Born: Established: 16 Oct 1861 Smythesdale ; Died: 25 Mar 1934 London
Arthur Lynch was the fourth of fourteen children of Irish born civil engineer and goldminer John Lynch, who was briefly imprisoned for his role in the famous Eureka Stockade rebellion, and his Scottish wife, Isabella. Educated in Ballarat, he graduated from the University of Melbourne with certificates in civil engineering in 1882, a BA in 1885 and an MA in 1887.
After practising for a short period in Melbourne as a civil engineer, he left to study physics, physiology, and psychology at the University of Berlin, and medicine at the Hospital Beaujon in Paris. He moved to London in the early 1890s where he worked as a freelance writer and journalist for the National Reformer, the Evening News and the Sun, and was Paris correspondent for England's Daily Mail and special correspondent for Le Journal. He stood unsuccessfully in 1892 as a Parnellite parliamentary candidate for Galway.
In 1899 Lynch went to South Africa as a war correspondent, made contact with Botha, and was asked to command a new troop of volunteers which became known as the 2nd Irish brigade and saw service in the Boer War. Lynch then went to the United States to promote the Boer cause, returned to Paris and in 1901 stood for, and was elected in absentia, as a nationalist candidate for Galway. On his return to London to take his seat in the parliament, Lynch was arrested over his involvement in the Boer War. Protesting he was an Australian, he was jailed for eight months, tried for treason, and in 1903 was found guilty. He was released a year later on licence and was given a free pardon in July 1907.
In 1909 he was elected to the House of Commons for the seat of West Clare, Ireland, which he held until 1918. When conflict began in World War One, Lynch contacted the Australian Government volunteering for active service with the Commonwealth Forces, but his offer was refused. He worked for the cause of freedom during the war by assisting in communication between British and French leaders and was made a colonel in the latter part of the conflict. After he lost his parliamentary seat Lynch, who had qualified as a physician, practised medicine in London.
Engineer, philosopher, colonel, parliamentarian, novelist and poet, Lynch was the author of books on many subjects that included ethics, critical writings on science, psychology and Irish issues. His publications include Human Documents : Character-sketches of Representative Men and Women of the Time (1896), Ireland : Vital Hour (1915), Ethics : An Exposition of Principles (1922), Principles of Psychology (1923), Science : Leading and Misleading (1927), The Rosy Fingers : The Building Forms of Thought and Action in the New Era (1929) and The Case Against Einstein (1932). Lynch also published an autobiography My Life Story (1924).
There is little to connect Lynch to Australia through his prolific writing after he departed and although he never returned to Australia, he still seemed to have maintained a loyalty to his country of birth when he described it as a place 'whose greater destiny I behold as in a vision, and whose children of the new dawn I salute' (The Rosy Fingers, 1929, p.304).