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Banfield, Edmund James (1852–1923)

from Queenslander

On the arrival of the steamer Innisfail at Townsville on June 6 from the North, Captain Robertson reported the death of Mr. Edmund James Banfield, at Dunk Island, at 1 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, after an illness extending over three weeks, which the deceased and his wife believed to be due to indigestion. When off Dunk island, about noon on June 4 the attention of the crew on the vessel was attracted by Mrs. Banfield signalling by means of black and white flags, and the Innisfail was brought to anchor. A boat was sent ashore, and the sad news was revealed by Mrs. Banfield, whose only company during her trying ordeal was that of a faithful Irish terrier. From timber on board the ship the captain had a coffin made, in which was placed the body, wrapped in a sheet. The crew of the Innisfail laid the remains to rest in a grave in close proximity to his island home, the Chief Officer (Mr. Chapman) reading the burial service. Mrs. Banfield declined to leave the island, and Capt. Robertson left one of his crew to keep her company. On the way down the coast the Innisfail met a launch containing Mr. and Mrs Spencer Hopkins on the way to Dunk Island on a holiday trip, being unaware of Mr Banfield's death. The deceased, who was about 70 years of age, belonged to a journalistic family, his father, vaving owned the Ararat (Victoria) newspaper on which Mr. Banfield received his early training. About 1882 he came to North Queensland, and joined the staff of the Townsville Bulletin as sub-editor under the late Mr. Dodd S. Clarke. Some 20 years ago, in conjunction with Dr. Bacot, the deceased took up Dunk Island, and remained there to the time of his death. A brilliant writer, and a keen observer of nature, he has left his mark by his books on the literature of Australia.

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Citation details

'Banfield, Edmund James (1852–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/banfield-edmund-james-56/text1544, accessed 21 November 2017.

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