Frederick Vosper


W.A. POETS FROM THE PAST

 

His Poems

The New Woman (1895)

A New War Song  

Goodbye Boys

Some short Ditties

Soldiers of the Empire

The Latest "Six Hundred"

A Wail from a Victorian Factory

Milk Oh!

Wales and other Wails

A New Litany

Onward Christian Soldiers

Boer "Official" News

Rumor

Song of the Banana Peel

The Tale of a Soldier

The Spider and the Fly

 

 

Frederick Charles Burleigh   Vosper

Born: 23rd March  1869,  Cornwall England

Died: 6 Jan 1901 Perth, Western Australia

Biography:

Having received a good education, Vosper defied convention and joined the Royal Navy with the intention of becoming an officer.  The Naval life was not for him however and he resigned before his probationary period was up.  We next hear of him here in Australia at Maryborough, Queensland in 1886 as a 17 year old.

Taking up a career of journalism he worked on some small Queensland newspapers before taking up a sub-editor position at Charters Towers "Northern Miner" then editor of the anti-establishment paper "Australian Republican"   He championed the cause of miners, republicanism and working men's rights.  He was opposed to Asian immigration.  In 1891, he published some papers in support of the Shearers strike and was charged with sedition.  Whilst he was acquitted of this, he was later (in 1892)  charged with inciting a riot (during a miners' strike)  for which he spent 3 months in gaol .  Following his release, he moved to Sydney where he worked for the "Truth" and "Workman" 

Moving to Western Australia in 1893, he worked for various papers at Cue, Geraldton and Perth before moving to Coolgardie where he took up the editorship of  the influential "Coolgardie Miner"

Over the next several years he joined a number of Political groups associated with furthering the rights of miners and workers.  He was an able public speaker and used this ability to attack the policies of the Western Australian Government led by Sir John Forrest. 

Being rejected as a candidate by the Labor party, in 1897 he ran as an independent for the Legislative seat of North-East Coolgardie winning easily.

During his time in Parliament he supported votes for women, compulsory arbitration, a minimum wage, payment of members, liberalization of the electoral laws and triennial parliaments. Although he lived in Perth, he regularly visited the goldfields where he was very popular.  

Late in that same year he married a widow, Venetia Anne Nicholson (nee Finn) and with her money, joined Edward Ellis in setting up the West Australian Sunday Times, a Weekly newspaper.  for which he worked [no parliamentary pay in those days so M's P needed a "real job" ] When Ellis died in 1898, Vosper became editor of the "Sunday Times"  which he used to disperse information and ideas that were often anti-establishment and were not reported on by the main daily Perth Paper, the "West Australian" run by Sir Winthrop Hackett, friend and compatriot of the Premier.

From 1897, in parliament and outside it, he devoted time to goldfields' disputes, to the government's mental health policies and to Federation, which although considering it a good idea in principle, he opposed it as he considered the conditions of joining to be detrimental to the working man.  

His oppositionist stand estranged him from the goldfields-based 'Separation for Federation' movement. but he retained much goodwill for his stand on other social issues.  

Having invested all of his (and his wife's) capital in the paper which did not make a large profit, he did not live the lifestyle of many of the other politicians, particularly those of the "monied establishment" and by 1900 was in considerable financial difficulties.   In the 1900 elections, his seat was abolished and he nominated for the forthcoming National Senate as a "Free Trader" .  He was never to go to the polls however, as shortly after nominating, he suffered complications from appendicitis and died.

His funeral at Karrakatta was one of the largest for a "working man" that had been seen to that time.  

Whilst not a prolific poet,  Vosper was known to have written a considerable number of poems, few of them to which he put his name;  many being just part of his editorial column "Acta Diurna"  in the Sunday Times, it is also known that he put other names to some of his poems.   It is these poems that are largely presented on this website - Some may not be from the pen of Frederick Vosper, - should you be aware of any of those listed which actually are written by someone else and you have something that will convince me,  please e-mail me and I will make the appropriate changes.   .  

 

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