TOMPSON, Charles (1806-1883)

TOMPSON, Charles (1806-1883)
first Australian-born poet to publish a volume
was born in 1806 at Sydney. He was educated at the Rev. Henry Fulton's (q.v.) school at Castlereagh, and entered the New South Wales public service. In 1826 he published Wild Notes from the Lyre of a Native Minstrel, by Charles Tompson, jun., the first volume of verse by one of the native-born to be published in Australia. He wrote some verse and much prose in later life, none of which has been collected in a volume. One poem, Australia, a translation of a Latin prize poem by S. Smith, appeared in the Sydney Gazette for 17 December 1829, and was published shortly after as a two-paged pamphlet, now very rare. Tompson was a clerk of petty sessions at Penrith in 1836 and subsequently at Camden. He was then appointed third clerk in the legislative council of New South Wales, rose to be clerk of parliaments in the legislative council, and, in 1860, clerk of the legislative assembly, where he was much liked by members as a courteous and obliging officer. He retired on a pension in 1869 and died at Sydney on 5 January 1883. He was only 20 years old when his volume was published. Considered as juvenilia it has some merit, but its chief interest lies in its having been the first of its kind.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 January, 1883; P. Serle, A Bibliography of Australasian Poetry and Verse; H. M. Green, An Outline of Australian Literature; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vol. XVIII; J. A. Ferguson, Bibliography of Australia.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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