EVANS, George Essex (1863-1909)


EVANS, George Essex (1863-1909)
poet
was born in London on 18 June 1863. His father, John Evans, Q.C., who was for five years a member of the house of commons, died when the boy was only a few months old, and his education was directed by his mother. His schooldays were spent in Wales and at a college in Jersey, and when he was 17 years of age he emigrated to Queensland. He arrived in April 1881 and, after some experience on the land, obtained a position on the Queenslander. He entered the public service in 1888 and afterwards became district registrar at Toowoomba. His first volume, The Repentance of Magdalene Despar, was published in 1891, and in 1892 and 1893 he was associated with J. T. Ryan in the production of an annual, The Antipodean, which had good work in it. A third number appeared in 1897. In 1898 Loraine and other Verses was published, and in 1901 Evans won a prize of £50 for his "Ode for Commonwealth Day". Five years after The Secret Key and other Verses which included part of the Loraine volume, was published. During the last two years of his life Evans did much writing on the resources of his state for the Queensland government. He died at Toowoomba on 10 November 1909. He married in 1899 Mrs Blanche Hopkins who survived him with one son. An edition of his Collected Verse was published in 1928, and there is a monument to his memory in Webb Park, Toowoomba.
Evans was a good athlete and a man of much strength of character, with the sensitiveness of the poet. He unfortunately suffered from deafness all his life. He won a great reputation in his own state as a poet, and in their own way "An Australian Symphony" and the "Ode for Commonwealth Day" are both very good. He could write good swinging patriotic verse as in "Cymru", and "The Women of the West" is a good bush ballad. But as a rule he is not much better than a fluent writer of capable verse, and even in his better moments his epithets and thoughts are a little too close to the obvious to allow of his being given a high place among Australian poets.
F. McKinnon, Introduction, The Collected Verse of G. Essex Evans; The Courier, Brisbane, 11 November 1909; H. A. Kellow, Queensland Poets; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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