Saturday, June 18, 2011


Out of all the characters in Canberra's history my favourite is undoubtedly King O'Malley. One of Canberra's advocates in the capital's selection process and Minister for Home Affairs at Canberra's inception I admire the grand visions he expressed for a Canberra of the future.

The newspaper clipping below is a letter to the editor re: naming the Federal city dated 1913. Written before the announcement by Lady Denman of the name 'Canberra' the writer unaware of the name is critical of this 'King of Australia' and entertains the reader with his thoughts.

To understand the sentiment in the article a little better a bit of info about him...

From the Wikipedia article. (highly recommended)
Historian Gavin Souter describes O'Malley:
"O'Malley's monstrously overgrown persona seemed to be inhabited simultaneously by a spruiker from Barnum's three-ring circus, a hell-and-tarnation revivalist, and a four-flushing Yankee Congressman.
 He was a moderately big man, auburn-haired with watchful grey eyes and a red-brown beard, wearing a wide-brimmed felt hat, blue-grey suit with huge lapels and a low-cut vest, loose cravat with a diamond collar stud, and in the centre of his cream silk shirt-front a fiery opal." 

My other newspaper clipping posts about the man. King O'Malley - Government as shopkeeper - Foundation stones - Taxation without representation - Prohibition lifted at Canberra. - Other bios - Wikipedia - Australian Dictionary of Biography -

The Advertiser - Saturday 25 January 1913

National Library of Australia

Square dinkum.


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