McCRAE, George Gordon (1833-1927)


McCRAE, George Gordon (1833-1927)
poet
was born near Leith, Scotland, on 29 May 1833. His father, Andrew Murison McCrae, was a writer to the signet, Edinburgh, his mother, Georgiana Huntly McCrae, is noticed separately. His father sailed for Australia in advance in 1838, and George Gordon McCrae arrived at Melbourne with his mother on 1 March 1841. They lived for a time at Abbotsford, about two miles out of Melbourne, and then at Arthur's Seat, where his father had taken up land. Here the boy was educated by a private tutor, John McClure, M.A., who remained with the family for nine years. When about 17 years of age, McCrae joined a surveying party as a probationer, and narrowly escaped being caught in the flames of "Black Thursday". After being in one or two offices to obtain business experience, he was appointed to a position in the government service on 1 January 1854. He remained in the service for 39 years becoming eventually deputy registrar-general, and retired with a pension in 1893, having reached the age limit.
McCrae began to contribute verse to the Australasian and other papers, and gradually became acquainted with all the literary men of his period including Gordon (q.v.), Kendall (q.v.), Horne (q.v.), and Clarke (q.v.). Some of these he met at Dwight's second-hand bookshop in Bourke-street, Melbourne, and it was Dwight who published in 1867, McCrae's two little volumes, The Story of Balladeädro and Mämba, both based on aboriginal legends. He had hoped to publish a third book with an aboriginal setting, Karakorok, but it remained in manuscript. He became very friendly with Gordon, who praised his verse, and Kendall, whom he was able to help during his troubled days in Melbourne. In 1873 appeared a long poem in blank verse, The Man in the Iron Mask, from which Longfellow selected some lines for an anthrology of sea poems. McCrae was always fond of the sea and by saving up his leave was enabled to visit Great Britain, and to make two voyages to the Seychelles in which islands he became very interested. He did much preliminary work for a history of the Seychelles which was never completed, and began to work on a novel, John Rous, a badly arranged but readable story of the reign of Queen Anne, which was not published until 1918. He also wrote a poem, Don César, in ottava rima, as long as Don Juan, several extracts from which appeared in the Bulletin. In 1915 a small selection of his poems was published, The Fleet and Convoy and Other Verses. This little volume is full of misprints and scarcely represents the poet at his best. An opportunity was lost to include some of McCrae's more distinguished work, such as "A Rosebud from the Garden of the Taj", now buried in old papers and journals. He died at Hawthorn, Melbourne, on 15 August 1927, in his ninety-fifth year, his mind still quite unimpaired. Of few men has it been so truly said that he was universally loved and regretted. He married in July 1871, Augusta Helen Brown, who predeceased him. He was survived by a son and three daughters. Another son was killed in the 1914-18 war.
McCrae was well over six feet in height and in his youth strikingly handsome. He had a gift for writing musical verse, often charming and at times rising into poetry. He was apparently quite incapable of self-criticism, and never realized how much his work might have gained by pruning and condensation. His son, Hugh Raymond McCrae, born in 1876, became the author of Satyrs and Sunlight, and other volumes which proclaimed him one of the finest poets produced in Australia. He also published some volumes in prose of which My Father and My Father's Friends gives a very pleasant picture of his father's associates. One of McCrae's daughters, Dorothy Frances McCrae, also published verse.
Short autobiography in manuscript; Hugh McCrae, My Father and my Father's Friends; personal knowledge.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • George Gordon McCrae — (29 May 1833 – 15 August 1927) was an Australian poet. Early lifeMcCrae was born in Leith, Scotland; his father was Andrew Murison McCrae, a writer; his mother was Georgiana McCrae, a painter. George attended a preparatory school in London, and… …   Wikipedia

  • McCrae Homestead — Georgiana McCrae McCrae Homestead is an historic property located in McCrae, Victoria, Australia. It was built at the foot of Arthurs Seat, a small mountain, near the shores of Port Phillip in 1844 by Andrew McCrae, a lawyer, and his wife… …   Wikipedia

  • McCrae family — /məˈkreɪ/ (say muh kray) noun an Australian family with members notable in the arts. 1. Georgiana Huntly, 1804–1890, Australian painter and diarist, born in England. 2. her son, George Gordon, 1833–1927, Australian poet, born in Scotland. 3. Hugh …   Australian English dictionary

  • Georgiana Huntly McCrae — Selbstporträt von Georgiana Huntly McCrae, 1824 Georgiana Huntly McCrae (* 15. März 1804 in London; † 24. Mai 1890 in Hawthorn bei Melbourne) war eine schottisch australische Malerin und Tagebuchschreiberin …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • 28. Jänner — Der 28. Januar (in Österreich und Südtirol: 28. Jänner) ist der 28. Tag des Gregorianischen Kalenders, somit bleiben 337 Tage (338 Tage in Schaltjahren) bis zum Jahresende. Er wird auch – nach dem Todestag Karls des Großen – als Karlstag… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Karlstag — Der 28. Januar (in Österreich und Südtirol: 28. Jänner) ist der 28. Tag des Gregorianischen Kalenders, somit bleiben 337 Tage (338 Tage in Schaltjahren) bis zum Jahresende. Er wird auch – nach dem Todestag Karls des Großen – als Karlstag… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • List of Australian poets — The poets listed below were either citizens or residents of Australia and published the bulk of their poetry whilst living there.A B*Arthur Henry Adams (1872–1936) *Robert Adamson (born 1944) *Adam Aitken (born 1960) [cite web title = Adam Aitken …   Wikipedia

  • 28. Januar — Der 28. Januar (in Österreich und Südtirol: 28. Jänner) ist der 28. Tag des Gregorianischen Kalenders, somit bleiben 337 Tage (338 Tage in Schaltjahren) bis zum Jahresende. Er wird auch – nach dem Todestag Karls des Großen – als Karlstag… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • australische Literatur. — australische Literatur.   Seit ihren Anfängen zeichnet sich die Literatur Australiens durch vier thematische Schwerpunkte aus: 1) die Auseinandersetzung mit der Kultur der Ureinwohner (Aborigines); 2) das Bemühen um adäquate Wiedergabe der… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • January 28 — Events*1077 Walk to Canossa: The excommunication of Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor is lifted. *1521 The Diet of Worms begins, lasting until May 25. *1547 Henry VIII dies. His nine year old son, Edward VI becomes King, and the first Protestant ruler …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.