Also writes as: David Roseler
Born: Established: 7 Apr 1895 Charters Towers, Charters Towers area, Far North Queensland, Queensland, ; Died: Ceased: 14 Jun 1960 Budgewoi, Budgewoi Lake - Lake Munmorah area, Central Coast, New South Wales,
Born in Queensland, E. V. Timms moved to Western Australia with his family where he was educated at Fremantle Boys School under the future Lieutentant General Thomas Blamey. He completed his education in Sydney and studied electrical engineering before enlisting in the AIF. He was promoted to lieutenant on 15 March 1915 but was wounded during the Gallipoli landing and invalided home. He married in 1916 and took up a soldier-settler block. Farming life was not successful for Timms, and so he moved to Sydney to become a businessman. Encouraged by his wife, he took up writing and published his first short story in Smith's Weekly. Soon after, he completed his first novel, The Blue Pool Mystery (1924), and published a number of books of adventure and humour in the late 1920s. Timms was a very competent writer of popular romance and collaborated with the film producer Charles Chauvel on a number of scripts during the 1930s, including Forty Thousand Horsemen (1940). He also produced many short stories and radioplays and a number of very popular historical romances set in seventeenth century Europe.
Timms re-enlisted for World War II, attaining the rank of major by 1943. He served in Australian Garrison batallions and was a commandant at the Cowra prisoner of war compound during the Japanese breakout in August 1944. His order to fire on the prisoners was closely scrutinised at a military court of inquiry. He gave an account of his decision in 'Bloodbath at Cowra', published in As You Were (1946).
After the war, Timms began writing his Great South Land Saga, completing Forever to Remain in 1948. In the tradition of his seventeenth century historical romances, this series of novels told the story of early Australian settlement up to the mid nineteenth century. Timms had completed ten novels by the late 1950s, but poor health made completing the planned twelve volumes very difficult. He died in June 1960, leaving The Big Country incomplete. His wife, Alma, took on the job of completing the novel. It was published in 1962 and her novel Time and Chance (1971) served to complete the Great South Land Saga. Timms's novels have recently attracted cultural critics exploring the representation of race in Australian fiction, but his reputation as a writer of fiction has not endured. Nevertheless, in 1975 the mass-market publisher Pyramid Books reissued most of the books in Timms's Saga for American readers and a British mini-series, Luke's Kingdom (1976), directed by Peter Weir, was inspired by these books.
Timms also wrote a number of short stories that have not been sighted and are therefore not individually indexed on AustLit. (These will be added to his record as they are sighted). They include:
For Man, the 'Man in the Slouch Hat' series, including:
as well as a series of short stories not connected to this series, including:
For As You Were:
For as-yet-untraced publications:
Timms' manuscripts and other materials are held in the Fryer Library as the twelve-box Edward Vivian Timms Collection (detailed list available here.)