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Henry Kendall Henry Kendall i(A31561 works by) (birth name: Thomas Henry Kendall) (a.k.a. Henry Clarence Kendall; H. Kendall)
Also writes as: 'A Literary Hack' ; 'Tiresias' ; 'Arakoon' ; 'The Meddler' ; H. K. ; 'Mopsus' ; 'The Mopoke' ; 'A Mopoke' ; 'A Wanderer' ; 'A Wandering Bohemian'
Born: Established: 18 Apr 1839 Milton, Milton - Ulladulla area, Shoalhaven area, South Coast, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 1 Aug 1882 Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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Henry Kendall was born on the New South Wales south coast in 1839. After a brief education he spent two years at sea on his uncle's ship. His first poetry was published in the Month in 1859. Inspired by Charles Harpur, Kendall's poetry appeared in many newspapers and periodicals in Sydney and Melbourne over the next ten years. His first collection, Poems and Songs, appeared in 1862. These poems attracted praise in Australia and England. In 1868 Kendall married Charlotte Rutter and moved from Sydney to Melbourne, resigning from the civil service and taking up journalism to support himself. He contributed to newspapers and journals, often using pseudonyms, and edited the Humbug, the Touchstone and Williams's Illustrated Australian Annual.

Kendall's marriage soon faltered. Additional family pressures and alcoholism took their toll on Kendall and he was committed to the Gladesville Hospital for the Insane for treatment. By 1876 Kendall had recovered his health. He was rejoined by his wife and children at Camden Haven in Northern New South Wales where he worked as bookkeeper for a sawmill. Kendall's creative output also increased. In 1880, his third collection, Songs for the Mountains, was published. Kendall was appointed inspector of forests in 1881 with the help of Henry Parkes, but this appointment proved exhausting. Kendall fell ill and died in August 1882.

Kendall's literary reputation rests primarily on his lyric poetry, but critics in the 1980s and 1990s revealed the significant themes and controlled narrative skill of Kendall's longer poems. Kendall's occasional verse also attracts interest for the light it sheds on nineteenth century literary culture. Kendall is now widely regarded as one of the most important poets of the colonial period.

Most Referenced Works


  • Although Kendall's given names were Thomas Henry, he was usually referred to as Henry to distinguish him from his grandfather. However, Kendall signed the Marriage Register on 7 March 1868 as 'Henry Clarence Kendall' and this use has been perpetuated in the titles of many selections of his work. (See Ian F. McLaren's 1987 work Henry Kendall : A Comprehensive Bibliography p. 206, 'Note on Henry Clarence Kendall').
  • W. H. Wilde and Michael Ackland both list 'The Meddler' as a pseudonym used by Kendall in the Sydney Mail. Cheryl Taylor, in her bibliography of Ernest Favenc's work in Tales of the Austral Tropics (1997) attributes several poems and prose pieces published under this name to Favenc, on the basis of their location among the cuttings in the Mitchell Library Q980.1F.
  • In 1908 Henry Kendall's widow received a pension fund of £52 per annum from the Commonwealth Literary Fund.

Known archival holdings

Albinski 113
National Library of Australia (ACT)
State Library of NSW (NSW)
State Library of Victoria (VIC)
Last amended 3 Nov 2016 11:01:26
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