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William Charles Wentworth, in the Weekly Register 1.6 (2 September 1843):76
William Charles Wentworth William Charles Wentworth i(A1937 works by)
Born: Established: 13 Aug 1790 Australian seas, ; Died: Ceased: 20 Mar 1872 Wimborne, Dorset,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,

Gender: Male
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William Charles Wentworth was born en route from Sydney to Norfolk Island in 1790, the son of surgeon D'Arcy Wentworth and transportee, Catherine Crowley. Wentworth actively participated in the expansion of the colony, crossing the Blue Mountains with Blaxland and Lawson in 1813. He was later an active proponent of primary and university education, playing an important part in the establishment of the University of Sydney. Wentworth was educated in England and, while studying law at Cambridge in 1823, his poem, "Australasia" was considered for the chancellor's gold medal and won second place. "Australasia" is one of the first nationalistic poems in Australian literature and continues to be anthologized. Wentworth's other writing includes A Statistical Historical, and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales (1819) where he argued for the introduction of trial by jury and a Legislative Assembly elected on the basis of property ownership without the exclusion of emancipated convicts. In 1824, along with Robert Wardell, Wentworth published the Australian, a newspaper which also promoted these issues.

After a long political career which saw his landholdings continue to grow, Wentworth departed the colonies for England in March 1854, returning for a brief visit in 1861-1862, when he was persuaded to accept the presidency of the New South Wales legislative council during a political crisis. He died in England in March 1872, but, according to his wishes, his body was returned to Australia. After a state funeral in May 1873, he was buried on his estate at Vaucluse.

Most Referenced Works


  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for Wentworth, William Charles.
  • Manning Clark in A History of Australia : II : New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land 1822 -1838 (52, 77) identifies William Charles Wentworth as the author of the poem On the Death of Lord Byron published in the Australian (11 November 1824): 3.

    Source: Clark, C. M. H. A History of Australia : II : New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land 1822 -1838 Melbourne : Melbourne University Press, 1968.

Awards for Works

Australasia : A Poem Written for the Chancellor's Medal at the Cambridge Commencement, July, 1823 i "Land of my birth! tho' now, alas! no more", London : G. and W. B. Whittaker , 1823 Z823361 1823 single work poetry
— Appears in: Sydney Gazette, and New South Wales Advertiser , 25 March vol. 22 no. 1062 1824; (p. 4) The Australian Town and Country Journal , 25 May vol. 5 no. 125 1872; (p. 661) The Poet's Discovery : Nineteenth Century Australia in Verse 1990; (p. 77-87) An Anthology of Australian Poetry to 1920 2007; (p. 53-62)
1823 second International Awards Cambridge Chancellor's Gold Medal Competition
Last amended 10 Jun 2014 12:14:49
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