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Clarence Penworthy (Pen) Bawden (1872–1912)

We have been favoured with copies of the Pretoria "News," of dates 20/11/12 and 22/11/12, from which we extract the following: concerning the death of Mr. C. P. [Clarence Penworthy] Bawden, a member of the well-known Grafton family of that name, and who was also well-known here prior to his departure for South Africa:

"The death occurred this morning at the Kensington Sanitorium of Mr C. P. Bawden, the well-known attorney, who has been practising in Johannesburg for some months. The deceased was taken ill on Monday and was sent to the Kensington Sanatorium, where he died this morning from pneumonia. Deceased, who was 40 years of age, was unmarried. He was born at Grafton, New South Wales, and came to this country with one of the Australian contingents towards the end of the war. He joined the S.A.C. and afterwards resumed his profession as an attorney. He came to Pretoria in 1904 and commenced to practice. He at once made his mark, and was soon known as one of the foremost lawyers in Pretoria. He was for some, time in partnership with Mr. Ketjen. Mr. Bawden, who was familiarly known as "Pen," was a very well-known figure in sporting circles as well as in the legal world. He was an enthusiastic follower of horse-racing and cricket, and was a most popular personality. He will be missed by a very large number of friends and acquaintances.

"Pen" Bawden.—A sketch (By D.B.). Dear old "Pen"—God rest his soul!—has crossed the Great Divide. He will be sadly missed by a legion of friends. He had no enemy, except himself; ever ready to assist anyone in trouble with his professional knowledge. He also kept himself a poor man through assisting others. He was held in great respect by the magistrates in the bench, and his fellow practitioners at the Side Bar looked upon Bawden as one of their most brilliant members. There was no pettifogging about "Pen"; he refused time after time lucrative work which he did not consider up to the standard, which ought to be kept in the legal profession. I have known "Pen" in all his moods during the last ten years, sometimes quiet and reserved, at others smilingly humorous, hilarious, and once decidedly combative, but he will be best remembered as the debonnair man of the world, with a smile and a word of cheer for the down-hearted, a quip and a joke for his special "cobbers."

"Pen" was a good raconteur, and the incidents, sad or humorous, which he met with in his strenuous career lost nothing in the telling when ''Pen" was in a happy vein. Many a happy hour has been beguiled listening to his reminiscenes of that land under the Southern Cross which he loved so well. The scent of the wattle and the gum, the pad-pad of the cattle and the sheep, the reek of the shearing shed, the rush of a river in flood; the solitude and vastness of the bush, were vividly recalled when listening to our dear old friend. "Pen" was a keen notary on all manly sport. In his day he was a good man on the running track and the river. He knew all the great cricketers during the last 20 years. Rowing, boxing and football were also hobbies of his. He was in any and every movement for the furtherance of clean, healthy sport. His advice was eagerly sought upon knotty points relating to any branch of sport, and always cheerfully given. He had stored in his memory most of the world records and his decisions have settled many disputes.

In closing this sketch I may state that Clarence Penberthy Hawden was an uncompromising patriot to the British Empire. Australia, the land of his birth, always came first in his affections. South Africa, where he had made his home: in the event of trouble would have seen that Australians, like Hawden, would be amongst the first in the field. In politics "Pen” was a member of the Unionist Party.

The following verses from one of "Pen's" old friends, Adam Lindsay Gordon, will be appreciated by all who know him:

We tarry yet, we are toiling still,
He is gone and he fares the best;
He fought against odds, he struggled up-hill,
He has fairly earned his season of rest.

No tears are needed-fill out the wine,
Let the goblets clash, and the grape juice flow,
Ho! pledge me a death-drink, comrades mine,
To a brave man gone where we all must go.

Original publication

Citation details

'Bawden, Clarence Penworthy (Pen) (1872–1912)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


14 October, 1872
Grafton, New South Wales, Australia


20 November, 1912 (aged 40)
South Africa

Cause of Death


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