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Beattie, Robert (c. 1860–1910)

by Zadig

from Western Mail

Last week I paid a visit to the Fremantle morgue for the purpose of identifying the body of Robert Beattie. The poor fellow had taken his own life — had terminated an existence which appeared to him to be a mistake and a failure. He was one of the most remarkable men I ever knew. He had all his life been a labouring man, wandering from place to place doing the roughest kind of work. And yet he was a man of no mean literary attainments. For years he used to write for the Queensland "Worker," under the pen-name of "Adam Tramp," and only a few weeks ago articles from his pen appeared in the "Western Mail." He was something of a philosopher and something of a humourist. He was also what is called a philosophical anarchist. He had a perfect passion for freedom. But of recent years he became pessimistic. He held that what he called the money power was bringing the whole earth to ruin. His own life had been a failure. He was practically penniless, and he was too proud to beg. Besides, he was afflicted physically, and he regarded his chances of earning his bread by physical labour as small. I frequently urged him to use his pen, but he generally replied that he had no heart to write, except to expound his own opinions, and there was no market for writing of that sort. He appeared to have had no blood relations, and as he was shy and solitary in disposition, he had few friends. And yet he was a gentle and loving spirit, easily moved to laughter or to tears. He felt that he was unwanted — that in the great world of life there was no real place for him. And so he made an end. As he lay there at the morgue, his arms folded on his breast, with something like a smile upon his time-worn face, I could not help thinking that perhaps for him death was best. He certainly looked more majestic, and even happier, in his death, than ever I had seen him in his life. May he rest in peace.

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Citation details

Zadig, 'Beattie, Robert (c. 1860–1910)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/beattie-robert-32406/text40184, accessed 7 July 2022.

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