Adelaide season of six weeks. He consented, and for the initial presentment of 'Hamlet' -was cast for the character of Rosencrantz, under the stage name of Edward Ewart. His first appearance was anything but a suc- cess, for he was seized with stage fright and his tongue clove to the roof of his mouth so that he could not speak the few words required of him when asking the melancholy Dane to play upon the pipe. The occupants of the gallery quickly per- ceived the situation, and as the uproar in creased, Brooke's stage whisper of 'D-- you, sir, go on!' was distinctly heard all over the theatre. Finally the great actor rescued the scene from failure by chari- tably assuming that the lines allotted to Rosencrantz had been spoken. Once hav- ing become accustomed to the footlights, however, Mr. Ward appeared in fairly big parts, including that of Lord Stanley in 'Richard III.' After a return season in Melbourne, during which he organized a benefit performance to Brooke, Mr. Ward went up to Sandhurst (now Bendigo) with the company, to the opening of the Ly- ceum Theatre there.
— Some Performances. — Prior to a benefit entertainment which was given in the Adelaide Town Hall in 1902, a correspondent wrote to The Regis ter: — ' Apart from any question of Parlia- mentary service Mr. Ward has a record which fully justifies the recognition to be tendered to him. As long as 40 years ago he frequently appeared with other ama- teurs at the old Victoria Theatre in dra- matic performances in aid of public chari- ties, and his impersonation of Claude Mel- notte in ''The Lady of Lyons' is still spoken of by those who survive who wit- nessed it. In later years he frequently appeared at the Theatre Royal, on one occasion in aid of the then S.A. Jockey Club, who conducted racing at the Thebar- ton Course under the able management of the late Mr. E. M. Bagot. The play on that occasion was Sheridan Knowles's The Hunchback,' in which Mr. Ward, who also acted as honorary Secretary, assumed the title role. The performance as a whole was such a success that it was repeated a week later by general request, and the funds of the jockey club benefited by nearly £200. At the annual meeting of the club shortly afterwards a special vote of thanks to Mr. Ward for his services was moved by the late Hon. W. K. Simms, seconded by the late Mr. Gabriel Bennett, and car- ried unanimously. Among other parts played by Mr. Ward were Leonardo Gon- aago in The Wife;' Reuben Holt, in West land Marston's domestic drama of 'A Hard Struggle;' Duke Aranza, in The Honey- moon:' Sir Harcoort Courtly, in Bouci- canlt's famous comedy of 'London Assu- rance;' and Pygmalion, in the equally famous play of 'Pygmalion and Galatea.' Mr. Ward had also lectured or assisted at literary entertainments in aid of the funds of country institutes in most of the town ships of South Australia, from Mount Gambier, where he wrote and first deli- vered his well-known lecture on 'Shaks peare,' to Port Augusta.' The glamour of stage life soon vanished, and he returned to Melbourne. — In Adelaide. — Soon he accepted an appointment on The Age, where he remained till June, 1861, when he came to Adelaide to assume the leadership of the Hansard staff. The late Mr. R. S. Smyte had held the office, and, desiring to vacate it in order to become a theatrical entrepreneur, had been allowed to do so conditionally that he found an effi- cient successor. Mr. Ward's first task in hia new sphere was to report the budget speech of the Hon. Thomas Reynolds. His reputation as a stenographer was estab- lished. The recess of 1861 was occupied in writing articles on the vineyards and orchards of South Australia, and these were afterwards published in book form. Two years later he joined Mr. F. Sinnett on The Telegraph (Adelaide), as associate-editor. The Northern Territory Settlers Act had been passed, and the Ministry offered Mr. Ward a leading posi- tion in its Administration. The appoint- ment, however, could not be formally con- ferred for some months, and in the interim Mr. Ward visited Melbourne and rejoined. The Age staff, contributing special articles on the vineyards of Victoria. He had to leave this work incomplete, to accept the promised Government appointment in the Territory. There he acted as clerk, trea- surer, postmaster, and general Pooh Bah, in connection with the expedition. He returned from the Territory in 1865. and launched The Southern Argus at Strath albyn. Six months later he rejoined The Telegraph and took up his old position as Government shorthand writer. In 1868 he issued his first address to the electors of Gumeracha, and after a fierce contest was defeated by 22 votes. Two years later he fought the battle again in opposition to Messrs. (afterwards Sir) Arthur Blyth and A. G. Downer. He was the only one of the five candidates who wooed the suf- frages of the electors of that constituency in 1868 who again sought Parliamentary honours. He was returned by a substantial majority, and secured 343 plumpers out of 512 votes. He represented the district for 10 years— through four consecutive Parliaments. Dur ing the period he held the office of Minis- ter of Education and Agriculfmre in one of the Boucaut Administrations and in the Colton Government. He had been five years in the House when he was called upon to take ministerial office. In 1880 hea resigned his seat in Parliament, but in 1881 was elected for the Burra district with the Hon. W. B. Rounsevell. In the same year he started The City and Country— a weekly newspaper which did not long sur- vive. Mr. Ward also established the Northern Argus (Clare), and he once had a paper at Gumeracha. He owned, too, The Farmers' Messenger, a weekly which hoped for great things, but did not realize them. —A Memorable Speech.— After the subdiviaion of the Burra elec- torate in 1884, the Frome District returned him at the head of the poll, and in the Assembly he was elected Chairman of Com- mittes. It was during the second session that Mr. Ward mode his memorable four hours' speech, and in the course of his re- marks outlined what he considered would prove a beneficial national policy of deve- lopment. The electors of Frome in 1887 once more placed him in the leading posi- tion. He was again selected as Chairman of Committees. In 1890 Mr. Ward was de- feated for Frome, but the following year was returned for the Northern District in the Legislative Council. Just prior to this he was officially gazetted as an 'Honour- able' for life within the Empire. — Some Achievements.— Mr. Ward's political achievements in clude, the stoppage of the sale of Crown Lands for cash in 1870 and 1871, and the throwing open of the lands on credit selec- tions. As Minister in the Boucaut Go- vernment he introduced the principal Edu- cation Act of 1875, which had been drafted by the late Judge Sir J. P. Boucaut and the late Chief Justice (Sir Samuel Way), who was then Attorney-General in that Cabinet. He established experimental farms at Mannahill, in 'the north-east, and at Mount Muirhead (Millicent) in the south east. The abolition of imprisonment for debt was the result of his persistent agitation. Mr. Ward was also an enthusiastic advo- cate of all railway extension, and was one of the prime movers in the early efforts to establish railway communication with Mel- bourne. He made a proposal in the House that a survey should be made of fhe nearest and most practical route; Sir James Bou- caut met this with an amendment that a line should be made from Adelaide to Nairne, and Mr. Ward, ever in favour of railway extension, voted for that measure. He took a prominent part in getting the railway to Mount Gambier built, and the only line which he ever opposed was that to Port Broughton. For a transcontinen- tal line Mr. Ward was an enthusiastic advocate, and he firmly maintained that it would have to come some day. — Recent Years.— During recent, years Mr. Ward had re- sided in Perth. He was quite as well known a personality there as in Adelaide. He wrote articles for the Western Aus tralian.' press and one of his treasured possessions was a free railway pass granted to him so that he might travel for the purpose of 'writing-up' the country, par- ticularly its pastoral and agricultural indus tries. . —The Family— Mr. Ward was very proud of the fact that three of his sons, three grandsons, and a son-in-law are on active service at the front. The following' are members of his family:— Cpl. J. G. P. Ward, of the A.I.F. (eldest eon); Mr. E. G. Ward, of Perth; Mr. W. C. R. Ward, of Elder, Smith, & Co., Limited. Sydney: Mr. H. T. Ward, barrister, of Adelaide; Tpr. Arthur Ward, of the. Australian Light Horse, now 18sEgypt; Lieut. L. N. Ward, of the Royal Aviation Corps, England: Mrs. James Clark, of London; Mrs. Drew, of Ade- laide, and three other daughters.