CHURCH, Hubert Newman Wigmore (1857-1932)

CHURCH, Hubert Newman Wigmore (1857-1932)
was born at Hobart, Tasmania, on 13 June 1857, the son of Hubert Day and Mary A. Church. His father, a barrister, came from Somerset and was a descendant of the family of John Hampden. Hubert Church was taken to England when eight years old, and was educated at Guildford and Felstead. When about 16 years of age he went to New Zealand and some years later joined the treasury department at Wellington. In 1902 his first volume of verse, The West Wind, was published at Sydney, which was followed in 1904 by Poems, published at Wellington, New Zealand, and Egmont, at Melbourne in 1908. In 1911 he retired from the New Zealand public service, and in 1912 went to Melbourne. There he collected the best of his poems from his earlier volumes and published them with 10 additional pieces under the title of Poems. In 1913 he went to England and during the war was engaged in voluntary war-work. In 1916 he published a novel, Tonks, a New Zealand Yarn, and in 1919 returned to New Zealand. He went to Melbourne in October 1923, where he became well-known in literary circles, and was much liked and admired. When he was 12 years old he was struck on the head by a cricket ball and he became completely deaf. Thrown much on himself, he read largely and it was a pleasure to converse with a man whose mind was so well stored, even though one side of the conversation had to be written down. He died on 8 April 1932. In December 1900 he married Catherine Livingstone McGregor, who survived him without issue.
Personally, Church was tall and well-built, courteous in manner, with a kindly appreciation of the work of other men. His poems will be found in several anthologies, and his excellent technique, sense of music and poetic urge, joined with a dignified restraint, entitle him to an honourable place among the better poets of Australia and New Zealand.
A. G. Stephens, Note in The West Wind; information supplied by Mrs Church; personal knowledge.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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