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Notes

  • 'The Meddler' was the title of a satirical column on politics and current events which ran in the Sydney Mail in the late 1870s and early 1880s. At its height the column occupied a full page and featured a mix of witty verse, satirical sketches, and accompanying cartoons. Whilst it is not entirely clear, it appears that the column was conducted by a Sydney Mail staffer, with much of the written material coming from the newspaper's stable of literary contributors, whose works appeared in the column anonymously, under the guise of 'The Meddler'.

    Kendall's letters suggest that he began contributing to 'The Meddler' column in mid 1879, and judging from some of the content, it appears that he might have continued to do so until perhaps early 1881, when he was appointed New South Wales Inspector of Forests. Whilst the matter of establishing authorship of the various works that appeared in the column is problematic, some items can definitely be attributed to Kendall. In his articles 'Gone to Blazes?' and 'The Identity of the Later Kendall', Michael Ackland points to three surviving letters in which Kendall refers to specific sketches and other items which he had written for 'The Meddler' column. Most of these works can be identified.

    More recently, several other known Kendall works have been found in 'Meddler Column', where they appeared anonymously. Here see 'When underneath the Brown Dead Grass', 'Tommy the Larrikin', 'Billy Vickers' and 'On a Baby Buried by the Hawkesbury'. An untitled poem which appeared in 'The Meddler' column on 18 September, 1880 also appears to have been written by Kendall.

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