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2 corrections, most recently by jhempenstall - Show corrections

DEATH OF A WELL-KNOWN  

JOURNALIST.

MR. JULIAN THOMAS, "THE

VAGABOND."

By the death of Mr. Julian Thomas, better known as "The Vagabond," which       happened suddenly yesterday morning, Australian journalism loses one of its most notable personalities. Although his literary   career was confined almost exclusively to   the daily press, he had earned a place in   public memory that was more than ephemeral. Possibly much of this reputa-

tion was due to to instantaneous success of "The Vagabond" papers, the success of     which, when published in "The Argus,"         was so great as to occasion their reproduc-   tion in book-form; but most was doubtless due to the personal qualities of the man himself. Gifted with a clear literary style, a faculty for unearthing romance from the       most dry-as-dust material, and an extraor-      

dinary fund of personal experience, his first contributions to "The Argus," so far back     as 1876, at once stamped him as a new force in journalism. It must not be supposed that his whole journalistic career began and     ended in Victoria. Born in Virginia, in the   United States, in the thirties, he had   passed the meridian of life amid the tur-

moil of the wilder and newer states of the Union. Of his experiences in these half- settled, half-savage regions he told many       remarkable stories. In the quieter atmo- sphere of Victoria his first articles in "The     Argus" bore the same unmistakable stamp of adventure. He began by a paper on "The Life of the Yarra Bank," which at       once arrested attention. This was followed   by an equally successful sketch of a night in the Immigrants' Home, and after this his place in public estimation was regarded     as assured. What followed all who have read "The Vagabond" papers know. As a voluntary prisoner, as a hospital porter, as a warder in a lunatic asylum,     as a correspondent in New Caledonia, in Queensland, in Fiji, in charge of "The       Argus" expedition to New Guinea, in all situations where adventure was to be en-   countered, and where his fertile pen could find material, he travelled and wrote, and   wrote and travelled, enriching the baldest     details from a store of personal experience which never failed. For if there was one thing more than another which marked his   work, it was that he stamped it indelibly with his own personality. An exceptional experience, a phenomenal memory, an ex- traordinary capacity for appreciating the   unusual side of life—these were qualities which served "The Vagabond" well. In   1891-2 Mr. Thomas accepted the position of     secretary to the Royal Commission on   Charities, and his experience was of the   utmost value to the members in the com- pilation of the report. But for some time past it was evident that his health was fail-     ing. The once familiar figure was seldom     seen: yet, though it was known that he     suffered from cardiac asthma, the news of   his sudden death came as a shock to his many friends. On Thursday evening he   went to his rooms in Princes-street, Fitz-     roy, apparently in his usual health. Yes-   terday morning he was found dead in his

bed.

The remains of Mr. Thomas will be in- terred in the Melbourne Cemetery to-day,   the cortege starting from his chambers, Princes-street, Fitzroy, at 3 p.m.    

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