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Charles Souter was born in Aberdeen although his parents lived in Birmingham in 1864. (His mother was visiting her family in Scotland at the time of his birth.) Over the next four years the family lived in various parts of England including Birmingham, Nottingham and Highgate.
Souter came to Australia with his family at the age of fourteen. He returned to Aberdeen to study medicine, then practised for most of his life in South Australia: Adelaide (1906), Clarendon (1907-1909), Prospect (1910-1923), Whyalla (1923-1924) and North Adelaide (1925-1944). He played the harmonica and flute and composed a number of songs, which were set to music by Edith Harrhy and others. His verse included ballads, sea shanties and war poetry.
In a biographical note submitted to the Bulletin Story Book(1901) he describes his life as follows: 'Voyaged to this land per full-rigged ship City of Corinth, to Sydney direct with general cargo; 100 days out. Then three years wild freedom (I had passed the College of Surgeons' prelim. before leaving England) with a horse, a revolver, and a kangaroo dog, etc. on the head waters of the Castlreagh. A gorgeous and halcyon period indeed. In 1882 went to Grahnit Ceety to start medicine. Came out with a degree and a wife in 1887; then followed three years in the Never-Never in charge of a hospital. A daughter born and a wife lost; - restlessness; - ship's surgeon to China ports and back; and now for ten years lodge surgeon and J. P. in South Australia. Again a husband and father; "dropping into poetry" like Wegg - and occasionally into prose.'
The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature (1994) notes that the 'long-term Bulletin cartoonist and illustrator', D. H. Souter (q.v.), has sometimes been 'mistakenly believed to be related to C. H. Souter'.
Known archival holdings
State Library of South Australia State Library of SA