CRAWFORD, Robert (1868-1930)


CRAWFORD, Robert (1868-1930)
poet
son of Robert Crawford, born at Doonside, New South Wales, in 1868, was educated at The King's School, Parramatta, and the university of Sydney. He settled on a farm as his forefathers had done before him, but not succeeding, became a clerk at Sydney and afterwards had a typewriting business. Some of his poems were published in the Bulletin and other periodicals, and in 1904 a small collection of them, Lyric Moods, was published at Sydney. An enlarged edition appeared at Melbourne in 1909 under the same title. In 1921 another volume, The Leafy Bliss, was published, and an enlarged edition appeared three years later. Crawford died suddenly at Lindfield, Sydney, on 13 January 1930.
Very little is known about Crawford. He was short of stature, poetical in spirit. He mixed little in literary circles and appeared to be forgotten a few years after his death. The fates seem to have conspired against him in every way. The statement that he was educated at The King's School originally appeared in the Bookfellow, and probably came direct from Crawford. If so there is no reason to doubt it, yet in the records of The King's School of his period the only R. Crawford is listed as Richard Crawford. It was also not possible to identify him positively with the Robert James G. W. Crawford who graduated B.A. at the university of Sydney in 1912, when the poet was about 44 years of age. Crawford is represented in some of the anthologies, and A. G. Stephens (q.v.) thought highly of his work. Other critics of his period have scarcely done him justice. His work has a delicate charm and, though at times one fears it will not rise above merely pretty verse, in some of his quatrains and lyrics Crawford does succeed in writing poetry of importance. Possibly, as Stephens once suggested, he may be better appreciated in the next century.
The Bookfellow, 15 August 1923; The Bulletin, 22 January, 1930, 8 December 1943; death notice, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 January 1930; information from The King's School, Parramatta, and H. M. Green, Fisher Library, University of Sydney.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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