Rolf Hennequel, formerly Henkl, was a writer and publisher whose works, mainly classical in theme, were written using the pseudonym Albin Eiger (a fact he denied to all but the closest acquaintances) as well as his own name. Earlier writings, particularly scholarly ones, bear the name Henkl.
The son of a French mother and a Yugoslav father, Hennequel was born in Vienna in 1897. As a small boy he was taken to China, and it was at St. Joseph's College in Peking that he learnt English. He studied also at Seattle, Cairo, Athens and Paris, and became fluent in French, German, English, Latin, Italian and Spanish and competent in Egyptian hieroglyphics. His studies included classical and oriental languages, archaeology, philology and comparative literature.
During the First World War he served as an officer in the cavalry and general staff of the Imperial Austrian Army. It was here he trained cadets in officers' school in military fencing. He furthered his studies in fencing in Vienna, Rome and Paris and later wrote several works on the subject.
In 1925 he was appointed Professor in the Department of Languages at the University of Tokyo. While in Tokyo he married Claudia Alexeievna, a White Russian. In Paris from 1926 to 1927 he worked as the chief editor of two newspapers. During 1928 he visited Ceylon, India, Japan and China. From 1929 he studied philology and comparative literature at the University of Washington, Seattle. He later took up teaching posts at Shanghai Public Western School (where he also conducted a fencing course), Nedjat School, Kabul from 1949 to 1952, and, during the same period, Kabul University, where he was Professor of Letters.
On migrating to Tasmania in 1952, Hennequel taught French, Latin and Art at Launceston State High School, St. Patrick's College, Launceston, Scotch College, Newstead and Launceston Church of England Grammar School. From about 1960 he also conducted lectures in Ancient History and Oriental Studies for the Adult Education Board. During 1955 he wrote articles on Afghanistan for the Current Affairs Bulletin of the University of Sydney. In the same year he and his wife were naturalised, and in 1957 they moved to Newnham, Tasmania, where he established the Wattle Grove Press in 1958.
Hennequel published first his own poems and semi-factual scholarly novels. When this program was completed, he embarked on publishing limited editions of works by Pat Flower, Rodney Hall, Howard Mitcham, Marguerite Harris, Wilhelm Hiener, Dorothy Hewett and Philip Ward and conducted lively correspondence with other writers, literary agents and artists, including P.R. Stephensen, Dorothy Blewett and Rigby Graham.
In the later years of the Wattle Grove Press illness hampered Hennequel's activities and in 1969 this forced the closure of the Press. He died on 30 January 1971, survived by his widow Claudia and a married daughter Eleanor. (Source: NLA Papers of Rolf Hennequel)