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Robert Howe Robert Howe i(A61819 works by)
Born: Established: 1795 London,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 29 Jan 1829 Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: Nov 1800
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As a five year-old child, Robert Howe was transported to New South Wales along with his convict father George Howe and his mother (who died on the voyage). Robert had little formal education, but he helped his father in the government printing office from a very early age, and acquired practical knowledge of both the printing trade and newspaper editing through the production of The Sydney Gazette. Robert fathered an illegitimate child in 1819, but the following year he underwent a religious conversion, in which he was 'wonderfully and mercifully visited by God and snatched from infamy in this world and Hell in the next' (Robert Howe qtd. in ADB). For the rest of his life, Robert retained a close connection with the Methodist movement in Sydney.

After George Howe's death in May 1821, Robert became editor, printer and publisher of the Sydney Gazette. In the Gazette of 3 February 1829 his friend the Methodist minister Ralph Mansfield said of him: 'Unfortunately the Colony did not, during the period of his youth, afford the means of liberal education, so that he had the additional misfortune of entering upon the Editorship of his father's Journal, with a mind but imperfectly furnished and disciplined by previous tuition.' Robert also succeeded both to the post of government printer and to the various private business activities the Howes had been developing around their press. One of these activities was the production of Australia's first periodical The Australian Magazine, which was edited by Ralph Mansfield. Both this publication and The Sydney Gazette came to reflect Robert Howe's religious beliefs. He had firm ideas that the colony would only progress from 'the depths of awful depravity to Righteousness in the Son of God' by adhering to a strict religious and moral code, and he consided his role as 'Printer to Immanuel' was more important than that being government printer. His strict beliefs and denounciation of those who did not follow them earned Howe enemies in the colony, and he was publicly attacked on more than one occasion. Most of the books privately produced by Robert Howe were religious works, but he did also print the first book of poetry by a native born poet - Charles Tompson's Wild Notes from the Lyre of a Native Ministrel. Robert Howe drowned while fishing near Pinchgut Island (Fort Denison) in Sydney Harbour.

Most Referenced Works


  • A manuscript diary by Robert Howe, covering the period 1 August 1822 to 4 April 1823, survives in the collection of the Mitchell Library. See link below.

On the Web

Last amended 4 May 2011 16:20:02
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