JOSE, Arthur Wilberforce (1863-1934)


JOSE, Arthur Wilberforce (1863-1934)
historian and miscellaneous writer
was born at Bristol on 4 September 1863. He was a son of W. Wilberforce Jose for some years chairman of the technical education board, Bristol, and was educated at Clifton College, where he obtained a scholarship which took him to Balliol College, Oxford. About a year later his health broke down and he was sent to Australia in 1882 to recuperate. His father lost his money and a return to Oxford became impossible. Jose was offered a clerical position in Sydney but preferred to get Australian experience working in the country as a wood-chopper, cook, and fencing contractor. He then went to Hobart and was a tutor in a private family. In Tasmania he met the Rev. Edwin Bean, headmaster of All Saints' College, Bathurst, who offered him a position as assistant master. He was there for about nine years. In 1888, under the pseudonym of "Ishmael Dare", he published a volume of poems, Sun and Cloud on River and Sea, a pleasant collection of musical verses. He was appointed acting-professor of modern literature at Sydney university in 1893, and from 1893 to 1899 was organizing secretary of the university extension board. In September 1899 his history of Australia was published which was afterwards several times revised. The tenth edition, published in 1924, brought the number of copies issued up to 60,000. Jose then went to South Africa and for a short period was a war correspondent. Going on to London he published in 1901 The Growth of the Empire and in 1902 was appointed professor of English and History at the M.A.D. College, Aligarh, India. He soon returned to London where he became interested in the Imperial Tariff and Tariff Reform League, did some writing for the press, and in 1903 was appointed The Times correspondent in Australia. He held this position from 1904 to 1915 and fearlessly endeavoured to set out the Australian point of view. His Two Awheel and Some Others Afoot in Australia was published in London in 1903 with illustrations by G. W. Lambert (q.v.).
In 1915 Jose resigned his position with The Times and was attached to the in telligence branch of the Royal Australian Navy with the rank of captain. When the war was over he was appointed editor of the Australian Encyclopaedia, the first volume of which appeared in 1925 and the second in 1926. He then undertook the volume on the Royal Australian Navy in The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 which appeared in 1928, as did also his Builders and Pioneers of Australia. Jose was in Europe between 1927 and 1932 and did reviewing for the Times Literary Supplement and other publications. His Australia Human and Economic appeared in 1932, and in January 1933 he returned to Australia and published The Romantic Nineties, a volume of essays and reminiscences. He died at Brisbane on 22 January 1934 and was survived by his wife and a son.
Jose has been described as one of the best Australians ever born and educated in England. He had a strong sense of justice and more than once was in trouble with The Times over such questions as the White Australia policy and the sincerity of the Australian Labour leaders. Without being a great writer he was exceedingly competent, and every one of his books, from his verse to his history writing, is good in its own way. There are few more interesting Australian books of their kind than Builders and Pioneers of Australia and The Romantic Nineties. His editing of the Australian Encyclopaedia was generally very good. A brother, the Very Rev. George Herbert Jose, born in 1868, came to Australia in 1903, became an archdeacon in 1927 and dean of Adelaide in 1933.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 1934; The Times, 23 January 1934; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; The Bulletin, 31 January 1934; A. W. Jose, The Romantic Nineties.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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