WARD, Frederick William (1847-1934)


WARD, Frederick William (1847-1934)
journalist
was born in New Zealand on 5 April 1847. He was the fourth son of the Rev. Robert Ward, a Primitive Methodist clergyman, and was educated for the same ministry. He came to Australia in his early twenties and was associated with the Rev. William Curnow in the pastorate of the most important Methodist church in Sydney. About the year 1876 he began contributing to The Sydney Morning Herald and resigned from the ministry. In 1879 he became editor of the Sydney Mail and in 1883 took charge of the Echo. He was appointed editor of the Daily Telegraph in 1884. He was then aged 37 and full of vigour, and the paper flourished under his editorship. He was a good judge of men, he got together an excellent staff, and his strong personality was imposed on the paper. In 1890, however, on account of a disagreement with the board of directors on a question of policy, he resigned. He went to London in 1894 to manage the cable service of the Melbourne Age and Sydney Daily Telegraph, but was away for only about a year before returning to Australia and becoming editor of the Brisbane Courier. Ward was appointed principal leader writer of the Melbourne Argus in 1898, but in 1903 he again became editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph. He remained in control until his retirement in 1914, partly on account of his health. After spending two years in Europe he returned to Australia in 1916 and edited the Brisbane Telegraph for four years. He finally retired in 1920 and lived quietly in Sydney and in the Blue Mountains until his death on 1 July 1934. He married Amy Cooke who predeceased him, and was survived by two sons and two daughters. He was given the honorary degree of LL.D. by Glasgow university.
Ward was a great journalist, a man of strong character and high principles, kind and sagacious, who was dominated only by the idea of service to the community. In his later years, when editor of the Brisbane Telegraph, the Labour government of the day was remodelling legislation very strongly in the direction of state socialism. Many men of Ward's age were much alarmed, but he took the view that Queensland was then the political workshop of Australia where theories could be tested and tried. He did not refrain from criticism, but his broadmindedness enabled him to make his criticism constructive. Throughout his career he was enabled to do much in directing the moulding of public opinion in Australia.
Ward's elder son, Leonard Keith Ward, born in 1879, became government geologist and director of mines for South Australia. He was awarded the Clarke memorial medal of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1930. The younger son, Hugh Kingsley Ward, born in 1887, was Rhodes scholar for New South Wales in 1911 and after holding the position of assistant professor of bacteriology at Harvard, was appointed Bosch (q.v.) professor of bacteriology at the university of Sydney in 1935.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 July 1934; The Telegraph, Brisbane, 3 July 1934; Who's Who in Australia, 1933, 1941.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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