Edward Dickens

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Edward Dickens
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
In office
13 February 1889 – 25 June 1894
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Richard Sleath
Constituency Wilcannia
Personal details
Born (1852-03-13)13 March 1852
London, England
Died 23 January 1902(1902-01-23) (aged 49)
Moree, New South Wales, Australia
Relations Six brothers and three sisters
Parents Charles Dickens
Catherine Dickens

Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens (13 March 1852 – 23 January 1902) was the youngest son of English novelist Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine.[1] He immigrated to Australia at the age of 16, and eventually entered politics, serving as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1889 to 1894. He died in poverty at the age of 49.


Nicknamed "Plorn", Dickens was clearly named after Edward Bulwer-Lytton — nowadays much satirised for the famous opening line of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford, "It was a dark and stormy night" — and educated at Tunbridge Wells in Kent at a private school owned by the Reverend W. C Sawyer, later Anglican bishop of Armidale and Grafton. He also attended lectures at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.[2][3]

Momba House at Momba Station c. 1870

Charles Dickens encouraged Edward, along with his elder brother Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens, to migrate to Australia, which he saw as a land of opportunity. Alfred migrated in 1865 and Edward in 1868. Edward arrived at Momba Station just before his sixteenth birthday. Dickens settled at Wilcannia, New South Wales where he became manager of Momba Station. He married Constance Desailly, the daughter of a local property-owner, in 1880. He opened a stock and station agency, was elected as an alderman of Bourke Shire Council and bought a share in Yanda station near Bourke. He lost heavily from bad seasons and in 1886 he was appointed government inspector of runs in the Bourke District. He was never able to pay back a loan of ₤800 from his most successful brother, Henry.[3][4]

Dickens' grave in Moree

Dickens nominated for the seat of Wentworth at the 1882 by-election, but withdrew before the polls, won by fellow pastoralist Edward Quin, then was elected member for Wilcannia in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1889 and held the seat until defeated by the Labor Party candidate, Richard Sleath in 1894.[2] Dickens then became a rabbit inspector for the Government of New South Wales and was afterwards an officer for the Lands Department in charge of the Moree district.[5] He subsequently had difficulty finding employment and died after several months' illness in Moree, in debt and childless.[3] He was buried in Moree cemetery.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dickens Family Tree website
  2. ^ a b "Mr Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens (1852 - 1902)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Lansbury, Coral (1972). "Dickens, Charles (1812 - 1870)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  4. ^ Meacham, Steve (24 December 2002). "Dickens of a time". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  5. ^ 'The Life of Charles Dickens: His Life,Writings and Personality' By Frederic George Kitton, Published by Lexden Publishing Limited, (2004) p383, ISBN 1-904995-02-0
  6. ^ "Grave Photo Link". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2007-09-09.