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John Sandes John Sandes i(A5456 works by)
Also writes as: Don Delaney ; Oriel
Born: Established: 26 Feb 1863 Cork (County),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 29 Nov 1938 Wauchope, Wauchope area, Hastings River area, Mid North Coast, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: Jan 1887
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John Sandes moved from Ireland to England in 1872 and attended school at Kings College, Somerset House, London. In 1874 he studied at Trinity College, Stratford on Avon, and later studied for a BA in classics and law at Magdalen College, Oxford. He graduated with honours in 1885.

Sandes spent time travelling in France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Developing a chest infection, he was advised by doctors to avoid English winters and so migrated to Australia. Sandes arrived in Australia in January 1887 and taught at a school in St Kilda, Adelaide, before moving to Melbourne to take up an assignment with the Argus newspaper in June 1888. He was one of the original writers in the short-lived periodical Bohemia and it was there that he befriended Davison Symmons and E. T. Fricker. With these two colleagues he inaugurated, in August 1891, 'The Passing Show' by 'Oriel', in the Saturday Argus. Sandes says: 'When Symmons left the Argus and Fricker took up other work, I was "Oriel" from 1898 to 1903.' Sandes' verse proved very popular during the time of the Boer War and was widely anthologised.

Sandes left Melbourne in 1903 to become leader writer and reviewer with the Sydney Daily Mail. He started the column 'A Bird's Eye View', and for sixteen years wrote leaders, articles, and dramatic, musical and literary reviews for it. In 1919 he became the Daily Telegraph's London correspondent but returned to Australia in 1922, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Source: A. G. Stephens 'Australian Autobiographies', vol.2. (Biographical information written in Sandes's own hand.)

Most Referenced Works


  • Sandes wrote the lyrics for several patriotic songs, co-wrote with Charles S. Ryan Under the Red Crescent: adventures of an English surgeon with the Turkish army at Plevna and Erzeroum, 1877-1878 (1897) and contributed (with Donald MacDonald, q.v.) to a history of the Australian contingents in the South African war in William Harding's War in South Africa [1902?].
  • A work by T. F. Connell, Leo Ferro's Dilemma, bound with some copies of Gentleman Jack by 'Don Delaney' has led to the erroneous assumption that T. F. Connell was another pseudonym of Sandes'.
  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for John Sandes.

Known archival holdings

National Library of Australia (ACT)
Last amended 25 Jul 2012 12:08:50
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