New Woman (1895)
A New War Song
Some short Ditties
Soldiers of the Empire
The Latest "Six Hundred"
A Wail from a Victorian
Wales and other Wails
A New Litany
Boer "Official" News
Song of the Banana Peel
The Tale of a Soldier
The Spider and the Fly
Frederick Charles Burleigh
23rd March 1869, Cornwall England
6 Jan 1901 Perth, Western Australia
Having received a good education, Vosper defied convention and joined
the Royal Navy with the intention of becoming an officer. The
Naval life was not for him however and he resigned before his
probationary period was up. We next hear of him here in Australia
at Maryborough, Queensland in 1886 as a 17 year old.
Taking up a career of journalism he worked on some small Queensland
newspapers before taking up a sub-editor position at Charters Towers
"Northern Miner" then editor of the anti-establishment paper "Australian
Republican" He championed the cause of miners, republicanism
and working men's rights. He was opposed to Asian immigration.
In 1891, he published some papers in support of the Shearers strike and
was charged with sedition. Whilst he was acquitted of this, he was
later (in 1892) charged with inciting a riot (during a miners'
strike) for which he spent 3 months in gaol . Following his
release, he moved to Sydney where he worked for the "Truth" and
Moving to Western Australia in 1893, he worked for various papers at
Cue, Geraldton and Perth before moving to Coolgardie where he took up
the editorship of the influential "Coolgardie Miner"
Over the next several years he joined a number of Political groups
associated with furthering the rights of miners and workers. He
was an able public speaker and used this ability to attack the policies
of the Western Australian Government led by Sir John Forrest.
Being rejected as a candidate by the Labor party, in 1897 he ran as
an independent for the Legislative seat of North-East Coolgardie winning
During his time in Parliament he supported votes for women,
compulsory arbitration, a minimum wage, payment of members,
liberalization of the electoral laws and triennial parliaments. Although
he lived in Perth, he regularly visited the goldfields where he was very
Late in that same year he married a widow, Venetia Anne Nicholson
(nee Finn) and with her money, joined Edward Ellis in setting up the
West Australian Sunday Times, a Weekly newspaper. for which he
worked [no parliamentary pay in those days so M's P needed a "real job"
] When Ellis died in 1898, Vosper became editor of the "Sunday Times"
which he used to disperse information and ideas that were often
anti-establishment and were not reported on by the main daily Perth
Paper, the "West Australian" run by Sir Winthrop Hackett, friend and
compatriot of the Premier.
From 1897, in parliament and outside it, he devoted time to
goldfields' disputes, to the government's mental health policies and
to Federation, which although considering it a good idea in
principle, he opposed it as he considered the conditions of joining
to be detrimental to the working man.
His oppositionist stand estranged him from the goldfields-based
'Separation for Federation' movement. but he retained much goodwill
for his stand on other social issues.
Having invested all of his (and his wife's) capital in the paper
which did not make a large profit, he did not live the lifestyle
of many of the other politicians, particularly those of the "monied
establishment" and by 1900 was in considerable financial
difficulties. In the 1900 elections, his seat was
abolished and he nominated for the forthcoming National Senate
as a "Free Trader" . He was never to go to the polls
however, as shortly after nominating, he suffered complications
from appendicitis and died.
His funeral at Karrakatta was one
of the largest for a "working man" that had been seen to that
Whilst not a prolific poet, Vosper was known to have
written a considerable number of poems, few of them to which he
put his name; many being just part of his editorial column
"Acta Diurna" in the Sunday Times, it is also known that
he put other names to some of his poems. It is these
poems that are largely presented on this website - Some may not
be from the pen of Frederick Vosper, - should you be aware of
any of those listed which actually are written by someone else
and you have something that will convince me, please
e-mail me and I will
make the appropriate changes. .
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