Caroline Carleton (6 October 1811 – 10 July 1874) was an English-born South Australian poet who is best known for her prize-winning poem Song of Australia, which, put to a tune by Carl Linger was used as a patriotic song in South Australian schools and elsewhere, and one of four in a national plebiscite to select a National Song in 1977.
Caroline Baynes was born at Bonnar's Hall (also written Bonner's Hall), Middlesex near London, the youngest child of bookseller William Baynes (29 May 1760 – 7 January 1832) and his second wife Mary Ann (née Bailey) (1771–1862). Although her birthdate is generally given as 1820, this may have been a useful fiction, as baptism records give the 1811 date.
She was highly intelligent and received a good education. She could converse in French and Italian, as well as being well-versed in Latin; she played pianoforte and harp. In 1836, at West Hackney (perhaps on York Road near modern Dalston?), she married Charles James Carleton, a medical student working at Guy's Hospital and who could claim a family connection with the Earls of Dorchester. Together with their two young children (James Poole Carleton born 23 April 1839 and one other) they left for Australia in 1839, on the Prince Regent. It was a rough passage and both children died and were buried at sea. The passengers disembarked at Glenelg on 26 September 1839.
After a few false starts making cordials, castor oil, and other commodities, Charles (who never completed his degree) became around 1844 medical dispenser to the Colonial Surgeon, Mr. James George Nash F.R.C.S. They may have resided at the Adelaide Hospital, where Caroline had two more children. In 1842 he was assayer with Alexander Tolmer's expedition to Mount Alexander which subsequently escorted a quarter of a ton of gold to Adelaide. In 1845 he and a Dr. Davy built a trial lead-smelting furnace. In 1847 they moved to Kapunda, where Charles was employed as assayer and perhaps as medical officer.
In 1849 they returned to Adelaide, where he opened a chemist's shop at 37 Hindley Street, then in August 1851 to c. 51 Rundle Street He visited the gold diggings at Forest Creek, Victoria, perhaps working as an assayer and gold buyer, and returned to his Rundle Street shop with new advertising directed at miners. The shop was taken over early in 1853 by James Parkinson. and throughout 1853 to May 1854 he was selling bottled English porter and stout at Blyth's Building, Hindley Street.
He was returning officer for Grey Ward in the 1855 Census.
He took a position as superintendent of the West Terrace Cemetery in November 1855, He died on 20 July 1861 and was buried at the same cemetery. For the last two years as his health deteriorated, most of the work was done by Caroline.
The Song of Australia
It was while at the cemetery in 1859 that she wrote The Song of Australia in response to the Gawler Institute's contest for a patriotic poem that could be set to music, and submitted it under the pseudonym "Nil Desperandum". Her poem won the prize of ten guineas (£10 10s.); several thousand dollars by today's values.
The second stage of the Gawler Institute's contest was for a tune for the winning poem as published on 21 October 1859. Again, the prize was ten guineas. The winner, announced on 4 November 1859 was Carl Linger, whose pseudonym was "One of the Quantity".
With the death of her husband in 1861, she applied for the job as curator of the cemetery but was refused. As was the resort of many well-educated women left without an income, she founded a school for girls at Waterhouse's Building, 231 North Terrace, in 1861, but insufficient income to run her establishment forced her insolvency in 1867. She reopened her school in Tavistock Street in 1868, then Hanson Street in 1869, then in 1870 or 1871 moved to the bustling city of Wallaroo where her daughter Amy had a school (a photograph, c. 1874, may be viewed here). She may have made several trips between Adelaide and the "copper triangle" of Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo. It was during one of these trips, while staying at "Matta House" near Kadina that she died. It is likely that she was given the use of this house by the manager of Moonta Mines, the mining magnate and patron of the arts and sciences William Austin Horn (1841–1922) who published Bush Echoes on his return to England.
Caroline was buried in the Wallaroo cemetery on 12 July 1874. During the South Australian Centenary, on 13 March 1936, some three thousand citizens and eight hundred schoolchildren made a pilgrimage to her graveside. The stone also memorialises Charles James her husband and Charles James her son.
Charles James Carleton (c. 1814 – 20 July 1861) married Caroline Baynes (6 October 1811 – 10 July 1874) in 1836; they had two children before emigrating; both died en voyage. Children born in Australia include:
- Caroline Carleton (7 October 1840 – 13 November 1920) married Rev. Henry Martyn Pollitt (1843 – 5 December 1908) on 2 October 1866. He was the eldest son of Rev. James Pollitt.
- Mariana (3 April 1843 – 1 February 1935) married John Jerard Rhead (c. 1835 – 24 March 1904) on 3 April 1877, moved to Northam, Western Australia
- Amy Sophia Person Carleton (16 April 1849 – 18 April 1931) left Wallaroo for Northam in 1886, established Greywell School
- Charles James Carleton (13 September 1851 – 7 July 1875) was a prize-winning student of the Adelaide Educational Institution in 1863 (but possibly only that year, as his mother's financial situation was precarious), opened a cordial manufacturing business with Alfred John Todd on Cherry Street, Southport near Darwin, Northern Territory in 1874 (partnership dissolved in May 1874). He died at Howley Creek; he was in the process of taking over the Quartz Reef Hotel at Howley Crossing in the gold-mining town of Howley, not far from Hayes Creek. His name is recorded on the headstone of his mother, who died almost exactly a year earlier.
- Alice Carleton (5 September 1853 – 18 September 1885) married chemist George Alfred Parker (c. 1851 – 28 June 1907) on 11 November 1879
Myths and misconceptions
A number of misconceptions have been perpetrated (and perpetuated) about Caroline:
- She was born on some (unspecified) date in 1820. False. Thanks to the Internet and the work of Baynes family researchers, it is now known that she was born on 6 October 1811.
- That she had a middle name. False. "Caroline J. Carleton" is a misnomer, probably arising from her "married" name of Mrs. C. J. (for Charles James) Carleton.
- Caroline commissioned Carl Linger to write the tune. False. There is no evidence they met before the contest; the contests and judging were separate.
- Caroline used the pseudonym "Nil Desperandum" to hide the fact she was a woman. False. It was a condition of both stages of the contest that a pseudonym be used, for "blind" judging.
- Caroline and Carl Linger shared the prize. False. The two contests were run sequentially, had different judges and separate prizes.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
Song of Australia was published in The South Australian Register on 21 October 1859. Other poems by Caroline Carleton were contained in South Australian Lyrics published and printed in Adelaide by J.H. Lewis, 1860. This slim (18pp.) volume includes:
- Fragmentary Lines Written in a Cemetery
- Loss of the Dunbar
- Lines – On observing the light of two lamps in the Town form a Triangle with a conspicuous Star in the Evening Sky
- Summer's Evening Reverie
- The Echo of the Waves
- The Flowers of Australia
- Lines – on the Indian Relief Fund
- The Cawnpore Massacre
- South Australian Song
- Written on the occasion of the presentation of a Silver Bowl to the Mayor and Corporation of Adelaide by the Founders of the Colony.
- On Recovering from Illness
- To the River Torrens – written in 1840
- Tributary Lines
- On the Suicide of a Young Lady
- The Old Gum Tree
- Written in Commemoration of the 21st Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Colony.
- A Wondrous Tale – Dedicated to the Author of "The Legend of Kupirri"
- The Wreck of the Admella
- The Rescue
- http://baynes.co.nf/parish.php#ID23 Extracts from the Baptism Register, Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London,taken from a film copy of the register at the PRO Ref.RG4/4388
- "An Australian Pilgrimage". The Mail. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 14 March 1936. p. 10. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "Advertising". Southern Australian. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 16 April 1840. p. 2. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Agricultural and Horticultural Society's Grand Exhibition". Southern Australian. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 16 February 1844. p. 2. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- ""Proud Man Dressed in a Little Brief Authority"". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 4 December 1844. p. 3. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- Webling, Rae A Song of Australia Kadina S.A. 1977
- "Arrival of Mr. Tolmer at Wellington". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 19 March 1852. p. 2. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "South Australia". The Observer. Hobart, Tas: National Library of Australia. 24 October 1845. p. 4. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Thursday, June 17". The South Australian. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 18 June 1847. p. 3. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Advertising". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 28 March 1849. p. 1. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Advertising". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 30 August 1851. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- "Advertising". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 6 August 1852. p. 4. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Advertising". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 3 March 1853. p. 2. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Advertising". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 5 April 1855. p. 1. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Appointments". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 9 November 1855. p. 3. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Classified Advertising". The South Australian Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 21 October 1859. p. 1. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Gawler Prize Music". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 5 November 1859. p. 2. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "Classified Advertising". The South Australian Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 14 December 1859. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- "Classified Advertising". The South Australian Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 25 September 1861. p. 1. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Insolvency Court". The South Australian Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 23 October 1867. p. 3. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- In Memoriam C.J. Carleton (photograph of headstone). District Council of the Copper Coast. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
- "Classified Advertising". Northern Territory Times and Gazette. Darwin, NT: National Library of Australia. 22 May 1874. p. 2. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- "Provincial Telegrams". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 14 July 1875. p. 5. Retrieved 11 April 2012. This reference has his death on the evening of Friday 9 July.
- "Port Darwin". Hamilton Spectator (1605). Victoria, Australia. 13 October 1875. p. 4. Retrieved 14 March 2019 – via National Library of Australia. a more informative account