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James Smith James Smith i(A20582 works by)
Also writes as: Touchstone [Smith] ; An Old Playgoer ; J. S. (fl. 1855)
Born: Established: 28 Apr 1820 Kent,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 19 Mar 1910 Hawthorn, Camberwell - Kew area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1854
Heritage: English
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James Smith, a journalist and non-fiction writer in England, migrated to Australia in 1854. Once in Melbourne, he worked for the Age, the Leader, the Melbourne Punch and the Argus, as well as being assistant editor of the Victorian Review. His other positions included Librarian to the Victorian Parliament (1863-1868) and part-time Trustee of the Public Library of Victoria. He edited The Cyclopedia of Victoria (1904).

Smith became a spiritualist later in his life, delivering many lectures and publishing numerous books and pamphlets on the subject. His 'Historical Sketch of Victoria', originally published in the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia in 1886, was republished in book form in 1980.

Most Referenced Works


  • No playscripts survive. See Lurline Stuart's James Smith : The Making of a Colonial Culture (1989) for details of plays' productions.
  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for James Smith.
  • It is highly probable that the 'J. S.' who published in the Melbourne Monthly Magzazine was James Smith. One of Smith's poems, 'The Red Cross Flag' was published in the Freemasons' Quarterly Review in London in 1848. It subsequently appeared, under the initials J. S. in the Melbourne journal in 1855 (the year after Smith's arrival in Australia). Smith's poetry was being published in the Argus prior to his migration to Melbourne. See, for example, 'A Masonic Chaunt for Revolutionary Times' ,20 April 1849.

Known archival holdings

State Library of Victoria (VIC)
National Library of Australia (ACT)
Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (NSW)
State Library of South Australia State Library of SA (SA)
Last amended 22 Mar 2012 13:26:48
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