Robert Travers Atkin

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Robert Travers Atkin memorial, St Margaret's Anglican Church, Sandgate, 2005
Detail of the memorial (side 1)
Detail of the memorial (side 2)

Robert Travers Atkin (29 November 1841 – 25 May 1872) was an Irish-born newspaper editor politician in colonial Queensland, Australia.[1]

Early life[edit]

Atkin was born in Fernhill, County Cork, Ireland.[1]

In 1863, Atkin immigrated to Queensland in 1864, spending around a year and a half in the central Queensland. He had a fall from a horse and injured his chest, the effects of which were long-lasting.

Newspaper editor[edit]

Atkin became he became editor of the Brisbane Guardian but resigned over policy disagreements. In partnership with W. C. Belbridge, Atkin started the Queensland Express in August 1868, but the paper lasted less than three years.[2]

Politician[edit]

On 1 October 1868, Atkin was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland for the seat of Clermont. He resigned on 29 January 1869, claiming it was the only honourable course of action due to "the treachery, the weakness, and the lust for office" of the leaders of the Queensland Parliament. However, it was suggested that he resigned before his election was voided because his nomination was invalid.[3][4]

On 17 February 1870, Arthur Francis, member for East Moreton, resigned due to insolvency, and a by-election was called. On the nomination day, 19 February 1870, there were two candidates: Atkin and Robert Cribb (who had previously represented the electorate from 1863 to 1867). In his nomination speech, Atkin made accusations against Cribb, who replied vigorously defending himself. The somewhat unexpected outcome of this verbal exchange was that Cribb announced he would withdraw his nomination. Cribb said that if Atkin believed he could represent them so well, the best thing they could do would be to let him try, predicting that Atkin would either resign or be asked to resign within six months. Being the only remaining candidate, Atkin was declared elected.[3] [5]

Cribb's six-month prediction did not come true. However, Atkin did not complete his term, as he resigned on 7 March 1872 due to serious ill health (pulmonary tuberculosis).[6]

Later life[edit]

Atkin died at Sandgate, Queensland on 25 May 1872. He was also buried at Sandgate, where a monument was erected to his memory by the members of the Hibernian Society of Queensland, of which he was vice-president.[1] The inscription on the monument says:[7]

This broken column symbolises the irreparable loss of a man who well represented some of the finest characteristics of the Celtic race — its rich humour and subtle wit, its fervid passion and genial warmth of heart. Distinguished alike in the press and parliament of Queensland by large and elevated views, remarkable powers of organization and unswerving advocacy of the popular cause. His rare abilities were especially devoted to the promotion of a patriotic union amongst his countrymen irrespective of class or creed combined with a loyal allegiance to the land of their adoption.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mennell, Philip (1892). "Wikisource link to Atkins, Robert Travers". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource
  2. ^ Morrison, A. A. "Atkin, Robert Travers (1841–1872)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Alphabetical Register of Members of the Legislative Assembly 1860-2012". Queensland Parliament. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "No Title.". Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald & General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 - 1908) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 11 February 1869. p. 2. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "EAST MORETON NOMINATION.". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 19 February 1870. p. 3. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Queenslander. SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 1872.". The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 9 March 1872. p. 4. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "File:Robert Travers Atkin monument detail.JPG". Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved 24 January 2014.